Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach – A Truly Famous Vacation Spot Set in the Heart of Honolulu
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

A quintessential Honolulu destination, Waikiki Beach serves as a premier vacation spot for resort-minded travelers. Between its endless beauty and surfing history, this beach has transcended all others in popularity, making it a must-see spot for tourists of all ages.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

At Waikiki Beach, golden sands meet brilliant blue waters, creating a truly iconic beachgoing experience for all ages. Access is quick and easy, too, thanks to the placement of all the resorts along the end of the beach. Surfing is the name of the game, of course, although you cannot go wrong with a long, leisurely swim, sunset stroll, or a picnic on the sand.

Set in the heart of Honolulu, this beach quickly became the most popular on Oahu due to its unmatched beauty. Its rich surfing history adds to the magic as well, starting with its creation by Hawaiian royals. In the 1800s, Hawaiian royalty came to the oceanside in Waikiki to surf on their longboards. Through the years, they started establishing the first hotel on the strip, the Moana Surfrider. Other iconic resorts started popping up after that, including the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

Hawaiian surfing legend, Duke Kahanamoku, grew up on these shores and often came out onto the water to strut his stuff. Beyond that, he joined the other Waikiki Beach Boys in helping visitors learn how to surf, cementing this beach as the go-to spot for surfing enthusiasts of all skill levels. Today’s surf instructors continue to honor that legacy by offering lessons to guests who land on the beach.

So, if you want to get the full Waikiki Beach experience, you must stay at a nearby resort and sign up for surf lessons. Go any other route and you’re simply missing out on an opportunity for non-stop beach fun and excitement. The many resorts nearby are within just a few blocks of the water’s edge, making it easy to swing by at your leisure.

Beyond that, getting out on the water and learning how to surf helps you connect with the culture in a whole new way. Don’t want to go surfing? Try your hand at outrigger canoeing, kayaking, or just boogie-boarding the day away.

Top things to do here:

Go Swimming
With lifeguards on duty more often than not, this beach is a great place to go swimming whenever the water calls your name. Just remember to watch for surfers and other waterside activities since it’s hard to see swimmers in the water.

Learn How to Surf
Learning how to surf is a must when visiting this beach. You can rent your own equipment and give it a go. But it’s best to take a few lessons first to learn the ropes. Either way, go at your own pace and respect the waves to have the absolute best time.

Take a Sunset Stroll
If you want to enjoy the beautiful sunset to the fullest, plan to take a stroll as the sun starts to set beyond the horizon. The vivid red, orange, and purple streaks in the sky reflect on the water, treating you to a picturesque view from all angles.

Enjoy a Picnic
Although you could grab a meal at one of the nearby resorts, it’s often more fun to enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach. Just go to a nearby restaurant for takeout or build your own spread at the grocery store. Then, put a blanket out on the sand and nosh on your selections while taking in all the wonderful views.

Parking is definitely a pain when coming to this beach. So, if you can swing it, take a bus, taxi, or rideshare to the shores instead of driving. Otherwise, you’ll need to circle around and around in hopes of a spot opening up. Your best chance at finding spots to park is at Fort DuRussy Beach Park, Queen’s Beach, and San Souci Beach.

How To Get There:
Since access to Waikiki Beach is fairly easy, this means you can simply plug in “Waikiki Beach” into your GPS to get there. You can also plug in (2335 Kalākaua Ave, Honolulu) into your GPS and you’ll stumble upon plenty of parking spots nearby.

Insider Tips:
-Want to enjoy a BBQ lunch? Go to San Souci Beach Park to use the grill.
-Never turn your back to the ocean. Rogue waves can knock you off your feet and drag you into the water.
-There are no facilities on-site, so plan to go to nearby beaches or the resorts to use the restroom and freshen up.