In Hawaii, Waikiki
Beach is not
only the most famous beach, but
also one of the most recognized Oahu
spots in the world.
Did you know
actually has 8 different sections?
It really should
be known as Waikiki
Beaches, with the
different sections that make up this two-mile stretch of white
sand. Together, these beach sections make what everyone
refers to as Waikiki Beach, one of the busiest and most cosmopolitan
spots in Oahu where a plethora of activities geared towards tourists
seem to go on all day and most of the night.
Whether you are looking forward to surfing, canoe paddling, snorkeling, swimming, boogie boarding, sand combing, catching a golden tan, people watching, or marveling at a few beautiful Waikiki sunsets, it’s very easy to have a good time on the different areas of Waikiki Beach . There is also a beautiful Waikiki Beach promenade, available for those who are interested in taking a leisurely stroll to absorb all the action.
The one thing I love most about Waikiki Beach is no matter where you end up, there’s always lots of stimulating activity surrounding you. Personally I like to grab my beach chair, sit back and take it all in. But with that being said, there are some sections that tend to be a little more calm than others, offer wider stretches of sand down to the ocean, and some sections that are more dare I say, secluded.
Take note when visiting Waikiki that there are 8 main
sections of beach that are distinctly different from one
another. The list below starts from the western tip across
from Hilton Hawaiian Village and moves east towards Kapiolani Park and
Diamond Head to end at San Souci Beach:
This is the Duke Kahanamoku Beach section of Waikiki Beach. Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort is the tall, colorfully painted building on the left!
This first section, located near the
beginning part of
Waikiki near the Ala Moana channel and harbor is Duke Kahanamoku Beach.
There is a man-made swimming lagoon that is sandwiched between the Ilikai Hotel and the top of Duke Kahanamoku Beach.
This beach and lagoon are also part of the Hawaiian Hilton Village Resort grounds. The beach itself is one of the more popular and busier of Waikiki Beaches because it offers a calm swimming area with a protected seawall.
You can access this Oahu beach through the Hawaiian Hilton Resort or through the back of the Ilikai Hotel, where you can take advantage of free and metered parking.
Parasail along the Waikiki shoreline and take in the beautiful views and the surrounding beach activity from a few hundred feet above the ocean. Parasailing Waikiki includes hotel transportation, boat ride, and no experience needed.
This next area of Waikiki Beach is probably the one of the
nicer sections of sand
that is also
less crowded. Fort
DeRussy Beach Park is the only section in the surrounding upper Waikiki
area that provides a beautiful grassy park setting with palm trees,
shade, and picnic tables.
You will also find surf board racks, beach volley ball nets, and tennis courts in the area.
This beach area is sandwiched between Duke Kahanamoku Beach and Gray’s Beach. Fort DeRussy Beach Park and San Souci are my two favorite Waikiki Beaches, which are family friendly and tend to be more peaceful.
Probably one of the oldest sections of
. This beach was named after Gray’s By The Sea lodge that
once stood at this point. The irony about Gray’s Beach, is
that not only is the structure gone, but much of the beach is as
They have tried to replenish the sand a few times, but
the continuous erosion, has left this area more as a point, than a
beach. The City of Honolulu has replenished much of Waikiki’s sand
recently, but Gray’s section still remains slim on sandy real estate.
Gray’s Beach is next to the Beautiful Halekulani
Also known as Waikiki Beach Center, is
on the other side
Gray’s Beach and best described as activity central! Royal
Hawaiian Beach is a great spot to catch a Catamaran chartered ride or
paddle out on a Hawaiian outrigger canoe, or even take on surfing
Waikiki Beach waves.
Join the fun and sign up for a Hawaiian
Outrigger Canoe ride, paddling as a team out to the surf
and riding some waves back to shore.
You will find a few Beach Boy surf shacks that are willing to help you out with any of these activities, which generally range from $10 to $20/ ride or hour. It’s not the best spot to lay down a towel with all the activity going on around you, but it sure is fun to watch!
This is not my favorite part of Waikiki Beach, as it gets
quite crowded, but the kids love it! Kuhio Beach has been
nicked named “The Ponds”, because they constructed two back-to-back
concrete walls that stretch about 40 yards into the ocean.
The enclosure has created a calm salt water swimming pool to play around in, with a sandy sea floor that is easy to walk on. The only rough waters that you will find at Kuhio Beach are the waves that roll into the protected areas by the pond walls.
It’s a magnet for kids who love to climb up these low walls and run along on top of them, as they try and dodge the exploding waves. Fun as it sounds, the walls are covered in algae and are quite slippery and hazardous. Consider yourselves warned!
Located just after the Kuhio Ponds and busy
stretch of Waikiki
Hotels is Queen’s Beach. It’s a nice stretch of
sand to relax
and sunbath on.
It’s also a great spot to rent
a boogie board
and play in the rolling waves along the Waikiki Wall,
walking pier for visitors to watch the water action, and also capture
views of the Waikiki skyline as you look back.
This is where
I first learned how to boogie board in the waves as a kid. I
would surf all day until I either got tired or felt the sunburn on my
back! We would always start off with a ceremonial jump into
the ocean off the end of the Wall (which is off limits today) and
paddle out to the waves.
Queen’s beach is now also home
first 1000 foot outdoor
movie screen that is used for special movie night screenings.
A permanent metal tower structure stands in place, and they raise the
screen on movie nights known as “Sunset
on the Beach”.
large production with music, comedy, food stalls and other types of
entertainment that take place during the sunset, before the feature
film begins. If you are lucky they will have a showing during
This is my favorite stretch of Hawaii Waikiki Beach!
is it off the hotel strip, but it also has a
lovely quiet park in between here and the last section of Waikiki
Beach. It is popular among the locals who love to frequent
San Souci Beach is extremely kid and family
one of the best spots on
this side of
the island to snorkel!
You will find a nice flat bar of reef that encompasses much of the area
with lots of marine life, located about 50 yards into the
ocean. San Souci Beach is also a haven for swimmers, kayakers
and surfers who take advantage of a natural ocean channel located on
the left hand side of the reef and beach.
Basically the last stretch of Waikiki Beach …and very private at that. There are two ways to access it. One is to walk across the eastern end of San Souci Beach which is mostly reef and old cement wall where there are stairs to take you over onto the small Outrigger Canoe Club beach.
I would recommend crossing with caution and reef shoes during low tide! For easier access, walk through the Lotus at Diamond Head Hotel (formerly the W Hotel) parking lot, and look for a small alley way next to the Colony Surf Hotel, that will lead you to this little known beach.
I remember the Outrigger Club Beach being “PRIVATE” as a kid,
and always politely asked to go back to San Souci Beach.
Today this is not the case, all Oahu beaches are free to the public,
and I get to watch my kids enjoy, play and have fun on this Oahu beach!
The Outrigger Club Beach (also known as Colony Beach ) is also a nice spot to enjoy the beautiful Hawaiian sunsets. Sometimes I’m guilty of bringing down a bottle of wine with my wife to enjoy the moment!
The beautiful thing about Waikiki is that no matter which of the above beach sections you choose, you are bound to have a good time!
Waikiki beach basically lines the hotel skyline and Kapiolani Park. There are solid barriers in some sections such as Gray's, San Souci , and the Outrigger Canoe Club Beach . Otherwise the beach sections run into one another, distinct from each other only as the character and ambiance of the beach changes ... with some more subtly than others.
On the northern side of Waikiki, you have a beautiful local
100 acre park that includes a mile long stretch of sand known as Ala
Beach Park. On the Southern side of Waikiki Beach ,
wrapping around Diamond Head, you will discover a secluded narrow long
stretch of beach, called Diamond Head Beach .
That’s right…there is actually a Waikiki
Zoo located off of
Kapahulu Ave, which separates Kuhio Beach and Queen’s beach.
It’s also the part of the same parking lot if you decided to drive and
park at these two sections of beach.
a nice brake, to pull the kids out of the water and stroll over to see
a wonderful family of animals waiting your visit.
This is another wonderful
take a break from the beach,
and bring the family to see all the wonderful tropical fish and marine
life that evolves around Oahu’s waters and the other Hawaiian Islands.
Aquarium is located next to San Souci Beach and
the Waikiki War Memorial, along the waterfront.
The Waikiki Beach Walk is a fun stimulating stroll along a few
sections the ocean front. It generally starts at the Duke
Kahanamoku Statue, located in the Kuhio Beach
the sidewalk trail through Kapiolani Park towards Diamond
If you’re up for more of a hike, than continue up the
hillside once you pass San Souci Beach. There are some
amazing hilltop views around the corner, located at 3 close-by Diamond
Check out what Waikiki
has to offer in between 150 hotels, and
well over 1000 restaurants. There
are over 70,000 tourist that
visit this city daily, and explore all its fun, including
beaches, famous spots, endless shopping, and explosive nightlife!