Waikiki Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Hawaii, and therefore the most populated with tourists. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re looking for seclusion this isn’t it. Try the North Shore of Oahu instead. Waikiki itself is a bustling neighborhood in the city of Honolulu Hawaii’s capital and largest city, and both are located on the island of Oahu. The easiest comparison is a Pacific island version of Miami Beach with skyscrapers, hotels and palm trees in the foreground with mountains and jungle in the distance.
Surfing, kayaking, paddle boards are all easily accessible on Waikiki Beach. The entire beach is only two miles long and more popular spots can get crowded– but it shouldn’t spoil your fun.Tours and lessons for the uninitiated can be booked all along the shoreline. The exceptionally calm waters make it a wonderful place for first-time or novice seagoers to get their feet wet without risking being capsized or KO’ed by the tumultuous Hawaiian waves of lore. For would-be surfers, a quick lesson and a little fortitude will have you Hanging Ten in no time.
As you might guess, there are plenty of places to get typical Hawaiian souvenirs ranging from traditional Hawaiian shirts and skirts to tribal tattoos, with all manner of Macadamia nuts and Kona coffee. Kalakaua Avenue– Waikiki’s version of Main Street is a shopping mecca. And if your tastes run more toward high-end luxury fashion you’ll get more than your fill. Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Loewe, Christian Dior, Vivienne Westwood and many, many more all have outposts along the strip. Your wallet will appreciate the fact that quite a few of the luxury brands offer prices that are up to 30% cheaper than your local outpost. Even the best known designers have adjusted their pricing to compete for price-conscious visitors arriving from the US mainland and countries in the Pacific Rim (China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, etc.).
Take A Hike
Diamond Head is hard to miss when you’re in Waikiki. Its profile dominates the southern skyline when you’re on the beach and is visible from many of the high-rise hotel rooms. It’s actually a crater formed by a long dormant volcano that was named for the crystals found there that early visitors mistook for diamonds. Diamond Head Crater is less than a fifteen minute ride from the main drag– Kalakaua Ave. Although the hike isn’t too demanding since much of it is somewhat paved, you should definitely bring your hiking shoes, cool clothing, water and your resolve for the steep climb. It’ll take less than an hour to climb to the summit, which is about 560ft. At the top you’ll be able to take in nearly all of Waikiki and a good swath of the Pacific Ocean.
Visit Shangri La
The Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture and Design is just outside of Waikiki in the Diamond Head section of Honolulu. It’s affiliated with the Honolulu Museum of Art and can only be visited by booking in advance. Be sure to book early since tours are only available from Wednesday to Saturday and they sell out quickly. You’ll have to take a shuttle to the venue from the Museum of Art. Artwork and objects on view from the Shangri La collection highlight the diversity of fine and decorative arts in Islamic cultures throughout the world, spanning the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe, and include ceramics, jewelry, furniture, and glassware.