Oahu is the third largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago and aptly nicknamed "The Gathering Place," as it is home to the capital of Honolulu as well as more than 85% of the state's total population. With Honolulu being the only real metropolitan area in the islands, Oahu offers visitors access to a bustling nightlife, tons of shopping, cultural events and a wide variety of dining and lodging option for tourists.

WHAT TO DO

With most of the activity (and traffic) centering in Honolulu, guests will be amazed at the wide variety of things to do in this bustling tropical city. From people watching and relaxing on the beaches of Waikiki, to hitting the clubs at night, to taking surf lessons or going to a luau, the island's capital has lots to offer. For those looking for a more urban Hawaiian experience, Honolulu is the destination in Hawaii.

However, Oahu also offers options for those looking to hike, relax on secluded beaches, surf the giant waves that pound the North Shore, or visit pineapple fields. Oahu is the location of the popular tourist attraction, the Dole Pineapple Plantation, where visitors can explore the gardens, taste fresh pineapple, and find their way through the pineapple garden maze. Just 15 minutes from Waikiki there are also great hikes into the mountains. On the North Shore, where the biggest waves in the world pound the coastline, the Turtle Bay Hilton resort offers guests luxury away from the busy Waikiki strip.

The Polynesian Cultural Center on the windward coast of the island also offers a renowned luau and garden tours and visitor's can visit the site of Pearl Harbor. This area is also home to a popular white sand beach at Kailua, where you can relax and allow the Pacific to wash away all your worries.

GETTING THERE

Most flights to Hawaii land at Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu, so it is easy to find a cheap flight to Honolulu from the mainland. This makes it an easy destination for those looking for a non-stop flight from the mainland. Honolulu is also the main hub for Hawaiian Airlines, so when looking for a flight to Hawaii you won't have too much trouble finding something affordable.

If you need to get to the airport by car you can save both time and money on Honolulu airport parking by booking it and paying for it online. Or you can book the Honolulu airport shuttles in advance for a fast and cheap ride to the airport.

WHERE TO STAY

Because Honolulu is Hawaii's top tourist destination, you will have many hotels in Oahu to chose from. There are also always vacation rentals and even a few hostels to choose from if you want to save a few bucks.