XS Travel; Hawaii Live-O!
Bissett, Matt, Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Suntanned muscles ripple like the bright blue waves below as hundreds of surfers take the plunge on Waikiki Beach.
This is a surfers' Mecca. Surfing was invented here on the seven islands that make up the American state of Hawaii. And on Oahu - the most popular of them - Waikiki Beach is never empty.
World champion-ships are held here and any surfer worth his salt will make the pilgrimage at some point.
Of course, the one-and-a-half miles of soft white sand are also perfect for sunbathing. And if you aren't intimidated by the lithe bodies of the men or the sleek, bikinied blondes who flock round them, nobody's going to mind if you simply lie back and take in the view.
There's only one thing a surfer likes more than winning the war with the waves - and that's to have lots of people watch him do it.
But if it all gets too much, you could always wander off round the beautiful Ko'olau mountain waterfalls nearby. Or you can walk to the 760ft crater rim of Diamond Head, the famous volcanic mountain, named when a group of foolish 19th century English sailors thought they'd struck it lucky and charged off to sell boxes of worthless crystals to the locals.
Waikiki beach skirts round Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, where there are lots of wonderful old museums and state buildings - and, of course, Pearl Harbour.
Things are a lot quieter round here. In fact, most of your tour will be in awe and respectful silence as ex-servicemen take you round the tourist centre. They'll show you old news footage and the special memorial in the harbour, set up to remember the 2,300 men who died when Japan bombed the naval base in 1941.
Much more cheerful is the vast array of bars and restaurants back on the beach in Oahu, where you can try the amazing local dishes.
Freshly-caught seafood (the red snapper and sea bass is out of this world) and the locally-grown avocados and mangos - all washed down with a rum Mai Tai cocktail or the famous local Kona Coffee. Then you can hit the clubs on Waikiki Beach, or take in some hula dancing, complete with your orchid lei (flower garland) round your neck, garish Hawaiian shirt and a few strains from South Pacific played under the whispering palm trees.
Most visitors head for Oahu and stay in one of the big tourist complexes - which, since they cater mainly for Americans - are larger than life.
The incredible Hilton Waikoloa Beach Hotel is the biggest, set in 62 acres of tropical gardens with 1,241 rooms and a three-quarter acre pool - but there are smaller, more private, places to be found.
There are also an increasing number of guest houses where you can forgive anything when you're surrounded by palms just a few feet from the beach.
It would be easy to spend all your holiday on Oahu, but many venture out to visit Maui - a stunning tropical island which is becoming very trendy - or the Big Island itself, confusingly called Hawaii. …