Main Streets & Highways
Navigating around Oahu is actually easy as there are relatively few roads -- some circle the perimeter of the island and a handful cut across the island.
To & From the Airport -- The main thoroughfare that runs from the airport to Honolulu and Waikiki is the H-1 Freeway. The H-1 also runs in the opposite direction to Pearl Harbor and Ewa. The artery that runs from the airport to Honolulu and Waikiki is Nimitz Highway (which has stoplights). In downtown Honolulu, Nimitz Highway becomes Ala Moana Boulevard.
In Honolulu-- The myriad of one-way streets in Honolulu can be confusing and frustrating. If you want to travel in the Diamond Head direction, King Street is one-way going toward Diamond Head. Beretania Street is one-way in the opposite direction, toward Ewa. Punchbowl and Bishop streets run toward the ocean (in the makai direction, as locals say), and Alakea and Bethel streets run toward the mountains (in the mauka direction).
There are three parallel main streets in Waikiki: Kalakaua Avenue (which is one-way going toward Diamond Head and eventually fronts Waikiki Beach), Kuhio Avenue (1 block mauka of Kalakaua Ave., which has two-way traffic), and Ala Wai Boulevard (which fronts the Ala Wai Canal and runs one-way in the Ewa direction).
Around Oahu -- From Waikiki, Highway 72 (the Kalanianaole Hwy.) takes you around Makapuu Point into Kailua and Kaneohe. From Kailua and Kaneohe, Highway 83 (the Kamehameha Hwy.) traverses the North Shore to Haleiwa, where it is still called the Kamehameha Highway, but the number of the highway changes to 99, and the highway then cuts through mid-Oahu past Schofield Barracks and Wahiawa, and swings out to Pearl City.
On the leeward coast, H-1 Freeway becomes two-lane Highway 93 (the Farrington Hwy.); after Makaha, the number changes to Highway 930, but it is still called Farrington Highway all the way out to Kaena Point. Although you cannot drive around Kaena Point, Farrington Highway (still called Hwy. 930) picks up on the north side of the point and goes through Mokuleia and Waialua.
Across Oahu -- Highways that cut across the island are Highway 99 , the Likelike Highway (also called Hwy. 63, which goes from Honolulu to Kaneohe), and the Pali Highway (also called Hwy. 61, which goes from Honolulu to Kailua). The H-3 Freeway, which starts at Pearl Harbor, is the fastest way to get to Kaneohe and Kailua.
One of the best general maps of the island is the Map of Oahu, cartography by James A. Bier, published by the University of Hawaii Press, available at bookstores or online at www.uhpress.hawaii.edu.
The best street map we have found is TMK Maps: Oahu Streets and Condos, published by Hawaii TMK Service, Inc. (tel. 808/536-0867).
The best and most detailed maps for activities are published by Franko's Maps (www.frankosmaps.com); they feature a host of island maps, plus a terrific "Hawaiian Reef Creatures Guide," for snorkelers curious about what fish they spotted underwater. Free road maps are published by This Week Magazine, a free visitor publication available on Oahu, the Big Island, Maui, and Kauai.
For topographic and other maps of the islands, go to the Hawaii Geographic Society, 49 S. Hotel St., Honolulu; or firstname.lastname@example.org (tel. 800/538-3950 or 808/538-3952).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.