The 10 Best Things to Do on Waikiki

Updated July 1, 2021.

Dreaming of a beach vacation this year? Me, too! We here at Quick Whit Travel believe islands, beaches, and proximity to water all equal the ability to relax, and they make us happy! We’ve been to loads of beautiful beaches in the world, including one of the most iconic in the world: Waikiki on O’ahu, Hawaii! Here are my top 10 things to do to make the most of the world famous beach.

1. Lay on the Beach

Waikiki is admittedly on the crowded side, but there’s plenty of space to lay on the beach anyway! Can’t find the spot you want? Just walk a little ways in either direction. There will be a place for you. Bring a book, take a nap, and just enjoy the sights and sounds of the ocean. You’ll love it!

Ready for some relaxation in the sunshine!
Helpful info: What to Do on Your Last Day in Hawaii

2. Learn to Surf

Waikiki is not just an iconic beach, it’s an iconic place to surf! The Waikiki Beach Boys have been teaching the tourists to surf here since the 1930s. They’ll start you out with the basics on land, and when you’re ready, they’ll help you master the board in the water!

3. Find the Duke

Speaking of surfing, you can’t talk about surfing without learning a little about Waikiki’s most famous surfer: Duke Kahanamoku! He’s considered the father of modern surfing, and you can find him on Waikiki Beach! His statue welcomes visitors from around the world to one of the world’s best beaches.

When on Waikiki, spend some time with the Duke!
More here: What to Know Before You Visit the Hawaiian Islands

4. Eat!

If a restaurant doesn’t serve good food, it won’t last on Waikiki! Some of my favorites are Duke’s (for the Hula Pie), Island Vintage Coffee (for coffee and acai bowls), and Furasato Sushi (for amazing sushi)! But truly, every food shack, every grab-and-go grocery store, and every sit-down restaurant on the beach will be a winner!

Beautiful Acai Bowl from Island Vintage
Keep Eating: What to Eat in Waikiki

5. Hike Diamond Head

Within walking (or Ubering) distance from Waikiki is the place to get the best view of Waikiki: Diamond Head Crater. It’s a fairly easy hike as long as you can handle a few stairs, and the views from the top are unbeatable! We’ve done the hike a couple of times, and every time it’s worthwhile.

The view from the top!
Read on: Hiking Hawaii: O’ahu

6. Tour the Royal Hawaiian Hotel

Waikiki is home to the two oldest resorts in the islands, and as a result they have the best locations! The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is one of the most legendary hotels in the world, and you can take a FREE tour! They offer a tour of the hotel on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:00am for guests and non-guests a like. You’ll hear all about legendary guests, its role in World War II, and how Waikiki became the iconic resort hot spot it is!

The Iconic Royal Hawaiian
What’s better than a tour? Staying at the Royal Hawaiian

7. Take a Catamaran Tour

There are a couple catamaran tour companies on Waikiki, and they do a steady business! You can catch views of Waikiki from the water and get a cruising experience at the same time! Look at that water!

Coming in for a landing!
Keep reading: 10 Reasons to Visit O’ahu

8. Shop

I am admittedly not a shopper, but you’ll find some of the best souvenirs right there on Waikiki! There’s a lot of high-end shopping if that’s your thing, but you might be surprised at how many boutiques there are, too! And if there’s anything you need, anything at all, they will most likely have it at an ABC Store!

Just his color!
Sneak Peek: Best Souvenirs in Hawaii

9. Get in the Ocean

You can’t go to a place like Waikiki Beach and not get in the water! The waves can be fierce in some places, so respect the water (I’ve seen more than one rescue operation happen to retrieve over-enthusiastic tourists), but don’t be afraid to get your feet wet! Bring an inner tube, beach ball, or other floatie and enjoy the waves!

You can’t go to an ocean that color and not get in!
More here: 5 Things You Forgot about Hawaii

10. Take a Run

Okay, this isn’t for everyone, but it is for all running levels! While running on the sand is never quite as wonderful as it seems like it should be (sand in my shoes, ugh), Waikiki has a great sidewalk along the shoreline! You can go for miles without having to cross roads, and since you’re at sea level, it’s flat! Not to mention the views are gorgeous from every direction. I recommend running early in the day before the heat of the sun beats down too much and before the crowds come out in their numbers. It’s absolutely beautful!

Just a quick morning run past Kahanamoku Lagoon!
Read on: Books to Read Before You Visit Hawaii

Want more? Check out What to Know Before You Visit O’ahu and my Hawaiian Islands Page for all things Hawaii!

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