Waikiki is the iconic Honolulu beach destination, stretching from Ala Wai Boat Harbor to the base of Diamond Head. The neighborhood is an appealing mix of beach recreation, Hawaiian history, cultural entertainment and urban-chic shops. Waikiki condos put you in the center of the beach entertainment scene, featuring useful amenities like air conditioning, non-smoking properties, parking and satellite or cable service.
Exploring Hawaiian history enriches your trip, and the Waikiki Historic Trail is a good place to start. The bronze surfboard trail begins at the southern edge of Waikiki Beach in Kapiolani Park and takes you through many of Honolulu's most fascinating historic spots. Especially captivating are sites in Kuhio Park, including the four healing Pohaku stones and a statue of Olympic swimmer and surf legend, Duke Kahanamoku.
Take a break from sandy beach adventures to enjoy a picnic in Kapiolani Park. Its views of Diamond Head are stellar, and its grassy fields are perfect for an afternoon soccer or football game. The park is adjacent to the historic War Memorial Natatorium and two ancient Hawaiian temple sites.
More than 900 animals make their homes in Kapiolani Park's Honolulu Zoo. The zoo is 42 acres of wildlife exhibits, with exotic creatures like Komodo Dragons, elephants, Sumatran tigers, giraffe, Malayan Sun Bears, lemurs and monkeys.
Ideally situated next to a vibrant living reef, the aquarium displays more than 500 marine species. You'll see Monk Seals, Green Sea Turtles, jellyfish, Clownfish and a 5,500-gallon Barrier Reef exhibit with 170-pound Giant Clams.
Shopping is plentiful in Waikiki, and Kalakaua Boulevard is the center of it all. Numerous luxury shops, trendy boutiques, art galleries, jewelry stores and restaurants line the avenues here. In spite of its retail nature, this Honolulu neighborhood is infused with Hawaiian culture. Even while you're shopping at venues like Royal Hawaiian Center, you'll enjoy soul-soothing ukulele music and Hawaiian chants, hula performances and lei-making classes.
Hawaii's long military history is displayed in the museum's entrancing exhibits, covering ancient Hawaiian conflicts to the Vietnam War. Tanks, barracks and helicopters are just a few items you can expect to find at the museum located in Fort deRussy on Hale Koa's grounds.
No Hawaiian vacation is complete without a little beach time. Waikiki beaches are mostly sheltered, making their waves perfect for learning to surf or simply floating on the ubiquitous pink or green rafts. At the southern end of Waikiki, beaches like Queen's Surf are quieter and grassier. Kuhio Beach is more central and features wide stretches of sand. At Waikiki's northwestern end, Duke Kahanamoku Beach features a man-made lagoon and spots perfect for sailing, swimming and wading.
Like its people, Waikiki weather is welcoming. Year-round high temperatures average in the 80s, and the cooling trade winds keep things comfortable. Light rain on Oahu is common, but Waikiki is usually drier than the other side of the island. Beachside ocean temperatures are an inviting 74 to 80 degrees.
If your starting point is another Hawaiian island, ferry over to Waikiki with your private car so you can easily get around town. If you're heading into Waikiki from another part of Oahu, consider using Honolulu's convenient and low-cost transit system, TheBus. Travelers coming from the mainland will most likely fly into Honolulu. At the airport, you can easily pick up a rental car or use TheBus to travel into Waikiki. The Waikiki Trolley is a super-convenient way to get around the neighborhood once you're here.