Explore Oahu by Region

There is much talk, if not controversy, about how to split up O'ahu by region so that we can easily describe the island on a website such as this. Why the debate you ask? Well, Oahu, like all the Hawaiian islands, is part of a county politically divided into several districts, clockwise: Ko'olauloa, Ko'olaupoko, Kona, Ewa, Wai'anae, and Wai'alua. Quite honestly, to the modern-day traveler, these districts serve no purpose.

The remedy then is to find a way to divide the island into segments that are easy to recognize, describe, and access via the major roads of the island. This is where much of the debate comes from. Every "expert" has their own way of dissecting the island into pieces.

Our way is pretty simple, and the method we've followed online mirrors the format we've utilized in our physical guidebooks and eBooks too. Ultimately we've divided the island in a manner that helps us group attractions together so that they are easily accessible along the major routes of the island. This allows us to use our mile by mile directions to quickly and accurately describe each spot here on our website.

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Waikiki & Honolulu Region Guide

Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii and the most populous city in the state.  The name Honolulu means ‘sheltered bay’ in the Hawaiian language, and with its natural harbor, it has become a significant gateway into the United States, as well as a primary tourist attraction, a hub for international business and military defense. 

The city extends from Pearl Harbor in the west to Makapu’u Point on Oahu’s southeastern shore, encompassing the world-famous area of Waikiki.  

Waikiki is best known for its famous white sand beach - it is an international destination and one of the most frequented locations in all of Hawaii.  Over the centuries, Waikiki has been an area where people come to both play and relax.

East Oahu Region Guide

Oahu's East Shore, also known as Windward Oahu, is located 30 minutes from Waikiki and Honolulu and is well worth touring by car as the coastal drive is scenic and varied.  The region is largely made up of quiet, coastal neighborhoods and towns nestled between stunning 3000ft mountain ranges and the sea.

Bordered by the Ko'olau Range, the East Shore extends from Makapu'u Point and Lighthouse on the southeastern point of the island, all the way to Kahana Bay which adjoins the area known as the North Shore.

The windward East Oahu region is perfect for outdoor adventures such as swimming, hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling, with many beautiful beaches such as stunning Lanikai Beach, Waimanalo Beach Park, and Kalama Beach.

North Shore Oahu Region Guide

The North Shore of Oahu encompasses the 17-mile north-facing coastal area between Ka’ena Point in the west and eastward to Kahuku Point. Famous for its surfing, snorkeling, and of course the fifty-one beaches that stretch for more than 11 miles along this incredible expanse of Oahu coastline.

Gigantic 30-foot waves are prevalent in the winter months but calm down in the summer to allow for glorious diving and snorkeling conditions. The crowds certainly gather in the area's top beaches like Sunset Beach (one of the longest surf ride locations in the world), Banzai Pipeline (Ehukai Beach) and Waimea Beach (one of the original surfing beaches in the 50’s) to soak in the rays and watch daring surfers. 

Waianae Leeward Oahu Region Guide

The Waianae – often termed Leeward - Coast of Oahu is largely undiscovered by the majority of visitors to the island and is home to rural towns and one luxury resort area (Ko’olina).  The area north of Ko'olina is not well known and some parts of it are quite remote. 

This region is located on the coastal side of the Waianae mountain range and extends from Ko’olina in the south-west corner of Oahu, to the town of Waianae in the central coastal area and all the way north to Kaena Point on the north-west tip of the island. 

The Waianae region is everything that Waikiki is not – untamed and largely unknown.

Central Oahu Region Guide

The Central Oahu region encompasses the fertile valley in the heart of Oahu, between the Ko'olau Range on the east side of the island and the Waianae Mountains on the west side. 

This area is not as interesting as Honolulu, Waikiki, Windward East, or the North Shore, as it consists largely of residential areas and pineapple plantations. 

However there are definitely some sights to see and certainly, the most significant landmark in the area is historic Pearl Harbor in the south, near Pearl City

Recommended Oahu Tours

2024 Oahu Visitor Guides

Visiting Oahu soon? Be sure to grab your copy of one of our updated Oahu Visitor Guides

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