Oahu

The spirit of aloha is extended to every guest of the Hawaiian Islands and—historically—always has been, but the warmest rainbow welcome can be anticipated in “Gay Oahu” and the state’s capital. In fact, of the more than 200,000 gay and lesbian residents in the entire state, the majority of them live in this exceptional destination, where the LGBT population swells to an admirable 9 million when combined with the self-identified hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit each year.

With a gay scene that’s been thriving since the 1970s, Oahu and the state capital of Honolulu—especially its Waikiki neighborhood—are experts at community-building and party-throwing. For instance, every Sunday night, you can choose between a Vegas-style or traditional gay- and family-friendly luau. All you have to do is make your way to Hula’s Bar and Lei Stand in Waikiki to partake in the pig roast, Royal Court procession, and see the award-winning Polynesian show. This famous open-air gay bar is also the meeting point for Hawaii’s only all-gay catamaran cruise, if you feel inclined to see the stunning shores of beaches like Queen’s Surf, Diamond Head, Lanikai, and Kailua from a different perspective. Content to stay ashore? Don’t miss Mokuleia Beach, the only beach with its own gay area on the leeward side.

Back in Waikiki, there are a number of places to find refreshment at night, despite the downtown’s mellow feel. In Between is laid-back and popular with gay men, while Tapa’s Waikiki prides itself on being one of the friendliest establishments on the island. Fusion Waikiki, a multilevel nightclub with drag shows, dancing, billiards, and karaoke, and Bacchus, ideal for the trendy set, kick the party up a notch. To bring it back down, visit Max’s Gym, a 24-hour gay private men’s club offering temporary membership passes with steam room and sauna access, and stay in tip-top shape. Another alternative? Gay-friendly hiking groups, of which there are many. All of these activities and venues are just the tip of the volcanic crater; visit to find your joy.

Good to Know

  • Lively and actively expanding gay scene
  • Generally inclusive
  • Most of Oahu’s popular gay bars and nightclubs are found in Waikiki and centered around Hula’s Bar and Lei Stand in the Waikiki Grand Hotel
  • Meet on certain Sundays to explore trails with Like Hike, a specifically gay-designated hiking group
  • Max’s Gym is walking distance from most area hotels in Waikiki
  • The only all-gay store in Hawaii is called 80% Straight, and worth a visit
  • Gay marriage legal since December 2013

Featured Resorts:

Turtle Bay Resort

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Turtle Bay Resort has almost five miles of beachfront that includes the beauty of Kawela Bay, Kuilima Cove and, of course, Turtle Bay. Only 45 minutes from the high pulse and energy of Honolulu, its guests enjoy the natural tranquility of the north shore lifestyle and spectacular ocean views from every one of the 443 magnificent beach cottages and guestrooms.

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