A Handy Guide to Waikiki Beaches

Waikiki Beaches (1)
Hawaii Aloha Travel > Blog > A Handy Guide to Waikiki Beaches

You know about the scenery, shopping, and culture in Waikiki, but did you know there are actually seven (or more) Waikiki Beaches that make up this stretch of shoreline? That’s right – Waikiki Beach is not one single location. 

In fact, the beaches of Waikiki span more than two miles, and each has its own characteristics and draw. So whether you’re staying in this bustling area or just visiting for the day, you may want to plan on seeing several Waikiki Beaches. 

Here are the seven main beaches you’ll find in Waikiki. 

Duke Kahanamoku Beach

Let’s start at the western edge of Waikiki, where there is a really fun man-made lagoon that’s perfect for small children and a fun time splashing around. This beach fronts Hilton Hawaiian Village, though it’s open to the public. Visit here for a kid-friendly beach day or to get one of the best views of Waikiki with Diamond Head in the distance. 

Kahanamoku Beach

Fort DeRussy Beach

The next spot in our row of Waikiki Beaches is Fort DeRussy Beach, which neighbors Kahanamoku Beach. This is a great spot to spend a day because there’s a nice grassy area where you can get out of the sand for a bit. You can spend a lot of time in Fort DeRussy’s calm waters, though there is some reef you’ll need to watch out for. 

Though some bars and rental huts are nearby, this is a relatively quiet spot of Waikiki Beach, as you haven’t quite reached the heart of the main strip yet. 

Interested in the military history that lent Fort DeRussy its name? Check out the cool army museum located next to the beach. 

Gray’s Beach

Gray’s Beach sometimes isn’t even mentioned as one of Waikiki’s beaches, because it’s now disappeared into the ocean. This narrow stretch of sand is often submerged, forcing beach strollers to detour around the back. 

If you want to see if there’s any shoreline at Gray’s Beach, look for it by the Halekulani Hotel.

Royal Hawaiian Beach: One of the Iconic Waikiki Beaches

Once you reach Royal Hawaiian Beach, you are in the heart of Waikiki. This part of the shoreline gets its name from the Royal Hawaiian Hotel – they’ll set out pink umbrellas that make this beach really photo-worthy. 

It’s also very crowded here. Its proximity to the shops and dining of Waikiki means it draws in all kinds of visitors: families settling in for a full beach day, sightseers checking out the scenery, surf students, and lots of people-watchers. 

We think Royal Hawaiian Beach is a must-see spot, but not the best place to spend a relaxing day at the beach since it is so crowded. 

Waikiki Beaches in the middle of the city

Kuhio Beach

As we continue east toward Diamond Head, we’ll end up at Kuhio Beach. This is a popular section with a breakwater, making the waters calmer for swimming. It’s also where the famous Waikiki Beach Boys teach surfing lessons.

Queen Kapiolani Beach (Two Waikiki Beaches in One)

Fronting Kapiolani Park and the Outrigger Canoe Club, this section of the beach is often frequented by local canoe clubs. It’s also a great spot for bodyboarding or having a picnic. We love “Queen’s Beach” because it’s quieter and more accessible than other Waikiki beaches. So if you’re coming to Waikiki just for a beach day, this might be the spot to visit. You’ll find this pretty spot near the Honolulu Zoo.

Some consider this spot to be two separate beaches: Queen Kapiolani Beach and the smaller surf beach “Queen’s.” We’ve included them both here since you’ll likely see both while you enjoy this great location. 

San Souci Beach (Kaimana Beach)

We’ve arrived to Waikiki’s final beach – the easternmost spot of this famous shoreline. San Souci Beach is a peaceful spot by the Kaimana Beach Hotel. It typically has great conditions for swimming and snorkeling, and it’s usually pretty quiet on weekdays. 

I especially like the grassy area of this beach park. It’s where people barbecue or lounge around in the shade. There’s also a walking path that connects San Souci to Queen’s Beach. 

San Souci Beach is popular among local families, so you can get a taste of how residents regularly enjoy Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches.

Kaimana Beach

Discovering the Magic of Waikiki Beaches

Maybe you want an immersive vacation in Waikiki, spending lots of time on its many beaches. Or perhaps you’re just headed out there for the day and want to see what this vibrant area is all about. Either way, you’re sure to fall in love with Waikiki’s beaches, even if they aren’t your favorite ones in Hawaii. 

Arrive early for the best access to the beach, or come in the evening to watch the sunset over the water. And since there’s never-ending shopping and dining in Waikiki, you’ll want to stick around to see what’s waiting for you beyond the beach.

Want to learn more? Click here to learn about the best time to visit Waikiki.