The Be-All, End-All Guide to Where to Do What on Waikiki Beach

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The Be-All, End-All Guide to Where to Do What on Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach may only stretch 2.5 miles along Oahu's south shore, but it contains within it a world of beach adventures to keep an active visitor exploring for days and weeks on end. You'll see what we mean when you scan this list. To compile it, we consulted a team of know-it-all's--technically they're called "Guest Services" or "Beach Services" personnel--but because they spend their days traipsing in and around Waikiki working, we consider them experts in all things Waikiki Beach.

Take Don and Traci. Their office is Waikiki Beach. That is, if you count teaching visitors to surf, paddle canoes and enjoy riding on sailing catamarans a job. You’ll find them in front of the Outrigger Reef on the Beach. Then, there's the crew at the front desk of the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach. If words were pearls, you could string a necklace around the island a dozen times for every question they've answered about the best place to spread a towel, watch the sun set or swim along Waikiki Beach.

So here it is: the be-all, end-all, grandaddy list of all lists for the best spot along Waikiki Beach to do just about whatever it is you could imagine doing. But, hey, we're human and this is, after all, subjective. So, if we've missed something and you have a specific question about Waikiki Beach, send your inquiry to Breaking it down. A guide to Waikiki Beach. It’ll give you directions on how to find these stretches of beach within Waikiki Beach.

  • Volleyball—Fort DeRussy Beach Park and Queen’s Surf Beach.
  • Kayaking—Sans Souci Beach.
  • Snorkeling—The Waikiki Marine Life Conservation District fronting the Waikiki Aquarium at the south end of Queen’s Surf Beach Park. Another option, if you’re hoping to spot turtles, is Turtle Canyon, best reached via a snorkeling cruise.
  • Beginning surfing—Canoe’s, a surf break off Kahaloa and Ulukou Beaches. But the best advice we can give is to take a lesson.
  • Intermediate surfing—Three’s, a surf break off Grey’s Beach and Queens, another break off Kuhio Beach Park.
  • Advanced surfing—First Break, outside of Canoes. But it only breaks if the waves reach overhead size. Also, not technically part of Waikiki Beach, but big wave rider Randall Paulson says Ala Moana Bowls, off the southeast corner of Magic Island, is the south shore equivalent of Pipeline.
  • Stand Up Paddling (SUP)—Canoes (off Kahaloa and Ulukou Beaches) to catch some waves. Or just cruise adjacent to the shoreline if you’re just getting started.
  • Boogie boarding—For beginners, Baby Royals in front of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, because it’s shallow and easy to catch waves. Intermediates will want to give Walls a go, located off the jetty at Queen’s Surf Beach.
  • Swimming—Kahaloa and Ulukou Beaches. To replicate the one-mile open ocean swim course from Duke’s OceanFest, start in front of Duke’s Canoe Club at Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach. The course is out and back, perpendicular to the beach.
  • Sunset—The Wall, a jetty off Queen’s Surf Beach. Walk all the way out to the end.
  • Shade—The banyan trees at Queen’s Surf Beach.
  • String a hammock—The grassy area behind Queen’s Surf Beach.
  • Read a book—A beach chair just about anywhere.
  • Play chess—Under the picnic pavilions at Kuhoi Beach Park near the statue of Duke Kahanamoku.
  • Watch Hula—Kuhio Beach Park hula mount, nightly at 6:30 p.m., includes a torch-lighting ceremony.
  • View of Diamond Head— The Wall, a jetty off Queen’s Surf Beach. Walk all the way out to the end.
  • Build sandcastles—Fort DeRussy Military Beach.
  • A little extra space for your beach towel—San Souci Beach.
  • Children—Inside the L-shaped swimming area at the east end of Kuhio Beach Park.
  • Celebrity-spotting—Set up at Gray’s Beach and keep your eye on the people coming and going from the Halekulani Hotel.
  • GLBT-friendly—Queens Beach.
  • Catch a catamaran ride—Kahaloa and Ulukou Beaches.
  • Floating on a raft—The calmer waters fronting Gray’s Beach and Queens Surf Beach. (For a real spectacle, schedule your vacation and join the Fourth of July Flotilla, when all manner of inflatables and rafts make their way out past the surf break at Canoes and stay for the day.)
  • BBQ’ing—Oceanfront at the Natatorium, Sans Souci Beach.
  • People-watching—The wall behind Sans Souci Beach, or, let's face it, just about anywhere.
  • Watch movie—Sunset at Queen’s Surf. Check schedule here.
  • Listen to musicDuke’s Canoe Club from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Wave to friends at home—Webcam facing the statue of Duke Kahanamoku at Kuhio Beach Park.


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