What to Expect: Framed by Diamond Head, one of the world’s most climbed (extinct) volcanoes, and with nearly two miles of continuous white sand and palm trees, this iconic beach is almost always full of tourists and surfers. It is deepest, about 100 feet, in front of the bright pink Royal Hawaiian Hotel. The bathtub-temp turquoise water is ideal for swimming, and waves are usually gentle. One of the safest spots is near the shallow section in front of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa, where even nonswimmers can feel comfortable venturing far from shore for a view of the beach—and Diamond Head—from the water.
What to Do: Walk a few blocks inland to Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts, where Hawaiian shirts sell for as little as $4, but vintage varieties from the 1930’s will set you back thousands of dollars. Wear that new purchase to the Royal Hawaiian and sit under a pink umbrella while drifting off to the island melodies of slack-key guitarist Ledward Kaapana. Later, sip Hawaiian rum at the volcanic island’s new hot spot, RumFire.