Blue skies and sandy beaches, hello Honolulu
Currency: US Dollar
Warm weather all year round, sandy beaches, and crystal-clear blue waters, what’s not to love about Honolulu? Situated along the southeast coast of Oahu, Hawaii’s third largest island, Honolulu is the state capital and most populated city of Hawaii. The island of Oahu is only 44 miles (71 km) long and 30 miles (48 km) wide, but with 227 miles (365 km) of shoreline and average 83℉ (28℃) temperatures, there’s plenty to keep yourself busy.
Things to Do and See
While Honolulu’s population is only around 400,000 people, the Hawaiian Islands see close to 10 million visitors each year so it can get a little crowded. You can save yourself a lot of time and heartache by scheduling things around when everyone is going to or coming home from work if you have to drive.
If you visit Honolulu, there’s a good chance that you will be staying in Waikiki Beach. This is probably the most famous stretch in all of Hawaii. Here you’ll find most of the hotels, restaurants, shopping, and some nightlife. It’s a touristy area, but you have everything that you need in close proximity and access to the beaches.
If you need a break from the crowds on Waikiki Beach, then you can take a trip to the North Shore. It’s about an hour drive by car, but keep in mind that the traffic on the island can be heavy at times. But the drive is worth it for the less crowded beaches, bigger waves, and more natural settings.
And while you’re up at the North Shore, make sure that you stop and get something to eat. The food trucks up here have made quite a name for themselves over recent years. Don’t forget to stop and get a snowcone. I’m not sure what the secret is (I think it’s coconut), but they are awesome.
Diamond Head State Monument
For you outdoor enthusiast and hiking lovers, check out Diamond Head State Monument. The hiking trail itself is only about a mile, but accent to the 760 ft (230 m) top may be a bit challenging for some. The name Diamond Head actually refers to the crater of the dormant volcano that the park is home to. From here you can enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the island. There are small fees to enter the park per vehicle or per pedestrian.
Naval Air Station Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941, by Japanese forces in an early morning surprise attack. For history buffs, especially those interested in World War II, Honolulu has a lot to offer. If this is you, here are four places that you should visit:
- USS Arizona Memorial- a memorial to the USS Arizona and her crew lost during the attack on Pearl Harbor
- Battleship Missouri Memorial- a memorial to one of America’s last battleships and where the Japanese surrendered to end World War II
- USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park- a memorial to the US Submarine Force and the USS Bowfin submarine used during the war
- Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum- museum of US Navy aviation including World War II-era aircraft
Honolulu has a pretty decent nightlife scene, but don’t expect any huge mega clubs like you would see in Las Vegas. While there are a few large nightclubs, the bar scene is what really stands out. The bars feel more in line with the laid back island lifestyle, especially the open-air bars along the beach. It’s hard to beat a cold drink with a view of the ocean.
Hawaiian food is amazing. And because it’s so unique to the islands, it’s almost worth the trip just for the food. You’ll find that a lot of dishes are made with tropical fruits of the islands that give a signature sweetness. Of course, being on the islands, fresh seafood can be found everywhere. One of my favorite dishes is loco moco. That’s a hamburger and a fried egg, covered in gravy and served over rice. Honolulu is also a hot travel destination for travelers from Japan, so you’ll find a good amount of authentic Japanese food as well.
A trip to Honolulu is probably going to be on the pricey side. Being a top vacation destination and the fact that many of the resources have to be imported, means most things here are going to come at a premium. However, hanging out on the beach all day is free, so there’s that. But, if you plan ahead and do your research, you may be able to get a good deal on accommodations. Also, if you get away from the more touristy areas and try some of the local restaurants, you can save on meals as well as find some great food.
Honolulu is rated as one of the safest cities in the United States. However, you should still take precautions and use common sense safety steps. Don’t leave valuables unattended, especially on the beach. Be aware that pickpocketing does happen so, watch your surroundings in busy tourist areas. And while this is an island paradise, there are still some areas that you probably shouldn’t hang around. Honolulu also has a pretty significant homeless population as well. While I’ve never had any issues with them or know anyone who has, it’s still something to keep in mind.
Place Name: Honolulu
Place Description: Welcome to the capital of the Hawaiian Islands
Welcome to the capital of the Hawaiian Islands
Warm weather year-round
Beaches can be crowded