Canoes and Queens


This stretch of Waikiki beach that includes Queens and Canoes is popularly known as the birthplace of surfing thanks in part to Duke Kahanamoku and the Hawaiian royalties before him who considered these beaches their playgrounds.  Because Waikiki has deep roots in surfing, it is difficult to imagine that these beaches were once mostly marshland made up of fishponds and loi (taro fields) It's a far cry from the hotel-lined coast that it is today.  If privacy and peace on the beach is what you are looking for, take the wikiwiki shuttle back in time because you will not find it in Waikiki.  If what you look for in between basking under the Hawaiian sun is a 360-degree view of continuous people-watching entertainment, an array of activities, and access to great food and dining Canoes and Queens will not disappoint.

HIGHLIGHTS: Beach Boys surf lessons and rentals, Duke Kahanamoku statue, Mai Tai Bar at The Royal Hawaiian, and The Moana Surfrider
ACTIVITIES: Swimming, surfing, sunbathing, people watching, shopping, dining, canoe rides,
WARNINGS: About 8 days after a full moon, this beach, along with a few other south facing beaches, experience an influx of jellyfish.  Look and heed signs posted along the beaches and near the lifeguard towers.  When in doubt, always ask a friendly local or the lifeguards.

AMENITIES: Bathroom facilities nearby, benches (both covered and uncovered), several hotels and shops along Kalakaua Avenue, showers, surfboard storage

Queens and Canoes are situated between the iconic Waikiki banyan tree and the beautiful The Moana Surfrider, Waikiki's oldest hotel.  Canoes and Queens are popular surf breaks for all skill levels, but check with your lifeguard and posted signs for swell reports and hazards.  Do not confuse Queens surf break with Queens Beach nearby, located at the edge of Kapahulu Avenue and Kapi'olani Park.  You will know you are at Queens Beach when you see "banana hammocks"-clad beachgoers strewn across the grassy lawn and in the water.

Though popular with surfers, Canoes and Queens, are frequented and enjoyed by many different tourists and locals with other interests.  The beaches, right along the strip of Kalakaua, make for a convenient and entertaining place to rest from shopping, eating, and dining, and get a tan.  Canoes and Queens beaches lie side by side and are subtly divided by a breakwater.  

Canoes is The Moana Surfrider's beachfront and stretches to the edge of the giant Waikiki banyan tree.  The Beach Boys (not the 60s surf band!) offer surfboard, stand-up paddle, and umbrella rentals to name a few.  Of course, just as Duke did in his day, the Beach Boys offer surf lessons to ones who simply cannot deny the allure of gliding on water, especially at the birth place of surfing.  Right at the edge of Canoes (street side) stands tall Duke's statue with his welcoming arms stretched out, which, at any given day, are piled high with leis.

Just southeast of Canoes is Queens.  On a good south swell, Queens is undoubtedly the best right-hand break on the south shore.  The line-up is often crowded, but never as crowded as its sandy beach.  The strip of Queens has a breakwater that offers a safe lagoon that is perfect for wading, swimming, floating on rafts, and overall "relaxing to the max".  Most families with children choose this lagoon because it is calmer and does not have a busy entrance and exit for surfers and their boards, which could be dangerous for little kids and the uncoordinated.   

Both beaches have a designated lifeguard tower.  Pay attention to the signs and warnings from the lifeguards; this may include water/current and jellyfish conditions.  


  • From the airport head east, follow signs for the H1 freeway east.
  • Take H1-East to S. King Street exit (Exit 25A).
  • Slight left to S. King Street
  • Continue on to Harding Avenue
  • Right onto Kapahulu

Once at the end of Kapahulu, you may chose to park at the metered Honolulu Zoo parking or take a left onto Kalakaua Avenue and park at the Kapi'olani Park metered parking stalls or at the free stalls along the street (if you are lucky) and then stroll down to Queens and Canoes.  You may also take a right from Kapahulu onto Kuhio Avenue and park at any of the hotel parking garages but they are not cheap.  There are also metered parking stalls along the side streets off Kalakaua Ave., but the rates are also more expensive.


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