By Caitlin Moore
If a Hawaiian vacation exists in your future, you won’t go wrong in randomly choosing an island to settle down on for your foray into a fantasyland of beaches, rainforests, and sunsets complemented by the caress of the trade winds and the gentle strum of ukuleles. Savvy travelers admit, however, that there’s something about Oahu that sets it apart from its siblings. Nicknamed “The Gathering Place,” this sumptuous island has enough charms, cultural draws and beauty to give it a slight edge over its temptingly gorgeous neighbors.
The center of Hawaii’s tourist industry, Waikiki, can be found on Oahu’s south shore. This area was a retreat for royalty in the 1800’s and is now the place to be for regular people looking for relief from the stresses of modern life, as well. Well-known beaches, plentiful activities, and historic sites make this a tourist’s mecca, so stop by for a peek if you’ve always wondered what all the fuss was about.
You may also have heard of Ala Moana, a district of Honolulu just next to Waikiki. Vast white sandy beaches and the largest open air shopping area in the world give this region its claim to fame, and a visit here will certainly give you some great photo ops and all the souvenirs you were hoping to bring home for those mainlanders unlucky enough to be left behind. Soak it all in so that you can report back with detailed descriptions; they’ll surely appreciate it.
If you’d like to stay away from the more well-worn paths, Oahu has many quieter areas that will offer a more authentic island experience with room for solitude and romance. The North Shore is famed for its beaches, and surfers should especially take note of the healthy waves that tend to be produced in the winter months. If you’re not a boarder, stroll the wide swaths of sand and sunbathe to your heart’s content. If you do happen to be a daredevil wave runner, prepare to face some of the best terrain you’ll ever see. The summer is a bit more peaceful, so grab some snorkel or diving gear and feel comfortable entering the friendly surf.
An admittedly popular tourist attraction and one that’s important to see is the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. Boat access to the memorial, which spans the length of the sunken ship that contains the remains of 1,102 sailors killed by Japanese bombers in 1941, and a visitor’s center will offer guidance to you and your traveling companions as you learn about this important historical event.
Another magnet for tourists that is deservedly popular is the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie in North Oahu. Seven different island cultures are represented in this living museum, including Samoa, Fiji, and Tahiti. The World Fire Knife Dance Competition takes place here every year, an Imax theatre can be found on the premises, and a lagoon is available for canoe rides unlike any you’ve taken before. Stay for the evening multicultural show and the festive luau for a full experience.
The Dole Pineapple Plantation, Kahuku Sugar Mill, and Historic Mission Houses will teach you more about the traditional Hawaiian ways, and water parks, nature preserves, and botanical gardens will complete your outdoor experience. Enjoy the lovely scenery, breath the fresh garden air, and keep your eyes open for chances to explore and appreciate this active, energetic, and friendly island.
In a place that sees five million visitors a year, you can bet that there are plenty of lodging options. However, to achieve true relaxation by having everything taken care of just so, consider renting a condo that will be filled to the brim with great amenities and conveniently located to all that you want to see. As opposed to a hotel, which may look the same as so many others, a one-of-a-kind property will add a little extra oomph to this trip. If you’re coming all the way, resist the urge to play it safe.
Planning early will give you the most options and best possibilities for finding good deals, so go online to pick out a gem from among the many Oahu Condo Rentals available and start allowing the anticipation to build. Oahu is definitely something to look forward to.
Visit CyberRentals.com if renting a condo on your next vacation sounds different and delightful.
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