Odds are, if you’re visiting Oahu you’ll be spending at least part of your vacation in Waikiki. And you’re in good company—there’s a reason Hawaiian royals vacationed here, modern Hawaiian tourism started here and the majority of Oahu’s hotels are concentrated here. Waikiki’s beach provides one of the most recognizable panoramas in Hawaii: a curving stretch of sand presided over by Diamond Head and fronted by turquoise water studded with surfers. This is not where you go to get away from it all. Waikiki is alive with energy, from its surf shops and designer stores to the beachfront bars to the open-air hotel lobbies bustling with crowds of travelers from east and west. There’s enough in this hub to keep you from leaving (though we recommend getting out to see other parts of the island). Check out free outdoor concerts and movies, pay homage to the father of surfing at the Duke Kahanamoku statue, take a catamaran sail or visit the zoo and aquarium. Waikiki may be for tourists, but that doesn’t make it any less spectacular.
Waikiki Beach if full of life, hotel bars and restaurants are everywhere, the sand is golden and the views of the old volcano make it the place to stay in Hawaii. Because this is a volcanic island you will find rocks in the water, so water shoes are recommended, but don’t let that put you off—this is one of the best places on earth.
Waikiki and More Nearby