Honolulu, located on Oahu’s south shore, is the capital of Hawaii. It is full of dining, nightlife, and shopping. Home to some of the best beaches and sunsets in the world, Honolulu is famed for its iconic Beach backed palm trees and luxurious high-rise hotels. From Diamond Head Volcano to Dole's Pinapple Plantations to Pearl Harbor and the Uss Arizona Memorial, there is no shortage of outdoor activities for all walks of life.
Prepare yourself for a bit of sticker shock at shops and restaurants. Below were some of our favorite activities!
PLAY & SEE
Aloha Stadium Swap Meet| When you are all beached out, the swap meet is the perfect break. Vendors set up shop around the exterior of Aloha Stadium, so prepare yourself for a lot of walking and some crowds. The market is a great place to pick up souvenirs and to learn more about the Hawaiian culture. They sell everything from clothing and accessories to Hawaiian souvenirs and native food (be sure to try the macadamia nuts - you'll be amazed at all the different flavors). If you're like us, you'll want a beautiful lei or flower crown, and the swap meet is definitely the place to find one on the cheap (comparatively).
Diamond Head Volcano| Diamond Head, also known as the world’s most recognized volcano, is a volcanic tuff cone and one of the island's most popular and well known landmarks. It takes about 30 minutes to hike up to the top, with plenty of good photo opps along the way. Once you reach the top, you will discover incredible views of the ocean and the lighthouse and the city of Honolulu. Definitely worth the trek and effort to get to the top!
Paradise Cove Luau| Paradise Cove is said to be Hawaii's best luau and we'd have to agree. It is the true Hawaiian luau experience, complete with a Mai Tai greeting, luau dancers, a Hawaiian buffet, fire dancers, body artists, leis, etc. At $85/adult, you'll want to get there early so as to make the most of the entire evening.
Pearl Harbor & Honolulu City Tour| If you are looking for a fairly short and painless tour of Honolulu and Pearl Harbor, this is a perfect way to see a lot of sights in about six hours. An expert guide will take you through Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, helping you to make the most of your time at the popular attraction. After, you'll visit to the historic district, including stops at ‘Iolani Palace (the only royal palace on US soil), the Capitol building, the King Kamehameha statue, and Punchbowl National Cemetery. You'll make stops along the way for pictures and snacks. We prefer the early morning tour - while the 6 a.m. pick up is a bit brutal, you'll be back at the hotel before lunch so you can enjoy the rest of your day on the beach!
Waikiki Beach| Waikiki Beach is the premiere destination for surfing. You can surf, stand up paddle board, or canoe. For first timers,surf lessonsare a must! (Tip: We tried surfing on our last day, which made for a somewhat painful flight home. We recommend trying this a little earlier in the trip so you have time to recover on the beach rather.) Even if you don't want to give the water sports a try, it's still fun to see all of the local experts in action. Stop by theStatue "Duke Kahanamoku," a 9-foot bronze sculpture honoring the Hawaiian Olympic champion & father of international surfing, for a picture.
Dole Plantation| A visit to Hawaii wouldn't be complete without a trip to the Dole Pineapple Plantation. They offer so many activities, including the Pineapple Express Train Tour, the Plantation Garden Tour, and the Pineapple Garden Maze (the world's largest maze!). Don't leave without trying the Dole Whip ice cream!
Four Seasons Resort, O'Ahu at Ko Olina| The much-awaited Four Seasons resort, the first on the island of Oahu, just opened in June of 2016. For those familiar with Ko Olina, it replaced the old JW Marriott with a complete renovation. Bringing four great new restaurants, is the perfect addition to Ko Olina. For casual seafood poolside, check out Fish House. Try La Hiki for modern Pan-Asian in an open-air setting. Go to Noe for some of the best Italian food on the island. And last but certainly not least, hit up the Waterman Bar & Grill for cocktails, lunch and light, casual fare.
Just Tacos| This is the perfect place if you want to do a combo of dinner and stay for drinks after. The restaurant was originally established to bring something to the table that Hawaii was missing - authentic Mexican food and margaritas. With over 300 varieties, they have an extensive tequila bar that even us Texans were impressed by.
Monkeypod Kitchen| This upscale yet casual restaurant has several locations across the island. The atmosphere has a good vibe and the menu offers a variety of options. We highly recommend the organic macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi or the kale & wild mushroom gnocchi.
Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club| We loved our stay at the beach club! The resort is fairly large and has everything you need. Between their amenities and those of nearby hotels,Aulani (a Disney Resort)and the newFour Seasons Resort, you might never leave Ko Olina.
The Marriott property is full of peaceful waterfalls, three gorgeous outdoor pools, a spa, and lots of good restaurants. Located on one of Ko Olina's four white-sand beaches, you are connected to several miles of shoreline pathways for easy access to nearby resorts and the most amazing walk with a view. You'll definitely want a room with a balcony and an ocean view of Ko Olina Beach. Nothing beats morning coffee on the balcony or sunset happy hours.