Appropriately named, the definition of Honolulu is sheltered bay or place of shelter. And once you come to this refuge filled with glorious sun, sand and water, you may just want to build a permanent shelter of your own here. And although the beaches are one of Honolulu's greatest drawing cards, it's not the only Ace it has in its deck. There's a fantastic mix of cultures here, which gives you a huge selection of cuisine. There are many historic places worth exploring or you could go shopping, visit a volcano, explore a rainforest or put in a round of golf. Whether you decide on spending your time sightseeing or sea-seeing (get it?), Honolulu has got all your bases covered.
Lets start with the many beautiful beaches that are at your fingertips when you arrive in Honolulu. The famous Waikiki Beach is one of the best-known beaches in the world. It's also a great starting point to many sites. The most famous volcano in Honolulu is the Diamond Head. Located on the east coast of Waikiki, it has a great trail that goes from the inside of the crater to the rim where you'll enjoy a great view. Just don't mistake the sparkling minerals located here as diamonds like the some past explorers have. The stunning Hanauma Bay is perfect for snorkeling and enjoying the sun. It's a pretty popular place as well, so you may want to get there early. Not too interested in the crowds? Make your way to Kailua Beach, known for being a great place to go swimming and windsurfing.
Although its beaches are some of Honolulu's best landmarks, the Aloha Tower is also one of its most familiar. This huge structure was built in 1926 and is one of the premier sites Honolulu has to offer. Its observation deck gives you a fantastic view of the harbor. And if that isn't reason enough to come, you can enjoy a little shopping here as well. Interested in more shopping? The amazing Ala Moana Center near Waikiki is the world's largest open-air shopping center so you can still enjoy the sun while you explore over 200 stores.
The memorial to the tragedy that struck Honolulu in 1941 is a fantastic tribute to the many soldiers that lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Known as the Arizona Memorial, visitors can watch a 20-minute documentary and get a great tour of the area.
One of Honolulu's best and largest museums is the Bishop Museum. World renown for its Polynesian displays, it features a wonderful display on Hawaii's history. Any bug lovers with you? The Bishop Museum also has the third largest entomological collection in the States with over 13.5 million specimens on display. Bugs not their thing? The third oldest aquarium in the United States is the Waikiki Aquarium, a site not to be missed. You'll see some of Hawaii's most interesting sea creatures here. The Honolulu Zoo is located just outside the city and you'll see a wonderful array of creatures from around the world. The zoo also has a marine area where you'll see a great display of sea life including a huge clam.
Even if you're not an avid golfer, playing a game here is worth your while. The courses are absolutely breathtaking so even if you have the worst game of your life, you can at least look around and enjoy the scenery. Hey, every cloud has a silver lining. Prefer to enjoy the outdoors without a club? Established in 1918, the Lyon Arboretum spreads across 200 acres and has many wonderful hiking trails, especially in the rainforest section. It's a beautiful place to see the wealth of natural beauty that exists in Honolulu.
Feel like royalty? Interested in seeing how they live? Then a visit to 'Iolani Palace is in order. This stunning building is America's only royal palace, which was completed back in the early 1880s. Once the monarchy was overthrown, it was used as a state capitol building. Stroll through the grounds, visit the throne room, or look at the stunning jewels and artifacts available for viewing. You might not have any royalty running through your veins, but you can at least feel like a king or queen when you explore this stunning palace.
If you're looking for a place to eat, chances are you're thinking about enjoying some fantastic Pacific Rim dishes. And Honolulu has an abundance of fantastic places for you to enjoy its local cuisine. But maybe you're not in the mood. Make your way to Chinatown and enjoy eating at the delicious Chinese and Thai restaurants. Some of the best can be found in the Oahu Market. This area also has a wealth of markets, quaint shops and art galleries. If you're interested in experiencing a bit of the Hawaiian culture, make sure you visit the Magic of Polynesia and the Don Ho Show. Both of these fantastic shows are at the Waikiki Beachcomber. For a traditional hula show, make your way to the Waikiki Shell and see the free Aloha Waikiki show. If you're close to the Aloha Tower, go to Kapono's by the Pier. Its well known as having some of the best live music shows. The Kodak Hula Show is another popular attraction in Honolulu. Enjoy the dancing, music and entertainment all for free.
Honolulu will provide you with the perfect escape. Whether you're enjoying the fantastic meals, exploring the sites, watching the hula dancers perform, or simply sitting on the beach, you'll find it to be the perfect place to enjoy a holiday. Honolulu really is a vacationer's dream come true. The good news is that experiencing it is within your reach.