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Surfing
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Recreation, Sports Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.5scorecard
  • 3.5Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 4.0Atmosphere

It's no secret: Oahu is home to some of the world's best surfing spots. Every winter (when surfing conditions are at their best), professional surfers from across the globe flock to Oahu's North Shore to shred some gnarly waves in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Basically the Super Bowl of surfing, the Triple Crown takes place in November and December when massive swells roll in from the stormy northern Pacific Ocean.

But you don't have to be a pro to hang 10 in Oahu. There are plenty of surfing schools that will take you from a grom (local slang for a surfing newbie) to a Big Kahuna in the course of a day. Best of all: No one will laugh if you wipe out (and you will).

Previous first-timers loved surfing Waikiki Beach's calmer waves, while more experienced surfers suggest tackling the large swells found at Waimea Bay in the North Shore. If you plan on taking surfing lessons, consider traveler-approved surf schools like Ohana Surf ProjectPolu Lani Surf Lessons & Adventures and Hans Hedemann Surf School. Most will teach anyone who's willing to learn, no matter their age or skill level.

Surf schools generally offer two-hour group surfing lessons that cost roughly $75 to $100 per student. You can also sign up for a one-hour group session or a private lesson at select schools (additional charges may apply). Or, rent a surfboard from one of Waikiki's or the North Shore's vendors.

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Waikiki Beach
World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument
Type
Time to Spend
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#1 Waikiki Beach

Nineteenth-century Hawaiian royalty used to come to the Honolulu neighborhood of Waikiki to relax and surf, just as scores of tourists do today. That's because this area's famous beach (which is a string of several beaches dotting the island's southwest coastline) is the go-to spot for its soft, honey-colored sand and the high waves that lap the shores during the winter months. But you don't have to be a surfer to appreciate Waikiki Beach; just lie back on a beach towel, relax and gaze up at the majestic Diamond Head State Monument in the distance.

When you need a break from the beach itself, there are scores of shops and restaurants lining the adjacent Kalakaua Avenue. The street is home to some of the world's most exclusive (read: expensive) designer boutiques, including Cartier, Coach, Hermès and Louis Vuitton. Many of the best Oahu hotels also overlook Waikiki Beach.

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