I guess I have to write something interesting for you to read, right? Well, this post is coming to you all the way from the airport Honolulu, HI. I have just spent a wonderful 24 hours over in Waikiki. My father and I were actually just here for a job interview and figured since we finished early we might as well enjoy the city. All the locals look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that we’re only tourists for a few hours. They, however, do not know my family. One day trips are our specialty.
While I can’t give you an intimate look at all the great secret locations to go to or tell you how to live locally I can tell you about some of the awesome “must-do’s.” First, we stayed about a half mile walk to the beach at the Seaside Hotel and I really recommend saving your money and staying further away because the walk there is very safe and there are fantastic sights to see and things to see along the way. The most obvious thing to do along the way is window shop (if you’re like me and not necessarily rolling in dough). Kalakaua Avenue is loaded with all the high-end stores and some fantastic tourist trap restaurants. The shiny and colorful displays are endlessly entertaining if nothing else. However, the best and most obvious thing to do, which everyone must, is walk, tan, surf, or swim at Waikiki Beach. Even though it was oddly crowded (in February), the beach itself was clean, shockingly blue, and not too cold. Make sure you wear sunblock though if you aren’t already strikingly tan. I was there for a few short hours and got myself a rather brilliant red sunburn.
If you find yourself famished I highly recommend the buffet at the Shore Bird Restaurant Beach Bar at the Outrigger Reef Hotel. It’s just a few dollars more than a regular meal and you get everything. Also, make sure you get yourself a salad with their papaya seed dressing. It sounds strange but it is absolutely to die for. This brings up a more important point: Always be willing to try new local creations. You might be happily surprised. In our efforts to decide what to eat we stumbled into the International Market. I was hoping that I would find some great local finds and fun things like that but in all honesty it’s a tourist trap. They have all the overpriced nicknacks you can get at one of the million ABC stores along Kalakua Avenue but they’re exponentially more expensive. I guess the only upside is that you’re giving your money to support local businesses instead of a chain. I also expected the food court to be full of fun Hawaiian themed restaurants but was sorely disappointed to find mostly way overpriced Asian eateries with a few places with Hawaiian infusions or coconut ice cream but nothing more exciting than that.
Overall my few short hours spent exploring Waikiki were not what I expected. I usually do not like to mix my beach life with downtown type areas and overcrowding, but I found that in this case the convenience was refreshing. It created a unique atmosphere that allowed all types of people, locals and tourists alike, to mingle together. This created a better overall sense of local culture not available on private resort beaches.
As a side note to any standby travelers: If you’re trying to leave between Thursday and Sunday in Spring and Summer months be prepared to either spend a few days in the airport or just be really flexible about where you go to get home (I had to go to Chicago to get back to Phoenix). I will say that in my case Hawaiian Airlines had some open flights. I also met a great many people who were trying to jumpseat out of there and were having an equally difficult time getting out, too. Also, I recommend you come prepared with a big warm coat or blanket as the airport is unforgivingly cold.