Oahu is the main island of the Hawaiian Islands. It contains the capital, Honolulu, and many of the most important tourist attractions in these incredibly beautiful islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Here are my choices as the best of this fantastic vacation spot.
1. Waikiki Beach – Probably the most recognized beach in the world, Waikiki curves beautifully toward the ominous presence of Diamond Head in the east. It is popular with surfers and families and is probably the best place to people-watch in the entire chain.
2. USS Arizona Memorial – This sobering remembrance of the many sailors and other soldiers who lost their lives on December 7, 1941, has become a symbol of the perseverence and resilience of the American people, who recovered from this devastating attack to humble both Japan and Germany over the remaining years of World War II.
3. Hanauma Bay – This beach allows beginning and veteran snorklers an opportunity to experience the beauty of the coral reef without having to venture into deep water. A large variety of colorful fish can be seen within a few yards of shore.
4. Diamond Head State Park – Visitors can scale this extinct volcano on a winding path and are rewarded with incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and Waikiki Beach.
5. Pali Lookout – Just outside Honolulu is the site of the most famous battle in Hawaiian history, where King Kamehameha’s victory allowed the unification of the islands and the establishment of a monarchy which persisted into the 20th century.
6. North Shore Beaches – Surfers come here to test their mettle against some of the biggest waves in the world. Others come here to watch the best surfers in the world. In any case, the beaches are legendary — Banzai Pipeline, Waimea Bay.
7. Iolani Palace – The only royal residence in the United States, this palatial mansion was home of the Hawaiian monarchs. Across the street is a statue of King Kamehameha, who united the various tribes of the island.
8. Polynesian Cultural Center – This extensive open-air museum takes visitors on a journey throughout the South Pacific, examining cultures such as, Tahiti, the Maori of New Zealand, Tonga, and, of course, Hawai’i. There are craft displays and even hands-on activities like hula dancing.
9. Byodo-In Temple – This Buddhist temple is a sanctuary of silence and contemplation at the foot of lovely mountains. The temple itself is a replica of one in Japan and services the numerous Japanese immigrants who populated Hawaii.
10. Take in the View of Waikiki and Diamond Head from the Honahona Room – At the top of the Sheraton Royal Hawaiian, the Honahona Room has a spectacular view from its bar. The room has huge windows which look out over Waikiki and onward to Diamond Head.