Almost three quarters of Hawaii’s population live on OAHU, which has monopolized the islands’ trade and tourism since European sailors realized that Honolulu offered the safest in-shore anchorage for thousands of miles. Well over half of all visitors to Hawaii arrive in Honolulu, and many remain for their entire vacation. Oahu effectively confines tourists to the tower-block enclave of Waikiki, just east of downtown Honolulu; there are few rooms anywhere else.

While over-development makes it hard to recommend Oahu over its neighbours, it can still give a real flavour of Hawaii. Oahu has some excellent beaches, with those on the North Shore a haven for surfers and campers, and the cliffs of the windward side are awesome.

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