This is my third Hawaiian island adventure. It’s a lot different than quiet Kauai or Maui. Waikiki beach is a popular area for a lot of tourists. I loved being able to wander the beautiful beaches, and still have plenty of city life to enjoy.
It’s a very walkable city. If you prefer to ride, there are a ton of busses, trolleys and taxis at your disposal. A walk up Diamondhead is well worth the trip. The cost to enter is $1. It’s an easy trail, with some stairs near the top, taking about 30-45 minutes to complete. The views from the top are fantastic. You can see for miles in all directions. We chose to walk from our hotel, but you can definitely hop on a city bus for $2.50 each way.
We chose a hotel that was just behind the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Our choice was based on cost, as we were going over Christmas and the prices tend to be a bit higher during that time frame. The Aqua Palms is an older property, but worked perfectly. It was about a 10 minute walk to the beach, and not much further into Waikiki for the evening. ABC stores are abundant all over the city. This is usually the best place to purchase water, snacks and souvenirs at reasonable prices.
Driving around the island is pretty easy. I would recommend adding a GPS to your rental. The cost is minimal, and it makes navigating very easy. Our day trip with the car was to the North Shore. This took us past the Dole Pineapple plantation. We didn’t stop there on this trip, as we really wanted to enjoy the North Shore waves, and Waimea Falls. The entry fee for the falls is $16 per adult. This gives you access to wander through the most beautiful Botanical Gardens, and then finish with a dip in the pool at the base of the falls. This was a peaceful stroll past gardens of rare and endangered plants, and authentic archeological sites. The distance from the ticket booth to the falls is a mere 1000 meters, but you hardly notice it, as you are caught up in the incredible beauty all around you.
The North Shore area offers a lot of beautiful beaches where you can just pull over and wander away. The waves are much bigger in the area, and you will see surfers all the time! Our final stop before heading back to Waikiki, was in Hale’iwa. This is an historic, laid back surf town. There are a lot of restaurants, cafes and surf shops to check out. As well as a few galleries. You could spend a lot of time wandering and feeling very relaxed here. It was a great day away from the city.
Restaurants are abundant all over the island, especially in the Waikiki area. There are a lot of great happy hour deals, so be sure to look around and take advantage of some of these. From fast food options, to high end choices, you’ll never be at a loss to find something delicious!
I had a week to enjoy this beautiful destination, so when I return, I’ll add in a tour of Pearl Harbour, and a day trip to Hanauma Bay. You can be quite busy here, or you can just chill. The options are perfect!
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