Counting from the Big Island, O’ahu is the fifth of Hawaii’s eight major islands, located smack dab in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
It’s not the largest island, and it’s not the closest to the mainland. But it IS the most popular–– and populated–– island of them all. Why? O’ahu is home to Honolulu, the state capital. As you will learn on your O’ahu tour, Honolulu has been a port city for centuries. It’s the central hub for Hawaiian tourism, trade, fishing, and feasting.
What can you see on O’ahu?
I’m glad you asked! There’s so much to see on an O’ahu tour. Here are some of my favorite stops:
- Volcanic formations. Let’s go back in time… four million years. Back then, O’ahu was nothing more than two gigantic volcanoes. The magma spouted by these two volcanoes cooled off once it reached the surface. The resulting rock became the foundation for the island of O’ahu. Today, you can see the remnants of this explosive past: Pele’s Chair, China Walls, and Diamond Head Crater.
- Turtle Beach. Ever wanted to see a green sea turtle in real life? Turtles LOVE this spot on O’ahu, where they freely climb up to the beach to sun themselves and feed on kelp. It’s totally worth a trip to Hawaii just to see these gentle giants in their natural habitat.
- Waikiki Beach. It wouldn’t be a Hawaiian vacation without a little surfing action! You’ll see plenty of athletes tearing up the waves off the shore of O’ahu. The bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku, one of the world’s most influential surfers, is decorated with fresh leis every day. It’s like he’s welcoming you to share in the exciting and ancient culture of Hawaii.
How do I see it all?
You’re going to want the help of an O’ahu self-guided driving tour! This app will give you turn-by-turn directions following a single route that takes you past all the best destinations. Since the narration is activated by GPS, you can take as much time as you want before moving along to the next stop. There’s no better way to discover everything that O’ahu has to offer!
How big is the island of Oahu?
excerpt: The island of O’ahu is 597 square miles. Though it’s not the largest island, there’s still plenty to explore on an O’ahu tour!
The island of O’ahu is 597 square miles. That’s a lot of ground to cover on an O’ahu tour! But as big as O’ahu is, it’s not the largest island. The Big Island (Hawaii itself) is over 4000 square miles!
O’ahu may not be the largest island, but it DOES have the largest population. Two-thirds of all Hawaii residents live on O’ahu; the remaining one-third are split between all the rest of the islands!
Why do so many people live on O’ahu? It’s home to Hawaii’s capital city: Honolulu. Historically the city has been a bustling port: a central hub for commerce, tourism, and trade for all of Hawaii. Tons of famous people have been born and raised in Honolulu, including actress Bette Midler, musician Bruno Mars, and former president Barack Obama.
Did you know that O’ahu used to be much bigger? Well…. 4 million years ago, that is. O’ahu was formed by 2 volcanoes: Mount Waianae and Mount Koolau. The flowing lava from these massive mountains converged and cooled. The resulting land mass was 20 to 50% larger than O’ahu’s current surface area.
You can still see remnants of this volcanic activity today on an O’ahu tour: check out Pele’s Chair, a formation in the shape of a giant throne, and China Walls, a “wall” made out of molten rock. And of course, there’s the famous Diamond Head crater. This caldera is all that remains of a hundred-thousand-year-old explosion. There’s no more active volcanoes on O’ahu, so no need to look for cover!
To see everything packed within O’ahu’s borders, check out this O’ahu self-guided driving tour. From the top of the Diamond Head crater to the shore of Waikiki, you can see it all on this comprehensive route from your own vehicle.