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The 4 Best Luaus In Oahu – [2021 Reviews]

Hawaii is justly famous for its luaus. While people in other states sometimes attempt to copy this Hawaiian custom, you cannot enjoy an authentic luau experience outside of the 50th State.

But not all luaus were created equal. Fortunately, our research has identified the top luaus in Oahu to save you time and ensure you enjoy your visit to Hawaii.

Not only will these luaus provide you with the experience of the traditional food, dancing, and songs of a traditional Hawaiian luau, but they will also enable you to learn about the culture, history, and crafts of the indigenous islanders.

Check out our in-depth reviews below.

Best Luaus In Oahu

 Oahu: Ka Moana Luau at Sea Life Park with Dinner & ShowOahu: Admission to Polynesian Cultural Center with DinnerOahu: Polynesian Cultural Center with Guide, Dinner, and Show
editors choice
Oahu: Ka Moana Luau at Sea Life Park with Dinner & ShowOahu: Admission to Polynesian Cultural Center with DinnerOahu: Polynesian Cultural Center w/ Guide, Dinner, and Show
Meeting Point:The Sea Life ParkPolynesian Cultural CenterPolynesian Cultural Center
Starting Times:5.30 PMAnytime between 11:00 AM & 9:30 PM12:00 PM
Duration:3.5 hoursAll day from 11:00 AMAll day from noon
Includes:Transport, lei greeting, entry to Sea Life Park, welcome mai tai, admission to Ka Moana Luau, & buffetAdmission to Polynesian Cultural Center, luau show, film show, canoe ride, cultural activities, & buffetLei greeting, admission to Polynesian Cultural Center, guide, luau show, film show, canoe ride, cultural activities, & buffet

Quick Answer: The 4 Best Rated Oahu Luaus

  1. Oahu: Ka Moana Luau at Sea Life Park with Dinner & Show
  2. Oahu: Admission to Polynesian Cultural Center with Dinner
  3. Oahu: Polynesian Cultural Center with Guide, Dinner, & Show
  4. Oahu: Polynesian Cultural Center with Ali’i Luau Package

Be sure to see our other Oahu tour reviews: Waikiki Surfing LessonsOahu Snorkel Tours, Oahu Helicopter Tours, Oahu Dinner & Sunset Cruises.

Oahu Luau Reviews

#1. Oahu: Ka Moana Luau at Sea Life Park with Dinner & Show

Oahu: Ka Moana Luau at Sea Life Park with Dinner & Show

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Meeting Point: The Sea Life Park
  • Starting Times: 5.30 PM
  • Duration: 3.5 hours
  • Includes: Transport from meeting point to the venue, lei greeting, entry to Sea Life Park, welcome mai tai, admission to Ka Moana Luau, and buffet dinner

This Oahu luau provides a fabulous introduction to Hawaiian traditions. It begins with a choice of cultural activities. You can get a temporary tattoo, learn how to hula, make your own lei, weave a coconut frond headband, or learn how to play the ukulele.

During your buffet dinner, you will enjoy the selection of traditional island and oriental dishes cooked by a professional local chef. Sample poi and fresh taro rolls. Consume fresh grilled mahi mahi with macadamia nut crème sauce or chicken yakitori with teriyakis sauce.

The best part of the meal is the fresh island vegetables and fruits. Tropical fruits eaten close to where they were harvested is a completely different experience to eating them after they’ve been transported on a ship and processed for stores. You won’t believe the taste explosion.

The highlight of your evening is the award-winning performance of traditional dances and songs expressing vibrant Polynesian and Hawaiian traditions. This show includes the famous Sword of Fire dance as it leads you through a series of cultural experiences like a visual tour of Polynesian history and culture.

Be warned that there is a good chance you will be dragged up onto the stage to join in with the dances and other activities. You won’t forget this memorable evening.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:



#2.Oahu: Admission to Polynesian Cultural Center with Dinner

Oahu: Admission to Polynesian Cultural Center with Dinner

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Meeting Point: Polynesian Cultural Center
  • Starting Times: Anytime between 11:00 AM & 9:30 PM
  • Duration: All day from 11:00 AM
  • Includes: Admission to Polynesian Cultural Center, luau show, a film show, a canoe ride, cultural activities, and buffet dinner

This is the best luau in Oahu for independently minded visitors who want to learn about Polynesian culture at their own pace. With a 3-day pass to visit the 6 “island villages” within the Polynesian Cultural Center, you can spend as long as you like in each village.

Each village represents a distinct Polynesian culture. You can learn about the different traditions of the indigenous peoples of Fiji, Tonga, Tahiti, Samoa, New Zealand, and Hawaii. This enables you to decide what most interests you and provides you with the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge about the customs and history of Polynesian peoples.

There are unique cultural activities in each village. You can learn how to dance like a Maori warrior, how to spin a fire knife like a Samoan, how to hula in Hawaii, how to get married in Tahiti, and how to throw a spear like a Tongan.

The Pageant of the Long Canoes teaches you about the importance of outrigger canoes. You can even enjoy a canoe ride yourself. And you learn about the Polynesian colonization of Hawaii in the IMAX theater by watching the featured film: Hawaiian Journey.

On the day of your ticket, you may sample authentic Polynesian and Asian dishes at the luau buffet. This delicious buffet includes entrees, sides, salads, and fruits.

Following this, you can watch the wonderful Breath of Life luau show. This traditional performance features symbolic stories told through the media of music, dance, and thrilling fire knives.

This is a fantastic, immersive cultural experience for anyone who wants to learn about Hawaiian life. You will gain a wealth of new knowledge and experiences.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:



#3. Oahu: Polynesian Cultural Center with Guide, Dinner, and Show

Oahu: Polynesian Cultural Center w/ Guide, Dinner, and Show

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Meeting Point: Polynesian Cultural Center
  • Starting Times: 12:00 PM
  • Duration: All day from noon
  • Includes: Lei greeting, admission to Polynesian Cultural Center, expert local guide, luau show, a film show, a canoe ride, cultural activities, and buffet dinner

This is the best Oahu luau if you prefer to benefit from the help of a professional guide. A local expert guides you through the main activities at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Your day will begin with a traditional lei greeting. Then your guide will show you around the 42-acre center.

The Polynesian Cultural Center is divided into 6 villages each highlighting the traditions, culture, and skills of a major Polynesian culture. Your guide will explain the differences and similarities between the indigenous peoples of Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand, Tahiti, Tonga, and Hawaii.

Your guide will explain the wedding traditions of Tahiti, the coconut harvesting techniques of Samoa, and the significance of hula in Hawaii. You will also be encouraged to participate in cultural activities, such as receiving a temporary Polynesian tattoo and seeking your spirituality inside a 6-story temple.

One of the many highlights of the day is the Huki water festival. This is a special canoe celebration that takes place on a breathtaking tropical lagoon. Here you will learn the importance of the outrigger canoe in Polynesian history and traditions.

Following this spectacular, you will have the opportunity to sample local dishes at the island-style buffet. This will include many examples of traditional luau entrees, salads, sides, and fruits. The salads and fruits will surprise you.

When you eat tropical fruits and vegetable in the continental US, they have been processed and transported and are often weeks old. The same fruits and vegetables fresh off the plant, the taste and texture are completely different and far superior.

Your evening ends with the main event — the HA:Breath of Life luau show. During this spectacular performance, you will witness amazing feats of skill. There will be thrilling fire knives, dancing, and traditional Polynesian sagas interpreted in dance and song.

At the end of this fantastic Oahu luau, you will feel steeped in Polynesian history and culture. This day will create the most vivid memories of your vacation in Hawaii.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:



#4. Oahu: Polynesian Cultural Center with Ali’i Luau Package

Oahu: Polynesian Cultural Center with Ali'i Luau Package

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Meeting Point: Polynesian Cultural Center
  • Starting Times: Anytime between 11:00 AM & 9:30 PM
  • Duration: All day from 11:00 AM
  • Includes: Lei greeting, admission to Polynesian Cultural Center, luau show, a film show, a canoe ride, cultural activities, a tram tour of the BYU-Hawaii campus, and Ali’i Luau buffet and dinner show

This is the best Oahu luau for guests who want an authentic luau experience. This luau features a live show while you eat your luau buffet.

The Ali’I Luau Buffet has been named “Hawaii’s Most Authentic Luau”. Enjoy pork from a traditionally roasted pig along with a broad offering of other authentic Polynesian dishes. But the most special element of this authentic luau is the live entertainment.

Listen to beautiful traditional Hawaiian music and watch a hula performance while you eat. The authentic dishes enable you to get a taste of the real Hawaii.

After you eat, you also get to watch the famous Ha: Breath of Life theatrical performance. This fantastic stage show features a range of dances including the flaming knife dance, traditional stories, and songs that take you on a journey across Polynesia and introduce you to the different distinct cultures spread across the South Pacific.

The highlight of this show is the dramatized version of the Mana and Lani saga. This is a famous traditional story about love and family, tragedy and triumph, birth and death. If you are interested in Hawaiian history, the film Hawaiian Journey shown at the IMAX theater is also a must.

This luau in Oahu also includes admission to the Polynesian Cultural Center. There you can visit the 6 villages that represent the distinctive cultures and traditions of Fiji, Hawaii, New Zealand, Samoa, Tahiti, and Tonga.

Within the center, you can try you hand at traditional Polynesian skills, such as playing a bamboo instrument, hula, preparing poi, weaving reeds, and playing ancient games. During the day, there is also a marvelous Canoe Pageant where you can watch representatives of each of the 6 Polynesian cultures dancing on their canoes.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:



Oahu Travel Guide

Although Hawaii has been a US State since 1959, it still feels like another country. Oahu is the most popular of the Hawaiian islands, hosting many of its iconic attractions.

Where else in the US can you visit not just one but two genuine royal palaces?

Whether you’re most fascinated by volcanic features like Diamond Head, the abundance of marine life in the surrounding ocean, or local traditions like lei greetings and luaus, you’ll find something amazing to see and do in Oahu.

Airports & Entry

For most visitors, the only practical means to get to Oahu is by air. There are no ferries from the continental US to Hawaii.

However, you can opt to join a cruise to Hawaii from Vancouver, San Francisco, or Los Angeles.

By Air

Hawaii’s main airport is Honolulu International Airport in Oahu, which is also known as Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

Most visitors to Hawaii arrive here, and the airport handles over 21 million passengers a year. By air, you can reach Oahu from almost anywhere in the world.

If you compare the price of flights on a ticket site like Skyscanner, you’ll find one-way flights from LA for as little as $232, from NYC for $367, and from London for $484.

As one of the 30 busiest airports in the US, Honolulu offers all the facilities you’d expect inside a large airport.

International flights land at Terminal 2, which is the main terminal sometimes referred to as the Overseas Terminal.

You’ll find most of the food outlets, stores, and other services in Terminal 2. All 3 terminals of the airport are linked by the Wiki-Wiki shuttle bus service.

You can reach central Honolulu or Waikiki from the airport by shuttle bus, public bus, taxi, or hire car. Some hotels offer a free shuttle bus service.

Shuttles are the easiest economical option, costing around $16 one way. The public buses are cheaper, but they’re slow and don’t allow luggage. Taxis usually charge between $40 and $45.

Cruises

Cruises from the continental US depart from Los Angeles and San Francisco, and Canadian cruises depart from Vancouver.

The shortest duration of such a tour is 11 days from Vancouver, but that would involve 5 days at sea and 5 in port.

A 14-day cruise from LA consists of 9 days at sea and 4 in port. If you want to reach Oahu by cruise liner, you’ll sacrifice half your vacation to just getting there.

But the biggest disadvantage of taking a cruise over flying is that a cruise will typically only spend one day in each port.

You won’t have enough time to adequately explore Oahu or any other Hawaiian island.

Traveling in the time of Covid

Like many other destinations worldwide, tours and visitor attractions in Oahu have adopted special procedures.

Wearing a mask in mandatory in many locations. You will be expected to supply your own mask and wear it when you enter public buildings.

Keep your distance from other visitors who are not in your family group or bubble. You will be expected to keep your distance inside minibuses and other vehicles and when seated in restaurants.

At the time of writing, the State of Hawaii welcomes visitors but requires pre-travel testing for Covid-19. You can obtain the most up-to-date information directly from the State of Hawaii Portal.

Polynesian Culture in Hawaii

One of the most fascinating aspects of any visit to Hawaii is the opportunity to immerse yourself in Polynesian traditions and culture. Because Hawaii was the last state to join the union and one of the last areas of America discovered by European explorers, it has retained much of its original language, traditions, and culture. Certainly more than any other state of the union.

These islands and their close neighbors to the south were amongst the last areas on Earth to become settled by humankind. The Hawaiian Archipelago was uninhabited until the 13th century CE, less than 800 years ago.

It is believed that Polynesian explorers came to Hawaii from the Marquesas Islands to the south. The relatively recent human colonization of the Marquesas Islands and the Hawaiian Islands from islands further south explains the relatively similar languages and cultures across Polynesia. The earliest settlers probably arrived in the outrigger boats commonly found across the South Pacific.

While you are in Hawaii, you can experience such local customs as a lei welcome, torch lighting at sunset, and a hula dance. And you should definitely sample the local island food and attend a luau.

General Planning Tips

Oahu is arguably the most interesting of the Hawaiian Islands to visit, boasting many of the top attractions in the state. Here are 5 tips to help you plan your visit.

Tip #1: If you love whales, go in winter

Every winter, humpback whales migrate from Alaska to the waters around Hawaii to mate and calve.

If you want to see whales breaching the surface, come to Oahu between December and April.

Between 10 and 12 thousand whales gather in the nearby ocean. You can often see them from the beaches, and they are known to circle small boats that approach their pods.

If you’re not interested in whales, the best time to visit Oahu is between September and November.

There are fewer crowds in the shoulder season, and accommodation prices can be cheaper. The fall isn’t as hot as summer but not as busy as winter.

Tip #2: Explore beyond Honolulu and Waikiki Beach

Many visitors to Oahu don’t travel far from their hotel in Honolulu, but many of the island’s more interesting attractions are further afield.

During your stay, make sure you explore some of the more unusual and remote attractions Oahu has to offer.

Tip #3: Book Oahu accommodation and tours in advance, especially during winter

Oahu is a popular destination, so accommodation and tours are sometimes fully booked well months ahead.

To ensure you get the room you want and tickets for the tours you’re interested in, book in advance.

Tip #4: Pack smart clothes and raincoats

Because Oahu has a tropical climate, you’ll spend a lot of time in shorts and T-shirts. However, occasional heavy rainstorms do occur, especially during the summer months.

For that reason, you might want to pack a light raincoat.

And, if you plan to attend any special events in the evenings, such as a traditional luau, or you want to visit a plush cocktail lounge for a romantic evening, then ensure you pack some more formal clothes for such occasions.

Tip #5: Buy traditional local craft souvenirs

You’ll see “authentic Hawaiian crafts” in gift shops around the island, but many of the carvings and traditional clothes are actually “made in China”.

However, there are several arts and crafts stores around the island that specialize in locally produced goods.

For example, check out Na Mea Hawaii, 1200 Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu.

Na Mea Hawaii is a store where you can buy books written by and about Hawaiian people, original art, crafts, and cultural products.

fruit market Honolulu oahu hawaii hotels world travel guides
A traditional fruit market in Honolulu

Restaurants & Eating Out

Oahu is an island where the indigenous Polynesian inhabitants boast an uninterrupted cultural history. This means it’s a great place to sample authentic Polynesian food.

But the vast numbers of immigrants who have settled here from Asia, Puerto Rico, and Mexico add to the rich cultural mix.

Oahu is also a great place to eat traditional Korean, Japanese, and Mexican dishes.

Seafood

Because it’s an island, you’ll find lots of seafood dishes in Oahu. Poke is a popular traditional delicacy. Poke is similar to sashimi but the fish is presented in chunks instead of slices.

Monchong is marinated and grilled, deep-water fish. And opakapaka is baked, grilled, or steamed crimson snapper.

If you want to sample traditional poke, check out the Highway Inn in Waipahu. This renowned, award-winning restaurant has served authentic Hawaiian food since 1947.

The Highway Inn also has branches in Kaka’ako and inside the Bishop Museum in Honolulu.

Luau

A popular Polynesian cooking technique is using an earth oven called an imu. Any dishes cooked this way are described as luau.

Luau parties are actually named after this kind of food because it is often served at Hawaiian parties.

A popular luau dish is laulau, which features fish, chicken, or pork wrapped in taro leaves.

These wraps are slow-cooked for hours until the meat grows tender. The resulting delicacy has a smoky taste.

For hand-wrapped laulau, again head over to the Highway Inn in Waipahu. While there, also check out the smoked meat loco moco with mushrooms over brown rice. Delicious!

Taro

In Oahu, taro is the staple food source. This versatile root crop is often found crushed down into poi, a steamed or baked paste.

Poi is thick and tastes a little sour because of the fermentation that occurs during preparation.

For the best hand-pounded poi, check out the Waiahole Poi Factory on the Kamehameha Highway north of Kahaluu.

Here you can not only eat delicious poi in their restaurant, but you can also attend Hawaiian traditional food demonstrations and tastings. You can also enjoy laulau here.

Asian Food

Honolulu Kitchen in Waipahu, despite its name, is a great place to taste traditional Asian dishes, such as Sichuan pork eggplant, furikake garlic chicken, and kung pao chicken.

Manapua (cha shao bao) are popular all over the island, and Honolulu Kitchen serves a broad variety from spicy, deep-fried Korean style to traditional steamed manapua.

If you enjoy Korean dishes, Sara’s Café (Jun Café) on Beretania Street in Honolulu is popular with the locals. It has a reputation for good-quality, affordable Korean meals.

But if it’s authentic sushi you desire, check out Sushi Sasabune on South King Street in Honolulu. It’s highly rated on both TripAdvisor and Google.

Desserts

Kulolo is a traditional pudding made from steamed taro, sugar, and coconut milk. You won’t be surprised to hear that you can taste it at the Highway Inn.

Breadfruit is often eaten as a dessert, served steamed, baked, deep-fried, or boiled.

You’ll also love Haupia, a delicious pudding made from coconuts. You can sample haupia, fresh apple bananas, pineapples, and kulolo at Haili’s Hawaiian Food in Honolulu.

Nightlife & Entertainment

Nightlife on Oahu is focused around Honolulu and Waikiki. Typically, the night doesn’t get started until sunset.

Bars

With so many tourists here ready to have a good time, Hawaii’s capital is blessed with lots of great bars.

Check out Buho Cantina, a swanky rooftop bar and Mexican restaurant in the Waikiki Shopping Plaza that features panoramic views of Waikiki.

It’s a great place to watch the sunset and start the night. Or if you’re looking for something more upscale, head over to the Halekulani Hotel.

Inside, you’ll find Lewers Lounge, where you can sip cocktails in a plush environment while listening to live jazz.

This is one of those places where they won’t let you in wearing flip-flops and T-shirts.

Nightclubs

If you’re looking for a lively nightclub where you can dance to live music and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, you’ll love The Republic.

This popular club is centrally located opposite the famous Ala Moana Shopping Center. They feature regular concerts and special events.

Nearby is the more upmarket The District. You must be 23 to get inside. They feature a broad dance floor, a VIP section, 3 bars, and live DJs.

Alternatively, check out Addiction Nightclub inside the Modern Honolulu Hotel. Addiction features a stunning light show, with 40,000 lights to light up your dance moves.

Luau and hula hoops

While you’re in Hawaii, it would be a shame not to experience some of the traditional evening entertainments.

You can enjoy a FREE traditional torch lighting, Hawaiian hula show, and blowing of the conch shell at around sunset on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Go to the Kuhio Beach Hula Mound near the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Hotel.

The show starts at 6 pm November through January, 6:30 pm February through October, and lasts for an hour.

If you want a fun-packed evening of laulau food, drinks, traditional songs, and epic stories, go to a traditional luau.

At a luau, you can experience a lei greeting and eat traditional cuisine cooked in an imu while watching indigenous performers perform traditional acts.

At the best luaus, you’ll see locals dressed in authentic Hawaiian clothing and performing Ha: Breath of Life, one of the most famous traditional epic sagas.

There might even be brave fire-knife dancers and fire walkers. Just don’t stand too close.

There are several venues where you can enjoy a luau, such as the Germaines Luau and the Paradise Cove Luau.

Getting Around

If you’re staying around Waikiki, many great attractions, bars, entertainment venues, and restaurants are within easy walking distance.

However, if you’re staying elsewhere on the island, or want to explore the island, you probably ought to hire a car.

Walking

The major urban area around Honolulu and Waikiki features pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. You’ll also want to explore the beaches in this area on foot.

When walking any great distance, remember to take a light raincoat. Rain showers are always a possibility, especially during summer.

Biking

Cycling is a great, eco-friendly way to cover longer distances. It’s faster than walking but still provides you with the freedom to stop wherever you want and explore.

Bicycles and mopeds are easy to hire around the island.

However, if you’re headed anywhere hilly, or you want to visit other towns, you must make sure everyone in your group is fit enough to go the distance.

Hotel shuttles

Many of the larger resorts and hotels provide shuttles to help you reach the beach and major attractions around the island. These are often complimentary.

However, some hotels charge for their shuttle services, and often those services are limited. Before you set off for the day, ensure you know what your hotel shuttle is going to cost and the timetable.

The Bus

The public bus service in Oahu is literally called The Bus.

There are mixed opinions about The Bus, with some travelers finding the service great for getting around the island, but others complaining about crowding and slow services.

The Bus does provide 93 routes around the island with an astounding 4,200 stops. You can go anywhere on The Bus!

You pay cash on the bus or purchase a bus pass. You can buy a 1-day pass on the bus for $5.50.

When traveling, keep an eye out for your destination. To stop The Bus, you must pull the cord in advance.

For information about ticket prices, concessions, maps, and schedules, visit The Bus website.

Waikiki also has a trolleybus service with stops along Waikiki Beach. Trolleybuses are great fun for short journeys in the immediate area but useless for really exploring the whole island.

Car hire

If you want the freedom to travel anywhere whenever you want, you can always hire a car. It’s a lot more expensive than purchasing a 1-day bus pass, but you will get places quicker.

You can easily hire a car at the airport, though some rental companies require drivers to be over 25.

However, note that parking in Honolulu and Waikiki is difficult.

Traffic all around the island gets congested during the busy winter months. And speed limits are lower than in the continental US and strictly enforced.

Tours

Because of the problems with parking, congestion, and navigation, you’ll find it easiest to explore the island on a tour where the tour operator provides the transport.

You won’t have the same flexibility as when you rent a car, but you’ll get where you need to go with less hassle.

Taxis and Uber

Taxis in Oahu can be expensive, and they’re difficult to find outside of the main urban area. Hailing taxis isn’t common practice in Hawaii.

However, Uber and Lyft can often offer more affordable solutions to your travel problems.

Honolulu beach oahu hawaii hotels world travel guides
View across Honolulu Beach

Accommodations

Most accommodations for tourists in Oahu are found in Waikiki. But you can also find a range of accommodations in Leeward Waianae, along North Shore, and Windward East.

Honolulu

Premier hotel brands, such as Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, and Sheraton, are found around Waikiki.

Business-class hotels are clustered around the downtown and airport areas of Honolulu.

Prince Waikiki is the top-rated hotel in Honolulu on TripAdvisor and is also highly rated on Booking.com and Google.

Prince Waikiki is a modern and stylish luxury hotel with an infinity pool, wall-to-ceiling windows, and a popular rooftop bar.

If you’re working to a tight budget, you can also find cheaper hotels in this area.

The Inn On The Park in Waikiki offers low rates and free parking, which is useful if you intend to rent a car.

And the Ambassador Hotel is also affordable, though it does have relatively low ratings on both Google and TripAdvisor.

Leeward Waianae

The Makana Valley area contains a luxury resort, championship golf course, and a few vacation rentals.

The Hawaiian Princess Resort is highly rated and offers great surfing conditions in a much quieter setting than Waikiki.

North Shore

This area mainly offers B&Bs and vacation homes, though there is a major resort at Turtle Bay.

The Turtle Bay Resort is situated in a stunning location on a peninsula overlooking the bay. If you love snorkeling and turtles, it’s a great place to stay.

Windward East

This is a residential area, and the accommodations in this area are mainly vacation homes.

Weather

The weather in Oahu doesn’t fluctuate much over the year. There are really only two seasons: winter and summer. Most of the rain falls during the summer.

And there is only around an hour’s difference in sunrise and sunset times between midsummer and midwinter.

Generally, the leeward (west) side of the island is drier than the windward (east) side. This is why the eastern coast is greener than the west.

The hurricane season is from June to November, though bad hurricanes are rare.

The coldest winter month is February, with an average daily high of 780F and a low of 630F. By May, temperatures have risen to an average high of 810F and low of 670F.

August is the hottest month of the summer, with an average high of 850F and a low of 710F. By November, the average high drops to 810F and the low to 680F.

Honolulu oahu hawaii hotels world travel guides
View across Waikiki and Diamond Head

Attractions

Oahu boasts many iconic attractions that make it the most visited of the Hawaiian Islands.

Royal Palaces

Honolulu boasts 2 authentic royal palaces!

The more sumptuous of the 2 is the Iolani Palace. It was built in 1882 for King Kalakaua and became the official residence of the Hawaiian Royal Family.

In recent years, the palace has been lovingly restored. Docent-led tours of the grand halls and opulent rooms are available.

Queen Emma Summer Palace (Hanaiakamalama) was built as a summer retreat in 1857.

This house is a museum filled with displays of the personal possessions of Queen Emma, her husband King Kamehameha, and their son Prince Albert Edward.

You can enjoy a self-guided or docent-guided tour of this royal residence.

Pearl Harbor

While you’re in Oahu, it’s only polite to pay your respects to the servicemen who lost their lives to defend your freedom here during WWII. The Arizona Memorial draws 1.8 million visitors each year.

The USS Missouri (WWII battleship) and USS Bowfin (WWII submarine) are permanently anchored in the harbor.

You can explore these nautical relics and learn about sailors’ lives during the war. You can also visit the Pacific Aviation Museum.

Diamond Head

You can’t not notice Diamond Head while you’re strolling along Waikiki Beach. The Diamond Head Trail is a great way to explore the volcanic cone that dominates the Honolulu skyline.

Although there are some steep sections, and it looks daunting, the hike to the summit is easier than it looks. It only takes between 40 to 60 minutes for the average hiker.

From the top, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Waikiki and the Pacific Ocean.

Waimea Falls

This waterfall at the back of the Waimea Valley is relatively easy to reach. The 15-feet waterfall is surrounded by botanical gardens, and you’re allowed to swim in its plunge pool.

The Waimea Falls trail is only ¾ miles long. Your whole family can follow the paved path that passes important archaeological sites to reach the waterfall.

And if your walk leaves you hungry, you can find the Na Mea Ono Snack Bar at the visitors center.

Waikiki Aquarium

Your whole family will love the Waikiki Aquarium. Inside you’ll find 3,500 species of marine life native to Hawaii, including crabs, jellyfish, sea horses, octopus, squid, sharks, and seals.

You’ll find the aquarium across from Kapiolani Park near San Souci Beach. It’s a great place to see all of Hawaii’s marine life in one place.

Polynesian Cultural Center

This is a great attraction for anyone fascinated by Hawaiian culture.

The center demonstrates traditional music, dances, food, and other traditions. But it’s not only limited to Hawaiian culture.

The center features 6 separate villages each representing a different region of the South Pacific. You can learn about all Polynesian cultures at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Robert Baker

Robert is a content writer and editor at World Guides to Travel where he shares his love for the great outdoors. He also writes in-depth travel blogs for other websites around the world. Robert is passionate about the environment and uses his writing to educate people about the advantages and importance of sustainable living. Robert enjoys creative writing. In 2009, his children’s novel Sally Hemings & the Good Associates won the Children’s Fiction section of the You Write On Book of the Year Award.

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