Honolulu vs. Oahu

Honolulu is arguably the highlight of Oahu island, as it has everything a tourist would want or need. It's home to iconic sites, trendy cultural districts, and a wide array of restaurants. But Honolulu can get crowded for many people, but you can always go to the island's outskirts for a more quiet and laid-back yet thrilling trip.
Honolulu vs. Oahu

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Most tourists find themselves staying in the vibrant city of Honolulu for their vacation. In particular, the gorgeous resort town of Waikiki. It’s no surprise as the city has the convenience of a city with the natural wonders that Hawaii has to offer.

But Honolulu is only an area of the gorgeous island of Oahu. Away from the busy city are inviting waters, lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and more. You’d also get to escape the large crowds, too, so you have less competition to soak up its beauty.

With so many hidden gems, Oahu is a delight to explore. But you can only do so if you’re willing to get out of the bustling city of Honolulu.


As the capital city of Hawaii, Honolulu is where most tourists convene. No surprise here, as almost everything you’d want in a Hawaiian getaway is only a stone’s throw away. From urban settings lined with lively bars, malls, and restaurants, to beachfront with enviable waters, to lush forests.

You’d get a taste of everything in the city of Honolulu. So should you decide to stay within the area, you’d still find yourself busy throughout your trip.

What Makes Honolulu Unique

Distinct Neighborhood Charms

Honolulu may only be a city on one of Hawaii’s gorgeous islands. But thanks to its rich variety of neighborhoods, there’s still much to explore within the city. And you don’t have to stray too far to get a taste of everything!

You can go from bustling business towns to artsy districts to wild nature escapes in one day. After a long day of exploration, you can unwind in a busy beach town that’s always the last to go to sleep.

There’s no doubt that Waikiki is the most popular of them all, seeing millions of beach lovers each year. Its iconic beachfront is the main attraction here, with towering hotels and condos in the backdrop. Various establishments are within reach of this bustling town, so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.

But don’t restrict yourself to the Waikiki area. Otherwise, you’ll be missing out on what makes Honolulu such a top tourist destination.

If you’re still seeking the buzzing urban feel outside Waikiki, head over to Downtown Honolulu. This is where most historical sites are in the city. But it also boasts a vibrant art scene and plenty of upscale dining options.

Kakaako is where the city’s creative minds gather. It’s the hippest neighborhood in the city, with murals on every corner, a vibrant beer scene, and more.

There are also a few hotspots for the outdoor lover in you. Hawaii Kai has some of the island’s most popular natural wonders, such as Hanauma Bay. Manoa’s a lush, green valley with trails for avid hikers. But Diamond Head is the top spot for outdoor adventures, with volcano hiking, quiet beaches, and more.

For gastronomic ventures, you can always go around Waikiki and find a place you like. But for a more authentic culinary experience, head over to Kapahulu or Kaimuki. Both have diners that have stood for generations, farm-to-table eats, and much more.

If you’re going on a shopping spree, Ala Moana is the place to be. It’s home to the world’s largest open-air mall, so you won’t walk out empty-handed. It also has the popular Ala Moana Beach, sitting in an urban park in the heart of the city.

A Sandy Beach for Every Tourist

Honolulu is a busy urban metropolis, but it also has the turquoise waters and golden coasts that Hawaii is famous for. Its long stretch of sandy shores has a wide array of beaches. They range from beaches nestled in front of towers to secluded ones that you can only get to by hiking.

No matter how you want to spend your beach day, there’s always a glorious stretch of sand for you. Go surfing on Sandy Beach, escape the crowds at Kahala Beach, or spend the day with your kids at Ala Moana Beach Park.

You’ll always find blue waters to dip in, but some beaches are still more renowned than others. Here’s a rundown of some of the best beaches Honolulu has to offer.

Waikiki Beach

If you’ve got a full day ahead of you with only a short time to spend at the beach, you’d want to spend it on Waikiki Beach. This world-celebrated beach has a little bit of everything for its visitors.

The beach has pretty much every watersport for you to try, such as surfing or boogie boarding. It’s also a stone’s throw away from establishments with gourmet food and luxurious shops. With so much going on in the area, you’re bound to be busy on Waikiki Beach.

Magic Island

This small, man-made lagoon is part of the Ala Moana Beach Park. Sitting at the end of a peninsula, the rocky reef barrier keeps waves at bay. Thus, Magic Island is one of the top beaches for swimming and snorkeling with kids.

With a small wooded area nearby, you can go barbecuing or have a picnic after some water fun. You can also hike on the trails nearby if you’re tired of the waters.

Diamond Head Beach Park

Diamond Head is most known for being a great hiking spot. But it hides an idyllic and deserted shore for beach lovers to escape large crowds!

Waves are large here, perfect for surfing. But if you want to go swimming, you can do so in its many tidepools.

Historical Landmarks Within Your Reach

The Hawaiian Islands have a long history. There are plenty of historical landmarks across the islands. But some of the most popular ones that give you a glimpse of Hawaii’s royal past are in Honolulu.

You’ll find most of these historical sites in downtown Honolulu. So you can tour around the area in a day. You must not leave the area without these must-visit sites if you’re a big history buff.

Iolani Palace

Sitting in the civic center of downtown Honolulu is the United States’ only royal palace. This opulent Spanish Mission–style building will not only give you a glimpse of Hawaii’s royal history but it will also give you a display of the state’s unique art and traditions.

There are huge portraits of royalty around, with ornate furniture and a koa staircase. You can also marvel at the many treasures in the building, along with gifts from around the world.

Statue of King Kamehameha I

It was King Kamehameha I that united the Hawaiian islands into a royal kingdom. An 18-foot (5.5 meters) bronze statue stands right across the block from Iolani Palace. One of the most photographed sites on the island, it’s a celebrated reminder of Hawaii’s greatest king.

Delightful Food Scene

Tourists mainly go to Honolulu for its beaches, not the food. But the city’s culinary cuisine doesn’t get overshadowed by Honolulu’s beauty.

Honolulu has a wide array of traditional and international restaurants.

So you’re bound to find one that’ll cater best to your palate. You’ve got authentic eats by Hawaiian locals, cuisine from all around the world by celebrated chefs, and more.

If you’re a big foodie, you can go around Honolulu and always taste something new. It can be confusing where to start your gastronomic escapade. So here are some top restaurants that visitors from all over the world always come back to.

House Without a Key

This oceanfront restaurant is a staple in Waikiki’s food scene. You can enjoy the sea breeze while munching on your breakfast, lunch, or dinner. But the best time to head over to House Without a Key is during sunset.

Thrice a week, the chefs start up the kiawe grill at sunset. You have a selection of lamb chops, Angus beef burgers, lobsters, and more. While you’re here, you must try their signature coconut cake with creme Anglaise.

Helena’s Hawaiian Food

For more authentic Hawaiian delights, this Michelin-star restaurant will not disappoint. You know the food is great when the place gets packed with locals. Helena’s prides itself on serving Hawaiian food as how Hawaiians historically ate them and never veering away from this.

Helena’s squid luau is the star of the restaurant. It’s a classic dish made from calamari, luau leaves, butter, and coconut milk. The restaurant is also one of the few spots on the island where you can still get your hands on opihi, a local shellfish delicacy.

The Island’s Best Night Scene

Honolulu’s main draw is bound to the daytime. But the city’s nightlife is the alternative to a thrilling trip in the after-hours. And if this is your idea of a vacation, then Honolulu should be your destination.

Of all the gorgeous places in Hawaii, none have the same density of bars and nightclubs as Honolulu does. This city has the broadest array of nightlife options across all the islands. From laid-back tiki bars with live music to high-end clubs with jazz musicals.

If you want to hit the streets at night, downtown Honolulu, Waikiki, and Chinatown are the top nightlife spots. Most bars have last calls at 2 AM in Honolulu. But if you want to keep the fun going longer, some Waikiki bars operate until 4 AM.

If you want to relish the best nightlife that Honolulu has to offer, here are some crowd favorites.

Bar 35

If you’re a beer connoisseur, this Chinatown bar is for you. Bar 35 has over 150 brews from 20 different countries for you to drink while the DJ keeps the atmosphere upbeat.

It also has the happiest happy hour in Honolulu. You can buy cheap booze from 4 PM to closing time on Mondays, 4 PM to 8 PM on Tuesdays to Fridays, and 6 PM to 10 PM on Saturdays.

Mai Tai’s

This open bar is where you can get a taste of authentic Hawaiian flavors. You’ll get a scenic view of Diamond Head and enjoy the live music as you sip your handcrafted drinks.


Oahu is one of Hawaii’s most popular tourist hotspots for all the right reasons. If you’re short on time, there are tons to do on this beautiful island.

Have unique encounters with nature, from amazing hike routes to towering waves to conquer. Swim with dolphins, sea turtles, and Hawaiian monk seals. And you can always end your action-packed day with a few drinks by the beach while watching a hula show.

What Makes Oahu Unique

Spectacular Serene Beaches

Oahu has the golden beaches of your Hawaiian fantasies. Away from Honolulu, you’ll find quaint beach towns that feel nothing like the city’s capital.

The beaches of the North Shore, Leeward Coast, and Windward Coast are more secluded. Yet they are every bit as beautiful with lusher foliage and a quieter scene.

Leeward Coast has many tucked-away beaches that are begging to get explored. They’re hidden away in lush forests and thick foliage, so there’s plenty of shade for you to relax under. If you’re ready to head home, you can hide away in the many sleepy yet idyllic beaches nearby.

Winward Coast is home to popular yet unspoiled golden beaches, such as Lanikai Beach and Waimanalo Beach. The coast has strong, steady breezes that are perfect for wind sports. Kailua Beach’s turquoise waters are perfect for kite surfing and windsurfing.

Oahu’s North Shore is a world-celebrated stretch of sand. Its beaches’ popularity can rival those of Waikiki. North Shore has the best variety of beaches on Oahu without large crowds to compete with.

With a plethora of beaches to choose from, it can be mind-boggling to settle on a sandy beach to unwind on. So here are some top sandy beach selections on Oahu.

Laniakea Beach

This beach has the nickname “Turtle Beach” due to the many giant sea turtles that often come to its shore. They frequent this rocky cove more than any other beach spot on the island. The turtles are likely attracted to the kelp and seagrass that grow on the rocks of the shore.

So if you’d love to fill your gallery with cute turtle pictures, you wouldn’t want to miss this beach!

Lanikai Beach

Lanikai Beach is perhaps one of the most gorgeous, unspoiled beaches on Oahu. It’s a paradisical escape, complete with soft white sand and clear blue waters. It’s the perfect beach for relaxation as it’s often less crowded.

This beach has a laid-back and family-friendly vibe that many get attracted to. Kids will enjoy splashing in the water, as the waves are as calm as can be. This is thanks to the offshore corals that keep the waves at bay.

You can go snorkeling and kayaking here to your heart’s content. Not only that, but you can also spot some birds here as the beach also doubles as their sanctuary.

Home to Hawaii’s Surf Mecca

Apart from pristine beaches, Hawaii is synonymous with its surfing scene. But Oahu is the top destination for the most passionate surfers. And in particular, their eyes are set on the Seven Mile Miracle on the North Shore.

What’s most admirable about the island of Oahu is that your surfing expertise doesn’t matter. You can enjoy the waves or learn how to conquer them as a beginner. Or, you can be an expert, further honing your skills.

The Seven Mile Miracle is a 7-mile (11 kilometers) stretch of sand with some of the world’s greatest surf waves. This delightful stretch of sand begins at Haleiwa Beach Park and ends at Sunset Beach. No matter where you go within the area, you’ll find some of the best surf breaks, point breaks, reef breaks, and right and left handles.

The most popular surf beaches here are Waimea Bay and Banzai Pipeline. But no surfer ever stays in one area alone, leaving the rest ignored. Every other beach in the area is just as much of a world-class surf destination.

Pupukea, Gas Chambers, and Monster Munch are some of the few beaches you can surf at.

If you’re already a pro surfer, the best time to visit the North Shore is during the Winter Surf Season, which is between November and February. The waves can swell as high as 30 to 50 feet (9 to 15 meters).

But if you’re a beginner, the perfect beach to ride some waves is Haleiwa Beach Park. Tons of local surf experts are there to show you the ropes. You may also want to surf outside of the Winter Surf Season for some smaller and more manageable waves.

Endless Outdoor Thrills

Oahu is a natural beauty with a plethora of excursions for you to soak in its scenic natural wonders. You can take advantage of the year-round sunshine and balmy weather, filling your entire stay with adventures! There’s always something to do, from the deep blue waters to the emerald islands to the clear skies.

Exploring Oahu’s great outdoors is the best way to experience its glory. So here are some of the many outdoor activities you can do on the island.

Hiking Trips

Away from busy towns, Oahu has tons of hidden gems that are only accessible by foot. The further your feet take you, the greater the reward at the end of the path.

The Pink Pillbox or the Pu’u O Hulu Trail is a 1.6-mile (2.6 kilometers) out-and-back path on Waianae. It’s a moderately challenging trail that begins with a 45-degree incline. But the ocean and city view at the summit makes this worthwhile.

The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse trail is an easy path, making it the best family-friendly hike. It’s a 2.5-mile (4 kilometers) hike that runs on the cliff’s edge, offering a great view of the Pacific Ocean. At the end of the path, an observation deck and lighthouse await you.

Some other well-loved hiking spots are Kaena Natural Area Preserve and Olomana Trail.

Inland Adventures

Kualoa Ranch is the top stop for some endless adventures on the interior of Oahu. It’s a sprawling nature reserve that’s been the backdrop of Hollywood films.

The best way to go around is going on a bumpy ATV ride. You can drive through Kaawa Valley and the emerald Hakipu’u rainforest. Traverse through muddy paths, streams, cascading waterfalls, and more.

You can also zip-line through the Ka’a’awa Valley. If this valley looks familiar, it’s because you’ve seen it on TV and in movies! This is the backdrop of films such as Jurassic Park and Jumanji.

Water Activities

Some of the best views of Oahu are underwater, so it’s natural for snorkeling and scuba diving to be on any tourist’s bucket list. The best part is that you can do these practically anywhere on the island!

Kahe Point Beach Park also called “Electric Beach”, is one of the best snorkeling spots on Oahu. It has a power plant in its vicinity, attracting a plethora of sea animals. Take a dip in its clear waters and swim with turtles, fish, octopuses, and more!

Waimea Bay is also a great snorkeling spot, even if it’s known for its surfing scene. It’s best to plunge into its deep sea during summer when the sea is calmer.

If you want to dive, head over to Sharks Cove or Makaha Caverns. These underwater caves are teeming with life, from turtles to sharks.

Kayaking may not be as exciting as other water activities. But a kayak to the gorgeous Mokes may change your mind. From Lanikai Beach, you can kayak to the picturesque Mokulua Islands.

You can also take a shot at wind sports on Kailua Beach. Thanks to steady winds, kitesurfing and windsurfing are always an option.

Thrills From the Sky

You can also enjoy the beautiful island of Oahu from above. Take a helicopter tour over the scenic island to soak up the scenery. Some stunning hidden gems are only accessible via helicopter, so you keep this on your bucket list!

If you’re seeking something more thrilling, why not try skydiving? Better yet, why not fall from the helicopter and plunge into the deep sea to scuba dive?

Glorious Wild Nature

If you’re a nature enthusiast, you’ll appreciate the raw beauty of Oahu. The island has breathtaking landscapes away from its shores. Lush forests, mountains, and valleys are only some of these.

Here are some of Oahu’s best spots for you to bask in its natural beauty.

Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

This lookout is where you can get a glorious view of Oahu’s landscape. Nu’uanu Pali Lookout sits on a cliff’s edge, and below is an expanse of emerald trees. On your line of sight, you’ll find a few of Oahu’s lush peaks under a sea of clouds.

You can drive up to the lookout as there are plenty of paid parking areas.

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

If you want to get away from the buzzing crowds, head over to this peaceful retreat. Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden sits at the base of the Ko’olau Mountain Range. And it’s home to hundreds of unique flora from all over the world.

While learning about plant species is the main draw here, there are other activities to do in the garden too. Take a shot at catch-and-release fishing, drawing and painting plants, and more. You can also camp overnight here to soak up the view under the twinkling stars.

Dole Plantation

Pineapple is the fruit that is most associated with Hawaii. And you’ll find a sea of pineapples in the Dole Plantation, one of the state’s top tourist attractions.

An excursion to the Dole Plantation is a fun activity for families or even for solo travelers.

You’d get a fascinating tour of the property, taste some pineapple treats, and go through one of the world’s largest mazes. The maze has eight secret stations, and the fastest visitor to reach them gets to take home a prize!

If you’re getting hungry from exploring the site, you can grab some food for fuel at the Plantation Grille. It serves some island favorites, such as kale pork and teriyaki chicken. You can also grab some Dole Whip soft-serve desserts.

Is Honolulu or Oahu Better?

Honolulu may be on the island of Oahu, but if you stray away from the city, you will get a whole different experience.

Honolulu is a splendid juxtaposition of urban living with its natural wonders. It’s home to the famous Waikiki Beach, Iolani Palace, and Diamond Head. You can visit everything with the convenience of everything a city can offer you.

Being the capital, Honolulu has more upscale offerings. Opulent stays, the best nightlife on the island, a huge array of dining options, and shopping havens. There are also plenty of protected swimming areas for kids or novice swimmers to enjoy.

All these come with a price though, as Honolulu is an expensive area compared to the rest of Oahu. So if you want convenience and luxury, then Honolulu is better for you.

Meanwhile, the rest of Oahu is better for backpackers, those on a budget, or nature enthusiasts. Being further away from the bustling capital, it hosts cheaper destinations too.

The North Shore is a paradise for passionate surfers, with generous waves to ride. The Leeward Coast is full of natural beauty and some of the clearest waters in Oahu for snorkeling. While the Windward Coast is arguably the lushest area of the island, complete with unspoiled beaches.

The rest of Oahu doesn’t have the busy vibe of Honolulu though, with fewer establishments within your reach. But this can be a bonus for some, as you’d have a more serene vacation.


Is Oahu in Honolulu?

There’s no uncomplicated way to answer this as it can be a yes or no. It’ll depend on how you look at it, and whether you’re talking about the county or city of Honolulu.

When talking about Honolulu Country, this includes the entire island of Oahu. Thus, Oahu and Honolulu’s government is a single entity.

But if you’re talking about Honolulu proper (the city), Oahu is not in it. Rather, the city is on the island of Oahu. The city of Honolulu encompasses popular neighborhoods such as Waikiki, downtown, and Diamond Head, to name a few.

How Far Is Oahu From Honolulu?

Honolulu is a city on the island of Oahu, so you’re already in Oahu if you’re staying in the city’s capital. From the city, you can travel to the other regions of Oahu, such as the world-celebrated North Shore.

Where Is Oahu and Honolulu?

Oahu sits between two Hawaiian islands, Kauai and Molokai. The island’s separated from Kauai by the Kauai Channel (also called Kaieiewaho Channel). And to the southeast of Oahu is the Kaiwi Channel, which divides it from the island of Molokai.

Meanwhile, Honolulu is a capital city that sits along the southeast coast of Oahu island.

How Do You Get From Honolulu to Oahu?

When you’re in the capital of Honolulu, you’re already on the island of Oahu. If you plan to get around the island, you have several options that’ll fit your budget and preference. This includes taking a bus, taxi, bike, or renting a car.

Oahu’s bus system, TheBus, is accessible and covers most of the island. The hours depend on your route, but buses usually run every 15 to 30 minutes.

One-way fares for adults are 2.75 USD per person, while children ages 6 to 17 have a fare of 1.25 USD. One-day passes are also an option, sold at 2 to 5.50 USD per person.

Taxis are expensive, but this eliminates the hassle of getting around the island. The initial fee is 3.50 USD, with a cost of 5.88 USD per mile you travel. You can use ride-hailing apps such as Uber or Lyft to wander around the island.

If you’re looking for convenience or traveling around a ton, renting a car is the best option. Oahu island is 30 miles (48.3 kilometers) wide and 44 miles (70.8 kilometers) long, so gas costs won’t hurt as much. With so much to see and do on the island, having a car with you will give you peace of mind.

Do You Fly Into Honolulu to Get to Oahu?

To get to Oahu, you’d have to fly into Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, which is in Honolulu. This is the gateway for most of Hawaii’s visitors, including those who plan to tour Oahu island. From the airport, you can take a bus, rent a car, or hail a taxi to get you to your destination.

How Long Is the Flight From Oahu to Honolulu?

There are no flights from Oahu to Honolulu. Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii and is a city on Oahu island’s southeast coast.

Is Oahu and Honolulu the Same Airport?

To get to Honolulu or Oahu, you’d have to go through the Daniel K. Inouye International airport. Also known as the Honolulu International Airport, it’s situated in Honolulu proper. From the airport, you have several modes of transportation that’ll take you to the rest of the Oahu region.

How Far Is Oahu Airport From Honolulu Airport?

There is only one entry point for visitors in Oahu, and there’s no Oahu or Honolulu airport. So the only airport that you’d pass through is the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. This airport got renamed and was formerly known as the Honolulu International Airport.

How Far Is Oahu From Honolulu Airport?

The Honolulu Airport, or the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, sits on the island of Oahu.

Here are its distances from the island’s popular tourist spots:

It’s 9.3 miles (15 kilometers) from Waikiki, 22.5 miles (36.2 kilometers) from the North Shore, and 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) from downtown Honolulu.

How to Get to Oahu From Honolulu Airport

Once you arrive at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, you have several transportation options that’ll take you to the rest of Oahu. Some hotels offer a complimentary shuttle that’ll fetch you from the airport. But if your accommodation doesn’t have one, below are some of the readily-available choices.

There are several airport on-demand shuttle companies that you can make arrangements with. They’re available daily, with a few pickup points on the ground level. Some are affordable, while others offer a more luxurious experience.

Rideshares through Uber or Lyft are also available at a few pickup points. Once you book your time slot, your driver will let you know where they’ll pick you up. It can either be near the terminal 1 garage, lobby 5 near terminal 2, or just outside lobby 8.

Hailing a taxi is the fastest way to get to your destination, but it’s also the most expensive one. Some taxis offer a flat rate to and from the airport, while others charge per mile. For cheaper options, choose JohnnyCab or Charley’s Taxi.

In contrast, Oahu’s bus system is inexpensive. Bus fares for children below five years of age are free, while fares for adults are at 3 USD per person. But that’ll take you a long time to get to your hotel or stay, as the bus has several stops along the way.

Can You Drive From Honolulu Airport to Oahu?

Several car rental companies await you at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport so you can drive to your destination. This is the easiest and most direct way to get around Oahu, and you can go through scenic spots too.

Some car rental companies include Hertz, National, and budget. But you’d have to take a shuttle from the ground level of the airport to reach the car rental registration spots.

While this gives you the freedom to explore the beautiful island of Oahu, you’d need to factor in gas costs and parking fees. Your expenses can quickly stack up, so convenience comes with a price.

Can You Drive From Honolulu to Oahu?

Driving from Honolulu to other tourist attractions in Oahu is possible, thanks to car rental companies. Renting a car is not the most cost-effective option to explore Oahu. But it does give you the flexibility to travel the secluded, hidden gems of the island.

A lot of companies offer this service right from the airport. Some have prepayment requirements and cancellation fees. But a local company, Discount Hawaii, doesn’t have both for a cheaper option.

Still, remember that you’d be paying for gas and parking fees as well. Make sure to ask your accommodation if they charge for parking too, as this will add up to your total costs.

How Long Does It Take to Drive From Honolulu to Oahu?

Honolulu is a southeast coast city within Oahu island. So you’re already in Oahu once you’ve arrived in Honolulu.

How Long Does It Take to Get From Oahu to Honolulu

Honolulu is a large city that sits on Oahu island. To get to the capital city, you’d have to travel by land as this is your only option. The ride duration to Honolulu will depend on your starting point on Oahu.

If you’re from the North Shore, travel time is around 1 hour and 55 minutes. From the Windward Coast, it’ll take you 35 minutes to reach Honolulu. Traveling from the Leeward Coast is shorter, which takes about 30 minutes.

You can travel around the island via the island’s bus system, or the much more convenient way, via a rental car.

Can You Drive Around the Island of Oahu?

Driving along the coastline of Oahu to circle the island is not possible. You’d run into nature reserves that don’t allow vehicles to pass through, so some roads lead you to a dead end.

But there’s an alternative route that’ll allow you to loop the island. Although this doesn’t really cover the whole island. Here’s the route that most people use for this:

  • Take SR 72 to go east from Honolulu proper
  • Go through SR 61 and SR 83 to reach Kaneohe
  • Drive to SR 83 to Haleiwa
  • Go along SR 99 to Wahiawa
  • Head back to Honolulu via H2 and H1

If you drive this route nonstop, then it’ll take you around four hours to complete the loop. But this doesn’t give you enough time to soak in the island’s beauty.