You know that you’re in Hawaii when you step onto the pristine white sand of world-famous Waikiki Beach. Dip your toes into the warm Pacific waters and watch the surfers show off their moves on the waves, or sit back in the shade of a palm tree and gaze up at the green slopes of Diamond Head.
For a swim, jump in at the western end of the beach, where a reef creates a natural lagoon. This is the safest place, as it’s well away from the waves and surfboards.
If you’ve always wanted to give surfing a go, then Waikiki is the place to do it. The gentle rollers here are perfect for beginners, and you’ll find several companies on the beach willing to show you the ropes. After your lesson, be sure to check out the larger-than-life statue of Duke Kahanamoku, which stands with open arms on the promenade behind the beach. A former Olympic swimming champion, “The Duke” is also credited with introducing the sport of surfing to the world.
If all that paddling isn’t your idea of a relaxing holiday, then Waikiki Beach is a great place to spend a lazy afternoon in the sun. There’ll almost always be something to keep you amused, with regular shows including hula competitions and outrigger canoe races, as well as the acrobatic tandem surfing. It is astonishing to see two people perform athletic circus acts while riding the waves.
When evening comes, the beach becomes one of the island’s most romantic places to enjoy a sunset. On Friday nights, the spectacular colors of the Polynesian sky are matched by a free fireworks show at the western end of the beach. The beach is lined with hotel bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
Waikiki Beach is a great place to swim, surf and relax any time of year. Its popularity means that it does get crowded, but you’ll often find quieter areas in front of Kapiolani Park. While the public beach is generally a safe place to visit, never leave your valuables unattended.