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This is one of those beaches that one can't help but stumble upon sooner or later. It's in downtown Honolulu, but that doesn't diminish its popularity with locals. Like the famous Kamaole Beaches in Kihei, this place is the site of constant Frisbee games, beach parties and extended family picnics. The waves are good for swimming or bodyboarding, and the Hawaiian sun is out most days of the year, attracting crowds of sunbathers.
At this beach paradise, the Ala Wai Canal at Honolulu has its fair share of visitors too. It is an artificial water feature that was built with the purpose of draining off water to develop a tourist spot at Waikiki. You can enjoy paddling, boating or a leisurely stroll at this lovely canal.
Never has a beach been as fabled as Waikiki. Since the 1950s, this beach has been a tourist destination extraordinaire. Upon seeing the white sand beaches and crystal blue waters, you won't have any question why this legendary beach is so frequented. Come night time, the hipsters strut their clubwear on the beachwalk, and lovers find peaceful little nooks under the cover of sweeping palm trees.
This small harbor and park area is a favorite with fishing boats and pleasure cruisers. Commercial and sport fishing, scuba diving, parasailing and a Rock n Roll cruise are some of the notable marine activities at this port. There is also a fish market, a high-tech research facility, a small park and a dolphin center on the premises. The area has a rather gruesome history; in pre-contact Hawai'i, it was used as a human sacrifice spot. (This is not a fact that is commonly shared in the tourist guides or cruise ship brochures.)
As you stroll through the famous Waikiki Beach, you will come across a quieter area which often frequented by locals to avoid the touristy side. This is the Kuhio Beach Park. It is named in honor of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole. Since there are no signboards advising you that you are in a different part of the Waikiki Beach, the statues of Prince Kuhio, Duke Kahanamoku and the Stones of Kapaemahu nearby will let you know of its location.
The Red Dolphin is a must for the water lovers. Lounge on the Red Dolphin in the middle of the ocean accompanied by drinks and snacks provided by the minibar. The top deck, mainly used by the sun bathers, and for beautiful views. For more information, check out the website or call ahead.
Kaimana Beach is a small but popular beach located between Waikiki and Diamond Head. The beautiful white sand beach is dotted with palm trees and the water here is perfect for swimming, gently floating or even enjoy water games and sports. A favorite among locals, this beach has sufficient parking spots, public showers and lifeguard towers as well.
Tucked in the back of lush Manoa Valley is this waterfall, which is commonly thought to be one of the most beautiful sights on O'ahu. It rushes over a precipice and drops 100 feet to the pool below. The briskly cold water makes a refreshing change from the sticky Hawaiian air. The hike to the waterfall takes approximately an hour and is not particularly difficult. The trail can get slippery during the rain, but on sunny days, it's clearly marked and easy to follow.