O’ahu, Hawai’i – Two

O’ahu is synonymous with sandy white beaches but there is so much more to do after your nap in the sun. Try a fishing charter, whale watching, watersports, dining, shopping, a day at the zoo, touring the royal buildings, a visit to Pearl Harbor or marveling at massive outdoor murals. And don’t forget to watch a glorious sunset.

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1 Aloha Tower Lighthouse in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

The most common Hawaiian phrase is “Aloha.” Visitors to any of the eight islands will hear this greeting for “hello” or “goodbye” several times daily, but it can also be an expression for love and compassion. The 50th state’s nickname is shown here on the Aloha Tower. This landmark lighthouse is located at the mouth of the Honolulu Harbor.

1 Aloha Tower Dr # 257, Honolulu, HI 96813
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2 Water Falls and Palm Trees in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Waikīkī Beach can get extremely crowded during high season. So if you want a quiet oasis, then walk the short distance to the Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Lagoon which was named after the famous Hawaiian Olympian. There you will find this gorgeous island waterfall. The man-made, salt-water pond is surrounded by a sandy beach and boardwalk.

Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon Boardwalk, Honolulu, HI 96815
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3 Family Walking on Prince Kūhiō Beach at Waikīkī in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Families with children, like this couple who are strolling along the sand, often favor the Prince Kūhiō Beach section of Waikīkī because there are two, forty foot breakwaters that eliminate the waves and create a calm swimming area. That’s why it has earned the nickname, “The Ponds.”

2605 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
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4 Top of Waikiki Revolving Restaurant in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

On the 21st floor of the Waikiki Business Plaza is O’ahu’s only revolving restaurant. Its excellent location along Kūhiō Beach gives you a 360°, panoramic view of Waikiki Beach, the Pacific Ocean and Diamond Head. The Top of Waikiki is an excellent place to enjoy a cocktail while watching the sunset and then stay for a fine dinner of regional cuisine.

2270 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
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5 Alī’iōlani Hale Backside in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

One of the things I have noticed after years of photographing landmarks around the world like the Alī’iōlani Hale in Honolulu is that most images are captured from a similar angle. But I like exploring the features of wonderful architecture. To me, the rear entrance to this 19th century, Italian Renaissance Revival design by Thomas Rowe is just as beautiful as the front façade.

417 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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6 Backside of King Kamehameha Statue in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

On February 12, 1883, the day of King Kalākaua’s coronation, this statue of King Kamehameha was unveiled in front of Ali’iōlani Hale. This 8 ½ foot, gilded landmark by Thomas Gould shows the founder and the first monarch of the Kingdom of Hawai’i. His helmet is called a mahiole and his royal cloak is named ‘ahu ‘ula.

417 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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7 Panoramic View of Waikīkī Beach in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Rent a car and drive around any of the eight Hawaiian Islands and you will be delighted by the endless number of gorgeous beaches. Some are in lush coves, others at the base of volcanic cliffs and a few have miles of pristine, white sand. Each one has its own beauty and unique characteristics. A few are so remote that you can enjoy paradise in solitude. The most iconic, however, is the 1.5 miles of sandy beach called Waikīkī with the famous profile of Diamond Head. It used to be called Sans Souci Beach which means “Without Worries.”

2255 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
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8 Sailboat Leaving Ala Wai Canal in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

This sailboat is leaving Ala Wai Canal, a 1,000 foot waterway that leads into the Ala Wai Harbor. Along some of its western shoreline is the Ala Moana Park which in Hawaiian means “Path to the Sea.” It includes a peninsula that jets into the ocean named Magic Island. There are plenty of paths that are perfect for biking, jogging or a scenic stroll with your partner.

1201 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814
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9 Sunset at Ala Wai Harbor in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

After a delightful day of sailing in the Pacific Ocean along the coast of O’ahu, it is reluctantly time to anchor your sailboat in the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor in Honolulu. But as you look back, the gorgeous Hawaiian sun paints the sky with hues of orange and red as it slips below the horizon of palm trees.

1599 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814
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10 Duke Kahanamoku Statue in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

This nine foot, bronze statue on Kūhiō Beach honors Duke Paoa Kahanamoku. The Big Kahuna was a four-time Olympic swimmer, the father of modern surfing, an original Waikīkī Beach Boy and the Hawaiian Ambassador of Aloha. This local legend has been inducted into the surfing, swimming and Olympic halls of Fame. Visitors to this sculpture by Jan Gordon Fisher typically drape fresh leis on his outstretched arms.

2428 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
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11 Hawaiian Humpbacks Mural by Robert Wyland in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Among his many accomplishments, Robert Wyland is a very prolific muralist and number six in his series of 100 Whaling Walls celebrates the Hawaiian Humpbacks. This is a detail of the artwork that is 235 feet wide and 151 feet high. The mural was originally painted in 1985 but was recreated in 1999 at the Pacific Airport Center in Honolulu. It is estimated that about 10,000 of these once endangered whales now winter around the Hawaiian Islands.

3049 Ualena Street, Honolulu, HI 96813
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12 Humpback Whale Tail and Honolulu Downtown Skyline, Oahu, Hawaii

Like many snowbirds, humpback whales will travel thousands of miles in order to spend their winter months in Hawaii’s warm, tropical climate. Numerous whale watching cruises are available across the islands, including some that leave from the Honolulu Harbor. We saw numerous mothers with their calf. This cow, which can grow to 50 feet and over 25 metric tons, put on a great display of breeching, blowing and slapping her tail with the downtown skyline in the background.

1125 Ala Moana Blvd B1-C, Honolulu, HI 96814
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13 Rubber Ducky Statue on NCL Pride of America Ship in Honolulu Port, Oahu, Hawaii

Although the rubber duck has been swimming in bathtubs since the late 1800s, its fame and popularity made a big splash thanks to Sesame Street. This iconic yellow duck with sunglasses is standing under a giant showerhead on the Pride of America, a Norwegian Cruise Line ship that makes weekly tours of the Hawaiian islands. The NCL ship was docked at a pier beside the Aloha Tower Marketplace in Honolulu, Hawaii. In the background is one of the twin One Waterfront Towers which are high-rise condominiums.

521 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96813
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14 Downtown High-rises in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

It was surprising to learn that Honolulu has over 470 high-rise buildings which ranks it fourth among U.S. cities. What was not surprising is that nine of their ten tallest skyscrapers are not office buildings but beach-facing condominiums. The exception is the First Hawaiian Center which is peaking behind the Topa Financial Center East and West (white buildings) in this downtown cityscape. Since 1996, the headquarters of the First Hawaiian Bank has been Hawaii’s tallest building at 429 feet. The twin towers on the right are the Pacific Guardian Center.

79 S Nimitz Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96813
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15 Kailua Beach Park on Windward Coast of O’ahu, Hawaii

Kailua Beach Park’s 2.5 miles of white sand and calm turquoise water is always a top rated beach on the Island of O’ahu and it was once called the best beach in America. It has bathroom and shower facilities plus a picnic area in the 35 acre park for when you need a break from swimming, sunning, napping, kayaking and windsurfing.

12 Kailua Rd, Kailua, HI 96734
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16 Couple Walking Kailua Beach on Windward Coast of O’ahu, Hawaii

This couple on a romantic stroll is enjoying a perfect afternoon on Kailua Beach near the town of the same name. Their scenery includes the Flat Island on the left and the Mokulua Island on the right … both of which are seabird sanctuaries.

12 Kailua Rd, Kailua, HI 96734
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17 Female Asian Elephant at Zoo in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Nestled at the eastern end of Waikiki Beach and in the shadows of Diamond Head is Queen Kapi’olani Park where you’ll find the Honolulu Zoo. Among the nearly 1,000 animals are two female Asian elephants. Mari was born in 1975. This one out for a stroll in the setting sun is Vaigai who is ten years younger. Both are from India. They roam in an exhibit that was built for them in 2012.

151 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
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18 Two Ring-tailed Lemurs Sitting in Sun at Zoo in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Like tourists that love soaking up the Hawaiian warmth, the ring-tailed lemurs often sit upright and expose their bellies to the sunshine. This primate from southern Madagascar has a long, black and white striped tail that outstretches its body by six or seven inches. The enlarged eyes improve their night vision yet they are most active during the day. Their troop size averages from six to two dozen and are dominated by the female. This pair looks like they are taking a time out after an argument.

151 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
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19 Fort DeRussy Beach at Waikīkī in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Fort DeRussy is an U.S. Army installation named after Civil War General Renè Edward De Russy. It was built on the shore of Waikīkī in 1911. Surrounding it is a park with shade trees, picnic benches, volleyball courts and, best of all, a wide sandy beach that for some reason does not attract a lot of people.

1201 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814
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20 Row of Bare Feet Relaxing in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

“Put your feet up, relax and stay awhile,” should become the marketing slogan for attracting tourists to Waikīkī Beach in Honolulu. These three tourists enjoyed every minute of their winter holiday in Hawaii’s tropical sun where the average temperature is 80° degrees.

2255 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
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21 USS Missouri at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Since the USS Missouri was commissioned in 1944, it saw action during World War II, the Korean War and the Gulf War. The Mighty Mo was also the venue for the Japanese surrender ceremony on September 2, 1945. In 1998, the final battleship that was built in the U.S. was donated to Pearl Harbor.

63 Cowpens St, Honolulu, HI 96818
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22 USS Bowfin Submarine at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

The bowfin is a fish with ancestors from the Jurassic Period. It has the unique characteristic of having bimodal respiration, which means it can breathe below and above the water. This inspired the naming of the USS Bowfin, a submarine that was first launched in 1943. She was credited with the sinking of at least 16 enemy ships during WWII. After its final decommission in 1971, it was transferred to Pearl Harbor in Honolulu where it is now a museum.

11 Arizona Memorial Rd, Aiea, HI 96701
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23 Fresh Catch Fish Hanging in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

A popular activity among tourists in Honolulu is fishing and there are plenty of charter options available at the Ala Wai Harbor. Consider a short excursion in shallow waters or plan a full day of deep sea fishing for the chance to catch a mahi-mahi (on left) or a skipjack tuna (on right) or several other species of game fish like yellowfin tuna, wahoo and blue marlin.

83 Holomoana St, Honolulu, HI 96815
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24 Tūhoe Pōtiki Mural by Askew in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

At first glance, this huge mural of a man with an orange face and hat at the corners of Pohukaina and Cooke Streets in Honolulu’s warehouse district looks curious. But this is Tūhoe Pōtiki, a distant relative of Hawaiians who migrated to New Zealand over 1,000 years ago. There are approximately 35,000 in the Tūhoe tribe today, many of whom struggle because of land restrictions. This urban art was painted by Askew in 2013.

Cooke St & Pohukaina St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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25 Washington Place in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Washington Place was built in 1847 by an American ship captain who was lost at sea before the house was finished. His son, John Owen Dominis, along with his wife, Lydia Kamakaeha Pāki, lived here until she became Queen Lili’uokalani of the Kingdom of Hawaii. She moved to the ‘Iolani Palace but, in 1893, she retreated and was arrested here during the overthrow of the monarchy. After her release by the Republic of Hawai’i, this was her home until she died in a bedroom in 1917. The following year, it became the governor’s mansion until 2002.

320 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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26 Royal Hawaiian Band in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

The Royal Hawaiian Band was formed in 1836 by the order of King Kamehameha III and has been providing free concerts ever since. This long tradition of musical excellence is currently under the leadership of bandmaster Clarke Bright on the left. 40 talented musicians make up the ensemble. They perform on the lawn of the ‘Iolani Palace every Friday at noon.

364 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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27 ‘Iolani Barracks in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

The Hale Koa, which means House of Warriors, was built in 1871 to house the Royal Guard for Kamehameha V, the ruler of the Kingdom of Hawaii. It remained the barracks for the Household Troops until the monarchy was overthrown in 1893 and the Hawaiian army was subsequently disbanded. In 1965, it was moved and now serves as the gift shop and ticket booth for the ‘Iolani Palace.

364 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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28 Hawaii Kingdom Coat of Arms in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

This coat of arms was designed in the mid-19th century during the reign of Kamehameha III who was the monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1825 until his death in 1854. Versions of this seal were modified when Hawaii became a republic, a territory and finally a state in 1959. One of the biggest design changes was the king’s crown was replaced with a rising sun. This coat of arms is on the entry gates of the ‘Iolani Palace.

364 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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29 Pacific Guardian Center Towers in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

In the heart of downtown’s financial district are the twin, high-rise towers called the Pacific Guardian Center. This office complex opened in 1979 and was designed by Architects Hawaii. Apparently the state’s top architectural firm is doing well because they moved their headquarters into the 31st floor penthouse in 2013.

733 Bishop St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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30 Hawaiian Woman Mural by Prime in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

If you like street art, then you must visit Honolulu’s warehouse district called Kakaako. It is an amazing outdoor art gallery. The rundown area began to be revitalized in 2011 when Jasper Wong organized POW! WOW! Hawaii and invited talented muralists from around the world to create enormous paintings like the one called The Hawaiian Gods Wall. This woman is a small detail of the artwork covering the wall facing the Jaguar Parking Lot. The lead artist was John Prime Hina, a local graffiti legend who mentors at-risk youth in his 808 Urban program.

744 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96813
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31 Side View of Hawaii State Capitol Building in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Incorporated into the design of Hawaii’s state capitol building are multiple architectural features that are symbolic of the 50th state. For example, the eight columns surrounding the façade represent the Hawaiian islands and are shaped like palm trees. The reflecting pool is suggestive of the Pacific Ocean.

415 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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32 Hawaii State Capitol House of Representatives in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

The fifty-one members of the Hawaiian House of Representatives meet in this chamber. It is shaped like a volcanic crater which reflects how the eight islands of the Aloha State were created. This symbolism is reinforced when you enter on the first floor and find yourself in the gallery looking down on the meeting room below. The enormous golden chandelier represents the sun.

415 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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33 Father Damien Statue in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

This bronze statue of Father Joseph Damien De Veuster stands at the entrance of Hawaii’s state capitol in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii. It celebrates the love, compassion and sacrifice of this Catholic priest from Belgium who cared for lepers on the island of Moloka’i for 16 years. He died of the disease in 1889. 120 years later, he was canonized as a saint. New York City sculptor Marisol Escobar created the sculpture in 1969.

415 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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34 Eternal Flame War Memorial in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

In memory of the attack on Pearl Harbor, an eternal flame was unveiled in Honolulu on December 7, 1944. Thirty years later, it was replaced with this bronze and copper sculpture by Akaji Bumpei. This tribute to the Hawaiian men and women who served in the armed services is located on the Capitol Mall on Beretania Street.

420 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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35 Koko Crater View from Hanauma Bay on O’ahu in Hawaii

Dominating the landscape at the southeast corner of the Island of O’ahu is the Koko Crater. The Koko Head has been dormant for over 30,000 years and reaches an elevation of 1,208 feet. To put that height into perspective, this volcanic tuff cone is almost three times taller than the biggest skyscraper in nearby Honolulu. It is seen here along the beach of Hanauma Bay.

7455 Kalanianaole Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96825
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36 Underwater Marine Ecosystem at Hanauma Bay on O’ahu in Hawaii

Hanauma Bay is a nature preserve and marine life conservation area which is a sanctuary to over 450 species of tropical fish plus green sea turtles, Hawaiian monk seals, spinner dolphins and humpback whales. In an effort to protect this wonderful ecosystem, you are required to watch a ten minute movie to learn how to enjoy but not disturb this wonderful, underwater environment.

7455 Kalanianaole Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96825
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37 Byodo-In Temple in Kahaluu, O’ahu, Hawaii

The Byodo-In Temple opened in 1968 on the centennial anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. It is a replica of a similar Buddhist temple in Uji, Japan. It is located in the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park at the base of the Ko’olau Mountains. Swimming in the reflection pool are large koi carp.

The Byodo-In Temple, 200 Kahekili Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744
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38 Sacred Bell at Byodo-In Temple in Kahaluu, O’ahu, Hawaii

The bonshō is a large bell that is rung before entering a Japanese Buddhist temple in order to clear the mind and bring peace and happiness. This scared bell at Byodo-In Temple is brass, six feet tall and weighs seven tons. The wooden striking log is suspended from the red rafters of the bell housing called kanetru-ki-do.

The Byodo-In Temple, 200 Kahekili Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744
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39 Amida Buddha at Byodo-In Temple in Kahaluu, O’ahu, Hawaii

This Amida Buddha is inside the Hoo-do Hall at the Byodo-In Temple. The nine foot sculpture that was carved by Masuzo Inui is in the meditation or serenity position with the legs in the double lotus posture. This celestial Buddha, also called Amitābha, is common in the Pure Land sect of East Asian Buddhism.

The Byodo-In Temple, 200 Kahekili Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744
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40 Diamond Head Lookout View in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

It is an easy drive from Waikīkī Beach to the visitors’ center at Diamond Head State Monument Park with some great views along the way like this one of the southeast side of Oahu. But to reach the summit, you’ll need to invest an hour to walk up the .8 mile trail that ascends about 560 feet. But then you will be rewarded with a glimpse of the saucer-shaped crater plus stunning vistas of Honolulu and the Pacific Ocean coastline.

Kahala Lookout, Diamond Head Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815
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41 Cathedral of St. Andrew in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

St. Andrew’s Cathedral was commissioned in 1862 by King Kamehameha IV but ironically he died on Saint Andrew’s feast day before construction began. The first phase of the Episcopal church was finished in 1886 with additions in 1888, 1908, 1958 and 1911. It is shape is an inverted ark. In front is a statue of the saint standing in a pool with dolphins that spew water.

229 Queen Emma Square, Honolulu, HI 96813
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42 Stained Glass Window in St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

When the sunlight shines through this beautiful, hand-blown stained-glass window, the interior of the Cathedral of St. Andrew is bathed in color. Called the Great West Window, it was installed above the front entrance of the Episcopal church in 1958. The designer, Carlton Winslow, must have had a sense of humor because if you look closely in the upper left corner you will see an image of Jesus on a surfboard.

229 Queen Emma Square, Honolulu, HI 96813
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43 Island in Lagoon with Paddle Boarders in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

The Pacific Ocean waves along Honolulu’s coast are ideal for surfers but can be challenging for other water sports. But the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon is perfect for paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing and snorkeling around this island and waterfalls. All equipment is available for rent. Spend a glorious Friday there and then stay for the spectacular fireworks at night.

Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon Boardwalk, Honolulu, HI 96815
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