Exterior of Iolani Palace, Honolulu.
// (c) David Cornwell
Michael Chick, an agent from All Star Travel in Los Angeles — and the sweepstakes winner of TravelAge West’s Premier Suites at Halekulani Connection Webinar winner from last September — recently shared a few of his favorite Oahu attractions following his three-night Premier Suite stay at the Halekulani this past April.
Chick loved the history of this palace — the only monarchial residence to be found on U.S. soil.
“Definitely set aside time to enjoy the 90-minute tour at Iolani Palace,” he said. “It is a beautiful compound where you step back in time to see and hear about the fascinating, rich history of the Kingdom of Hawaii and its tragic, abrupt end.”
Because he was a guest of the Halekulani, Chick received a complimentary guided tour of the palace as part of the hotel’s For You, Everything program. The palace is open Mondays through Saturdays, except on certain holidays. Docent-guided tours, which take place in the morning, require reservations and cost $20 for adults and $5 for children ages 5-12 (children under age 5 are not allowed). A 45-minute, self-guided audio tour is available for purchase and costs $13 for adults and $5 for children.
Kailua Beach Park
This stunning beach, located on the windward side of the island, is a favorite among locals, including Hawaii native, President Obama. Chick recommended Kailua as a serene alternative to the more populated Waikiki Beach.
“This is one of the most picturesque beaches on Oahu, so be sure to plan your visit on a weekday when you will find lots of room to spread out and relax. It is a nice alternative to busy Waikiki beach for an afternoon,” Chick said.
Kailua Beach Park offers lifeguard services, picnic areas, showers and restrooms, and is ideal for swimming, kayaking, wind-surfing and body boarding.
Makapuu Point and Lighthouse
Chick described this scenic lookout point and its iconic lighthouse as “a photo opportunity just waiting for you to capture.”
“If you are a bit more adventurous, park at the top of Makapuu Lighthouse Road and follow the easily maneuvered path along the cliffs to the point's second scenic lookout,” he suggested. “Looking to the east, you will see the island of Molokai, just 25 miles across the Kaiwi Channel and, if you’re lucky, you will find that Makapuu is one of the best places to catch a Hawaiian rainbow. If you’re really lucky, you might spot one of the majestic humpback whales that visit Hawaii each winter.”
The lookout point is located on the eastern most tip of Oahu on the windward side.
Nuuanu Pali Lookout
Chick admired the panoramas from this popular Oahu lookout point.
“This lookout is worth a stop for the incredible view of the Kaneohe Bay area from its 1,200 foot elevation,” he said.
The lookout is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, weather permitting. Admission and parking are free.
USS Arizona Memorial
No visit to Oahu would be complete without a visit to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, said Chick.
“The memorial is as interesting as it is moving, regardless of how many times you may have visited in the past,” he said.
Clients should get to the site earlier in the day to avoid missing out on the limited number of free shuttle boat tickets that transport visitors across the harbor to the memorial itself. The visitor’s center is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas, with tours beginning every 15 minutes from 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Oahu Visitors Bureau