In Hawaiian, Honolulu translates to “place of shelter.” Geography wonks will tell you that Honolulu is actually on the island of Oahu, it is the state capitol of Hawaii and it’s the number one stop for anyone visiting the islands. It’s also Honolulu, which means Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbor and Diamond Head. Simply put, you can’t go wrong with a vacation to this tropical paradise. Even if you want to puddle hop to the other islands, you would be well served by making Honolulu you’re vacation home base. Here’s what you could be doing if you were Honolulu bound:

Kailua

Let’s face it, from the moment you land at Honolulu International Airport you’re going to want to hit the beach. The question then becomes which beach is the best beach? Some of that depends on where you’re staying. After all, if you can walk out of your cabana and already be on the beach, why go anywhere else? On the other hand, there are so many beaches to explore, you might just want to try a different beach every day. One stretch of sandy bliss that you simply must plop down on is Kailua. This is on the “windward coast” which means not great for surfing but ideal for chilling. There are a bunch of tiny islands within kayak distance from Kailua that you can paddle out to and pretend you’re on Survivor.

Surf’s Up

If “learn to surf” is on your bucket list, then you need to head over to Waikiki beach. You’ll find that the real surfer dudes and dudettes might avoid this beach because of the novice surfers like you. That’s okay. They’ll still be on hand to offer lessons. Try this scenario: You come home from your trip and someone asks, “What did you do?” You answer, “I surfed Waikiki.” Perfect vacation. Sidebar: To see how the pros do the riding the waves thing, head over to the North Shore on the island and prepared to be dazzled.

Manoa Falls

Thinking about popping the question to your travel partner? Then you might want to have the Manoa Falls as your backdrop. It’s a three-mile hike through the Manoa Valley to the falls. Three miles? In Hawaiian terms, that’s nothing. You’ll be taking in some amazing scenery along the way.

Turning Japanese

There is a vibrant community of Japanese nationals living and thriving in Honolulu. As such, they’ve brought over some of their great traditions and culinary delights. Ask the locals for the best “izakaya” and they’ll steer you to a Japanese tavern that will offer up amazing dishes. Kind of like Mulberry Street in New York, you won’t have a bad meal in a local picked izakaya.

Are you ready to book your flights?