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Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
Kailua is the beach you came to Hawaii for: wide and gently sloped, glowing golden in the sun, outfitted with a couple of well-placed islets to gaze at, and fronted by waters in ever-changing shades of turquoise. The waves are gentle enough for children. Kayakers are drawn to the Mokulua Islands offshore. Small convenience stores and restaurants are within walking distance. And there's just enough wind to keep you from baking. It's paradise, but civilized.
Waves: Boogie board or surf some of the best breaks on the planet.
This 25-acre family attraction has waterslides, water cannons, and waterfalls. www.wetnwildhawaii.com. COST: $42. OPEN: M, Th, F 10:30--3:30; weekend 10:30--4.
This modest little seaside town flanked by chiseled cliffs is worth a visit. Home to more local families than Kailua to the north or Hawaii Kai to the south, Waimanalo's biggest draws are its beautiful beaches, offering glorious views to the Windward side. Bellows Beach is great for swimming and bodysurfing, and Waimanalo Beach Park is also safe for swimming. Down the side roads, as you head mauka (toward the mountains), are little farms that grow a variety of fruits and flowers. Toward the back of the valley are small ranches with grazing horses. If you see any trucks selling corn and you're staying at a place where you can cook it, be sure to get some in Waimanalo. It may be the sweetest you'll ever eat, and the price is the lowest on Oahu.
This 1927 World War I monument, dedicated to the 102 Hawaiian servicemen who lost their lives in battle, stands proudly in Waikiki. The 100-meter saltwater swimming pool, the training spot for Olympians Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe and the U.S. Army during World War II, is closed as the pool needs repair. The city has commissioned a study of the natatorium's future while a nonprofit group fights to save the facility. The site is closed to visitors, but you can stop by and look at it from the outside. www.natatorium.org.
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