Serving as both the capital and largest city of Hawaii, Honolulu represents the island state’s energetic epicenter. In Honolulu, you will also find one of Hawaii’s most popular beaches, Waikiki. The city stretches over much of the island of Oahu, the third largest Hawaiian island, all the way from Pearl Harbor to Makapuu Point. Honolulu is known for its arts, culture, and entertainment scene, offering a large array of activities from live music, dining experiences, art galleries, and some of Hawaii’s most historic sites.
Honolulu is well known for its beautiful white sand beaches, especially Waikiki, arguably Hawaii’s most famous beach located on the south shore. It is the perfect place for swimming, canoeing, or sunbathing. Just up the shore you at Kalakaua Avenue, you will find yourself surrounded by exquisite restaurants, local shops, and a bustling nightlife scene. If you seek a more serene beach, Hanauma Bay is a great choice with its location at the base of an extinct volcano, surrounded by calm waters and a beautiful coral reef. The bay’s reef is an excellent place for snorkeling and scuba diving. Halona Beach Cove, known as the “peering place”, is nestled in a rocky cove and offers the perfect place for swimming when the surf is calm.
For the outdoor aficionados among us, hiking up to the top of Diamond Head State Monument to experience the extraordinary views of both Honolulu’s skyline and Waikiki Beach is a necessity. There are also several other places to go hiking, such as Pu’u Ualaka’s Park, Nu’uanu Pali Lookout, and Halona Blowhole all of which will wind you past stunning beaches and rock formations. Or, just grab your towel and head out to Ala Moana Beach Park, Kaimana Beach, or Fort DeRussey Beach Park for a good dose of sun. Honolulu is also home to several historic sites, including Pearl Harbor, the largest natural harbor in the state and the only naval base in the country that has a National Historic Landmark designation. Board a ferry to the floating USS Arizona Memorial, constructed over the sunken battleships hull, and learn about the attack that will live in infamy. Also be sure to stop by the Pacific Aviation Museum and the Battleship Missouri Memorial, recognized as the site where WWII ended.
Hotels in Honolulu
There are many hotels in Honolulu dotted in various areas of the city, ranging from family-friendly spots just a short walk from Waikiki Beach to locations that are ideal for business travelers. Options and amenities abound, making it is easy to find a location and style best-suited for the activities you have planned for your trip to Honolulu.
Where to Stay
As the cultural hub of the island of Oahu, downtown Honolulu houses the Hawaii State Art Museum, Mission Houses Museum, Aloha Tower, the state capital building, and majority of the business district. Waikiki is the center of tourism and is a popular tourist destination. Its gorgeous beaches, the Honolulu Zoo, the Waikiki Aquarium, and vibrant Hawaiian culture make it the perfect place to enjoy with the whole family. Ala Moana Park, between downtown Honolulu and Waikiki, offers a pleasant place to relax and enjoy a tranquil alternative away from popular tourist destinations.
How to Get to Honolulu
Honolulu International Airport (HNL) is the most convenient option for fliers, offering many domestic and international flights. The airport offers a shuttle service, the Airport Waikiki Express, to and from hotels throughout the day. Public city buses also provide stops through downtown and Waikiki. Rental car services are accessible just outside the airport terminals as well. Once you have arrived at your destination, getting around may be a little difficult if you are not used to a compass-point grid system. A city map (often offered in hotel lobbies and tourist spots) or your phone’s GPS will come in handy while navigating Honolulu.
Honolulu is relaxing and adventurous all at once. Get inspiration for creating an amazing trip.
Beyond the white sands of popular spots, several of Honolulu's more secretive beaches make for a memorable visit with a bit more peace to it.