Oahu’s Premier Attractions – See the Best of the Island

Categorized as Oahu Vacation Information

To help you on your vacation to the Hawaiian Islands I will describe some of the very best attractions on Oahu which you should be sure to see during your stay. The best way to enjoy your time on Oahu is to stay at a luxurious and conveniently located Oahu Vacation Rental.

Oahu’s premier attraction is Waikiki, a place that includes many famous old hotels, a wide range of shopping opportunities, and beautiful beaches. The Moana Hotel and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel are the two most historic hotels in Waikiki. When the 75-room, four-story Moana Hotel opened in 1901 it became known as the “First Lady of Waikiki,” and was the tallest building in the Hawaiian Islands. Fifteen years later, the hotel added 100 more rooms as well as a seaside courtyard. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is known as the “Pink Palace” and opened in February of 1927, increasing Waikiki’s reputation as an exotic playground for the rich and famous. The Royal Hawaiian features elegant chandeliers, high ceilings, pink stucco walls, and pink turrets.

Waikiki’s Kahanamoku Beach and Lagoon is named after the famous Hawaiian waterman Duke Kahanamoku. The beach is located at the western end of Waikiki in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel. Kahanamoku Beach includes a pier and breakwater, and the pier provides a water taxi service to catamaran and submarine cruises.

Royal Moana Beach is located in front of the Royal Moana, Outrigger Waikiki and Royal Hawaiian hotels. This sandy beach area includes a beach activity center that provides opportunities for canoe rides, surfing, and other beach activities. Offshore from this beach are the famous surfing spots known as Canoes and Queen’s.

Waikiki Aquarium is at the eastern (Diamond Head) end of Kapiolani Park by the ocean. The Aquarium exhibits thousands of organisms and features more than 400 species of aquatic animals and plants – everything from eels to monk seals to sharks and jellyfish. The aquarium also provides some fun and interactive, educational opportunities for children, including the “touch-me tide pool.”

Diamond Head rises up prominently on the eastern side of Waikiki. The short hike up to the summit of Diamond Head offers amazing views over Honolulu and the ocean. Diamond Head is one of Oahu’s prominent geologic features known as tuff cones, which are reminders of Oahu’s volcanic past.

The Diamond Head Trail leading to Diamond Head’s summit climbs 560 feet over 1½ miles. A tunnel along the trail leads to a 99-step stairway. This is followed by yet another shorter tunnel and even more stairs.

When you finally reach the top and are perched at 760 feet above sea level, the summit’s panoramic views include Koko Head and Koko Crater on the southeast coast as well as Barbers Point and the Waianae Mountains on the leeward coast. Also visible just beneath Diamond Head is expansive Kapiolani Park in Waikiki.

Sea Life Park is located just north of Makapuu Point, and features an 18-foot deep, 300,000 gallon aquarium full of a whole panoply of marine creatures, including reef fish, sharks, eels, and even sea turtles. A spiral ramp provides optimal viewing from different levels.

The park also features dolphin performances, and has separate pools housing harbor seals and California sea lions. A bird sanctuary area at Sea Life Park provides habitat for such native birds.

The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial is one of Hawaii’s most visited attractions. The Memorial honors those who died in the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, an event that entered the United States into World War II.

The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial is 184 feet long, and positioned directly over the wreck of the U.S.S. Arizona where nine hundred of the U.S.S. Arizona’s crew remain entombed in the sunken vessel. The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Museum includes a theater that provides information about the Pearl Harbor attack.
World War II ended when the forces of Japan officially surrendered on September 2, 1945 on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouribattleship known as “Mighty Mo.”

The 58,000-ton ship is now docked at Pearl Harbor’s Battleship Row near the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, and also is open for public tours.

The U.S.S. Missouri had a 50-year career serving in World War II in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and also serving in Korea as well as Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf in 1991.

The U.S.S. Bowfin submarine first launched one year after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. The U.S.S. Bowfin is one of just 15 remaining submarines from the World War II era. The submarine carried a crew of 80, and sank 44 ships in the Pacific Ocean.

A Memorial within the U.S.S. Bowfin Submarine Park now honors the 3,500 submariners lost during the war along with 52 United States submarines. The Memorial pays tribute to the important role that submarines and submariners played in defense of the United States in various international conflicts.

The Polynesian Cultural Center encompasses 42 acres including seven theme villages arranged around lagoons. The villages represent various cultures of Polynesia, including Fiji, the Marquesas, Sāmoa, Tahiti, New Zealand, Tonga, and the Hawaiian Islands. Each theme village has its own unique dances, music, and crafts. Craft demonstrations and other activities are ongoing, including tree climbing, coconut cracking, and fire starting as well as participatory activities such as lei making and rope making.

Also regularly scheduled at the Polynesian Cultural Center are shows and films including an IMAX theater that provides high quality viewing opportunities. An event called the “Pageant of the Long Canoes” takes place aboard canoe stages on the park’s lagoons.

Haleiwa is known as the “gateway” to Oahu’s north shore, and you will know you are there when you cross over the arched Rainbow Bridge which spans over the Anahulu River. The river passes alongside the boat harbor that is bordered on each side by beach parks.

The North Shore Surf & Cultural Museum is located in the North Shore Marketplace, and exhibits vintage surfboards as well as photographs and videos about surfing.

Waimea Bay Beach Park on beautiful Waimea Bay is one of the north shore’s most popular beaches, and famous for its giant winter waves. Swimming and snorkeling is good during the summer months, but for much of the year the waters of Waimea Bay are for the experienced only.

Located across from Waimea Bay Beach Park is Waimea Arboretum and Botanical Garden at Waimea Falls Park. The park includes botanical gardens with about 6,000 species of plants, many of them rare and endangered, and arranged by theme along a trail leading to a waterfall up Waimea Valley.

Ehukai Beach is known by surfers around the world as the site of the Banzai Pipeline surf break, located at the southern end of the park. Pipeline’s large waves tend to break in a long, tubular shape that allows the expert riders to be completely covered over by the water and then emerge unscathed. Professional surfers come to the Banzai Pipeline each winter to compete and to display their skills.

You can enjoy all of these wonderful Oahu attractions while staying at a premier Oahu Condo on any side of the island. Have a wonderful vacation on Oahu!