Are you planning a trip to Oahu, Hawaii and wondering where to stay? Well, you’re in luck because there are plenty of options beyond just Waikiki. In fact, this video highlights three main resort areas in Oahu: Ko Olina, North Shore’s Turtle Bay, and Waikiki. Each area has its own unique characteristics and appeal, so it’s important to find the right spot for you and your travel partners.

If you’re looking for a lively atmosphere with a wide selection of hotels, nightlife, shopping, and activities, Waikiki might be the perfect choice for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a quieter, more serene setting with great snorkeling spots, the North Shore could be a better fit. And if you have young kids or prefer a safe swimming experience, Ko Olina is known for its man-made lagoons and family-friendly resorts. With so many options, it’s possible to stay in multiple places during your trip. So, join Erica from The Hawaii Vacation Guide as she takes you through each area and helps you decide where to stay in Oahu.

Where to Stay in Oahu, Hawaii | Stay in the Best Resort Areas of Ko Olina, Waikiki,  North Shore

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Discover more about the Where to Stay in Oahu, Hawaii | Stay in the Best Resort Areas of Ko Olina, Waikiki,  North Shore.

Where to Stay in Oahu, Hawaii

Welcome to the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii! When planning your trip to this tropical paradise, one of the first things you’ll need to consider is where to stay. Oahu is filled with stunning resorts and accommodations, each offering its own unique experience. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the main resort areas in Oahu and help you decide which one is right for you.

Introduction to Oahu

Oahu is the third largest Hawaiian island and is known as “The Gathering Place.” It is not only the most populated island in the state but also a popular tourist destination. Oahu offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, vibrant culture, and modern amenities, making it an ideal place to stay for visitors from all over the world.

Overview of Oahu as a tourist destination

As a tourist destination, Oahu has something for everyone. From the bustling streets of Honolulu to the tranquil beaches of the North Shore, this island has a wide range of attractions and activities to suit any traveler’s interests. Whether you’re looking to relax on pristine beaches, take part in adrenaline-pumping water sports, immerse yourself in local culture, or indulge in world-class dining and shopping, Oahu has it all.

Main resort areas in Oahu

In Oahu, there are three main resort areas that offer different experiences to visitors: Ko Olina, Waikiki, and the North Shore’s Turtle Bay. Each area has its own unique charm and attractions, catering to different types of travelers.

The Three Main Resort Areas in Oahu

Ko Olina

Nestled on the leeward coast of Oahu, Ko Olina is a luxurious resort community that offers a peaceful and secluded atmosphere. This area is known for its beautiful lagoons, pristine beaches, and stunning ocean views. If you’re looking for a tranquil escape away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Ko Olina is an excellent choice.

Highlights of Ko Olina

The main highlight of Ko Olina is its world-class resorts and accommodations. From luxurious beachfront villas to upscale hotels, you’ll find a range of options to suit your needs. The Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, are two highly regarded options that offer top-notch amenities and impeccable service.

Pros and cons of staying in Ko Olina

One of the major advantages of staying in Ko Olina is its peaceful and serene environment. If you’re looking to unwind and relax in a luxurious setting, Ko Olina won’t disappoint you. However, it’s important to note that Ko Olina is relatively secluded, and you’ll need a car to explore other parts of the island. Additionally, some visitors may find the prices higher compared to other areas in Oahu.

Best resorts and accommodations in Ko Olina

In addition to the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina and Aulani, there are other exceptional resorts and accommodations to choose from in Ko Olina. The Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club, Beach Villas at Ko Olina, and Ko Olina Beach Villas Resort are all highly recommended options that offer stunning ocean views and exceptional amenities.

Things to do in Ko Olina

While Ko Olina is known for its relaxing beachside atmosphere, there are plenty of activities to enjoy during your stay. You can indulge in water sports such as snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, and kayaking in the calm lagoons. Golf enthusiasts will also be pleased to know that there is a championship golf course in the area. Additionally, Ko Olina is home to some excellent dining options, where you can savor the flavors of Hawaii.

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As one of the most famous resort areas in Oahu, Waikiki is a vibrant and energetic neighborhood located on the south shore of the island. Known for its iconic Waikiki Beach, this area offers a mix of beachfront high-rises, world-class shopping, and a lively nightlife scene.

Highlights of Waikiki

The main highlight of Waikiki is, of course, its stunning beach. With its golden sands and crystal-clear waters, Waikiki Beach is a popular spot for sunbathing, swimming, and surfing. Besides the beach, Waikiki is also known for its luxury shopping centers, such as the Royal Hawaiian Center and the Waikiki Beach Walk. Here, you’ll find a wide range of upscale stores and boutiques where you can shop for high-end fashion, jewelry, and souvenirs.

Pros and cons of staying in Waikiki

One of the obvious advantages of staying in Waikiki is its central location and easy accessibility. This area is well-connected to other parts of the island, and you can explore Oahu easily by using public transportation or renting a car. Additionally, Waikiki offers a vibrant nightlife scene with numerous bars, restaurants, and live entertainment options. However, due to its popularity, Waikiki can be crowded and bustling, which may not suit those looking for a quiet and peaceful retreat.

Best hotels and accommodations in Waikiki

Waikiki is home to an array of hotels and accommodations, catering to different budgets and preferences. The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, and the Halekulani Hotel are two iconic and highly regarded options that offer luxurious amenities and stunning views of the ocean. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel and the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani are worth considering.

Activities and attractions in Waikiki

In addition to relaxing on the beach and shopping, there are plenty of activities and attractions to keep you entertained in Waikiki. You can take surfing lessons, go on a catamaran cruise, or try your hand at paddleboarding. If you’re interested in history and culture, don’t miss the chance to visit the fascinating museums and landmarks in the area, such as the Bishop Museum and the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. And when it comes to dining, Waikiki boasts a diverse culinary scene, offering everything from traditional Hawaiian cuisine to international flavors.

Nightlife and dining options in Waikiki

When the sun goes down, Waikiki comes alive with a bustling nightlife scene. From vibrant bars with live music to trendy nightclubs, there are plenty of options for those looking to enjoy a night out on the town. Alongside the nightlife, Waikiki also offers a wide range of dining options to suit all tastes and budgets. Whether you’re craving fresh seafood, mouthwatering steaks, or exotic Hawaiian dishes, you’ll find a restaurant in Waikiki that caters to your culinary desires.

North Shore’s Turtle Bay

If you’re looking for a more laid-back and natural setting, the North Shore’s Turtle Bay is the perfect choice. Located on the northeastern tip of the island, this area is famous for its world-class surfing, pristine beaches, and breathtaking coastal landscapes.

Highlights of North Shore’s Turtle Bay

The main highlight of the North Shore’s Turtle Bay is its renowned surfing spots. If you’re an avid surfer or simply a spectator, you’ll be mesmerized by the impressive waves and the talent of the local surfers. Apart from surfing, Turtle Bay offers picturesque beaches where you can relax, swim, and snorkel in calm waters. This area is also known for its stunning scenic drives along the coastline, where you can take in the breathtaking beauty of the island.

Pros and cons of staying in North Shore’s Turtle Bay

One of the biggest advantages of staying in the North Shore’s Turtle Bay is its untouched natural beauty. If you’re a nature lover or prefer a more peaceful and secluded atmosphere, this area is a dream come true. The North Shore also offers a unique opportunity to experience local culture, with its charming small towns and food trucks serving up delicious local delicacies. However, it’s important to note that the North Shore is less developed compared to other areas in Oahu, and you’ll find fewer options for accommodations, dining, and entertainment.

Best resorts and accommodations in North Shore’s Turtle Bay

Turtle Bay Resort is the main accommodation option in the North Shore’s Turtle Bay, and it’s highly regarded for its stunning location and excellent facilities. With its direct access to the beach and breathtaking ocean views, this resort offers a peaceful and luxurious retreat. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, there are also vacation rentals and smaller hotels available in the area.

Outdoor activities and attractions in North Shore’s Turtle Bay

The North Shore’s Turtle Bay is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Besides surfing, you can explore the area’s beautiful hiking trails, take a horseback ride along the coast, or go on a thrilling helicopter tour to witness the island’s natural wonders from above. If you’re visiting during the winter months, don’t miss the chance to witness the awe-inspiring sight of massive waves at famous surf spots like Pipeline and Sunset Beach. And for those looking to relax, simply grab a towel, lie down on the beach, and soak in the sun while listening to the soothing sound of the waves.

Choosing the Right Place for Your Stay

With three distinct resort areas to choose from, it can be challenging to decide where to stay in Oahu. To make the decision easier, it’s important to consider several factors that will impact your overall experience.

Factors to consider when choosing where to stay

The first factor to consider is your personal preferences and travel needs. Are you looking for a tranquil and luxurious escape, a vibrant and bustling city atmosphere, or a laid-back and natural setting? Identifying your preferences will help narrow down your options and make the decision-making process easier.

Determining your travel needs and preferences

Think about what activities and attractions are on your must-do list. Do you want to be close to popular tourist spots, or are you more interested in exploring off-the-beaten-path locations? Consider your travel style and what kind of experience you want to have during your stay.

Considering the preferences of your travel partners

If you’re traveling with others, it’s essential to consider their preferences as well. Make sure to involve your travel partners in the decision-making process and take their opinions into account. Compromise is key to ensuring that everyone enjoys their time in Oahu.

Choosing between convenience and serenity

Another factor to consider is the level of convenience you desire. If easy access to transportation, nightlife, and dining options is important to you, staying in Waikiki may be the best choice. On the other hand, if you value peace and serenity and don’t mind a longer commute to other parts of the island, Ko Olina or the North Shore’s Turtle Bay may be more suitable for you.

Researching and reading reviews

Before making a final decision, it’s crucial to do thorough research and read reviews from other travelers. Take advantage of online resources and check out reputable websites to get a better understanding of each resort area, accommodations, and local attractions. Hearing from fellow travelers can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision that aligns with your expectations.

Exploring Multiple Areas in Oahu

While choosing one resort area to stay in is the most common option, there are benefits to exploring multiple areas during your trip to Oahu. By splitting your stay between different locations, you can experience the diversity that the island has to offer and make the most of your time.

Benefits of staying in multiple places during your trip

Staying in multiple areas allows you to immerse yourself in different atmospheres and take advantage of unique experiences. You can enjoy the vibrant city life and world-class shopping in Waikiki, relax and unwind in the peaceful ambiance of Ko Olina, and get closer to nature on the North Shore. This way, you can create a well-rounded itinerary that showcases the best of Oahu.

Planning your itinerary for a multi-location stay

To plan a multi-location stay, divide your time on the island based on your interests and preferences. Allocate a few days to each area, considering the activities and attractions you want to experience. Be mindful of transportation logistics and plan accordingly to minimize travel time between locations.

Transportation options for moving between areas

Getting around Oahu is relatively easy, and there are several transportation options available. Renting a car gives you the most flexibility and convenience, allowing you to explore the island at your own pace. Alternatively, public transportation, such as buses and shuttles, can also take you between different areas. Depending on your budget and preferences, you can choose the option that suits you best.

Maximizing your experience in Oahu

By exploring multiple areas in Oahu, you can maximize your experience and create lasting memories. This island is home to a variety of landscapes, from lush mountains to pristine beaches, and each region offers its own unique charm. Embrace the opportunity to see and do as much as possible, and you’ll leave Oahu with a deeper appreciation for its beauty and diversity.

Additional Resources for Trip Planning

To assist you further in planning your trip to Oahu, here are some additional resources that you may find helpful: Oahu is a comprehensive website that provides extensive information about Oahu. From travel tips to local insights, this resource will help you navigate your way around the island and plan your itinerary effectively.

Useful itineraries and tips for Oahu

Numerous websites and travel blogs offer useful itineraries and tips specifically tailored for Oahu. Take the time to browse through these resources to find insider recommendations and suggestions that will enhance your trip.

Directory for hotel and vacation rental reviews

To ensure you make the right choice when it comes to accommodations, utilize online directories that provide reviews and ratings for hotels and vacation rentals in Oahu. Hearing about the experiences of other travelers can help you make an informed decision and find the perfect place to stay.

Discount car rentals for Hawaii

If you’re planning on renting a car to explore the island, consider checking out websites that specialize in discount car rentals for Hawaii. By comparing prices and finding the best deals, you can save money and have more to spend on other aspects of your trip.


Choosing where to stay in Oahu is a crucial decision that can greatly impact your overall experience on the island. Whether you’re seeking luxury and relaxation, vibrant city life, or a more natural and laid-back setting, Oahu has a resort area that will cater to your preferences. By considering factors such as your personal interests, travel needs, and the preferences of your travel partners, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your expectations. Whether you choose to stay in one area or explore multiple, Oahu guarantees an unforgettable vacation filled with stunning landscapes, rich culture, and warm aloha spirit.

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