Waikiki Beach Rating
Beach Personality: Touristy But Worth A Visit
The beach that is commonly known as Waikiki is actually numerous smaller beaches stretching roughly two miles from Duke Kahanamoku Beach fronting the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort to San Souci Beach fronting Kapiolani Park and the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel.
At Waikiki’s northwestern end, Duke Kahanamoku Beach has shade trees and especially calm waters due to the rock wall that creates a cove. On the negative side, the water isn’t always crystal clear. It’s a popular area for families.
As you head southeast, the next beach you come to is Fort DeRussy Beach. This section of Waikiki Beach is one of the widest, so if you enjoy playing games in the sand, this may be the beach for you. This is also the primary spot for windsurfing on Waikiki Beach and there are shaded grilling areas and volleyball courts here.
Next is Gray’s Beach, which fronts the Halekulani Hotel. This part of the beach is so narrow that sometimes the sand disappears entirely.
Continuing southeast from Gray’s Beach, you come to Kahaloa/Ulukou Beaches in front of the Royal Hawaiian and Moana Surfrider hotels. The beach gets wider here and is also known as Waikiki Beach Center and “the beach for great looking bodies” making it a great section of Waikiki Beach for singles and people watching. You should know, however, this is usually the most crowded part of Waikiki Beach.
Kuhio Beach Park is next with a boardwalk along the beach and a wall jutting out into the water. “The Wall” is a popular launching spot for boogie boarders. Head out (carefully as the rocks can be slippery) to the end, jump in, ride a wave to shore, and repeat. I recommend you watch others do this before attempting it yourself.
Southeast of Kuhio Beach Park is Queen’s Surf Beach, which tends to attract a mix of families and gay couples. Queen’s Surf offers the best snorkeling on Waikiki Beach, but that really isn’t saying much when you compare it to some of Oahu’s best snorkeling spots like Hanauma Bay, Shark’s Cove, and Kuilima Cove. The Queen’s Surf section of Waikiki Beach also has banyan trees for shade, volleyball nets, and free outdoor movies shown on a giant screen on weekend evenings around sunset.
The southeastern most section of Waikiki Beach is San Souci Beach, which fronts Kapiolani Park and the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel. While it’s still technically part of Waikiki, it’s fairly far from most of the action. However, it definitely provides some action of its own since San Souci Beach’s nickname is “Dig Me Beach”. This part of Waikiki Beach attracts an interesting mix of people from the aforementioned bathing beauties to families and serious swimmers who enjoy the calm water to locals trying to avoid the typical Waikiki crowds.
- Boogie boarding
- Outrigger canoe rides
- People watching
- Paddle boarding
- Walking on the beach
- Public bathrooms – Yes.
- Showers – Yes.
- Parking – Yes, in various hotel and public lots. In general, the closer you are to the beach, the more expensive parking will be.
- Food – Yes.
- Lifeguard – Yes.
- Dogs allowed on the beach – Yes, but only in the Gray’s Beach section meaning for all intents and purposes no since Gray’s Beach has very little beach.
Star Beachboys on Kuhio Beach State Park rents chairs, umbrellas, beach mats. surfboards, and boogie boards, and offers surfing lessons and outrigger canoe rides.
Waikiki Beach Activities by the Hilton Hawaiian Village rents chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards, surfboards, kayaks, and aqua cycles.
Hans Hedemann Surf School rents surfboards, boogie boards, and paddle boards and offers surfing lessons.Many other rental businesses are available along the beach and in Waikiki.
Take Interstate H1 to exit 23, Punahou Street, toward Waikiki. Turn right onto Punahou Street. Turn right at South Beretania Street. Turn left onto Kalakaua Avenue.
To many joyful beach experiences!
— Lisa Dworkin