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First Timer's Guide to Oahu

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Oahu has a little something for everyone — gorgeous beaches, breathtaking hikes, great shopping, and a killer food scene. You can absolutely go the luxury route with high end resorts, designer shops, and swanky dinners, but there’s also plenty of things to do for free and eat on the cheap.

Oahu is less expensive than Maui. It’s actually the cheapest of the Hawaiian islands to visit and with the most to do. But keep in mind that it’s also the most visited (aka crowded), especially in the Waikiki area.

Oahu’s not as sleepy or as quiet as Kauai. It’s the only island with a legit city and the most in the way of nightlife, but still endless beaches, waterfalls, and rainforests to explore. And in the Honolulu area, things stay open late, unlike some of the other islands where even the hotel bars are closed pretty early.

The food is unbeatable. Everything from cheap and delish spam musubi wrapped in seran wrap to $300 omakase meals prepared by world renowned sushi chefs. There are lots of inventive menus and quality hole-in-the-walls too.

Oahu is a perfect island to visit if it’s your first time to Hawaii, but it’s also an island you can come back to over and over again and still not see it all.

Here’s everything you need to know before visiting Oahu for the first time. Click on a topic below to explore more...


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