It's a city of dreams, hopes and bustling activity. Honolulu has grown leaps and bounds over the years, and today even more skyscrapers are filling the beautiful tropical island of Oahu, Hawaii. Nevertheless, the city itself is impeccable and an international shopping mecca for locals and tourists alike.
Oahu is a special place and quite the destination for travelers seeking the calm respite of turquoise seas and cobalt skies.
The people are friendly and its natural breathtaking beauty and unique culture is what draws people to its shores.
There is always something fun to do in Oahu, from extreme sports to simply lounging around in a cabana by the pool at a fancy resort.
Here are 10 "Must Do" Activities to give you a memorable vacation:
- Almost every weekend families are invited to Waikiki Sunset on the Beach in Honolulu. It's a free event for the entire family, spotlighting documentary films and feature movies, all showcased on a 30-foot screen. Bring your own lawn chairs and beach blankets and enjoy the show. live entertainment by Stardust beginning at 8:30 p.m. in the Hanohano Room.
- North Shore Shark Cage Tours are definitely for the adventurous. You only need a mask and snorkel that is included in this tour, as they immerse you into thrilling shark infested waters. There is no diving experience needed and it is without age restriction. This tour is guaranteed to change your feelings about sharks.
- The Dole Plantation is a haven for Pineapple lovers. The grounds are immense and well manicured, featuring the world's largest maze. There's also Pineapple ice cream, taffy, jam and clothing and other merchandise for the whole family.
- Sportsfishing is a must if you have never had the experience. There are a variety of charters that will take you out for about 4 ½ hours on the deep blue ocean as you wrestle with Marlin, Mahi Mahi, Ono and Ahi. There's nothing quite like catching your own dinner. Many of the charter boats will allow you to clean, gut and cook your own catch right on the boat!
- Helicopter tours are a wonderful way to see the "Gathering Place" that you normally cannot see by car. You'll be entranced by majestic waterfalls, breathtaking vistas, and razor-sharp ridges - the hidden Oahu few experience. Check with your hotel concierge for the best value and availability.
- You must play in the water if you want to truly enjoy Hawaii. One of the best cruises on the island is the Kai 'Oli'Oli. The $1.5 million catamaran takes you out to see dolphins and flying fish in their native habitat, and they stop and allow you to snorkel in an underwater marine preserve. The surrounding areas you will see starboard include the homes of the CEO for Harley Davidson as well as actress Cameron Diaz. A delicious lunch is also included. It is only 20 minutes from Honolulu and a wonderful way to spend part of your vacation.
- Ever try parasailing? Perhaps now is the time. X-Treme Parasail is one company that will give you an experience you won't ever forget. It's the only parasail company that flies side-by-side tandem so you can sit next to your loved one as you sail above the turquoise waters. It averages about 15 minutes of airtime and will be sure to give you an adrenaline rush.
- The Polynesian Cultural Center is magnificent. As Hawaii's #1 paid attraction, this center takes you back to old Polynesia. You will experience first-hand the 42-acre grounds with seven native villages. Activities allow visitors to throw Tongan spears, prepare Tahitian coconut bread, and even train with Samoan fire knife practice batons. You'll also encounter one of Hawaii's most authentic luaus.
- Sea Life Park is an adventure for the family. You can learn about dolphins and other sea creatures through touch and play. Their manta ray encounter brings you face to face with stingrays as you snorkel through their lagoon as these animals glide through the water. You can also hang out with sea lions and dolphins and witness the amazing personalities of these fun loving creatures. Sea Trek Adventure takes you three fathoms down into their 300,000 gallon tank to explore and photograph eels and sea turtles and colorful salt water fish.
- Hanauma Bay isn't the only to-die-for snorkeling spot on Oahu. Try Pupukea Beach Park. This 80-acre beach park, on the North Shore, is a Marine Life Conservation District teeming with fish, coral and shells. And compared to Hanauma, where snorkelers are jammed into the bay like M&Ms in cellophane, Pupukea is usually uncrowded. The beach park, also known as Shark's Cove, is the site of a reef where a large variety of marine life can be seen in their natural environment.
About the Author
Connie Werner Reichert has been a travel journalist for over 25 years. She has written for the New York Times, Travel & Leisure, Sierra Heritage Magazine, the Sacramento Bee and numerous other publications. Connie is also the owner of Write Side Up Freelance Writing & Publicity and can be reached at Connieis@pacbell.net or at 530-277-4560.