Vacationing in a lush, tropical island paradise this year means plenty of beach time, but don’t miss the opportunity to explore, and immerse yourself in the culture. Take a much-needed break to a place full of sand, sun, fun, and plenty of rest and relaxation. To experience the Hawaiian and Polynesian culture to the fullest, there is an array of Oahu activities and attractions that tell the story as only a local could.
No trip to the Hawaiian Islands is complete without attending a luau! The celebration of Polynesian culture often includes a lei greeting, hula dancers, fire twirlers, and more. Enjoy delicious Hawaiian and Polynesian cuisine, usually served buffet-style. You can find a luau near you, as many hotels and resorts offer them on a nightly or weekly basis.
Founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop, it honors his late wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. The princess was the last descendant of the royal Kamehameha family. The museum hosts an extensive collection of Hawaiian artifacts, royal family heirlooms of the princess, documents and photographs depicting Hawai’i and Pacific Island cultures, and more. It is the largest museum in the state and is recognized worldwide for its cultural collections, research projects, public education programs, and even research projects on the culture.
Queen Emma Summer Palace
Known as Hanaiakamalama, or the Southern Cross, the 19th century structure served as the summer retreat for Queen Emma of Hawai’i, her husband King Kamehameha IV from 1857 to 1885. The historic landmark is an educational museum maintained and operated by Daughters of Hawai’i.
Kukaniloko Birthing Stones
Most babies born on the island today are born in a hospital or birthing center. In the days of Hawaiian royalty, these facilities were not available. While you’re out on a driving tour around the island, make a stop just off the highway between Honolulu and the North Shore. There you’ll find the birthing stones that mark the ceremonial spot where tribal chiefs would have their children. The area is said to have a powerful energy that aided in the birthing process.
The former royal residence is now a historic structure, it is now home to government offices. The reconfiguration took place when Iolani Palace was constructed by Kamehameha III in 1845. Today, it houses Hawaii’s Supreme Court, as well as other government offices.
The palace was home to royal rulers of the Kingdom of Hawai’i from Kamehameha III to Queen Lili’uokalani. Located in the capitol district of downtown Honolulu, it is now a National Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. It was in use as a residence until the monarchy was overthrown in 1893. It was converted into the capitol building for the Provisional Government, Republic, Territory, and State of Hawai’i and used until 1969. In 1978, the palace was restored and opened as a museum. The building is the only royal palace on U.S. soil.
Guidebooks often lead you to popular places and other “must-see” destinations where you’ll be dealing with crowds more than enjoying the sight. Take some advice from the locals, including tours run by local companies that know the inside scoop. Some of these companies will take you to places considered “off the beaten path,” giving you a different island experience. They’ll show you these hidden gems, as well as tailor a trip that includes lesser-known hikes, sampling local cuisine, breathtaking photo opportunities, or whatever your exploring heart desires.
Polynesian Cultural Center
Located along Oahu’s famed North Shore, the 42-acre site is brimming with Polynesian culture. Visit six authentic villages representing the tropical island cultures of not just Hawai’i, but also Fiji, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Samoa, Tahiti, and Tonga. Meet and mingle with native Pacific Islanders and learn about the culture, music, dance, and other traditions through hands-on activities. Taste the Polynesian flavors at the Ali’i Luau, a blend of delicious food and Hawaiian entertainment.
Experience ancient healing. The monument consists of four large “healing stones” that legend says possess the healing powers of four wizards who visited Oahu. Before swimming at nearby Waikiki, place a flower lei on the stones – just like Princess Likelike, the sister of King Kalakaua.
The Culture of Oahu
Rest and relax after exploring some of Oahu’s culture in a vacation rental by Midway Vacations. From a cozy studio for a solo or sweetheart escape full of cultural excursions, to a 2-bedroom for you and even more of your loved ones, we have a cozy vacation rental that’s just right for your tropical island culture adventure. Arrive and feel the stresses and worries of home melt away and be replaced by the spirit of Aloha. Prepare delicious Hawaiian and Polynesian cuisine in a fully equipped kitchen, then relax in an open living space, or retreat to a private bedroom.
Contact us today to start planning your Oahu culture adventure!