Waikiki Hi is one of the top places to visit in Oahu (and all of Hawaii). But that means it’s also incredibly popular. This neighborhood has lots of resorts, shopping, and dining, and a gorgeous stretch of beach.
Whether you are staying in a Waikiki Grand Hotel or driving over to visit, you’re likely wondering how to make it the best experience possible. We go to Waikiki a lot and see how the crowds can change during the day. So we’ve got great tips for timing your visit to Waikiki Beach so that it’s actually enjoyable!
1. Visit in Early Fall or Late Spring
For anyone visiting Waikiki Hi (or anywhere in Hawaii), you’ll have fewer crowds and cheaper hotel fares if you visit when school is in session in the US. This will allow you to avoid a rush of vacationers coming over during school breaks, and you can have a more secluded beach on weekdays while residents are in school.
However, things do get busy during January – March when snowbirds travel here for warmer weather. That’s also whale watching season and conference season for hotels.
If you want to really avoid crowds, don’t come around Christmas or New Year.
2. Arrive Early or Late in the Day
Waikiki Beach is one of the busiest on Oahu, but it can feel pretty serene shortly after sunrise. It’s a special moment in the city as you enjoy the calm, quiet beach and watch the streets come to life as restaurants open and families start to come out. And you’ll already have your spot on the beach, ready to enjoy the day in Waikiki, HI.
If you’re not an early bird, you’re still in luck. Many families and visitors leave the beach an hour or two before sunset. They’ll be ready for dinner or a change of scenery. Arriving at this time means you could snag their parking spot and their place on the beach. Plus, you’ll be in Waikiki during its most iconic time: sunset.
A side benefit of visiting the beach early or late is that you avoid the hottest part of the day, which is less comfortable and makes you more prone to sunburn.
3. Visit One of the Less Crowded Beaches in Waikiki Hi
Did you know that Waikiki is actually made of multiple beach sections that span multiple miles? Many of these spots have different access points and personalities.
If your top reason for going to Waikiki is to swim in its calm waters and enjoy the sunshine, then one of the less central sections will give you a little more space.
Sans Souci Beach (AKA Kaimana Beach) is typically considered the least crowded section of beach in Waikiki HI. It’s located on the far end of Waikiki, near Diamond Head and Kapiʻolani Regional Park. You’ll be a couple miles away from the heart of Waikiki where all the shopping and dining is, but it’s still a great spot to visit (especially on weekdays).
Is it Worth it to Stay in Waikiki?
Waikiki HI is home to some great hotels, like the Royal Hawaiian Resort, Sheraton Waikiki, and the Hilton Waikiki Beach. Staying right in this bustling neighborhood allows you to step out and be right on the beach whenever you want. But it also means you’ll be staying in a high-rise resort with a steep parking fee and a good bit of noise.
If you want to truly immerse yourself in Waikiki and spend much of your vacation time there, then you should book a Waikiki hotel. If you just want to come out for a day, you might have more fun staying in a more quiet or upscale area of the island, like Ko Olina, Turtle Bay Resort, or Kahala Hotel & Resort.
Planning Your Waikiki Hawaii Vacation
There is no bad time to be on a Hawaii beach, but some days and times are better than others. Need more help deciding how to plan your visit to Waikiki? Let our team at Hawaii Aloha Travel plan a great itinerary for your trip.