Oahu surprised me in many ways. The major tourist area, Waikiki, is full of tall buildings and very high-end shopping. Waikiki is very urban combined with its party atmosphere is not something I expected. None other party places I've been in the US (Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans) are so high density. Waikiki Beach is predictably rather crowded. The rest of Honolulu feels like a small city and is surprisingly car-centric for being on a small island in the middle of the ocean. The North Shore is the opposite of Honolulu. It's sparsely developed and feels remote, even though it's less than a one-hour drive from Honolulu.