Waikiki is most likely one of the best known beach areas in the world. It is a great urban area, with lots of dining and shopping within walking distance of the many hotels and resorts, several of the resorts are right on the beach. The biggest disappointment for me was the beach itself. It was very rocky, the sand “hurt” my feet it was so coarse, and trying to even get far enough into the water to cool off was treacherous with all the slippery rocks making up the bottom. I finally had to settle for walking only a foot out and sitting down to cool off. The beach itself is quite narrow as the resorts crowd up close to the waterfront. Each hotel has its own rental area where you can reserve beach chairs and umbrellas by the hour or for the day (we paid $30 for the day). However if you leave your chairs for more than an hour you forfeit them. There are also rentals available for water toys, although how one would actually get far enough into the water to use them is beyond me. We were right in front of the Outrigger on the Reef, and there may be other areas where the water is easier to navigate but we did not explore too much, as I said walking on the beach was really hard to do. There is a partial walking path but it is incomplete so at times there is no path. So my advice would be if you really want to relax in the sun, take advantage of the pool at your resort. It’s much more comfortable, and ours at least did not charge extra to use the chairs. J There was even a nice ice water cooler set up outside with limes in it for your hydrating pleasures. Not too far from our resort was a Fort DeRussy, which houses an army museum, but also was a beautiful public park. On the other side of this park is Hale Koa, the military resort. There appeared to be a widely use public bus system as well, although we had a rental car so did not have the opportunity to try the bus. Many of the tour operators will pick you up right at your hotel as well, so one could reasonably get by without a car. As Hawaii itself is expensive (keep in mind most everything has to be shipped over from the mainland, making the cost of living and visiting rather high), any place you can save some money should be considered. One area of Waikiki that I particularly enjoyed was on Lewer’s Street, where you can find a large variety of restaurants, bars, and shopping opportunities. Smoking is not allowed in restaurants in Hawaii (or most public buildings); however bars that are not in a restaurant do allow smoking (and apparently some that are in restaurants choose to pay the fee to keep the business). We enjoyed The Yard house with a group of friends one evening, and then the other night we dined at Cheeseburger in Paradise. Really good burgers here!
We took advantage of the spa located in our resort Serenity Spa Hawaii for a couple’s massage and it was wonderful. ($300 plus tip).
One evening we did a whale watching cruise through the MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) office on the Air Force Base. The boat was interesting in that it has a large net area in the front (surrounded by deck on 3 slides and support on the very front side). Guests were invited sit here and gaze down into the water. There was a weight limit and only a certain number of guests were able to go on this area at a time. There was a bar in the cabin, and one free drink was included with our ticket, as well they put out several different appetizers later in the evening. Unfortunately we did not spot any whales (I personally think it was the wrong season), but we did enjoy the fireworks set off over Waikiki beach from the boat.