Why You Should Go Here When You Visit Hawaii
Hawaii is always on my mind and when I think of Hawaii, then most of my thoughts turn to Waikiki Beach.
I know what some of you are saying (even those who have never been): “oh it’s touristy,” “I want to see the real Hawaii,” and blah, blah, blah.
Well I’m telling you if you don’t go to Waikiki you’re missing out on a lot of the pleasure of going to Hawaii in the first place. Now that I have that settled, here’s my five must-things-to-know about visiting Waikiki Beach.
1.) You Don’t Need A Car Or Even To Leave Waikiki Beach
There’s no need for you ever to leave Waikiki Beach because it has everything you need – restaurants, bars, shopping (if that’s your thing), entertainment, etc. Therefore you don’t need a car. And trust me, you don’t want to drive in Waikiki Beach. If you decide to drive around the island that’s fine; you can rent a car for a day at any of several places in Waikiki. There’s also a free trolley in Waikiki Beach (don’t get confused, tho, and get on one of the tourist paid tour trolleys; check the signs at the stops, which are easy to spot).
2.) Duke’s On Sunday Is A Must-Do Activity In Waikiki
Frequent visitors to Waikiki know to plan their trip around at least one visit to this legendary right-off-the-beach, come-as-you-are bar. It’s THE central place of activity for all of Waikiki Beach and on Sundays it’s the best bar not only in Waikiki but in all of Hawaii. Locals even go to this mostly tourists bar – that’s all you need to know. But I’ll let you know this too; the entertainment is by local legend Henry Kapono.
3.) Veteran Drinkers: Get The ‘Old School’ Mai Tai At The Royal Hawaiian Bar
You’ve got to sit at the outdoor, feet-in-the-sand Royal Hawaiian bar. This place has the best Mai Tai in the South Pacific but I’ll give you a warning: the Mai Tais are strong. Even to veteran drinkers they pack a punch. In fact, so many tourists were getting hammered on them that they took them off the menu and created a less potent “tourist version.” You can still get the original, tho, by asking for the “old school” version. The bartender will still size you up to see if he thinks you can handle it. I can, of course.
4.) There’s A Good Snorkeling Spot Without Going To Waimea Bay
If you walk down Waikiki Beach toward Diamond Head, in 15-20 minutes you’ll come to a jetty. This is a very good spot for off-the-beach snorkeling. It’s in front of the zoo (yes, there’a a zoo in Waikiki Beach). It’s not as good as Waimea Bay but it’s a lot less crowded (plus, it’s not closed on Mondays) and a heck of a lot more convenient. Plus it’s free!
5.) Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center Happy Hours
Here’s a locals’ secret of sorts: Every restaurant in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, which is just behind the beach and you’ll pass a thousand times, is required to have a Happy Hour. You can get normally a $30-40 steak for 10 bucks, incredible sushi for cheap at Doraki Sushi and other screamin’ deals on food and drinks. Take advantage of it!
BONUS: Never Tell Anybody To Meet You At The ABC Store
In Waikiki, the convenience store is called the ABC Store. They are good places to get your beach stuff (suntan lotion, towel, etc.), a snack, drinks, even souvenirs. And the prices are remarkably inexpensive, certainly considering the location. Just don’t tell anyone to meet you there because there are about 100 locations in Waikiki Beach. There’s one on every corner and even sometimes two per block.