Fun things to do in Hawaii (State of)

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Hawaii (State of)

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    National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

    by starship Updated Jan 27, 2015

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    Unfortunately we were not able to visit Punchbowl Crater -- the more iconic name of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific-- though I would liked to have shown my respect for the men and women buried here. In accompanying postcard photo, a statue of Columbia looks down on more than 30,000 graves of our nation's war dead. The idea of using the "Punchbowl" as a cemetery for Hawaiians came about in the late 1890's. However, some of the first people to be enterred in the cemetery were over 750 military personnel who died on December 7, 1941, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

    Burial at The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is not limited to those who died at Pearl Harbor; now there are more then 33,000 graves of military personnel who served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Traditionally, every year thousands of flower leis are laid on the graves during a Memorial Day ceremony that is held here.

    It is interesting to note that the “Punchbowl” is probably unlike most famous cemeteries you've heard of due to the fact that the land here was formed some 75,000 to 100,000 years ago during a period of Honolulu's secondary volcanic activity. The "Punchbowl" crater was formed as a result. Once molten lava spewed through vents in old coral reefs which extended to the foot of the Koolau Mountain Range. Now we see the cemetery sits in this extinct crater.

    If you plan to visit see the following information from the Cemetery's website:

    "HOURS

    Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Closed federal holidays except Memorial Day.
    Visitation Hours: The cemetery is open daily.
    Sept. 30 thru March 1, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
    March 2 thru Sept. 29, from 8:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.
    On Memorial Day, the cemetery is open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

    DIRECTIONS FROM NEAREST AIRPORT

    The cemetery is located in central Honolulu, approximately midway between the Honolulu International Airport and the Waikiki hotel area. Take the Interstate H-1 East ramp to Honolulu/Waikiki and stay on H-1 East for approximately 4 miles. Get off at exit 21A (Pali Highway). Stay in the middle lane and take a left at the stoplight. Take the first right onto School Street and follow it to a four-way intersection with a stoplight. Turn left onto Lusitana Street, then within .1 miles, take the second road on the right – this is Puowaina Drive. Follow Puowaina Drive for .7 miles, then a slight right to keep you on Puowaina Drive to the cemetery gate."

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    A Moving Memorial

    by starship Updated Jan 27, 2015

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    The Arizona Memorial will probably mean more to people of a certain age than to the younger crowd; then again, after September 11th, it should mean a lot to all people.

    We caught a local bus not too far from our hotel and got timed tickets for entrance to the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. There is a Visitor's Center with many displays you can view which help put in perspective what happened here on December 7, 1941. You will hear a brief talk given by a National Park Service ranger followed by an extremely moving 20-minute film documentary on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It is something no one should miss.

    Shortly after the film, visitors board a Navy shuttle boat which takes you to the actual site of the sunken battleship, USS Arizona, where 1,177 men lost their lives on the "day that will live in infamy." You disembark onto the white memorial structure which was built above the ship. Inside plaques list & memorialize the Arizona's crew.

    Many people throw flowers & wreaths into the waters above the USS Arizona as a tribute to those forever entombed below. As you peer into the clear water you may be surprised to find that oil still seeps from the sunken USS Arizona and casts a rainbow sheen on the water even today.

    A gift shop located in the main building landside has a great selection of books, DVD's, information, postcards and souvenirs.

    The free, but timed-admission tickets are available on a first come-first served basis: the first program beginning at 7:45am and the last at 3:00pm.

    Postcard - USS Arizona Memorial - Pearl Harbor
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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    Our Day at Diamond Head

    by starship Updated Jan 27, 2015

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    You've got to climb Diamond Head! Other than just getting there, the one thing I am most proud of doing in Hawaii is climbing to the top of Diamond Head. It was a beautiful day but really hot and the climb almost killed me, but it was worth every drop of sweat!

    For the young and athletic, I'm sure it's a walk in the park but you better come with a supply of water and a flashlight! Some guys near the start of the climb were selling bottled water and loaning people flashlights! They also sold shirts which commemorate your ascent. Thank heaven for the taxis which were in the nearby parking lot. Obviously they knew there would be people like us too tired to even reach the bus stop after our climb!

    For more detailed information, please proceed to my next tip.

    Three Amigos at the Entrance to Diamond Head

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    The World from the Top of Diamond Head ~ Le' ahi

    by starship Updated Jan 27, 2015

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    One of our goals during our visit to Oahu was to visit Diamond Head. I'm not sure we actually planned to climb it, but I am proud to say that we all did. Our children, who were 8 & 10 years old at the time, climbed like little mountain goats! It was easy for them; however, if you are not in at least moderately good physical shape, reaching the summit of 760 ft. may be taxing.

    We took a local bus from our hotel to the foot of Diamond Head, which for anyone that doesn't already know, is the crater of an extinct volcano, and the hike is to the highest point which faces the Pacific Ocean. From the bus drop off point, we had to walk some distance to the outer wall of the crater through which a 520 ft. long tunnel was carved to reach the interior of the crater. The crater itself has a diameter of 3,520 ft.!!

    The trailhead leading to the top of Diamond Head is partially paved for a few hundred feet or so, but the path quickly becomes rocky and uneven. The real "fun" begins when you realize that there are two sets of stairs, one with 99 steps and the other, 76 steps. There is also a 225-foot unlit tunnel before reaching the remains of a defense bunker. Upon reaching this point you know you have made it to the top! The view from this vantage point is nothing short of amazing and well worth the hardship to reach it!

    When we visited, there were no other facilities at the top, including restrooms (use the ones available at the trailhead)! You should come prepared with water, sun screen lotion (there is no shade), a hat, a flashlight and your camera!

    Entry gate opens at 6am and closes at 6:30pm. I do not remember having to pay an admission fee, but for a $2 donation at the bunker on top, you will get a certificate acknowledging your accomplishment!!

    From Kuhio Avenue, take Bus #22 or Bus #58
    Ride time = 15-20 minutes
    Check bus schedule at: thebus.org

    One of my favorite views from Diamond Head

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    Blue Soul Maui

    by deborahwheeler1 Written Mar 11, 2014

    If you are looking for the perfect vacation or cruise port day in Maui and want to maximize your time, you won’t do better than Blue Soul Maui. Just let Charlie Fleck at Blue Soul Maui know your requirements for a perfect day in Maui and he will coordinate the activities and itinerary perfect for you. You can maximize your time, see the best of the island, and customize your experience. Why get stuck with the typical tours when you can personally customize your day? Interested in seeing where the pros surf, want to hike in lush rainforest, or have a desire to see the best local spots? Then you need to contact Blue Soul Maui to coordinate your visit. There is nothing better than having a local plan the best spots, activities, and transportation for your Hawaii vacation. I spent the day with Charlie seeing the best of Maui and he coordinated the perfect island overview meeting all my requests for hidden locales, Hawaiian foods, scenic destinations, photo spots, hiking, surf meccas, and famous spots on the island. You will be able to see Maui the way you want, as active or relaxed as you prefer.

    For an active Maui day with Blue Soul consider: a guided outrigger tour, stand-up paddle board lessons and rentals, surfing lessons and safaris, kayak rentals and tours, or snorkeling.
    For a relaxed Maui day with Blue Soul consider: photography tours, whale watching, local food spots, guided hikes, or Road to Hana guided tours.

    No matter the type of day you choose, Blue Soul Maui will make your Maui visit the best possible days in paradise.

    To start planning your Maui trip, contact Blue Soul Maui at: 808.757.8888, http://bluesoulmaui.com/, or, email Charlie at: charlie@bluesoulmaui.com.

    Maui, Hawaii Iao Needle, Maui Charlie Leading a Blue Soul Maui Tour
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Photography
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Rainbow Falls (Big Island)

    by cjg1 Updated Feb 27, 2014

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    I had previously visited Rainbow Falls during a trip to the Big Island many years ago. In 2013, my wife and I visited Hilo and took a local tour which brought us to Rainbow Falls.

    Rainbow Falls is a large waterfall; about 80 feet high and 100 feet in diameter. The name Rainbow Falls comes from the Hawaiian word for the falls which is Waiânuenue ; translated as Rainbow Water(rainbows often appear here in the mist). When we visited the Falls; the water was in full gush due to so many days of rain the days prior to our visit. The Wailuku River feeds the water off the edge down into a pool below. Above the pool of water is a lava cave where the Hawaiian Goddess Hina lives.

    We viewed the Falls from a number of platforms; each giving a different view. I was glad to re-visit the falls and bring my wife to see such a beautiful natural wonder.

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    Akaka Falls

    by cjg1 Written Feb 26, 2014

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    My first visit to Akaka Falls was many years ago and I had rented a car. After the drive outside of Hilo on 19 we made the left turn onto 220. Only 3.4 miles to go and we’d be at the first intentional destination of the day. This was honestly the late addition to the list that I was insisting on and it was the highlight of my entire day. And so we drove up to the stop sign about ¾ mile in. Made the left turn down the “main street” and then the right. This we followed up the hill until it ended in the parking lot of the park.

    Parked and packed we set off. Down the stairs to the Y where we discussed which to do. We decided to do the circle loop and see both falls since we were already here. So to the right we went further down the hill. As we followed the path it took us across a bridge and back up a bit we came to the end of the path. And there wasn’t much of a view from there. Kahuna Falls were across the valley but not a great view. After some pics here we move on up the path towards Akaka Falls.

    After about five minutes we crested the hill along the forested path and there was our first glimpse. The mighty 420+ foot drop of the Akaka Falls. Wow. I was so amazed. We stayed here for a good ten minutes taking pics and movies of the falls.

    The basin that these falls tumble into reminds me a bit of the area the helicopter on Jurassic Park comes down into. There is a small covered rest area here and a good 10 to 15 feet of fencing you can take pics from.

    From here it was a short 750 foot walk back to the Y and up the stairs to the parking lot. It was here where we finally ran into another person. They had just arrived and we were happy we had had the park to our selves.

    The park is open 24 hours a day but I highly recommend you come and see it as we did pre 9 am. The sun is shining onto the falls in the morning and this also gives the best light angle for pics.

    I recently had the pleasure of visiting these waterfalls with my wife in February 2013. These waterfalls were part of a tour we were taking that day. We were fortunate that it had rained for several days prior to our visit and the falls were amazing full and gushing water...it was so much more than my first visit.

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    Enjoy Nature

    by John195123 Written Feb 17, 2014

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    While there are endless activities for tourists in Hawaii, take some time to simply enjoy the nature of the place. Get out in a quiet place and just be there.

    (If you've been reading the last set of posts, you've probably noticed an, "enjoy nature" theme. It's been so long since I've traveled, I feel the need to get out in the world.)

    Anyway, Hawaii has all the natural beauty you can handle, and please respect it!

    Hawaiian Mountains How small we are!
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Jungle and Rain Forest

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    Pearl Harbour

    by Madasabull Written Dec 12, 2013

    Pearl Harbor is a lagoon on the island of Oahu not far West of Honolulu, and is home to a United States Navy deep-water naval base and the headquarters of the United States Pacific Fleet.

    If your here you really have to pay it visit. There is an entrance fee, as always, but it's really interesting and a we had a really great day out.

    We caught a bus from Honolulu, which is a really great and cheap way to get around here.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Seniors

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    Kauai Snorkeling

    by we135b Updated Jul 5, 2013

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    The best snorkeling can be found at Tunnels beach on the north shore. On our latest trip to Kauai, we were greeted in waist deep water by a sea turtle. Tremendous variety of fish species. Some of the fish were over a foot long.The beach is difficult to locate. It's accessed by a small dirt road.

    Ke'e beach is very similar to and close to Tunnels. This beach seems safer for youngsters since the outer reef provides a lot of protection from the currents.

    Poipu isn't of the caliber of Ke'e or Tunnels but is safe even for very young swimmers. There is a section where you could safely take toddlers to swim or snorkel.

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    Ala Moana Beach Park is a very safe place for kids

    by joiwatani Written Jan 18, 2013

    The park at the Ala Moana Beach is a great place to bring your children. As parents, we feel secured bringing the kids here where they can ran around, play badminton, soccer, etc.

    The park has all the amenities like a bathroom, water fountains, showers, etc. As parents, we don't like to drive back to our hotel just to use a bathroom!

    The park is also very accessible to the beach where the children can go swim, learn how to boogie board, etc. The sand is soft and there are no rocks and dips in the water.

    The only thing that you have to watch here is when the kids cross the street from the park to the beach. Make sure that you also watch the kids when they go swimming since there are no life guards around.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Beaches

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    Kids boogie boarding at Ala Moana

    by joiwatani Written Jan 18, 2013

    My daughter and her cousins were learning to boogie board and Ala Moana Beach is the place to learn!

    Parents can sit down close to the beach and watch the kids.

    The waves are not just about right to learn how to boogie board.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Beaches

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    Looking for a quiet beach? Go to Ko Olina Marina

    by joiwatani Written Jan 18, 2013

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    This is one of the quietest beach you can find in Honolulu. Also the beach is great for children. The Ko Olina beach is great for sun-tanning, relaxing (without disturbance), sleeping and reading a book while listening to the waves of the ocean and the swinging of the cocnonut trees!

    There are green grasses everywhere- just bring your mat and relax!

    This beach is also great for small children. There is a man-made beach with a barrier created to block the strong waves.

    The only thing about this beach is that you are not allowed to barbecue here.

    There is a bathroom nearby, water fountain, and some chairs to seat.

    There is also a walk-way where people can walk along the beach and job.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Budget Travel

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    Lava and waterfalls

    by Madasabull Written Jan 6, 2013

    Hawaii's islands have some wonderful waterfall and some crazy effects created by lava that has flowed around tree's and other obsticles.

    It is amazing to see how plant life as grown out of the lava and thrived.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • Family Travel

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    It's green, really green and lush!

    by Madasabull Written Jan 6, 2013

    The first thing I noticed about the plant life, was how green and luch it all was. It was beautiful to look at and amazing to be near. It was a really like a jungle in places, and in fact, Jurasic Park was filmed in the islands. There is so much more free space here than I thought there would be, with streams and and mountains, and of course volcanos. If you don't like it busy, you don't have to have it that way, just get out and about to be on your own in the beautiful place.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Family Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

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Hawaii (State of) Things to Do

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