If you’re thinking of booking a Carnival cruise to Hawaii, chances are you’ll end up in Honolulu on the beautiful island of Oahu. With a picture-perfect setting, soft-sand beaches and world-class dining and historical attractions, it’s easy to see why this state capitol is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. Take time to explore this jewel of the Pacific. Here are 10 ways to spend a day in Honolulu.
1. Visit Pearl Harbor
Few historical areas hold significance for Americans like Pearl Harbor in Honolulu. 1,177 crew members of the USS Arizona lost their lives when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service. Visit these fallen soldiers at their final resting place onboard a Navy shuttle boat at Pearl Harbor. Afterward, take a drive to Punchbowl Crater, the sight of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
2. Discover Diamond Head
Named for the sparkling, calcite crystals in its lava rocks, Honolulu’s Diamond Head Volcano is a top spot for both Hawaiian locals and tourists. On the steep 0.8-mile hike to the summit, you can stop at several places to rest and take photographs.
Along the way, you’ll encounter steep stairways, walk through a lighted tunnel over 200 feet long, and finally enter the Fire Control Station, erected on the summit in 1911. The panoramic mountain, water and beach views are definitely worth the trip!
3. Relax at Waikiki Beach
For certain travelers, vacation is all about fun in the sun, and few stretches of sand deliver like Waikiki Beach. Known as the birthplace of surfing, Waikiki Beach extends two full miles so you’re sure to find a place for swimming, tanning and more.
A variety of boogie boards, surfboards and stand-up paddleboards are available for rent. A number of good restaurants and shops are also just steps away.
4. Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center
If you’re interested in learning about ancient Pacific Island culture, you will find no better place than the Polynesian Cultural Center, just 32 miles north of Honolulu at Laie, Hawaii.
Attractions include: seven authentic villages, delicious island cuisine and an array of demonstrations like fire making, Tongan drumming, coconut-tree climbing and traditional dancing.
5. Explore Oahu’s North Shore
Few places in Hawaii are as picturesque as Oahu’s North Shore. A motor coach tour of this area includes, a trip through the Valley of the Temples and a visit to Byodo Temple, perched at the foot of the Koolau Mountains.
Traveling north to Kahuku, a stop at a local shrimp truck promises a delicious lunch and dessert in the form of Hawaiian-style shaved ice. Additional enjoyable sights along the way include, Sunset Beach, Waimea Valley, Turtle Beach, historic Haleiwa Town and the renowned Dole Pineapple Plantation.
6. Ride a Jeep Through Jurassic Valley
Although the Kualoa Ranch Private Nature Reserve offers many types of activities, the raptor tour might be one of the most exciting. With the addition of ocean views and mountain trails, there’s never a dull moment on this adventure.
For movie fans, the setting in the beautiful Ka’a’awa Valley might look familiar as it was the backdrop for a number of other movies over the years.
7. Explore the Ocean Depths by Submarine
Imagine seeing the ocean from 100 feet below the surface. If you have one day in Honolulu, Hawaii you can take a ride on an Atlantis passenger submarine. After a 15-minute boat ride, you’ll step on board the sub, which features an air-conditioned and spacious interior with large viewing portals.
Along this one-of-a-kind ocean tour, you’ll see an array of sea creatures, a shipwreck and a sunken airplane.
8. Take a Bus Tour of the City
If you want to get to know Honolulu quickly, take a bus tour of the city. With many important landmarks along the route, it’s the perfect activity for history buffs.
Special sights include: beautiful Iolani Palace, the residence of Hawaii’s kings and queens, and the famous King Kamehameha statue.
More highlights include: the Honolulu City Hall, the capitol building and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl Crater. You’ll also drive through bustling Chinatown and see the Hawaiian Mission Houses, home to Hawaii’s first Christian missionaries.
When the tour is complete, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ve learned.
9. Visit Sea Life Park
Just 18 miles east of Honolulu, Sea Life Park is a marine animal park and bird sanctuary. With a seat in the open-air theater, you’ll love watching dolphins do tricks while taking in magnificent views of the Hawaiian coastline. For more fun at Sea Life Park, you can:
- Watch a sea lion show
- Get to know penguins and sea turtles
- Swim with dolphins or sea lions
- Get up close and personal with sharks and rays
The park offers an array of options for dining, and you can pick up souvenirs at one of five charming gift shops.
10. Attend an Authentic Hawaiian Luau
Of all of the things to do in Honolulu, there’s nothing quite like a luau on the beach at sunset. At this traditional Hawaiian party, you’ll enjoy a buffet-style dinner featuring authentic island dishes like poi, Kalua pig and poke.
For more fun under the stars, you’ll see a torch lighting presentation, listen to traditional Hawaiian music and watch exciting Samoan Fire Knife Dancers. Afterward, you’ll come away with wonderful memories and a beautiful Hawaiian seashell lei.
If you have your heart set on a Hawaiian cruise, you may be sailing to or from this beautiful island capitol. For a wonderful start or finish to your vacation, make sure to take time to explore the city of Honolulu and the surrounding area.