Most people's image of Waikiki Beach on Oahu is summarized by a thousand words in the photo above: lot's of tender flesh elbow to jowl on a strip of artificial sand backed by square blocks of high-rise resorts, designer shops, eateries, and weirdness run amok. And that image is pretty much true. (And what's wrong with that?)
But the roots of Hawaii literally run through the place, on the Waikiki Historic Trail. You can bus in from the airport and spend a vacation on foot and riding trolleys.
Not far away is Diamond Head, Waikiki's world-famous landmark, which is actually a crater. A quirky walk through tunnels and up stairs leads to the viewing area.
With so many nooks and crannies, places to call your own are easy to find. You can wander the two-mile run of beach many times and never take the same route.
Kapiolani Park, a huge greenspace dedicated to the people by Hawaii's last king, is adjacent to the hubbub. Sans Souci and Queen's beaches offer excellent swimming.
Surfers rule at Waikiki, but other action is in the offing.
Not a big deal to book a cruise. Just step out onto the sand and hop on. Night time sails are surreal, with the wall of lights rising above the shore.
Magic hour. Never miss it. Prince Kuhio Beach Park is in the dead center of things, and offers a free hula show every night.
Oahu Trailblazer has all the details on visiting this famous beach—as well as nearby downtown Honolulu, one of the world's best walking towns. And then there's the North Shore ... Oahu has the most undeveloped beaches of any island, except Kauai.