National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

#11 in Best Things To Do in Honolulu - Oahu
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific picture1 of 2
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific2 of 2
Yusuke Odada/a.collectionRF/Getty Images

Key Info

2177 Puowaina Drive

Price & Hours

Free
8 a.m.-5:30 or 6:30 p.m. daily

Details

Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.1scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 2.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

In ancient Hawaiian times, the Punchbowl Crater was used for human sacrifices. Now, it's the final resting place for men and women who served in the U.S. military. The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific stretches across much of the crater and contains several moving tributes, including the Honolulu Memorial, which is dedicated to armed forces who fought in the Pacific during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Notable veterans buried here include Ernie Pyle (the famous World War II correspondent) and Stanley Dunham (the maternal grandfather of former President Barack Obama).

Previous visitors raved about the cemetery's beautiful and peaceful setting, adding that its memorial markers are very informative. However, some cautioned that the property can be a bit tricky to find, so consider using a GPS when driving. You can also take the No. 15 bus to the cemetery.

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is situated just north of the Honolulu Museum of Art and 2 miles northeast of downtown Honolulu. The grounds are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and there are no entrance fees. Free parking, restrooms and a visitors kiosk are available on-site. Visit the cemetery's website to find out more.

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Type
Time to Spend
#1 Waikiki Beach

Nineteenth-century Hawaiian royalty used to come to the Honolulu neighborhood of Waikiki to relax and surf, just as scores of tourists do today. That's because this area's famous beach (which is a string of several beaches dotting the island's southwest coastline) is the go-to spot for its soft, honey-colored sand and the high waves that lap the shores during the winter months. But you don't have to be a surfer to appreciate Waikiki Beach; just lie back on a beach towel, relax and gaze up at the majestic Diamond Head State Monument in the distance.

When you need a break from the beach itself, there are scores of shops and restaurants lining the adjacent Kalakaua Avenue. The street is home to some of the world's most exclusive (read: expensive) designer boutiques, including Cartier, Coach, Hermès and Louis Vuitton. Many of the best Oahu hotels also overlook Waikiki Beach.

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