Happy Monday! And Lei Day! Lei Day is celebrated every year on May 1st here in Hawaii and it’s such a unique holiday filled with lots of beautiful lei and tradition. This past weekend, Dane and I celebrated 5 years in Hawaii! Holy moly! It is crazy to me how fast time flies, but we are sure are making the most of our life here. I mean, who wouldn’t?! 😉
In honor of the occasion I’m sharing the top 10 activities in Waikiki!
1. Diamondhead. It’s iconic to the Honolulu skyline, so hiking it is a MUST. It’s the easiest hike on the island and offers some seriously stunning views!
2. Maitai Catamaran. This 90-minute catamaran sailing is probably one of my favorite things to do on the entire island, not just Waikiki. You leave from Waikiki Beach and set sail into the beautiful waters off the coast. You can often see spinner dolphins, turtles and, of course, downtown Honolulu from the water. The absolute best way to buy tickets is through Groupon – it’s a HUGE discount (even bigger than military, AAA or senior citizen). You can snag it here.
3. The Royal Hawaiian and Moana Surfrider. The crown jewels of Waikiki! Two historic hotels that are absolutely stunning in their own ways. The Royal Hawaiian, the iconic ‘Pink Palace’, is where you can enjoy all pink everything, get a bit of history in the basement in their mini museum or indulge in a delicious mai tai while looking out at the beach. Fun fact: Don & Megan Draper honeymooned here in the acclaimed TV series Mad Men. Not to be outdone by her sister, The Moana Surfrider, the island’s oldest hotel, boasts old Hawaii charm with updated elegance. Think: rocking chairs on a front porch and a bar built around a historic Banyan tree. Neither hotel is to be missed, even if it’s just to stroll through.
4. Kalakaua Avenue. This strip of land is filled to the brim with shops, restaurants and hotels and believe me – there is always something to see. It runs parallel to the beach and is also where the bronze statue of famed surfer Duke Kahanamoku sits to welcome you to Waikiki Beach.
5. Duke’s. In my opinion, it’s absolutely not a trip to Waikiki without stopping at Duke’s for Hula Pie. Think the biggest piece of ice cream pie imaginable. If you’re lucky enough to visit on a Sunday, the all day live music dance party is the best kept secret on the island 😉
6. Parasailing. There are so many water sports that are offered here in Hawaii, because the weather is usually gorgeous! That being said, parasailing is one you can’t miss. From seeing the beautiful turquoise waters from above to being able to glide along and take in the skyline – Diamondhead looks STUNNING from this vantage point – it’s definitely one of those activities that is once in a lifetime. Again, look for deals that pop up on Groupon snag some savings!
7. Surf Lessons. Learning to surf in Waikiki is kind of awesome, because 1. the surf breaks aren’t as intense as other spots on the island and 2. you’ll be learning in the same spot that famous surfers from around the world come all the time! And honestly – nothing says surfing quite like Hawaii!
8. International Marketplace. This shopping plaza just got a serious makeover last year and it’s definitely worth a trip! Filled with high end shops and yummy restaurants, the makeover also included incorporating unique design elements that reflected the lifestyle and culture of Hawaii. They even built the complex around a Banyan tree that was planted in 1850! If you’re shopping near sundown, stick around for the nightly lighting of the sacred torch and a brief history lesson that includes traditional dances and song!
9. Waikiki Beach. It’s not world famous for nothing! Though pretty crowded, it’s a great spot to get a tan, float all day in an inner tube or simply sit on the white sand and people watch! There is no shortage of space to sit and take it easy for a minute…or an entire afternoon.
10. Honolulu Museum of Art & Doris Duke’s Shangri La. I blogged specifically about Shangri La here, but it is, without a doubt, one of the coolest places to visit. The Museum of Art is usually hosting traveling exhibits and each time we go, I learn something new. It’s relatively easy to visit the museum, but if you have any interest in seeing Shangri La, book early!
Have you visited Waikiki? What was your favorite part?