Waikiki, Hawaii – Best of Beach Retreat and City Nightlife

Waikiki is located on one of Hawaii's eight major islands and arguably the most popular, Oahu. Waikiki is a fabulous beach destination with crystal clear water and a very lively atmosphere. You can choose to simply lounge by the beach or pick from the many activities that the surrounding areas of the island offer. Either way you're guaranteed an excellent vacation!

The balance between the city-feel and exotic beach is the perfect combination. Kalakaua Drive is the centre of it all, numerous hotels line this street as well as many shops of all varieties. Anything from high end shops to small surfer boutiques can be reached within a short walking distance from the majority of hotels. Day and night this street is always swarming with tourists and locals taking it all in. The International Market Place is also located on this strip, it's a great place to buy classic Hawaiian souvenirs, knick knacks, and jewellery. Not to mention, the authentic Hawaiian food court in the Market Place where we had many great meals.

Only a few steps beyond Kalakaua Drive is the famous Waikiki Beach. The crashing waves coming up onto shore give a great breeze and a spectacular view. Take a day to relax, swim, take walks along the waters edge, check out some of the great hotels, and have lunch on one of the patios on the beach. For the rest of your time there I would definitely recommend partaking in some of the activities that the beach offers.

You may want to try surfing, this beach is an excellent place for beginners.There are a couple different companies set up along the beach who are very enthusiastic and willing to teach you for a reasonable price. We went with the iconic Aloha Beach Services, they were very experienced and welcoming. They also offered Outrigger rides, basically a canoe that you take out in to the water with a group of about 6 or 7 and ride the waves inland! It's loads of fun! Catamaran rides are also available all throughout the day, an excellent way to meet people and get a view of the beautiful beach from farther out. I was told that the most popular ride is at sunset, what better way to view the Hawaiian sunset than from the ocean.

Diamond Head can be seen from all angles of the beach and really adds to the scenery and uniqueness of Waikiki Beach. Diamond Head is a state monument, consisting of an ancient crater where many hiking trails have been established. The hike up Diamond Head has become a very popular tourist activity for those visiting Oahu. Early morning, before the afternoon heat, is the best time to take the short bus ride over to Diamond Head and hike up the 40 minute trail to experience some beautiful coastal views.

Another great excursion to take part in would be snorkelling at Hanauma Bay.  The bay is tucked in an ancient volcanic crater that opens up into the Pacific. The bus ride to Hanauma Bay is well worth it to experience some exotic Hawaiian sea life.

There are many more excursions and day trips that you can take around the island of Oahu. Simply chat with those that you meet or ask the very helpful activity desks at most hotels. My family and I stayed at The Outrigger Waikiki On The Beach, it was an excellent hotel with stunning views of the ocean off of every balcony. It was a very central location, almost dead centre of the main walking strip and literally steps away from the sand and beach. The sector of the beach out front of the hotel was the best place to spot sea turtles!

I would highly recommend this destination to those who are looking for a lively city atmosphere at night, and a relaxing beach vibe in the day. Many opportunities are available to get out of the main tourist hubs and take a day trip elsewhere on the island. I think that's what makes this destination so superb! The perfect balance of it all.

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