Honolulu Spring Break: A Hawaii Vacation Beyond Waikiki Beach

Kids Luau at Hawaii's Polynesian Cultural Center
The Alii Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center includes a dinner feast and entertainment, like the hula. Photo: Polynesian Cultural Center
Honolulu is on perpetual spring break, with its year-round summery weather and miles of golden sand beaches. So if you're unfortunately stuck in paradise this March -- cue the violins -- here are a few things you can do to pass the time:

Get the All-Inclusive Treatment:Polynesian Cultural Center
Pay one price for a bundled food or drink experience

Let's face it: luaus can be a bit kitschy. But you can experience one of the most authentic Hawaiian all-you-can-eat feasts, including live music and hula, at the Alii Luau ($95.95) at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu's eastern coast. Dine on traditional luau foods such as steamed fish, lomilomi salmon and kalua pig, slow-cooked in an imu (traditional underground oven). For a slightly different kind of luau, check out the center's new Samoan-style Island Luau (74.95) featuring a blend of Hawaiian and Samoan foods such as supo esi (papaya soup) and faalifu (breadfruit, taro and banana covered in coconut milk).

Worship Water: H20 Sports Hawaii
A fun water-centric activity

Be an aquatic superhero on spring break. H20 Sports Hawaii in Hawaii Kai offers a H20 JetPack experience where you can, with the help of a 250-horsepower marine engine and a hose that you're strapped to, hover over the Pacific Ocean. You can fly up to 30 miles per hour over Maunalua Bay. Cape optional.

It's 5 o'clock Somewhere - Here: House Without A Key
Where to get a great tropical drink

The classic tropical drink in Hawaii is the mai tai ($14), a blend of rum, Curacao liqueur and lime juice, often adorned with a pineapple wedge skewered by a plastic sword. And the best place to sip one -- or three -- is at the House Without A Key, the outdoor gathering spot at the posh Halekulani hotel in Waikiki. You can't beat the setting: live Hawaiian music with dancers swaying to the rhythm of palm trees and the expansive of the Pacific Ocean spread out in front of you.

Closer than Disney World: Waikiki Aquarium
A great activity for kids and families

Kids can tour Waikiki Aquarium at night -- flashlights in hand -- this March. Look for lobsters and sleeping parrotfish on evening excursions. Or get a behind-the-scenes tour of the third oldest aquarium in the U.S. with a visit to its Coral Farm -- all for under $20 per person.

Budget Beach Bites: Fort Ruger Market
An affordable beachy or seafood meal

At the base of Diamond Head is Fort Ruger Market, a popular stop for hikers and surfers in search of tasty grab-and-go nosh. One of the most popular items is its made-to-order poke (pronounced poh-kay), a local dish of cubed raw ahi tossed with limu (seaweed), shoyu, sesame oil, inamona (roasted crushed kukui nut) and sea salt. The market serves plate lunches and sandwiches, too. Just be sure to bring cash. Poke bowls are about $10, plates no higher than $9.

Planning a Caribbean spring break instead? Check out our island finder >>


Born and raised on Oahu, Catherine E. Toth has been chronicling her adventures in her blog, The Cat Dish, for nearly a decade. She worked as a newspaper reporter in Hawaii for 10 years and continues to freelance -- in between teaching journalism, hitting the surf and eating everything in sight -- for national and local print and online publications.
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