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Oahu Itinerary

Oahu offers more things to see and do than any of the other islands.  That, of course, contributes to the fact that you will find more tourists here than on any of the other islands.  With so much to see and do, don't wear yourself out during the first few days.

Day 1
Pearl Harbor, the Arizona Memorial, and the USS Missouri.  Arrive early for the free boat ride to the memorial which sometimes has wait times of up to three hours.
National Cemetery of the Pacific at the Punchbowl.  A sobering place to visit reminding us all of the sacrifice made by so many to secure our freedom.  There are panoramic views of Waikiki and the Pearl Harbor area.
Sunset from Waikiki:  These can be beautiful and there are many places to view them; poolside at the Sheraton Waikiki or the Hanohano Room on the its top floor, or any of the beaches stretching from the Hilton Hawaiian Village to Kapiolani Park.

Day 2
Hanauma Bay for snorkeling.  If you drive, get there early or you may set in the parking lot quite some time waiting for someone to leave so you can have their parking place.  Shop around when you arrive and you can leave the driving (and parking) to someone else.  There is a lot of competition among activity providers so you can get some excellent deals on a half-day at Hanauma Bay that includes transportation and snorkeling equipment.  This would be a good day to spend the afternoon on the Waikiki beaches soaking up the sun and people watching.

Day 3
Polynesian Cultural Center:  (Note the stops suggested on the way)  Although it's a little expensive ($35 - $125), we highly recommend touring the villages and the evening show.  Plan to arrive no later than early afternoon because there is so much to see.  There are seven recreated South Pacific villages and we think the evening show is one of the best in the islands.
Pali Lookout
:  On your way to the Cultural Center, you can take Highway 61 (the Pali Highway) to the windward side of the island.  Stop seven miles up the Highway at the Nuuanu Pali State Wayside for dramatic panoramic views of windward Oahu's valleys and coastline.
Kailua and Lanikai Beaches:  Continue driving to the coast and you arrive at these two gorgeous beaches.  You can check them out on this trip, but if you are a real beach person you will want to return later and spend a day.

Day 4
Haleiwa Sign
Haleiwa on the way to the North Shore from Honolulu
North Shore:  Take H1 to H2 to drive through the center of the island.  Along the way you can stop at the Dole Pineapple Plantation for snacks and souvenirs, but be prepared for relatively high prices.  Or, you can skip it and stop in Haleiwa town a short distance further.  In Haleiwa, you will find stores catering to surfers, contemporary boutiques, art galleries, souvenir shops, and restaurants.  Further down the road is Waimea Bay and Audubon Botanical Garden.  Waimea Bay is where the North Shore really begins with huge waves common in the winter.  In the summer the North Shore beaches are relatively calm.  Continuing on from Waimea Bay you can visit Banzai Beach (Banzai Pipeline is a shore break), Ehukai Beach, and Sunset Beach.

Day 5
Bishop Museum or Iolani Palace:  If you enjoy museums, don't miss the Bishop Museum which is renowned for its exhibits concerning Pacific life and culture.  Even if you don't want to spend your time in Hawaii in a museum, you would probably enjoy visiting the Iolani Palace.  There is much less to see but it all relates directly to Hawaii and it is the only royal palace on U.S. soil.  If you have time left over, you may want to do one of the following:  a short hike up Diamond Head for tremendous views of western Oahu, or a drive around Round Top and Tantalus Drive which circles Round Top Mountain giving you views of Manoa Valley, Mount Tantalus, Honolulu, and the ocean.


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