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Visiting the Hawaiian Island, Oahu

Oahu is more than just Waikiki and Honolulu

Where You Should Stay on Oahu

Being on the West Coast, the Hawaiian Islands are a popular destination for many of my clients and each island has its own uniqueness. Maui seems to be the top pick over Oahu, based on what they’ve heard from others. Many base their experience or opinions based on Waikiki, however, which is only a small area on the beautiful island of Oahu.

Hanauma Bay, OahuI love Hawaii and think Oahu is one of the best islands to visit with a family as there’s so much to see and do. Just like the other islands, everything is spread out and budgeting for a car rental is a must or you’ll be stuck in one area, probably Waikiki and this will likely not leave you with the same love for the island as I have. If you rely on the bus system or a tour, you’re going to miss out on a lot of what the island has to offer.

Let me help you find the perfect place on Oahu to enjoy your Hawaiian Island vacation.

Waikiki

what to see in HawaiiThere’s no way around it. This is a major city. But it’s on the beach.

Other than a beautiful view of the of the ocean and Diamond Head, it’s the same hustle and bustle you’ll find in any big city with hotels ranging from super cheap to hi-end luxury. Waikiki is great for weekend trips to experience the night life but not overly kid friendly after dark. If you opt out of the rental car, you can still experience the Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki Aquarium, US Army Museum, Atlantis Submarine Ride, stroll along the Waikiki Historic Trail to learn its history, take a tour of Pearl Harbour or shop at the multitude of shops on Waikiki Blvd and Ala Moana Center, all of which are your typical tourist attractions.

Ko Olina

About 40 minutes from Waikiki is the gated community of Ko Olina which sports a more beach resort atmosphere and is very laid back.

surf lessons at Aulani ResortKo Olina offers 3 luxury resorts - the outstanding Aulani a Disney Resort & Spa, JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa and Ko Olina Beach Villas. Pathways join white sand beach lagoons that are fantastic for younger  kids wanting to enjoy the ocean – restaurants of the resorts can be accessed via the pathways as well. Ko Olina also offers a championship golf course and a full-service marina where you can get on board for snorkeling, dolphin and whale watching, sunset cruises and even sport fishing. Just outside of Ko Olina there’s a water park close by and a large shopping center and restaurants. They’re close enough to taxi but to see anything else you’ll want a rental car.

North Shore & Windward Coast

surfing nirvana on the north coastThese 2 areas of the island really only offer vacation rentals or villas and a rental car is must. If you want to live like a local and just relax, these are the places for you. If you’re looking to surf some of the best waves in the world and just spend your days by the beach, you’ll want to be on the North Shore. By far my most favorite places on Oahu is the Windward Coast which offers calm turquoise water and white sand beaches. If relaxing gets tiring, you can try some stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking.

I just returned from a week of exploring Oahu with my family. If you’re curious what we did, visit me over at my blog, Kirsty Connolly Flight Center Associate.

Book any Hawaiian Island vacations (air/hotel/car) now until November 30th 2013 with Kirsty Connolly and receive $25 off per person for travel up to June 30th 2014.

Do you work with a travel agent to get insider tips before you travel? Tell us in the comments! Find us on Twitter or Facebook and let's start talking!

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