Things to do in Honolulu

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Enjoy hedonistic revelry in Honolulu, where fine dining and shopping meet idyllic white sand beaches. This exciting city on the island of Oahu caters to the holidaymakers every whim. Whether you are looking for a relaxing beach vacation, a cultural experience, scenic natural wonders or an all-out adventure, Honolulu, which translates as ‘sheltered bay’ is the place to come. You may wish to experience it all for yourself, but for a guided taste of the best that Oahu has to offer, there are many Honolulu tours on offer to suit a range of tastes and budgets. Here are just some of the wide range of options available to the lucky visitor to Honolulu

On the Ocean

Had enough of just gazing at the ocean from one of the breathtaking beaches? Why not take one of the many cruises from Honolulu harbour and experience the ocean world off Oahu’s shoreline? You can take a tour to some of the historic landmarks of the island on a seafaring tour of the city and Pearl Harbour, to learn more about the history of Hawaii. Perhaps you would enjoy a whale-watching tour? Or maybe you are the adventurous type and would prefer to take a cruise on a submarine to see the wonderful world beneath the waves? Other excursion options include snorkeling in beautiful bays, or surfing on shimmering seas.

Pearl Harbor Tour From Honolulu

  • Skip the line
  • Small-group tour
  • Exclusive to Viator
  • Free drinks included
  • Free hotel pickup and drop-off included

Get an insider’s look at Pearl Harbor on this 4.5-hour small-group guided tour of the area, including the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument and the USS Arizona Memorial. See archived film footage of the 1941 Japanese attack, learn about the history of Pearl Harbor. After the tour, get chauffeured around downtown Honolulu to see the sites and learn about the history and culture of this fascinating city.

After getting picked at your hotel and driven in the comfortable car to Pearl Harbor, get briefed by the tour supervisor and receive your tickets for the tour. Then head off to the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument and the USS Arizona, learning about the history of the monuments and ships as you go and getting a vivid portrait of that infamous day in December 1941 when the Japanese attacked. Watch historical footage of the attack on archived film clips.

When the tour is complete, hop back in the comfortable car and take a tour around downtown Honolulu. Learn about the history of this Hawaiian metropolis and see some legendary landmarks such as the statue of King Kamehameha and the renowned Iolani Palace, State Capitol, Washington Place and then return you to your original pickup location.

Honolulu City Tours

The large city with its diverse areas has much to explore, before you even get to see the rest of the island and everything else Hawaii has to offer. Why not take a hop-on, hop-off bus tour round the main historic and cultural sites? Amongst the largest and best are the Bishop Museum, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and the Iolani Palace. Or for something a little different, why not try a Segway tour? If you prefer to go your own way, then why not hire a scooter and discover the city at your own speed?

Waikiki Trolley Hop-On Hop-Off Tour of Honolulu

  • Choice of several departures throughout the day
  • Comprehensive tour by bus/coach
  • Family friendly
  • Instant Confirmation
  • Multiple times offered throughout the day

Explore Waikiki and Honolulu with a choice of hop-on hop-off tours that feature the historic sites, scenic natural beauty and world-class shops and restaurants in and around the Hawaiian capital. Sightsee at your own pace aboard an open-air trolley or double-decker bus; simply hop off to visit any site. Choose from four lines that focus on different aspects of the area.

Begin your hop-on hop-off tour in central Waikiki or at any of the stops along the line that you choose. Enjoy unlimited boarding privileges for the duration of your pass on a choice of five lines with more than 30 stops. Or combine all of the options with a 4-day or 7-day pass to see more.

As the open-air trolley or double-decker bus transports you around town and along the coast, hop on and off as many times as you like. Or remain on board to sight-see from the trolley or bus; the time needed to complete a given route without disembarking is listed below in Itinerary. This pass gives you the flexibility to create your own itinerary and see the best of Honolulu at your own pace.

On the Road

Whether you head off for a self-drive adventure, or take a full-day or half-day guided tour, circling the whole island of Oahu can give you a good taste of the natural splendors on offer. Take a relaxed approach and take your time as you visit viewpoints at the Diamond Head, Koko Head, Hanauma Bay, Halona Blowhole and Nu’uanu Pali. See scintillating beaches and the wonderful Waimea Falls. Take in the historic temple of Byodo-In, and other historic and cultural treasures as you drive or are driven the 120 miles round the island.

Rainforest Rambles

Whether you take a tour or strike out independently, be sure to make the time to explore Waimea Gorge or Iao Valley or some other part of the islands lush and verdant interior. Hiking trails abound, and walking through this stunning scenery you are sure to feel that you have entered another world – so very different from the famous beaches as Waikiki. – Volcano Visits: See yet another side to Hawaii as you explore the volcanoes of Hawaii by air, by boat or on foot. Take a trip to Big Island to explore the Volcanoes National Park. Or explore Oahu’s volcanic mountains on one of the many hiking or biking trails. For a different view of things, take to the skies in a helicopter or hot air balloon to experience Hawaii’s grandeur from above.

Polynesian Culture and History

  • Perfect introduction for first-time visitors
  • Ideal choice for families

Experience true Hawaiian culture on a tour that takes you in the Polynesian Cultural Center. Visit Luau for the very best Polynesian song and dance on offer, or go on a spiritual themed tour around the Sacred Hawaiian Spirits, or one of the many ghost tours exploring the island’s mystical side.

The eight villages showcase the indigenous Polynesian cultures of Hawaii, Samoa, the Marquesas, Fiji, New Zealand, Tonga and Tahiti. Real Polynesians share knowledge of their traditional customs, and you can either watch the demonstrations or jump in and participate! Take a canoe ride on the lagoon and cook a meal in the Samoan village. Kids will love getting temporary tattoos, spear throwing, ukulele lessons and fishing.

No evening at the Polynesian Cultural Center would be complete without experiencing “Ha: Breath of Life”, an ancient, yet universal tale. Performers dressed in authentic attire share their traditions and culture, just as their ancestors once did. You will also witness the exciting fire walkers and fire-knife dancers.

Polynesian Cultural Center boasts an authentic cultural experience and offers a variety of dining and show packages, perfect for all tastes and budgets.

Movie Locations

Take a tour by bus, Hummer, ATV or even on horseback to see some of Oahu’s many movie and TV filming locations, from “Jurassic Park” and :50 First Dates” to the television series “Lost”, as well as many other movies and series. Whatever your interest, there will be a number of themed tours suiting your tastes.

Wherever you go and whatever you choose to do during your time staying in Honolulu, you are sure to fall in love with Hawaii. So book your holiday to Honolulu today, and find out where your Honolulu tours will take you.

Cape Kumukahi Lighthouse

Built in 1928 and later upgraded to its current state in 1933, the Cape Kumukahi Lighthouse (also known as the Kapoho Lighthouse) survived a catastrophic fate. In 1960, an eruption in a cane field nearly 2 miles east of the lighthouse and close to the town of Kapoho produced a lava flow that destroyed the town and threatened the lighthouse. Miraculously, the flow split into two streams and surrounded it, destroying several outbuildings yet leaving the main structure intact.

Several legends grew from the event all centering on the goddess Pele. In one, she appears as a beggar to the caretaker of the lighthouse asking for food and shelter. The caretaker feeds and gives her a place to sleep only to find her gone in the morning and the lava flowing towards him. He leaves with his family but returns and discovers the lighthouse still standing.

Take Hwy 132 from Pahoa to the intersection of Hwy 137. From there you can see the lighthouse or park and walk to it. Witness for yourself where lava meets concrete and decide whether Pele truly did save the Cape Kumukahi Lighthouse.

Lava Tree State Park

While you’re in the area plan for a picnic at the Lava Tree State Park and enjoy the newly renovated facilities and paved walking path. Formed when a fast moving lava flow struck a wet patch of ohia trees the resulting creations are interesting and unique. At the beginning of the trail is a large gouge from a violent eruption in the 1700s and an open air building with tables and restrooms.

As you traverse the 0.7 miles (1.1 km) footpath that form a loop through the park, you will see standing and toppled lava encrusted hollow trunks, dense, colorful foliage and towering eucalyptus trees. Some of the lava covered trees have broken in two allowing tourists the chance to see actual bark impressions within. The Lava Tree State Park is great for anyone interested in the effects of lava on the natural environment or just looking for a place to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Rainbow Falls and Boiling Pots

If you are headed to Hilo why not drive a few miles up Wainuenue Avenue and experience the most beautiful waterfalls in the state. Rainbow Falls gets its name from the rainbows that spread vibrantly across the lagoon many mornings. The waterfall plunges 80 feet into a large pool surrounded by rock cliffs and exotic plants and trees. Behind the falls lies a cave which legend says is the home of the Goddess Hina.

Above Rainbow Falls but still on the Wailuku River is another beautiful yet slightly stranger natural creation aptly named Boiling Pots. A collection of big pools is fed by an underground flow of water. During or after rainy days the “pots” bubble and froth as though they are boiling. Proximity to downtown Hilo and plenty of parking make these two sights a must see for any tourist.

With literally thousands of attractions and things to do on Hawaii Island, it’s impossible to cover them all with anything less than a book. But they’re all easily accessible and (mostly) free, so my advice to you is to get out there and see them for yourself.

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