Honolulu , the state capital and the largest settlement on the islands , offers a nice contrast to the miles and miles of unspoiled nature . A fully developed urban center , its cosmopolitan vibe can be a welcome change of pace after days of hiking and beach-hopping . But don ’ t make the mistake of thinking the city is the only attraction on this island .
The Waikiki neighborhood offers a vibrant scene by night and day , with sun , sand and surf for the daytime adventurers and a generous supply of bars , clubs and trendy restaurants for night owls . Waikiki beach is beloved for surfing and snorkeling , while the nearby Honolulu Zoo makes a great day trip for families .
Not far away , you ’ ll find the incredible Diamond Head State Monument . This enormous volcanic cone has inspired hikers , photographers and songwriters alike , and it ’ s easy to see why . One glimpse into its mighty crater and you ’ ll quickly realize that you ’ re seeing something you can only see in a few places on earth .
A little farther down the coastline , you can find Iolani Palace , once home to a series of Hawaiian royal families . Though it ’ s not the largest building in the neighborhood anymore , its radiant architecture still manages to make it stand out among the surrounding high-rises .
Pearl Harbor hardly needs an introduction , but if you want to pay your respects to those who lost their lives on that tragic day , the Pearl Harbor Memorial gives you the opportunity to do so while also admiring the site ’ s creative architecture .
And if the somber sight of a war memorial gets you in a contemplative mood , you ’ re sure to be moved by Valley of the Temples Memorial Park . This park is home to memorial shrines from various world religions , including Buddhism , Catholicism and Shintoism . The Byodo-In , a large Buddhist temple , is one of the most visited religious sites on the island , both for its spiritual significance and its tranquil grounds nestled in the green mountains of Oahu ’ s southeastern region .
Suffice it to say , Oahu is similar to the Big Island in that it offers a little something for everyone . The only challenge is deciding how to spend your time .
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This is by no means an exhaustive list of the exceptional spots on the Hawaiian island for travelers . Other rewarding destinations can also be found without having to venture too far from wherever you decide to set your home base .
Our expert travel advisors can offer a variety of options to help you personalize your adventurous trip to Hawaii .
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