Hawaii is the most popular honeymoon destination in the United States, and most couples begin their trip in Honolulu, the state capital located on the island of Oahu. There's more to see and do in Honolulu than laze on Waikiki beach (although there's nothing wrong with that!). If you plan to go sightseeing in Honolulu, these are the top sights to tour.
Arizona Memorial image © RaSchi/Creative Commons.
The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1941 sunk the USS Arizona and brought the United States into World War II. Highlight of this historic sightseeing tour are stops at the Arizona Memorial, the battleship USS Missouri, and the Punchbowl National Cemetery of the Pacific. You also will see Iolani Palace, Kawaiahao Church, the King Kamehameha statue, the Mission Houses Museum, and the magnificent banyan trees of downtown Honolulu.
Soar through the air, over the sapphire waters of Waikiki, an open parachute on your back. Preliminary to going up, you can board a parasail boat operated by an experienced crew licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard. The float in the sky up to 300 feet, taking in views of Honolulu, Diamond Head, and Waikiki surfers -- if you keep your eyes open.
A first-class Honolulu sightseeing experience that starts with limo pickup at your hotel, the two-hour Oahu Ali'i Club Dinner Cruise sails along the Kahala coastline, beyond Diamond Head and the sparkling lights of Waikiki. At a table for two you'll dine on a five-course meal (choose lobster or prime rib), and three premium cocktails are included. After a flower lei is bestowed, you can pose for a complimentary photo to remember the occasion. The cruise includes a show with dancers and musicians -- but you may want to stay on deck for this tour, the warm breeze through your hair and the fragrant night air surrounding you.
Whether your schedule or your budget keeps you from combining a stay on Maui with your visit to Honolulu, you can still experience the beauty and wonder of this island. Honolulu to Maui tours lead you to the famed 10,023-foot summit of Haleakala volcano, Iao Valley State Park, and into Lahaina, the capital of Maui.
If your schedule or budget keeps you from combining a stay on Kauai, the Garden Isle, with your visit to Honolulu, you can still experience this verdant island. Honolulu to Kauai one-day sightseeing tours cover a cruise on the Wailua River to the romantic Fern Grotto along with the breathtakingly beautiful Waimea Canyon, plus Russian Fort, Koloa Sugar Mill and Nawiliwili Harbor.
Want to see a volcano, up close? Even if plans keep you from combining a stay on the Big Island with your visit to Honolulu, you can still experience Hawaii. Honolulu to the Big Island sightseeing tours generally cover Volcanos National Park, Rainbow Falls, and a barefoot walk on a black-sand beach more.
You can see the majestic 760 foot Diamond Head from just about anywhere in Waikiki, but there's nothing like seeing it up close. At the summit, 360-degree views -- and one of the world's most romantic spots to kiss -- await.
Yes, it's corny and yes, you're bound to encounter lots of kids at this Honolulu attraction. But if you're only planning to pass through Honolulu once, you may kick yourself if you don't visit the Polynesian Cultural Center. The 42-acre site contains 7 island "villages" that showcase the indigenous cultures of Polynesian Hawaii, Samoa, the Marquesas, Fiji, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Tonga.
If the two of you prefer to do Honolulu sightseeing on your own, the Go Oahu Card available for 1, 2, 3, 5, or 7 days provides entry to 30 Oahu tours and attractions that would separately cost more than $300. The Go Oahu Card gives you access to the USS Arizona Audio Tour, Pearl Harbor and Honolulu City Tour, Dole Plantation, Hanauma Bay Snorkel Adventure, Iolani Palace, a kayaking adventure, and more, plus discounts at many shops and restaurants.
Before you start sightseeing in Honolulu, you'll need to get from the airport to your hotel. I've personally used Viator airport pickups and have been very happy with the service. (I also appreciate that I can cancel a trip in advance if I make other arrangements.) Not only do the shuttle drivers meet you at baggage claim, they also help with your luggage. And the nicest part, to remind you that you've made it to Hawaii, is that you receive a fresh flower lei upon arrival