Happy in Honolulu: 5 Ways to Spend Your Day

View from Diamond Head State Monument overlooking Honolulu and blue ocean shores on a partly cloudy day.

With so many things to do in Honolulu, you may wonder how to choose. If you’ve been dreaming of a Hawaii cruise with a stop in this famous port, you’ll want to plan ahead. Here are some of the best ways to spend a day in Honolulu:

Explore the North Shore & Waikiki Beach

It’s no secret Hawaii has some of the world’s best beaches. From shopping and water-splashing fun to surf lessons and sitting back on sandy shores, there’s plenty to enjoy. Soak up the sun on Waikiki Beach, which is about three miles southeast of Honolulu. Here you can taste local flavors at beachside restaurants and sail along the shore on a catamaran ride. If you love boutiques, you’ll want to take a stroll along Kalakua and Kuhio Avenues.

If catching the perfect wave tops your list, look no further than North Shore, which is about 30 miles from Honolulu. The world’s best surfers visit this seven-mile shoreline for some of the biggest surfing competitions around the globe. Visitors enjoy snorkeling (when the waves are mild), hiking and horseback riding as well. Also, consider checking out the Dole Plantation, which is about 15 minutes from North Shore. Here you can explore a maze, take a garden tour and enjoy some pineapple ice cream.

View of light blue ocean waters along the shore in Honolulu with a lush green landscape in the background.
Take a stroll along the shore on some of Hawaii’s most famous beaches.

Enjoy the Dazzling Sights of Diamond Head

Known for being one of the most accessible volcanoes in Hawaii – not to mention a natural landmark – Diamond Head (pictured in photos above) is about seven miles southeast of Honolulu. If you’re looking for an adventure, you won’t have to look much farther than here. Consider taking a guided tour and stopping by the Visitor Center for more fun facts about the 300,000-year-old volcanic crater. If you love ocean views from way up high, you’ll want to add this to your Honolulu activities. Just remember to check with the park to determine if advanced reservations are required for visitors.

Visit Historic Sites in Pearl Harbor

Whether you love history or just enjoy paying tribute to historic sites, you’ll want to spend some time in Pearl Harbor. Nine miles northwest of Honolulu, many people could spend a day here alone. Visit incredibly meaningful memorials, take narrated tours and watch educational films depicting the events of Dec. 7, 1941. Places to explore include the Pearl Harbor National Memorial and USS Arizona Memorial. Other sites include Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum and Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum. Shore excursions you may want to consider include the Pearl Harbor On Your Own & City Sights and Stars & Stripes: Pearl Harbor & Battleship Missouri.

View of white structure with waving American flag above at Pearl Harbor Memorial in Hawaii.
Reflect on the history of Pearl Harbor at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial and USS Arizona Memorial.

Learn Something New at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Take a scenic drive traveling about 32 miles north of Honolulu to experience the culture of the islands at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Here you can learn more about the people of Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand, Tahiti, the Marquesas and Tonga. They also host special shows honoring these Polynesian cultures with costumes and native dances. If you want to explore this activity on a shore excursion, check out An Evening At The Polynesian Cultural Center.

View of performers at a luau with rings of fire.
Sit back and relax during a Hawaiian luau in Honolulu.

Experience a Luau in Paradise

When in Hawaii, go to a luau. From the music and dances to costumes and cuisine, there’s nothing quite like attending a luau in Honolulu, Hawaii.

How would you like to spend a day in Honolulu? Share in the comments below.


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