The Polynesian Cultural Center is a 42-acre theme park located in the town of Laie on the northern shore of Oahu. The open-air park is comprised of eight villages which simulate the people and cultures of Polynesia through exhibitions of various arts and crafts, as well as performances and demonstrations showcasing the islanders’ way of life.The park first opened its doors to the public in 1963 and has since become one of the most visited tourist attractions in Hawaii.
The Polynesian villages that are simulated at the center include: Hawaii, Samoa, Aotearoa (present-day New Zealand), Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga and the Marquesas Islands. There is also a special exhibit dedicated to Rapa Nui (Easter Island or Isla de Pascua). Read more
Alula Beach is a secluded cove with a small white-sand beach with some rocky areas located south of Honokohau Boat Harbor. It is a popular snorkeling destination and a safe swimming spot. The area is fairly well protected providing visitors with calm waters most of the year. The beach is also a popular take-off point for offshore divers and snorkelers to the dive site called Manta Ray Bay.
Just offshore are dark boulders and rock walls that plunge 45 feet into the water. This serves as a natural shelter for the wide variety of colorful fishes and marine creatures that inhabit the cove. These walls also shield the water from the tides, making it safe for swimmers and paddlers. Read more
Located at 2261 Nuuanu Avenue in Honolulu, Oahu, the Royal Mausoleum of Hawaii is the final resting place of the island’s two prominent royal families: the Kamehameha Dynasty and the Kalākaua Dynasty. Also called Mauna Ala (or “Fragrant Hills” in the Hawaiian language), the mausoleum features expansive grassy lawns, towering palm trees, a chapel in the shape of a Latin cross and the tombs of the monarchs.
The 2.7-acre site was designed by architect Theodore Heuck. It was first intended to be the burial place of King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma’s four-year old son, Prince Albert, who died in 1862. Just 15 months after the prince’s death, his father became ill and followed suit. Lot Kamehameha, the king’s brother, became King Kamehameha V and ordered the immediate construction of the mausoleum building. After two months, King Kamehameha IV was laid to rest inside the mausoleum building alongside his young son. Read more
Fern Grotto is one of Kauai’s signature attractions. It is actually a lava rock grotto located along the banks of the Wailua River on the eastern side of the island. It is overgrown with a variety of ferns and other tropical vegetation and is truly a sight to behold.
The grotto forms a natural amphitheater with extraordinary acoustics. Bands are hired to perform live traditional Hawaiian music in the grotto, giving spectators a surreal accompaniment to the spectacular views. Read more
Murphy’s Beach Park is one of Molokai’s loveliest beaches in the island’s eastern shoreline. It is lined with coconut palms and the sand is fine and golden in color. The water is generally calm, courtesy of the offshore reef that provides protection from ocean swells.
The shallow and crystal clear waters is perfect for wading, swimming and snorkeling when the sea is calm. Among the exotic tropical fishes that you can see here include long-nosed butterfly fish, saddle wrasses, and convict tangs. However, caution should be taken during times of high surf. Strong ocean currents often flow just outside the reef area so use extreme caution when swimming beyond the reef or just avoid going there altogether. Read more
Brennecke Beach is a small cove on Kauai’s south shore, located next to Poipu Beach. This beach is a popular bodyboarding destination due to its consistent waves ideal for both advanced bodyboarders. Those just beggining to take the sport should take caution when riding the waves as surf can get really rough.
Surfing is not allowed at this beach, giving bodyboarders a monopoly of the waves at this relatively small beach. The ocean bed is mostly sand and not sharp rock, making this beach a lot safer for such water sports than other beaches in the area. Read more
Sans Souci Beach is a popular swimming and snorkeling area at the eastern end of Waikiki in Oahu, Hawaii. The sandy beach is lined with palms and the water is generally calm, protected by a coral reef against ocean swells. The ideal water conditions makes the beach a favorite recreational destination among residents of Honolulu and the surrounding communities of Kaimuki, Manoa and Diamond Head.
The area was formerly known as Kaimana Beach but was renamed to Sans Souci Beach (French for “without worries”), after the quaint Sans Souci hotel which was built by Greek American businessman George Lycurgus in 1893. The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel now stands on the site of Lycurgus’ hotel. Read more
Dixie Maru Cove is a small but beautiful crescent-shaped beach with white sand on Molokai’s west shore. The area was originally called Kapukahehu Beach but was renamed Dixie Maru Cove after a Japanese sail boat got wrecked offshore in the 1920s. The name Dixie Maru Cove stuck probably because it’s easier to pronounce.
The beach offers one of the best swimming spots in Molokai. The water is generally calm due to outcroppings of lava on each side of the beach and a fringe of coral reef that protects the beach from ocean swells. The water is also teeming with marine life, a spectacular spot for snorkeling. Snorkelers can swim to the wreck of Dixie Maru and a nearby abandoned large anchor. Read more
Kolekole Beach Park is a county park on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is located about 10.5 miles (16.9 km) north of Hilo. Popular among locals, this small beautiful beach offers spectacular scenery and an expansive grassy area perfect for picnics and relaxation. It is usually deserted during weekdays but tends to be crowded on weekends and on holidays.
The water condition in Kolekole Beach Park can be a tad too rough and dangerous for swimming. But folks who want to get a refreshing dip will not go home disappointed. Nearby is the Kolekole Stream, which is fed by the spectacular Akaka Falls, which is located in a town about 4 miles (6.4 km) away. This stream serves as a swimming pool to regular beach habitue. Another smaller waterfall flows into Kolekole Stream near the ocean, completing the tropical scenery of this beach park. Read more