waikiki beach

Photo: Courtesy Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Tor Johnson

Surfing at Waikiki Beach.


A classic Hawaiian escape

FIRST-TIME ESSENTIAL  A Hawaiian sunset on the beach is a must—whether you enjoy it at the popular Duke’s Bar, the historic Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai Bar, or aboard one of the many catamarans dotting Waikiki Beach. TIP: Park yourself on the sand across the street from the Honolulu Zoo, and once the sun has taken its final bow, enjoy a free outdoor movie on a 30-foot screen (weekends only). sunsetonthebeach.net

MAXIMUM EXPOSURE  If Waikiki Beach is the tropical equivalent of Las Vegas’s strip, consider The Kahala Hotel & resort its quieter, off-strip cousin. The luxe resort features 800 feet of secluded beach, free surfing and stand-up paddleboard lessons, plus its very own private dolphin lagoon. Jackpot. kahalaresort.com, from $425

FOR LOVERS  In case the surfers taming the monstrous waves at the North Shore’s Waimea Bay—the birthplace of big-wave surfing—don’t get your pulse racing, a romantic sunset cocktail at the stylish new Surfer bar at Turtle Bay Resort just up the road surely will. turtlebaysurf.com/surferthebar

general store kids

Chef Mark Noguchi’s new Hèeia Kea Pier General Store & Deli

EAT THIS  Lauded chef Mark Noguchi (formerly of Honolulu’s Town and Chef Mavro restaurants) recently debuted Hèeia Kea Pier General Store & Deli in Kaneohe. The casual farm-to-table lunch spot’s menu features everything from fern salads to pork katsu and deep fried moi (all locally raised, of course). 808-235-2192

  • 2 flights from PDX daily
  • 80 average high temp in February
  • 76 Waikiki water temp in February

REST YOUR HEAD  Open less than a year, the ultra-hip Modern Honolulu—just two blocks from Waikiki Beach—is the definition of lavish surfer cool. A Herbie Fletcher sculpture made from surfboards greets guests in the lobby, where a bookshelf rotates to reveal a swanky lounge at happy hour. Mix in ocean views, poolside chaises and an Iron Chef–led restaurant, and you could almost never leave. Almost. themodernhonolulu.com, from $239

WHAT YOU DIDN’T DO LAST TIME  See the other side of Diamond Head. The signature volcanic tuff dominates the southern view from Waikiki Beach, but few visitors make the near mile-long trek that rises from the floor of this 600,000-year-old crater.