On the Beach at Waikiki
One of the best known beaches in the world, Waikiki was the favorite playground of Hawaiian royalty in the 19th century. At the time, Waikiki was an area of wetlands fed by streams from the valleys above Honolulu. That all changed in the 1920s when the government decided to build what would become the Ala Wai Canal, which would drain the wetlands and pave the way for later development.
These days, this 1.5 mile (2.4 km) stretch of white sand beach is the nucleus of Hawaii's tourist industry, packed full of high-rise hotels that promise to treat you like a king, some of which may also require a king's ransom for admission. Although it is often criticized for its concrete-jungle appearance, large crowds, and touristy feel, there is a lot to enjoy here and you can still find a quiet spot if you know where to look.