©1999-2019 by Mike Bechtol's Endless Highway

Honolulu and Waikiki Beach

  Oahu is just the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands in area, but it contains 80 percent of the state’s population and Hawaii visitors spend nearly as much time on Oahu as the other islands combined. Honolulu, the state capital and largest city is located on Oahu’s south shore. With a population of 380,000, Honolulu is the only city in Hawaii with a population over 50,000. 

  Oahu is just the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands in area, but it contains 80 percent of the state’s population and Hawaii visitors spend nearly as much time on Oahu as the other islands combined. Honolulu, the state capital and largest city is located on Oahu’s south shore. With a population of 380,000, Honolulu is the only city in Hawaii with a population over 50,000. 

  Waikiki, a Honolulu neighborhood about three miles east of downtown is the center of Hawaii’s tourism industry. Famous Waikiki Beach is lined with towering resort hotels as well as smaller historic hotels. The beach itself is rather short and narrow, with half of it reserved for surfers, so the sand of Waikiki Beach is always quite crowded. The beach remains shallow for a great distance from the shore, so it is able to comfortably accommodate more swimmers, surfers and boogie-boarders than sunbathers. The beach is ideal for beginning surfers and of course, surfing lessons are available. For those who don’t wish to try their hand at surfing, an outrigger canoe ride is a great way to experience the sensation of surfing. The long, stable outrigger canoes are modeled after ancient Hawaiian canoes. Eight to ten riders and their guide paddle offshore and catch two or three waves... which carry the canoes for a surprisingly long distance. There is no shortage of shopping opportunities in Waikiki. Upscale shops cater the to the wealthy tourists, but allow the rest of us to browse. Moderately priced clothing, jewelry and souvenirs are available in the bustling International Market Place or any one of Waikiki’s 49 ABC Stores.

 

  Families will enjoy the Waikiki Aquarium, part of the University of Hawaii. Founded in 1904, this small aquarium is the third oldest public aquarium in the United States. Located next to a living reef on the scenic Waikiki shoreline, their exhibits and programs focus on Hawaiian aquatic life. Visitors will see sea lions, lots of colorful fish, a particularly active octopus, and of course, Hawaii’s state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a. Just steps from the aquarium is the Honolulu Zoo, where you’ll find the only elephants, rhinos and giraffes for over 2000 miles in any direction.

 

  Hawaii’s most recognizable landmark, Diamond Head, is an extinct volcanic cone. The crest of the jagged crater rim towers 762 feet above the sea. Kaimana Diamond Head Shuttle Service will pick you up at your hotel and take you inside the crater. From there, you can take a brisk 45 minute hike to the top of the rim. Your efforts are rewarded with postcard views of Honolulu and Waikiki below you. - Mike Bechtol 2008