While most visitors to Oahu have heard of famed locations such as Honolulu, Waikiki, and Pearl Harbor, many find there is much more to discover upon arrival to the island. Offering so much more than just these well-known locales, Oahu surprises visitors at every turn. With geographic features that range from waterfalls to mountain spires and a community rich with history and culture, an exciting dynamic awaits on Oahu. Before taking flight, delve a little deeper into your vacation destination by learning these top things you may not know about Honolulu and Oahu!

Site of Hawaii’s Final Reigning Monarchy

Before Hawaii was overtaken, it was ruled by a Native Hawaiian Monarchy. The final reigning monarchy resided in the Iolani Palace, which is located in what is today Honolulu, Oahu. This National Historic Landmark was built in 1882 and has been carefully restored. This is the only Royal Palace in the United States, making it a unique site to visit. Today, visitors can embark on either a guided tour or self-led audio tour, complete with special gallery exhibits.

A Destination with Over 125 Beaches

While it’s no secret that Oahu is a top beach destination (this is a well-known fact about Oahu), many visitors’ knowledge of beaches ends with the well-known stretches of Waikiki and the beaches along North Shore, which have made a name for themselves in the surfing circuit. However, this small island is actually home to over 125 beaches. So, while you may be tempted to spend your days lounging along a pristine stretch of sand, you may want to add some beach hopping to the itinerary to discover some of Oahu’s best beaches!

Home to Monster Surfing Waves

Hawaii is well known as the birth place of surfing. Specifically on the Island of Oahu, the North Shore is a top destination for surfers from around the world when it’s being hit with its large winter swells. Until recent years when larger waves have been surfed off Portugal’s coast, Oahu was home to the largest wave ever surfed – an 85-foot monster taken on by Ken Bradshaw. This 1998 feat took place at the surf location known as Outer Log Cabins. While you’ll want to keep your distance from any such sizeable swells, there are also plenty of surf spots on Oahu that are ideal for beginner and intermediate surfers, as well as many options for surf lessons on Oahu.

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