If you're stuck in winter weather and looking forward to some sun and sand, there's nothing like taking a vacation to Hawaii. If you've never been before, most people begin with a visit to Oahu, preferably staying for a week or more. Taking a Pearl Harbor tour is number one on many people's lists, and it's undoubtedly a spot to visit. The USS Arizona Memorial and other sites are among the most important military historical sites you can visit anywhere. You'll also want to see the USS Bowfin submarine, and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum belongs on your itinerary. Reservations are required for the Arizona.
On an entirely different note, it's fun and exciting to explore native Hawaiian culture. It's much more than putting on a lei as you walk off your airplane. For an immersive experience, the Polynesian Cultural Center may be your best bet. It has recreations of traditional Hawaiian villages and is a great spot to attend a luau. Try the luaus in Paradise Cove and Waimea Valley if you loved the experience and want to do it again. For a laugh and a fun family activity, you might visit a pineapple plantation. It's another popular Oahu attraction. Your kids may enjoy the garden maze, and everyone can try free fruit samples.
If you're ready to go nose to nose with a shark, consider going cage diving. It's a vacation activity for thrill-seekers and not one for the faint of heart. Many precautions are taken to assure your safety, but you'll still be inches away from free-swimming sharks in their natural habitat. You'll learn safety precautions before going down, and there's a tour guide with you to supervise. If you have an underwater camera, take it for some shots that will amaze your social media followers and worry friends who think you've lost your mind. The sharks are up to 15 feet in size, and you'll be right next to them.
Hikers and nature lovers who visit Hawaii are wise to head to the rainforest – there are three located on Oahu. Besides beautiful trails, you'll find zip lines, rope bridges, and ATV rides in some spots. If you love the scenery, you'll want to visit Kualoa Ranch, known as one of the most beautiful spots in Oahu. Sunset Beach will live up to its name if you visit in the early evening. The painted skies are among the most beautiful in Hawaii, and you'll find it romantic. When you visit during the winter months, you'll see surfers riding the waves at any of the beaches along the Seven Mile Miracle of iconic surfing spots.