Waikīkī Beach stretches was once a retreat for Hawaiian royalty in the 1800s who enjoyed surfing here on early forms of longboard. (©Joe Solem/Hawaii Tourism Authority)
Waikiki Beach is perhaps the world’s most famous strip of sand and was once the playground for Hawaiian royalty. Translated, Waikīkī means “spouting water,” a reference to the rivers and springs that once richly flowed into the area. Perhaps the world’s most famous strip of sand, Waikīkī was once the playground for Hawaiian royalty. Kamehameha IV, Kamehameha V, Lunalilo, Kalākaua, Lili‘uokalani and Princess Kaiulani were among the reigning dignitaries who maintained residences in the area, enjoying moonlight horseback rides, exhilerating canoe races and carefree dips in the ocean. Today, the 2-mile stretch of white sand is lined with hotels and resorts, attracting millions of visitors, who flock to the sun-kissed shores and warm waters to snorkel, take a surf lesson or ride an outrigger canoe.