Six million people visit Oahu, Hawaii every single year, making it the most popular of the Hawaiian Islands. With iconic landmarks like Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head, historical spots like Pearl Harbor Memorial and Iolani Palace, and stunning beaches like Kailua Beach and Banzai Pipeline, there’s no shortage of things to do.
As an Oahu local myself, I’m still exploring all of the amazing hidden gems of the island!
There are many fun and unique vacation rentals on Oahu. Choose between a yurt on the North Shore, a luxury home in Kailua, and a retro island-inspired condominium in Waikiki. Which exciting place to stay will you pick?
Here you’ll find my list of the 12 best Airbnbs on Oahu to help you get started. If you’re still deciding where to stay on Oahu, then read on to find the perfect island home for your Hawaiian holiday. Aloha!
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Top 10 Things To Do on Oahu
- Hike to the top of Diamond Head. This green mountain peak may be the most iconic landmark in Hawaii, and it boasts amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu.
- Enjoy the waters of Waikiki Beach. As arguably the most popular beach in the world, Waikiki Beach boasts bright blue waters and golden sand that you’ll definitely want to enjoy.
- Step back in time at the Pearl Harbor Memorial. Learn about the historic bombing of Pearl Harbor that prompted the US to join World War II.
- Watch the surfers at Banzai Pipeline. Locally known as just Pipeline, this is the premier surf spot on the island. In the winter, waves can consistently reach 20 to 30 feet, making it the perfect spot for professional surf competitions.
- Spend the day at Waimea Bay. This breathtaking beach has fantastic conditions for swimming, surfing, suntanning, and cliff jumping, depending on the time of year.
- Learn about the history of the islands at the Polynesian Cultural Center. This popular attraction allows visitors to learn about Polynesian culture, watch the evening “Ha: Breath of Life” show, and even experience a Hawaiian luau.
- Tackle the 1,000 steep steps of the Koko Head Crater Trail. During World War II, this hike was a railroad track built for the military. Today, it’s a challenging trail that will reward you with gorgeous views of the southeastern tip of Oahu.
- Take in the sparkling sand and turquoise waters at Kailua Beach. Consistently voted one of the best beaches in the world, you simply can’t pass up the chance to see this beauty with our own eyes!
- Snorkel at Hanauma Bay. You’ll see schools of colorful fish, a turtle or two, and maybe even Hawaii’s state fish – the humuhumunukunukuapua’a.
- Visit Iolani Palace, which is the only palace in the United States. It was once home to King David Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani, the last reigning monarchs of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
Why Stay in an Airbnb on Oahu
There are so many advantages to staying in an Airbnb on Oahu. For starters, you can choose the exact area of the island that you want to stay – whether that’s in the hub of downtown Honolulu, on the surf-inspired North Shore, or near the beautiful beaches of Kailua.
Plus, there are so many fun and unique Airbnbs to choose from on Oahu! Stay on a yacht, in a yurt, or in the same luxurious vacation home where President Obama vacationed. You can pick a Hawaiian vacation home that perfectly fits your vibe and style of travel. Plus most Oahu Airbnbs are significantly more spacious than your average hotel room in Hawaii. And they often offer cool extra amenities like private pools and beach supplies.
Staying at an Airbnb is also a wise way to spend your money. It’s typically much more cost-effective to stay in an Airbnb than at a hotel, especially on Oahu, where the prices of hotels – especially those coveted beachfront hotels – can be quite high. As an example, if you’re traveling with friends or family, you’ll find yourself paying for multiple hotel rooms. But with an Airbnb, you and your group can split the price of a single large vacation rental.
Finally, one of the greatest perks of staying in an Airbnb on Oahu is the fact that you can connect with a local before your flight even lands. Many Airbnb hosts are very friendly and love to share local tips! And these tips are true gems in Hawaii, so be sure to make use of them! Find out about hidden beaches, secret hikes, and local ono grindz (Hawaiian slang for delicious food).
The 12 Best Airbnbs on Oahu
Best Oahu Airbnbs for Couples and Solo Travelers
One of the most unique Oahu Airbnbs is this beachfront yurt on the North Shore! Located right across from the famous Sunset Beach, this interesting, yet inviting vacation rental is a wonderful place to stay during your time on the island.
With the lattice wood walls, dome ceiling light, and wooden rafters, this home has all of the aspects of an authentic yurt. This modest vacation rental has a comfortable bed, a cozy chair, a simple kitchenette, and an outdoor deck. You’ll be able to doze off to sleep under the stars while listening to the sound of the ocean.
As I mentioned, this beachfront yurt is situated just across the street from the amazing Sunset Beach. So you’ll be close enough to catch a surf competition at Pipeline, grab a slice of chocolate haupia pie from Ted’s Bakery, and devour an Insta-worthy acai bowl from the bright yellow Sunrise Shack.
This newly renovated Winnebago is the only one of its kind on the entire island, and it’s quite the steal! Rather than paying for a hotel and a car, you can get both for the price of one by renting this unique Oahu Airbnb.
The RV includes a full-size bed with a memory foam mattress, a small kitchen, and a full shower. It even includes two air conditioning units and a TV with all of the local channels! So even though you’ll be sleeping in a camper, you’ll still have the amenities you’d expect from an Airbnb.
One of the best things about staying in an RV is that you can pick where you want to spend the night. While this vacation rental is usually nestled in the town of Moanalua, you can drive it to see the waves of the North Shore, the hustle and bustle of Honolulu, or the beaches of Kailua. You’ll love the freedom of the open road!
The Islander’s Ocean View condo looks like it came straight out of a retro, island-inspired TV show set. With a bubble gum pink couch, an antique lagoon blue refrigerator, and a collection of Hawaii vintage posters, this Oahu Airbnb is bright, bold, and spunky.
This adorable condominium includes one plush queen bed, a small kitchenette, and a succulent-dotted balcony with an ocean view. There are also quite a few thoughtful touches including SPF 30 sunscreen available for your use, shiny pineapple tumblers for yummy cocktails, and loads of gear for an afternoon at the beach.
And as if the beachy decor wasn’t enough, this island-inspired condominium is located right in the heart of Waikiki – just two blocks from Waikiki Beach and one block from Kalakaua Avenue! You’ll easily be able to walk to all of the best shopping areas, restaurants, and beaches in the area from this vacation home.
Best Oahu Airbnbs for Small Groups and Families
There are plenty of interesting places to stay on the island, but the Ho’okipa Yacht is definitely one of the coolest Airbnbs on Oahu. After all, who wouldn’t want to experience life aboard a boat?
The yacht includes three inviting bedrooms, a plush indoor seating area, a small kitchen, a wet bar, and a sunny outdoor seating area. It also has a flat screen TV, a Playstation 4, and amazing ocean views. You’ll forget that you’re not sleeping in a resort on land!
To take full advantage of staying on a boat, you can even book a charter with the crew. They’ll take you to all of their favorite marinas around the island, and, if you’re lucky, you may be able to see some sea creatures along the way!
When the boat is in port, it’s docked at Kewalo Basin Harbor in Kaka’ako – a hip, trendy neighborhood in Oahu. Here you can check out the street art murals, find a delicious eatery at SALT at Our Kaka’ako, shop at the boutique stores of South Shore Market, and experience the fun of the Honolulu night market.
Ke Ola Nani is a luxurious beachfront condominium with a bit of island flair. You can curl up with the leaf-patterned pillows in one of the three bedrooms, savor a meal at the rustic wood dining table, prepare something to eat in the well-appointed kitchen, and enjoy the sea breeze on the oceanfront balcony.
Since Ke Ola Nani is located on the Beach Villas at Ko Olina property, you’ll also have access to two pools, several hot tubs (including one with a sandy floor), a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a beachfront bar.
Ke Ola Nani is located in the lovely area of Ko Olina. This area is most well-known for the four lovely lagoons that stretch the length of the town where you can lounge and swim to your heart’s content. But you can also pay a visit to Disney’s Aulani next door, enjoy a delightful happy hour at Monkeypod Kitchen, play a few rounds at the award-winning Ko Olina Golf Club, and experience an authentic luau at Paradise Cove.
Television shows that document house transformations, like Fixer Upper, Flip or Flop, and Property Brothers, have been all the rage lately. And this welcoming home in downtown Honolulu went through a Fixer Upper-worthy transformation of its own.
Today, this newly remodeled triplex unit boasts hardwood floors, marble-inspired countertops, and luxury Miele appliances. It also has two cozy queen beds, a pristine kitchen, a comfortable seating area, and a handy laundry area if you feel inclined to do some laundry during your vacation.
Situated in the Punchbowl neighborhood of downtown Honolulu, this Airbnb is conveniently close to many of the city’s main attractions. Learn about Hawaiian history at Iolani Palace, peruse the exhibits at the Honolulu Museum of Art, surround yourself with native plants at Foster Botanical Garden, and stop by one of the many tasty restaurants in Chinatown for a fantastic meal.
It’s every surfer’s dream to stay at a home on the shores of Sunset Beach, and this bright yellow beach house allows guests to do just that! You’ll be able to surf the waves or soak up the sun from sunrise until sunset, making this home undoubtedly one of the best Airbnbs on Oahu!
With plenty of open space, an abundance of natural light, and a few vibrant accent plants, this beach house has a rather minimalistic design. But the sleek decor doesn’t mean it’s not comfortable! You’ll feel right at home in the two inviting bedrooms, the comfortable living room, the well-stocked kitchen, and the cozy backyard with a cute picnic table.
As I mentioned earlier, this Sunset Beach House is just a few steps away from Sunset Beach. So while you could easily spend all of your time enjoying and exploring the beauty of its sandy shore, you can also go snorkeling at Shark’s Cove, watch the pro surfers at Banzai Pipeline, and tackle the hidden ‘Ehukai Pillbox hike.
Best Oahu Airbnbs for Large Groups and Events
Between yurts, yachts, and RVs, there are certainly quite a few unique Airbnbs on Oahu. But there are none quite as special as the luxurious Kailua beach house that hosted President Obama every winter from 2008 to 2011!
The interior of this Airbnb is a lovely combination of modern design with Hawaiian-inspired touches. You’ll enter through a gorgeous carved wooden door into the large, natural light-filled seating area with pops of earthy green accent walls. From there, you can wander into the dozens of other rooms in the luxurious villa, including the five nature-inspired bedrooms, the welcoming dining room, and the home office.
And just wait until you see the backyard! You’ll absolutely love lounging in the secluded cabana and swimming in the lagoon-like pool with cascading waterfall, all while surrounded by lush greenery. With all of these amazing features, it’s clearly worthy of a president.
As can be expected, the location of this beach house is also fantastic. Situated on the shores of the most secluded part of Kailua Beach, you can easily spend all day floating in the calm turquoise waters. You can also kayak in Kaneohe Bay, dine on fresh fish at Nico’s Kailua, and gape in awe at the stunning views from the short but strenuous Lanikai Pillbox hike.
The luxurious beach house that hosted President Obama isn’t the only noteworthy home in Kailua! Walker’s Lanikai Beach House is situated on the shores of the beautiful Lanikai Beach, which is right next door to Kailua Beach, and arguably just as beautiful.
Since this home is directly on the water, you can enjoy views of the Pacific Ocean from the huge glass windows in just about every room. And the ocean theme continues into the interior of the house through blue pops of color and beach-inspired signs. You’ll practically be right on the beach whether you’re in one of the five cozy bedrooms, the well-appointed kitchen, the beautiful dining area, one of the many inviting seating nooks, or on the sunny outdoor deck.
While staying at Walker’s Lanikai Beach House, you’ll want to take advantage of everything Kailua has to offer. Visit both Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach, kayak to the Mokulua Islands (locally known as “the mokes”), hike to Lanikai Pillbox for sunrise, and check out the ancient Hawaiian temple at the Ulupo Heiau State Historic Site.
With floor-to-ceiling glass walls, clean lines, open spaces, and natural stone walls, the Kahala Grand Splendor is a textbook example of contemporary architecture and interior design. This Airbnb is the epitome of luxury with sleek but still cozy furniture, plush rugs, unique light fixtures, and even a spiral staircase to the second floor.
The home has five massive bedrooms, an open floorplan with a living room and dining area, and a fully stocked kitchen with luxury appliances. The master bedroom even has a full conversation area in the center for romantic evenings spent sipping wine and chatting. It also includes many fun amenities, such as a pale blue pool, a warm hot tub, a deep porcelain bathtub, and a Sonos sound system.
The Kahala Grand Splendor is tucked away behind Diamond Head in a lesser known area known as Kahala. Hike to the top of Diamond Head, visit the bustling Kapiolani Community College Farmers Market, and admire the many pieces at the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture, and Design.
With a huge sundeck, a brilliant blue pool, an adorable beverage cart, and a shiny silver bathtub, Villa Luana is one of the coolest Oahu Airbnbs. The spectacular pool area is totally unique with brightly colored loungers and different shaded seating areas. You might even be tempted to spend your entire trip on the property.
And the nature-inspired interior of the home just adds to the appeal. Snuggle up in one of the six nature-print beds, prepare a meal in the lavish warm wood kitchen, savor a dish at the lengthy dining table, and relax in the spacious living room.
Situated in Hawaii Kai, Villa Luana is about midway between Waikiki and Kailua, so you can get the best of both areas! And don’t forget to explore Hawaii Kai as well, including Sandy Beach, Koko Crater Trail, Hanauma Bay, and Halona Blowhole.
The Ritz-Carlton Waikiki is one of the most extravagant hotels on Oahu – and the Sky Penthouse is the most lavish room at the resort. Between the unobstructed ocean views, three levels of luxury, and access to all of the hotel amenities, the Sky Penthouse is definitely one of the most amazing Airbnbs in Oahu!
The penthouse itself includes three bedrooms filled with natural light, a beautiful kitchen with marble countertops, and multiple inviting seating areas. And as a guest at this penthouse, you’ll also have access to all of the Ritz-Carlton Waikiki amenities, including a state-of-the-art fitness center, the relaxing spa, and the eighth-floor infinity pool.
If you’re hoping to stay in the heart of Waikiki, the Sky Penthouse is a fantastic option. You’ll be right at the center of all of the excitement. Ride a few waves at Waikiki Beach, shop until you drop at Ala Moana Shopping Center, and catch the Friday night fireworks at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
That’s it – 12 of the best Airbnbs on Oahu! Do you have a favorite vacation rental on Oahu? Let us know in the comments below.
* All vacation rental photos courtesy of Airbnb.
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Sarah Etinas – About the Author:
Sarah is a travel writer based on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii. When she’s not enjoying the stunning beaches and hikes of her home island, she’s going on exciting adventures all around the world. A few of her most thrilling adventures have included snowshoeing in the Swiss Alps, kayaking through a river of jellyfish in the Caribbean, and sleeping in a sandstorm in the Sahara Desert.