Affordable Oahu Vacation Rentals by Owner
Vacation Rentals on Oahu
'The Gathering Place'
Oahu was once the gathering place for the Hawaiian Kings, but now it is a gathering place for over 6 million tourists every year. It is the site of Hawaii’s most famous tourist attractions, such as Waikiki, Diamond Head, Pearl Harbor, and the famous North Shore. Oahu is the third largest of the islands, but has over 75% of it’s population. In spite of this, most of the island is mountainous and still largely undeveloped, and filled with spectacular scenery.
Things to do and see on Oahu
Explore along Oahu's North Shore - From Waikiki it is an
easy hours drive to historic Haleiwa town which most consider where the north
shore begins. During
the winter months the waves reach their "height" and watching the
daring surfers is an exciting pastime. During the summer the waves recede,
and many of the beaches are great for swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing and
Walk Waikiki – The legendary area has been recently beautified, and now besides enjoying the lovely surf and sand you can stroll along the wide flagstone sidewalk past fountains, rock pools, statues and surfboard-signs that relate bits of fact and history. The beach is as good as ever for sunbathing and people watching, but if you want to enjoy a bit more solitude then look at our Oahu Beaches section where nice alternatives are described.
Go Shopping – Waikiki has a great selection of some of the most prestigious retailers such as Tiffany & Co., Chanel, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent as well as hundreds of interesting local shops and boutiques. The Ala Moana Shopping Center is the largest in the islands with over 240 stores, and the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center has had a major renovation and contains 150 stores and restaurants.
Explore Historic Honolulu – Some of Hawaii’s most historic buildings are located in the middle of Honolulu and within easy walking distance of downtown parking at Aloha Tower. Be sure and visit Iolani Palace, the nations’s only state residence of royalty, which was home to King Kalakaua and his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani until the overthrow in 1893. You’ll also want to visit the Hawaii State Capitol, Kawaiaha’o Church – the first Christian church in Hawaii, the Kamehameha I Statue, the Mission Houses Museum and the Old Federal Building.
Visit the Bishop Museum – with it’s exhibits about everything from Hawaiian culture and heritage to the wonders of modern day science. Founded in 1889, it’s primary mission has been the gathering and the dissemination of information on Hawaii and the Pacific region. Hawaii has an amazing history; from ancient kings and queens who surfed as part of daily life, to the missionaries who came to convert the Hawaiians and ended up growing wealthy and their families controlling the islands for centuries, to the waves of immigrants who were brought in to do the work on the plantations …. You can learn about it all here in the museum conveniently located in Honolulu.
Visit Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial – Experience an important part of American History up close and personal with a visit to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial and the Battleship Missouri Memorial. Over 1,500,000 visitors come here annually and is one of the top visitor destinations. Nearby, you can also visit and tour the U.S.S. Bowfin submarine.
Hike to the top of Diamond Head – Diamond Head crater is one of the most notable landmarks in Hawaii, and it is an unforgettable climb and view from the 760-foot summit. The hike takes about an hour over a well worn path. At the summit you are rewarded with a spectacular 365 degree view of Honolulu and Oahu. The crater was originally named Le’ahi by the Hawaiians, but in the late 1700’s when British seamen saw calcite crystals sparkling in the sunshine, they thought they had found diamonds …. and thus, it was known by a new name.
Go to a Luau – Based on an ancient tradition of Hawaiian feasts, the Luau has become a “must do” for every visitor to Hawaii. There are number of excellent Luaus, and they offer Polynesian entertainment, and a huge buffet which allows you to sample some of the traditional Hawaiian foods such as Poi and Luau Pork which is cooked underground wrapped in banana leaves and heated with hot rocks.
Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center – This is Hawaii’s top paid-for visitor attraction. You can “visit” seven Polynesian Islands in one afternoon in a beautiful 42 acre setting. It is a delightful place to spend a day, and each island-zone has activities that you and the kids will enjoy. The Rainbows of Paradise Canoe Pageant show is performed daily in the main lagoon, you can visit Hawaii’s first and only IMAX Theater. Then you can finish up the day with a lavish luau buffet and Night Show.
Visit the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium – Often overlooked by tourists, on the east end of Waikiki in Kapiolani Park, the Honolulu Zoo originated from a King’s grant of royal lands to the people. It is the largest zoo within 2,300 miles. Nearby at the shoreline is the Waikiki Aquarium, which is the third oldest public aquarium in the nation, being founded in 1904. You can view exhibits and aquatic life from Hawaii and the tropical Pacific.
Hike to Makapuu Point – One of the nicer hikes to do on Oahu is a 2.5 mile roundtrip hike to Makapuu Point and Makapuu Lighthouse at the easternmost point of Oahu. You hike through the Makapuu Point State Wayside Park following the Makapuu Lighthouse Road, which goes mostly uphill and it takes about an hour each way. The views of Waimanalo Bay to the north and Sandy Beach and Koko Head to the Southwest are spectacular. This is also a great spot for whale watching from December to May.
Hanauma Bay Nature Park – is a Nature Preserve and one of the state’s most spectacular natural areas. It is one of the most popular swimming, snorkeling and picnicking areas on Oahu. The water is full of over 450 species of tropical fish. There are several hiking trails with pretty vistas. Some things to remember when you visit is feeding of the fish is not allowed, and be sure when in the water you do not stand on anything but sand.
Byodo-In Temple – is a $2.6 million replica of the 900-year old Byodo-In Temple that has been proclaimed a national treasure in Japan. This replica was dedicated in 1968, almost 100 years to the day after the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. The grounds around the Temple are beautifully landscaped, with the Temple in the middle of a Japanese garden planted with plum, pine, and bamboo trees. With the Pali soaring behind it, this is a very photogenic and peaceful part of Oahu to visit.
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