Oahu is world-famous for its towering city of Honolulu. First-time visitors to the island are often shocked by the sheer size of the city. It’s puzzling to ponder how they gathered up the necessary resources from such a small island in the middle of the Pacific.
The magnitude of Honolulu is even more impressive when you realize that Hawaii is the most isolated chain of islands in the world. It’s six hours by air from the west coast of the mainland United States. That’s the same flight time from Boston to Los Angeles. Compare that to an eight-hour flight from Tokyo and 10.5 from Sydney, Australia, and you get a clear picture of Hawaii’s isolation.
Despite its remote location, Hawaii greets nearly 10 million visitors per year, and the lion’s share of these tourists trickle through Honolulu. It’s a bustling international city with Michelin-quality restaurants of myriad cuisines and a crackling nightlife. The city’s spark is only dwarfed by the nearby massive and extinct Diamond Head Volcano.
Sitting in the shadows of Honolulu and Diamond Head is the sprawling white sands of Waikiki Beach. It’s crowned by resorts and absolutely covered with people day and night. It’s a wonderful place to people watch, and you’ll get to watch people from all over the world.
But the hustle and bustle of Waikiki may not be what you imagined Hawaii to be. But don’t despair if you’ve booked yourself a week inside one of Honolulu’s towering resorts. There’s a little hidden gem near Waikiki where you can escape to a more peaceful experience; an experience that perhaps lines up with your Hawaiian dreams of isolated white-sand beaches.
Of course, there’s no escaping the city when you’re in Honolulu, but you can remove yourself from the skyline just a bit at the relatively hidden Kaimana Beach. You can leave the resort crowds behind if you simply walk towards the massive Diamond Head crater from Waikiki Beach. Kapiolani Park will be on your left as you stroll towards Kaimana Beach, and you can find its white sands between the War Memorial Natatorium the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel.
The beach is named after the sand side resort, and you’re likely to find plenty of local families enjoying the sugary soft sand. And the soft sand extends into the water to make for a pleasant swimming experience. The water here is usually calm because it is protected by a fringing reef, and the beach itself is nice and wide; much wider than the more popular Waikiki Beach. You should have no problem finding some real estate for your beach towel.
This beach has some important history for Hawaii. In 1902, a steamship named the Silvertown moored just off this beach for 12 days. It steamed across the Pacific from San Francisco while dragging a cable that it sunk to the bottom of the ocean. The cable, which was the first electronic connection between the mainland United States and Hawaii, was pulled ashore by the uncle of the famous Duke Kahanamoku.
The Duke, of course, is Hawaii’s most famous surfer. In fact, the Duke might be the most famous surfer in the world. He represented the United States as a swimmer in the Olympics during the early 20th Century, and he took home the gold on many occasions. And he used the worldwide US Olympic exhibition tour to show the world the sport of surfing. It spread like wildfire. Now you can find statues of the Duke at surfing beaches around the world, including the nearby Waikiki which was Duke’s favorite beach.
The Duke’s uncle dragged the underwater cable through the nearby channel just outside the fringing reef at Kaimana Beach. It is not recommended that you swim out that far unless you are incredibly confident in your swimming abilities, and, even if you’re a great swimmer, you should still ask the lifeguard on duty if the conditions are safe.