Oahu is the Hawaiian island that has it all—untouched tropical landscapes as well as a stimulating urban vibe. You can explore the beaches and gentle waves of Kailua, or take in nightlife in buzzing Honolulu (the state's capital), home to a vibrant Chinatown and burgeoning arts scene. Life is still appealingly slow-paced on the northern and eastern shores, where razor-edged mountains descend to spectacular beaches. A thriving traditional culture, plus top-notch historic sites such as the royal Iolani Palace and Pearl Harbor, spice up the mix here as well.
- Pearl Harbor This historic memorial in Honolulu is a sobering, don't-miss sight.
- Waikiki Busy but beautiful, with a perfect beach for first-time surfers.
- Great Food Simple plate lunches, fresh sushi, creative modern Hawaiian cuisine.
- Polynesian Cultural Center The famous luau provides insight into island culture.
- Nightlife From upscale jazz bars to local hangouts, Honolulu comes alive after dark.
- North Shore Shave ice, big waves, pro surfers, and a slower pace add appeal here.