Zeko likes traveling and sharing her travel experiences and photos with other like-minded people.
If you are planning a first-time visit to Oahu, Hawaii, you want to make the most out of your vacation by hitting all the major tourist spots and attractions. However, many people have busy schedules and finding the time to research a new destination can be a challenge, so I have put together a list of the island’s main tourist spots to help you plan your trip and maximize your experience once you get there.
Places to Visit In and Around Honolulu
Since Honolulu is the place that most people head to first, I will start the list with the main tourist spots in and around the city.
1. Waikiki Beach
Waikiki beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world and needs no introduction. It is usually very crowded, but nevertheless a good place for water sports and beach activities if you are a first-time visitor staying in Honolulu. The water is generally calm year-round, making it safe for children.
- Location: Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, HI
- Parking: You can park for free at the Waikiki Shell parking lot (2777-2781 Monsarrat Ave, Honolulu)
- Restrooms and showers: Yes
2. Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon
Although people call it “the Hilton lagoon” because of its location in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort, it is actually a public beach, which means that anyone can swim there. This saltwater lagoon is perfect for families with little kids because the water is always calm and there is no undercurrent like in the ocean. Families can even rent paddleboards, paddle bikes, and other water toys to play with.
- Location: 2005 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI (two blocks from Waikiki Beach)
- Parking: There is a free parking lot on the ocean-side of the lagoon, but it is usually full and difficult to find a spot there.
3. The Royal Hawaiian
The Royal Hawaiian, often called the “Pink Palace," is one of the oldest hotels in Hawaii and it is hard to miss its flamingo-pink exterior. You can walk around the hotel grounds, hang out in the lobby, have a coffee, and enjoy the beautiful architecture even if you are not staying there as a guest. The hotel also offers free historic tours every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 PM.
- Location: 2259 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI
4. Aliʻiōlani Hale and Iolani Palace
Aliʻiōlani Hale is the Hawaii State Supreme Court building. There is a small, free museum about old Hawaiian law inside. Across the street from the Aliʻiōlani Hale is the Iolani Palace – the residence of the last monarchs of Hawaii, and the only royal palace on US soil.