Everything You Need to Know About Honolulu

By Kathy Adams; Updated September 26, 2017

Hawaii's Oahu gem offers plenty to experience

Everything You Need to Know About Honolulu

Honolulu is a great choice for a first or 15th visit to Hawaii, offering plenty to experience even on the briefest of island getaways. From Waikiki Beach to Diamond Head, this Oahu oasis has everything you'd expect in a Hawaiian vacation destination, from great hotels and beaches to nature trails and shopping.

Q: What does Honolulu mean?

A: The word "Honolulu" means "sheltered bay" in the Hawaiian language. It is the largest city in Hawaii and is also the state's capital.

Q: Is Honolulu on the Big Island?

A: Honolulu is not on the Big Island; it's on Oahu, several miles north and west of the Big Island. The Big Island is also known as Hawaii and is the largest of the Hawaiian Islands. It's about the size of Connecticut and is larger than all the other Hawaiian Islands put together.

Q: Is Waikiki part of Honolulu?

A: The Waikiki neighborhood and its beach, the most-visited beach in the region, are within Honolulu, just several miles south of the downtown area. Diamond Head is also nearby. Waikiki's first hotel was built in 1901; today it's a hot spot for hotels thanks to its ideal location on the south shore of Honolulu. Since it's a popular tourist destination, plenty of shopping and dining options are available here as well. Consider visiting the Waikiki Aquarium if you are strolling around Waikiki for the day.

  • The Waikiki Aquarium is a great place to learn about the many fish species of the Hawaiian Islands. Its Northwestern Hawaiian Islands exhibit features a 4,000-gallon aquarium with living coral, masked angelfish and Japanese angelfish common among the northern island areas. The museum also offers displays and literature on the seaweeds and plants found in and around the waters of Hawaii.
  • Diamond Head State Monument, near the eastern end of Waikiki, is the most-recognized landmark in Hawaii. This park site offers hiking opportunities spread over 475 acres, with the main parking area inside a large crater. The 1.6-mile Summit Trail takes approximately two hours to hike and the terrain is steep and rugged at times. Trail literature states that the area is also hot every day. Bring water if hiking this area to stay hydrated. Wear shoes that can handle uneven terrain and clothes that are comfortable during hot weather with little shade. As a reward for the taxing hike, you'll be treated to stunning views of Waikiki Beach and the Pacific Ocean.

Q: What is the weather like in Honolulu?

A: Honolulu's weather is moderate and warm year-round. The average temperature all year is 77.6 degrees F. The temperatures do vary a bit from season to season. In January, the average daily high is 80 degrees, with a low of 66 degrees. The hottest month is August, with average highs of 89 degrees and lows of 75 degrees. As far as rain is concerned, some precipitation falls at least 11 days per month on average, but the amount of precipitation per month is minimal, ranging from .5 inches in July to over 2.3 inches in January.

Q: How to get from Honolulu to Kauai?

A: Flying is the only reasonable way to get from Honolulu to Kauai; it's also the primary way to travel from any Hawaiian island to another. Many commuter airlines offer flights between Honolulu and Kauai, the northernmost of the Hawaiian Islands. Look for airlines such as Mokulele, Hawaiian and Island Air, checking individual airline websites or airline price-comparison sites to find the options and prices that suit you best. Honolulu International Airport is the airport to choose in Honolulu. Look for signs designating the inter-island terminal, as this the proper terminal for flights between islands. The destination airport on Kauai is Lihue Airport. The flight between these two islands is a brief 20 minutes. Ask for a window seat to take in the stunning aerial views along the way.

Q: How much is parking at Honolulu Airport?

A: Parking at Honolulu International Airport costs $15 for 24 hours in all public areas except the economy lot. The economy lot charges $12 for 24 hours. One economy area has a 48-hour minimum parking fee.

Q: What to do with kids in Honolulu?

A: Besides the aquarium and Diamond Head, there's plenty to do with the kiddos in Honolulu. Take them snorkeling or just spend some time lounging at Waikiki Beach. Some hotels such as the Hilton Hawaiian Village have programs geared towards kids. The Camp Penguin Kids Club at Hilton Hawaiian Village packs in loads of educational fun for children, such as feeding fish, playing games in the pool or taking trips to the aquarium to learn about the many varieties of fish found around Hawaii. Field trips also include visits to the zoo or the State Museum of Natural and Cultural History.

About the Author

Kathy Adams