Lather on the sunscreen, grab a hat, and stroll through Hawaii's past. The Waikiki Historic Trail has 21 stops, many indicated by bronze, surfboard-shape markers. But we've highlighted some of our favorite spots. For a map of the full tour, visit waikikihistorictrail.com.
Marker 3―Residence of Queen Liliuokalani (near the corner of Ala Wai Boulevard and Kapahulu Avenue)
This marks the former estate of the last reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Queen Liliuokalani ruled in the years leading up to Hawaii's annexation by the United States, when she was overthrown. Liliuokalani was also an avid musician, and you'll undoubtedly hear her most famous composition, "Aloha Oe," during your stay.
Marker 5―Duke Kahanamoku statue (inside Kuhio Beach Park)
If you've surfed outside of the Hawaiian islands, you probably have Duke Kahanamoku to thank. Many people give Duke sole credit for internationally popularizing the sport of surfing. Truly legendary, Duke won gold, silver, and bronze medals in four different Olympic Games. He was once considered the world's fastest swimmer. Mention Duke's name around Waikiki and you're sure to be entertained with a story.
Marker 10―The Moana Hotel (now known as the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort, Waikiki Beach, located on Kalakaua Avenue)
Visitors have enjoyed this landmark since 1901. At a time when most hotels here were little more than overnight bathhouses, the 75-room Moana offered something different. Since then, the hotel has changed hands and undergone major renovations and additions, but it's still called "the First Lady of Waikiki." Soak up the atmosphere at an afternoon tea on The Veranda. The finger sandwiches and scones will have you feeling like island royalty.
Marker 11― Apuakehau Stream and Waikiki beach boys (near the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach hotel)
No, not part of the Wilson clan―these original early-20th-century Waikiki beach boys did more than just sing. Known for their charm, entertainment, hospitality, and love for the island, the Waikiki watermen served as unofficial ambassadors. Now licensed professionals, the beach boys give surf lessons, offer advice on outrigger canoeing, perform music, and pass along the spirit and culture of Hawaii to everyone they encounter. If you're lucky enough to run into one, feel free to ask for wave-riding tips.
Marker 18―The Duck Ponds of Waikiki (near the entrance to Ala Moana Beach Park)
Starting in the late 1800s, this area held taro and fishponds, which were converted into duck ponds by Chinese farmers. Over the years, it became swampland and a dumping ground. Finally, it was transformed into Ala Moana Beach Park, and is now known for excellent swimming, surfing, and bodyboarding.