Hawaii is more than just golden beaches and volcanic mountains. The islands have a splendid culture and insightful history that has helped to shape today’s tourism industry. Most sightseers begin their Hawaiian holiday at Pearl Harbor, taking in the sight of the United States’ worst military catastrophe. From here, precious museums, intriguing national parks and family-friendly attractions can be experienced. Buses make travel around the islands easy, but inter-island travel does require some additional time and budget.

Pearl Harbor

Resting on the western shoreline of Honolulu, Pearl Harbor is the site of the US Pacific Fleet infamous for the Japanese attack in 1941, which sparked the US’s involvement in WWII. The most haunting landmarks include the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Bowfin, the Pacific Aviation Museum and the Battleship Missouri Memorial. Address: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii 96706 Phone: +1-808-690-9052 Website: http://www.pearlharboroahu.com/

Bishop Museum

This is by far the largest and arguably the most important museum within Hawaii. The Bishop Museum is primarily centered on Hawaii’s history, with dozens of artifacts demonstrative of their original colonial and indigenous heritage. Visitors will need a few hours to explore the entire complex as each year more and more science exhibits and collections make their way into the museum. A planetarium and a volcanology display are among the more renowned sections of the museum. Address: 1525 Bernice Street, Honolulu, Hawaii Phone: +1-808-847-3511 Website: http://www.bishopmuseum.org/

Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu Zoo is among the oldest and best landmarks on Oahu. Located within Queen Kapi’olani Park, just a short drive from the ever-popular Waikiki Beach, more than 1,200 species of animals are found inside, which entertain more than 600,000 visitors each year. Over the years, the zoo has seen the introduction of camels, elephants, chimpanzees and deer. Recently, it was renovated and further improved its wildlife collection. Address: 151 Kapahulu Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii Phone: +1-808-971-7171 Website: http://www.honoluluzoo.org/

Waikiki Aquarium

Built in 1904, the Waikiki Aquarium is one of the US’s oldest public aquariums. Constructed close to the reefs of Waikiki, it is home to an amazing range of marine wildlife with close to 3,100 animals and fish. Plenty of sea creatures are local fauna, including the Hawaiian monk seal and several species of reef sharks. One of the most adored attractions on the archipelago, the aquarium has been entertaining thousands of locals and visitors alike annually and is the perfect spot to take the whole family. Address: 2777 Kalakaua Avenue, Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii Phone: +1-808-923-9741 Website: http://www.waquarium.org/

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is found on the Big Island. Open 24 hours and famous for its fiery volcanic craters, there are plenty of other landmarks inside the area to look out for. The Thurston Lava Tube, the Kilauea Visitors Center, the Volcano Art Gallery, the Crater Rim Drive, and the Jagger Museum are just some of the highlights and attractions worth visiting. Visitors can see live flowing lava in the Kilauea zone, which is still very active. Address: Ocean View, Hawaii Phone: +1-808-985-6000 Website: http://www.nps.gov/havo/index.htm

NuPali Lookout

Officially known as Nu’uanu Pali Lookout, this fantastic scenic point is only six miles from the heart of Waikiki and is accessible via State Route 61 or Pali Highway. The views from the top are astonishing even though there are two soaring peaks located at either side of the site. Be wary of the strong winds that usually crash through Nu Pali Lookout for Oahu’s windward landscape is a blanket of green hills, volcanic plugs, mountains, and pockets of development. Address: Nuuana Pali State Park, Honolulu, Hawaii Phone: n/a Website: n/a

Waikiki Beach

The most visited site in Hawaii and the center of the state’s commercial and tourist zone, despite the crowds and bustling pace, Waikiki Beach is still remarkably beautiful. Even though swimming is a popular activity, sunbathing, catamaran sailing and outrigger canoeing are also hot on the agenda. Surfing the inner waves at Waikiki is recommended, with larger tides found further away from the shore. The surf schools here make for excellent learning centers and promise to have travelers up and away in no time. Address: Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii Phone: n/a Website: n/a

Diamond Head

Located close to the swarming Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head is a tremendously beautiful landmark. This ancient volcanic crater is a must-see destination providing excellent views of Honolulu and the green landscapes of Oahu. There is a trail leading up to the summit, in addition to an old WWII bunker. Even though the peak is several hundred meters high, Diamond Head is an easy climb and the spectacular views are worth it. Address: Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, Hawaii Phone: +1-808-587-0300 Website: http://www.hawaiistateparks.org/parks/oahu/index.cfm?park_id=15