With the jagged outline of Diamond Head Crater looming in the East and framed by both the Ala Wai Canal and the glittering waves of the clear Pacific, Waikiki is one of the most recognizable vacation destinations in the world. The crystal waters and white sand beckoned Hawaii’s royalty long ago and still draw those longing to bask in the sunshine and experience the beauty of an island paradise.
While stretching out on the warm sand or dipping beneath the waves for a bit of snorkeling are the primary goals of most travelers, there are plenty of other attractions to keep visitors to the area busy throughout their stay.
The Best Beaches of Waikiki
While the one and a half miles of pristine sand that make up Waikiki can be seen as a whole, it’s actually composed of many smaller beaches, each with their own particular advantages.
Fort DeRussy Beach
It may not be the quietest beach, but DeRussy certainly has everything beachgoers are looking for, from the widest stretch of sand in the area to some of the best snorkeling, thanks to the coral reef located just offshore.
A spot popular with photographers, this beach boasts four ancient stones reputed to have healing power. Another favorite target for photographers is the statue of famous surfer Duke Kahanamoku located near the stones. The gentle waters of this stretch of beach make it perfect for swimmers and beginning surfers.
San Souci Beach
One of the most peaceful beaches in Waikiki, San Souci is ideal for those who like less of a crowd. Located at the far end of Waikiki, it’s out of the way of the main traffic that keeps the central beaches lively.
Activities Near Waikiki Beach
There’s plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment options to be found just steps from the beautiful beaches. Most of these venues are found on Kalakaua Avenue. Visitors won’t need to travel very far to find other great activities near Waikiki Beach, such as:
The perfect way to appreciate all the colorful life beneath the waves, the aquarium highlights hundreds of species native to these warm Pacific waters and also has educational exhibits about mammals like the Hawaiian monk seal.
Created by royal Hawaiian decree in 1876, the park is a beautiful outdoor space, offering venues for tennis, basketball, archery and soccer. The Waikiki Shell is an amphitheater that often hosts outdoor performances.
Set at the far edge of Queen Kapiolani Park, the zoo is a fascinating attraction for all ages, highlighting species from around the world in addition to those found on the Hawaiian Islands.
Diamond Head Crater
For the more adventurous or athletic, hiking Diamond Head’s volcanic ruin provides some of the finest views on Oahu. Enjoy expansive vistas from the summit and snap some spectacular photos.
Whether you attend a luau, learn to surf, take in the oceanic beauty from beneath the waves, scour exclusive boutiques for the latest fashions or simply spend your days relaxing on the sand, your visit to Waikiki promises to be the vacation of a lifetime.