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Oahu is divided into five main regions (north, south, east, west, and central) and two “personalities,” which locals call “town” and “country.” “Town” refers generally to the South Shore and Honolulu, including Waikiki. “Country” is rural Oahu, including the North Shore and the northern reaches of the Windward Coast. As one resident puts it, “Town’s hotels; country’s chickens.”

Oahu Cities and Regions

Honolulu and Waikiki

It's a world-class city, but Honolulu has never lost its Polynesian roots. Add the descendants of Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese immigrants who arrived in the 19th-century to work on Oahu's sugar plantations – and never left – and you'll find block after block of unusual tastes, smells, and experiences to discover. See our Honolulu Travel Guide.

Leeward Coast

Because the Koolau Mountains in the east capture most of the rain clouds, the west coast of Oahu is sunny and relatively dry. Enjoy the clear blue skies and less touristy beaches, and take in the local flavor of the area's off-the-beaten-path towns.

North Shore

Winter waves here reach 30 feet and the currents are dangerous. Still, the spectacularly wide beaches with their wild, untamed beauty are worth visiting, if only to watch surfers battle the famous pipelines or to spot a humpback whale spouting in the distance.

Windward Coast

White sand beaches and idyllic views draw lounging beachgoers, while the lush valleys and high ridges of the Koolau Range beckon hikers and adventurers. Kailua Beach Park is a favorite for windsurfers, and the vibrant coral reefs of Hanauma Bay impress snorkelers and divers.

Central Oahu

The Dole Plantation, located amid sugarcane crops and the world's largest pineapple fields, is the star attraction of this agricultural region, once home to large forests of sandalwood.

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