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5 Breathtaking Day Trips Less than an Hour from Waikiki

July 21st, 2022 Attractions & Events
5 Breathtaking Day Trips Less than an Hour from Waikiki

Want to see more of Hawaiʻi without being stuck in a car all day? For a fun change of scenery - a simple day trip from Waikiki is in order. From kayaking to a magical islet to ziplining over a valley, hiking to the summit of an ancient volcanic crater, and more, one of these excursions may just enhance your well-being. These quick jaunts are all less than an hour away, traffic permitting.


1. Diamond Head

Diamond Head is the unofficial icon of Oʻahu: a towering, inactive volcano crater that sits on the edge of the ocean. It's impressive from afar, but you have to hike to the top to get the full effect! The summit offers fantastic views, and the base of the hike is just two miles from Waikiki. The hour-long climb can be steep at times, but is a fun family activity nonetheless. We suggest you plan your hike around the hottest time of the day and either set out in the morning or early evening. 1.9 miles (8-minute drive) from Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel. See more information on our special Diamond Head View room here.


2. Lyon Arboretum in Manoa Valley

Visitors to this peaceful arboretum in Manoa Valley will be amazed that such dense botanical gardens are just five miles from the bustling streets of Waikiki. The Lyon Arboretum was established over 100 years ago and is made up of nearly 200 acres of tropical rainforest with a focus on endemic species. Check out their collection of 5,660 thriving tropical plant taxa, including the fanned palms of the Loulu Palm or the blooms of the Red Ohia Lehua (pictured above), which once dressed the mountains of Oʻahu in red.

Want some waterfall action? Access the 25-minute hike to ʻAihualama Falls, which will have less foot traffic than the popular Manoa Falls. 5.7 miles (22-minute drive) from Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel


3. NuʻUanu Pali Lookout

This historic, epic lookout is less than 20 miles from Waikiki and makes for a worthwhile outing. NuʻUanu Pali is located along the Pali Highway, among the mountain peaks of the Koʻolau Range between Honolulu and Kailua. At an elevation of 1,200 feet, the lookout’s stone terrace observation post offers a stunning vantage point of the windward coast, as well as high-force winds and an eyebrow-raising history lesson. Parking is $7 for non-residents (Hawaiʻi residents park free). Find more of the best views in Oʻahu here. 10.6 miles (22-minute drive) from Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel


4. Kualoa Ranch

Visit the filming site of Jurassic Park - officially known as Kualoa Ranch - located approximately 25 miles from Waikiki. Dubbed "Hollywood's Hawaiʻi Backlot," the 4,000-acre private nature reserve has been the filming location for 70+ movies and TV shows, including Jurassic Park, Godzilla, 50 First Dates, and more. Consistently ranked as one of the best things to do on Oʻahu, Kualoa Ranch offers an abundance of tour options and recreational activities. Movie buffs will love the Hollywood Movie Sites Tour or Jurassic Adventure Tour. If you’re looking for some thrill, the UTV Raptor Tour, Jurassic Valley Zipline, E-Bike Tour, or Horseback Walking Tour are always fun. 24.4 miles (48-minute drive) from Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel


5. Mokoliʻi Islet

Mokoliʻi Islet is an alluring, uninhabited formation located in Kaneohe Bay near the aforementioned Kualoa Ranch. Reach the islet by kayak and explore its beaches and trails for a memorable day trip with mother nature. You can rent a kayak with the folks at Active Oʻahu, which allows you to explore at your leisure. From Kualoa Point, the paddle to Mokoliʻi takes 15 - 30 minutes. 24.5 miles (50-minute drive) to Kualoa Point from Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel

It’s time to secure your ride.

Travel comfortably and conveniently to the incredible sites of Oʻahu. Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel’s on-site transportation partners include Avis/Budget® Car Rental and Zipcar ride-sharing vehicles. Valet parking services are also available. Now for a limited time, guests can receive spacious accommodations, a compact car rental from Avis/Budget® Car Rental, and free daily valet parking with our Room and Car special offer.


If you haven’t yet booked your hotel stay, consider Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel in the heart of Waikiki. We’re located on Kalakaua Avenue across from Waikiki Beach. Book a room with ocean views to enjoy stunning sunsets. We even have special rooms for friends or family with amazing Diamond Head views. Read more about our Diamond Head Triple Double room here. Check out exclusive offers only available on our website. We hope to see you soon!


Special Offers

Nothing beats having some extra money for your travels to Hawaii. Enjoy great savings when you book directly at the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel.

Room With a View and Breakfast Above the Beach

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