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At first glance the resort area of Waikiki does appear to be an expensive vacation option. True, you can spend a bundle on beachfront hotels, high-end condos and excursions. On the other hand, booking accommodations a block or two from the beach can cut your hotel bill in half, or perhaps more. Taking advantage of some of Waikiki’s inexpensive entertainment options also helps make your Hawaiian vacation affordable.
Waikiki Beach Picnic
Step out the front door of your hotel and chances are you’ll be within a block or two of an ABC Store. This staple of Waikiki sells everything from groceries to souvenirs. ABC Stores are the most convenient places to find picnic items for your day at Waikiki Beach. Ready-made sandwiches, snacks, drinks, even straw beach mats, coolers and towels are for sale.
Find your spot on the sand and work on that tan, learn to surf or just go for a swim. People-watching is the unofficial sport on this beach, best done while wearing shades. If you’re traveling with kids, head for Kuhio Beach, in front of the Duke Kahanamoku statue. A man-made breakwater fronts a shallow pond that is safe for young swimmers. This less crowded part of Waikiki also offers picnic tables, restrooms and food vendors.
Plan your picnic for sunset and watch the free Kuhio Beach Park Hula Show, offered three to four times a week. In addition to the dancers and musicians, a traditional torch lighting ceremony welcomes the night.
Each Friday, the Hilton Hawaiian Village offers the Rockin’ Hawaiian Rainbow Review. Purchase seats near the hotel’s Super Pool or pick a spot on the sand to watch the fireworks for free. You won’t be able to see the dancers but you will hear the music. The fireworks display is out over the ocean, so you still have a ring-side seat.
Climbing Diamond Head Crater
Leahi, as the Hawaiian’s call Diamond Head, is Waikiki’s famed landmark. Most people only see the volcano from the outside, but if you venture through the north side tunnel you’ll find a park. A trail leading from the park up to the rim of the crater takes you up a switchback trail, through tunnels and up 175 steps. Your reward is a bird’s eye view of Waikiki, Honolulu and the Pacific Ocean from your 760-foot high perch.