If you are one of the lucky people who are able to travel to Hawaii and not just dream about it, then you are in for an amazing treat! Hawaii is not only a place that offers the beauty of the oceans and challenging hiking trails, it also represents a way of life and culture. The culture breeds calm, nature, appreciation for land and ocean, open mindedness, and a laid back relaxed way of life. You’ll experience an immediate calming that overwhelms you merely at the first step off the airplane; the relaxation and good vibes begin.
Relaxation and feeling good is only just a small part of experiencing the Hawaiian islands. There are eight major islands that make up the Hawaiian islands and I am most familiar with Oahu. I have spent so much time visiting, that I lost track of how many times I have been here. We usually try to visit Hawaii every year and with each visit I experience something new, whether it’s hiking a new trail, discovering a waterfall, or seeing an amazing whale breaching the water; I then fall in love with the place all over again.
As you might imagine, there are countless places on Oahu to fall in love with. To begin, the beautiful city of Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, is located on Oahu. I do not spend much time lingering around the downtown areas, but there are few very cool places that I enjoy and things that you may want to check out on your next Hawaii visit. And most of our activity is very little or no cost.
Waikiki Beach is a must see at least one time if you visit Hawaii. Although this beach is a tourist destination, there are other beaches less populated with tourists. Waikiki Beach is essentially an iconic place and one of the most recognizable places in the world.
Bellows Beach is a beautiful beach located on Bellows Air Force Station, is only open to the public on the weekends. This beach is not as populated and busy as other local beaches.
North Shore Beaches: Free
Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park
Laniakea (or Turtle) Beach
Waimea Bay Beach Park
Pupukea Beach Park
Waialaeʻe Beach Park-Pahipahiʻalua Beach
The Top 5 Best Beaches North Shore
Local Adventure: $$
Free to walk around this luxurious hotel, which is also an icon and historic hotel in Honolulu. With its bright pink colors of concrete stucco, it has become called the The Pink Palace of the Pacific. We always make sure to go down to the Waikiki area and mill around the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, browsing the boutique shops, and relax in the large rocking chairs on the back garden balcony.
Kuala Ranch $$: A beautiful scenic and private landscape full of nature preserves and ranch that is used for numerous locations for filming television and movie sets.
Spend an amazing day at the ranch with your choice of biking, horseback riding, four wheeler adventure, or bus tours throughout the ranch property. We had an incredible day at the ranch as we rented mountain bikes and ventured throughout most of the ranch land areas. They offered a complimentary lunch and beverage. And there was even a visit by the horses as we were eating lunch. For reservations and fee schedules check it out Kuala Ranch.
USS Arizona Memorial: $$ Although this national monument is closed for repairs until March 2019, I am sharing with you our amazing experience on our visit to the USS Arizona. On this excursion, you will be learning about an incredible time in history. It is known to be one of the most pivotal moments in history as this battleship was bombed on December 7, 1941 during an attack on the U.S. by the Japanese.
We arrived on time at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center for the embarking onto the boat to be taken out to the memorial site that lies above the actual sunken battleship. There are a few options to choose from of which works best into your timeline on your visit here. Reservations or walk in tickets are available so you can review what best fits your schedule here.
USS Missouri Memorial: $$. This is another piece of history that is well worth the visit and tour on America’s Battle Missouri.
This is where the WWII officially ended and where the Japanese formerly signed the final surrender.
Aloha Tower: Free
This is another one of Hawaii’s iconic sites to visit. The marketplace has converted the upper level to living spaces and has become the life and the residential community for Hawai’i Pacific University students.
The Aloha Tower is a site for any traveler or visitor to see. There is no charge or fee to take the elevator up to the top level and step out to the balconies to see the gorgeous views of Honolulu.
It’s time to explore some more adventure and activity on your visit here in Hawaii now that you’ve filled your minds with knowledge about the history of some of the critical moments in time.
Diamond Head hike: $ .8 mile from Trailhead, 560 feet elevation. Rated as steep and strenuous. Beautiful and scenic with views of Honolulu skyline areas. $.
Makapui Point Lighthouse Trail hike: Free. 2.5 miles, 505 feet elevation. Rated as easy. Very heavily trafficked, beautiful views of lighthouse and various plants and flowers.
Keaila Hiking Trail – nearby Dillingham airfield: Free. 7.6 miles, 2516 feet elevation. Rated as moderate. This trail is beautiful as you scour through trees, red dirt switchback trail, inclines and rough paths. This trail is not very heavily trafficked and is a quiet and adventurous trail. It offers beautiful views from the summit areas and you will find a large parking area at a concrete hangar across from the trail head.
Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden: Free. This is a beautiful, peaceful garden to stroll through as you enjoy the various plants, flowers, and several small animals, such as ducks milling around the property.
So stop dreaming and make your trip happen! Hawaii is an incredible place and I recommend that you visit and experience it at least once in your life. It is so full of nature and adventure, beauty and culture! Although each island has something remarkable about it, one of my favorites is Oahu. But my next favorite island is Maui, which is on our next travel itinerary.
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