Map of oahu hawaii

Need a good map of Oahu, Hawaii or of Waikiki Beach? Here is an excellent tri-fold pocket-size map perfect for on the go that shows where all of the major attractions and hotels are located.

In this article I also detail the main features on each part of the island along with commute times and tips on how to get there.

Map of Oahu Hawaii

Video Overview

 

This map of Oahu, Hawaii video explains what is where on the island.

I go into explanations of where the highlights are, driving times and what to expect.

 


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Get a Map of Oahu Hawaii

map of oahu hawaii illustrated

I often get asked where can I get a great map of the island that's easy to take on the go with me and tells me what I want to know?

Behold this tri-fold, illustrated map which highlights where all of the major attractions and hotels are.

On one side is the whole island in big picture format.

There is also a close-up of Waikiki featuring the hotels and downtown Honolulu.

The names of the hotels are clearly listed and identified on the map via a grid format that allows you to see exactly where it is.

Additional Map Views
map of oahu hawaii waikiki honolulu detail map of oahu hawaii closeup map of oahu hawaii frontside
map of oahu hawaii thumbnail

 

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Waikiki

Waikiki Beach

Pictured Above: Waikiki Beach

 

Waikiki is the hotel hub of Honolulu.

It's where most of the major hotels are located as well as several vacation rentals.

This is a good place to stay as base camp from which to explore the rest of the island.

Another reason this is good place to stay is because transportation for tours and shuttles to the airport pick up here as well.

 

Pluses

  • Centrally located on the south shore
  • Major hotels located here
  • Lots of vacation rentals & budget options
  • Tours & shuttles pick up here
  • Easily walk to restaurants & shopping
  • Easily walk to the beach
  • Great people watching
  • High energy
  • Friday night fireworks on the beach in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village
  • Don't need a car. Maybe get one just 1-2 days for independent exploration
  • Easy to go for a run. I like to run. Go early & go over to the Ala Wai Canal & head toward Kapiolani Park or Diamond Head or Ala Wai Park.
  • Several activities are walking distance or a short commute w/ free transportation included or a short bus ride.

 

Minuses

  • Crowded. Reminds me of Manhattan or Las Vegas on the beach.

Picture lots of high rises packed in together, lots of people on the sidewalks & lots of buses, cars & taxis in the streets.

If you want a quiet, sparsely populated, hammock or a few chairs on the beach then this area is NOT for you.

Consider either Turtle Bay Resort or a vacation rental on the north shore or a vacation rental in the Kailua/Lanikai area instead. A hotel in Ko'Olina could work for you as well.

  • Parking is expensive & is 90% valet at the hotels it seems. What's expensive? $38-$50/day across the board in general it seems.
  • Parts of it are kind of seedy. For the most part it's safe but use common sense. Don't wander off on deserted side streets late at night by yourself.

Don't assume everyone is nice or has your best interests at heart just because you're in Hawaii and they're smiling at you.

  • There is a hustler aspect there-timeshare salespeople on the street, prostitutes who don't "look" like prostitutes at night. Offers for tours that seem too good to be true, etc. If in doubt talk to your hotel concierge & ask for their opinion.

 

WAIKIKI HOTEL REVIEWS & PRICES

 


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South Shore

Pearl Harbor Oahu

Pictured Above: The Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

 

Highlights

  • Hotel & vacation rental hub of Waikiki
  • City center of Honolulu is here
  • Historic Honolulu including Iolani Palace & King Kamehameha
  • Diamond Head
  • Pearl Harbor/Arizona Memorial
  • Easy to get around. Car is optional. Walker, bus & taxi friendly.

 

Minuses

  • Crowded. Lots of people, easy to feel like you're not on an island but rather in a busy city. High rises, noise & lots of construction.
  • Traffic-rush hour traffic is legendary & this side of the island is heavily populated.

 


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North Shore

Sunset Beach Surfer

Pictured Above: A surfer at Sunset Beach

 

Highlights/Pluses

  • Surfing mecca of the world
  • Miles of beaches
  • Laid-back beach & surfer lifestyle
  • Only one hotel-Turtle Bay Resort
  • Nice bike path along the famous stretch of surf breaks (Waimea, Pipeline & Sunset Beach)
  • Good food-shrimp trucks & other unique places like I detail here
  • Beautiful, ocean-front vacation rental homes

 

Minuses

  • Far from everything. 1 hour +/- to other activities not located on the north shore
  • No nightlife-if you want "action" like clubs, places to go see & be seen or someplace to wear a beautiful outfit this area is not for you. Tank tops, shorts & slippahs rule.
  • Everything closes early. 9:00-10:00 pm
  • You absolutely need a car
  • If visiting other than summer forget about rinsing off in the ocean or snorkeling. The shorebreak will probably be too treacherous. Dangerous ocean conditions in the winter.

Talk to the lifeguards-they might be able to tell you where you can go or keep an eye on you but don't plan on having that option.


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Windward Coast/East side

Kahana Valley Oahu

Pictured Above: Kahana Valley just north of Kaaawa (the road curves along here!)

 

Highlights/Pluses

  • Very, very green-you will truly feel like you are on an island over here
  • Pali Lookout
  • Ko'Olau Mountains framing the coastline
  • Beautiful, windy coastal road that's great for driving
  • Kualoa Ranch
  • Chinaman's Hat
  • Local, old-Hawaiian style houses-beautiful
  • Small, sleepy island feel

 

Minuses

  • More prone to rain-all of that lush beauty needs water
  • Traffic can be bad especially on the weekend. 2 lane road for the most part
  • Far- 60-90 minutes if staying farther north such as Punaluu or Hauula but only about 30/35 minutes to Kaneohe & MCBH.

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Kailua, Lanikai & Waimanalo

Lanikai Beach Oahu Hawaii

Pictured Above: The Mokulua Islands off the coast of Lanikai

 

Highlights/Pluses

  • Beautiful, windy coastal road that's great for driving
  • Hanauma Bay
  • Sea Life Park
  • Halona Blow Hole
  • Waimanalo Beach & Bellows Beach
  • Beautiful, white, sandy beaches. 1.5 miles in Kailua alone
  • Bellows (for military) & Waimanalo are the least crowded beaches except for weekends
  • No hotels, vacation rentals only
  • Nice mix of restaurants & theme-based shopping (Kailua). There's a Whole Foods, Target & places to grab a burger, eat breakfast, dinner, etc
  • View of the Mokulua islands
  • Hugged by the Ko'Olau Mountain range
  • Nice cool on shore breezes usually
  • Will feel like you're on an island
  • Not real far away-only about 30-35 minutes to Honolulu
  • Small beach town feel
  • Good place for kayaking or windsurfing

 

Minuses

  • Has been getting more crowded
  • Has been getting more expensive
  • Not many nighttime things to do. For example you can go drink wine at Whole Foods & hang outside in their outdoor seating which is pretty nice. Most things will close early at 9 or10:00.

 

VACATION RENTALS IN KAILUA/LANIKAI

 


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Leeward

Dole Pineapple Plantation

I'd love suggestions to make this section better. If you have any please share!

Highlights/Pluses

  • Dole Pineapple Plantation

 

Minuses

  • Honestly there's not much to see or do here from a tourist's perspective. It's mostly a drive-through area.
  • You drive through it to the north shore or if you're stationed at Schoffield Barracks (army base). Lots of locals live here and then commute to Honolulu for work.

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Ko'Olina

KoOlina Oahu Aerial

Highlights/Pluses

  • Great sunsets
  • Has lagoons for protected inlet swimming
  • Feels like a resort area & like you're actually vacationing on an island. Lots of land around your hotel.
  • Practical amenities such as grocery stores, chain restaurants & a movies theater are a short drive away in Kapolei
  • Great base camp to go on a snorkel/dolphin cruise
  • Paradise Cove luau & Wet n Wild are nearby
  • Not crowded
  • Golf course right there
  • Sidewalks to go running or push a baby stroller
  • Family friendly
  • Good place for those who to want chill more than do things. North shore & Kailua are good for that also.

 

Minuses

  • Far from everything-at least an hour
  • Your resort at Ko'Olina is your world. Other restaurants and shopping outside of your hotel are not within walking distance
  • You need a car to do anything outside that area
  • Traffic will be horrendous if you don't plan your exit & entry times carefully-as in 1.5-2 hours

 

KO'OLINA HOTEL REVIEWS & PRICES

 


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West Side

Yokohama Kaena Point West Side

Pictured Above: Yokohama Beach & the road leading to the Kaena Point Hike

 

Highlights/Pluses

  • Not as commercial
  • Not as busy
  • Actually has Hawaiians
  • More authentic feel/vibe of local life
  • Yokohama beach at the very end is expansive and beautiful-check-in w/ the lifeguard 1st for water conditions (strong rips, etc may be present)
  • Kaena Pt at the end offers great hiking
  • You can get off the beaten path

 

Minuses

  • Depends on your point of view and what you're looking for honestly. If you want more of what you envisioned in the glossy print ads of Hawaii with slick resorts, beach cabanas & upscale vacation rentals then you will probably not like the west side. It's not pretty in that way.
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  • If you want to get off the beaten path, have an adventure & an open mind to seeing how many people truly live and work here then you may be pleasantly surprised. I personally think that it's a diamond in the rough and hope that it never becomes like other parts.
  •  

  • Have an open mind, a good attitude, a humbleness and respect about you and I think that you may just find out how friendly and welcoming people can be towards you in return.
  • Even just driving through from Ko'Olina to Yokohama while stopping at places like Pokai Bay, Makaha and a little hole in the restaurant to get a "plate lunch" can be fun. People watch, smile with your eyes and enjoy!

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Average Commute Times

*These are estimates only and LARGELY depend on the time of day that you're traveling. If you can avoid peak travel times into and out of Honolulu(6:30-8:30am & 3:15-5:30pm).

**For the north shore during a rumored big swell or popular contest like the Pipeline Masters the times escalate significantly.

If the Eddie might happen good luck getting up there at all. Many people will go up the day before & spend the night.

 

Waikiki to...

Diamond Head 15 minutes

 

Taking H1 WEST

The airport 25-35 minutes

Pearl Harbor (& Hickam) 20-30 minutes

Ko'Olina, Paradise Cove Luau, Disney 60 minutes, 90 minutes after 3:15 pm

Waianae 90 minutes (after 3:15 pm 2 hrs+)

 

Taking H1 West to H2 North

Schofield Barracks 40-45 minutes

Dole Pineapple Plantation 45 minutes

North Shore 60-75 minutes (depending where on the north shore)

Haleiwa 60 minutes

Pipeline/Sunset Beach 60-75 minutes

 

Taking H1 west to Pali, Likelike or H3 & then to Kamehameha North

(Going East Basically)

Polynesian Cultural Center 60-75 minutes

Kaneohe Marine Corps Base (just stay on H3-it ends at the base)

Kualoa Ranch 45 minutes

Kailua and Lanikai (just stay on the Pali-it ends in Kailua) 35 minutes (add 10-15 minutes for Lanikai)

 

Taking H1 east

Hanauma Bay 30-40 minutes

Sea Life Park 45 minutes


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Activity Locations

Luau Hilton Hawaiian Village Oahu Dancer

Pictured Above: Starlight Luau at The Hilton Hawaiian Village

 

The list below is by no means comprehensive but is only meant to give you an idea of where some of the popular activities and tourist attractions are located.

North Shore

Dole (almost north shore-15 minutes away)
Haleiwa
Turtle Beach
Waimea Bay
Waimea Valley
Shark's Cove (for snorkeling)
Pipeline
Sunset Beach
Shrimp Trucks
Polynesian Cultural Center (almost-about 10-15 minutes away)
Shark Cage Diving
Skydiving


South Shore/Honolulu

Pearl Harbor
Diamond Head
Hanauma Bay (technically-on the border of the east side kind of)
Historic Honolulu (includes Iolani Palace & the King Kamehameha statue)
Bishop Museum
Sunset, Catamaran & Snorkel Sails
Jet skiing & Parasailing

 

East Side/Windward Coast

Pali Lookout
Hanauma Bay (on the border of the south shore & east side)
Sea Life Park
Makapuu Lighthouse
Halona Blowhole
Sandy Beach
Kailua & Lanikai
Kayaking & Windsurfing
Kualoa Ranch

 

West Side

Paradise Cove Luau
Dolphin/Snorkel Sails
Wet n Wild Hawai
Yokohama Beach

 

PRICING & AVAILABILITY

 


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Famous Beaches

Beaches on Oahu Couple

Pictured Above: Waimanalo Beach on the East side (during the week)

 

North Shore

Turtle Beach
Waimea Bay
Pipeline
Sunset Beach

Less Famous
Waialua Beach
Mokuleia Beach
Malaekana

 

East Side/Windward

Kailua Beach & Lanikai
Sandy Beach
Makapuu Beach
Hanauma Bay
Waimanalo Beach
Bellows Beach (military)

 

South Shore

Waikiki Beach
Diamond Head Beach
Sans Souci Beach
Ala Moana Beach Park

 

West Side

Lagoons at Ko'Olina
Electric Beach
Pokai Bay
Makaha
Yokohama

 


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Famous Waterfalls

Sacred Falls Oahu Windward Coast

Picture Above: Sacred Falls waterfall on the windward coast

 

Sacred Falls-by helicopter only

Manoa Falls-Honolulu, south shore in the hills above University of Hawaii

Waimea Falls-North shore

For more information on other waterfalls I go into more detail here.

 


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