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Kim Steutermann Rogers
Hawaii Island, Kauai, Maui, Oahu
Article Source: Blog Post
It won’t be a Maui weekend, after all. In an economic counter-move, rental car companies on Maui recently reduced their fleet. That means, they shipped cars off the island. I am sure they do this kind of thing on the mainland all the time. As seasons and travel flavors change, executives move their cars around like grocers use just-in-time inventory practices to stock shelves. Unfortunately, in the middle of the Pacific, when tourism picks up again, like it always does in February and March, there aren’t enough cars to go around.
Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
Some favor the cool grass and rolling hills of Kakaako Park, where you can picnic with a view. Others dine in style and watch nature's beauty from the 32nd floor Hanohano Room in the Sheraton Waikiki. But a favorite for most is seeing the sun melt into the horizon from a beach blanket, toes curled into the warm sand. Ala Moana Beach Park's Magic Island, while crowded, is a good spot. For a more private view, try Lanikai Beach in Kailua or Sunset Beach on the North Shore.
You'll be one of the few outsiders at this Waianae Coast beach at the very end of the road. If it weren't for the little strip of paved road, it would feel like a deserted isle: no stores, no houses, just a huge sloping stretch of beach and some of the darkest-blue water off the island. Locals come here to fish and swim in waters that are calm enough for children in summer. Early morning brings with it spinner dolphins by the dozens just offshore. Though Makua Beach up the road is the best spot to see these animals, it's not nearly as beautiful or sandy as "Yokes." Amenities: showers; toilets; parking (no fee). Best for: solitude, sunset, swimming.
Concealed from the public eye for many years as part of the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station, this beach is reminiscent of Waikiki but without the condos and the crowds. It is a long, sloping beach with numerous surf breaks, but it is also mild enough at shore for older children to play freely. It has views of Pearl Harbor and, over that, Diamond Head. Although the sand lives up to its name, the real joy of this beach comes from its history as part of a military property for the better part of a century. Expansive parking, great restroom facilities, and numerous tree-covered barbecue areas make it a great day-trip spot. As a bonus, a Hawaiian monk seal takes up residence here several months out of the year (seals are rare in the Islands). Amenities: lifeguards; parking (no fee); showers; toilets. Best for: surfing; swimming.
Made popular in that old Beach Boys song "Surfin' U.S.A.," Waimea Bay is a slice of big-wave heaven, home to king-size 25- to 30-foot winter waves. Summer is the time to swim and snorkel in the calm waters. The shore break is great for novice bodysurfers. Due to its popularity, the postage-stamp parking lot is quickly filled, but it's also possible to park along the side of the road and walk in. Amenities: lifeguards; parking (no fee); showers; toilets. Best for: snorkeling (in summer); surfing (in winter); swimming (in summer).
One of the most beautiful beaches on the island, Waimanalo is a local pick, busy with picnicking families and active sports fields. Expect a wide stretch of sand; turquoise, emerald, and deep blue seas; and gentle shore-breaking waves that are fun for all ages. Theft is an occasional problem, so lock your car. Amenities: lifeguards; parking (no fee); showers; toilets. Best for: sunrise; swimming; walking.
Now known more for its resort (the Turtle Bay Resort) than its magnificent beach, Turtle Bay is mostly passed over on the way to the better-known beaches of Sunset and Waimea. But for the average visitor with the average swimming capabilities, this is a good place to be on the North Shore. The crescent-shaped beach is protected by a huge sea wall. You can see and hear the fury of the northern swell, while blissfully floating in cool, calm waters. The convenience of this spot is also hard to pass up—there is a concession selling sandwiches and sunblock right on the beach. The resort has free parking for beach guests. Amenities: food and drink; parking (no fee); showers; toilets. Best for: sunset; swimming.
The beach is broad, the sand is soft, the summer waves are gentle, making for good snorkeling, and the winter surf is crashing. Many love searching this shore for the puka shells that adorn the necklaces you see everywhere. Carryout truck stands selling shave ice, plate lunches, and sodas usually line the adjacent highway. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking (no fee); showers; toilets. Best for: snorkeling; sunset; surfing.