While the rest of the Hawaiian Islands are fairly sleepy, Oahu is loaded with diversions. Honolulu itself is full of sights and activities. You might explore historic Honolulu -- from the Queen's Summer Palace to the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. Or wander through exotic gardens, come face-to-face with brilliantly colored tropical fish, stand on the deck of a four-masted schooner that sailed 100 years ago, venture into haunted places where ghosts are said to roam, take in the spicy smells and sights of Chinatown, and participate in a host of cultural activities from flower lei making to hula dancing.
You don't need a huge budget to experience Honolulu's best activities, and you don't really need a car. TheBus can get you where you need to go for $2, or you can hop on a moderately priced tour or trolley. Your only obstacle to enjoying all the activities here? Trying to fit everything you want to do into your schedule.
Oahu is dominated by Honolulu and is unique in that it has a bit of everything: city life, beautiful beaches, historic sites and lush greenery. Waikiki Beach is one of the world’s most filmed beaches. The beach is a great place for people watching, as it’s always crowded. It’s also a great surf spot. Waikiki beach is lined with hotels, restaurants and shops of every kind. In Honolulu, you’ll find an abundance of great restaurants, shops, cultural events, water sports and more.
Oahu Island has a rich history with a plethora of historical sites and landmarks to visit. You may want to visit Diamond Head where British sailors discovered calcite crystals in the early 1800s and thought they were diamonds. Tour Hawaii’s legendary estate, Shangri La or visit WWII memorials USS Arizona and USS Missouri.
The Waikiki you see today bears no resemblance to the Waikiki of yesteryear, a place of vast taro fields extending from the ocean to deep into Manoa Valley, dotted with numerous fishponds and gardens tended by thousands of people. This picture of old Waikiki can be recaptured by following the emerging Waikiki Historic Trail, a meandering 2-mile walk with 20 bronze surfboard markers (each standing 6 ft., 5 in. tall -- you can't miss 'em), complete with descriptions and archival photos of the historic sites. The markers note everything from Waikiki's ancient fishponds to the history of the Ala Wai Canal. The trail begins at Kuhio Beach and ends at the King Kalakaua statue, at the intersection of Kuhio and Kalakaua avenues.