Once a Hawaiian royal retreat, Waikiki revels in its role as a retreat for the masses. This famous strand of sand moves to a rhythm of Hawaiian music at beachfront high-rises and resorts. In this pulsing jungle of modern hotels and malls, you can, surprisingly, still hear whispers of Hawaii’s past, from the chanting of hula troupes at Kuhio Beach to the legacy of Olympic gold medalist Duke Kahanamoku.
Take a surfing lesson from a bronzed instructor, then spend a lazy afternoon lying on Waikiki’s golden sands. Before the sun sinks below the horizon, hop aboard a catamaran and sail off toward Diamond Head. Sip a sunset mai tai and be hypnotized by the lilting harmonies of slack key guitar, then mingle with the colorful locals, many of whom have made this their lifetime playground, who come here to party after dark too.