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Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
Island-style shave ice (never shaved ice—it's a pidgin thing) is said to have been born when neighborhood kids hung around the ice house, waiting to pounce on the shavings from large blocks of ice, carved with ultrasharp Japanese planes that created an exceptionally fine-textured granita.
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.
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