If you’ve seen enough of Oahu’s beautiful surf and sand, check out some of these historic sites while on your Hawaiian adventure. They’re sure to share some Hawaii history with you and make your vacation a memorable one.
Queen Emma’s Summer Palace
At a higher elevation than Honolulu, the palace was used by Queen Emma and her family as a retreat from the summer heat of Honolulu and their duties as rulers. Take a drive along the Pali Highway, just about five miles outside of Waikiki to arrive at the palace. Built in 1848, the palace is one of few remaining examples of Greek Revival architecture in Hawaii, with tours conducted by docents who are members of the Daughters of Hawaii. Walk through the palace grounds where you’ll see numerous examples of native Hawaiian plants and trees spread over 2 acres. Definitely on the must-see list of Oahu activities!
The memorial, just north of Honolulu, is on the National Register of Historic Places. This cemetery, which honors the sacrifices and achievements of the American Armed Forces and commemorates those who were lost during the attack at Pearl Harbor, is a must see for anyone wanting insight into the history of Hawaii. Walking tours, which offer stellar views of Honolulu are provided by Veterans of the American Legion.
The Iolani Palace in Honolulu is the only royal palace located in the United States. Located in downtown Honolulu, the palace is a sight to see. After the overthrow of the monarchy, Iolani Palace served as the Hawaiian capital for almost 80 years. When the government offices vacated the palace in 1969, physical restoration began and continues today. The palace also hosts cultural events like concerts and genealogy classes, so be sure to check the calendar before you go.
For a calm and relaxing day trip, check out the historic Byodo-In located in the Valley of the Temples. With a sweeping backdrop of the soaring Koolau Mountains, the temple is located along the Windward Coast of Oahu. Famed Kyoto Landscaper Kiichi Toemon Sano designed the Japanese garden, and the temple houses an 18 foot gold leafed Buddha.
U.S. Army Museum
Housed in a 1911 coastal defense battery, the U.S. Army Museum showcases military memorabilia from the early Hawaiian period through the Vietnam War. The museum has permanent, as well as temporary exhibits, so be sure to check the calendar before heading out.