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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.
'Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach is across the street from Waikiki Beach. Nearby attractions include Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium, just 3 blocks away, and the Hawaii Convention Center is within 2 miles.
Located on Waikiki Beach, this popular, renovated Honolulu hotel features an island-style environment and is surrounded by Waikiki restaurants and shops. The hotel itself offers a variety of dining temptations.
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.
A block from Kapiolani Park and its tennis courts, and a block from a family-friendly beach, this hotel on the corner of Kuhio Avenue is close to Waikiki's adventures and one mile from Diamond Head.
Located across the street from Waikiki Beach and 2 blocks from the Honolulu Zoo, this Aston hotel is on Waikiki's main thoroughfare, with easy access to shops, restaurants, and attractions.
Located in the middle of Waikiki, this beachfront Outrigger hotel is close to water sports, shops, and restaurants, and a short walk from a zoo, aquarium, and park.
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.
Facing famed Waikiki Beach, this 1901 hotel—the first built in Waikiki—opens to Kalakaua Avenue, is 1 block from shopping, and 4 miles from Chinatown and downtown Honolulu.