After our 5-night stay in Kauai, we took a super quick flight over to Oahu to see Pearl Harbor. Since we were not renting a car and had an entire day to fill (our flight out was at 10:45pm) we opted to do an Oahu circle island tour through Hoku tours. This was a great way to see much of the island in only one day with no need to rent a car!
- Length of trip: 1 night / 1 full day
- Where we stayed: Marriott Resort Waikiki
- Top highlights:
- Waikiki beach
- Pearl Harbor
- Southeast shore lookout points
Pearl Harbor: we arrived right when they open at 7am. We spend the first hour walking through the two museums: one showcased the events leading up to the attack and the other the attack itself. It was helpful to do this prior to taking the boat out to the memorial as it provided great context. I think you could spend 1.5-2 hours doing this as an hour felt a bit rushed. I enjoyed having the audio guide, while Matt preferred just reading the displays. We then had a timed entry to the documentary and boat ride to the memorial for the USS Arizona. This is a memorial built over the location of the sunken USS Arizona itself, and you can see some of the boat below the water. There is no talking on the memorial site and it is a very moving experience. This takes about an hour with the documentary and memorial time combined. Finally, leave yourself about 15 minutes to do the walk of contemplation afterwards before heading out.
Dole Pineapple Plantation: this site is pretty cheesy, but I enjoyed it. The plantation has a very colorful garden with different types of plant life called out by signs. There is a “Pineapple Express” train that will take you very slowly through the pineapple fields and teach you about the growing process. Finally, there is a large gift shop and cafe where you can see a demonstration of how to cut pineapple properly and sample Wailua Coffee and Chocolate, both owned by Dole. Wrap up your trip with the pineapple whip dessert!
Polynesian Cultural Center: had this not been a stop on our tour, I probably wouldn’t have done it. It is very very touristy. You can walk through examples of different Polynesian villages and ride a canoe through the whole center. Look it up to see if it interests you, but I think this is one that can be skipped.
South shore beaches and lookout points: we stopped at a few different beaches, lookouts and sights along the southeast shore. These are worth a visit, and if you have some more time, maybe plan a hike or spend some time on one of the beaches! Our guide mentioned that Hanauma Bay is great for snorkling.
- Pali Lookout
- Halona Blowhole Lookout
- Hanauma Bay Lookout
Waikiki Beach: we stayed on Waikiki beach, so this sight was an easy one to get to. The beach is a great place to be a sunset. There are people walking along the beach, surfing, and catamarans sailing along the coast. Combined with the sunset and palm trees, it is a fun place to be. Stop and swim, or just walk along the beach or the sidewalk and take it all in.