Honolulu is located on Oahu's sunny southern shore with beautiful beaches and hikes, great restaurants, shopping and entertainment as well as many historical attractions from Iolani Palace to Pearl Harbor. Honolulu is also Hawaii's business, financial and political center with a thriving arts and culture scene.
Things To Do
Visit Waikiki to experience the iconic beach where you can take a surfing lesson, go for an outrigger canoe ride or just relax on the sandy shore. Browse the many shops and dine at the restaurants lining the iconic beach while enjoying ocean views and live music. A short but strenuous hike to the top of Diamond Head Crater provides a panoramic view over this area and the whole southern shoreline.
Downtown Honolulu also has great shopping and dining as well as numerous historical attractions. At the regal Iolani Palace you can see how Hawaiian royalty lived more than a century ago. Nearby is Kawaiahao Church built in 1842 from blocks of coral from the ocean and still open as a place of worship. Many treasured landmarks can been seen throughout Honolulu including statues of King Kamehameha I and Duke Kahanamoku.
History buffs will enjoy a visit to the Bishop Museum which displays thousands of Hawaiian artifacts and family heirlooms from the monarchy era. The museum also has a planetarium and Science Adventure Center with interactive exhibits and programs for children. Visit the Waikiki Aquarium to see an incredible array of Hawaii's native marine life species.
At Pearl Harbor in Honolulu you can see the USS Arizona Memorial as well as Battleship Missouri Memorial and the Pacific Aviation Museum. A new Pearl Harbor Visitor Center provides information about the infamous Dec. 7, 1941 attack that brought the US into World War II. This is a popular attraction so it is recommended that you go early to beat the crowds.
Waikiki is a great place to enjoy water activities including sailing offshore in a catamaran for great views from the water. The Waikiki shoreline includes numerous named beaches. At the western end of Waikiki is San Souci Beach, then Queens Surf Beach, Kuhio Beach, Waikiki Beach, Gray's Beach, Fort DeRussy Beach, and finally Duke Kahanamoku Beach on the western end. Vendors along the shoreline rent water sports equipment including surfboards and stand up paddle boards, and also offer lessons so you can benefit from the local knowledge. Make sure and check out the Duke Kahanamoku Statue at Kuhio Beach. To experience some of Hawaii's best snorkeling visit Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve just east of Waikiki. The bay is located in a submerged volcanic crater that is now home to a fascinating array of marine life, and the park's Marine Education Center helps you learn more about what you see in the ocean. Take a day trip up to the north shore to see the famed surfing beaches of Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach and Banzai Pipeline. The windward shore also has spectacular beaches including Kailua Bay which is popular for water sports, and Lanikai Beach which many consider to be Hawaii's prettiest beach with powdery white sands and azure waters.
Honolulu is a diner's paradise with many top-rated chefs and hundreds of restaurants offering every cuisine imaginable. You will find many dining choices in downtown Honolulu including the Chinatown area which also has a thriving arts scene. The Aloha Tower Marketplace has numerous restaurants and live entertainment overlooking Honolulu Harbor. In Waikiki there are many restaurants saw with great ocean views providing for memorable sunset dining. Check out the Royal Hawaiian Center and the Waikiki Beach Walk for delicious food as well as live music. Head over to Roy's in Hawaii Kai to taste the cuisine of famed Hawaii Regional Cuisine chef Roy Yamaguchi and see the preparations occurring in their signature open kitchen. Alan Wong's is another top-chef restaurant in Honolulu, serving up delicacies like nori-wrapped tempura ahi and Kona lobster.
Ala Moana Center in Honolulu is Hawaii's largest shopping center with more than 290 shops and restaurants. The new Waikiki Beach Walk has more than 50 shops and 16 places to eat, and is also a great place to see live music and hula performances as is the Royal Hawaiian center with more than 110 merchants in the heart of Waikiki. Walk along Kalakaua and Kuhio Avenues in Waikiki to discover a wide assortment of stores selling everything from souvenirs to upscale fashions. The Kahala Mall is another fun shopping area, and downtown Honolulu is a great place to explore many unique shops including the eclectic assortment of merchants in the Chinatown district.
Renting a car is recommended when staying in a Honolulu vacation rental so you can explore the many south shore beaches and attractions as well as day trips to the north shore and eastern (windward) side. Honolulu also has taxis and trolleys, and most major populated areas can be reached on the public transit system known as "TheBus".
Weather and Ocean Conditions
Honolulu weather ranges from about 70 to 85 degrees F. throughout the year with rain and wind conditions varying in different areas throughout the Island. The south and west shores are generally a bit dryer and warmer than the north and eastern shores, and the winter months typically see more rain than summer though the south shore sees very little rain. Sunny skies, mild temperatures and warm trade winds make Honolulu an excellent vacation destination all through the year. Rain showers are typically brief and light with ample sunshine even on the rainier days. Hawaii's predominant trade winds blow from the northeast bringing moisture-laden clouds that typically rain onto the mountains of the east and north shores creating green and lush landscapes.Trade winds are almost always calmest in the mornings so it's a good time to visit the beach. Ocean conditions vary each day though typically the north shore will have the calmest waters during the summer months and the south shore will have the calmest waters during the winter. Some beaches provide more protection from the open ocean, and if the waves are too big at the beach you visit then you may be able to find a more sheltered beach where water activities are safe. For swimming and ocean activities visit Oahu's lifeguarded beaches, obey all posted warnings and ask about the conditions on that day for the activities you choose.
Honolulu vacation homes provide the optimal way to enjoy your Hawaii vacation with all the luxuries of resort living and all the comforts of home. Browse through our Honolulu vacation rental listings to get an understanding of the different amenities and property features we offer. Our goal is to provide you with a with an unforgettable Honolulu accommodation for your dream Hawaii vacation. We take pride in having the largest selection of high-quality vacation rentals on Oahu and we stand behind our product, making sure only the best of the best Honolulu properties are listed on our site. If you have questions about our Honolulu rentals or which Oahu destination is best for your vacation needs, please give us a call and we will be happy to assist you.
Soon after the first foreigner sailed into Honolulu Harbor in 1794 the port became a popular stopping point for merchant ships sailing between Asia and North America. In the 1800s Honolulu was the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom beginning with King Kamehameha I. Later rulers built impressive structures that still stand today, showcasing the time period. These include Iolani Palace, the governor's mansion at Washington Place, Honolulu Hale which serves as the City Hall, and many other important cultural landmarks. In the late 1800s Honolulu became a center of Hawaii commerce including many major businesses founded by descendants of American missionaries. Today Honolulu remains Hawaii's commercial and financial center as well as the most visited tourist destination.