Once you arrive in Honolulu, find a quiet spot on one of the golden beaches and watch the tranquil turquoise waters wave as visions of hula dancers parade in your head. Grab your jasmine-scented lei as you leave your Honolulu flight and start exploring. Sure, flying to Honolulu lands you in the largest city in Hawaii, but there's more to this state's capital than congested highways and booked hotel rooms.
Honolulu travelers will find themselves immersed in rainforests, exploring canyons and mesmerized by breathtaking waterfalls. Trips to Honolulu will also take travelers back in time to one of America's most pivotal moments. Just a short drive from Honolulu is Pearl Harbor, where on December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacks on this island brought the United States into World War II.
The museums and historic and cultural sites are more reasons to book Honolulu airline tickets, and will immerse you in Hawaiian culture and lore. Waikiki Beach provides an introduction to water activities and surfing. For pounding surf, take a drive to the north shore and visit its magnificent beaches. In the winter, head to Honolulu and watch the professional surfers compete on the north shore’s monster waves.
The flight to Honolulu is quite long - at least 10 hours from New York - so grab yourself a couple good novels and recent tour guide of Hawaii and relax...you're on your way to paradise.
Find flights to Honolulu
The year-round temperature typically ranges from the high 60s to high 80s (Fahrenheit).There are two seasons, dry and rainy. The rainy season runs from November to March. The dry season is the rest of the year. June to November is the time for hurricanes.
Best Time to Fly to Honolulu
It's easy to see why so many people book Honolulu flights every year. The weather is gorgeous, the island is hopping and where else in America can you book one flight and have access to seven other islands?
The peak season to visit Honolulu is not when the Hawaiian weather is the best, but when the rest of the country’s weather is the worst. Airfare prices are high and the resorts are fully booked from mid-December through March and sometimes into April. The last two weeks of December are particularly busy in O’ahu. The summer school vacation brings a lot of families to O’ahu, but you can get better travel deals on airline tickets and hotel rates than in winter.
The best rates are available in the spring and fall, mid-April to mid-June and September to mid-December. However, if you’re coming in the spring, book your reservations early as the last week in April is Japan’s Golden Week (four national holidays in one week), and the islands are very busy with Japanese visitors.
Getting around Honolulu
Honolulu’s bus system covers most of the city, making it the easiest way to get around. For a narrated tour during your travels, hop on the Waikiki Trolley, which stops at attractions in Waikiki and downtown Honolulu. If you’re planning on going outside of the city, you’ll want to rent a car. Car rentals are reasonably priced, but traffic can be very heavy inside the city.
Honolulu Travel Information
- The Arizona Memorial Museum straddles the tomb of the 1,177 sailors and Marines trapped below deck when the battleship sank, marking the worst disaster in U.S. naval history. It’s a somber and moving experience. Admission is free, and tickets are handed out on a first-come first-served basis. On a busy day, tickets are gone by noon.
- The newly opened Science Adventure Center of the Bishop Museum is not to be missed. It has 30 exhibits where you can experience adventures such as walking into a volcano, operating mini subs in a “deep sea” tank, and creating tsunamis. The museum’s other permanent exhibits include the Hawaiian and Polynesian Halls, Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame, Planetarium, and Maritime Center.
- Downtown Honolulu’s historic Chinatown is a mix of Asian cultures. There are brilliant colors everywhere, a Buddhist temple, a Japanese shrine, herb and Chinese grocery shops, art galleries, restaurants, an open market where tangy spices rule the cuisine, ever-present scent of burning incense, acupuncturists, and herbalists. Every day the area is bustling with busy residents and meandering visitors from all over the world and a rich mix of sounds, from the traffic to the high-pitched talking of vendors to the retired men "talking story" over a game of mah-jong. When you’re here, make sure to check out the lei sellers on Maunakea Street, where Hawaii's finest leis go for bargain prices.
- Botanical gardens abound on Oahu. The Foster Botanical Garden, in downtown Honolulu, is the oldest of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens and has magnificent trees that were planted in the 1800s. The 27-acre Wahiawa Botanical Garden is a tropical rain forest. Senator Fong's Plantation and Gardens is 725 acres of scenic valleys and plateaus of landscape that is relatively the same as what early Polynesians saw when they came to Hawaii. And this is just three of many gardens on Oahu.
- The Byodo-In Temple is a replica of the Byodoin Temple in Uji, Japan. A three-ton brass temple bell brings good luck to those who can ring it. The highlight is the nine-foot Lotus Buddha, the largest wooden Buddha carved in over 900 years. The Temple grounds include traditional Japanese gardens, a two-acre koi pond, and wandering peacocks. (The Temple was used as a filming location in the first season of the ABC drama series Lost.)
- The weather is usually perfect for a walk. The island has over 20 trails that take you through rain forests, mountain forests, dry valleys, and gulches. Or create your own walking tour in Honolulu or Waikiki—the Oahu Web site has great suggestions for attractions to visit in the city.
- Golfing on Oahu is a unique experience. The rough might be rain forest or lava rock, the constant wind highlights all mistakes, and the ground is harder, which means that the ball runs off the tee more and doesn’t stop as quickly on the greens. Smokers beware. It's against the law to smoke in public buildings and restaurants, including the airports, grocery stores, retail shops, movie theaters, banks, and government buildings and facilities. Most bed-and-breakfast establishments also prohibit smoking.