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Carol Flanigan
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Carol Flanigan

Oahu - The Heart of Hawaii

by Carol Flanigan last updated on 11/05/2008 Disclaimer

Often honeymoon couples only plan to spend one or two nights on the beautiful island of Oahu before moving on to one of the other Hawaiian islands. You can certainly see some of the popular sights of Oahu in a short time, but I think you miss the beauty and diversity of this island. Spending a week on Oahu can be a very affordable way to visit Hawaii.

Flying into Honolulu is about the same price as flying to some of the islands in the Caribbean and from Minneapolis it can be a non-stop or one stop flight.

Honolulu is a vibrant city filled with great shopping and nightlife, as well as Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head. You might want to choose a hotel on the beach or on the new Waikiki Beach Walk, just off Waikiki Beach. This revitalized area is full of shops, restaurants and trendy bars.

The rest of Oahu is an adventure to explore. Some of the highlights include:

  • Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, a state park with an amazing variety of fish.
  • Swim with the dolphins at Sea Life Park.
  • Enjoy a luau at Paradise Cove or at the Royal Hawaiian right in Honolulu.
  • See the island from under the water with a Submarine Tour, or over the water with an island helicopter ride.
  • Head up to the North Shore to watch amazing surfing at Sunset Beach, home of the Banzai Pipeline. Or take surfing lessons and have your own adventure in this surfer's paradise. Whether you ride it or watch it, you'll never be the same.
  • Climb to the top of Diamond Head crater and enjoy panoramic views of the leeward side of Oahu.
  • Travel back in time with a visit to Pearl Harbor or the Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the United State.
  • Get out of the car and see the island on horseback, ATV, mountain bike or by hiking.
  • The Polynesian Cultural Center includes seven Polynesian villages, a tropical canoe ride, two Imax movies, and a wonderful luau and night show. It's a full day experience.
  • Enjoy a round of golf and some time at the spa...why not, it's your honeymoon!

I think the best way to experience Oahu is to take advantage of the many hotels that offer a fourth night free. Spend four nights in Honolulu at one of the hotels right on Waikiki beach (or save money by staying just a block off the beach and splurge with an ocean view), and then spend four nights either on the North Shore or relaxing on the beach in Ko Olina. You could stay eight nights for the price of six and have two entirely different experiences on the same island.

So, remember, all of the islands of Hawaii are paradise, but Oahu has it all on one magical island.

This review appears on Oahu and Hawaii.