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Oahu is the “main” Hawaiian island and is home to Hawaii’s only major city – the Hawaii State Capital of Honolulu (population 400,000). The island itself has 73% of Hawaii’a total population of 1.4 million. Oahu comes complete with rush hour on the freeways, shopping malls, skyscapers, and mass transit. But if you want a night life and never a dull moment, then make Oahu and Honolulu your first stop on any Hawaiian vacation.

But don’t think this is “Hawaii.” The other islands are not anything like the south shore of Oahu. And if you only have the time for Oahu, make sure you get out of “town” and head to the North Shore (surfing mecca) for a taste of the real flavor of Hawaiian life. The North Shore is still “country” and the locals have been fighting for decades to try and keep it that way. The windward (East) side of Oahu is also mostly unspoiled, and the views of the Koolau mountains are spectacular. So don’t get stuck in town, and if you have a car take a day and drive around the island.

If there is anyway you can manage, visit one of the neighbor islands – or plan another trip and skip Oahu altogether. Each island has its own unique personality, and if all you know is Oahu, you will not experience Hawaii in its fullness and diversity.


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