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Five Fascinating Facts about Oahu

a large stone building with many windows

Facts About Oahu You’ll be Glad to Know

Oahu is strikingly beautiful island in the Hawaiian archipelago in the South Pacific. From surfing and sightseeing to hiking and dining, this island is one of the top destinations for travel. But what makes Oahu a truly interesting place? Let’s discuss facts about Oahu.

A hand symbol known as "hang loose" represents the Hawaiian spirit
The “shaka” or “hang loose” symbol originated in the North Shore of Oahu at Laie

1. The “Hang Loose” Symbol Originated in Oahu

The “hang loose” or “shaka” symbol has become synonymous with the Hawaiian cultural emphasis on taking it easy and not worrying too much about minor things. A chill attitude is useful in surfer culture, when waves can tumble someone off their board but the best thing to do is get right back on and try again.

Many people may not know that this hand symbol originated in the North Shore of Oahu at Laie. A man named Hamana Kalili was a fisherman and construction worker whose legacy included raising money for the building that would become the Polynesian Cultural Center and fathering two Olympians. Kalili raised money by hosting hukilau shows. He coined the distinctive hand gesture because his fingers were lost in an accident, and the local surfer would imitate his unique wave. As surf and sport culture spread, the hand signal became synonymous with the “no worries” attitude Hawaiians are known for.

2. The Lowest Temperature Ever Recorded in Oahu

Here’s one of the facts about Oahu that will remind you of how warm this island really is. The lowest temperature recorded in Honolulu, Oahu occurred in 1969 at 52 degrees Fahrenheit! Bring your shorts when you visit, because even the winter is warm and toasty.

In case you’re curious, the hottest temperature ever recorded was 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Sounds like time to grab a nice cool Mai Tai.

3. Oahu is “The Gathering Place”

It’s not hard to see why this popular destination is called “The Gathering Place”. Oahu welcomes so many visitors each year! In fact, guests visiting all the other Hawaiian islands combined still don’t add up to the total number of people who head to Oahu each year.

Whether they’re entranced by Diamond Head Crater or surfing at Waikiki, tourists flock to this gathering place to get their fill of island memories.

4. Facts about Oahu: The World’s Largest Plant Maze

Weaving nearly 2.5 miles, the pineapple maze at the Dole plantation is the largest maze made out of plants in the world. Visitors can utilize a free app on their phones to help the as they wander amongst the greenery. The fastest time through the maze is just 7 minutes, but most visitors take an hour or more. The maze is crafted from more than 14,000 plants!

The world's largest plant maze on Oahu
The Dole Plantation on Oahu hosts the world’s largest plant maze

5. Oahu Contains the Only Official Royal Residence in the US

Iolani Palace on Oahu was once the home of Hawaiian monarchs! Both King Kalakaua and his sister Queen Liliuokalani ruled from this historic location from 1882-1893. While the palace once fell into disrepair, it has been renovated and is open to tourists. From the coronation pavilion to the royal jewels, this landmark is the only place in the United States that once served as a royal seat of power.