Located on the Hawaiian island of Oahu and south shore of Honolulu, Waikiki is the primary hotel and resort area for Oahu. Yes, it is touristy but that is because it is beautiful and filled with so much to enjoy. During my first trip to Oahu I stayed at both the Marriott and Hilton Resorts. Both offer unique experiences and you won’t go wrong with either one.
I took the first photo below from the balcony of my Marriott ocean-view room. This was an incredible way to see Waikiki at different times of the day with a bit of elevation. In that same image, you can see the tree-lined walkway that runs along the shoreline between the beach and Kalakaua Ave. It is a wonderful path for jogging or more leisurely strolls along the beach and is well lighted in the evenings.
The view from ground is incredible as well. As you would expect, the golden times for photos are early morning and sunset. If you are facing the water, the sun will be rising from behind Diamond Head volcano to your left and setting forward and to your right.
You may have noticed in the above photos that part of this beach is protected from breaking waves. This provides a calm, lake-like feeling and is a great place for you or a little one to swim. The other part of the beach is open to surfers with surfboard rentals and instructors close by…open sunrise to sundown. I took the first photo during a morning run. The sun is rising behind Diamond Head volcano and lighting the clouds. The second photo is obviously a gorgeous sunset and, by this point in the day, I definitely wasn’t running.
In the photos below (taken at different times during the sunset), I walked out onto a stone pier to capture a different angle of the beach. You can see the protective barrier taking a good pounding in the late afternoon. What a view though.
Strolling along Waikiki, you will likely come across the 9-foot bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku. The Duke is known as the father of modern surfing and was also a highly accomplished Olympic swimmer. He won gold and silver medals in 1912, 1920, and 1924. As an ambassador for surfing, he helped spread its popularity around the world along with the spirit of aloha. People come here nonstop with leis to honor his memory and pose for photos. I was fortunate to catch him alone.
Waikiki Beach also offers a wonderful view of the now dormant Diamond Head volcano (Mount Leahi). Most of my photos in this post were taken at locations closer to the Marriott. However, I took this one from the Hilton Resort.
If you are looking to get away from the beach, there are plenty of shopping and dining options within walking distance in Waikiki. Who knows, you might even find yourself enjoying a sunset drink with friends while treated to an unexpected and delightful performance by a former Miss Hawaii.
Hawaii offers a lot of options and I certainly have much more to explore. However, if you are a first-timer to Hawaii, staying at Waikiki is a good place to start. With Waikiki as your base, you can visit Pearl Harbor and Iolani Palace (both within 30 minutes). You can also rent a car (as I did) and make day trips to the other less developed beaches and state parks across Oahu.