Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii located in O’ahu. Any major metropolitan city comes with its fair share of challenges - including homelessness, loud vehicles, horns beeping, sirens blaring, and loud motorcycles. There’s a lot going on in Honolulu, and there’s a lot more island to see too.
Honolulu is one aspect of O’ahu and I would encourage anyone visiting O’ahu to rent a vehicle and explore the rest of the island.
(View from Hilton Hawaiian Village Rainbow Tower)
Honolulu is very walkable. We walked Waikiki, off and on, multiple days and had a blast doing it. We walked to The Royal Hawaiian Resort just to check it out. We did the same at The Moana Surfrider too - just taking everything in. We walked Waikiki beach, took pictures of the kids in front of the statues, watched strangers play volleyball, and just enjoyed being there. Later I tried my hand at surfing under the shadow of Diamondhead which is quite an experience.
Hiking Diamondhead is definitely worth the effort.
Outside of Honolulu we visited the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden (south east side of island).
This was a surprise. When I hear ‘Botanical Gardens’ I think ‘super boring’. This was super amazing, though. Different than The Na Pali coast in Kauai, perhaps because you’re driving near these amazing mountains - getting closer and closer to them. They’re awe inspiring.
We visited multiple beaches including Chinaman’s Hat (north east side of island).
During our trip, we changed hotels and AirBnB’s multiple times as I had to rebook travel because a work trip changed at the last minute. Our trip semi-revolved around our ability to book the Disney Aulani resort (west side of island) and visit other hotels with amazing pools (Hilton Hawaiian Village and the Sheraton - both Waikiki).
The North Shore was a bit disappointing as I’m not a capable surfer and there wasn’t much else that interested me. We visited Turtle Bay, but, ironically, it started raining so we returned to Waikiki where it wasn’t raining.
Maui | The Big Island | O'ahu | Kauai | Lanai