Trying to plan your next tropical vacation? Look no further than Honolulu! Whether this is your first time to the Aloha State, or you’re a seasoned islander, here are some recommendations for getting the most out of your trip.
- Beaches – Honolulu is situated on the beautiful island of Oahu, which is rife with some of the most spectacular beaches in the world. Waikiki Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world and is full of tourists year-round. For a less touristy and equally breathtaking beach, check out Kaneohe Bay, which features two prominent islands visible on the horizon. The beach is located further outside of downtown Honolulu, but is easily accessible by car and is well worth the excursion.
- Music – Hawaii is the birthplace of slack key guitar playing. Not familiar with slack key guitar? You’ve almost certainly heard it! Slack key is what gives Hawaiian music its distinctive sound. Hawaiian guitar music is some of the most relaxing music you can listen to and can be incredibly therapeutic. It’s unique tones and rhythms will instantly transport your mind to a remote tropical getaway. If this is your first trip to Hawaii, I recommend creating a Hawaiian music station on Pandora Radio before your trip to get yourself in the mood. While in Hawaii, I recommend going to see at least one live music performance. Kani Ka Pila Grille is widely known by locals in Honolulu for having some of the best live Hawaiian music.
- Food – Hawaii is home to a wide variety of delicious foods, including some of the freshest seafood money can buy. While you scope out the local restaurants, do yourself a favor and try a few of the local dishes. I strongly recommend saimin – a delicious, Asian-style noodle soup. See www.fodors.com for more suggestions. If you’re planning on visiting Hawaii for a long time or you’re on a tight budget, be aware that food on the islands can be very expensive. Most food is imported from the mainland, which adds considerably to the cost. Many locals buy their food in bulk on sale from stores like Walmart and Costco.
- Transportation – There are two main issues when it comes to visiting Honolulu: getting around Oahu and traveling between islands. Honolulu has the busiest airport in Hawaii and is most likely where you will begin and end your trip to Hawaii. One of the biggest mistakes made by first-timers to Hawaii is underestimating its size and the time it takes to experience each island. Do yourself a favor and don’t try to see five islands in five days – it will make your trip miserable. The best way to travel between the islands is to fly. It’s critical that you plan your trip early and book your tickets if you want to ensure you get the itinerary you want at a reasonable price. It’s worthwhile to rent a car on most of the islands, especially Oahu. Honolulu is a sizable city, with many cars, and most of Oahu is accessible by car. Again, plan your visit to Hawaii early and arrange your rental cars in advance.
- Volcanoes/Waterfalls – Though it’s famous for its beaches and tropical weather, Hawaii is home to a wide range of climates and is one of the best places in the world for hiking the outdoors. If you’re looking for active volcanoes and breathtaking waterfalls (and you should be!), then consider a trip over to the Big Island. Note that there are no active volcanoes on Oahu. However, if you’re staying in the Waikiki Beach area of Honolulu and are looking to venture nearby, check out Diamond Head, a now inactive volcano. Diamond Head is popular for its spectacular views and proximity to the Honolulu resort hotels. There is a well-marked trail that takes about 2 hours to hike round-trip; it is worth doing at least once in your life. For an easy waterfall excursion, check out Manoa Falls, situated near the outskirts of Honolulu.
Aloha and happy travels!
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