A Guide to Waikiki Beach Honolulu

Oct 15, 2019

Waikiki Beach is located on the southern shoreline of Honolulu, the beach became known to world after the first hotel of the area was built in 1901. The Moana Surfrider was the first among the many hotels that line the shores of the beach today. There are many different sections that make up the beach, some busy, while others are more relaxing.


  • Fun Things to Do
  • Duke Kahanamoku Beach
  • Fort DeRussy Beach Park
  • Gray’s Beach
  • Prince Kuhio Beach
  • Queen Kapiolani Beach
  • Royal Hawaiian Beach
  • San Souci Beach
  • Outrigger Canoe Club Beach
  • Facilities and Services
  • Other Attractions Nearby

People from all over the world enjoy visiting Honolulu due to its rich cultural heritage and historical value. Visiting Honolulu without making a stop at Waikiki Beach will definitely make your trip feel incomplete. The beach has so much to offer. Other than sunbathing and surfing, there are a host of many other things to do when visiting its sandy shores. You can also try your hand at canoeing or go snorkelling to discover the wonderful ocean life that lives and thrives beneath the surface.

You can even visit the Waikiki Aquarium or the Honolulu Zoo for some family fun and learning. The Waikiki Historical Trail also has surfboard markers that have bits of information about the history and culture of this fascinating land.

A Guide to Waikiki Beach Honolulu

Fun Things to Do

With the many sections that make up Waikiki Beach, it has so many fun things to offer you and the family. You can find different activities to try out in the water, such as surfing, swimming, snorkelling, boogie boarding, canoe paddling, sand combing, people watching or simply laying on the beach, catching a superb golden tan. The Waikiki sunsets are amazing to watch and is something you shouldn’t miss out on, whether you are visiting alone, with family or with your partner.

The promenade at the beach is beautiful and is the perfect place to go for a stroll and take in the sights and actions that are going on at the beach. No matter where you go at the beautiful beach, you will always find plenty to do and a lot of fun to be had.

A Guide to Waikiki Beach Honolulu

Duke Kahanamoku Beach

The Duke Kahanamoku section of the famous beach is where the most activity takes place. The tall and colourful Hawaiian Hilton Village Resort is situated on the shores of this section of Waikiki Beach. Duke Kahanamoku Beach is situated close to where Waikiki begins, starting next to the Ala Moana channel.

Here, you can find a swimming lagoon that is man-made and located between Ilikai Hotel, which is at the start of the Duke Kahanamoku section of the beach. The lagoon and beach make up a part of the Hawaiian Hilton Village Grounds so it often sees guests of the resort lounging about or participating in some of the activities available at this beach.

The swimming area is calm and therefore attracts a lot of people who are looking for a dip in the water. You will be able to go parasailing along the shoreline of this popular beach and enjoy the view from up high. You don’t need to be experienced at this to be able to partake of the fun as there are always experienced guides to help out.

A Guide to Waikiki Beach Honolulu

The second section of the great Waikiki Beach is called Fort DeRussy Beach Park. The sand on this section is said to be much nicer for lounging or playing beach shore sports. You can find some beachside volleyball nets to make good use of if you want to engage in competitive, yet fun game of volleyball. If you prefer tennis, there are a few of these courts as well.

There is a lovely park that has grass and palm trees, appearing like an oasis amidst all the golden sand. Enjoy a family picnic here on one of the picnic tables that are available at the park or bask in the shade of the palm trees with a good book.

The beach also has some surf board racks for the surfers who want to come and enjoy a bit of beach time. There are many rentals here for water sports. Fort DeRussy Beach Park is a very family-oriented section of the beach.

A Guide to Waikiki Beach Honolulu

Gray’s Beach

Located near the lovely Halekulani Hotel, Gray’s Beach is the oldest section of Waikiki Beach. It has a very slim shoreline compared to most of the other sections on the beach. Gray’s Beach is also known as Kawehewehe, which means “removal,” and provides a small area to swim in. Those who like avoiding the bigger crowds tend to favour this section of the beach.

In previous centuries, the waters of the section that now makes up Gray’s Beach were believed to have healing powers. The people believed that the place had great mana, which is spiritual power. Powerful physicians once resided in this area and used the sea to heal others.

Hawaii’s royalty also visited the area to recover their strength and heal. Many people who were injured or sick would come to bathe in these sacred healing waters. Over time, the development that took place in Waikiki Beach put an end to this tradition. Though the traditional Hawaiians still use the waters of the sea to heal many ailments and sores, they do not go to Gray’s Beach to do it.

Due to the natural channel that goes through the reef, which is filled with sand, this area is now considered one of the best swimming spots in the area.

A Guide to Waikiki Beach Honolulu

Prince Kuhio Beach

The Prince Kuhio Beach section of Waikiki Beach tends to get pretty crowded. This beach has been given the nickname, “the ponds” since they back-to-back walls have been constructed, reaching about forty yards out in the ocean. The kids will love swimming in this saltwater pool, enjoying the soft sandy floor that makes walking easy.

Since it is so much fun for the children, the beach can get pretty crowded sometimes, so hop on by early to get the most fun out of it. Be careful about climbing the walls since there is a lot of algae, making the walls slippery and dangerous if you lose your footing.

Queen Kapiolani Beach

Right next to Kuhio Beach lies Queen Kapiolani Beach. Sunbathers will enjoy the stretch of sand that provides ample opportunities to lay back and soak in the sun. Those who want to enjoy something with more activity can rent out a boogie board and have fun on the waves. The Waikiki Wall enables some people to even walk around, enjoying the activities of those in the water.

Queen Kapiolani Beach also has the first beach movie screen, which is 1000 feet and used at night for special screenings. Movie nights are known as Sunset on the Beach, and if you are lucky, you just might be able to catch one while you are there.

There is comedy, music, food and other things to enjoy before the film actually begins. This takes place at sunset, while the film starts when night has fully set in for better viewability. With this, you will be able to enjoy some movie time, right on Waikiki Beach.

A Guide to Waikiki Beach Honolulu

Royal Hawaiian Beach

Royal Hawaiian Beach is a part of Waikiki Beach that lies on the other side of the ancient Gray’s Beach. It is well known for being the centre of activity in this area. You will be able to experience a Catamaran Chartered ride or get the chance to paddle into the sea on a Hawaiian outrigger canoe. Surfers will also be able to make great use of this part of the beach since it has some great waves.

San Souci Beach

This is one of the calmer stretches of Waikiki Beach and is known for having a park section. The San Souci Beach section is loved by the locals, most of whom pick this section of the beach when they want to make a trip to the seaside.

There is a flat reef bar encompassing a lot of the area and plenty of marine life to appreciate. This is located around fifty yards from the shore. Swimmers will love this spot, and if you want a peek at the marine life from underwater, San Souci is the best place to go snorkelling.

You will also be able to enjoy some kayaking and surfing on the beach since there is a natural oceanic channel located towards the left of the reef.

A Guide to Waikiki Beach Honolulu

Outrigger Canoe Club Beach

This is the last section of Waikiki Beach and is known for being very private. You can access it by going through Diamond Head Hotel parking lot. Another, less easy way of accessing the beach is by going across the east side of San Souci Beach and walking across the wall. You will find some stairs that take you to the Outrigger Canoe Club beach. A great place to enjoy a good old Hawaiian sunset, this beach is romantic and secluded.

It was once private property, and the public did not have permission to spend time on this delightful beach. These days, like the rest of the beach, anybody can access this beach, provided they know how to get there. If you are enjoying a holiday with your partner, this is the perfect beach for you to visit. You will be able to enjoy this lovely stretch of sand that has very few people on it.

A Guide to Waikiki Beach Honolulu

Facilities and Services

When hitting the beach, everyone’s biggest concern is whether or not there are the required facilities for freshening up after taking a dip in the ocean. Luckily, Waikiki Beach has beach showers available on every section. If you are looking for bathroom facilities, you will be able to find them at Fort DuRussy, San Souci Beach, Prince Kuhio Beach and Queen Kapiolani Beach.

There are Life Guard Stations at every section of the beach apart from the secluded Outrigger Canoe Club Beach and Gray’s Beach. If you aren’t confident about your swimming abilities, you should opt to visit one of the beaches that has lifeguards stationed on the shores.

There are many food stands around most of the beach sections at the beach so you can have your pick on where you would like to eat. If you want to try out the concession food stalls, you can do it at Queen Kapiolani Beach. You can also try out some Barbeque at Fort Durussy, Kapiolani Park and San Souci beach. The restaurants in the hotels located at the beach front also serve excellent food, and you will be able to find several small side restaurants to visit as well.

There is ample parking space in front of San Souci, Queen Kapiolani Beach and Outrigger Beach and a Garage at Fort DuRussys parking space.

Other Attractions Nearby

If you are stopping by Waikiki Beach, you should make sure to check out some of the other attractions that are nearby to make it an extra special day. You can drop in to see the animals at the Honolulu Zoo, a place where every animal is housed in habitats that are made to suit their needs so they feel as comfortable as possible. It is a great learning experience for the children. The zoo is situated just off Kapahulu Ave, an avenue that separates Kapiolani Beach and Prince Kuhio Beach.

A Guide to Waikiki Beach Honolulu

If you and your family love marine life, you can drop by the Waikiki Aquarium. It is one of the most popular spots for those visiting Honolulu since it is the second oldest aquarium in America. Built-in 1904, it is more than a century old and is now a part of the University of Hawaii. At the aquarium, you will be able to not just enjoy the sight of the wonderful marine life, but you will also get to learn so much about them.

There are about 3,500 sea animals here that are native to the waters of Hawaii and the Pacific. The Waikiki Aquarium also has some wonderful seahorse exhibits, where there are nine different displays of the rare species. There is even a nursery tank for the seahorses that you can view. Your kids will be interested to learn how the seahorse is the only species where the male carries the baby. It will be an incredibly interesting experience for them.

There are displays of Jellyfish as well, a sight that has the tendency to mesmerise since they are so peaceful and beautiful to look at. See Green Sea Turtles in their exhibits and don’t miss out on the opportunity to see one of the rarest breeds of fish in the ocean, the Peppermint Angel Fish.

You can spend hours here enjoying this old aquarium and its various exhibits. There are different types of exhibits that have been evolving and changing over the years, making it a fun element to note. It is also quite something to be able to stand in an aquarium that is as old as a century.

Your children may even be amused by the sight of a scuba diver or two in the tanks as they tend to them every now and then.

A Guide to Waikiki Beach Honolulu

There is so much fun to be had when hitting the beach, and at Waikiki Beach, you have the chance to beach hop to your heart’s content. Each beach has something special to offer and its own unique charm. Whether you want to participate in water activities or simply lounge around on the sand getting a tan or catching up on your reading, you will find the perfect opportunity to do so.

If you need a break from the beach for an hour or two, you can even visit some of the shops that line the avenue or take a stroll along the beach walk. You will pass a few of the beach sections, starting from the Duke Kahanamoku Statue and walk towards the Diamond Head.

Waikiki is the most famous beach and is also known for being the most filmed beach in Hawaii. When you get there, you may even realise that you have seen a few of the places in a movie or two. Though the beaches can get pretty crowded around here, it is still worth the visit since it holds a lot of fun and sun for you and the family.