Primarily known for its iconic and world-famous white sandy beaches, Waikiki has been a vacation spot for centuries. Back in the 1800’s some of Hawaii’s royalty used to vacation there. While it’s no longer the 1800’s, it’s still a popular vacation spot. If you’re looking to head here for vacation, there’s plenty to see and do.
1. Head to the Beach For Some Fun In The Sun
Since the white sands are by far one of the drawing features of the area, why not head there for some tanning and lounging on the beach? The two-mile stretch of sand has many spots for lounging, tanning, and playing in the ocean. While you won’t have this spot completely to yourself, it’s still a romantic place for couples to watch the sun go down. Plus, when you’re done hanging at the beach, you’ll find an active party scene just a few steps away.
For the more adventurous, Waikiki is a great place to learn to surf. The waves in this area are known as “rollers” which means that they go a long way before peaking. This provides new students with a long and smooth ride to get their sea legs. If you’re ready to learn, hit one of the many outfits in the area that offer lessons for beginners. And if surfing doesn’t sound appealing, there are other options like kayaking and jet skiing that can be had here.
2. Hike The Famous Diamond Head
Diamond Head is one of the defining features of this area. Part of a dormant volcano, Diamond Head offers beautiful, scenic views. While the hike to the top isn’t a long one, it’s steep with an elevation of 560 feet. The elevation results in gorgeous views of Hawaii from the observation platform that will make it all worth it in the end. If you plan to do this walk expect to spend approximately 45 minutes each way (plus whatever time you spend gazing at the scenery).
3. Become Royalty at the Iolani Palace
The official residence of Hawaii’s monarchy, the Iolani Palace was in 1882. Thanks to the State of Hawaii and a restoration team, you can visit the palace today and experience it much like it was back when it was built. During your visit, you’ll experience rooms like “The Throne Room” where King Kalakaua entertained his guests. Bathed in gold, red and crimson you’ll experience the luxury that once existed here. You’ll also get to experience the private suits of the royal family, the coronation pavilion, and the palace grounds. While it’s not known for sure, it’s speculated that the palace grounds were an ancient place of worship.
4. Get Your Shopping on at the Royal Hawaiian Center
If you need a break from the sun or you simply just want to shop (or eat), then head over to the Royal Hawaiian Center. As one of the largest malls in Hawaii you can find nearly anything in the more than 100 shops. From ice cream and surf shops to upscale dining and luxury shopping, there’s something for everyone. In addition to shopping, you’ll find a garden in the center of the mall that hosts a statue of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop who was the great-granddaughter of King Kamehameha. If you’re looking to experience more culture, the Royal Hawaiian has programs on a daily basis. While you’ll have to check their schedule, they’re known for offering classes such as weaving and quilting and also shows such as hula dancing.
5. Visit The Honolulu Zoo
If you’re an animal lover plan some time at the Honolulu Zoo. Located between Diamond Head and the beach, Honolulu Zoo is home to over 900 different animals from the tropics. This includes popular animals, but also rare ones like giraffes, endangered turtles, and Komodo dragons. Beyond the animals, you’ll find scrupulously kept gardens featuring hundreds of plants and flowers indigenous to Hawaii.