Waikiki Beach is certainly the most famous beach in all of Hawaii and is a probable contender for the most well known beach in the world. This of course, was the beach where it all started regarding tourism in Hawaii. In the first decade of the nineteen hundreds both the Moana and the Royal Hawaiian Hotels were built on its shoreline, and in a renovated state, they still exist here today along with scores of other hotels and condominiums. There is no doubt that the reason they were built here to begin with was because of the beautiful Waikiki Beach itself.
It is a curiosity that the exact beginning and ending point of Waikiki Beach are frequently in dispute. Because Waikiki Beach is more or less continuous and abuts many well known points of interest it is frequently segmented into quadrants of north or south or known in areas by names that have been colloquialized over the course of time. Locals who have lived in Waikiki all their lives generally offer differing viewpoints as to its beginning and ending points and this is even true of the lifeguards who have worked the area for years. For our purposes we will refer to Waikiki Beach as being the beaches that stretches from the area directly across from the northern reaches of Kapiolani Park to the Ala Wai Boat Harbor.
Facing directly toward the sunset you can get a sense of the romantic origins that brought people to this popular location in the first place. The fact that it had beautiful white sands and excellent surfing locations only added to its allure. The beach itself is mostly continuous with only a couple of small sections that can disappear to a seawall abutment. The width varies over the course of its shoreline and will seasonally vary with the wave activity but there is almost always space for visitors to lay-out and enjoy. More than any other beach in Hawaii however, the space you find that you can claim as your own is likely to be within arm's length of the bronzing body of a Minnesota native or a visitor from Japan. This is what people have come to expect about Waikiki and no-one seems to mind at all. In a sense this adds to the charm of Waikiki as it is truly the melting pot of visitor activity in Hawaii.
The surf in Waikiki is well known and conditions here are frequently ideal for learning the sport. Indeed the first thing you may notice as you walk to the beach from Kapiolani Blvd. are the colorful library like stacks of surfboards standing in racks and awaiting their owners to come for a ride. This was the home of the "Waikiki Beach Boys" in the 1920's and Hawaii's greatest Olympian, Duke Kahanamoku. The surfing tradition of Waikiki Beach continues today and many are lured to surf its many peaks and varied surf breaks. The bigger swells in Waikiki are found in the summer months though they are never as large as the famous Oahu swells that are found on the North Shore. These swells can get large however and caution should be exercised when entering the waters during high surf conditions. This can even affect those at water's edge particularly at the areas where there are seawalls.
Waikiki Beach is located so close to the myriad of hotels that stack back blocks in the Waikiki area that the list of usual beach amenities is fully provided but will also include close by restaurants for an inviting lunch and seafront bars serving refreshing "umbrella cocktails". Any visitor that would like to relax in a shaded spot and sip on frosty cocktails while they enjoy views of the sand and the ocean should look no further then Waikiki Beach.
Please be advised that all beaches and ocean locations in Hawaii can be potentially dangerous including this location. Be completely aware of the ocean conditions prior to entering the water and of course, never turn your back on the ocean when you are on the shoreline. It should also be noted that all shorelines and beaches in Hawaii, including this one, can be frequented by sharks, jellyfish and other sea creatures which can provide potential harm to people entering the water.
One of the few beaches that has the look and feel of old Oahu is Kahana Beach on Oahu's windward coastline. The fact that this beach is located in a section of the island that is normally simply a gateway for island visitors to pass by on their way to visit what are presumably more spectacular attractions is the saving grace of Kahana Beach Park.
Shark's Cove on the North Shore of Oahu is not really a beach, but rather a snorkel and diving spot; and what a snorkel spot it is! This small cove is ringed in rocks and coral providing very little in the way of sand to lay out on, but if you are looking for a great place to snorkel, Shark's Cove is, at many times of the year, an excellent option.
A listing of all Oahu Beaches can be found on these pages. Check for the Oahu Beach that will be perfect for you!
It's a good thing you're going to the beach on Oahu! Not only does Oahu have some of the most beautiful beaches in the state, have some of the best snorkeling to be seen in the state, have some of the best surfing, kayaking and stand-up paddling locations in the state and some of the largest waves for you to watch in the state, but Oahu beaches have more lifeguard locations and more lifeguards all toll than any other island in the State of Hawaii.