Honolulu Weekend Getaway
Honolulu, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, has over 300,000 residents and, being thousands of miles from all other major cities, is arguably the most remotely located major city on the planet. It is also a huge tourist city, with over 60 percent of the more than seven million people who visit Hawaii each year landing at Honolulu International Airport.
According to early Hawaiian traditions, there has been a settlement of some sort on the present-day site of Honolulu since the 11th Century A.D. But Honolulu did not become the permanent capital of the Hawaiian Empire until 1845, when Kamehameha III moved it there from Lahaina, Maui. The most infamous event in Honolulu’s history was the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. Today, Honolulu is a modern city and is full of near-endless popular tourist stops.
Things to see and do in Honolulu
Visit Waikiki Beach and the surrounding “tourist district.” Look for a subset of Waikiki Beach called “Kuhio Beach Park,” where surfing competitions are held quite often. Also stop by the Waikiki Aquarium, which is built right next to a coral reef, and the Waikiki Zoo, which occupies 42 acres. Also see Makapuu Point Light, which has the biggest lens of any U.S. lighthouse.
Tour the Foster Botanical Garden, along with the other four public Oahu botanical gardens. You will find many native and non-native plant species of interest and enjoy a retreat from business of the surrounding city.
Hike up Punchbowl Crater and, besides enjoying the scenic beauty, you can visit the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. And you can also hike up Diamond Head Crater to get a panoramic view of the city. You will pass up stone steps and through several tunnels, and the walk can take up to two hours.
Visit Manoa Falls, a waterfall with a 200-foot drop-off. To get up close to the falls, you must first hike 1.5 miles and go up an 800-foot ascent, but that will put you right at the foot of the waterfall.
Learn of both the natural environment and Oahu’s Hawaiian culture at the Bishop Museum. You may also want to visit the Iolani Palace, which was once the royal residence Hawaii’s kings and queens.
Finally, no trip to Honolulu would be complete without stopping by to pay your respects at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. Also consider touring the USS Missouri, the ship on which Japan surrendered to the U.S., and which is now a “museum ship” in Pearl Harbor.
Honolulu’s climate would be considered tropical due to the year-round sun, heat, and humidity, but because it gets very little rainfall, it is classified as semi-arid. Temperatures vary little throughout the year, with highs generally ranging from 80°F to 90°F and lows from 65°F to 75°F.
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