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County: Honolulu

Oahu is in Honolulu County, in the Honolulu metro area.

Latitude: 21.433N
Longitude: 157.966W
Size: Third-largest island of Hawaii

Filming location for 1953 movie, "From Here to Eternity"

71% of Hawaii's population are estimated to live in Oahu

Local festivals include:

King Kamehameha Celebration - June 11, 2005 (Dates often change.)

Mayor: Mufi Hannemann

Oahu consists of two mountain ranges; the Koolau Range in the east and the Waianae Range in the west. The valley between these two mountain ranges consists of a fertile, rolling plain and support many sugar and pineapple plantations. A most notable landmark, is the 760-foot extinct volcanic crater, known as Diamond Head, located on the southeastern end of the island at the end of Waikiki.

Official Color: Golden Yellow
Island Flower: Puailima from the native Dodder Shrubs (Sida fallax) designated as the official flower.

Oahu -- Island Overview

The most populated of the Hawaiian islands, Oahu is home to approximately three-quarters of Hawaii’s million-plus residents. Oahu is the location of the state capital, Honolulu, a beautiful and modern city which is also the business and financial center of the state. Also to be found on Oahu are Waikiki Beach, arguably the world’s most famous beach, and The U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, where one of the most important military battles in world history took place.

Oahu, like all of the Hawaiian Islands, was formed by massive volcanoes over four million years ago. The volcanoes that formed Oahu are now dormant, but they left their signature in the form of the Koolau and Waianae mountain chains which run right down the middle and western parts of the island, respectively (if you want to see an active volcano, you will have to visit The "Big Island" of Hawaii). These mountains effectively shelter the southern and western (or leeward) sides of the island from the southwesterly trade winds that bring in rainy weather to the windward side of the island. Before the clouds can get to the leeward side of the island, they have to dump all of their precipitation on the windward side. This allows the leeward side of Oahu to be lush and tropical, and the southern side to be sunny, with a warm climate. Not surprisingly, Honolulu and Waikiki sprouted on the pleasant leeward side.

Don't Underestimate the island

The conventional wisdom about Honolulu and Waikiki is that you should avoid them – fly in if you have to and immediately fly to another island. We think that you will be missing a great experience if you do this since Oahu offers everything that you can find on the other islands, and then some. It has the ultimate in mega-beaches, Waikiki Beach, but it also has scores of secluded tropical beaches. It has a thriving major city, but many smaller villages and miles of beautiful tropical splendor are just a few minutes away. If nightlife is a top priority, then Oahu should not be missed since Honolulu and Waikiki have more offerings than the other islands combined.

Still skeptical? Try Oahu anyway, but hedge your bets by staying there only a few days and then jump to one (or more) of the other islands. We recommend that you stay on or near Waikiki beach because that will keep you near the nightlife and it is also where the best resorts are.

Tip for a cheaper stay

Very important: you do not need to stay on the beach to have access to it because all of Hawaii’s beaches, by law, are open to the public. We recommend you stay across the street from Waikiki Beach, which will save you hundreds of dollars (or more), and walk the extra 30 feet it will take you to get to the beach. The extra walk won’t kill you, you will save a lot of money, and you will not miss out on anything.

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