Tourism in Hawaii started right here on Oahu. Early writers, such as Twain and London, traveled on steamship from California, always stopping in Honolulu en route to islands next door. Today, even though islands such as Maui and Kauai see millions of visitors per year, Oahu remains the beating heart of Hawaii’s tourism industry. In fact, in 2014, over five million tourists from around the world spent time on Oahu’s shores, which is more visitors than all the other neighbor islands combined.
One of the reasons for the numbers, of course, is the international airport, but so are classic island experiences visitors find on Oahu. And, while some of the spots will definitely be crowded, there’s something lovely about standing in a spot you’ve dreamt about for years — living the postcard tacked on your wall or floating in your head. If you’ve never been to the island before but are starting to plan a trip, here are eight iconic Oahu experiences to place you in that magical space where tropical dreams become reality.