Go beyond Waikiki to experience the culture, history and off-the-beaten-path treasures of Oahu. From the historic landmarks of Downtown Honolulu, just fifteen minutes west, to the sands of Hanauma Bay, a half hour east, travel beyond Waikiki using various transportation options to these special spots and make the most of your Oahu vacation:
Downtown Honolulu & Chinatown – 15 minutes west:
Learn about Hawaii’s fascinating past at the historic landmarks of Downtown Honolulu. Snap a photo of the King Kamehameha Statue then take a tour of Iolani Palace across the street to learn about the Hawaiian Monarchy that lasted from 1796-1893. Nearby you’ll also discover the historic Kawaiahao Church, the State Capitol and the arts district of Chinatown.
Pearl Harbor – 30 minutes west:
Visit one of Hawaii’s most famous landmarks, Pearl Harbor. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese navy attacked this naval base, forcing the US into World War II. On September 2, 1945, Japan signed its unconditional surrender on the decks of the USS Battleship Missouri ending the war. Today the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites honor these events in the following memorials and museums: Pacific Historic Parks, Battleship Missouri Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, Pacific Aviation Museum and the USS Oklahoma Memorial.
Windward Coast – 30 minutes north:
Escape to the lush Windward Coast for beautiful beaches and scenic coastal drives. Drive up to the Nuuanu Pali Lookout for panoramic views of the local towns of Kailua and Kaneohe under the shadow of the 3,000-foot Koolau Mountain Range. Then visit Kailua Beach, perfect for water adventures like swimming, kayaking and snorkeling.
Hanauma Bay – 30 minutes east:
Located on the eastern tip of Oahu, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is a popular snorkeling destination showing off some of the scenic coastal beauty of Oahu. In fact, this area has a variety of beautiful beaches and panoramic viewpoints including the Makapuu Lighthouse trail, and the Halona Blowhole, the romantic cove made famous in the 1953 movie, “From Here to Eternity.”
North Shore – 60 minutes northwest:
Spend the day on Oahu’s legendary North Shore. Known as the birthplace of big wave surfing, you can watch pro surfers attack the waves during the winter or enjoy the calmer waters at amazing beaches like Waimea Bay during the summer. Be sure to stop at the charming plantation town of Haleiwa during your trip. Eat like a local or shop at the unique boutiques here in the unspoiled countryside of Oahu, a relaxing alternative to Waikiki.