The beautiful Hawaiian island of Oahu is home to the vibrant city of Honolulu, so it’s natural to wonder if you can drive between the two. With its stunning beaches, iconic landmarks, and rich culture, Oahu offers plenty to see and do. If you’re planning a trip, you may be trying to figure out the logistics of getting around the island.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Yes, you can absolutely drive from Honolulu to other parts of Oahu because Honolulu is located on the island of Oahu. So there are many roads and highways connecting Honolulu to the rest of the island.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide detailed information to help you understand the relationship between Honolulu and Oahu. We’ll cover topics like:

– The geography of Oahu and location of Honolulu

– Major highways connecting Honolulu to other Oahu destinations

– Recommended driving routes from Honolulu for sightseeing

– Tips for driving and parking in Oahu

– Alternatives to driving around the island

Understanding How Honolulu and Oahu Are Related

Honolulu is the Capital and Main Urban Area on Oahu

When it comes to the relationship between Honolulu and Oahu, it’s important to understand that Honolulu is not a separate island, but rather the capital and main urban area located on the island of Oahu. Oahu is the third largest Hawaiian island and is home to approximately two-thirds of the state’s population. Honolulu, with its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and rich cultural heritage, serves as the economic, political, and cultural hub of not just Oahu, but the entire Hawaiian archipelago.

Oahu Has Many Roads and Highways Connecting Honolulu to the Rest of the Island

For those wondering if it is possible to drive from Honolulu to Oahu, the answer is yes, but it’s important to note that Honolulu is located on the island of Oahu itself. Oahu has an extensive network of roads and highways that connect the different regions of the island, including Honolulu. Some of the major highways on Oahu include the H-1, H-2, and H-3 freeways, which provide convenient access to various parts of the island. Whether you’re looking to explore the bustling city of Honolulu or venture out to the more rural areas of Oahu, you’ll find that there are plenty of routes available to get you where you want to go.

Fun Fact: Did you know that the H-1 freeway, which runs through Honolulu, is one of the busiest highways in the United States? It carries an average of over 200,000 vehicles per day!

For more information about the roadways and transportation options in Oahu, you can visit the official website of the Hawaii Department of Transportation at

Major Highways to Use When Driving from Honolulu

If you’re planning a road trip from Honolulu to explore the stunning sights of Oahu, knowing the major highways to use is essential. Lucky for you, Oahu has a well-connected road network that allows for easy exploration of the island’s diverse landscapes. Here are the main highways you should consider when driving from Honolulu:

H-1: Main Route to the South and West Shores

When embarking on a journey from Honolulu, the H-1 highway will be your primary route if you’re heading towards the south and west shores of Oahu. This major highway runs from downtown Honolulu through the urban areas of Pearl City and Aiea, before reaching the beautiful coastal towns of Kapolei and Ko Olina. Along the way, you’ll pass by iconic landmarks such as the Pearl Harbor National Memorial and the USS Arizona Memorial.

H-2: Connects to the North Shore and Windward Coast

If you’re looking to explore the renowned North Shore or the scenic Windward Coast, the H-2 highway is your gateway. This highway branches off from the H-1 near Waikele and takes you through the central part of the island, passing by the lush Wahiawa and the picturesque town of Haleiwa. The H-2 provides access to popular attractions like Waimea Bay, the Polynesian Cultural Center, and the beautiful beaches along the Windward Coast.

H-3: Alternative to H-1 for Avoiding Traffic

The H-3 highway offers an alternative route to the H-1 if you’re looking to avoid heavy traffic or simply want a change of scenery. This scenic highway connects the Windward Coast to the H-1 near Aiea, providing easy access to the island’s eastern region. The H-3 takes you through the scenic Ko’olau Mountain Range, offering breathtaking views of lush valleys and towering cliffs. It’s a great choice for those seeking a more relaxed and picturesque drive.

Before hitting the road, it’s always a good idea to check for any road closures or traffic updates. You can visit the Hawaii Department of Transportation website for the latest information on road conditions and closures. Whether you choose the H-1, H-2, or H-3, driving from Honolulu to Oahu is an adventure that will reward you with stunning scenery and memorable experiences.

Recommended Driving Routes from Honolulu

Along the South Shore to Hanauma Bay and Sandy Beach

If you’re looking for a scenic drive along the coast, this route is for you! Starting from Honolulu, head east along Kalanianaole Highway and enjoy breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. As you drive, you’ll pass by iconic landmarks such as Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach. Don’t forget to make a stop at Hanauma Bay, a world-famous snorkeling destination known for its crystal-clear waters and colorful marine life. Continuing along the south shore, you’ll reach Sandy Beach, a popular spot for sunbathing and bodyboarding.

For more information about Hanauma Bay, you can visit their official website here.

North Shore Loop via the Eastern Coast

If you’re a fan of surfing or simply want to experience the laid-back vibe of the North Shore, this route is a must-try. Start your journey from Honolulu and head northeast on Kamehameha Highway. As you drive along the eastern coast, you’ll pass by picturesque beaches including Waimanalo Beach and Lanikai Beach. Feel free to stop and take a dip in the turquoise waters or simply relax on the sandy shores.

As you continue your drive, you’ll reach the famous surfing mecca of the North Shore, where you can witness professional surfers riding massive waves during the winter months. Don’t forget to make a stop at the historic town of Haleiwa, known for its charming boutiques and local eateries.

Circle Island Route Highlighting Major Sights

If you want to explore the diverse beauty of Oahu, the circle island route is the perfect choice. Starting from Honolulu, head east on the H-1 freeway and take the exit towards Likelike Highway. As you drive along this scenic route, you’ll encounter stunning vistas, lush rainforests, and cascading waterfalls.

Make a stop at the famous Dole Plantation, where you can indulge in delicious pineapple treats and take a ride on the Pineapple Express train. Continue your journey towards the North Shore and witness the powerful waves at the Banzai Pipeline. As you make your way back to Honolulu along the western coast, you’ll pass by the historic Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial.

For more information about the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, you can visit their official website here.

Tips for Driving and Parking in Oahu

Avoid Peak Traffic Times Around Honolulu

Driving in Oahu can be a great way to explore the island’s picturesque landscapes and hidden gems. However, it is important to plan your routes and timing wisely to avoid getting stuck in traffic, especially around Honolulu. The peak traffic times in Honolulu are typically during the morning and evening rush hours, as well as during popular events or festivals. To make the most of your driving experience, try to schedule your trips outside of these busy periods. Additionally, consider using navigation apps or websites that provide real-time traffic updates to help you navigate around congestion and find alternative routes.

Use Rental Cars for Convenience and Flexibility

Renting a car is a convenient and flexible option for exploring Oahu at your own pace. There are several car rental companies available on the island, offering a wide range of vehicles to suit your needs. Having a rental car gives you the freedom to visit remote attractions, scenic viewpoints, and beautiful beaches that may not be easily accessible by public transportation. It also allows you to create your own itinerary and explore Oahu’s diverse landscapes at your leisure. Just make sure to familiarize yourself with local traffic rules and regulations, as well as parking restrictions, to ensure a smooth and hassle-free driving experience.

Book Parking in Advance When Visiting Popular Spots

When visiting popular spots in Oahu, such as Waikiki Beach or Pearl Harbor, it is advisable to book parking in advance. These attractions can get crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons, and finding parking can be a challenge. Many popular spots offer reserved parking spaces that can be booked online or through mobile apps. By securing your parking in advance, you can save time and avoid the frustration of circling around in search of a parking spot. Additionally, some attractions may offer discounted rates for pre-booked parking, providing you with both convenience and savings.

Alternative Transportation Options

While driving from Honolulu to Oahu may not be possible, there are several alternative transportation options available for getting around the island. Whether you’re a tourist exploring the sights or a local commuting to work, these options offer convenience and reliability.

TheBus Public Transit System

TheBus is Oahu’s public transit system, and it provides an affordable and efficient way to travel around the island. With over 100 routes covering major attractions, shopping centers, and residential areas, TheBus is a popular choice for both locals and tourists. The buses are air-conditioned and equipped with bike racks, making it easy to explore the island on two wheels. Additionally, TheBus offers a handy mobile app that provides real-time bus tracking, schedules, and trip planning.

Taxis, Rideshares, and Shuttles

If you prefer a more personalized transportation experience, taxis, rideshares, and shuttles are readily available on Oahu. Companies like Uber and Lyft operate on the island, providing convenient door-to-door service. Taxis are also a popular option, with numerous taxi stands located throughout Honolulu. Many hotels and resorts also offer shuttle services, making it convenient for guests to travel to popular tourist attractions.

Tours for Sightseeing

For those looking to explore the sights and attractions of Oahu, taking a tour is a great option. There are numerous tour companies that offer guided tours, allowing you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery. Whether you’re interested in visiting Pearl Harbor, exploring the North Shore’s famous surf spots, or hiking through lush rainforests, there’s a tour available for every interest. Tours often include transportation, making it a convenient and hassle-free way to see the island’s highlights.

For more information on transportation options in Oahu, you can visit for TheBus schedules and routes, or check out for a comprehensive guide to getting around the island.


In summary, the capital city of Honolulu is centrally located on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, with several major highways connecting it to beaches, parks, and attractions around the island. While driving is the most flexible way to explore Oahu, from Honolulu you can also take public transportation, join guided tours, or use rideshares and taxis. With some planning ahead, you’ll be able to make the most of your time discovering the diversity Oahu has to offer.

So get ready for an amazing adventure on Oahu. Whether you drive yourself or opt for other transportation methods, you’ll be able to easily access the island’s wealth of natural beauty, activities, culture, and dining from the gateway of Honolulu. Have a wonderful trip full of spectacular memories!

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts