Nestled on the south shore of Honolulu, Waikiki is this region’s most famous stretch of sand and an iconic Hawaiian tourist destination. The name “Waikiki” brings to mind beautiful sandy beaches, crashing waves, surfers, and an amazing culture demonstrated in various activities and dances. Its beautiful turquoise water is gentle for surf learners at any time of the year. The place used to be a playground for the royal family in the 1800s. Today, America’s premier beach destination is filled with lavish resorts, high-rise hotels, fine shopping and beautiful gardens. Planning a trip to Waikiki? Here’s a guide to exploring this gem of Honolulu.
Waikiki Beach Highlights
With many accommodation options ranging from world-class resorts to budget hotels, Waikiki is undoubtedly the best place to stay when visiting Honolulu.
The retail options are endless and travelers will be spoiled for choice when it comes to shopping. From chic boutiques to designer stores, this place is a premier shopping destination. There are over 150 stores at the Royal Hawaiian Center. If that doesn’t work, head to the Waikiki Beach Walk and explore the amazing outdoor arcades.
Travelers will see several restaurants, cafes and bars lining the shores. While the best deals aren’t guaranteed at Waikiki Beach, vacationers can get lost in the jaw-dropping views they’ll get from beachfront restaurants. restaurants by the sea again and again. Hula Grill Waikiki is one of the best restaurants to check out. Want to sip a good cocktail? Head to the Beach Bar and choose from the varieties available.
What to know before going to Waikiki
Public transport and renting a car are the best ways to get around
While this location is very walkable, travelers will need to either use public transportation or rent a car to get to attractions that are a bit far from the stretch. The problem with public transport is that you won’t be able to stop and explore an attraction on the way. With a rental car, vacationers have great freedom to make stops whenever they want and experience the best of Waikiki. Taxis are expensive unless one is commuting to a nearby hotel, beach, or restaurant.
Make a good budget for activities
It is important to know that activities, such as parasailing and snorkeling excursions, are not very economical. Travelers should therefore be prepared and aware of the fees before visiting an attraction. One can always check attraction websites for admission fees, available discounts, activities and best deals. Take advantage of free cultural performances held at various hotels and malls for an affordable taste of local culture.
The best time to visit
While Honolulu enjoys warm temperatures year-round, mid-April and June and September through November are the best times to explore the city. Travelers will not only enjoy glorious weather, but it’s a shoulder season, so crowds are fewer. This is also the best time to get the best airfare and accommodation deals.
The eight sections that make up Waikiki Beach
This spectacular stretch of sand should be called Waikiki Beaches because of the different sections that make it so amazing. Together, the eight sections of beach are what people call Waikiki Beach. Welcoming more than four million visitors a year, Waikiki is one of America’s busiest beach destinations, and a plethora of fantastic activities await vacationers.
Whether paddleboarding, surfing, canoeing, snorkeling, boogie boarding, swimming or sand combing, this cosmopolitan location guarantees an unforgettable experience.
Duke Kahanamoku Beach
Located near the Ala Wai Canal and Harbor, Duke Kahanamoku Beach is Waikiki’s first and widest beach. Named after Duke Kahanamoku, an amazing native swimmer who was responsible for popularizing water sports across the world, the section features a public lagoon, providing a safe swimming spot for the whole family.
Fort DeRussy Beach Park
At one time it was a fantastic military base. Fort DeRussy Beach Park is one of the least crowded and has a lot to offer vacationers. There is green space at the back of this section which is used as a grassy park and is a great picnic spot for families. Covering 71 acres of space, it’s Waikiki’s largest beach and offers several water sports opportunities, including plenty of rental options, boogie board racks, and beach volleyball nets.
It is possible that Gray’s Beach is one of the oldest sections of Waikiki and takes its name from the Gray’s-by-the-Sea Lodge that once stood there. Although the sandy part of the beach is a little eroded, it is still an incredibly calm and calm place to enjoy surfing, swimming, paddle boarding and watching other people on the beach.
Waikiki Beach Center
Waikiki Beach Center is also called Royal Moana Beach and is an ideal destination for adventure seekers. Travelers will experience several excursions from this spectacular section.
Prince Kuhio Beach
Home to the statue of Duke Kahanamoku, one of the most photographed places in the city, Prince Kuhio, although very busy, is the ideal swimming spot. Its fenced bathing area creates an incredible pool with a sandy bottom.
Kapiolani Park Beach
Located next to the Honolulu Zoo, Kapiolani Beach is known for hosting the filming of the popular “Sunset on the Beach” movie series. This is the coldest section of Waikiki Beach, receiving the fewest tourists. It is easily accessible and is a perfect paddle spot, even for children. Kapiolani Park Beach is ideal for relaxing and admiring the mesmerizing views of Waikiki Beach.
Kaimana Beach Park
Also called San Souci Beach, it is right next to the Waikiki Aquarium and the New Otani Kaimana Hotel. This section is less crowded, a bit smaller, but offers a relaxing experience on its sandy shores. At the back of the beach, visitors will find a grassy lawn filled with palm trees, where they can picnic or just lay back enjoying the relaxing atmosphere.
Outrigger Canoe Club Beach
Outrigger Canoe Club Beach is the last section of Waikiki and is known to be a very private beach location. The Diamond Head Hotel car park is the gateway to access the beach. Travelers can also access the beach from the east side of San Souci Beach. It’s a great place to watch Hawaiian sunsets.
Exploring Hawaiian History and Culture in Waikiki
Waikiki is a popular tourist destination for history buffs and those who love culture and the arts. This area is one of the most culturally diverse places in Hawaii and the entire United States, and exploring some of its wonderful museums will help travelers connect with some of the influences and learn about the story of their creation. Some of the museums to visit are the Bishop Museum, the Hawaii State Art Museum, and the US Army Museum of Hawaii.
Luau, a traditional social gathering with lots of feasting, music and dancing, is an event no one would want to miss. It’s one of the most popular shows and gives travelers the chance to experience cultural presentations, enjoy a welcome drink, and have a buffet dinner. Surfing has been a culture in Waikiki since the 1700s. For a modern surf culture, travelers can visit the statue of Duke Kahanamoku, which sits majestically on Kuhio Beach. Here visitors will discover how ancient water sports were popularized by Duke.
Waikiki is not only Hawaii’s most famous beach, it’s also the most filmed. While some of its beach sections can get crowded, visiting this America’s best beach destination is well worth it.