Aloha and welcome to Waikiki Beach, the heart of Hawaii! This world-famous beach in Honolulu is known for its breathtaking sunsets, iconic Diamond Head crater, and endless possibilities for family fun.
Located on the southern shore of Oahu, Waikiki Beach is a world-famous stretch of golden sand that offers everything from world-class surfing to luxury resorts, family-friendly activities, and endless natural beauty.
If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii and want to make the most of your time on Waikiki Hawaii Beach, here is a family travel guide to help you get started.
Let’s Visit Oahu, Hawaii
With miles of sandy shores and vibrant city life, Waikiki offers the perfect balance for an unforgettable family vacation. When it comes to beach destinations in the United States, few places can compare to the stunning beauty and unique culture of Hawaii.
And among Hawaii’s many incredible beaches, Waikiki stands out as a must-visit destination for families and travelers alike.
Tips for a Successful Family Vacation in Waikiki
- Plan your visit during the shoulder seasons (April-May or September-October) to enjoy fewer crowds and more affordable accommodations
- Use TheBus, Honolulu’s public transportation system, to navigate the city and save on rental car costs
- Apply sunscreen regularly and stay hydrated, as the Hawaiian sun can be intense
- Be respectful of local customs and traditions, and practice responsible
Where to Stay
Waikiki is home to a wide range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly hotels and vacation rentals to high-end resorts and luxury villas. Some of the top-rated hotels in the area include the Royal Hawaiian, Moana Surfrider, and Halekulani, all of which offer stunning ocean views, luxurious amenities, and easy access to the beach.
For families and travelers on a budget, there are plenty of affordable options as well. The Aqua Palms Waikiki and Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel are both popular choices, with comfortable rooms, great locations, and affordable rates.
Things To Do for Family Travelers
There’s no shortage of activities and attractions to keep you busy during your stay in Waikiki. Here are just a few of the top things to see and do:
Exploring Waikiki Beach
There’s no better way to start your family vacation than by hitting the beach. Waikiki Beach is a two-mile stretch of golden sand and crystal-clear water, perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and building sandcastles.
For those interested in learning to surf, the gentle waves of Waikiki are ideal for beginners. Many surf schools offer group or private lessons to help you catch your first wave.
If you prefer something more low-key, consider renting paddleboards or snorkeling gear to explore the underwater world.
Discovering the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium
Located within walking distance of Waikiki Beach, the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium are perfect destinations for families with young children. The Honolulu Zoo, home to over 900 animals, offers an up-close experience with wildlife from around the world, including African elephants, orangutans, and native Hawaiian birds.
Nene, pictured above is a native Hawaiian bird, also called Hawaiian Goose
Just a mile away, the Waikiki Aquarium showcases fascinating marine life, such as colorful coral reefs, giant clams, and mesmerizing jellyfish. Both venues provide educational and entertaining experiences for kids and adults alike.
Hiking the Iconic Diamond Head
If you’re looking for a break from the beach, there are several hiking trails in the area that offer stunning views of the coastline and surrounding mountains.
For families seeking adventure, the Diamond Head State Monument is a must-visit. This iconic volcanic crater offers a moderately challenging hike that rewards climbers with panoramic views of Waikiki and the surrounding area.
The 1.6-mile round-trip hike is suitable for families with older children and takes about 1.5-2 hours to complete. Don’t forget to pack water, sunscreen, and a hat, as the trail can get hot during midday.
Immerse in Hawaiian Culture at the Polynesian Cultural Center
To truly experience Hawaii, a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center is essential. Located about an hour’s drive from Waikiki, this living museum showcases the cultures of Polynesia through interactive exhibits, demonstrations, and live performances.
Families can learn about traditional Hawaiian practices, such as lei-making, hula dancing, and fire-knife dancing while sampling authentic island cuisine at the Luau buffet.
Make sure to stay for the evening show, Ha: Breath of Life, which tells a captivating story of love, family, and tradition through song, dance, and special effects.
No trip to Hawaii is complete without experiencing a traditional Hawaiian luau, and there are several options in the Waikiki area. The Paradise Cove Luau and Royal Hawaiian Luau are both highly recommended, with authentic Hawaiian food, music, and dance performances.
Shop and Dine at the International Market Place
Waikiki is home to some of the best shopping in Hawaii, with a mix of high-end designer boutiques and local shops selling everything from souvenirs to handmade crafts. The International Market Place and Ala Moana Center are both must-visit destinations for shoppers.
Shopping enthusiasts will love the International Market Place, an open-air shopping center located in the heart of Waikiki. With over 90 stores and restaurants, this upscale complex offers something for everyone.
Parents can shop for souvenirs or designer brands, while kids will enjoy the interactive play area and delicious treats from local eateries. Don’t miss the nightly entertainment, featuring live music and hula performances.
Waikiki is famous for its world-class surfing conditions, with gentle waves that are perfect for beginners and experienced surfers alike. There are plenty of surf schools and rental shops in the area, so you can easily book a lesson or rent a board and hit the waves.
The waters around Waikiki are home to a diverse array of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and even dolphins. There are several snorkeling tours and rental companies in the area, making it easy to explore the underwater world.
Where to Eat
From traditional Hawaiian cuisine to international flavors and upscale dining, Waikiki offers a diverse range of dining options to suit every taste and budget. Here are a few top picks:
Named after legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku, this beachfront restaurant is a Waikiki institution. Known for its fresh seafood, tropical cocktails, and live music, it’s a must-visit for anyone looking for a true Hawaiian dining experience.
If you’re looking for a quick and affordable meal, Marukame Udon is a popular spot for traditional Japanese udon noodles. The line can be long, but it’s worth the wait for the delicious and authentic flavors.
For upscale dining with a Hawaiian twist, Roy’s Waikiki is a top choice. The menu features a fusion of Hawaiian and Asian flavors