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A magnet for surfers since well before the Beach Boys sang about it in the 1960s, Waikiki also offers many activities for families, a vibrant nightlife and local culture.
Waikiki Beach is a great place to start your adventures in Waikiki. It is usually crowded, especially in winter when the surf swells, but it is the one beach that comes to mind for most people when they think of Hawaii.
Rent a board and paddle out to the waves, where you’ll very likely find yourself surrounded by surfing pros. There are many excellent surf schools catering for all experience levels, so book in for a few lessons. For an alternative to surfing, try out any of the other water sports on offer, such as snorkeling, parasailing or scuba diving.
Take a short stroll south to Kuhio Beach. This is a golden stretch of sand sheltered by a coastal wall, and home to Kapahulu Pier. The pier is a great place to visit at sunset.
Queens Surf Beach is at the Diamond Head end of Waikiki and provides a less frantic, grassier area, perfect for picnicking and gazing out to sea. While in the area, visit the Diamond Head State Monument, a calcite crystal crater that’s a Hawaiian landmark. A trail here takes you through a lit 225-foot (69-meter) tunnel to old military bunkers and a huge navigational lighthouse.
Head up Kalakaua Avenue, which runs behind Waikiki Beach, and into the heart of town. Along here, luxury-brand stores mingle with Waikiki’s high-end hotels, including the Royal Hawaiian and Moana Surfrider hotel. Street performers bring the strip to life, and cocktail bars stay open until the early hours of the morning.
Families should take a trip Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium, which is home to more than 500 species of aquatic animals and plants. To get even closer to the aquatic environment, book onto a submarine tour, which will take you down to the Pacific bed to see wrecked ships and exotic sea creatures.
With lush gardens, ponds, and waterfalls, this 22-acre Honolulu destination resort is fronted by several acres of Waikiki Beach; offers views of iconic Diamond Head Crater; a weekly Polynesian extravaganza includes traditional dance and fireworks.
Overlooking Kapiolani Park and Diamond Head, across from Honolulu Zoo, this 19-story Honolulu hotel is located less than a block away from Waikiki Beach.
Located in Waikiki, this condo is within 1 mi (2 km) of Hawaii Convention Center and Ala Moana Center. University of Hawaii at Manoa and Honolulu Zoo are also within 2 mi (3 km).
Located in Waikiki, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Waikiki Ocean Club and Honolulu Zoo. Ala Moana Center and Waikiki Aquarium are also within 2 mi (3 km).
Overlooking serene Fort DeRussy Park, this contemporary Honolulu boutique hotel is a 10-minute walk from Waikiki Beach, and a 20-minute walk from Ala Moana Shopping Center.
Just a block from the sand, surrounded by fine dining and boutique shopping, is the Hilton Waikiki Beach. It’s 4 miles (6.4 km) from downtown Honolulu, and a 20-minute cab ride from the airport. It’s a 30-minute bus ride to the memorials of Pearl Harbor, and 7 minutes to the base of Diamond Head.
Located in Waikiki, this condo is within a 15-minute walk of Royal Hawaiian Center and Honolulu Zoo. Waikiki Aquarium and Ala Moana Center are also within 2 mi (3 km).
One block away from the world famous Waikiki beach with calm ocean waters and endless water activities, this island-style hotel is 4 blocks from Kapiolani Park and about 4 miles from downtown Honolulu.