South Shore, Oahu
Here is where you find Oahu’s central hub, Honolulu, home to one third of Hawaii’s residents! This is also where the seat of government for the state is located, and the downtown district is full of interesting historic and cultural sites as well. Of course this is also the location of the world’s best known, most recognized beach, Waikiki! The exciting nightlife, great shopping venues, beautiful beaches with their view of Diamond Head, and family attractions like the zoo and aquarium offer visitors a myriad of fun options! Like any big city, this is also an excellent place to see plays, visit art galleries, and tour museums such as the United States’ only royal palace, Iolani! South Oahu is the perfect combination of city and beach rolled into one!
Honolulu International Airport
As a gateway between East and West, this is one of the busiest airports in the world! Passengers and cargo arriving from all corners of the world converge on the island of Oahu to unload and disembark, yet, despite all the air traffic, things generally go smoothly! There are strict regulations however regarding plants and animals since Hawaii is free of many diseases carried by plants and animals in other parts of the world. For example, Hawaii is snake-free and rabies free!
Hawaii’s capitol city is as metropolitan, in many respects, as many mainland cities. It has the bustling night life, high rise buildings, a financial district, museums, and even a city zoo. The seat of the state government is also a city with a history that is unique to the United States since it used to be the site of the government of the Hawaiian Monarchy of Hawaii. Consequently, you will find, interspersed among the modern high rises, historic buildings such as Iolani, the United States only royal palace! Like many, it is also a city full of culture and diversity.
At the fringe of the high rise hotels lies one of the most recognized baeches in the world and a major visitor destination for Oahu, legendary Waikiki! With its beckoning beach, sparkling ocean waves, and iconic Diamond Head in the distance, it has drawn people to its shore since the days of Hawaii’s royalty. There is a vast array of ocean activities to indulge in during the days and evenings offer warm tropical breezes and bright city lights to entice you out to enjoy the nights.
Situated just up above Waikiki, Manoa is home to the 320 acre University of Hawaii campus. These slopes catch a lot more rain than down by Honolulu or Waikiki, creating lush landscapes, great hiking trails, and beautiful Manoa Falls! Many of Oahu’s residents enjoy living here, not to mention a large college student population.
You’ve seen it in books or on postcards, and there’s no mistaking it when you see it in person. Because Diamond Head is one of the classic landmarks of Oahu! What many may not know is that it was once called Leahi by the Hawaiian people, it was never a source of diamonds, it is a volcanic crater which scientists estimate last erupted over 100,000 years ago, and is a great place to hike up to for a panoramic view of Honolulu and Waikiki!
This scenic side of South Oahu is where some of the richest island residents live. Some homes are more like mansions or estates and they are gorgeous to view as you drive by! Many are situated on the hillsides on the back side of Diamond Head, so they can enjoy the ocean views, creating a stunning view of their own.
Just 15 minutes from Waikiki and 10 minutes from Hanauma bay, Hawaii Kai is a quiet suburb of the South Shore best known for its Championship Golf Course. It sits by Koko Head overlooking Maunalua Bay. This community, with its own marina and shopping malls, is primarily a relaxed residential community.