Best Things to Do in Honolulu

Top tips and things to do for your next visit to Honolului. - Photo by Canva

Aloha! From the moment a lei is placed over your head and the smell of orchids wafts to your nose, you’ll agree: Hawaii may just be the most romantic and beautiful place in the United States. The state’s capital, Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, is undoubtedly one of the most popular ports on Hawaiian cruise routes. 

Honolulu is the gateway to Hawaii. You’ll find both a thriving metropolis and a tropical paradise all in one. It is here where you will experience luaus, famed Waikiki Beach, sites such as Pearl Harbor and the Iolani Palace, and so much more. Honolulu is not only a port stop on many Pacific routes, it is also the embarkation or debarkation point to many Hawaiian cruises. No matter how long you find yourself in this beautiful city, there’s certain to be an activity for you. We’ve rounded up our picks of top excursions and member tips to check out if your next cruise includes Honolulu. 

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Something For Everyone

Pearl Harbor and Honolulu City Tour: This tour is perfect for guests disembarking from their cruise, as you can take your luggage with you. You will tour Honolulu's most famous sites and learn the history of this wonderful city. Highlights include the Iolani Palace, the pride of the Hawaiian Monarchy, and the site of its overthrow in 1893. You will also marvel at the gold-sheathed statue of King Kamehameha, one of Hawaii's most well-known heroes, famous for uniting the island nation. You will also have the chance to visit the legendary U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, the site of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. 

Member Tip: Aloha. This island was my first exposure to Hawaii. It is my favorite. Yes, it’s urban lots of buildings, very populated, expensive shops, and tons of hotels. It also has Pearl Harbor, great beaches, lush plants, and waterfalls. -cjackson500

Three Oahu Icons Excursion: Spend a day exploring the iconic landmarks of Honolulu including the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial and the Dole Pineapple Plantation. With stops at places like the Polynesian Cultural Center and Pearl Harbor, this scenic tour is perfect for cultural connoisseurs and history enthusiasts alike. You'll even get to enjoy time on the golden sands of Sunset Beach, which has some of the best waves for surfing in the world.

Member Tip: Don't miss touring the U.S.S. Arizona and Pearl Harbor. - BelmontGrants

Activities for Couples 

Snorkel & Sail with Turtles: This small-group tour is perfect for couples looking to experience the natural beauty and wildlife of Hawaii. Your exciting Waikiki experience takes you out in the water for a glimpse of the local wildlife, including famed Hawaiian green sea turtles. The two-hour adventure includes a boat ride and all snorkeling gear. 

Member Tip: You can catch the bus to Waikiki just outside the port and ride the bus all day for $5.50 USD. - bmangus 

Sunset Dinner Cruise and Show: This evening adventure is perfect for couples looking for a romantic way to experience beautiful Oahu. You'll be treated to an exquisite Pacific Rim buffet dinner, an entertaining Polynesian revue, and jaw-dropping views of the sun setting over Waikiki Beach. 

Family Fun

Waikiki Whale Watching: This two-hour whale watching adventure is perfect for family members of all ages. Each year, thousands of humpback whales migrate to Hawaii between December and April for mating and child-rearing purposes. On this excursion, you'll get to see some of these whales travel through the waters while also enjoying scenic views of Oahu's beautiful beaches and skyline. 

Member Tip: Went to Polynesian Culture Center and learned so much about the islands. It was great! - juliemoot

Honolulu Scavenger Hunt Adventure: Looking for a unique family activity to try in Honolulu? Pack your smartphone and embark on an incredible, interactive tour around the city for this two-hour sightseeing tour. Your smartphone serves as your virtual guide on this exciting journey where you will solve challenges, learn the local history and visit a variety of beautiful sites about the city, including the Aloha Tower and Iolani Palace. Bring your tennis shoes - this adventure requires more thanone mile of walking! 

Fun for Thrill Seekers

Waterfall Hike and Kamehame Cliffs Adventure: This guided waterfall hiking tour is just the ticket for travelers looking to explore the flora and fauna of Hawaii. From Waikiki, you will shuttle by comfortable van to the lush Ko'olau Mountains. Your small group will travel along a jungle trail to discover a 35-foot, double-tiered waterfall hidden in this slice of paradise. Next, your adventure continues as you travel to the 1,200-foot high ridge top at Kamehame, part of the Ko'olau Summit Trail. Nowhere else on Oahu can you get drive-up access on a private property comparable to this view! 

Surfing Lesson on Waikiki Beach: Is it your dream to ‘hang ten’ in Hawaii? With this excursion, you will learn to surf at the most famous surfing location in the world - Waikiki Beach. This small group lesson is limited to only four people, so you will receive extensive personal attention from a professional instructor. Your excursion includes a 20-minute land lesson to  learn proper water safety, and how to maneuver and stand up on a surfboard. The rest of the time is spent in the ocean learning to stand and ride the waves. Cowabunga, dude! 


Member Tip: If you can make it to North Shore go to Ted's Bakery and you will have the best garlic shrimp of your life. - CruiserNV

Taste of Oahu: Come hungry on this authentic foodie experience! The guide, Lanai Tabura, winner of Food Network's 'The Great Food Truck Race', is as local as it gets. As you tour, you will sample some of Hawaii's best and most authentic foods such as opihi, poke, or spam musubi. The group will stop at a local poke shop to sample a variety of fresh Hawaiian seafood as well as some of the famous food trucks of Oahu. By the end of the tour, you'll have a real feel for the plate lunch lifestyle of Honolulu, having sampled incredible flavors from mac salad and sticky rice to chicken katsu, and lau lau. Bon appetit! 

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