Where beauty and insanity collide into one mega resort destination.
|Guide Series: Hawaii City Guides
Waikiki is a famous destination worldwide and offers amazing resorts, restaurants, shopping, activities, and beaches. Waikiki is an "area" or neighborhood in the city of Honolulu which is on the south shore of the island of Oahu in the Hawaiian islands.
Let's start with the obvious: The Beach. Waikiki Beach is a long stretch of several smaller beaches but collectively they are known simply as "Waikiki Beach". Let's break them down in order from the northwest to the southeast, but for a complete and detailed guide be sure to also read The Beaches Of Waikiki.
Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon is the first beach though it's manmade and not connected to the open ocean but rather a salt-water pool with a sandy beach around it. Kahanamoku Beach @ Waikiki is right next to the lagoon. As you walk to the southeast you'll come across Fort DeRussy Beach Park @ Waikiki, then Gray's Beach @ Waikiki, Royal-Moana Beach @ Waikiki, and then to Waikiki Beach (Main / Center).
From the center and still moving southeast, you will then find Kuhio Beach Park @ Waikiki, Queen's Beach @ Waikiki, Kapiolani Beach Park @ Waikiki, and then finally Kaimana / Sans Souci Beach @ Waikiki and the tiny Outrigger Canoe Club Beach @ Waikiki.
Beyond the beaches you'll find a huge concentration of lodging options in the Waikiki area. Everything from enormous mega resorts that have so much to offer that you'll never need to leave their property to smaller, and sometimes less ideal, hotels. That's right, it's not all glitz and glamour here so be sure to research your hotel / resort / condo properly before booking!
Waikiki is a very concentrated area and often referred to as Hawaii's concrete jungle. In parts it resembles a big city with tall buildings, busy streets, and very little peace and quiet. But in other spots you'll find huge grassy park areas, amazing mountain views, and gorgeous sandy beaches with blue ocean waters.
It's a mix of so many things and cultures. It can be a great place to spend a vacation or at least a place to see for a day if you are staying somewhere else on the island. While there are other resorts areas on Oahu (see Turtle Bay Resort and Ko Olina Resort) this is the one that most visitors come to for their vacation.
Of course, it's not for everyone and those looking for peace and quiet here might find it in their hotel spa or suite but likely not so much outside of that. It's always busy and there's always so much going on here. It's family friendly yet full of crazy nightlife at the same time. There is something here for just about everyone, even Friday Night Fireworks In Waikiki.
What you might not know is just how large the Waikiki area actually is. It's more than the area along the beach and goes back several blocks. Depending on who you listen to, it stretches quite a bit further in all directions as various hotels, restaurants, and businesses try to all "be in the Waikiki area". Ah, marketing!
The important thing here is that if you are booking a hotel make sure you map the location so you can see how far it is from places like the beach. Many are located on the beach itself, many more are not and will be across the street or several blocks away. Being further away isn't always a bad thing, but it's important to know what you are booking.
On that note, you'll also want to read Do I Need To Rent A Car In Waikiki? as well as Free & Cheap Waikiki Parking if you do rent a car and stay or visit Waikiki. For more on lodging, read our reviews and information on Waikiki Hotels.
Looking for a bite to eat? You will have no trouble finding food in Waikiki and in fact my have a hard time deciding on any one place considering just how many options are here. There is a huge number of restaurants here and something for every budget and taste bud. For more, check out the Waikiki Restaurants we have listed (sorted from the center of Waikiki and working further out).
Bored of the beach and want something to do? There are countless activities here and many more nearby. Check out our list of Waikiki Activities with places like the Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki Aquarium, Iolani Palace being among some of the favorites.
This is a vacation destination and while it's not without its flaws it is an amazing place to see and visit at least once.
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