Famed for its beautiful horseshoe-shaped sandy beach and clear, calm turquoise waters, this natural marine sanctuary is home to thousands of colorful tropical fish. The waist-deep water inside the reef is perfect for novice snorkelers to explore. More experienced snorkelers might want to check with the lifeguard before venturing beyond to deeper waters to see sea turtles and other marine life. The Bay is least crowded in the early morning or late afternoon.
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.
For an experience that will give you goose bumps, take the Pali Highway to this spectacular lookout, one of the windiest spots on Oahu. Historians hotly debate the legend that says that in 1795, King Kamehameha I, the unifier of the Hawaiian Islands, forced thousands of his opponents to jump from the cliff to their deaths. From the lookout point high among the eerie spires of the Koolau Mountains, you can see a panoramic view of Windward Oahu.
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 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.
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.
From whale and dolphin watching, sailing and diving to discovering volcanoes and waterfalls, Hawaii Activities.com has more than 600 ideas for a fabulous vacation. Take the hassle out of planning your Hawaii adventure and book tickets for activities, tours and attractions online at competitive prices. Popular activities sell out weeks in advance; book early before you arrive in Hawaii to avoid disappointment. Ticekts, maps, itineraries, and directions are delivered free via e-mail or U.S. mail, to your home or hotel. Spend your time experiencing Hawaii, and leave the work of planning to professionals.
Hanauma Bay boasts some of the best snorkeling in the entire world. You can see schools of exotic fish without even wading out past hip-level. However, if you're unfamiliar with the ocean or you've never tried snorkeling before, it's nice to go with an experienced guide. Hanauma Bay Dive Tours is a great option for that. The price of a snorkeling tour includes transportation, instruction and equipment. Depending on which package you choose, you can spend up to four hours at the bay.
Guide Michael Walther has spent his life studying local flora and fauna, and he imparts his knowledge during these interesting eco-excursions. Invigorate yourself with an early morning hike to the 763-foot summit of the Diamond Head Crater. Visit magnificent waterfalls during the afternoon rainforest excursion in the Ko'olau mountains. There are several tours to choose from, as well as combination tour packages. Call for more details.
In addition to owning and operating the popular Navatek I and Atlantis Submarines, this company works in conjunction with several major Honolulu attractions to provide guests with deeply discounted tour packages. Visit Sea Life Park, splurge on a dinner cruise/show package, or take a ride in one of the submarines. Call or check the website for more details.
Head to the Sheraton Moana Surfrider Hotel's private beach to show off your amateur surfing skills. And no harm if you stumble and fall, as only beginners are around for company. You can rent a surfboard from the Aloha Beach Service, who also provide a bodyguard, just in case you lose your balance while trying to impress! But if you are a complete novice, enroll yourself in the private or group classes on offer. Go for canoe rides, if surfing has failed to excite you—equipment is rented out for that too. Also on rent are beach chairs and umbrellas.
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.