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Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
This panoramic perch looks out to expansive views of Windward Oahu. It was in this region that King Kamehameha I drove defending forces over the edges of the 1,000-foot-high cliffs, thus winning the decisive battle for control of Oahu. From here you can see views that stretch from Kaneohe Bay to Mokolii (little lizard), a small island off the coast, and beyond. Temperatures at the summit are several degrees cooler than in warm Waikiki, so bring a jacket along. And hang on tight to any loose possessions; it gets extremely windy at the lookout. Lock your car; break-ins have occurred here (this wayside is in the most trafficked state park in Hawaii). www.hawaiistateparks.org/parks/oahu/nuuanu.cfm. OPEN: Daily during daylight hours.
Nestled in the bowl of Puowaina, or Punchbowl Crater, this 112-acre cemetery is the final resting place for more than 50,000 U.S. war veterans and family members and is a solemn reminder of their sacrifice. Among those buried here is Ernie Pyle, the famed World War II correspondent who was killed by a Japanese sniper on Ie Shima, an island off the northwest coast of Okinawa. There are intricate stone maps providing a visual history military history lesson. Puowaina, formed 75,000-100,000 years ago during a period of secondary volcanic activity, translates as "Hill of Sacrifice." Historians believe this site once served as an altar where ancient Hawaiians offered sacrifices to their gods. The entrance to the cemetery has unfettered views of Waikiki and Honolulu—perhaps the finest on Oahu. www.cem.va.gov/cem/cems/nchp/nmcp.asp. COST: Free. OPEN: Mar.--Sept., daily 8--6:30; Oct.--Feb., daily 8--5:30.
As you drive the Windward and North shores along Kamehameha Highway, you'll note a number of interesting geological features. At Kualoa look to the ocean and gaze at the uniquely shaped little island of Mokolii (little lizard), a 206-foot-high sea stack also known as Chinaman's Hat. According to Hawaiian legend, the goddess Hiiaka, sister of Pele, slew the dragon Mokolii and flung its tail into the sea, forming the distinct islet. Other dragon body parts—in the form of rocks, of course—were scattered along the base of nearby Kualoa Ridge. In Laie, if you turn right on Anemoku Street, and right again on Naupaka, you come to a scenic lookout where you can see a group of islets, dramatically washed by the waves. www1.honolulu.gov/parks/programs/beach/kualoa.htm.
Packed into the neighborhood of Moiliili are flower and lei shops, restaurants (Spices, Fukuya Delicatessen, Sweet Home Café), and little stores such as Kuni Island Fabrics, a great source for Hawaiian quilting and other crafting materials; Siam Imports, for goodies from Thailand; and Revolution Books, Honolulu's only leftist book shop.
On the corner of Maunakea and Hotel streets is this plaza surrounded by shops, an indoor market, and a food court. If you appreciate fine tea, visit the Tea Hut, an unpretentious counter inside a curio shop.
Stories to inspire your own adventures at Outrigger's travel blog.