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6. The Best Beaches

Jeanette Foster FrommerMedia ePub

Beaches Best Bets

Best for a Picnic

Ala Moana Beach Park, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd. (Go to page)

Best Place to “Shoot the Tube”

Banzai/Pipeline/Ehukai Beach Park, 59–337 Ka Nui Rd. (Go to page)

Best Snorkeling

Hanauma Bay, 7455 Koko Kalanianaole Hwy. (Go to page)

Best Place to Kayak

Kahana Bay Beach Park, 52–222 Kamehameha Hwy. (Go to page)

Best Windsurfing

Kailua Beach, 450 Kawailoa Rd. (Go to page)

Best for Kids

Ko Olina Lagoons, Aliinui Dr. (Go to page)

Best Scenic Beach Park

Kualoa Regional Park, 49–600 Kamehameha Hwy. (Go to page)

Best for Swimming

Lanikai Beach, Mokulua Dr. (Go to page)

Best for Expert Body Surfing

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Jeanette Foster FrommerMedia ePub


Hawaii, the Big Island

This is the island of superlatives: the largest in the Hawaiian chain, with the highest volcanic peaks, the most diverse terrain. Here is a land of fiery volcanoes, sparkling waterfalls, black-lava deserts, snowcapped mountains, tropical rainforests, alpine meadows, glacial lakes, and miles of golden, black, and even green-sand beaches. Visitors flock to this larger-than-life phenomenon not only for its diversity, but also for its mana, or spiritual aspect, because the work of the “Volcano Goddess,” Pele, can obviously be seen today as she continues to create new land.

Beaches    For the island’s most scenic seashore, head to Hapuna Beach, a 1⁄2-mile crescent of gold sand. Elsewhere, families flock to Kahaluu Beach on the Kona Coast, where brilliantly colored tropical fish convene in the protected reef. Then, too, Green Sands Beach is a spectacle to behold—tiny olivine pieces in the sand give the beach its shimmering green shade.

Things to Do    Be sure to visit Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, a sacred site that was once a refuge for ancient Hawaiian warriors. Or discover the Puako Petroglyph Archaeological District, home to more than 3,000 petroglyphs. A jacket, beach mat, and binoculars are all you need to see every star and planet from Mauna Kea.

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Jeanette Foster FrommerMedia ePub


Oahu, the Gathering Place

Rising in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Honolulu, Oahu’s main city and the capital of Hawaii, offers a fast-paced urban setting with Hawaii’s hottest nightlife, best shopping, and most diverse restaurants. Next door is Waikiki, the world-famous vacation playground, complete with every imaginable visitor amenity. And the memorial at Pearl Harbor gives a glimpse into world history. The island’s North Shore, however, presents a different face: miles of white-sand beaches and a slower, country way of life.

Beaches    Beginner snorkelers and families should head to Hanauma Bay, a small, curved, 2,000-foot golden-sand beach. Lanikai offers excellent swimming with tropical fish and sea turtles in a crystal-clear lagoon. In the winter months, when giant waves—sometimes rising to 50 feet high—pound Waimea Beach Park, don’t miss the opportunity to see big board surfers easily conquer these monsters. For those who don’t want to stray too far from urban action, Waikiki is the place.

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8. The Best Dining

Jeanette Foster FrommerMedia ePub


Dining Best Bets


Best on the Beach

Hula Grill $$$ Whalers Village, Kaanapali (Go to page)

Best Breakfast

Charley’s Restaurant $$ 142 Hana Hwy., Paia (Go to page); and Longhi’s $$$$ Shops at Wailea (Go to page)

Best Burger

Cheeseburger in Paradise $$ 811 Front St., Lahaina (Go to page)

Best Budget Deli

CJ’s Deli & Diner $ Kaanapali Fairway Shops (Go to page)

Best Crepes

Café des Amis $$ 42 Baldwin Ave., Paia (Go to page)

Best for Families

Stella Blues Cafe $$ Azeka II Shopping Center, Kihei (Go to page)

Best French

Gerard’s $$$$ 174 Lahainaluna Rd., Lahaina (Go to page)

Freshest Fish

Pineapple Grill Kapalua $$$ 200 Kapalua Dr. (Go to page)

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4. The Best of Honolulu & Waikiki

Jeanette Foster FrommerMedia ePub

Honolulu’s historic Chinatown is a mix of Asian cultures all packed into a small area where tangy spices rule the cuisine, open-air markets have kept out the minimalls, and acupuncture and herbal remedies have paved the way to good health. The jumble of streets bustles with residents and visitors from all over the world and a cacophony of sounds, from the high-pitched bleating of vendors in the market to the lyrical dialects of the retired men “talking story” over a game of mah-jongg. No trip to Honolulu is complete without a visit to this exotic, historic district. Plan at least 2 hours, or more if you love to browse. START: N. Hotel and Maunakea sts. Parking is scarce, so I recommend taking Bus 2, 19 or 42. If you insist on driving, take Ala Moana Blvd. and turn right on Smith St.; make a left on Beretania St. and a left again at Maunakea St. The city parking garage is on the Ewa (west) side of Maunakea St., between N. Hotel and N. King sts.

Hotel Street. During World War II, Hotel Street was synonymous with good times. Pool halls and beer parlors lined the blocks, and prostitutes were plentiful. Nowadays, the more nefarious establishments have been replaced with small shops, from art galleries to specialty boutiques. Wander up and down this street and then head to the intersection with Smith Street. On the Diamond Head (east) side of Smith, you’ll notice stones in the sidewalk; they were taken from the sandalwood ships, which came to Hawaii empty of cargo except for these stones, which were used as ballast on the trip over. Hotel St., btw. Maunakea & Bethel sts.

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