Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii and the most populous city in the state. The name Honolulu means ‘sheltered bay’ in the Hawaiian language, and with its natural harbor it has become a major gateway into the United States, as well as a primary tourist attraction, a hub for international business and for military defense. Waikiki is best known for its popular white sand beach - it is an international destination and one of the most frequented locations in all of Hawaii. Over the centuries, Waikiki has been an area where people come to both play and relax.
When the Ali'i (Hawaiian royalty) ruled the land in the mid 1800's, Waikiki was a retreat for the kings, queens and princesses. Rivers and springs once flowed into the region and in the Hawaiian language Waikiki means 'spouting waters.' In the 1400’s an irrigation system was used to direct the springs into fishponds and taro patches. At one stage, the area was the center of government on Oahu. Nowadays the skyline is dotted with high-rise apartments, with every hotel room located just a short walk to the beach.
Waikiki & Honolulu Top Attractions
Things to Do in Waikiki & Honolulu
Waikiki & Honolulu Travel Tips
Information for Visitors to Waikiki & Honolulu
Additional Waikiki & Honolulu Recommendations
Waikiki is the famous 1.5 square mile neighborhood on the south shore of Oahu, in Honolulu, and it is best known for its popular white sand beach. Waikiki Beach is an international destination and one of the most frequented locations in all of Hawaii.
Things you'll discover in Waikiki Hawaii
Longboard surfing is still a popular activity on Waikiki Beach. The bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku can be found on Kuhio Beach (at the Ala Moana end), as a tribute to the master of surfing who lived in Waikiki in the early 1900’s and won Olympic medals for swimming. He was one of the surfing pioneers who spread the word about surfing to the U.S mainland and internationally. He is the acclaimed ‘father of modern surfing’ and was known for being an ambassador of goodwill and the ‘aloha spirit’. At Dukes Canoe Club and the Outrigger Waikiki, you can see authentic Duke photos and memorabilia.
Waikiki is not the place to stay if you are looking for a quiet or secluded vacation. However it is definitely an experience to be had, and with Honolulu being the first port of call for most visitors to Hawaii, Waikiki is a definite must-see if only for a day or two. By day the beach is packed with surfers and tourists from all over the globe. World-class shopping abounds on the main strips of Kalakaua and Kuhio Avenue, with classy boutiques boasting designer fashion and jewelry, as well as Hawaiian crafts, mementos, and unique gifts. By night Waikiki is one gigantic party, with internationally acclaimed restaurants and nightlife with every form of entertainment including Luau Shows, live music, bars, and nightclubs.
There are a number of transportation options into Waikiki from the Honolulu Airport. There are a number of shuttle services that offer transportation to the major hotels, and you can expect to pay approximately $10-$15. A one-way taxi ride will be around $35 or more. There are also city buses for only $2.50, however, they are only suitable for passengers with hand luggage only. Rental vehicles are a very convenient way to get around, however parking in Honolulu and especially Waikiki can be an issue, and the rental companies tend to be located a distance from the airport itself which means being shuttled to and from the place.
Getting around Waikiki is best by foot as everything is within walking distance. Small motor scooters can also be rented for easy travel on city streets. Renting a bicycle is another option but can be a little dangerous due to the congested streets and lack of bike lanes. The Waikiki Trolley offers scenic, historic and shopping routes and passes can be purchased online.