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Best ways to experience the wonders of Waikiki
Waikiki is as beautiful in reality as it is in the postcards
When you think of Hawaii, Waikiki is probably one of the first images to pop into your head. The long, idyllic stretch of white-sand beach is one of the most famous in the world, and with the majestic crater of Diamond Head in the backdrop, Waikiki is as beautiful in reality as it is in the postcards. There’s plenty of different things to do in Waikiki, so we’ve selected some of the best ways to make the most of your stay in the area.
- Ride the Waves
Surfing is one of Hawaii’s most beloved beach activities, and legends like Duke Kahanamoku of the Waikiki Beach Boys are credited with helping popularize modern surfing in the early 20th century. Not everyone who visits the beach is a surfing pro, but with its consistent waves and warm, shallow waters, Waikiki is the perfect place to start learning. The shore is dotted with guides eager to share the aloha spirit, including the experienced instructors of Pro Surf School Hawaii, who can show you the basics with a group or private lesson in the gentle breaks. Once you’ve picked up the addictive sport, you’ll find Waikiki is the ideal spot to ride the waves.
- Aerial & Aquatic Adventures
Apart from surfing and beach games, there’s an abundance of ways to make a splash in and above Waikiki’s beautiful waters. Take to the skies with a parasailing tour and gaze down at the shifting hues of the ocean with X-Treme Parasailing. The thrill of soaring above the water is matched only by spectacular views of Honolulu’s cityscape and the lush slopes of Diamond Head in the distance. For even more excitement, join H2O Watersports and visit nearby Maunalua Bay, where you can tear up the waves while water-skiing or wakeboarding.
- Go Fish
Further out to sea, Waikiki proves itself to be a prime location for fishing. A pleasant respite from the bustle and activities on the beach, fishing is relaxing way to spend a quiet afternoon out on the water. Hop aboard a charter vessel from 955Fish and sail out onto the open waters, where a seasoned pro offers tips on bottom fishing. Aboard the boat, enjoy the serene beauty of the ocean as you wait for that tell-tale tug and try to best Oahu’s biggest ever catch, which weighed in at a whopping 1,805 pounds (819 kg).
- Feast on the Beach
It wouldn’t be a proper Hawaiian vacation without some island-style cuisine. From tasty and budget-friendly street stalls that serve local grub to top-of-the-line resort restaurants boasting international flavours, Waikiki is no stranger to good eats. Partake in a traditional luau and treat your tastebuds to mouth-watering Hawaiian fare while immersing yourself in the grand culture and history of the islands. Several luau venues, such as The Royal Hawaiian and other Waikiki hotels, can be found right along Waikiki’s soft sands, and the sunset over the ocean sets the tone for the evening as you dine on authentic dishes like kalua pig, huli huli chicken, fresh poke, and poi.
- Relax the Day Away
Just steps from the shores of Waikiki is a world-class spa scene—perfect for a moment of indulgence while vacationing. The spas throughout Oahu provide a rejuvenation experience like nowhere else, with uniquely Hawaiian techniques like rhythmic lomilomi massages or heated pohaku stone treatments. Gentle professionals, such as the ones at Royal Kaila Wedding and Spa, treat you with warm Hawaiian hospitality as you experience signature treatments that will be a true highlight of your stay.
Where to stay
In such a beautiful place, you can’t blame the locals for loving the great outdoors. You’ll find many of them heading out to Diamond Head, not just to the beach, but for its famous namesake trail. To be near the heart of all the action, make reservations at one of the three incredible, guest-approved Expedia +VIP Access hotels: Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head, Coconut Waikiki Hotel, or the Kahala Hotel & Resort.
As soon as you step into the lobby of Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head, you can officially set your clocks to vacation time. The inviting boutique hotel knows exactly what you’re looking for on your tropical getaway, and it’s ready to accommodate your every desire with luxury guest rooms, brag-worthy on-site cuisine, and much more. Located right across from Kapiolani Park, the Lotus hotel offers easy access to the grassy parkland, but it’s also just minutes from sandy shores and volcano hikes, keeping you within easy access of all the local gems.
The Coconut Waikiki Hotel is another favorite among travelers, and you’ll quickly understand the allure when you admire the view of the mountains from your guest room and make a splash in the outdoor swimming pool. The hotel is conveniently located near all the best-rated local attractions, from Shangri La to Waikiki Beach. Trust us, this is paradise at its finest, and you’ll have trouble finding anywhere better. Begin your morning with the complimentary continental breakfast, spend the day exploring the nearby Ala Moana Center, and then retreat to the hotel’s sundeck, where you can soak up the tropical island vibes.
Meanwhile, if you’re picturing a beachfront accommodation that places you just steps from the sand and sea, the Kahala Hotel & Resort is your calling. This oasis has luxury written all over it, from its exquisite on-site restaurants to the lavish treatments at the spa. Take a complimentary rental bike for a spin around the pristine property, browse the hotel’s on-site shops, or join an exercise class with an ocean view. Even if you just go back and forth between your lush guest room and the private pool, you’ll find yourself never wanting to return to reality.
With an abundance of water activities, cultural experiences, and relaxing indulgences right by the water, it’s no wonder that Waikiki is a dream destination for many. Whether you’re traveling by yourself or with the family, this is one beach destination where you’ll never get bored.
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