The greatest urban beaches on the planet cost you absolutely nothing
As the most isolated landmass on Earth, Honolulu skews hella pricey. But we put up with it because year-round summer makes it easy to enjoy this garish paradise we live in. All beaches in Honolulu are open to the public, so all you need is a beach towel and some sunscreen to have a good time.
Start your day at Kaimana Beach, where the morning shade from the nearby hotel provides some relief from the heat. For spectacular, uninterrupted ocean views, make your way to Diamond Head Cliffs’ lookout, where you can watch surfers shred the endless surf breaks. For an easy hike, take a short drive inland to Manoa Falls, where the occasionally muddy, yet well-maintained 1.5-mile rainforest trail will reward you with a 100-foot waterfall. On Friday nights, watch the sunset at Ala Moana Beach Park (you’ll see no fewer than five couples taking engagement photos, guaranteed) then stick around as the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s fireworks show light up the night. Or, on the first Friday of every month, check out downtown Honolulu, where live bands entertain and art galleries open late.
When hunger finds you, go find Marukame Udon, where you can parlay $10 into a bowl of handmade noodles, fried add-ons like chicken and vegetable tempura, plus a cold drink. For dessert, trade in your loose change for a Leonard’s Bakery malasada: a warm no-hole donut filled with haupia or custard runs less than $2. -- Summer Nakaishi