Hawaii is home to an array of iconic and lesser-known attractions that stand as testaments to the state’s beauty.
Take a short hike down to Kapena Falls for an Instagram-worthy view of an astounding 150ft waterfall! In addition, this unique attraction also showcases ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs. Oahu is home to several sacred spots and fantastic traffic attractions like below.
1. Diamond Head Crater
Diamond Head (Le’ahi), Hawaii’s most iconic landmark, looms large near Waikiki’s eastern coastline. Boasting an ancient hiking trail and breathtaking coastal vistas as well as military significance spanning more than 475 acres – its presence makes Diamond Head State Monument one of Hawaii’s must-visits!
Hiking to the summit can be an unforgettable experience, with many tour companies offering guided hikes that include transportation and entrance into the park. Self-guided tours along the hiking trails can also prove rewarding and educational.
Diamond Head’s outer ridge boasts a lighthouse, Coast Guard facility, and observation platform, while its crater has historical displays, picnic areas and restrooms. Holua sledding down its slopes is also popular – for this hike be sure to bring water and sun protection!
2. Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach offers a relaxing sanctuary perfect for sun worshipers looking to tan under its soft sands. Once home to Hawaiian royalty and later Olympic swimmer Duke Kahanamoku’s training ground, its calm rolling break makes for ideal paddle boarding and learning how to surf lessons while its neighbor North Shore features challenging waves perfect for experienced surfers.
Duke Kahanamoku Beach offers the widest stretch, which makes it perfect for families with young children. Fort DeRussy Beach Park also provides enjoyable amenities including aquarium, zoo and garden attractions for visitors to enjoy.
Fashion enthusiasts may enjoy exploring Kalakaua Avenue, an exclusive shopping hub featuring luxury brands. Waikiki provides another shopping option while exploring is great way to experience its culture and character on foot or joining one of Waikiki’s tours – perhaps to learn about Oahu’s rich history with Circle Island Tour.
3. Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center, or PCC, can be found in Laie on Oahu’s north shore and offers six unique villages representing islands from across the Pacific. Each village showcases traditional dance, culture and food from that island region; take lessons in hula dancing or tapa weaving or just admire all that awaits!
The PCC features special performances throughout the day as well as an evening luau and buffet, so be sure to consult the schedule on the day you intend on attending for show details.
PCC is operated by Brigham Young University – Hawaii and many of the staff are students from nearby schools; however, this site serves people from all religious traditions.
Luaus are an entertaining way to spend an evening with family, friends or your significant other. Most luaus feature entertainment as well as an expansive buffet with Hawaiian and Polynesian favorites including Kalua pork.
Visit Waimea Valley on Oahu’s North Shore for an exceptional value at Toa Luau in Waimea Valley – it offers the lowest pricing of all luaus on Oahu with family-run luau style dining at its most economical. Plus, same day admission to botanical gardens!
Other excellent luaus options in Hawaii are the Smith Family Garden Luau and Germaine’s Luau, offering incredible food at both venues. While Smith Family Garden provides a charming venue and meal, Germaine’s offers more cheesiness but has withstood time well to become one of Hawaii’s more affordable luaus experiences.
For something different from the typical Hawaiian activities, take your family to Byodo-in Temple. This non-touristy but tranquil sanctuary of culture and spirituality won’t disappoint – don’t miss this undiscovered gem!
At Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, this stunning vermilion temple was constructed to mark 100 years since Japanese immigration to Hawaii. A smaller-scale replica of Uji, Japan’s original temple serves as an inspiring spot for reflection.
Byodo-in Temple grounds offer photographers an abundance of ornamental details for them to explore, making this an excellent spot for practicing with a new digital SLR camera. Furthermore, wild peacocks, koi carp, and still reflection pools add additional delights for photographers to capture.