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Unveiling Oahu’s Accessible Paradise

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The island of Oahu, Hawaii

Journey to Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu is a beautiful island in the Hawaiian island chain. I’ve been going to Hawaii since I was just a teenager.  It’s absolutely one of my favorite places on the planet.  It’s difficult to properly put into words, but from the very first time I visited Oahu I was smitten! 

Accessibility in Transit

It’s about a five hour flight from Los Angeles, California to this tropical paradise. But well worth the trip. There are so many things to see and do on Oahu, especially in Honolulu, one of the most populated cities in the United States.  From the gorgeous beaches, to the mountains and Diamond Head volcano, and everything in between, there’s something for just about everyone, including people with disabilities.

Accessible Transportation in Oahu

On the island, you’ll find a number of accessible transportation services. Be sure to reserve your ride in advance.  If you want to rent an accessible van, be sure to contact Wheelers Vans! They have an amazing staff and will even meet you at the airport.  They have a limited number of vans so be sure to reserve well in advance. If you do rent, be sure to take a drive around Oahu’s magnificent coastline to see amazing beaches, mountains, cliffs, and some of the most amazing waves you’ll ever see.

Stay in Comfort: Accessible Accommodations

Accessible accommodations are located all over the island.  From beachfront to more secluded hotels, you’ll find one that meets your needs and your vibe.  I prefer something on the beach so I can hear the waves and watch some amazing sunrises or sunsets and I have never been disappointed on Oahu.  Favorites include the Sheraton Waikiki and the Hyatt Regency Waikiki.

Pearl Harbor National Memorial

Now, more about Oahu. First, for history buffs, be sure to visit the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. This historical site, commemorating the tragic events of December 7, 1941, is largely wheelchair accessible, with ramps, elevators, and free wheelchair rentals. Navy shuttle boats and the USS Arizona Memorial are all fully accessible The interactive exhibits, films, and audio tours bring history to life, providing a vivid insight into World War II’s Pacific Theatre.

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Next, discover the incredible beauty of Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. Known for its incredible marine life and vibrant coral reefs, Hanauma Bay offers a fully accessible beach for all to enjoy. The park provides beach wheelchairs free of charge and the tram that transports guests to and from the beach has a wheelchair ramp.  There is a theater that offers a short video about Hanauma and has closed-captioning. Just be sure to book in advance, as the number of visitors is controlled to preserve the delicate ecosystem.

Experience the Polynesian Cultural Center

You can’t miss the Polynesian Cultural Center!  Here you can experience the rich heritage of the Pacific Islands through vivid exhibits, performances, and demonstrations. The 42-acre facility is largely wheelchair-accessible, with the exception of the canoes, and offers discounted rates for guests with disabilities. In the Center you can witness the pageantry of traditional dances, learn about ancient Polynesian navigation techniques, and even enjoy a luau – a Hawaiian feast of Polynesian food and entertainment.

Diamond Head State Monument

Travel anywhere on Oahu and you can’t miss Diamond Head – an extinct volcano crater. The crater is massive and you can visit Diamond Head State Monument. While the trail to the summit isn’t wheelchair-accessible, the park surrounding the monument offers accessible picnic areas and pathways with incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu’s skyline. The surrounding area, especially at sunrise or sunset, is a sight to behold.

Waikiki Beach Walk

Of course you have to experience the Waikiki Beach Walk. This loud, often-crowded, open-air shopping, dining, and entertainment complex offers fully accessible walkways, making it easy for everyone to explore. Wheelchair-friendly shops and restaurants coupled with street performances and vibrant local culture create an experience that you cannot miss.

Peace and Serenity at Foster Botanical Garden

For something a little more quiet, head to the serene environment of Foster Botanical Garden. The oldest of Honolulu’s public gardens, it has paved pathways that move through a collection of tropical plants and stunning orchids. Regularly maintained accessible restrooms and accessible parking ensure a stress-free experience.

Underwater Submarine Tour with Atlantis Adventures

Lastly, don’t miss out on a unique underwater submarine tour with Atlantis Adventures. Their large, spacious submarines are designed with wide aisles and are accessible to those who can navigate a few steps with assistance. Once on the tour, you’ll dive deep into the Pacific and see colorful reefs and marine life.

Oahu has a deep commitment to its heritage and to its people.  It’s no wonder that it’s also committed to ensuring that everyone can experience all that this beautiful island has to offer.  I cannot wait to return to this magical island and I hope that you make plans to visit, too!

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