Oahu: History, Culture, and Beauty

Written by Angela Brya.

There is no question that Oahu is the most developed island in the Hawaiian chain. Yet most of the development is contained on the southern coast, where Honolulu, the capital is located. If you want to be where the action is, Waikiki is a tourist haven. The vast majority of the island’s hotels (most of which are high-rises) are clustered in Waikiki. However, this neighborhood takes up only a small area of the island’s 608 square miles.

Oahu offers two of Hawaii’s most popular sights: the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, and the extinct Diamond Head Volcano. More than 2,000 Navy, Army and Marine personnel and civilians died in the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl harbor which thrust the United States into World War II. Most of the American casualties occurred when the USS Arizona was bombed. The sunken battleship became an aquatic grave for over 1,000 people.

You can enjoy a spectacular view of Waikiki beach from the top of Diamond Head crater. A well-defined, but rough trail leads to the top of this extinct volcano. It is about a 30 minute hike up the .7 mile path. The view of the coast is gorgeous and well worth the effort.

If you want to get away from the hustle of the city you could go to Hanauma Bay, near the southeastern tip. This is one of Oahu’s most beautiful settings. At the top of a hill, the view of the palm-lined, mountain-backed, C-shaped beach is breathtaking. You can see coral reefs through the transparent blue water. Because snorkeling is so good here, the beach remains packed all day. Another option may be to explore the Polynesian Cultural Center. The cultures of the seven tribes that came to Hawaii is displayed through musical performances, craft demonstrations, exhibits of artifacts, and historical mini-lectures. Drive to the north shore’s Sunset Beach to enjoy the beauty of 30 foot waves! You may even catch a glimpse of the brave surfers.

I have only named a few of the many wonderful things Oahu has to offer. Hawaii is definitely a tropical wonderland.

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