The words Hawaii and beaches go together like bread and butter. Simply put, the islands are the top destinations for those who seek to relax in the sun next to the ocean. That's not all they have to offer though. You can see historical sites such as Pearl Harbor or natural phenomenons like Manoa Falls and Diamond Head State Monument. Other famous attractions are the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and Lolani Palace. Of course, there are many beaches for you to relax near. We've gathered ten of the best attractions Honolulu has to offer here to make your trip easier to plan.
Relaxation and surfing are two things that come to mind when Waikiki neighborhood and its beach are mentioned. You don't have to be a surfer to go- it's just as much fun to watch. Let the sun-colored sand cushion your feet and watch those perfect surfing waves roll onto the beach. When you're ready for more than the surf and sand, head to Kalakaua Avenue which lies parallel behind the beach for great shopping and dining.
Address: Kalakaua Avenuue, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815
Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona are the most visited United States WWII memorials for a reason- everyone leaves feeling the experience was worth every minute. There is a shuttle that can take visitors from the USS Arizona to the USS Missouri, another battle ship, which is now a memorial. Don't forget to go to the Aviation Museum and the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum either!
Address: 1 Arizona Memorial Pl, Honolulu, HI 96818
Grab your water shoes and some insect repellent and that's about all you'll need besides your swimming suit and camera if you're going to Manoa Falls. This 100-foot waterfall is a great example of the ecological diversity and beauty of Hawai'i's islands. The trail is easy for any kind of hiker to master, and the rainforests surrounding it will take you to a different world. You'll soon understand why Steven Spielberg filmed Jurassic Park here. The falls are open from sunrise to sunset so you're able to admire the scenery at the falls any time of day!
This isn't the place for your amateur surfer, as the waves here are simply too intense for anyone that isn't close to professional, but it makes it the best beach for those looking to catch some sun as surfing spectators. Because the waves can be so big here, there are always lifeguards on duty for your safety if you're looking to swim (summertime waves are perfect for swimmers!). Sunset beach, as the name suggests, is also a wonderful place to enjoy the sunset and it's not as crowded or touristy as other sunset-viewing areas.
Address: 59-104 Kamehameha Highway, Haleiwa, Oahu, HI 96712
This cemetery sits on a majority of the crater here and memorializes all the veterans who served and/or gave their lives for their country. There are some notables buried here, including Ernie Pyle and Stanley Dunham. This memorial has moving tributes as well, such as the Honolulu Memorial which commemorates those who fought in the Vietnam War, Korean War, and in the Pacific during WWII.
This palace tells the story of Hawaii's last monarchs, King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani. It's the perfect place to go if you want to better understand Hawaii's unique and interesting culture and history. This is the only royal residence available to explore on American soil, so don't miss your chance to go!
This is another surfing oasis, but perhaps that's just an Oahu thing in general, as many beaches seem to be the perfect place to catch those treasured 30-foot waves. If you're here in summer, you're at the right place for swimming, snorkeling, and boogie boarding, as the waves tend to be calmer. The bay is large and beautiful and devoid of restaurants or shops, so make sure you pack a picnic lunch and drinks for your trip there!
Address: 61-031 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, Oahu, HI 96712
300,000 years ago this crater was created by a volcanic eruption and today it provides hiking, sightseeing and plenty of parks and gardens to its visitors. If you're looking for a workout then the climb up this crater is your ticket to a good, hard hike. Bring water and a camera and you'll feel rewarded once you reach the top in more than one way!
Address: Diamond Head Road at 18th Ave., Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815
You can find Ke Iki Beach between Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach. There are bungalows here if you want to spend a night a little outside of the city. Like many beaches in Honolulu area, you'll find pristine sands and waters, and an unbelievable sunset to top off a lovely day at the beach. This is another great location to enjoy a gorgeous Hawaii sunset.
Windsurfing reigns here at Kailua Beach Park. Take lessons or watch the others windsurf as you relax. This is a great family beach with plenty of shaded areas that make great places to take a break from the fun. There are also picnic tables, lots of parking space, and even a cafe if you get thirsty or hungry. The sand here is absolutely fantastic in color- a perfect gold- and the deep blue waters compliment it perfectly.