Popular things to do
Hawaii calls! If you’re like most people, you’ve been planning and dreaming of a trip to Hawaii for quite some time. The Islands hold a special place in our collective imaginations: pineapples and palm trees, endless beaches, surfing, tropical drinks, and luaus with hula dancers. There was Blue Hawaii (for Elvis fans) and Hawaii-5-0 (for action cop TV shows) to help form our thoughts. Whatever Hawaii you thought was there, really is… waiting. And it begins the instant you leave the Honolulu airport and discover numerous “lei” booths offering colorful hand-made flower leis for sale. You’ll become Hawaiian instantly. By the way, Hawaii was very thorough about travel restrictions during the pandemic. Best to check the current status before you go at www.hawaiitourismauthority.org.
Your first stop should be Waikiki Beach. Chances are, your hotel might be there anyway; many of the Honolulu hotels are. There’s the classic view of Diamond Head standing at the end of a curved sandy beach. If the waves are good, you’ll see surfers trying to ride one in. Beginners are welcome.
The nice thing about Hawaii is that no one can really own the shoreline. Consequently, you can walk the beach along hotel row as long as you like. Especially around sunset, an evening stroll overlooking the Pacific Ocean can be very rejuvenating. After comparing yourself to the statue of super surfer Duke Kahanamoku, your hotel exploration should include the Ala Moana, the oldest built in 1901, the Royal Hawaiian, all in tropical pink, with even pink chairs in their ocean side Mai Tai Bar, and the Halekulani, which means “the house without a key,” which also happens to be the title of the very first Charlie Chan mystery, written right there on the beach by a former guest.
Of course, the chances for stopping and drinking in the view will keep you coming back night after night.
If you can save these for a rainy day, great. However, you may just have to wait a while, and everyone else might join in. Whenever you go, there’s a lot of island history to learn at the Bishop Museum, the state’s largest. It has a tremendous collection of Hawaiian artifacts along with items from all over Polynesia. Iolani Palace, the official residence of the Hawaiian monarchy, was built in 1882 by King Kalakaua and was last occupied by his sister-successor Queen Liliuokalani. It’s been meticulously restored and is the pride and joy of all Hawaiians.
A bit more current history sits in Honolulu’s oldest neighborhood, Chinatown, with narrow streets and active markets. Nearby is the Foster Botanical Garden, historic Honolulu Theater and the Hawai’i Heritage Center, focusing on Hawaii’s many cultural and ethnic groups.
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the surprise attack on the U. S. Pacific Fleet, and the entrance of our country into World War II. Every year, 1.6 million tourists visit Pearl Harbor, so this year will be no exception.
The best place to begin is the Visitor Center at the National Park Service-run Pearl Harbor National Memorial. Various ticket packages are available, but there are daily limits, so an early start is best. The USS Arizona memorial is free, with a small reservation fee for the ferry that shuttles out to the haunting site where over 1,100 sailors perished. Two other ships sank during the attack, the USS Oklahoma and the USS Utah.
Other ships offering tours are the submarine USS Bowfin and the battleship USS Missouri, on which the final enemy surrender was accepted by General MacArthur, on September 2, 1945. So here, in just this small, peaceful inland harbor, you can experience the beginning and end of World War II.
Hawaii is the birthplace of the World Championship Ironman, so you can expect an exercise-conscious community vibe. The race originally began on Oahu, but moved to the less populous Big Island. Close to Waikiki, you can sample the active Hawaiian lifestyle with a scenic hike up Diamond Head Park for an incredible view of nearly the entire island. A little further out (east) is the wide, curved, easily accessible clear water Hanauma Bay. It’s protected by a coral reef, so the snorkeling is excellent. Chances are you’ll easily catch sight of Hawaii’s state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapuaa. The Bay is really an active nature preserve situated in an inactive volcano crater, filled with over 400 fish species darting about the coral.
While in the Kahala area, drive around a bit and discover why former President Obama and his family like to vacation there.
No trip to the Hawaii would be complete without a little exposure to the surfing culture, and the best place to catch a wave is Oahu’s North Shore, The winter waves can be mind-boggling (ever hear of the Bonzai Pipeline?). Yet, some of the finest beaches on the island, at Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach, are year-round delights. While you’ve made the trip north, you might as well pay a visit to the Dole Pineapple Plantation to learn about one of Hawaii’s most famous exports. (The Dole factory back in Honolulu is also worth a quick tour, if only for the fresh samples.)
There’s also golf at Turtle Bay and the surf town, Hale’iwa, where some folks say the refreshing snack “shave ice” was born. It’s much better than any Sno’ Cone you might find back on the mainland.
– A luau (the best are located around Waikiki)
– Honolulu Museum of Art
– Hawai’i Food and Wine Festival
– Manoa Falls Trail
– Aloha Tower
– Polynesian Cultural Center
– Statues of Kamehameha the Great and Father Damien
– Any Tiki bar
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GO with Us on Oahu
When you need a ride to or from Honolulu HNL Airport or across Oahu, GO with us for transparent fares and fast, reliable service. We provide affordable, convenient, and safe transportation options including private vans, non-stop rides, premium black car service, and shared ride airport shuttle vans.
We offer airport transportation to/from Honolulu International Airport, as well as around town transportation throughout Oahu and the surrounding areas. We also offer tours and attractions through ‘IMI Tours.
Traveling to the airport requires a reservation in advance to ensure a vehicle is ready to GO when you are.
For passengers departing the airport, booking in advance will lessen your wait time. However, you can visit our booths in baggage claim and we can easily arrange a ride without an advance reservation.