Each region on Oahu is very different and you will give you a slightly unique experience. In this blog post, I hope to help you figure out where to stay on Oahu and which region you will enjoy the most. I lived on Oahu for two years and sampled lots of hotels and have been all over the island. I’ve split the island up into five regions when considering where to stay on Oahu:

In each section, I will discuss what that region offers, the pro’s and con’s of that region and make some suggestions on the best hotels in that area.


To give you a quick overview of the different regions so you can skip to the region that might best suit you, I’ve put together an infographic below about the different regions.

where to stay on oahu



Waikiki is the hub of Oahu. Let’s start with Waikiki because it is the most popular place to stay on Oahu. The majority of the hotels are on this famous strip of beach. There are hundreds of restaurants, cafe’s, tour centers, transport options, and convenience stores. It has a great little surf break perfect or beginners. The water is warm, the cocktails are flowing and it is an all-around beach vibe.

  • Families: Waikiki is the number one choice for families. They are centrally located for all of the tours to different spots around the island. Kids have protected beaches to swim in without worrying about waves. There are several man-made reef-breaks, which act as saltwater swimming pools. For mom and dad, there are plenty of nightspots and relaxed bars throughout Waikiki. It is a safe neighborhood and it is also shopping heaven with lots of high-end retailers.
  • Couples: Honeymooners and couples have found the perfect getaway spot in Waikiki. Think of dining out and nice restaurants each night after a day of adventures each day. It is the perfect base to hit the beaches, adventure the island but still have the luxury of great accommodation, dining, and convenience on your doorstep. 
  • Older travelers: The older adventurers among us love Waikiki for a few reasons. It’s simple. Everything is on your doorstep. The tours pick you up and drop you off at your hotel lobby. There are quality restaurants in all directions and the famous Waikiki Beach is within walking distance. You are never far from a refreshing dip in your hotel pool, the ocean or an air-conditioner.


  • Hundreds of different accommodation options ranging from 5-star to hostels.
  • A huge array of dining options
  • Protected swimming areas with no big waves for kids and novice swimmers
  • Surf lessons and perfect small surf waves
  • Close to the popular Diamond Head Hike
  • All tours start and finish in Waikiki
  • Weather is always the best on the island in Waikiki
  • Shopping heaven
  • Outdoor gyms and running trails


  • Can get overwhelming with all the tourists
  • The beach can be busy during the high season
  • It can feel like a bit of a city beach compared to quieter island spots


  • Hanauma Bay Snorkeling tour
  • Para-sailing
  • Hike Diamond Hike Crater
  • Manoa Falls waterfall Hike
  • Pali Lookout Sunset Viewpoint
  • Sunset Sailing
  • Nightclubs and bars



Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Family): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach. Luxury rooms overlooking the beach, a private lagoon and a free fireworks and dance performance show. Hilton is easily the most recognizable hotel on the Island.

Why I recommend this hotel: It has its own private lagoon. While lots of people love the beach it is perfect for families. Kids can kayak, swim and snorkel with no worries. There are no currents, waves or sea creatures to worry about. The hotel is right on Waikiki Beach so don’t worry the beach is right there also. It is one of the high-end hotels and definitely not cheap but you get what you pay for with the Hilton. Every Friday night guests of the hotel are treated to a traditional Hawaiian dance performance before the Hilton puts on an epic fireworks show. It’s my favorite fireworks show in the world because you are so close to the fireworks you can feel the reverberations on the ground while you are sitting!

Click Here to check room prices and availability for the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort

Sheraton Waikiki (High-end): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach. The bar and nightclub at the Sheraton is a great place to relax after a long day of island adventures.

Why I recommend this hotel: The Sheraton is always exceptional no matter the location but imagine you are leaning over the edge of an infinity pool, the ocean is below you and you turn to your left and watch Diamond Head crater in the distance. That’s where you will be at the end of each day, having a Mai Tai cocktail in your infinity pool. Later on, in the evening Rumfire is a great bar venue, which is actually part of the Sheraton. It is open to the public and is one of the best high-end venues on Oahu. It has a small dance floor but is mostly standing and seating areas for drinks, chats and good times.

Click Here to check room prices and availability for the Sheraton Waikiki

The Modern Honolulu (Value): You’ve been wanting to have a luxury beach holiday but a little bit anxious about your budget? Well, not all 5-star hotels on Oahu cost a fortune, in fact, stay at The Modern Honolulu. For around $200 a night, you’ll get a chic, spacious, and clean rooms fitted with balconies that give you insane ocean views. It’s good value for money considering that you are staying in a luxury hotel. It’s in a great location, just walking distance to the shopping centers and a stone throw away from Waikiki beach. In each room, I find the Ukulele and three sarongs as decor inside each room cute making guests really feel the Aloha vibe. They have a hidden bar just behind the study area in the lobby which is way so cool and unique. What’s more, you’ll get to show your dance moves at the popular nightclub in Honolulu— yes! It’s at The Modern Honolulu. I love the food here better because they are using local ingredients and there are many healthy options. You’ll definitely not waste your money here!

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of The Modern Honolulu.

The Laylow Autograph Collection (Special Mention): The Laylow gets a special mention because I stayed in their luxury apartment for four days in January of 2018 while doing some filming with them. I just loved the vintage style of the place and I personally prefer more personal accommodations.

The Laylow is part of the Autograph Collection, which was created by the Marriott. The idea is to create a boutique style, luxury hotel encompassing a local flavor. What the Laylow has managed to do is create a luxury accommodation on par with a Marriott super hotel but with the feel of a smaller, one-off boutique. This place was so cool it was locals visiting the bar at night, not just the guests.

During our stay at the Laylow, we enjoyed all the facilities you would expect from accommodation produced by the Marriott. Spacious studio rooms with modern design, a large gym, a stunning pool, and a rooftop restaurant/bar. A daily, free shave ice stand and Ukelele lessons were several activities offered among many.

The Laylow Autograph Collection is ideal for the upmarket traveler, who wants to stay somewhere with more thought than a big chain but wants the luxury that big chain comes with. It’s the aloha vibes mixed with pure luxury.

Click Here to check room prices and availability for the Laylow Autograph Collection

Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location. Walking distance to Waikiki beach and a central location to base yourself for a week of adventures.

Why I recommend this hostel: Unfortunately Waikiki and Hawaii, in general, are not cheap. But they are still worth visiting. You can grab a dorm room for under $40 a night within walking distance to Waikiki surf beach. I get it, you have just come from Bali and you had a dorm room for $5 a night. This is Hawaii and there aren’t too many ways around it unless you camp, couch surf etc.

Having said that this location really is great. You are near a lot of attractions and can take public transport to a lot of great east coast beaches and hikes. It is the number one hostel in Waikiki and I’m sure you will meet other adventurers to go on hikes with!

Click Here to check room prices and availability for the Waikiki Beachside Hostel


Waikiki may be the hub of Oahu but Diamond Head is actually my favorite place to stay on Oahu. Waikiki is great, especially on your first visit to Oahu but it can get a little over the top for some people. A million different designer shops, tourists wandering everywhere and it all starts to feel like a mini Las Vegas at times. Some people love, some people hate it. However, Waikiki is just the perfect base for all the adventures. It is convenient. The compromise is to stay in Diamond Head. It is actually pretty much part of Waikiki. Down the eastern end of Waikiki is Diamond Head, a small region with lots of big parks, walking trails and outdoor gyms. You are within walking distance of the action in Waikiki for restaurants and the beach but also far enough away from the center of all the action that you can take a peaceful walk in the morning and avoid the heavy tourist traffic.

You will find that you can get hotel rooms for 30% less in Diamond Head than in central Waikiki even though they are only less than 800 yards or so apart. Inside knowledge.

  • Families: Diamond Head gives you all of the offerings we discussed in the Waikiki section. What you get is a few bonuses like huge parks for kids to play in. An outdoor gym for working out. Slightly quieter beaches perfect for kids but still enough food options and you are only ever a ten-minute walk from heading into the Waikiki madness.
  • Couples: If you are willing to walk 10 minutes to dinner instead of dropping straight down into the center of Waikiki you will be able to score a nice hotel with a pool and near the beach for up to 30% less. It’s just on the fringe of Waikiki but still a great base to hit the beaches, adventure the island but still have the luxury of great accommodation, dining, and convenience on your doorstep. I’ve organized several honeymoon and couple vacations near Diamond Head and Waikiki and they’ve always been stoked.


  • A little bit out of the craziness of Waikiki
  • Several huge parks and play areas
  • Outdoor gym right near the beach
  • Hundreds of different accommodation options ranging from 5-star to hostels.
  • A huge array of dining options
  • Protected swimming areas with no big waves for kids and novice swimmers
  • Surf lessons and perfect small surf waves
  • VERY close to the popular Diamond Head Hike
  • All tours start and finish in Waikiki, which is just a ten-minute walk
  • Weather is always the best on the island in Waikiki
  • Shopping heaven


  • You may have to walk 10-15 minutes to the center of Waikiki if there are specific things you want to visit or shop
  • The beach can be busy during the high season
  • It can feel like a bit of a city beach compared to quieter island spots


  • Hanamau Bay Snorkeling tour
  • Para-sailing
  • Hike Diamond Hike Crater
  • Manoa Falls waterfall Hike
  • Pali Lookout Sunset Viewpoint
  • Sunset Sailing
  • Nightclubs and bars
View from Diamond Head Crater


The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel (High End): The drawcard with this hotel is that there is a big park between you and Waikiki. You essentially have a private beach away from the masses but are still within walking distance for shopping and restaurants. If you prefer to be in the thick of the action this one isn’t for you but it’s great to be close by Waikiki but far enough away to enjoy some peace and quiet.

Why I recommend this hotel: For $300 a night you can get yourself a luxury getaway within walking distance of Waikiki but far enough away you will feel the tropical vacation! There is a big stretch of sand in between you and the nearest Waikiki hotel. In fact, most people in Waikiki will never venture near your private little beach so you can really just enjoy the sun and saltwater. I used to come to this beach when I lived on Oahu when I couldn’t be bothered dealing with the Waikiki crowds.

Click Here to check room prices and availability of The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel

The Lotus Honolulu Hotel (Location): The Lotus Honolulu Hotel is a prime location between the end of Diamond Head and Waikiki. I’d honestly call this the most desirable location in Honolulu. You are just a short walk away from Waikiki, have a beach right in front of you and a huge park behind you to explore, work out and enjoy. Diamond Head crater is the backdrop behind the park and a great viewpoint over the whole city. The hotel itself has a pristine interior and quite a modern design. Views from the hotel rooms can look at the incredible Diamond Head or the beach.

Click Here to check room prices and availability of The Lotus Honolulu Hotel


The North Shore is one of my favorite areas in the world. In the summer you have some of the most pristine beaches, snorkeling, turtles and those surfer town vibes. In the winter things really kick into full swing on the North Shore as the waves pick up and the area just becomes the ultimate surfer paradise with the Banzai Pipeline the main attraction. The best surfers from around the world come and stay on the North Shore and the vibe is just awesome.

It is a perfect region for families, couples and backpackers in the summer and in the winter it is more suited to surfers, surf enthusiasts, and backpackers. The waves in the winter are often too big for a family vacation if you are looking to build sandcastles and frolic in the waves. It can get big, 30+ feet isn’t the biggest. However, there are lots of other things to do on the North Shore in the winter if you don’t surf so it can still be a great spot for families but definitely something to consider.

  • Families: The North Shore has some of the best beaches on the island. Waimea Beach is my favorite beach in the entire world. In the summer it is a paradise with crystal clear water, snorkeling, sea caves, sea turtles and cliff jumping. In the winter it is home of big wave surfing and such an intense bay! The North Shore is famous for its food trucks and garlic shrimp. It is a very friendly vibe on the North Shore. Lots of people ride their bikes up and down the coast, there are no high-rise hotels and it is mostly houses and cottages that make up the buildings in the region. It is a snapshot of how Oahu used to be although it never quite will be like the old days.
  • Couples: There is an epic resort on the North Shore called Turtle Bay Resort. This resort is one of the largest on Oahu and is away from all the hype in Waikiki. It is for people truly looking for a relaxing island getaway. It is right on the water and you can surf, swim with turtles, do yoga and enjoy the restaurant right on the beach.
  • Surfers: If you are a surfer I shouldn’t need to explain the North Shore. In the winter all of the pros’s come and live on the North Shore for a reason. It is the ultimate spot for surfing and that vibe runs true throughout the whole region with laidback vibes all through the North Shore. There is a good budget accommodation option below.


  • Best surf in the world
  • Cool laidback vibes and much quieter than Waikiki
  • Great snorkeling and beaches during the summer
  • Food trucks and garlic shrimp are part of the experience
  • A few nice hikes in the area like the short Peace Hike


  • 1-hour drive to Waikiki
  • In the winter the beaches aren’t good for swimming a lot of the time as the waves are too big


  • Surf
  • Watch the Pipeline Pro in January
  • Explore the Peace Hike
  • Waterfalls and nature walks
  • Watch the sunset at Sunset Beach
  • Lots of sea turtles
  • Stand-up Paddleboard in the River
  • Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center

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Turtle Bay Resort (High End): Turtle Bay Resort is known to be the best luxury hotel on the North Shore. This resort is only 15 minutes from Banzai Pipeline Beach where you can see the epic seasonal surfing competition. But you don’t have to go far to experience some of the popular activities on the North Shore, Turtle Bay offers a lot on the property including horse-back riding, surfing lessons, scuba diving, snorkeling with turtles plus its laid-back and relaxed vibe will make you want to extend your stay. When it comes to dining, this resort does have plenty of choices from its signature restaurant (Pa’akai) to pool bar (The Point). You should also try their coconut milk and macadamia nut latte at the lobby lounge–they’re amazing! You’ll pay a bit more for food but expect to have the best holiday in life at Turtle Bay Resort! I can’t highly recommend this luxury resort on Oahu enough!

Why I recommend this hotel: It is the kind of place where you just get it all. It has the restaurant the activities and everything bundled into one. You guarantee yourself a relaxing holiday where everything just runs smoothly and you have a great island getaway. Activities run from the hotel include helicopter tours, snorkeling in the private lagoon, hot tub, horseback riding, hiking, and the resort even has its own surf school.

Turtle Bay Resort is the biggest hotel on the north shore of Oahu with 401 guest rooms and 42 beach cottages and ocean villas. Luxury ocean villas range from $479 to $900 for four guests. Standard rooms range from $250 to $470 per night.

This is the most luxurious hotel on the north shore of Oahu and the perfect private hideaway for your dream vacation getaway to Oahu.

Click Here to check room prices and availability for the Turtle Bay Resort.

Turtle Bay Resort

The Courtyard by Marriot North Shore (High End): The Courtyard on Oahu’s north shore boasts 142 rooms, a fitness center, a restaurant, and an outdoor pool.

Why I recommend this hotel: The lagoon-style pool is the center point of the hotel and a great spot to relax after a day of exploring the island. The hotel is incredibly new with a modern look and fresh amenities. This is your classic guarantee hotel. You know you want to stay on the North Shore and you don’t want the big Turtle Bay Resort experience. This is your next port of call. You still get all the luxury of a big hotel, a pool, and a restaurant but you also get to enjoy the vibe and beaches of the North Shore.

One of the main attractions to staying at the Courtyard Marriott on the north shore of Oahu is the close proximity to the Polynesian Cultural Center, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions on Oahu.

Click Here to check room prices and availability on booking.com

Backpackers Vacation Inn & Plantation Village (Budget)

Finding a place that is cheap is quite difficult on the famous North Shore because it doesn’t have many options like in Waikiki.  Backpackers Vacation Inn & Plantation is definitely the cheapest place to stay on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. What appeals to me is its value for money. It offers basic accommodation but the ambiance is awesome. The location is great, easy access to the beach, and there’s free use of snorkeling gear. I suggest staying for a few nights at a hostel in Waikiki and then basing up here at this hostel to explore the North Shore! Be warned this hostel gets booked out far in advance during peak season as it really is one of the only cheap accommodation options on the North Shore of Oahu.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Backpackers Vacation Inn & Plantation Village.


The West Side is equally as beautiful if not better than the North Shore of Oahu in terms of natural beauty. The water clarity out here is amazing and it is one of the best spots to snorkel with turtles. The surf can also get pretty good out west and there are a few epic hikes too. Most people day trip out west if they do visit although many people who come to Oahu probably never even head west. They are missing out.

Mostly only families stay near the west side because there are a couple of big family-style resorts out this way and not too much else.

  • Families: Two of the most popular family resorts on Oahu are on the west side. The Disney Aulani Resort and the Ko’olina Resort. Both are amazing, secluded resort vacation spots. There is this great Disney Aulani Resort Review by a dedicated Disney blogger, which goes into great detail about the resort.


  • Not busy like Waikiki
  • Great weather
  • Family style resorts
  • Near good snorkeling, surfing, and hiking


  • 30/40-minute drive to Waikiki
  • Not much atmosphere outside of the resort areas compared to Waikiki and North Shore


  • Hotel Activities
  • Snorkeling at Electric Beach
  • Makua Beach
  • Pink Pillbox Hike
  • Lots of sea turtles
  • Stand-up Paddleboard

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Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina (Tranquil): Another best luxury hotel in Hawaii is the Four Seasons, a three-year-old splendid resort set on Ko Olina Beach (leeward coast) on Oahu Island. Unlike any other 5-star hotels on Oahu, this resort is not so crowded and it also offers quite a few spacious rooms and suites with everything you need from comfy beds to built-in outlets on the bedside table. When it comes to giving extremely high standard quality rooms and service, no one can beat Four Seasons! But another highlight here is the beautiful man-made lagoons making it ideal for kids and older guests as it’s pretty safe from Oahu’s massive waves. Compared to Waikiki, the shops around Four Seasons are not so crowded because it’s not as touristy as Waikiki which is very convenient for shopaholics. There is a golf course, chic infinity pools for adults and kids, fancy restaurants and let’s not forget the full breakfast daily served for two. If true luxury is what you’re looking for, then Four Seasons Resort guarantees you that!

Click Here to check the best current rates and availability of Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina.

Disney Aulani Resort (High End): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like a theme park at times with just how many pools and activities are available. If you can afford it, this is the #1 place to stay for families on Oahu.

Why I recommend this hotel: Disney Aulani Resort combines luxury accommodation with family fun. A huge lazy river/tire tube lagoon is probably the highlight of the resort although the water slides and private beach aren’t too far behind.

The kids club and massage center are just among a few of the many activities included in your stay. Attend ukelele lessons, free fire-pit story-telling at night and more and more! Your kids will never be bored and the quality of entertainment and facilities is just beyond amazing.

Click Here to check room prices and availability for the Disney Aulani Resort


Ala Moana is down the western end of Waikiki. It is most well-known for having the largest outdoor shopping mall in America. Many tourists staying in Waikiki will come down to Ala Moana for at least one day to do some shopping. The mall literally has every shop you could imagine. Ala Moana also has a super chill beach without too many waves in close although there is a good break out the back. Ala Moana is within walking distance of the western end of Waikiki where you can find shops and restaurants although Ala Moana has many of its own restaurants. This is a good place to stay if you want to be central but want to avoid the tourist mecca of Waikiki.

  • A mix of travelers and families: Ala Moana is the chill zone. You are still close enough to everything but you are far removed from the crowds. You can almost fit in with the locals and ex-pats living on Oahu. Ala Moana beach park has tennis courts, a walking track, an outdoor gym and lots of places to eat and chill on the beach.


  • Not busy like Waikiki
  • Great weather
  • Ala Moana Beach isn’t crowded
  • The biggest outdoor shopping mall in America


  • 10-15 minute walk from Waikiki Center
  • Not much atmosphere compared to Waikiki and North Shore


  • Hanauma Bay Snorkeling tour
  • Deep-Sea fishing tours leave from Ala Moana port
  • Para-sailing
  • Running trail, outdoor gym, tennis courts, volleyball courts
  • Hike Diamond Hike Crater
  • Manoa Falls waterfall Hike
  • Pali Lookout Sunset Viewpoint
  • Sunset Sailing
  • Nightclubs and bars
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Prince Waikiki (High End): The Prince Waikiki is in a great spot. You are right next to the bridge that links Ala Moana and Waikiki and you are actually just on the Waikiki side although you are closer to Ala Moana center than Waikiki center. The harbor right below your hotel is a peaceful spot with all of the sailboats and it is actually one of the best sunset spots on the island. Right nearby you have Ala Moana beach park with all of the facilities like volleyball, tennis courts, walking track and outdoor gym. The Ala Moana outdoor mall is within walking distance so you can carry all of your bargains back to the hotel.

Click Here to check room prices and availability for the Prince Waikiki

Ala Moana Hotel (Value): With a rooftop pool and prime location for the beach and shopping, it is just pure vacation convenience at the Ala Moana Hotel.

Why I recommend this hotel: Outside of the buzz of Waikiki you can find a rhythm at Ala Moana Hotel with a rooftop pool fitness center and just a 5-minute walk to Ala Moana Beach Park. The mall is literally a 1-minute walk from your hotel room, so it is a shopping paradise.

Click Here here to check prices and availability for the Ala Moana Hotel


If you aren’t sure about the Stairway to Heaven, there are lots of other adventurous things to do that are equally as epic. Here are four of my favorites.

  • Oahu scenic helicopter flight: My number one recommendation is to do a heli-flight (doors off). You will be absolutely blown away when you see Oahu from the sky! Click to book your tour: Doors-Off Helicopter Flight Tour
  • North Shore Shark Cage Adventure: The biggest adrenaline rush you can have in Hawaii is beneath the surface with sharks! Click to book your tour: North Shore Shark Cage Experience
  • Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Half-Day Cruise: One of the best experiences I had on Oahu was swimming with the beautiful spinner dolphins. A once in a lifetime experience. Click to book your tour: Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Tour
  • Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran: One of my favorite memories of Hawaii is floating in the water with a Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle. On this tour that is exactly what you will do! Click to book your tour: Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran


I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!

My Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU – THE BUCKET LIST


A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU: WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?




Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU, HAWAII

The Best Hikes on Oahu: 10 BEST HIKES ON OAHU, HAWAII

Oahu Open Door Helicopter Review and Photos: AMAZING DOORS OFF HELICOPTER TOUR OF OAHU, HAWAII

Blog Comments

  1. David A Nicker MD

    Thank you for the detailed description of all the areas in Oahu. We are visiting Oahu for the first time for our 25 th wedding anniversary. We came to Hawaii for our honeymoon but stayed in Maui, Hawaii, and Kauai. We are in our 50s, like the outdoors, like to hike, bike ride, snorkel and fish. We also like good food and cocktails to enjoy the evening. We don’t need to be in the thick of things so we were looking to stay at The Kahala resort, what are your thoughts?

    1. Hey there David. Yeah I think that’s a good choice. I would download the Uber App and then if you ever feel like you want to get on down to Waikiki you can get into the thick of the action for a short ride. But you will have lots of lovely walking and less crowded beach area down that way. I used to live nearby and found it much more peaceful than the craziness of Waikiki central area.

  2. Thank you for the detailed descriptions of the neighborhoods and mentioning great hotel choices in each area. It’s overwhelming to figure this stuff out, especially with all the hotel options. Your article was one of the best ones I’ve read and its definitely going to help me with planning our trip. its much better than the top 10 and 20 hotel lists many sites put out with little detail about each or description of where they are. I also liked how you also wrote cons for each area!

  3. Where would you recommend for a girls trip? I am going with my best friend. We are planning on renting a car and taking a lot of day trips to the cool spots around the island. But as a central hub and to come back to the evenings and go out for drinks etc…would
    l you recommend Waikiki or North Shore?

    1. If you want chill vibes i suggest north shore or kailua. if you want to party a bit I suggest Waikiki. Either way if you have a car you won’t be far from either or. You will have fun at either but north shore is def a cool vibe. Waikiki is very convenient though.

  4. Hi, we are interested in going to Hawaii at Christmas 2020 and have a voucher for a 7 night stay at the Mantra Ala Moana. We are family of 4 with 2 teenage sons, would this area suit our family? I have always had my heart set on staying in waikiki so not sure if I should take the voucher for free accommodation or spend the money on Waikiki? Your suggestions, comments would be appreciated. Thank you so much!

  5. Great post! I’m looking to take my boyfriend in February for his birthday. He’s a big surfer (10 years of dedicated practice in Santa Cruz, CA), but I’m thinking the waves in North Shore might be TOO big. 😉 Anywhere else you’d recommend for some mid-size waves in February? I know he’ll want to avoid tourists and kooks, so probably no Waikiki, but open to other suggestions. Thanks a ton!


    Hi there,

    Thank you for your information.

    I am torn between the North and West side. We are keen walkers/hikers and also want to explore the sea life. We’re still young and like to go out for food and drinks etc but we would ideally like to be close to some great trails and sea life. What would you suggest?

  7. Aloha Jackson
    Thank you for all the info on your site, very helpful.
    I’m arriving to Oahu on October 8th, and a little torn where to stay. I am not looking for the craze of Waikiki, and would love to take surfing lessons. Would absolutely love to see the diamond head and climb it too. I am also going to be traveling solo. For this season, would you suggest the Diamond Head or North Shore? Thank you!

    1. Diamond Head would be good but definitely North Shore is the place to be. Can always catch bus down to Waikiki takes 1.5 -2 hours along the coast.

  8. Thank you for this article! We were struggling with which side of the island to stay on for our honeymoon, Diamond Head is a winner!

  9. dunno… if i wanted tips on staying at 4-seasons or disney resorts, I might miss the rest of this article. Not much value here… sigh.

    1. Can’t please everyone 🙂

      I’ve also written guides on the cheapest places to stay, best places on the north shore and more. check the site for those 🙂

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