Honolulu, Hawaii is the perfect destination to visit to enjoy the sun, sand, history and laid-back lifestyle. As soon as you arrive in Honolulu you instantly feel relaxed! When I visited Hawaii for seven days I made sure that my vacation was relaxing but also made sure I got out and about to see the main sights of this beautiful island! Here are five of my faves that you must see while in Honolulu!
Visit Waikiki Beach to swim, surf or enjoy a cocktail at a resort on the beach. You can’t go to Hawaii without sinking your toes into the famous white sands of Waikiki Beach. The beach is a hive of activity with people swimming, surfing, sunbaking and simply enjoying the amazing weather and laid-back lifestyle. Waikiki Beach certainly makes you feel relaxed and alive – you are guaranteed to have a great time! If you prefer calmer water then head towards the Hawaiian Hilton Village where you will find a man-made lagoon to enjoy.
Good to Know
Sit back at one of the hotel bars like the historic Royal Hawaiian Hotel also known as the Pink Palace, grab a cocktail and watch the sunset on Waikiki Beach.
An absolute must for anyone visiting Hawaii. If you are a history buff or not this memorial has been created to preserve the memories and honor all that were affected by the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941.
The USS Arizona Memorial forms part of the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. After watching a video you will take a short boat ride out to the memorial where you can still see the USS Arizona. Amazingly still to this day, oil bubbles can still be seen leaking from the hull to the surface.
The visitor center is located only about 30 minutes from Waikiki by car and while you are there you can also discover the restored USS Bowfin Submarine which sits within the Pearl Harbor Visitor Centre, the Pacific Aviation Museum, USS Oklahoma Memorial and the Battleship Missouri.
AMAZING…it was worth the wait Dad! I finally got to visit the memorial 20+ years after my first trip to Hawaii with Mum and Dad. A slight mix-up with Dad’s dates and time zones meant we had to throw clothes in suitcases and high tail it to the airport and we missed out. But I am pleased to say that we have all now visited the memorial on the right date and time – love ya Dad!
Good to Know
Pre-book your ticket and boat time for the USS Arizona so you can secure an early spot. You will then have the rest of the day to enjoy the other attractions. Allow 2 – 3 hours for this attraction alone.
Pre-book tickets to the Battleship Missouri especially If you want to learn how to fire a cannon and walk down the ship’s longest hallway known as “Broadway”. This tour takes approx. 90 minutes, then allow extra time to have a look around.
The sites undergo restoration from time to time, so to ensure you get the chance to visit the attractions you would like to check out the official Pearl Harbor Memorial website.
Hire a Mustang Convertible
Hire a Mustang baby and feel the wind in your hair! Who wouldn’t love hiring a Mustang convertible in Hawaii and cruising the streets of Waikiki? This is a fun experience as you can pop the top down and drive around soaking up the atmosphere just like a local and it’s a great opportunity to go from one side of the island to the other or where ever you like.
Good to Know
Plot out the main sites you want to see on a map before heading out so that you don’t have to backtrack. Some great spots to stop at along the way include the Dole Pineapple Plantation (have the ice cream it’s yum), Waimea Bay, Pearl Harbor, Four Seasons O’ahu at Ko Olina for lunch, Diamond Head crater.
Majority of people will know Kualoa Ranch as being a place where famous movies have been filmed like Jurassic Park, Jumanji, Pearl Harbor, and 50 First Dates but there is so much more to this ranch…
The ranch is privately owned and sits across 4000 acres of incredible scenery which can be enjoyed by guests from the many tours and activities that are offered like horseback rides, the valley zip line, Jeep expedition tour and the one I did the ATV tour which takes you up and around the grounds past movie sets and incredible views. I am not sharing any photos of me on the ATV tour as the helmet was huge and I look ridiculous but this was a great experience and one I will never forget it.
Kualoa Ranch has a gift shop and cafe where you can sit and relax on the verandah and admire the view.
Ooh ah oh WOW Ala Moana, this is the world’s largest open-aired shopping center. It is home to over 350 shops and restaurants and a place where you can literally buy anything and everything.
Here you can shop for high-end or popular brands. There are major department stores and boutique shops or simply sit in a café and soak up the atmosphere.
You can walk to Ala Moana from most Waikiki hotels. For a little bit of fun, why not catch the open-aired Trolley. This will allow you to enjoy a little bit of Hawaii’s history.
Good to Know
Visit Ala Moana’s website and view the Directory Map or download the app. You can get an idea of what shops you want to visit and where they are located to save you from missing out!
Thoughts & opinions shared about Five Faves to Explore in Hawaii are entirely my own!