Should Oahu Be Part of Your Hawaii Vacation?

It happens. The old standby gets accused of being trite, boring, no longer fashionable.

Compared to the other islands, Oahu is still holding its own, but now it seems to be cool to downgrade it. Waikiki is too “touristy.” Honolulu is a big city now, with the inevitable traffic, industrialization and loss of the Aloha Spirit.

Okay. Maui has been called “the world’s greatest island.” It has the amazing Haleakala, the charm of Hana, the history of Lahaina, the lure of the Iou Needle and the resorts of Kaanapali.

Kauai has an abundance of natural wonders and great resorts. The Big Island has its volcanic action, enormous variety and even greater resorts. Molokai and Lanai have their intimacy and peace.

They’re all terrific. But never shortchange Oahu. Oahu is a big island, too, stretching way beyond Waikiki and Honolulu. And Waikiki and Honolulu embody most of the things you envision when you first consider Hawaii for a vacation.

Waikiki is where the action is. The entertainment is first-class. A lot of the acts have been at it for a quarter of a century; newer ones are laced with high tech and imagination. World-class performers appear in Waikiki or Honolulu regularly. The beaches in Waikiki are everything you’ve seen and read about. The shopping is top-drawer.

Honolulu is almost as historical as (and perhaps more interesting than) Boston or Philadelphia. Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial should not be missed if you’re going to come to Hawaii.

The outer areas — the North Shore, Windward Oahu, East Oahu and the emerging West Coast with its “Second City” of Kapolei are all worth your time.

Seasoned visitors to Hawaii would offer you a suggestion like this:

On your first visit, do Oahu. If you have time, then take in a neighbor island or two. On your next visit, do a day or two in Waikiki to see what’s new, then do the neighbor islands.

When you consider the entire picture, spending your entire vacation on a neighbor island can be restricting. Think of a smorgasbord and spending the entire evening at the salad bar. However much you might love salads, there’s a whole lot more for your table.

Posted by: Jamie Winpenny