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Fill your days on Oahu with historic sites, beach activities, and Hawaiian style entertainment.

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The focal point of a trip to Oahu is Waikiki Beach with Diamond Head in the distance. On this gorgeous stretch of white sand and gentle water, you can arrange for surf lessons, ride an outrigger canoe, catch a sailboat, or just bask in the warm sunshine. If you’re feeling indulgent, order a fancy drink and relax under an umbrella at one of the oceanfront restaurants. 


The Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium are two favorite stops for families, as is the iconic International Market Place. Here, vendors sell aloha wear, shell jewelry, t-shirts, toys, and gifts from portable kiosks and storefronts. Get a henna tattoo or a special island style manicure to take back home with you, or watch a wood carver at work. Once the sun sets, Kalakaua Avenue bordering the International Market Place comes alive with street performers. 


Tour Iolani Palace, the official residence of Hawaii’s monarchy, and see where King Kalakaua and Queen Lilioukalani held court during state events. Not far from the palace, Bishop Museum houses even more artifacts dating to the monarchy, as well as life before European contact.


For more recent history, the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites are worth a visit. See the touching Arizona Memorial, honoring the soldiers who died during Japan’s December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Also nearby are the Pacific Aviation Museum, the Battleship Missouri, and the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum. 


At the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, you can visit mock villages featuring different island cultures and try your hand at some native games and crafts. There are a number of shows to choose from as well, including the popular Ha: Breath of Life. 


If you’re looking for a place to spend a quiet day, head over to the North Shore of Oahu. Most of the time, this laid back surfing community is a change of pace from busy Honolulu. During the months of November, December, and January, though, big waves bring in pro surfers to compete in a variety of competitions, along with lots of spectators and backed up traffic.