No introduction to Hawaii is really necessary. Simply put, it is paradise. What you need in paradise is a road map to all the best places.
Hawaiian Mission Houses, Honolulu, Hawaii
Located in the heart of downtown Honolulu, the Hawaiian Mission Houses is collection of three national historic landmarks where visitors learn all about the protestant missionaries and their influence on the native Hawaiians. A tour of this landmark includes seeing three historical houses, one of which is the oldest wooden building on the island that was shipped from Boston almost 200 years ago.
A visit to this incredible site will broaden your understanding of the interactions between the native Hawaiians and the missionaries. You will learn all about the architectural significance of the site as well, and you can come to a better understanding of the area’s 19th century culture, language, and history.
Driving is one of the most enjoyable ways to experience Hawaii, so you want to ensure you have comfortable car seat covers during each day’s driving. Of course, one of those days of driving must end at the Iolani Palace.
The only official royal residence in the US, the Iolani Palace was the home to the last reigning Hawaiian monarchy. Built in the 1882 by King Kalākaua, it was the epicenter of all political and social activity until the kingdom was overthrown in 1893. The two-story palace has been meticulously restored to its former splendor and provides visitors with an immersive experience that reveals the grandeur of the Hawaiian monarchy.
The first floor is comprised of a variety of public reception rooms. For instance, you can tour the Grand Hall, the State Dining Room, and the awe-inspiring Throne Room. To tour the private suites, you can simply ascend to the second floor. Here you will see the suites of the King and Queen as well as the Music Room. You will also tour the Imprisonment Room, which held Queen Liliuokalani for almost eight months following her government’s overthrow. The incredible architecture, artifacts, and furnishings make this site a must-see.
Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran, Waikiki
When it comes to cruises, the Turtle Canyon cruise mixes snorkeling, dining, and luxury. For instance, visitors can enjoy the sights as the catamaran sets anchor and allows you to swim in the calm waters where sights of sea turtles and bottlenose dolphins are common. In fact, because turtles are so abundant, if you do not see one you are given a complimentary return ticket. Other incredible sites include migrating whales, tropical fish, and Diamond Head.
To ensure you soak up all that nature provides on this cruise, snorkeling equipment as well as instructions are included. While on board, you will enjoy music, food, and drinks. You will also have the opportunity to take pictures of some of the most beautiful places in the world–including Waikiki and the Ko’olau Mountains.
Roy’s Hawaii Kai, Honolulu
When it comes to award-winning cuisine, for over a quarter century, Roy’s Hawaii Kai has been a staple for tourist and locals seeking the pinnacle in palate pleasures.
Appetizers are known as “first bites,” and they come in the form of cheesy herb butter flowing over rows of baked escargot. For the less adventurous, the cream of spinach soup or the steamed clams offer experiences in taste befitting of this tropical paradise.
Main dishes range widely but are all designed to delight. From roasted Mahi Mahi lathered in lobster essence to a plate of fresh diver scallops, diners can expect the absolute best from this restaurant that boasts six locations.
Most waterfront restaurants offer dining on the water. However, Azure–named after the eternally blue waters that surround the Hawaiian Islands–offers views of the water and the distant volcano peaks.
Although Azure features the traditional full menu and wine menu, what shines is the tasting menu. The tasting menu offers such delicacies as Ahi Poke Toast, prepared in squid ink and pickled mango. On the other side of this taste experience is white chocolate mousse, which is a study in how dopamine satisfies the deep recesses of the diner’s brain. In between are three other tastes, each delivered one after another in a series of dishes designed to amaze, delight, and satisfy. In what amounts to a five-course meal, Azure’s tasting menu is not so much a menu as it is an interactive dinner ride that you will not want to depart.
Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii
As this experience requires a bit of a drive, you will want to ensure you are situated on your car seat covers. This astronomy center boasts native architecture that mimics the volcanoes. Of course, a first glance reveals the conical shape of the volcanoes. However, via the feed of nearby telescopes, you can experience a luxurious view of planets, stars, and constellations up close, as it were.
Of course, seeing our solar system and the heavenly bodies beyond it can be awe-inspiring. However, at the Imiloa center, the vantage offered by powerful telescopes housed at the Maunakea Visitor Center is presented as a live telecast to an enormous screen, allowing people to sit in comfort and view the outer reaches of the cosmos.
Of course, the deeper significance of this experience is that viewing the stars from within the conical architecture transports you, metaphorically, into the heart of the volcano. In looking up at the cosmos–from within a metaphorical volcano–you are actually looking upward at the remnants of exploding bursts of lava.
In the same fashion that stargazing allows you to look upward into the beginnings of the universe, this type of architecture conveys the sense of being within a volcano, looking up at the explosive lights during the metaphorical birth of Hawaii.