The Getaway
10 Best Things to Do in Honolulu, Hawaii

You work hard. You’re a good person. So why not treat yourself to a bit of paradise on Earth? Visit Honolulu and that’s exactly what you’ll get. Honolulu is a tropical paradise filled with natural wonders, kind people, and never-ending fun. It is also rich with cultural diversity and historical significance. In Honolulu, you can be as adventurous or as laid back as you want. Whatever your choice, you are surrounded by beauty everywhere. It’s exactly what paradise is all about, and it’s waiting for you.


01 Play at Waikiki Beach

What better way to start your Honolulu experience than at one of the world’s most famous beaches? Waikiki Beach has long been known as one of the best surfing places you can find. There are several places to rent a board, so you don’t have to worry about bringing yours. Never tried surfing before? Not a problem. The Waikiki Beachboys is a group of Hawaiian water sport experts who have been teaching people how to enjoy Hawaiian waters since the early 1900s.

If surfing isn’t your thing, Honolulu is also home to one of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs. There are over 1,200 miles of it for you to enjoy. Spend a day snorkeling or scuba diving to see several species of fish that can only be found there.

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu Photo by Vishnu Tadimeti on Unsplash

02 See the Sights at Makapuu Point

Makapuu Point is one of the best body surfing sites in Honolulu. Grab your bathing suit and try your luck! It is also a great place to watch the whales that visit every year between December and May. In addition, you can hike the 600-foot sea cliff that overlooks beautiful Makapuu Beach. Tour the active lighthouse at the top; it's been operating since 1909, making this a historical place to visit with an amazing view. You can see the Windward Coast and some other of Hawaii’s islands from there or from one of several landings along the way.

Makapuu Point Photo by Ariana Kaminski on Unsplash

03 Spend a Day at Bishop Museum

The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum

Bishop Museum is home to the state’s largest museum dedicated to Hawaiian history. There you will see millions of amazing artifacts from Hawaiian and other Polynesian cultures. Learn about native Hawaiian culture and see royal family heirlooms from King Kamehameha I and his descendants. A planetarium is there, as well, where you can see how the stars were used to guide travelers throughout the Pacific Ocean. You can also learn about Hawaii’s natural environment at the Science Adventure Center. These are interactive exhibits where you will be hands-on during a learning adventure.


04 Limbo at a Luau

Hawaiian hula dance

Enjoy the best Honolulu has to offer with a real luau on the beach. Sip a tasty island drink while eating authentic Hawaiian foods like pork roasted in an underground oven. Watch as fire twirlers and dancers entertain. Join in the fun as you dance to island music, all while surrounded by beautiful water and tropical flowers. It's everything you think of when you think of Honolulu, and it's your chance to be a part of it.


05 Make Something Hawaiian


You will be showered with leis and surrounded by hula dancers during your Honolulu visit. Why not take some of that island feel home with you by learning some native crafts? String flowers and berries to make your own beautiful lei. Learn how to shake your hips Hawaiian style by taking a hula dance lesson on the beach. Take a ukulele or steel drum lesson and enjoy island sounds long after your trip is over. Weave your own basket to hold all the souvenirs you collect. Woodworkers can help you craft a wooden bowl made from one of Honolulu's native trees, like the koa or milo. Don't just observe the crafts around you, make some of your own during a fun-filled lesson by a Honolulu native.


06 Take a Hike on Leahi

 Absolutely amazing aerial view on the Hawaii island with a Diamond head crater and Honolulu city skyline view

Leahi is a 760-foot crater in Honolulu. A series of volcanic explosions formed it more than 100,000 years ago. Leahi was nicknamed Diamond Head because explorers first thought there were diamonds all around it. However, those diamonds were actually calcite crystals. The nickname stuck, though, and it is now one of Hawaii’s most famous landmarks. Climb one of two sets of stairs for an amazing view at the top. Explore underground tunnels and old military bunkers from when Leahi was used as a military lookout. It is an adventure everyone can enjoy.


07 Pay Tribute at Pearl Harbor

USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor

Your trip to Honolulu will not be complete without seeing Pearl Harbor. The U.S. entered World War II because of the attack there, making its historical significance beyond measure. It is currently the U.S. Pacific Fleet headquarters, so there is much to see from both a historical and modern perspective. You must cross the Admiral Clarey Bridge, a floating pontoon bridge, to get there. Once at Pearl Harbor’s naval base, you can visit the museum to get an in-depth education of its history and importance. You should also visit any of the five memorials there that honor fallen military heroes. It is a moving experience that is both humbling and empowering.


08 See the Island in Exciting Ways

See Honolulu from a different perspective - above and below the ground! Get a birds-eye view of Honolulu's beauty from a helicopter ride around the island. Your pilot knows all the great places to see, such as volcanoes, waterfalls, and tropical areas, and will surely take you to them. You can also ride a zip line through the canyons to see the island's beauty from above. Feel the wind in your face as you glide through the tropical tree canopy over rushing streams below.

You can also try something totally different and take a submarine ride around the island. Look through the glass bottom for amazing views of the colorful fish and beautiful coral reefs that make this island so appealing. Again, your captain will know all the best places to go, so your ride promises to be full of adventure and beauty.

helicopter Honolulu Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

09 Explore the Lyon Arboretum

The Harold L Lyon Arboretum botanical gardens inland of Honolulu

The Lyon Arboretum is a great place to learn about the various plants and trees that make Hawaii so beautiful. The University of Hawaii manages its 200 acres, where you can see over 15,000 species of tropical plants and trees. It is located in an artificial lowland tropical rainforest, and there are lovely water features and trails throughout. Spend a day there exploring the various flora that help make Honolulu such an amazing tropical paradise. It's a perfect place to immerse yourself in the island's beauty.


10 Eat Like A Local in Kapahulu

Kapahulu is a neighborhood in Honolulu just outside of Waikiki. Head there for a taste of the ethnic diversity that makes this island so unique. Authentic Hawaiian treats such as kalua pork, squid luau, and lomi-lomi salmon are actually a fusion of foods and flavors from around the world. You can easily see Asian, European, American, Korean and other ethnic influences at play in the delicious foods offered there. In addition to wonderful food, Kapahulu is a great place to shop for souvenirs and other island fares.

Honolulu beach Photo by Channey on Unsplash

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