Top 10 Things to Do on a Waikiki Getaway
Go to the Beach
Visit the iconic Waikiki Beach and enjoy the crystal-clear waters and two miles of soft sand. The gentle waves of this area make it ideal for swimming, surfing, snorkeling and stand-up paddleboarding. You will find vendors for everything from beach towels to surfboards along Kalakaua Avenue, which runs parallel to Waikiki Beach, and there are plenty of food stands for a quick lunch. The widest stretch of sand is found near the statue of legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku, and the calmest waters can be found at Kuhio Beach on the south end of Waikiki.
Take a Cruise
Part of the magic of Hawaii is the Pacific Ocean, and what better way to enjoy it than booking a cruise? There are many options you can choose from leaving from Waikiki, including catamaran cruises, snorkeling charters and tours to watch whales, dolphins and turtles. Stop by one of the many vendors along Waikiki Beach, or contact Hawaii Nautical to book a cruise.
Waikiki Beach is protected from heavy waves, which make it the perfect place for beginners to learn how to surf. Find board rentals and lessons from the vendors along Waikiki Beach, or book lessons in advance. If you want to watch the pro surfers practice their art, there are surfing competitions throughout the winter on the North Shore. If you are in Waikiki in August, make sure to check out Duke’s OceanFest, an annual event celebrating watersports and surfing on Waikiki Beach.
Learn about Hawaiian Culture
To learn about the Hawaiian monarchy, pay a visit to Iolani Palace or take a deeper dive into Hawaiian culture at the Bishop Museum. Art lovers should stop by the Honolulu Museum of Art, where a world-class collection includes over 50,000 pieces. An hour from Waikiki, the Polynesian Cultural Center showcases various Polynesian cultures through living history exhibits.
Take a Hike
Close to Waikiki is Diamond Head State Monument, a deep volcanic crater with steep sides. The hike to the top of Diamond Head is steep and challenging, but you are rewarded with fantastic views of the city and ocean. From the trailhead to the summit, plan on 1-2 hours and wear good walking shoes. A bit further from Waikiki is Koko Head, a volcanic crater with a steep trail and breathtaking views of Hanauma Bay. There are over 1,000 stairs made from an old railway going straight up the top, so be ready for a workout!
Participate in Cultural Activities
Visitors can enjoy the ever-popular luau experience at several locations within Waikiki, or take a shuttle from Waikiki to Paradise Cove, recognized as one of the best classic luau shows on Oahu. There are many cultural festivals throughout the year where visitors can hear traditional music, try their hand at ukulele or take hula lessons. These events can typically be found in Waikiki at Royal Hawaiian Center or along the Waikiki Beach Walk.
Learn about Hawaii’s Military History
History buffs will have plenty to see at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, focused on aircraft used in WWII. The Pearl Harbor complex also includes memorials to the battleships and servicemen involved in the attack, as well as tours of the Battleship Missouri museum. Closer to Waikiki, you will find the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii, a museum dedicated to the long military history of Hawaii, from traditional Hawaiian warfare through current day.
See Local Wildlife
The Honolulu Zoo is home to a variety of animals from around the world, and is a great place to spend a day learning about local and marine wildlife. The zoo offers guided tours, animal encounters, and educational programs. The nearby Waikiki Aquarium is a short walk away and is worth a stop to see over 3,000 species of marine animals from the Pacific Ocean. Both facilities are located in Kapiolani Park, which is a beautiful park with stunning views and the impressive Queen Kapiolani Garden with rare plants from Hawaii and the rest of the world.
Explore Waikiki’s Nightlife
Along the oceanfront Kalakaua Avenue, you will find a variety of bistros, fine dining and bars. Casual dining with an ocean view can be found at Duke’s Waikiki or Waikiki Beachside Bistro. Foodies looking for a fine dining experience will be delighted with upscale Hawaiian fare at Roy’s Waikiki or refined seafood dishes at Azure. There are plenty of fun bars in lively Waikiki, but the tiki cocktails and live music at Tiki’s Grill & Bar and poolside cocktails on the rooftop at Swell should not be missed.
Find an Adventure
The island of Oahu is full of beautiful sights and exciting activities. Renting a car or using public transportation is a convenient way to get to popular sights on Oahu, but there are also many tour companies that will pick you up in Waikiki. Take a tour of the Jurassic Park environment of Kualoa Ranch or explore the stunning North Shore by horseback. If you want to hit the highlights, join a guided island tour, including the Dole Plantation, beaches, snorkeling and a coffee farm, with facts and history along the way. Or see the sights of Oahu from the air with a helicopter tour.
With so much to see and do, Waikiki is the ideal destination for a fun and memorable getaway. Book your Waikiki vacation rental and start exploring the possibilities for your perfect Hawaiian getaway!