Waikiki Beach Hawaii Pictures
Oahu Island, USA
Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, with Diamond Head volcano in the background, Hawaii, USA.
Photo by Joe Solem (HTA)
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Waikiki beach protected swimming area.
Photo by Tor Johnson (HTA)
Honolulu's famous Waikiki Beach is neither particularly long nor wide nor bordered with cute little ethnic cafés and hostels - more like buzzing bars, gift shops and monster luxury hotels. But it does have soft sand washed by clean, warm, shallow Pacific Ocean waters, a palm-lined backdrop and easy access to thousands of Honolulu hotels and condo rentals, bars, clubs, shops and plenty of street performers to keep kids entertained.
Part of the beach is marked off for surfers (rental boards are available of course, but shop around) and ideal for beginners and board surfers with a long rolling break, though generally waves are quite far offshore and less-than-humungous. In the 19thC Hawaiian royalty used to enjoy surfing here.
In sum this is not the best beach in the world, nor even in Oahu, but a fun place to hang out day and night, if you don't mind the touristy ambience.
Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Lagoon, also known as Duke's Lagoon.
This delightful free, man-made wading pool in the Waikiki area is adjacent to the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The lagoon was renovated at a cost of $15m and reopened in 2007. In the background Diamond Head volcano is visible. Photo by Travis Thurston.
Duke (his name, not title!) Kahanamoku was the 'father of modern surfing', born in 1890 in Waikiki and a Hawaiian legend, mastering all watersports including swimming (winning three gold Olympic medals) and canoeing as well as long board surfing, which was called wave-sliding in the early days.
Duke Kahanamoku is credited with kick-starting the Australian surf scene through a surf exhibition on Freshwater beach, Sydney in 1914
Kuhio beach in Waikiki is home to a fine bronze statue of Duke that is commonly draped with fresh leis.
Waikiki shore seen from the roadside.
Photo by HTJ
The beach sees a lot of action, not only in the form of surfing and people-watching but also live outdoor shows, canoe races and hula dancing. The sand, however, prefers to be elsewhere and habitually disappears so it's a constant and expensive battle to preserve and replenish.
Waikiki Beach as sunset approaches.
Other Honolulu beaches are Kuhio beach and Ala Moana Beach and Park.
Ala Moana is especially popular with locals at weekends and less touristy than Waikiki or Kuhio. It's a 100-acre park with a wide, half-mile (800 m) long golden sand beach. Ala Moana is man-made, created in the 1950s and offers large grassy areas, banyans and palm trees, making a lovely, shady space to picnic, barbecue, play games or go jogging, as well as the usual seaside activities. There are lifeguards, showers, restrooms, tennis courts, picnic tables, food concessions and a music pavilion.
A typical all-inclusive Hawaii hotel, the Sheraton Waikiki, is in a superb location but management are inefficient, internet speeds pathetic, it's overcrowded and muzak by the pool is outrageous and unnecessary. What's wrong with listening to the waves!? This hotel is "more like a lame amusement park than a hip island resort".
Best value Waikiki Hotels:
Recently the best combination of low cost, good service and nice environment Waikiki Beach Hotel was the Outrigger Reef on the Beach, followed by Best Western Coconut Waikiki; Hotel Renew; Aqua Bamboo and Spa; Ilima Hotel; Ilikai Hotel and Suites; Ohana Waikiki Beachcomber; Aqua Palms and Spa. Bugbog has no commercial interest in these listings.
Sunset on Waikiki shore and it's time for a serious drink, a shower or a wander around the shops,...
Photo by Tor Johnson (HTA)
By the way, Waikiki means spouting water in Hawaiian, due to the springs and streams that used to flow here, not whales passing by or crashing waves!
||GAA operate two good value, adventurous 8 day cruises around the Hawaiian Islands, including guided hiking trips, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle-boards and more: Cruise North | Cruise South
...such as those along lush Waikiki Beach Walk on Lewers Street, a couple of blocks from the beach.
Click to see Oahu Beaches Pictures outside Honolulu or check out other Oahu things to do.
Generally warm and sunny all year with temperatures from 75F-85F (24C-30C).
April-September is the dry season while August and September are the hottest months.
October-March is the wet season but the rain usually arrives in short heavy bursts; December and January are the coolest months.
For a less crowded, less pricey, good weather vacation try March-May, September-November, but beware the Japanese hordes the end of April - early May).
Some alternative things to do in Waikiki, other than shopping, drinking, surfing and burning:
- Stand Up Paddling.
- Outrigger catamaran rides.
- Snorkel with Dolphins Cruises.
- Friday Fireworks Cruise.
- Shark Cage Tours.
- Diamond Head Sailing and Snorkelling.
- Spa treatments.
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