Planning to escape to paradise? Whether you’re looking for a high-life touristy destination, or a low-key location for nature lovers, Hawaii has your answer. In this blog post, we’ll focus on Oahu, the best destination for fun and frivolity with a touristy flare.
1. Waikiki – A bustling city full of resorts, Waikiki is home to street vendors, surf lessons galore, and plenty of nightlife. Check out Kalakaua Avenue for great shopping and fine dining.
2. Hike Diamond Head Volcano (Waikiki) – While in Waikiki, visit Hawaii’s iconic volcano crater: Diamond Head offers some of the most stunning panoramic views on Oahu. From the parking lot to the summit, this moderate hike measures at 0.8 mile one way and climbs 560 feet in elevation. A series of switchbacks, tunnels, and stairs, the climb takes about an hour; but the memories will last a lifetime.
3. Polynesian Cultural Center – Plan to spend a day exploring the culture of the islands of Polynesia (Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji, Hawaii, and more) at the Polynesian Cultural Center, about an hour north of Waikiki. See their dances, hear their music, taste their food and learn about their traditions. Don’t miss their Ali’I Luau: complete with a flower lei greeting, Hawaiian entertainment and food, it’s known as the most authentic luau in Hawaii.
4. Dole Pineapple Tour – 40 minutes northwest of Waikiki, find the original fruit stand that became the hallmark of Hawaii. Tour the beautiful Dole Plantation by foot or by train, witness centuries of Hawaiian agriculture and tradition, get lost in the world’s largest maze, and devour some local delicacies including some refreshing DoleWhip at the Plantation Grille.
5. Snorkeling in Hanauma Bay (Honolulu) – Just 10 miles outside of Waikiki is some of the best snorkeling on the island. The remnants of an ancient volcanic crater, Hanauma Bay offers calm and clear waters and a rich coral reef. Experience up close encounters with the shallow bay’s protected marine life such as green sea turtles, trumpet fish, yellow tangs, parrotfish, surgeonfish and living coral. Plan to arrive as early as 6am, because the park stops accepting visitors once the parking lot is full; and plan to spend time waiting and watching the mandatory video for first time visitors. Snorkel gear is available for rent at the park.
6. Waimea Bay (North Shore) – Find the iconic waves that spawned a sport about an hour north of Waikiki. If you’re visiting in the winter months, see the legendary surf of Waimea Bay where professional surfers come to play in the monstrous pipeline waves. Catch the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing in November or December; and if the waves are high enough (at least 20 feet), catch the Quicksilver Eddie Aikau surf competition. If you’re visiting in the summer months, Waimea Bay offers long sandy beaches, calm waters and beautiful vistas.
7. Lanikai Beach (Kailua) – Perhaps the most picturesque beach in the world, Lanikai Beach is a popular spot for model photo shoots. A mile of white sand and turquoise waters, Lanikai lives up to its Hawaiian name of “heavenly sea.”
8. Pearl Harbor Tour – Built over the wreckage of the USS Arizona, the Pearl Harbor Memorial commemorates the United States’ entry into World War II after Japan’s attack on the US Navy ships stationed in Hawaii on December 7, 1941.
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