Hawaii was once a sovereign nation, and Iolani Palace was home to its king and queen until the monarchy was overthrown by sugar plantation owners, an action that led to statehood. A visit and guided tour of the palace will help give you a deeper understanding of Hawaii beyond its present-day sand and sun image and explain some of the tensions that still exist here today. For a more rousing reminder of the days of the monarchy, pack a picnic and come on a Friday to hear the rousing Royal Hawaiian Band, founded in 1836 by King Kamehameha III, play on the lawn.
Where to begin with the marvels of Oahu? Idyllic beaches and surf hideouts steal the headlines but don’t sleep on the conveyor belt of must-try restaurants, cultural attractions, coffee farms, and the rest. Leave the sleeping to world-class hotels and resorts.
Oahu is home to Honolulu, Hawaii’s state capital and a criminally underrated cultural hub. Anyone with even a cursory interest in the history and culture of this unique state should make a beeline for the city and gorge on the heritage before literally gorging on the remarkable local flavors waiting on the menus of the city’s restaurants. Honolulu is the perfect base for exploring the outer parts of Oahu, where the beaches and hideouts await.
From history to hiking terrain, and everything else in between, here is our list of the best things to do in Oahu.