For those who have been dreaming of carefree vacationing and exciting travel, there’s one location that gets you further across the map without having to leave the country. Situated approximately 2,500 miles off the California coast, the Islands of Hawaii have long been topping the bucket list for travelers around the world. With reasonable ticket prices and outstanding accommodation options, this summer or fall is a great time to travel to the Aloha State. Pack your favorite beach clothes, leave the stress of everyday life behind, and embrace the laid-back lifestyle of island living on a Hawaii vacation!
While each Hawaiian Island has its own pace of life and personality, the Island of Oahu is where you’ll find the largest variety of activity options. From the cosmopolitan shopping streets of Waikiki to the surf vibe of the North Shore, there’s something for every traveler to discover on Oahu. Beautiful white sand beaches, lush waterfalls, shopping, dining, and a wealth of activities all await for your Oahu summer or fall getaway!
Enjoy a Luxurious Stay in Paradise
There’s no need to stay in an overcrowded hotel room when vacationing in the Islands. Situated along the island’s sunny west coast, you’ll find beautiful resort areas such as Ko Olina that offer an excellent getaway location. Offering a mix of condos, townhouses, villas, and private homes, the Ko Olina community offers a wide range of accommodation options within a highly desirable setting. This property is situated along four ocean lagoons, where you’ll find crescent shaped white sand beaches curled up against tranquil aqua blue waters perfect for cooling off on a warm summer day. Protected from larger ocean waves by rock outcroppings, the lagoons are ideal for swimming, stand up paddle boarding, and enjoying postcard perfect days at the beach. Most of the Oahu vacation rentals here range from one to four bedrooms, offering an upscale tropical stay whether you’re traveling as a couple, family, or group. With other amenities onsite such as a golf course, a paved oceanfront path, swimming pools, hot tubs, and shopping and dining options, it’s easy to see why the Ko Olina community has quickly become a favorite!
Further up Oahu’s western coast, more alluring beaches await. If you’re in search of accommodations a bit further from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu, the town of Makaha offers accommodations right on the oceanfront. Just steps from the sand, our Makaha vacation rentals offer easy access to the beach vacation you’ve been dreaming of! Whether you opt for the luxury and amenities of Ko Olina or the sweet stay with an ocean view in Makaha, you’ll find the majority of our Oahu vacation rentals boast features such as an open concept floorplan with a full kitchen, making daily living in the islands that much easier. And of course, easy beach access is also a given! Stay and play in Oahu, Hawaii, and be sure to add some of these sights and activities to the itinerary for a memorable vacation!
Must-See Oahu Sights in Our Oahu Guide
Get the lay of the land with a bird’s eye view from the peak of Diamond Head State Monument. Originally part of Oahu’s coastal defense system, this historic site is still home to a Fire Control Station, bunkers, and a navigational lighthouse that dates back to 1917. Aside from the historic aspect, Diamond Head is well-loved for its hike that leads to spectacular views. The hike covers just 0.8 of a mile but is relatively steep with 560 feet of elevation gain. Switchbacks and stairs lead you to the peak, where you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with stunning views of the shoreline from Koko Head to Wai‘anae.
Oahu is the Hawaiian Island which offers the most attractions for history buffs. Pearl Harbor National Memorial is a top Oahu attraction that commemorates the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the entry of the United States into World War II. Set in the waters of Pearl Harbor, visitors can reach the Memorial via a quick boat trip. The USS Arizona Memorial Program is 45 minutes long and includes the US Navy provided boat shuttle to the memorial, time on the memorial, and a return trip back to the Visitor Center. Tickets are free but be sure to book these in advance if you plan to visit this popular site! Those who want to delve deeper into the country’s history will want to also visit the Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum, and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, all part of the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites.
Aside from its rich history, Oahu is also home to world class beaches that put it on the map as a beach destination, and are a must-see in any Oahu guide. From the bustling activity along Waikiki Beach to the remote shores of Yokohama Bay, you’ll find every stretch of sand has its own unique characteristics. Plan to do some beach hopping during your stay to discover some of the best Oahu beaches! North Shore beaches such as Waimea Bay Beach and Sunset Beach are known for their surf scene, while east coast beaches such as Kailua Beach Park and Lanikai Beach are known for their pristine aqua blue waters and postcard perfect views. When you want to relax alongside calm waters, the Ko Olina lagoons offer the perfect retreat. Whether you want to be in the midst of the oceanfront action or find a lone stretch of sand to enjoy in solitude, Oahu’s beaches offer it all!
Things to Do on Oahu
Along with world-class beaches come the perfect opportunity to try a new water sport. While there are certainly plenty of beaches where you can happily laze along the shoreline, adding in some water activities will add to the fun of your Oahu vacation and is a perfect way to cool off on a sunny Oahu summer or fall day. It’s probably no surprise that Oahu is home to an abundance of water activities, including surfing, boogie boarding, stand up paddle boarding, snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking, among others. Whether you prefer the slower pace of a morning snorkeling among tropical fish or the exciting thrill of catching your first wave on a longboard, you’ll find opportunities to do so along the beaches of Hawaii. The Ko Olina lagoons are great for swimming, snorkeling, and stand up paddle boarding.
Another favorite locale for snorkeling is Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. This pristine bay located along the southeastern corner of the island boasts a sand entry into the water, making it easier even for beginners. Once submerged in the crystal-clear waters, the massive reef can be explored closer to shore for beginners or further out for advanced snorkelers. Glide alongside large schools of tropical fish in this well-preserved natural environment! For something faster paced, consider booking a surf lesson. If you’ve ever imagined yourself giving surfing a try, Oahu is definitely the place to finally make it happen. Joining the crowds along the beaches of Waikiki offers the thrill of being in the center of all the action, while booking a surf lesson outside of town in locations such as Ko Olina allow for a less crowded experience. With plenty of seasoned instructors to choose from, even first-time surfers are standing up riding waves in their very first lesson!
To further explore the waters surrounding the Island of Oahu, book a boat excursion that will whisk you away from the shoreline. From thrilling Zodiac rides to leisurely sunset sails, you’ll find a variety of ways to enjoy the waters surrounding Oahu by boat. Take in the sights of the shoreline and surrounding islands as you cruise along, often with pods of dolphins jumping and playing alongside the vessel. Many boat excursions include activities such as snorkeling at an offshore location, onboard dining, or sunset viewing, adding to the options for customizing your day out on the water. Excursions can easily be booked from the Ko Olina Marina!
Along with exploring beautiful beaches and waterways, a trip to the islands isn’t complete without experiencing the Hawaiian culture. One place to do so that will have an appeal for the entire family is the Polynesian Cultural Center. Situated along Oahu’s North Shore, the Polynesian Cultural Center combines hands-on activities, music, dancing, and dining into one sensory filled experience. Set among 42 acres of beautiful tropical land, visitors can explore six different villages representing the island nations of Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Tahiti, and Tonga. Within each village, stay fully engaged by playing ancient games and completing daily life skills such as catching fish and paddling a canoe. The songs and dances of Pacific Islanders come alive and are a delight to visitors of all ages. End the evening by staying for a traditional luau, where you’ll feast on traditional foods of the islands. The Hā: Breath of Life show is also not to be missed. This show featuring Polynesian dance, music, and blazing fireknives tells a story, entertains, and gives an unparalleled window into the elements that make up the fascinating Polynesian culture.
Best Oahu Restaurants
From hidden local eateries to upscale restaurants on the oceanfront, Oahu offers a scope of options when it comes to dining. The Hawaiian Islands are known for their Pan-Asian and Asian Fusion cuisines, mixing and pairing tastes and dishes from many Asian cultures. Of course, you’ll also find bountiful fresh seafood options, sweet treats, and cuisines from around the world throughout Oahu’s dining scene! Be sure to try a couple of these Hawaii favorites during your stay.
For breakfast, try a fresh organic plate from Heavenly Island Lifestyle. This Waikiki restaurant prides themselves on serving up fresh plates made from locally grown produce, providing a true taste of the islands. Diners enjoy dishes that are not only a feast for the tastebuds but also for the eyes, with beautifully arranged fresh fruit platters garnished with flowers. For breakfast, try the fresh fruit bowl or a kalua pig eggs benedict, an early-morning spin on the Hawaii favorite, kalua pork.
Grab a late lunch at Tommy Bahama Restaurant, where you can snag a table on the rooftop. With dining tables and comfortable seating areas, the rooftop bar sports a tropical cosmopolitan vibe. A thick burger or an order of blackened fish tacos is just the thing to fuel the remainder of your beach or shopping day.
To celebrate a special occasion or simply enjoy a memorable evening out, book a table at Roy’s, a restaurant of the award-winning celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi. One of the founding members of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, the reputation of this restaurant precedes the experience. Feast on steak or fresh seafood and top it off with a chocolate souffle. The presentation and service at Roy’s are impeccable!
Summer & Fall Activities on Oahu
With temperatures remaining consistently warm throughout the summer and fall, both of these seasons are excellent times to plan your Hawaii getaway. While elsewhere the sunny days of summer fade away and the leaves begin to change colors as fall descends, bright days and swaying palms remain in the Hawaiian Islands!
The warm days of summer are perfect for participating in the many water activities that are so easily accessible in Hawaii. Long days by the pool or along the beachfront are a perfect way to spend a summer day, cooling off in the afternoon with Hawaii’s favorite treat – a refreshing scoop of shave ice. Watch fireworks over the ocean if you’re on the island during the 4th of July and enjoy an extra hour of daylight before catching a magnificent sunset over the ocean from the island’s west coast. Food, art, and wine festivals begin to pop up in the fall, in addition to harvest and Halloween festivities that can be found around the island in October. With temperatures at their warmest and plenty of sunny days, summer and fall are ideal seasons for visiting Hawaii!
Get started on making your Hawaii dreams come to fruition by booking your Oahu vacation rental today! Contact us for more information about how to get the most out of your summer or fall getaway to Hawaii.