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It's not the biggest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, but Oahu is home to the majority of its population, earning it the nickname, "The Gathering Place." Gather among the many drawn to Oahu's breathtakingly beautiful beaches and long-dormant volcanic slopes, and you'll soon know why it's the perfect base for a vacation in America's own tropical paradise. Its dimensions—about 44 by 30 miles across—might seem diminutive by mainland standards, but there's certainly no shortage of things to do in Oahu. Unless of course you want to do nothing. In that case, Oahu Island hotels have beachfront bars and sparkling pools that invite you to do just that.
Oahu's most iconic spot is Waikiki Beach, its fine sands within steps of the bustling bars and high-end stores of downtown Honolulu. If you don't mind sharing your vicinity with the bikini and surf shorts-bedecked masses, soak up some sun there or take a surf lesson on its beginner-friendly break. In the distance is the landmark volcanic tuff of Diamond Head. Drive to its base and take a somewhat strenuous hike to the summit for an incredible panorama. Admire the Pacific's sapphire expanse, the high-rises of Honolulu, and the narrow ribbon of golden sand delineating the two. Oahu activities on the North Shore give you the chance to embrace high-thrills adventures, as this is the Mecca of big wave surfing and the place to go if you desire to swim with sharks. With the aid of a snorkel and a steel cage garrison, you'll find yourself nose-to-nose with the ocean's most feared beasts. Being on the receiving end of side-eye from a 12-foot shark risen from the depths is an unforgettable experience that will give you new respect for these incredible creatures. You'll be catching your breath long after you return to shore.
Use the Travelocity app to build your dream Oahu Island vacation packages and set your watch to island time. Then pack your flip flops, sarong, and sunglasses, because it's time to say aloha to Oahu.