Dont Forget Your Travel Insurance For Honolulu
Its good to get lost sometimes, but its also good not to get too lost. There are people that want you home in one piece.
Theres one travel insurance provider The Broke Backpacker trusts for all his wildest shenanigans World Nomads!
And then let the shenanigans begin.
Visit Famous Waikiki Beach
If not THE most famous beach in the world, Waikiki is definitely in the running for the prize. This is why Waikiki beach is number 1 on my list. Ill be honest, as Oahu beaches go, there are better beaches try the west coast of Oahu. Yet, that didnt stop me galloping like a small child to dig my toes into an patch of this iconic beachs sand. Its a great, low-effort spot to sunbathe, right within Waikiki, fronted by the boardwalk and within steps of bars and restaurants when you want refreshments.
If you dont want to spend the day lying on the beach, there are tonnes of beach activities, like stand-up paddleboarding or boating. Again, there are quieter beaches to enjoy these activities in Hawaii, but you cant beat the convenience of the beach. For me, Waikiki beach is most beautiful at sunset. There arent many places in the world where the sunset is so fantastic that people look up from their cameras and phones and applaud natures performance.
Dont miss the Duke Kahanamoku Statue just in front of Waikiki Beach. I say dont miss it it would be hard to miss it since its a 9ft bronze sculpture of the man famed as the father of international surfing.
Hike Up To Diamond Head
One of the fun top things to do in Honolulu is to hike up Diamond Head and experience the expansive panorama of Waikiki and Honolulu below. Popular time frames would be early in the morning for cooler temperatures or later in the afternoon for that golden light and sunset views . Park is open from 6am to 6pm with the trail head closed off at 4:30 pm and parking fee is $5 per car. Check out the visitor information site here for more details.
Check out our post on hiking the Diamond Head trail here for more information and images.
For a guided tour of Diamond head, transfers and visit, check out this affordable tour here for more details.
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Bask On Waikiki Beach
With rows of pink umbrellas from the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, tranquil blue water, and endless sunshine, you can easily spend multiple days simply laying on the shoreline at Waikiki Beach.
Grab a float at a nearby ABC store and relax away in the cool water, or people-watch as you sunbathe in the sand.
With so much to do in Honolulu, you may forget to simply relax on the beach, but the Waikiki coast will give you a chance to unwind while experiencing the incredible city.
Read More: 17 BEST BEACHES IN OAHU YOU DEFINITELY CANT MISS
Sit Back And Enjoy A Luau Show
It might be stereotypical, but attending a traditional luau show with its eccentric dancing, flaring fire, and upbeat drumming is absolutely one of the non-negotiable things to do in Honolulu.
While the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahus North Shore is renowned as the front-runner, a performance at Paradise Cove or in the Waimea Valley promises to be just as memorable.
Looking for more activities in Oahu? dont miss our selection of fun things to do in Oahu.
Looking for a place to stay? There are a lot of options if youre looking for accommodation in Honolulu.
You can never go wrong with a room near Waikiki Beach, close to the world-famous Ala Moana Shopping Center and central to a plethora of restaurants and attractions .
If youre looking for a more local, budget-friendly experience, there are plenty of hostels that will save you a pretty penny.
Whether youre after 5-star amenities or just a bunk-bed a comparison site like Booking.com offers the widest range at the best prices.
Need a ride from the airport? Waiting in line to find the cheapest price on a taxi is NOT something that you want to do after traveling all day in a cramped economy seat.
Weve got a solution: If you book an airport transfer, your driver will be waiting for you at the airport with your name written on a placard . Relax in the backseat, dont worry about parking or traffic, and youll be on Waikiki Beach in no time.
Aloha and happy travels!
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Get Your Adrenaline Rush Skydiving On The North Shore
Theres no adventure more thrilling than skydiving, but skydiving in Hawaii? Thats the ultimate bucket list activity! One of the coolest things to do on Oahu if youre an adrenaline junkie, soaring above the islands famed North Shore is an experience you wont ever forget.
You can experience the feeling of flight on the sensation-packed adventure, where your free-fall speed can reach up to 120 miles per hour. Most tours reach an altitude of 9,000-14,000 feet, and free-fall time lasts about 20 seconds. Most tours also include a photo and video package to purchase and keep as a souvenir.
Pacific Skydiving is one of the most popular tour operators for skydiving in Oahu, offering experienced instructors attached to you every step of the way. Its a world-class skydiving center with an excellent safety record, offering airplane tandem rides as well as High Altitude Halo Tandem, which is the highest tandem skydive in Hawaii!
Skydive Hawaii is another skydiving tour option featuring tandem skydives at 12,000 and 14,000 feet. After instruction, youll have the chance to experience free-fall and enjoy a birds-eye view of Oahus beautiful landscapes on your skydiving adventure.
Top Things To Do In Oahu For First Time Visitors
In this guide, Ill give you my 10 top things to do in Oahu for first-time visitors. I was a bit overwhelmed researching things to do in Hawaii because almost every article I read told me to swim with sharks, surf the Triple Crown or take pre-sunrise hikes up steep inclines.
It all sounds admirable and boast-worthy. But what if youre more of a sit on Waikiki beach with a shave ice kind of person? Dont get me wrong I did some adventurous stuff I hiked up Diamond Head, and I eventually gathered the nerve for skydiving over the north shore. Mainly, I focused on seeing the main highlights in Oahu.
In this post, Ill share those with you. At the bottom, I have an additional list if you want to see more or do more. Theres nothing wrong with spending your vacay eating shave-ice. I wouldnt like to share it with a shark anyway.
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Eat Garlic Shrimp At Giovannis Shrimp Shack
While Oahus food scene is full of delicious eats that deserve a spot on your itinerary, eating shrimp at Giovannis Shrimp Shack is a must. Not only is it the most well-known shrimp truck on the entire island, but it actually lives up to the hype!
A local dining destination for two decades, this North Shore staple makes for a convenient stop for lunch or dinner. Shrimp is on the menu at this foodie favorite, with its shrimp scampi being a popular choice. The shrimp are marinated in the perfect blend of olive oil and fresh garlic and drizzled with garlic-lemon butter.
Other menu items include hot and spicy shrimp, lemon-butter shrimp, and a jumbo garlic hot dog, with all plates served with two scoops of rice. Youll find several benches and tents set up in front of the trucks for digging into the hearty platters.
Be aware that they only accept cash, so come prepared. They currently have three locations, two on Kamehameha Highway and one on Keawe St. in Honolulu.
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum
If youre in the mood for some local culture, the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum is calling. The museum is home to a staggering 24 million-plus artifacts, each of which offers an invaluable insight into the rich historical, natural, and cultural melting pot of the Pacific Islands. Learn more about the Hawaiian gods of old in the huge Hawaiian Hall, or discover Hawaiis sporting past at the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame. Whichever exhibit you choose to concentrate on, you cant help but leave informed and entertained.
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Best Hostel In Honolulu The Beach Waikiki By Aloh
Theres not much you can nit pick about this hostel in Honolulu. Super clean and safe, and offering tons of fun social events. The dorm rooms are reasonably priced and there are also private rooms for those who dont like sharing. Its also in a great location near to attractions. The only downside of this hostel is the rooms fill up super quick, so be sure to book early!
Take A Ukulele Lesson
The Ukulele is a huge part of Hawaiian culture, and this store not only sells them but also offers free daily lessons!
Descendant from a traditional Honolulu musical family, selling ukuleles since 2000, and with three ukulele instruction books written, the teacher/owner of The Ukulele Store, Tyler Gilman has toured and led workshops around the world.
This is a great traditional place to learn to play the Ukulele, and who knows, maybe take one home with you!
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Final Thoughts On Things To Do In Honolulu
Honolulu is a gem of a city. It has everything you could possible want and more. From gorgeous beaches to fascinating museums, and out-of-this-world nature .
I hope this list has given you a few ideas on the best things to do in Honolulu, whether youre staying for a weekend of a week, youll never run out of attractions to visit.
If you think theres something Ive missed, do let me know in the comments.
So all thats left to say is have a great time and Aloha!
Travel Back In Time At The Kaniakapupu Ruins
Unlike other bucket list tourist destinations such as Rome or Athens, there are not a ton of ancient ruins to speak of. Due to lack of space, access to building materials, colonization, and just overall practicality, its just not a place youre going to trip over something ancient every few minutes. But that doesnt mean they arent there at all.
The Kaniakapupu Ruins are the remnants of the summer house of King Kamehameha III where he would go to escape and confer with his trusted advisors.
Its not that much of a hike but it is hidden with no signs and long lines to enter which makes it one of the most authentic things to do in Honolulu. Look up directions with pictures online and let your adventure begin, and be prepared to get lost!
- Entrance: Free
- Address: 4295 Nuuanu Pali Dr, Honolulu, HI
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See Scary Tides At Halona Blowhole
One of the most terrifying landmarks in Hawaii is the Halona Blowhole.
It is called blowhole because beneath the cliffs are violent currents that can drag innocent divers to the sea, coupled with the waves that strike against the boulders.
The water builds up pressure and forces such that it shoots past the rocks like a geyser. However, the Halona Blowhole is very much safe when viewed from afar.
Aside from its beauty, it is a natural fantasy of Hawaii, with many television shows, films, and music videos shot, using the jetting geyser as the background.
Visiting the Halona Blowhole is best in the summer, that is when the tides are stronger. The hot, windy days push the water higher than usual. The winter is a great time too. This is when humpback whales go past the cove in their annual migration. You can as well look out for sea turtles and nesting birds.
Hardly would you find the Halona Blowhole on travel brochures lists, but it still makes the count of top places to visit in Honolulu.
Manoa Falls Honolulu Oahu
To see the true beauty of Oahu you have to get off the beach. Just a short drive from Waikiki towards Manoa Valley will get you to a lush rainforest thick with bamboo. An easy 45-minute hike up the mountain will reveal Manoa Falls, the 150-foot waterfall that turns into a thunderous gush of water after heavy rains.
The small pool where the water cascades from the overhanging cliff looks fresh and inviting, but it is actually dangerous for swimming because of falling rocks and bacteria contamination. Nevertheless, the air is cool and quite refreshing. The 1.6-mile long trail is fairly easy, with some large boulders you will have to climb over. It can be slippery after the rains, and it rains often in the rainforest even if its dry when you leave the beach. Bring bug spray, as insects thrive in the forest.
37 Manoa Rd, Honolulu, HI 96822, Phone: 800-464-2924
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Waikiki Aquarium Honolulu Oahu
Waikiki Aquarium is one of the oldest aquariums in the country. It was founded in 1904 and starting in 1919, the University of Hawaii started to manage it. It is located just off Waikiki Beach across from Kapiolani Park next to the thriving reef. The aquarium has over 500 live marine species and about 3,000 marine specimens.
Some of the most popular exhibits are the New Hawaiian Green Sea turtle, Jet Set , Corals are Alive, Hawaian Marine Communities, and many others. The aquarium organizes a range of classes and activities for schools and community groups, special events, and celebrations.
2777 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, Phone: 808-923-9741
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Stroll Through China Town
Hawaii is the most diverse state in the United States and at the heart of this diversity is Chinatown. Asians make up 37.2% of the population according to the 2020 Census and that number is still growing. Filipinos, Japanese and Chinese especially have been in Hawaii since the 18th Century and have become interwoven into the tapestry of Hawaiian culture.
Shop and eat your way through the stores and restaurants and see part of what makes Hawaii so unique. Chinatown is also part of the arts district of Honolulu so there is always lots going on and lots to see. Another cool feature is the old architecture that has been thankfully preserved for all of us to see.
This is one of the coolest things to do in Honolulu and one thing you will not regret.
- Entrance: Free
- Address: 1199 Dillingham Blvd, Honolulu, HI
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Take A Helicopter Tour Of The Island
Helicopter tours around Oahu are a great way to get a new perspective of the island! Youll get to see parts of the island most people will never see in their life.
From the iconic beaches to remarkable views of Honolulu and beyond, a helicopter is a great way to see the island, especially if its not your first time to Oahu.
Just a few years ago, I took my first ride in a helicopter. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous at first but as soon as we took off I found it even more comfortable than flying in an airplane! And the breathtaking views of my home island on this scenic helicopter flight made the nerves completely worth it.
I highly recommend this Doors-Off Circle Island Helicopter Experience operated by Paradise Helicopters. It is the only true full-circle helicopter tour of Oahu and the pilots double as splendid tour guides.
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Oahu’s Kcc Farmer’s Market
On Oahu, Kapiolani Community College is known for its culinary school but it is also home to a weekly farmers market. Thanks to Hawaiis warm weather, farmers around the island easily grow fresh crops for businesses, residents and even visitors. With dozens of vendors selling their wares each week, the KCC Famers’ Market is a place to smell fresh flowers from Big Island’s Green Point Nursery, buy freshly-picked red rambutan fruit and taste foods such as Otsuji Farms sweet potato and banana fritters covered in maple syrup. Enjoy your stroll around the market with beautiful Diamond Head or Mount Leah in the background.Whats cool: You can buy locally made food products such as jams, coffees, and more to take home with you as souvenirs.
2. Go to a Luau
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Places To Visit In Honolulu
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From group Honolulu tours and must-see landmarks to personal guides who take you off-the-beaten track, Expedia.co.nz offers you over 568 of the most popular events, activities, and attractions in this corner of the world. So whether youre travelling alone, alongside a loved one, or with the whole family in tow, be sure to browse through our extensive travel guides prior to your plane touching down in this spectacular Honolulu. We even have a massive selection of flights, car hires, and accommodation for you to choose from. So what are you waiting for? Start your search today, and youll be having the time of your life before you know it.
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