Discover The Heart Of Hawai‘i In O‘ahu
O‘ahu is an isle of spellbinding beauty and a kaleidoscope of vacation possibilities with sophisticated pleasures, laid back country charm, outdoor adventures, and authentic Hawaiian cultural experiences. With direct flights from New York’s JFK to Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines beginning in June, O‘ahu is more accessible than ever.
Easy to reach, a breeze to explore, and hard to leave, O‘ahu embraces you completely. As your jet circles over the island, the azure seas, emerald cliffs, and shimmering sands beckon. When you land, the golden sunshine and warm plumeria scented breezes make you smile. Arrive at your hotel and the warm aloha and leis draped across your shoulders are reminders that Hawaiian culture is a thriving part of everyday life here. It’s no wonder that O‘ahu is The Heart of Hawai‘i.
Town And Country Vibes
Vibrant Honolulu and Waikīkī, peaceful towns, soaring mountains, hidden valleys, and tropical rainforests serve up town and country experiences galore with appeal to all travelers.
Few moments compare to waking early and watching surfers catch the breaks at Waikīkī Beach. This world famous shore was the playground of Hawaiian royalty long before travelers came to her shores. Until the early 19th century, only ali‘i (royals) were permitted to surf these waters. Waikīkī’s warm rolling waves are ideal for surfing and stand up paddle– gentle enough for beginners and challenging enough for experts. Waikīkī is also the spot to paddle an outrigger canoe, a traditional vessel that ancient Hawaiians used for travel and fishing. Today, outrigger canoe racing is the state sport of Hawai‘i.
Spend an afternoon at Bishop Museum exploring Hawaiian history or marvel at Hawai‘i’s royal past at ‘Iolani Palace, built by King Kalākaua in the late 19th century when the archipelago was still a kingdom.
Venture to the Windward Coast for land and sea adventures. Driving out of Honolulu, stop at Nu‘uanu Pali Lookout, a mountain perch with panoramic views and great historical significance. It was here that King Kamehameha I and his warriors fought an epic battle in 1795 that united the Hawaiian Islands under his rule. Serene and sparkling Kailua Bay offers wonderful kayaking and snorkeling while a hike along the Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse trail provides incredible vistas and amazing whale watching from November through April.
Back in town, enjoy an outdoor yoga class under the banyan trees in Kapi‘olani Park and hike Diamond Head, the iconic landmark with mesmerizing views at the summit.
O‘ahu is a treasure trove for shoppers seeking gifts and mementoes. A stroll along Kalākaua Avenue or through Ala Moana Center, the world’s largest outdoor shopping center, reveals international luxury brands and island shops with Hawaiian made quilts, koa wood boxes, fashion, art, and jewelry
Don’t miss the wild beauty of the North Shore, one of the world’s top surfing locales and the site of Van’s Triple Crown of Surfing, the sport’s ultimate annual competition every November to December. In summer, the gentle surf is perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
Stop at beautiful Waimea Valley, one of O‘ahu ’s last partially intact ahupua‘a, an ancient mountain-to-sea land division where ancient Hawaiians lived in self-sustaining communities. Here you can hike through pristine forests to lovely waterfalls, visit botanical gardens, and immerse yourself in hula, lei making, and traditional Hawaiian games.
Grab an authentic Hawaiian plate lunch at one of the shrimp trucks lining the road near Kahuku and then explore the shops, galleries, and restaurants of Hale‘iwa.
When The Stars Come Out
What could be more quintessentially Hawaiian than relaxing at a Waikīkī Beach resort at sunset, sipping a cocktail and sampling pupus (Hawaiian appetizers) as hula dancers move to the sounds of the ‘ukulele, slack key guitar, and Hawaiian songs? Next up, discover why O‘ahu is one of the world’s leading culinary destinations. Highly acclaimed chefs cook with baby greens and organic grass-fed beef from island farms and ranches, incorporate fresh seafood from island fishermen and Honolulu Fish Auction, and infuse Hawaiian specialties with the cooking techniques and ingredients from Asia, the Pacific Rim, and Europe. Dining choices including upscale restaurants, casual eateries, and Mom and Pop spots.