Leahi (Diamond Head), Oahu
Name: Leahi (Diamond Head State Monument)
What: Iconic state monument with a panoramic view of Honolulu
Where: Five minutes east of Waikiki
More Info: Open 6am to 6pm, $1 for walk-ins, $5 for cars
The iconic silhouette of Diamond Head State Monument sits along the Honolulu skyline just beyond Waikiki. This 230-metre tuff crater is one of Hawaii's most famous landmarks.
Known as Leahi (brow of the tuna) in Hawaiian, the crater was named Diamond Head by 19th century British sailors who thought they had discovered diamonds on the crater's slopes. These "diamonds" were actually shiny calcite crystals that had no value.
Formed more than 100,000 years ago, the crater was used as a strategic military lookout beginning in the early 1900s and was named a National Natural Landmark in 1968. Today, Diamond Head is a popular hiking destination with panoramic views of Waikiki and Oahu's south shore.
It only takes a short drive or bus ride to get to Diamond Head Crater from Waikiki. This moderately challenging trail includes two sets of stairs, totaling 175 steps, as well as dark, underground tunnels and old military bunkers that require a torch. The stunning views that greet you at the top of Diamond Head are well worth the effort.
If you plan to hike on a Saturday morning, don’t forget to stop by the Kapiolani Community College Farmer’s Market — Oahu’s foremost farmers market showcasing locally grown food and produce — across the street from the monument entrance on Monsarrat Avenue. In fact, there are a few notable cafes and restaurants lining Monsarrat that will provide a great pre or post Diamond Head meal.