Central Oahu | Go Hawaii

Central Oʻahu

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Central Oʻahu

Head northwest fHead northwest from Honolulu to Central O‘ahu, the fertile valley between the Wai‘anae and Ko‘olau mountain ranges, to explore the island’s plantation heritage. Discover the island’s agricultural history at Hawai‘i’s Plantation Village, Wahiawā Botanical Garden, and Dole Plantation. Further south, Pearl Harbor Historic Sites highlight America’s involvement in World War II, from the December 7, 1941 attack that prompted the United States to enter the war, to the end of the global conflict on September 2, 1945.

The most important landmark in Central Oʻahu sits to the south in historic Pearl Harbor, the largest natural harbor in Hawaiʻi. This active naval base is home to five historic sites that you can visit. The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is a free attraction at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, a unit of the US National Park Service (NPS). The Pearl Harbor National Memorial includes the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Oklahoma Memorial, and USS Utah Memorial. The visitor center is also the gateway to the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites: Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum, and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum. These special monuments commemorate the historic events that changed history during World War II.
The fertile central valley between the Waiʻanae Mountains and Koʻolau range offers a peek back to Oʻahu’s history. Agriculture on the island was booming in the late 19th century, attracting immigrants from around the world to work on plantations. On your way from Honolulu to the North Shore, you’ll pass the Leilehua Plateau in Wahiawā and see sprawling fields of pineapples. Get a closer look by stopping at the Dole Plantation, where you can learn about the spiky-but-sweet fruit’s legacy on Oʻahu and cool down with a delicious frozen Dole whip treat. Kids will love running through the huge three-acre shrub maze. At the Hawaiʻi Plantation Village, explore a living history museum of restored and replica sugar-cane plantation homes to get a sense of how people lived and worked more than 100 years ago.

In Central Oʻahu, you can also take a tour of famous Aloha Stadium, home of the University of Hawaiʻi Warriors as well as many other events throughout the year.   

Regions of Oʻahu

Kaena Point
Kaʻena Point is a scenic and sacred spot where, legend says, the souls of ancient Hawaiians would jump off into the spirit world to meet the souls of their ancestors.
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Makaha Beach
The most popular beach on the Leeward Coast offers ocean-lovers a long stretch of golden sand to play or relax.
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Haleiwa Town
This laid-back surfer town offers beautiful beaches, tasty local restaurants and food trucks, cool shops and plenty of shave ice.
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Waimea Bay
This beloved beach is popular with locals and visitors alike, and was an influential surf spot during the dawn of big wave surfing in the 1950s.
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Makapuu Point Lighthouse
Hike to this scenic point on Oʻahu’s easternmost tip for incredible views and whale watching during the winter.
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Nuuanu Pali Lookout
Nuʻuanu Pali Lookout is one of Oʻahu’s most popular scenic spots, with panoramic views of the Windward Coast and the Koʻolau Mountains.
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Byodo-In Temple
Valley of the Temples Memorial Park houses Byodo-in, a stunning replica of a Japanese Buddhist Temple set in a lush forest.
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Statue of Duke Kahanamoku, father of modern surfing, on Kuhio Beach, Waikiki
The state capital and largest city in Hawaiʻi, Honolulu is a unique combination of tropical glamour and buzzing international metropolis, where sandy shores meet city streets.
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Central Oʻahu
Pearl Harbor Historic Sites on Oʻahu
Gain a unique perspective on World War II with a visit to Pearl Harbor, or explore the island's agricultural traditions at the Dole pineapple plantation.
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Leeward Coast
Leeward Coast of Oʻahu
This area on Oʻahu's west side is home to rural towns, off-the-beaten-path beaches and one luxurious resort area, Kō Olina.
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North Shore
Oʻahu's North Shore is a popular surf destination
Rub shoulders with champion surfers and laid-back locals on Oʻahu’s North Shore, the big wave surfing capital of the world.
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Windward Coast
Windward Coast of Oʻahu
It’s only a short drive from Honolulu to enjoy the highlights of Oʻahu’s lush Windward Coast, including the peaceful Byodo-in Temple and adventurous Kuaola Ranch.
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Visiting Pearl Harbor

Visiting Pearl Harbor

Visiting Peal Harbor is an experience that will be etched into your soul forever, and offer you a new perspective on World War II. Known the world over as a "date which will live in infamy," the devastating events of December 7, 1941 changed the course of history. 



Landmarks & Attractions

Central Oahu farms

Hawai‘i’s Plantation Village

O‘ahu’s vibrant multicultural population are descendants of the plantation workers who came here from around the globe starting in the mid-19th century. Hawai‘i’s Plantation Village shares the stories of these immigrants from China, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, Okinawa, Portugal, and Puerto Rico along with those of the local workers while honoring their lives, their resourcefulness, and their contributions to Hawai‘i.

Close-up of a yellow ohia lehua flower

Wahiawā Botanical Garden

Once an experimental arboretum for sugar planters in the 1930s, this 27-acre garden and serene rainforest is home to tropical plants that thrive in more moderate temperatures. Enjoy a self-guided tour, stroll through a bamboo thicket, and relax on the shaded benches.

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Fresh pineapple for sale at Kapiolani Community College Farmers' Market

Dole Plantation

Explore the Pineapple Garden Maze — the world’s largest plant maze — with nearly 2.5 miles of paths and 14,000 colorful plants. Take a ride on the Pineapple Express train, a 20-minute narrated tour through some of O‘ahu’s beautiful landscapes. And enjoy the Plantation Garden Tour featuring eight mini-gardens with a wide variety of fruits, flowers, and native plants. Finish up with a refreshing Dole Whip.

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View the Digital Hawaiian Islands Official Visitors’ Guide

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