As the wild waves on Oahu’s North Shore begin to settle, the island’s attention shifts back to the tranquil, yet adventure-friendly South Shore. Every day, thousands of visitors — and locals, alike — paddle, snorkel, dive, fish and sail in the most idyllic waters on the planet, just steps from THE MODERN HONOLULU.
Without a single inch of private beach in Hawaii, every spec of sand awaits your toes, including Duke Kahanamoku Beach, dubbed the “Best Beach in America” and part of the infamous Waikiki Beach. Here, guests amble down THE MODERN HONOLULU’s slopping walkway to this gem of a beach, where the hotel provides beach chairs and towel setup for its guests.
A water lover’s playground, your biggest challenge will be deciding how to experience Waikiki and its sugary-sand stretches. Here are a few ideas:
OAHU WHALE WATCHING
The waters off Oahu are center stage for the migratory path of the Pacific’s humpback whales. From November to April, these magnificent creatures trek between the Hawaiian Islands, buzzing within half a mile from Waikiki’s shore before darting to deeper waters off Diamond Head in their westward migration toward Maui. THE MODERN HONOLULU’s concierge team works with various partners, including snorkel tours and sunset cruises, to get you close enough for the ultimate of whale sightings. And while we’re on the topic of whales, here are five facts you might not know about the ones that call our Hawaiian waters home.
HAWAII DOLPHIN SWIM
The Hawaiian spinner dolphin is just one breed of dolphin that enjoys the waters around Oahu. In certain Waikiki spots, a morning swim might garner you a dolphin sighting in the dawn hours, but to better ensure a viewing, visit THE MODERN HONOLULU concierge to book a wild dolphin swim tour. You might even be lucky enough to swim with one!
WAIKIKI SURF LESSONS
Just about every Oahu surf school guarantees its students will be standing on a board during their first lesson, but you’ll want to sign up with an outfit best suited for you. What’s your skill level? Will there be any children along for the adventure? Are wave conditions prime for a first-time lesson? THE MODERN HONOLULU concierge team has the best insider knowledge on Oahu’s most reputable surf schools with some of our concierges being avid surfers themselves (ask for Ryan!). Our Outdoor Adventures page has more on surfing.
HAWAII SEA TURTLES
The ocean boasts seven types of sea turtles, and two of them can be found in Hawaii’s coastal waters off Waikiki — the more-common Pacific Green Sea Turtle and the Hawksbill. Spotting a sea turtle is a special occasion because only one in 4,000 baby turtles survive to adulthood. Sea turtles can live over 75 years, but they need to reach 25 years before they can begin laying eggs! To see the turtles up close, consider a scuba diving excursion.
WAIKIKI BOAT TOURS
THE MODERN HONOLULU uses expert guides, like Hawaii Nautical, for whale watching, scuba trips and sunset sails. Featuring three marina locations, Hawaii Nautical’s “Sea Dreams” vessel docks in the Waikiki marina — the Ala Wai marina — right in front of THE MODERN HONOLULU for convenient ocean excursions. The outfit also has powerboat yachts and sailing catamarans, which offer a unique sailing experience for ocean aficionados. Want to set sail and savor the sunset? The Island cruise page offers more information. For other nautical tours, discover The Island charter page.
A weekend stay at THE MODERN HOLULULU features a Friday firework show, which sparkles in front of the hotel, reflecting a rainbow of colors off the Waikiki marina — the Ala Wai marina — and the Pacific Ocean just beyond, all delivered from the comfort of your table with a tasty libation in hand.
For more Oahu water activities, check out The Island exploration pages.