Here are the essential places to visit in Honolulu, Hawaii. The selection is made using the FavRiver scoring system which takes into account the most relevant metrics and expert reviews.
Last update : Jul 12, 2019
6Hanauma Bay
Hanauma (Hawaiian: [həˈnɔumə])
is a marine embayment formed within a tuff ring and located along the southeast coast of the Island of Oʻahu in the Hawaii Kai neighborhood of East Honolulu, in the Hawaiian Islands.
Hanauma is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Island and has suffered somewhat from overuse. At one time, this popular tourist destination accommodated over three million visitors per year. In 1956, dynamite was used to clear portions of the reef to make room for telephone cables linking Hawaii to the west coast of the US.
Hanauma Bay
7Kailua, Honolulu County, Hawaii
Kailua is a census-designated place (CDP) in Honolulu County, Hawaii, United States. It lies in the Koʻolaupoko District of the island of Oʻahu on the windward coast at Kailua Bay. It is in the judicial district and the ahupua'a named Ko'olaupoko. It is 12 miles (19 km) northeast of Honolulu – over Nu‘uanu Pali. The population was 38,635 at the 2010 census.
In the Hawaiian language Kailua means "two seas" or "two currents", a contraction of the words kai (meaning "sea" or "sea water") and ʻelua (meaning "two"); it is so named because of the two lagoons in the district or the two currents which run through Kailua Bay.
Kailua is primarily a residential community, with a centralized commercial district along Kailua Road. The population was 50,000 in 1992.
Places of note in Kailua include Kailua Beach Park, Lanikai Beach, Kawai Nui Marsh, Maunawili Falls, and Marine Corps Base Hawaii. It was home to Barack Obama’s winter White House.
Kailua, Honolulu County, Hawaii
8National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (informally known as Punchbowl Cemetery) is a national cemetery located at Punchbowl Crater in Honolulu, Hawaii. It serves as a memorial to honor those men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces, and those who have given their lives in doing so. It is administered by the National Cemetery Administration of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Millions of visitors visit the cemetery each year, and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hawaii.
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
9Lanikai Beach
Lanikai Beach is located in Lanikai, a community in the town of Kailua and on the windward coast of Oahu, Hawaii. Although there is a widespread belief that the name Lanikai means "heavenly sea", that is a misconception and a grammatical error, since in the Hawaiian language, the qualifier (lani) comes after the noun (kai). The name Lanikai was invented in the 1920ʻs by the developer Charles Frazier, who owned 300 acres of beachfront property in the area known to Native Hawaiians as Kaʻōhao. This small half-mile strip of beach is consistently ranked among the best beaches in the world. Adjacent to Lanikai Beach is a primarily upper-class residential area because of this it is accessible through public beach access paths. Although the beach itself is public property, it is not state land and is not a county beach park like many beaches in Hawaii. There is no public parking lot and the area lacks facilities like restrooms, showers or lifeguards. As of July 1, 2014, parking violation fines have increased from $35 to $200 in an effort to keep people from illegally parking in the residential area surrounding the beach accesses. Parking violations are strictly enforced and include, but are not limited to, no parking within four feet of a driveway entrance or apron, blocking the unimproved pedestrian right of way (where a sidewalk would normally be), within 30 feet of a stop sign, within ten feet of a fire hydrant, or on or within 20 feet of a crosswalk. However, there are legal parking areas in downtown Kailua.
During the weekdays, the beach is less crowded compared to the weekends, although it is still very difficult to find parking close to one of the public beach accesses. On weekends, the beach becomes extremely crowded and during vacation seasons such as winter and summer, the beach is almost completely packed every single day. Lanikai is a popular spot for photo shoots as renowned models and photographers frequent the place on nice days. What makes Lanikai Beach popular for photographers is having the two Islands in the background called the Na Mokulua or "mokes". Kayakers will often row out to land on the larger northern island, but no one is allowed to land on the southern island as it is a bird sanctuary. Water temperatures are generally 75–80 °F (24–26 °C) so you can spend plenty of time in the water. It has extremely soft powdery clean white sand. Lanikai Beach is regularly voted as one of the best beaches in America and is the only beach in the USA that was voted as one of the best beaches in the world.
Due to its position on the Windward or east side of the island, Lanikai is recognized as being great place to watch the moonrise over the Mokuluas, especially during the full moon. Occasionally during the year the sun will rise directly between the Na Mokulua islands.
Lanikai Beach
10Koko Head
Koko Head is the headland that defines the eastern side of Maunalua Bay along the southeastern side of the Island of Oʻahu in Hawaiʻi. On its western slope is the community of Portlock, a part of Hawaiʻi Kai. Koko Head (at 642 ft or 196 m) is an ancient tuff cone that is somewhat dwarfed by its neighboring tuff cone, Koko Crater, with its peak, Kohelepelepe (or Puʻu Mai), rising to 1208 ft or 368 m. Koko Head itself has three significant depressions or old vents, the largest of which forms the well-known Hanauma Bay. Koko Head's last eruption was 30,000–35,000 years ago and it is part of the Honolulu Volcanics.
This eastern end of Oʻahu is quite scenic and most of the area is part of Koko Head Regional Park, administered by the City & County of Honolulu. The following features and natural areas are found between Koko Head and the eastern end of the island at Makapuʻu:Koko Crater is a large tuff cone that visually dominates the area. Within the crater are horse stables and the Koko Crater Botanical Garden specializing in cacti and succulents.
Hanauma Bay is a tuff ring breached by the ocean.
Lānaʻi Lookout is a scenic lookout that features a very distant view of the Island of Lānaʻi to the southeast of Oʻahu. Molokaʻi, directly across the Ka'iwi Channel, is closer and nearly always visible during the day; Lānaʻi is visible only under good atmospheric conditions, although if visible from anywhere on Oʻahu, it will be visible from this pull-out/parking area. The cremated ashes of President Barack Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham (1995) and maternal grandmother, Madelyn Lee Payne Dunham (2008) were scattered here.
Hālona Blowhole is a blowhole in the rocky shore. A large pull-out/parking area is present. The adjacent Hālona Cove is best known as the site of the love scene between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in the movie From Here to Eternity.
Sandy Beach is a popular beach for surfing and a park popular for kite flying because trade winds (offshore here) are strong and steady most days. Sea conditions off the beach tend to be rough most of the time and the bottom drops away relatively quickly, so this is not a beach for relaxed swimming, but very popular for more extreme water sports and watchers.
More : Koko Head
Koko Head
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