Officially known as "The Gathering Place," Oahu enjoys a long and well-traveled history as Hawaii's third-biggest island and major tourist destination. In fact, you could say that it lives up to its name and then some: More than five million people visit Oahu every year!
Before you become one of them, however, you should make sure you know what you're getting into.
Here are a few of our basic Oahu travel suggestions:
Pack lots of sunscreen. The sun doesn't kid around in Hawaii. It's not uncommon to walk around Hanauma or Waikiki and see people with umbrellas, not because it's raining, but because they want that added protection from UV rays.
You can't do Honolulu in a day. Hawaii's capital is big, busy and bursting with everything from cafes to shopping malls to street performances. There's simply no way to see it all in 24 hours, so plan your schedule accordingly.
The beaches tend to be crowded. You may enjoy that, of course, if you're looking to join a bonfire party or get a game of beach volleyball going. If you're a solitary type, however, or if you're traveling with kids, you may prefer Oahu's more out-of-the-way beaches.
Diversity is everywhere. Oahu has a sizable Japanese population, but they're not the first or last to make the island their home. You can expect everyone from Danish immigrants to Hawaiian natives when you take a stroll down the boardwalk.
Oahu is divided into sections. The "city side" is where you'll find civilization and commerce, but head east and you'll enjoy less-populated areas of nature and vegetation, and go to the North Shore and it's nothing but waves. If you have something specific in mind for your vacation, like surfing or rock climbing, you'll want to make sure to fly to the right area.
You can't leave without visiting Pearl Harbor. If you take to heart just one of these Oahu travel tips, make it this one. Pearl Harbor is an incredible piece of history, and its many museums and tours will give you a greater understanding of not just Hawaii, but all of WWII.
You'll probably recognize a lot of places. Oahu is a beautiful, thriving island, and as such many movies and TV shows have been filmed there. Don't be surprised if you're in Oahu and you suddenly recognize a beach from Pirates of the Caribbean or a street corner from Hawaii 5-0.