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Top Rated Attractions in Honolulu

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Diamond Head, Hawaii

Also known as Le'ahi, this crater of an extinct volcano got its name when Western explorers mistook calcite crystals they found there for diamonds. Framing the fabric of the island, the crater is riddled with a tracery of vents and volcanic remnants. The historic trail to the 761-foot (231.9 meter) summit starts inside the crater and is an easy, but steep, 0.8 mile (1.3 kilometers) hike to the top. Adorned with craggy corrugations and tufts of sun-bleached grass, Diamond Head affords astounding views of Oahu's charming landscape, including some exceptional views of its beaches and locales.

Manoa Falls

Tucked in the back of lush Manoa Valley is Manoa waterfall, which is commonly thought to be one of the most beautiful sights of O'ahu. It rushes over a precipice and drops 100 feet to the pool below. The briskly cold water makes a refreshing change from the Hawaiian air. The hike to the waterfall takes approximately an hour and is not particularly difficult. The trail can get slippery during the rain, but on sunny days, it's clearly marked and easy to follow.

Koko Crater Railway Trailhead

Koko Crater Railway Trail is a trail for every nature enthusiast. The old railway tracks here, which were used once for transporting goods, are now defunct and used as stairs to head up to the mountain. The trail covers a large part of the Koko Head and offers spectacular views of the Honolulu shoreline. The panorama is a major highlight and is definitely worth the challenging climb. Visitors can also explore the Botanical Garden located at the top of the Koko Crater.

Makapuʻu Point Light

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, Makapu'u Point is the southeastern most point of Oahu. The Makapu’u Lighthouse was constructed in 1909 and automated in 1974. A cylindrical brick tower, with a balcony and a lantern, the lighthouse has a masonry basement foundation. Equipped with a hyper radiant Fresnel Lens, it has the largest lens of any lighthouse in the United States. Sitting atop a volcanic point, the lighthouse is ideal for whale watching. The surrounding rocky cliffs are popular with hang gliders.

Waikiki Beach

Few beaches have been as fabled as Waikiki. Since the 1950s, this beach has been a tourist destination. Upon seeing the white sand beaches and crystal blue waters, there won't be any question why this beach is so popular. If that wasn't enough, the beach is also one of the best places to surf on the island. During the night, visitors strut their clubwear on the beachwalk, and lovers find peaceful little nooks under the cover of sweeping palm trees. Affording scenic views of the Diamond Head, the beach exists quite in tandem with Hawaii's laid-back spirit.

Pearl Harbor

When an unexpected military attack initiated by the Japanese Navy Air Service on America's naval base in Pearl Harbor jolted the entire nation, it spurred the United States' entry into World War II, thus changing the history of the world as people knew it. The attack caused subsequent world-changing events, and rendered this naval base in Hawaii a crucial part of American history and heritage. Today, Pearl Harbor is dominated by five historic sites that serve as solemn reminders of this day in American history. The USS Arizona Memorial, Battleship Missouri Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum Park, USS Oklahoma Memorial and the Pacific Aviation Museum are all part of the site of this war incident. The USS Arizona Memorial in particular pays homage to the sunken vessel.

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