Waikiki Beach Vacation Ideas
Located on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, Waikiki Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world. Luxury hotels and beach clubs are set right on the beach. Kalakaua Avenue, which runs parallel to the beach, offers shopping, restaurants and nightly entertainement. Waikiki Beach is known for its gentle waves ideal for beginner surfing. Several gear stands rent surfboards and offer surfing lessons. Expect to pay about $10 per hour for surfboard rentals and $35 per hour for private lessons.
Catamaran rides to and back from Diamond Head are offered by different companies and depart several times per day, including in the evening so that you can watch a romantic Hawaiian sunset right from the water. Other vacation activities include kayaking, swimming and Hawaiian outrigger canoeing. Plan a scuba diving trip while you are there. Several restaurants are located right on Waikiki Beach such as Duke's Canoe Club and the Surf Room. In the evening, enjoy a romantic dinner while watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.
Traveling along Waikiki Beach from west to east toward Diamond Head, you'll encounter the following hotels: Hilton Hawaiian Village which is a full service resort with many restaurants and hotel towers, the romantic Halekulani, the historic Sheraton Waikiki, the romantic Royal Hawaiian Hotel popular with honeymooners, the Outrigger Waikiki where you can watch romantic sunsets from your room, the Sheraton Moana Surfrider, Hyatt Regency Waikiki, the affordable Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, DoubleTree by Hilton Alana Waikiki Hotel and others. There are many diverse accommodation options for all budgets. Usually the hotels that are a block from the beach or further like The Aqua Lotus Honolulu offer more affordable prices. Book a room on a high floor facing the Pacific Ocean for best views.
1. Surfing on Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach in Hawaii is a popular surfing spot, especially for beginners because the surf is quite gentle. The waves are under two feet in the winter and around three feet in the summer. You'll see surfers tring to catch a wave everywhere along Waikiki Beach. Two famous surf sites, Queen's and Canoes, are located at the west end of Kuhio Beach Park, near the Sheraton Moana Surfrider.
Surfing lessons are available at Aloha Beach Services located next to the Sheraton Moana Surfrider. Private lessons are about $35 per hour and surfboard rentals are $10 per hour.
2. The Waikiki Aquarium
The Waikiki Aquarium is located in Queen Kapiolani Park on the Diamond Head end of Waikiki Beach. This is the third oldest public aquarium in the United States. There are 2,500 animals representing more than 420 species at the aquarium. You'll see reef sharks, coral, Hawaiian monk seals, sea jellies and a variety of reef fish.
Take TheBus number 2 or the Waikiki Trolley which usually come by every 15 minutes. You can also walk from most Waikiki Beach hotels - just walk down the beach towards Diamond Head. The Waikiki Aquarium is open daily from 9am to 4:30pm. It's closed on Christmas Day. Special hours apply on Thanksgiving and New Year's days. Admission rates are $9 for visitors; $6 for local residents, active duty military with ID, students with ID and senior citizens; $4 for kids ages 13-17, and persons with disabilities; $2 for kids ages 5-12. Children 4 and under enter for free.
3. Waikiki Trolley
Waikiki Trolleys stop at major attractions in Honolulu and Waikiki, including historic sites, museums, shopping malls and many hotels. The trolleys which are classic reproductions of San Francisco cable cars featuring authentic brass and wood trimmings. Waikiki Trolleys are open, making it easy to enjoy the views.
One-Day Pass is $25 with unlimited on and off boarding. The 4-day pass is $45 and must be used on consecutive days. There are four trolley lines. The company's web site www.waikikitrolley.com has all the details, including maps, attractions and schedules.
Reservations can be made online at www.waikikitrolley.com before you go. You can pick up your tickets at the Waikiki Trolley Ticket Booth located at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.
4. Beachfront Dining at Duke's Canoe Club Waikiki
If you want to enjoy a breakfast, lunch or dinner right on the beach, try the Duke's. Located at the Outrigger Waikiki on Waikiki Beach, the Duke's Canoe Club offers ocean views and a relaxed atmosphere. Breakfast buffet is served from 7am to 10:30 am and costs $12.95 ($5.95 for kids ages 11 and under). If you just want coffee and some pastries, Duke's Breakfast Express is available in the Barefoot Bar from 7am to 11am.
For lunch, choose from burgers ($6.45), sanwiches ($6.95), pizza ($7.95) and salads ($3.95). The Duke's Lunch Buffet is served from 11:30am to 2:30pm and costs $10.50. A children's menu is also available.
Tiki torches and music create a relaxed vacation atmosphere for dinner. Entrees range from $15.95 to $27.95.
5. Kalakaua Avenue
Kalakaua Avenue is the main road through Waikiki, Hawaii. It runs parallel to Waikiki Beach. Kalakaua Avenue features many shops, restaurants and bars. Shops along Kalakaua Avenue range from beachwear and surf shops to upscale boutiques such as Gucci, Hermes and Tiffany & Co. There are several shopping centers, including the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, 2100 Kalakaua Avenue and DFS Galleria Waikiki which offers duty-free goods.
Walking Distances: the walk from the Royal Hawaiian to Kapiolani Park will take about 45 minutes if you do some window shopping along the way. Number 2 bus and the Waikiki Trolley travel along Kalakaua Avenue.
6. Diamond Head
Diamond Head is a volcanic crater located on the southeast coast of Oahu, Hawaii, just past Waikiki. From Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head can be seen rising from the ocean to its 760-foot summit. The road from Waikiki to Kahala, the Diamond Head Road, offers several scenic lookout points along the way. The Diamond Head Lighthouse is located near the road. You can see it, but there is no path to the lighthouse from the road. The best view of the lighthouse is from the top of Diamond Head.
The hike up Diamond Head is easy to moderate and takes about 1.5 hours. At times it is quite steep, especially near the two sets of stairs. Since there is an unlit tunnel along the way, it's a good idea to bring a flashlight. There is no shade, so wear plenty of sunscreen and bring drinking water.
7. Diamond Head Lighthouse
Diamond Head Lighthouse is located on the slopes of Diamond Head on Oahu. Follow Kalakaua Avenue toward Diamond Head and then take a right turn onto the Diamond Head Road from Waikiki to Kahala. The road slopes uphhill, so if you decide to walk from Waikiki Beach it will take about one hour. By car, it's less than 10 minutes. The lighthouse can be seen on the right side of the road. There is no path leading to it, so you won't be able to approach it.
8. Duke Kahanamoku Statue on Waikiki Beach
Duke Kahanamoku Statue is located on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, near the Hyatt Regency Waikiki and the Sheraton Moana Surfrider. The Duke Kahanamoku statue was created in 1990 on the 100th anniversary of the Duke's birth. The statue honors Duke Kahanamoku as the father of modern surfing. Walk along Waikiki Beach, take the number 2 bus or the Waikiki Trolley.
9. Kuhio Beach Park
Kuhio Beach Park is located between the Sheraton Moana Surfrider and the Diamond Head end of Waikiki Beach. The Duke Kahanamoku statue, the Prince Kuhio statue and the Stones of Kapaemahu (the wizard stones) are located in the park.
Take a surfing lesson, go catamaran sailing, rent an outrigger canoe and walk along the large pedestrian promenade toward the ocean. From the promenade, you'll get a full view of Waikiki Beach. The water is shallow and protected near the end of the promenade, so after a walk jump in for a swim.
Kuhio Beach Park offers equipment rentals, restrooms, showers and picnic tables. Nearby hotels include the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel and Sheraton Princess Kaiulani.
10. Kapiolani Park
Walk down Waikiki Beach towards Diamond End and you'll end up in Kapiolani Park where 100-year-old trees provide excellent shade on sunny days. Kapiolani Park is home to the Honolulu Zoo and the Sunday Art Shows. If you would like to try different sports on your vacation to Oahu, there are several tennis courts, soccer fields, archery range and a 3-mile jogger's course. To get to the park, walk down the beach or take TheBus number 2. The Waikiki Trolley also goes there about every 15 minutes. The Kapiolani Park Preservation Society has a web site which includes a detailed map of the park and other information.
11. The Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium
The Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium is located at the east end of Waikiki. The front archway is topped by stone eagles. The 100-meter saltwater pool was once used for training by the army during World War II and as a recreational facility. The pool was forced to close in 1980 due to deterioration. The Waikiki War is located near the Waikiki Aquarium. Take the number 2 bus or the Waikiki Trolley down Kalakaua Avenue.
12. Na Hoku II Catamaran
If you want to see Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head from the water, take a catamaran cruise. Na Hoku II offers several daily one-hour round-trip catamaran cruises past Diamond Head. The catamaran departs from Waikiki Beach in front of the Sheraton Moana Surfrider hotel. In the winter, you may see whales in the water just off Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. The Cost This catamaran cruise costs about $10 per person. Drinks aboard the catamaran cost from $1 to $2, including mai tais, water, beer and sodas.