Fish at your feet
If you can manage packing a snorkel and fins in your luggage, don’t hesitate. Nothing beats walking out the front door of your hotel and straight into the calm coastal shore waters of Honolulu for an impromptu – and free – swim with the fishes. With the beach not far from any Honolulu hotel where Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic fans might stay, grabbing the goggles and hitting the water for a 30-minute snorkel every morning is easy to work into the schedule. Kaimana Beach is a quick walk from the Outrigger Waikiki, and is known to be more of a local spot, quieter than the bustling Waikiki Beach. On Christmas Eve, with the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic teams taking a break to enjoy the island holiday atmosphere, a quick drive or bus ride due east to Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve might be in order – visitors rave about the snorkeling there. The restoration and preservation of this amazing nature preserve has been painstaking through the past 20-plus years, and the education center at Hanauma encourages visitors to become advocates of keeping the bay and its resources pristine. Kids and families can snorkel amid the live coral with a waterproof identification chart, so they can readily recognize honu (green sea turtles, considered good luck), triggerfish, butterflyfish, parrotfish, hawkfish, squid, octopus, and even sea cucumber. Fees are $7.50 per person for non-Hawaii residents, though the fee is waived for children 12 and younger. The park is closed on Tuesdays. Get there early – once the relatively moderate-sized parking lot fills, the park permits no more cars, thus helping maintain and protect Hawaii’s first Marine Life Conservation District.