Oahu offers more things to see and do than any of the other
islands. That, of course, contributes to the fact that you will find
more tourists here than on any of the other islands. With so much to
see and do, don't wear yourself out during the first few days.
Pearl Harbor, the Arizona Memorial, and the
USS Missouri. Arrive early for the free boat ride to the memorial which
sometimes has wait times of up to three hours.
National Cemetery of the Pacific at the Punchbowl. A sobering
place to visit reminding us all of the sacrifice made by so many to secure our
freedom. There are panoramic views
of Waikiki and the Pearl Harbor area.
Sunset from Waikiki: These can be beautiful
and there are many places to view them; poolside at the Sheraton Waikiki
or the Hanohano Room on the its top floor, or any of the beaches
stretching from the
Hilton Hawaiian Village to Kapiolani Park.
Hanauma Bay for snorkeling. If you drive, get there early
or you may set in the parking lot quite some time waiting for someone to
leave so you can have their parking place. Shop around when you arrive and you can leave the driving
(and parking) to someone else. There is a lot of
competition among activity providers so you can get some excellent deals
on a half-day at Hanauma Bay that includes transportation and snorkeling
equipment. This would be a good day to spend the
afternoon on the Waikiki beaches soaking up the sun and people
Polynesian Cultural Center: (Note the stops suggested on
the way) Although it's a little expensive ($35 - $125), we highly
recommend touring the villages and the evening show. Plan to arrive no later than
early afternoon because there is so much to see.
There are seven recreated South Pacific villages and we think
the evening show is one of the best in the islands.
Pali Lookout: On your way to the Cultural Center, you can take
Highway 61 (the Pali Highway) to the windward side
of the island. Stop seven miles up the Highway at the Nuuanu
Pali State Wayside for dramatic panoramic views of windward Oahu's valleys and
Kailua and Lanikai Beaches: Continue driving
to the coast and you arrive at these two gorgeous beaches. You can
check them out on this trip, but if you are a real beach
person you will want to return later and spend a day.
North Shore: Take H1 to H2 to drive
center of the island. Along the way you can stop at the Dole
Pineapple Plantation for snacks and souvenirs, but be prepared for relatively high
prices. Or, you can skip it and stop in Haleiwa town a short
distance further. In Haleiwa, you will find stores catering
to surfers, contemporary boutiques, art galleries, souvenir
shops, and restaurants. Further down the road is Waimea Bay and
Audubon Botanical Garden. Waimea Bay is where the North Shore really begins with huge
waves common in the winter. In the summer the North Shore beaches
are relatively calm. Continuing on from Waimea Bay you can visit Banzai
Beach (Banzai Pipeline is a shore break), Ehukai
Beach, and Sunset Beach.
|Haleiwa on the way to the North Shore from Honolulu
Bishop Museum or Iolani Palace: If you
enjoy museums, don't miss the Bishop Museum which is renowned for its
exhibits concerning Pacific life and culture. Even if you don't want
to spend your time in Hawaii in a museum, you would probably enjoy
visiting the Iolani Palace. There is much less to see but it all
relates directly to Hawaii and it is the only royal palace on U.S. soil.
If you have time left over, you may want to do one of the following:
a short hike up Diamond
Head for tremendous views of western Oahu, or a drive around
Round Top and Tantalus Drive which circles Round Top Mountain giving
you views of Manoa Valley, Mount Tantalus, Honolulu, and the ocean.