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Oahu Facts

If you only know a little about Hawaii, this is the island you have heard about.  Oahu is nicknamed the Gathering Place and is the site of many of
Waikiki From Diamond Head
Waikiki and Honolulu From Diamond Head
Hawaii's famous tourist attractions.  Honolulu, Waikiki, Diamond Head, and Pearl Harbor are located on Oahu and are familiar even to most people who have never traveled to Hawaii.  It is the third largest of the islands with a population of 873,000 in 1998, which is more than 75% of the state's population.  It is the hub of the state's economy, politics, and entertainment.  Towering skyscrapers dominate downtown Honolulu which is the nation's eleventh largest city. But the majority of the island is mountainous, largely undeveloped, and filled with spectacular scenery.  The island has lush greenery on the windward side and the North Shore contains some of most famous surfing beaches in the world.  

Despite the crowds, Oahu is a great place to visit.  You have more choices of things to see and do here than on the other islands.  Not only does it have the famous sites mentioned above, but many of the best activities, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife are here.  Waikiki's first resort hotel was named the Moana and opened in 1901.  It underwent significant renovation a few years ago and today is known as the Sheraton Moana Surfrider.  The Royal Hawaiian, still known as the "Pink Palace," opened in 1927.

Don't go to Oahu and spend all your time in Honolulu and Waikiki.  Even there you are never far away from a view of the ocean or mountains that can take your breath away.  But, you haven't really seen the island until you travel to the other side of the mountains.  Northeast trade winds blow most of the year so check out Windward Oahu, which is the east shore.  There you will find a lush tropical setting and great spots for canoeing, sailing, and windsurfing.  The coastline known as the North Shore boasts pristine beaches renowned for world-class surfing.  While North Shore beaches are often dangerous in winter with waves higher than 25 feet, there is often no surf in the summer and swimming and snorkeling are excellent.

The island is dominated by two mountain ranges.  One is the Koolau range which forms a spectacular backdrop to the city of Honolulu.  Commuters tunnel through the Koolau mountain range to the Windward Oahu bedroom communities of Kailua and Kaneohe.  The other mountain range is the Waianae along the west coast.  The west coast is more arid but also has some good beaches.


Check Out Facts About Other Islands Below

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Big Island
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