First-Timer’s Guide to Oahu - Marina Hawaii Vacations

First-Timer’s Guide to Oahu

Author 05-15-2024

When dreaming up your next vacation, do breathtaking sunsets, beautiful landscapes, and thrilling watersports come to mind? What about unique cuisine and an opportunity to learn about another culture? If your answer is yes, then the Hawaiian island of Oahu is the place for you. And, lucky enough, we’ve provided this first-timer’s guide to Oahu to help you plan an unforgettable trip.

Where is Oahu?

Located southeast of Kauai and northwest of Molokai, Oahu is the third-largest and most populated Hawaiian island. The shortest flight to Hawaii from the continental states is about 6 hours from California (further depending on what state you’re in). You can fly right into the state capitol of Honolulu, which draws in visitors and residents alike—two-thirds of Oahu’s population (953,207 people) live in or near the city.

Oahu has several notable landmarks. From the stunning South Shore to the famous Waikiki Beach, it is a world-renowned spot for surfers. Other well-known spots on Oahu include Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, and Pearl Harbor, which is now a museum dedicated to victims of the attacks in 1941.

What’s the Weather Like in Oahu?

Oahu has a temperate climate year-round. The island experiences two main seasons, summer and winter. They look a lot different from the seasons in the continental US, though! It never gets too hot or cold, with an average temperature of 69-83°F in the summer (May-October) and 65-78 °F in the winter (November-April). With these temperatures, any time is a good time to head to Oahu!

The island has some of the most stable weather patterns in Hawaii, meaning most days are typically dry and sunny. Honolulu and Waikiki combined only experience about 20-40 inches of rain annually, which is next to nothing. If you do run into some rain, it’ll likely pass pretty quickly—and then you’ll get to see a beautiful rainbow!

What Is There To Do On My Oahu Vacation?

mother paddle boarding with kids in Oahu

There are so many things to do in Oahu! From surfing and snorkeling to learning about history, here are some can’t-miss activities for your Oahu vacation:

Watch Surfers at North Shore

Many avid surfers consider the North Shore of Oahu the surfing capital of the world. The waves here can get massive, reaching heights of up to 50 feet in the winter! While no one should surf the North Shore unless they’re incredibly skilled and used to the conditions, it’s a great place to witness professionals master some of the biggest waves you’ve ever seen. If you’re a beginner, several local companies provide lessons in calmer South Shore waters where you can still enjoy the thrill.

Visit Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor is the famous site of Japan’s attack on the United States during World War II. Millions of visitors flock here every year to learn more about the history of the attacks and the community’s recovery. Take tours of famous ships, spend time in the visitors center, or browse the several museums on site. No matter how you spend it, a trip to Pearl Harbor is a powerful and educational experience, connecting you to a pivotal moment in world history.

Snorkel in Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay is the best place to snorkel in Hawaii. It’s the only dedicated snorkeling beach in Hawaii, with lifeguards, clean bathrooms, and access to calm, protected waters. You can take it upon yourself to find the best snorkeling spots or hire a guide to show you around. Be sure to make a reservation before you head over, though—locals can get in free, but non-residents must pay a fee and reserve their spot ahead of time.

Relax at Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is the perfect place to spend a couple of days unwinding from the stress of your daily life. With its golden sands and clear tropical waters, you can almost feel your worries melting away. Once you’ve gotten your relaxation in and are looking for a little more adventure, you could even rent a paddleboard or jet ski and explore the waters!

Get A Hike In At Diamond Head

If you want to get some exercise in on your Oahu vacation, you can trek over to Diamond Head Crater and visit the famous landmark known for its panoramic views of Hawaii. Remember to bring your sunscreen and get ready for a hike if you choose to head up here! The terrain is pretty steep and uneven, so it’s no walk in the park. The view is worth it, though, with visitors raving about the unmatched beauty you can see from the top summit.

Where to Eat in Oahu

fresh poke bowl

Your mouth is probably watering thinking of all of the amazing food Oahu has to offer, from fresh poke to ube delights. We have a list of our favorite restaurants close to our rentals linked here! But for a sneak peek at some must-try spots, you can head to Kai Coffee for delicious espressos, latés, or simple roasts. They also feature fresh fruit bowls, sandwiches, crepes, and more, all served with a smile and the spirit of Aloah in every cup. For unbeatable poke, head to Fresh Catch, and for the best frozen treat on the island, Shimazu Shave Ice has you covered. With unbeatable ingredients and exceptional dedication to deliciousness, your first-time visit to Oahu will leave your mouth watering for a return visit.

Where to Stay For Your Oahu Vacation

Now that you’ve read our first-timer’s guide to Oahu, you know the best spots to hit. With gorgeous year-round weather, incredible sights, and a million fun things to do, it’s safe to say Oahu is a great choice for your next vacation. Now you just need a place to stay! That’s where we come in. With zero hidden fees and beautiful oceanfront rentals in Oahu’s most sought-after areas, Marina Hawaii Vacations is excited to host you for your next stay. Our staff of on-island experts are here to help you have the best vacation possible. Browse our available vacation rentals now and book your Oahu getaway directly with Marina Hawaii Vacations today!