Waikiki is the name of the area on Oahu where most of the hotels are located. Its the main tourist area and is filled with hotels, condos, apartments, and tons of shopping places.
The beach is composed of white sand with a nice shallow swimming area and gentle waves even at high tide. Yes it is crowed and very very developed but it didn't always look this way.
Originally the area served as a retreat for the royal family where the families had their own residences and had fun. The beach was actually a thin strip of sand located between wetlands, mudflats, duck ponds, fish ponds, and a gentle slope under the ocean.
|Moana Surfrider Hotel.|
|Royal Hawaiian Hotel from the beach|
|Royal Hawaiian Hotel Front|
What most histories of Waikiki do not tell you is that the sand found on the beach is not native to Hawaii. In the 1920's and 30's it is said they barged sand in from Manhattan Beach California but they quit importing sand in the 1970's. Now they bring the sand in from 2000 feet off shore because one foot a year is eroding from the beach and it has to be replenished some way.
Today, many of the older places are being replaced with more hotels, restaurants, and other name brand stores for tourism. Its slowly loosing its charm as quaint gives way to modern.