Waikiki, the prime destination of tourists from around the world to Hawaii, offers a variety of activities and entertainment that will make your vacation an unforgettable memory. This beautiful place offers you an experience that you thought only existed in ads.

The main attraction here is the world famous ocean-front resort area, the Waikiki Beach. Every year millions of visitors walk this sandy beach, which is actually a string of beaches extending two and a half miles between Hilton Hawaiian Village on one end and Diamond Head on the other. Although they all look much the same - palm trees tickle the sky and the water is crystal clear - each of the beaches has in fact its own unique and intriguing name and offers something different. Kahanamoku Beach is named after Duke Kahanamoku, who popularized surfing to the rest of the world. No wonder this beach is ideal for surfing! But that’s not all that you can do here. As the beach is protected by fringing reefs, it is ideal for snorkeling and swimming, too. Kuhio Beach has gentle waters which makes it an ideal swimming place for families, especially children. Gray Beach, named after the small inn that stood there in the early 1900’s, is ideal for family swimming and surfing because of its shallow sandy bottom and gentle waves. There are many others, like the San Souci Beach, Queen’s Surf Beach, Royal Moana Beach, and Fort DeRussy Beach. All the beaches are public, so even if there may be a hotel next to the beach, public access is provided.

Diamond Head is the most famous landmark of Waikiki. It is the favorite spot of walkers and joggers. The view of Waikiki and Honolulu from here, highlighted by board surfers and wind surfers below in the swells, is a famous post card view. This extinct crater was once a fort, and is reached through a tunnel, and then a half hour hike to the top, the Leahi Summit, which rises 760 feet above sea level. Diamond Head Lighthouse and Beach are not open to the public, but the views are outstanding.

Another great place for walking, jogging, or relaxing is the walkway along Ala Wai Canal, a beautiful waterway at the western entrance to Waikiki, constructed in 1922.

The beautiful Hawaii Convention Center, golf courses, apartments, and condominiums line the long stretch of waterway all the way to the ocean where it empties into the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor. This beautiful harbor provides moors for most private watercraft and is the home of the Waikiki and Hawaii Yacht Clubs. Waiting lists for a slip in this harbor is a minimum of ten years.

For those interested in forts and museums, there is Fort de Russy. This US Army fort dates back to 1909 when it was built to defend Pearl Harbor and Honolulu. Today it houses the US Army Museum, with exhibits ranging from ancient native weapons to Vietnam War exhibits. Huge gun emplacements still exist. On Saturday evenings in the summer months, Roman Catholic masses mixed with Hawaiian pageantry are celebrated at sunset.

Another point of attraction is the First Hawaiian Bank. Six important murals, painted in 1951-52 by international artist Jean Charlot, are displayed here. The panels depict various ethnic groups and stages in Hawaiian history.

If it’s a walk or a stroll that you’re looking for, then Kapiolani Park is the perfect place. While you’re there you can also see the Aquarium and the War Memorial Natatorium, an olympic-size pool and the accompanying memorial arch. The park contains a bandstand where Kodak sponsors Hula shows. The shows are free and provide a great photo opportunity and a lot of fun. Public tennis courts and picnic sites are also in this park. At the end is the Zoo, which includes 40 acres of tropical plants and thousands of animals and birds.

The Polynesian Cultural Center is another favorite attraction which should not be missed. “Mini Shows” are presented by native entertainers here, giving you a taste of the local culture. Speaking of local culture, don’t forget to pick up a few souvenirs from the International Market Place. This open-air market features a variety of traditional artisans and craftsmen, including basket-weavers and wood-cutters.

At the end of the day, relax with sunset cruises, dinner shows, Lu'au and Polynesian Revues in an environment filled with Hawaiian Aloha spirit.

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