Anything you need to enjoy a day of swimming, surfing, sailing or sunning in Hawaii is available to buy or rent on Waikiki Beach. Seriously, the stands are ON the beach. The couple in this photo is getting a surf lesson on the sand in front of the stand that rents surfboards, one of many such stands along this section of beach. The rows of surfboards also include smaller boogie boards and often, inflatable rafts as well.

Sunscreen, sunglasses, hats and slippers (flip flops) may be purchased at any of the convenience stores that line the street along the beach. Shops also sell swimsuits and rashies (the shirts that provide UV protection from the sun while you swim). As with anywhere, you pay a premium price for the convenience. If you wish to save money, it is possible to locate a local grocery or drug store for better prices. If you wish to save time, the proximity to the beach can’t be beat.

While frequent Hawaii visitors or locals may avoid Waikiki because it is touristy, it can be perfect for that very reason. It is possible to arrive with absolutely nothing and be on the water safely soon. The first time I visited Hawaii, it was for a business conference. I had one afternoon to spend on the beach. We walked along Waikiki, swam, sunned and caught a late afternoon sail on a catamaran, followed by dinner at a restaurant overlooking the harbor. It was a very small slice of paradise.

Now that I live in Hawaii, I seldom have a reason to visit Waikiki. But this weekend I stayed there to be close to my visiting daughter and granddaughter. They were thrilled to be across the street from sand and surf, able to bounce between the hotel pool and the sea. As always, the beach itself provided ample entertainment. There was a surf contest on Sunday, along with locals out for a ride and tourists hoping not to drown on their first lesson. Onlookers were treated to sit and watch as competitors from young children through seniors took their turns on the waves. It was a great opportunity for photos — of the surfers and also of tourists with that “I can’t believe I’m in Hawaii” smile for the camera.


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