Plan a Summer Vacation to Waikiki

Sunny Day on Waikiki Beach

Waikiki is a great destination to visit during the summer months. The weather is warm, and Waikiki Beach is vibrant and bustling with people. With its beautiful beaches, cultural activities, and outdoor recreation opportunities, there is no shortage of fun things to do in this tropical paradise during the summer! Keep in mind that summer in Waikiki is the high season, so visitors should be prepared for more crowds than other times of the year. Book your accommodations early, and plan out your activities in advance so that you can make the most of your trip.

Hit the beach

Waikiki is known for its beautiful beaches, and there are several to choose from. The iconic Waikiki Beach is a great place to swim, surf, or just relax on the sand. Kuhio Beach and Queen’s Beach are found by walking south from Waikiki and have very calm waters great for snorkeling or stand-up paddleboarding. Fort DeRussy Beach is a great option on the north end of Waikiki, with a waterfront park and picnic area – but be sure to bring water shoes if you want to take a dip, as there is a rocky bottom.

Attend a summer festival

There is so much happening during summer on Oahu and you will have no problem finding something to fit your interests. Every June, King Kamehameha Day is celebrated across Hawaii with lei ceremonies and floral parades. The third week of July brings the Prince Lot Hula Festival, an opportunity for visitors to experience the beauty of hula and Hawaiian culture. In August, the annual Duke’s OceanFest takes over Waikiki Beach with a celebration of surfing and water sports.

Learn to surf

Surfing is synonymous with Waikiki, and summer presents the perfect opportunity to ride the gentle waves as a beginner. Enroll in surf lessons offered by experienced instructors who will guide you through the fundamentals and help you catch your first wave. There are plenty of surf instructors to be found operating kiosks along the beach on Kalakaua Avenue, or you can enroll in advance.

Hike Diamond Head

The amazing view of Diamond Head from Waikiki will have you itching to climb it! This volcanic crater was formed after an eruption over 300,000 years ago and the result is a dramatic landscape with stunning views of the ocean and Honolulu’s skyline from the top. The summit also has remnants of its military history to explore, including bunkers and a lighthouse. To reach the summit, visitors should plan on a 1-2 hour hike. Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes, and bring water and snacks.

Try out some water sports

Waikiki is a wonderland for water sports of every kind. In addition to surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and jet skiing are also very popular in the Waikiki Beach area, with rental options found along Kalakaua Avenue. Thrill seekers will love soaring through the air on a parasailing adventure with incredible views. Snorkeling in the clear waters of Kuhio Beach is great for beginners and those looking for deeper waters can find scuba tours leaving from Waikiki regularly (no certification required).

Shopping in Waikiki

There are a variety of shops in Waikiki to suit any tastes and budget. The Waikiki Beach Walk is an outdoor mall with two stories of boutiques and restaurants, as well as weekly cultural music and dance performances. Shoppers looking for high-end and designer finds will love Luxury Row. And visitors can find unique local Hawaiian accessories and apparel at Royal Hawaiian Center.

Nightlife in Waikiki

The area around Waikiki Beach is alive with energy all day and into the night. There are lots of options for great dining at any budget, from casual Hawaiian fare at Duke’s Waikiki to elegant Italian fine dining with an ocean view at Orchids. After dinner, hit up Tiki’s Grill & Bar for fun cocktails and live music, or head to Blue Note Hawaii for an evening of jazz.

Embrace Hawaiian culture

Visit the Royal Hawaiian Center or Waikiki Beach Walk where you can experience weekly events with traditional Hawaiian music, hula dancing, and storytelling. Attend a classic luau at Paradise Cove, which offers a shuttle from Waikiki. Learn more about the history of Hawaii’s culture and monarchy at Iolani Palace and the Bishop Museum. If you want to explore further than Waikiki, don’t miss the Polynesian Cultural Center, where you can learn about the diverse cultures of the Pacific Islands through interactive exhibits and demonstrations.

Take an ocean cruise

The crystal clear waters of the Pacific can be enjoyed by taking a cruise from Waikiki. Experience the magic of a Hawaiian sunset aboard a catamaran cruise, or enjoy breathtaking views of Waikiki and Diamond Head from your sailboat as you head out for some spectacular snorkeling with Manu Kai. Or take a glass bottom boat tour, which is the perfect way to see the underwater world without getting your feet wet.

Visit Kapiolani Park

This lovely park was dedicated as public space in the 1870s and is one of the oldest parks in Hawaii. The beautiful rare plants in Queen Kapiolani Garden are a highlight of the park, and the Waikiki Shell amphitheater hosts live music and entertainment throughout the summer. Kapiolani Park houses the Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium, both world-class facilities known for their educational programs and focus on local Pacific wildlife and marine life.

Whether you’re lounging on the beach, riding the waves, immersing yourself in Hawaiian culture, or exploring the natural wonders, summer in Waikiki is sure to provide a memorable vacation experience. Book your Waikiki vacation rental and start counting down the days to an unforgettable summer getaway in paradise!