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Oahu Beaches

Of course, the most famous beach in Hawaii (and perhaps the world) is Waikiki Beach, located in eastern Honolulu on the south shore of the island of Oahu. Waikiki is a great swimming beach by design. Each year, sand is brought in from other islands to fill in the ever-eroding coastline. Indeed, Waikiki was originally a swamp, and the native Hawaiians sold the land for almost nothing. Today, Waikiki boasts hundreds of hotels, restaurants, bars, and attractions. It is a great place to enjoy the sun, learn to surf, experience a great beach, and get a Hawaiian experience. It is a terrible place for isolation, but if you come here prepared to share the experience with a crowd you will have a great time.

There are a number of other great beaches on Oahu. Heading east from Honolulu, you will come to Hanauma Bay, the premiere snorkeling site for Oahu, and possibly the best for species variety in all of Hawaii. On the eastern shore of Oahu, try Kailua Beach in Kailua (great facilities, but arrive early for parking) or Lanikai Beach. Lanikai Beach is located just south of Kailua Beach Park, and the only access is via public right-of-ways between private homes. There are no facilities, but the water is beautiful, and there are usually sea turtles swimming in the bay. Waimea Bay Beach on the north shore is another nice summer swimming spot. In the winter, Waimea Bay is a prime spot to watch great surfing. Don't enter the water, though - even experts have drowned here! Malaekahana State Recreation Area on the windward coast offers a very long beach and great facilities. Another quiet beach park on the eastern shore is Kualoa Beach Park, which looks out toward Mokolii Island (nicknamed Chinaman's Hat because of its shape).

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