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Waikiki is known for its beautiful beaches, world-class shopping and dining, and fun nightlife including top local entertainment. A gathering place for people from all around the world, Waikiki is also a water sports playground for surfers, canoe paddlers, stand up paddle boarders and those who just love to relax on the golden sand and enjoy the Hawaii day.
Things To Do
Begin the day at Waikiki Beach where you can take a surfing or stand up paddle boarding lesson, go for a ride on an outrigger canoe ride or sailing on a catamaran to see Waikiki from offshore. Then walk along Kalakaua Avenue to browse the shops and grab a bite to eat. Stroll through Kapiolani Park on the eastern end of Waikiki and visit the Waikiki Aquarium to see hundreds of marine life species native to Hawaiian waters. If you want to see the fish in their natural habitat you can take a submarine tour. For great snorkeling head east of Waikiki to Hanauma Bay to explore the coral reef in a sunken vocalic crater amidst a fascinating array of colorful fish and other marine life. For a memorable historic attraction visit Pearl Harbor where you can see the USS Arizona Memorial and learn about the attack that entered the US into World War II. Visit the Bishop Museum to learn about ancient Hawaiian culture and see many historic artifacts as well as a planetarium show and activities for kids. At sunset enjoy live music and various venues in Waikiki along the scenic waterfront with seaside dining. Nuuanu Pali Lookout is one of Oahu's most scenic spots and only about five miles from downtown Honolulu with expansive views over the windward (eastern) side of the island including Kaneohe and Kailua. Hike to the top of Diamond Head Crater for amazing views of Waikiki and the south shore. Enjoy a day trip to the well-protected Kailua Bay for ocean activities, and nearby is Lanikai Beach, one of the prettiest beaches in Hawaii with powdery white sand, crystal clear water.
Miles of sandy beach borders the world famous Waikiki shoreline. Waikiki's coast includes a series of individually named beaches from Duke Kahanamoku Beach on the west to Fort DeRussy Beach, Gray's Beach, Waikiki Beach, Kuhio Beach, Queens Surf Beach, and finally San Souci Beach on the eastern end. Fort DeRussy Beach is nice for snorkeling with some coral reef areas offshore. Waikiki Beach is located in front of the historic old hotels including the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and is a nice place to learn to surf. Kuhio Beach is great for families due to a retaining wall that creates a calm area, and it's also the site of the famed Duke Kahanamoku statue which is often adorned with leis of flowers to honor the Olympic champion swimmer and Hawaii icon. Queens Beach also has a nice snorkeling area, and San Souci Beach is another good beach for children due to the protective offshore reef. Along the Waikiki shoreline there are numerous vendors renting water sports equipment and offering lessons. This is a great way to benefit from local knowledge and stay safe. To see more exceptional Oahu beaches take a day trip up the windward (eastern) shore to Waimanalo and Kailua, and to the north shore to see the famed surfing beaches of Waimea Bay, Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach.
Waikiki offers an exceptional array of dining choices including wonderful seaside restaurants where you can listen to live local music, enjoy the cuisine and look out over the beautiful beach setting. Duke's is right on the beach and a great place for local-style music. For a great steak and upscale bar check out Ruth's Chris Steakhouse Bar. The Waiolu Ocean View Lounge is located in the Trump International Hotel and is a lovely place to take in the sunset and enjoy the entertainment.
Check out the Waikiki Beach Walk and the Royal Hawaiian Center for live music and many dining options from burgers and hot dogs to fine cuisine. Along the whole length of Waikiki you will find a wide array of restaurants to please any palate. Head over to downtown Honolulu for more exceptional dining choices.
Waikiki is a shopper's paradise with everything from high-end retailers to charming boutique gift shops. The Royal Hawaiian Center is the main shopping center in Waikiki with more than 100 shops and restaurants, and the new Waikiki Beach Walk has more than 50 stores and places to eat. Walk along Kalakaua and Kuhio Avenues to discover a wide variety of shops. Close by is the Ala Moana Center, Hawaii's largest shopping area, with more than 290 stores and restaurants. More interesting stores can be found in downtown Honolulu including the eclectic shops of the Chinatown district which also has a lively arts scene.
Renting a car is recommended when staying in Waikiki so you can explore south shore beaches and attractions as well as day trips to the many attractions and great beaches on the north and windward (eastern) shores. However it is also easy to just walk around in Waikiki to find everything you need. There are also taxis and trolleys, and most major populated areas of Oahu can reached on the public transit system known as "TheBus."
Weather and Ocean Conditions
Waikiki weather ranges from about 70 to 85 degrees F. throughout the year with rain and wind conditions varying in different areas throughout the Island. Oahu's south and west shores are generally a bit dryer and warmer than the north and eastern shores, and the winter months typically see more rain than summer though the south shore sees very little rain. Sunny skies, mild temperatures and warm trade winds make Waikiki an excellent vacation destination all year around.
Rain showers are typically brief and light with ample sunshine even on the rainier days. Hawaii's predominant trade winds blow from the northeast bringing moisture-laden clouds that typically rain onto the mountains of the east and north shores creating green and lush landscapes.Trade winds are almost always calmest in the mornings so it's a good time to visit the beach. Ocean conditions vary each day though typically the north shore will have the calmest waters during the summer months and the south shore will have the calmest waters during the winter. Some beaches provide more protection from the open ocean, and if the waves are too big at the beach you visit then you may be able to find a more sheltered beach where water activities are safe. For swimming and ocean activities visit Oahu's lifeguarded beaches, obey all posted warnings and ask about the conditions on that day for the activities you choose.
Waikiki vacation homes provide the optimal way to enjoy your Hawaii vacation with all the luxuries of resort living and all the comforts of home. Browse through our Waikiki vacation rental listings to get an understanding of the different amenities and property features we offer. Our goal is to provide you with a with an unforgettable Waikiki accommodation for your dream Hawaii vacation. We take pride in having the largest selection of high-quality vacation rentals on Oahu and we stand behind our product, making sure only the best of the best Waikiki properties are listed on our site. If you have questions about our Waikiki rentals or which Oahu destination is best for your vacation needs, please give us a call and we will be happy to assist you.
Waikiki is steeped in history from the Hawaiian royalty that made this area their home in ancient times to its role through the eras of missionaries, whaling and sugarcane. Much of the area was wetlands until the construction of the Ala Wai Canal in the 1920s which paved the way for major development and created some of Hawaii's most valuable real estate. Learn more about the history of this region on the Waikiki Historical Trail which is marked with bronze surfboards that have plaques providing information about the historic sites. The self-guided tour begins in the heart of Waikiki at the Royal Hawaiian Center. Visit downtown Honolulu to see dozens of historic buildings including the Iolani Palace.