Destinations / North America / Hawaii

Where to Stay on Oahu: 27 Places for a Tropical Getaway

This post contains affiliate links, for which I may earn a commission if you make a qualifying purchase.

Sharing is caring!

Oahu is Hawaii’s most populous island – by a lot – and often gets a reputation as being too developed or too commercial, or too busy. Oahu just can’t catch a break! But the good news is that if you spend some time doing research on where to stay on Oahu, nearly every traveler can find the kind of experience they’re looking forward to on this seemingly-crowded island paradise. Finding the right place to stay on Oahu for you can make or break your entire visit! (Speaking of your visit, have you checked out our 7 day Oahu itinerary?)

In this article, we’ll take you through the pros and cons to help you pick the best area of Oahu for your visit – including showing you where to stay on Oahu besides Waikiki, in case the big city doesn’t float your boat. We’ll also help you find the best places for you to stay on each part of the island. Ready to get planning?

Before you book another hotel, make sure to read these 5 simple hacks for saving more on every reservation!

Where to Stay in Waikiki and Honolulu

Aerial view of some of the best places to stay on Oahu

When most would-be visitors think of Oahu, the first thing that comes to mind is the view of Diamond Head Crater alongside the towering hotel towers of Waikiki and the dense city skyline of Honolulu. But is Waikiki the best place to stay on Oahu for you?

Pros of Staying in Waikiki or Honolulu

-You don’t need a rental car if you’re staying in Waikiki (though you may still want one for a day or two). You can walk from your hotel to the beach, to restaurants, to world-class shopping. Many activities and excursions around the island offer van services (some free, some with a fee of up to $15 per person) that pick up from Waikiki hotels.

If you want to explore the island a little more, TheBus runs right through Waikiki and takes you to most parts of the island – easy since there are really just a few main roads. Uber is also an option to get to some parts of the island (though it may be difficult to snag a return ride from more remote areas, so make sure you’ve looked up bus routes as a backup).

-There’s a reason Waikiki Beach is world-famous. It’s a great place to learn to surf, and it has some of the cleaner waters around Oahu. There’s no denying the famous Waikiki Beach is a beautiful place! You’re also a pretty quick drive or bus ride to Hanauma Bay, which isn’t perfect but still offers some of the best snorkeling on Oahu.

-There are lots of fun activities around as it is very centrally located. Free hula shows Tuesday and Saturday evenings near the “Duke statue.” Friday night fireworks. The Honolulu Zoo and an aquarium. Catamaran trips. Major hotels with waterslides. Shopping and dining options. Museums. Music clubs, bars, and restaurants. If there’s a developed amenity you want, you’ll find it in Waikiki! If you’re coming from a small town or a rural area, an action-packed city like Waikiki could be an amazing change of pace for your Hawaii vacation.

-Those Waikiki sunsets on this famous beach! They’re hard to top on your tropical getaway.

Sunset on Waikiki Beach

Cons of Staying in Waikiki or Honolulu

-Many people who visit Oahu and stay in Waikiki (technically a neighborhood of Honolulu) come away saying that “Oahu is just a big city like any other in the US, and you don’t really feel like you’re in Hawaii.” What they really mean is, “Honolulu is a big city.”

And that’s absolutely true! Honolulu is home to over 350,000 people. The island averages over 100,000 visitors on any given day, and the vast majority of them stay in Honolulu/Waikiki. Driving down Kalakaua Avenue doesn’t feel that dissimilar from driving through Beverly Hills, but with more people and more towers. It is one of the major places to stay Oahu, Hawaii offers that is crowded.

-If you do want to rent a car, the parking can be very expensive. Fortunately, some of the budget-friendly accommodations listed below offer very cheap parking, but if you’re staying at a popular and luxurious hotel like the Hilton Hawaiian Village, you can expect to pay $45 per night to park.

-You’re more subject to “tourist pricing” than elsewhere. If you prefer to self-cater breakfast and lunch to save money, you’ll get a much better deal on groceries outside of Waikiki – but it’s easier to manage that type of journey with a rental car, of course. If you have a rental car, definitely visit Costco in Honolulu for groceries and to fill up on gas!

-You’re far from some of the island’s most beautiful places and most interesting activities on the entire island, and the traffic can be rough. Really. I’m from LA, and I’m telling you that peak traffic in Honolulu and Waikiki is no joke! Driving the 30-odd miles to Haleiwa or the Polynesian Cultural Center might take you a reasonable 45 minutes on the way there and two hours on the way back if you time it wrong.

-There’s been so much development over the decades that many hotel rooms just have a view of more hotels. Make sure to book one of the Waikiki beachfront hotels or request a high floor if the view is important to you.

Want to plan the ultimate Oahu vacation? Click here for step-by-step Oahu travel planning help!

Best Places to Stay in Waikiki

One of the best areas to stay on Oahu: Waikiki Beach with all the beachfront hotels

There are dozens of hotels in Honolulu, including many Waikiki beachfront hotels. Which one should you pick? Here are some of the best places to stay in Honolulu or Waikiki!

According to our Tiny Globetrotters members, one of the best hotels in Waikiki for families is the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It offers five different pools (including the island’s longest slide and a separate kids’ pool), easy access to gorgeous white sand beaches, tons of on-site restaurants, and a variety of rooms to suit different needs and budgets. You can see all the options here. Just remember that you’ll have to pay a resort fee and that there’s no free parking. It is one of the best places to stay in Oahu with family for your family vacation!

Another top pick on where to stay in Oahu, Hawaii, if you’re looking for a full-service resort in Waikiki, is the Hyatt Regency Waikiki. It doesn’t have as many pools to choose from as Hilton Hawaiian Village, but it does offer a kids club for parents who want a little respite on their vacation! It is another luxury hotel close to Waikiki Beach.

If you need more space for a big group to stay in Waikiki, check out the ever-reliable Embassy Suites. Their rooms are true suites – bedroom, separate living room, kitchenette – and the rate even includes free hot breakfast and poolside snacks! You can enjoy live Hawaiian music on-site several times each week in between dips in the big outdoor pool, kid’s pool, and hot tub. If you need lodging on Oahu to accommodate larger groups, it doesn’t get much easier than that. Check out rates here.

Looking for a boutique hotel in Waikiki? A little further south, close to Diamond Head Crater, you’ll find two great gems!

The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel features both rooms and suites, and everyone gets a balcony with a view of either the Pacific Ocean or Diamond Head Crater. The Kaimana Beach Hotel is the best place to stay in Honolulu for those budget travelers.

The nearby Lotus Honolulu Hotel gives its guests the royal treatment: coffee and tea in the morning, wine in the evening, and free use of beach chairs and towels in between. It is another great accommodation on Oahu you will love.

If you’re on the hunt for luxury hotels in Honolulu, check out Halekulani. The photos are absolutely stunning! Halekulani offers top-notch restaurants, a beautiful spa, luxe touches like bathrobes and chocolates, and of course, an amazing beachfront location. It is the best luxury hotel in Waikiki for couples looking for a romantic getaway.

Maximize your hotel savings with these tips

Of course, Waikiki isn’t only hotels. There are vacation rentals too, which is why it is another one of the best areas to stay on Oahu. As with hotels, just watch for parking charges! This wonderful Waikiki vacation rental includes parking at an already reasonable price, making it a great deal for visitors who want a little more space and cooking facilities.

Charming Waikiki Condo With Parking

Livingroom of Waikiki condo
  • Location: Waikiki Shore
  • Max guests: 3
  • Beds: Queen (bedroom), sofa bed (living room)
  • Bathrooms: 1
  • Outdoor living: bright balcony, beachfront with direct access
  • Extra features: laundry in-unit
  • Parking: INCLUDED IN PRICE!!! (a rarity in Waikiki, $30/night value)

If you aren’t interested in city life on your island vacation, maybe you’re wondering where to stay in Oahu besides Waikiki. The good news is that you have plenty of choices! There are lots of amazing places to stay in Oahu, HI, that have a totally different vibe.

Use the interactive map to find vacation rentals and hotels in Waikiki

Use the interactive map to find vacation rentals and hotels in Honolulu here

Where to Stay on the North Shore of Oahu

Sunset on the beach of Oahu

Some of the best places to stay in Oahu, Hawaii when visiting Hawaii is the North Shore of Oahu. It’s known as a laid-back surfer’s paradise for beach bums (at least in winter), but there’s a lot to love for visitors of all types.

While most people think of the North Shore as the stretch from Haleiwa to Kahuku (the northern tip), it actually extends all the way from remote Ka’ena Point on the far west up to Kahuku Point and then down past Laie on the east side. It’s a huge area, and you’ll find plenty of variety in activities and types of North Shore Oahu accommodations.

Think it might be right for you?

Pros of Staying on the North Shore

-It feels much quainter than the metropolis of Honolulu but still has plenty of development if that’s what you’re after. Haleiwa Town offers a great variety of restaurants and food trucks for dining options, plus some nice boutique shops. Popular Matsumoto’s Shave Ice has a great range of flavors, though quieter Aoki’s across the street often gets the nod from locals.

It’s a quick drive to the Dole Plantation to get your fill of Dole Whip and pineapple-themed souvenirs (if that’s your thing); more sophisticated palates may prefer Green World Coffee Farm next door (try the Rainbow, it’s awesome!).

You also have easy access to the stunning gardens at Waimea Valley and its sometimes-swimmable waterfall. The beach across the street, Waimea Bay, has calm waters in the summer and a huge rock that daredevil locals and visitors use as a diving board.

If you stay on the east side of the North Shore, you’ll be right next to the Polynesian Cultural Center, which will make it easy to pack in a full day at one of the best cultural sites on the island (and possibly take advantage of their option to return on a second day).

-If you’re a surfer (or an interested spectator), there’s no better place to be in the late fall and winter months! Some of the world’s top surfing events take place right here near Sunset Beach, where you will find world renowned surf breaks. Check out this comprehensive guide.

-Snorkelers will love Shark’s Cove on Oahu’s North Shore during the summer (though conditions aren’t reliably safe in the winter).

-Whether you prefer an Airbnb, resort, boutique hotel, or bed and breakfast, the North Shore of Oahu has tons of great places to stay at all price ranges. You won’t have to deal with as much “tourist pricing” as in Honolulu when it comes to groceries, gas, and parking.

Cons of Staying on the North Shore

-Depending on where you stay on the North Shore, you may be far from some things you want to go do, and the road network on that part of the island isn’t as extensive as on the South Shore (largely due to the topography). As an example, if you’re staying at the stunning Turtle Bay Resort, it could easily take 1.5 hours to drive to Diamond Head if you get stuck in traffic.

Read more: What to know before you rent a car in Hawaii

-Even within the North Shore itself, traffic can be a beast. There’s lots of traffic on the one road from Haleiwa to Sunset Beach (Kam Highway, which circles the island), and it can take an hour to get to the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie – but it’s worth it! North Shore traffic is often worse on weekends when locals from the “town” area head up to enjoy the waves.

-Don’t expect the developed areas you’ll find in Waikiki. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from in Haleiwa Town, but it’s quieter at night, and there are no big chain stores.

Best Places to Stay on the North Shore

Sunset on North Shore of Oahu

Unlike Waikiki and greater Honolulu, most of the great places to stay on the North Shore are small operations. There are tons of great vacation rentals available. Here are a few of the best places to stay in Oahu’s North Shore:

Airy North Shore Cottage

This Oahu lodging offers quick access to the beach, a pretty spacious room, and is so close to Laniakea Beach, where you can see some sea turtles!

Inside view of North Shore cottage
  • Location: Sunset Beach (North Shore)
  • Max guests: 4
  • Beds: Queen (downstairs bedroom), Full (upstairs loft), Futon (living room)
  • Bathrooms: 1
  • Outdoor living: walking distance to beach, deck with BBQ
  • Extra features: laundry, two cruiser bikes
  • Parking: street

Surfers Paradise Beach House

This is another accommodation in Oahu you will love! Very close access to the beach, perfect for a Hawaiian vacation.

Living room of Surfers Paradise beach house
  • Location: Pupukea (North Shore)
  • Max guests: 6
  • Beds: 2 Queen beds, fold out couch in living room
  • Bathrooms: 1 
  • Extra features: laundry, air conditioning, kitchen

But the North Shore isn’t all self-catering and mom-and-pop’s… no, it’s actually home to one of the best resorts on Oahu! The world-famous Turtle Bay Resort is located near Kahuku Point at the far northern end of Oahu, and it offers something for everyone. It truly is one of the best places to stay on Oahu.

There are various types of accommodations on-site, including traditional hotel-style rooms and villas with kitchens that are perfect for families. There’s even snorkeling at Kuilima Cove. If you’ve seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall, then you know what Turtle Bay Resort is all about! (Fun fact: Watching that movie inspired our epic five-week visit to Oahu, so big thanks to Jason Segal!)

If you’re looking for the best family hotel on Oahu, but you’re also considering Oahu hotels with a kitchen, the properties listed below at Turtle Bay Resort give you the best of both worlds – and for very reasonable pricing! You get the stunning location, access to all resort amenities, and even a daily credit for rentals and activities. You can also cross-check pricing with

Nice Turtle Bay Condo

Another one of the places to stay in Oahu, Hawaii, this condo is perfect for couples who want a nice resort community to enjoy.

Living room of Turtle Bay condo
  • Location: Turtle Bay (North Shore)
  • Max guests: 4
  • Beds: Queen (loft), Double futon (living room)
  • Bathrooms: 1
  • Outdoor living: beautiful balcony; resort has 2 pools, BBQ, tennis, golf course, and walkable beach access
  • Extra features: laundry in-unit, 2 beach chairs, air conditioning, close to Polynesian Cultural Center, fancy restaurants on-site
  • Parking: reserved outdoor parking

Lush Turtle Bay Condo

The Turtle Bay Resort is considered the best place to stay in Hawaii for many people, and this condo shows you exactly why!

Photo of outside of unit showing lush tropical plants
  • Location: Turtle Bay (North Shore)
  • Max guests: 4
  • Beds: Queen (bedroom), sofa bed (living room)
  • Bathrooms: 1
  • Outdoor living: lush garden lanai adjacent to golf course; resort has outdoor pool, BBQ, tennis, stables, and walkable beach access
  • Extra features: laundry in-unit, snorkel/beach gear, golf clubs, exercise room
  • Parking: reserved outdoor parking

But Turtle Bay might also be the best place to stay in Oahu for couples, thanks to the hotel’s (relatively) remote location and luxurious feel. Check out these photos! Surprisingly, there are some deals to be had if you’re flexible on dates at this luxury accommodation in Hawaii Oahu.

The North Shore technically extends to the northern part of Oahu’s east coast, south of Laie. If you’re looking for places to stay in Laie, the new Courtyard by Marriott is a great option. It has a beautiful pool area, ocean views, and an extremely convenient location for visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center and Kualoa Ranch.

If you want to know where to stay on Oahu, not Waikiki Beach, the North Shore of Oahu is for both luxury seekers and families looking for lodging in Oahu, further from the town lifestyle.

Use the interactive map to find vacation rentals and hotels in North Shore, Oahu here

Check out our review and tips for the Polynesian Cultural Center – then buy your discounted tickets!

Where to Stay in Ko Olina

Lagoon on Ko Olina

If you’re looking for the best resorts in Oahu, especially Oahu luxury resorts, look no further than Ko Olina. This area on the west coast was designed with vacationers in mind, whether they’re Hawaiians, mainlanders, or international tourists. Ko Olina is home to Disney’s Aulani, the Four Seasons Resort Oahu, Marriott, and more – truly the best Oahu resorts and another one of the top Oahu places to stay during your Hawaiian vacation.

Pros of Staying in Ko Olina

Aulani. Whether you love Disney or not, Aulani is easily one of the best resorts in Oahu for families. Disney places a huge emphasis on the enjoyment of their guests, and it shows. Everything at Aulani is done with great care to make sure everyone has a great time. They offer a range of free and paid activities, including an extremely popular kids club. Most guests report that the splash of “Disney magic” feels just right without overwhelming the experience of being on vacation in paradise.

There are obvious nods to the fact that you’re in Hawaii, like the lobby full of contemporary Hawaiian art. The kids club is Aunty’s Beach House and features hula lessons, Hawaiian-style crafts, and more for kids ages 3+.

Even if you aren’t staying at Aulani, you can still pay to attend a character breakfast. The Ka’wa’a Luau at Aulani also gets high marks. These experiences are obviously more convenient if you’re staying nearby in Ko Olina than if you’re 40-60 minutes away in Waikiki.

-The tranquil man-made lagoons of Ko Olina offer some of the best splashing for tiny visitors that you’ll find anywhere on the island. Beyond the lagoons, there are some amazing natural beaches to check out, like Paradise Cove and Secret Beach. If you prefer pools to ocean swimming, the resorts in Ko Olina all have amazing options like adults-only pools, family pools, water slides, and some even have a lazy river.

-It’s much quieter than Honolulu/Waikiki. If you stay in Ko Olina, you’ll feel totally removed from the hustle and bustle!

-If you like eating your meals out, there are plenty of good restaurants to choose from. You don’t have to dine at your resort all the time!

-You can find a range of accommodations that include traditional hotel rooms and villas with their own kitchens. There’s even a Costco right there in Kapolei to save on groceries and gas!

-Pearl Harbor is less than 30 minutes away if there’s no traffic. Plan to head there early in the day and return to Ko Olina by mid-afternoon to avoid rush hour! Check out our complete guide to visiting the many sites of Pearl Harbor.

If you want a luxury vacation, Ko Olina is the best area to stay on Oahu.

Cons of Staying in Ko Olina

-Many of the island’s main tourist attractions are far away, or at least they take a long time to get to if you get stuck in traffic. It can take an hour to get to Hanauma Bay or the gorgeous beaches of the Windward Coast, 1-1.5 hours to get to the Polynesian Cultural Center, and potentially even longer to the North Shore on a weekend.

-You may not get the same feel for Hawaii that you would on the North Shore or the Windward Coast if you’re staying at some of the Ko Olina resorts and don’t explore beyond the gates. For example, you can pay to snorkel at Disney’s artificial Rainbow Reef lagoon… or head elsewhere on the island to check out a real reef for free (Electric Beach is nearby and supposed to offer great snorkeling). Of course, it’s up to you whether or not that’s an important factor in planning your vacation!

-It ain’t cheap. Ko Olina has some of the most expensive accommodations on Oahu! There are ways to score deals (like renting Disney Vacation Club points), but it still won’t be as affordable as renting an Airbnb elsewhere on the island.

-Speaking of Airbnb… Just like many cities in Europe, local residents have resisted the growing Airbnb trend and may not be as welcoming of tourists staying off-resort as other parts of the island.

-If you do venture off the resort, keep your rental car clear of valuables. Waianae, to the north, has the highest crime rate on Oahu, with most of that being property crime.

Best Places to Stay in Ko Olina

Swimming pool at Disney Aulani Resort & Spa

The resorts in Ko Olina are pricey for sure, and they offer a very different experience than staying elsewhere on Oahu. If budget is a concern, consider splitting your time and spending a few nights in Ko Olina and the rest of your visit elsewhere on the island.

Disney Aulani Resort & Spa leads the pack for the best resorts in Oahu for families. You’ll get gorgeous grounds, top-notch service, and family-friendly activities… plus little hints of Disney-like favorite characters popping up during the day. It isn’t cheap, but many families feel it’s worth the splurge and one of the places to stay on Oahu, Hawaii! Orbitz often has great deals on Aulani – check prices for your dates here.

Among the Oahu luxury resorts, Four Seasons Resort Oahu is a stand-out. While families are welcome there and have a dedicated pool, this might be the best place to stay in Oahu for couples who want a resort experience.

A more affordable option is the Beach Villas at Ko Olina by Ola Properties. This is a condo-style hotel, so it’s a great choice for a longer stay on Oahu. You’ll get one, two, or three actual bedrooms, a full kitchen, and a living/dining room and even a balcony! These units are ideal for big family groups visiting Oahu since they’re so spacious. The downside is that you won’t get the fancy amenities of the other resorts in the area, though there is a large pool complex. The grounds are beautiful, and the hotel is extremely convenient to Lagoon 2. Check prices here.

Here’s just one example of the gorgeous places to choose from:

Stunning Ko Olina Villa

Ko Olina is the best area to stay in Oahu for luxury seekers, and this villa will show you why!

East lanai thru to west lanai

Why settle for one lanai when you can have three? This amazing villa has tons of luxurious space both inside and out, plus easy access to all that Ko Olina has to offer: pools, toddler-friendly lagoons, a fitness center, golf, and more.

  • Location: Beach Villas at Ko Olina
  • Max guests: 6
  • Beds: King (bedroom 1), Twin x 2 (bedroom 2), sleep sofa (living room)
  • Bathrooms: 2
  • Outdoor living: three balconies; resort has pools, BBQs, golf, and walkable beach access
  • Extra features: laundry in-unit, AC in the living room and bedroom 1, beach gear, sand toys, fitness center, highchair
  • Parking: Underground

Another option for those who can’t stomach the cost of Aulani or Four Seasons is Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club. Again, you’ll get an apartment-style layout, some wonderful pools, and access to the pristine beaches of Ko Olina. You’ll find the various room options here.

Use the interactive map to find vacation rentals and hotels in Ko Olina here

Where to Stay on the Windward Coast

Beautiful view of Windward Coast

“Where to stay on where?”

Most visitors to Oahu have never heard of the Windward Coast, though many visit without knowing! Windward refers to the east side of the island, where moist ocean air blows onshore before it’s intercepted by the lush Ko’olau Range. This is the area where we stayed during our five-week Home Exchange, and we fell more than a little in love with the area. Find out what makes it so special… but why it might not be for everyone! It is another one of the top places to stay Oahu has to offer.

Pros of Staying on the Windward Coast

-Some of the best beaches on Oahu are right there in your backyard! Lanikai, Kailua, and Waimanalo Beach… they’re hard to beat!

-There are lots of great attractions nearby, and you won’t have to battle too much traffic to get to them. There are three different highways connecting the Windward Coast with Honolulu, so if you use Waze or a similar app that monitors traffic, you’ll be able to keep drive times in check.

Most other attractions (beyond the stunning local beaches) are 30-60 minutes away. And those drives are some of the most beautiful on the island! Attractions like the Polynesian Cultural Center and Kualoa Ranch take you along Kam Highway, where the Ko’olau Range nearly falls into the Pacific Ocean, and it’s so breathtaking that you won’t mind looking out the car window.

-If you’re looking for house or apartment rentals on Oahu, you’ll have plenty of choices in this area. After all, people live here, and they go away on vacation too! Many also have rental properties as an investment.

-Because the area is mostly for locals, you’ll find all the amenities you need. There’s a big Target in Kailua for stocking up on your beach needs and food staples (hint: they match mainland prices!). Foodland has some decent grocery prices. You can also easily access Costco in either Honolulu or Hawaii Kai. Want to see a movie? Head to Windward Mall. None of this is as exciting as being served a mai tai by someone wearing an aloha shirt, but it’s a different way of traveling.

-Another big pro of staying in an area where locals live? You’ll actually meet and connect with locals! Shocking, I know. But we had so many awesome experiences making friends all along the Windward Coast: at quiet beaches most tourists don’t make the time to explore, at poke places away from the main drag, at the used book shop, on hiking trails that aren’t Diamond Head. We even went trick-or-treating with thousands of locals on Halloween!

If you are wondering where to stay in Oahu to be most with the locals, try this area.

Son and daughter hugging on the beach of Oahu

Cons of Staying on the Windward Coast

-You know the song line “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain”? Well, on Oahu, the rain stays mainly on the Windward side of the island. It’s all about orographic lifting: the moist ocean air is pushed to higher elevation by the steep Ko’olau mountains; at the top of the mountains, the moisture condenses into a fairly persistent cloud band; finally, those clouds dump buckets and buckets of rain on parts of the East Coast.

We visited in October and November, which is the start of the rainier season, so the effect wouldn’t be quite as dramatic in summer. But every night, starting around 9 pm, it was as if the floodgates opened and dumped buckets on the roof of our house (which was in the foothills of the mountains). There were also periodically brief mid-day showers, but those can occur on other parts of the island as well and aren’t enough to spoil a day.

The good news is that the microclimates of Hawaii are extremely localized. We’d often wake to gray skies in Kaneohe but find blue skies just five miles away at Kailua Beach.

Fun fact about me: My first visit to Hawaii was in 2004 on a geology field trip with my undergraduate program. Every student had to prepare a relevant topic to present to the group, and mine was on the microclimates of Hawaii!

-Some of the more developed parts of the area (like Kaneohe and Kailua Beach) can feel more like mainland suburbia than a tropical island retreat. It’s up to you whether or not that’s a good thing!

-If you’re looking for a big resort with “resort amenities,” you won’t find it here. There is one low-key resort that looks absolutely amazing and is worth considering if you like the area but don’t want to stay in an Airbnb.

Where to Stay on the Windward Coast

Home of the Windward Coast

It’s a little tougher to decide where to stay on the Windward Coast, as most of the options are vacation rentals. You’ll find a huge variety of sizes and price ranges on sites like VRBO. You may want to focus on those that are within walking distance of the beaches around the area.

Spacious Kailua Beach House

This is a unique accommodation Oahu has to offer, especially since it is pink!

Front of pink house
  • Location: Kailua Beach
  • Max guests: 6
  • Beds: Queen x2 (bedroom 1), Queen (bedroom 2), Queen (bedroom 3), Queen (bedroom 4)
  • Bathrooms: 2
  • Outdoor living: walkable to Kailua Beach, large covered lanai for dining, grassy yard for playing, outdoor shower for rinsing off post-beach, BBQ
  • Extra features: laundry, boogie boards, beach gear
  • Parking: driveway

Cottage Near Lanikai Beach

One of the best places to stay in Hawaii, Oahu, is at this 2-bedroom cottage right next to the beach!

Cottage near Lanikai Beach living room view
  • Location: Kailua Beach (close to Lanikai Beach)
  • Max guests: 4
  • Beds: Queen (bedroom 1), queen (bedroom 2)
  • Bathrooms: 1
  • Outdoor living: walkable to Lanikai Beach, BBQ, small covered lanai
  • Extra features: laundry, boogie boards, beach gear, optional Pack n Play
  • Parking: on-site

You’ll also find tons of great Windward Coast vacation rentals on! We love how easy it is to search, sort, and filter with their interface. You can save even more on their platform with these easy-to-follow tips.

If you prefer to stay in a hotel in this area, there’s kind of only one choice: Paradise Bay Resort. This secluded spot offers some of the amenities of the big cousins on the other side of the island but is scaled down. There are optional entertainment-filled meals, kayak rentals, and boat excursions. Daily breakfast is included in your rate.

Use the interactive map to find vacation rentals and hotels in Ko Olina here

“Best of” Where to Stay on Oahu

View of some of the best areas to stay on Oahu

Best resorts on Oahu for families

Disney Aulani – Ko Olina

Hilton Hawaiian Village – Waikiki

Beach Villas at Ko Olina – Ko Olina

Sheraton Waikiki – Waikiki

Best pet-friendly hotels on Oahu

Turtle Bay Resort – North Shore

Lotus Hotel – Waikiki

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach – Waikiki

Paradise Bay Resort – Windward Coast

Cheapest place to stay on Oahu (including the best Oahu hostels!)

Ilima Hotel – 2 blocks from Waikiki Beach along the Ala Wai Canal; an older hotel with a small pool

THE BEACH Waikiki Boutique Hostel – offers both mixed and female dorms and private rooms for 2 or 3; breakfast included; parking is just $12 per night

Seaside Hawaiian Hostel Waikiki – offers both mixed and female dorms (ranging from 2-6 people); light breakfast included; free boogie boards and snorkel gear.

Hale Koa Hotelonly open to military personnel, with rates depending on rank; in the heart of Waikiki; great rates, pool, and cheap on-site parking; solid luau available for guests

Campgrounds – The cheapest place to stay on Oahu is right on the beach! Many of the island’s beach parks offer camping, with various levels of amenities. Maleakahana Beach Park (just north of Laie, near the northern end of the island) is beloved by locals and costs just under $10 per person. Just remember that you’re camping, so expect things to be a bit rustic.

Use the interactive map to find vacation rentals and hotels in Oahu here

Best Oahu Airport hotel

Where should you stay if you’re just stopping briefly on Oahu to catch a flight to another island or want to pay your respects at Pearl Harbor? It makes the most sense to stay near HNL airport to avoid the inconvenience of driving all over the island. We think you’re missing out by not spending more time exploring Oahu, but hopefully, you’ll have the opportunity at some point!

But I digress… there aren’t many choices for places to stay around the airport and Pearl Harbor. Probably the best Oahu airport hotel is Best Western The Plaza Hotel. It offers everything you want from an airport hotel: 24-hour shuttle service, free breakfast, a pool, and bargain pricing. You can even bring a dog or two!

Where to Stay Oahu FAQs

What is the nicest area of Oahu?

Typically the best part of Oahu to stay in is Ko Olina. It offers top-notch resorts and is the place to be for a luxurious trip.

Which side of Oahu has the best beaches?

While you will find beautiful beaches all over the island, the Windward Side of the island usually has the best beaches to explore, like Kailua, Lanikai, and Waimanalo Beach.

Is it cheaper to stay in Maui or Oahu?

Maui is a more luxurious island to visit, so Oahu is typically cheaper to visit for a Hawaiian vacation, but it also all depends on where you stay!

Best Places to Stay Oahu Wrap-Up

Hopefully, this ultimate guide on the best places to stay in Oahu has helped you decide where to stay during your Oahu vacation.

From learning where to stay on Oahu, not Waikiki, to the best area of Oahu to stay for luxury resorts to the best place to stay in Honolulu, or even for Oahu where to stay for a beach bums trip, you know exactly where to stay now!

More resources to plan your trip to Hawaii

See all of our Hawaii travel planning resources in one place

Travel planning resources:
Compare rental car prices for Hawaii
Buy a top-rated travel insurance policy
5 simple money-saving tips for

General Hawaii resources:
How to visit Hawaii on a budget
Renting a car in Hawaii: 10 things you NEED to know
What to pack for Hawaii
Is a cheap GoPro knock-off worth it?

Hawaii with kids:
What’s the best Hawaiian island for families?
Is it worth visiting Hawaii with a baby?
Ultimate packing list for Hawaii with kids
Top 10 things to do with kids on Oahu
The best snorkel gear for kids of all ages

Oahu resources:
Best Oahu travel guide book
Perfect 7 day Oahu itinerary
Where to stay on Oahu
Family-friendly Oahu vacation rentals
Cheap Places To Stay On Oahu
10 Fun Things to do on Oahu for $10 or less
Getting the most bang for your buck on your Go Oahu discount card
Insider tips for visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center
The best beaches on Oahu (and why to visit them)
Where to find the best shave ice on Oahu
The best easy hikes on Oahu
North Shore Oahu complete visitors guide
Kayaking to the Mokes with Twogood Kayaks
Family-friendly kayaking with Holokai Adventures
Visiting Pearl Harbor

Maui resources:
Best Maui travel guide book
Family Activities in Maui We Absolutely Love
Perfect 3 day Maui itinerary
5 Things You NEED To Do Before You Visit Maui
Cheap Places To Stay On Maui

Big Island resources:
Best Big Island travel guide book
Perfect 5 day Big Island itinerary
Cheap Places To Stay On the Big Island

Kauai resources:
Best Kauai travel guide book
Best Things to Do with Kids on Kauai
Perfect 3 day Kauai itinerary
Cheap Places To Stay On Kauai

Oahu guidebooks

Still planning? Pin this article for later!

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.