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Want to do something a little different that will give you – and your family – a more distinctive portrait of Honolulu – a flavor not found in the vacation guidebooks?


Photos Courtesy of Oahu Visitors Bureau.

Neurology Today asked AAN members – all local neurologists from Hawaii – to recommend their favorite activities and restaurants in and near Honolulu, highlighting both the best of popular tourist attractions and some unknown gems worth seeing.

Thanks to Drs. Cherylee Chang, Elynore Cucinell, Jeffery Liu, Leo Maher, Peter Rossi, Alan Stein, and Michael Watters for sharing their suggestions with Neurology Today.


The North shore beaches of Banzai Pipeline, Sunset Beach, and Waimea, called the triple crown of surfing, are a nice change of pace, said Dr. Maher, of the Queens Medical Center, and are near the quaint town of Haleiwa. Dr. Chang, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Hawaii, recommended body surfing at Bellows Beach on the weekend, when it is open to the public.

Dr. Cucinell, of Tipler Army Medical Center, recommended Kailua and Lanikai as “two of the best beaches in the entire world.” Here you can swim or kayak to Flat and Mokulua Islands or snorkel and dive to see the coral heads and tropical fish. Another excellent place to see tropical fish is Hanauma Bay, although it can get crowded. Also, Dr. Cucinell cautioned, do not swim beyond the reef without a strong – and preferably local – swimmer.


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The unique landscape of Oahu affords many hiking trails and scenic spots. One of the most popular is the hike to Diamond Head Crater. Take a flashlight for the final stairs through the World War II bunkers and enjoy breathtaking views of the leeward coast and Waikiki from the summit, said Dr. Watters, Professor of Medicine at the University of Hawaii. Dr. Cucinell recommended the more difficult hike to Kaena Point, where you may glimpse a nesting albatross or Hawaiian seal.

Dr. Rossi, of Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific, labeled the Foster Botanical Gardens (180 N Vineyard Blvd.; (808) 522-7065) “a treasure,” with “unusual trees and plants imported from throughout the world,” and Dr. Cucinell recommended following a tour of the gardens with a hike to Manoa Falls. Dr. Rossi described the Byodo-In Temple (47–200 Kahekili Highway; (808) 239-5570) as “the most harmonious relationship between an architectural building and its natural surroundings” – definitely worth a visit, he said!


For history buffs, Dr. Chang recommended visiting the Arizona Memorial ((808) 422-0561; and Missouri Battleship Memorial ((808) 973-2494; For those interested in Hawaiian history, the Bishop Museum (1525 Bernice St.; (808) 847-3511; has an excellent collection of Hawaiian artifacts. Honolulu is also home to the only palace in the US – the Iolani Palace (King & Richards St.; (808) 538-1471;


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What would be fun for the kids? Dr. Maher offered a few family-friendly suggestions: the Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park (400 Farrington Highway Kapolei; (808) 945-3928;, located about an hour outside of Honolulu; Sea Life Park (2552 Kalakaua Ave.; (866) 365-7446;, which features a dolphin show; and the Atlantis Submarine (1600 Kapiolani Blvd # 1630; 1-800-548-6262;, which leaves from the Hilton Hawaiian Village beach. Dr. Watters added the Honolulu Zoo (151 Kapahulu Avenue; (808) 971-7171; and Waikiki Aquarium (2777 Kalakaua Ave.; (808) 923-9741;

Dr. Watters offered a final piece of advice for enjoying your stay in Hawaii: “Don't forget to dress casual, in aloha shirts and slacks for dinner and in shorts for luncheons. Leave your ties at home, but avoid the loud, brightly colored shirts offered in the convenience stores!”