The traditionally way I write my posts is reviewing one particular attraction, hotel, restaurant or activity, but I’ve gotten some requests to write a post about what to do in Waikiki, and focusing on the top 10 things to do based on my experience.
What to do in Waikiki?
I can start by saying that there are so many things to do in Waikiki, and narrowing it to 10 things was rather a difficult thing. However, if I give you a list of 100 things to do you probably will get overwhelmed.
I figure that it was safe to assume that if you are reading this post is because you haven’t been in Waikiki and because of that I’m focusing this top 10 list of what to do in Waikiki on things that are most do activities if this is your first or second visit to Waikiki.
There’s nothing quite like a Waikiki sunset, and a cocktail cruise by catamaran may be the perfect way to experience one. Sailing south along the coastline from Waikiki toward Diamond Head, with this experience you will enjoy few drinks and a pupu platter of appetizers while you watch the sun slip below the horizon. Unlimited nonalcoholic beverages plus hotel pickup and drop-off are included.
This is a five-star activity and lasts about 90 minutes, departing right from Waikiki.
Coming to Waikiki Beach should definitely include a surfing lesson, and this is a great operator that you should consider.
Once you’ve checked in, you’ll meet your Surf Instructor, get suited up in a rash guard and take a seat. The “show” or land demonstration to begin shortly after.
Whether you are a seasoned surfer looking for local knowledge about the Hawaii breaks, or a brand new surfer ready to catch your first wave, your instructor can help you with all the things you need to take your surfing to the next level. Your instructors offer surf lessons for beginner, intermediate and advanced students.
Your instructor will give instruction to help quickly master the techniques needed to take on the legendary Hawaiian surf.
Everyone in your group will get an opportunity to show off their skills and practice the process before heading to the beach.
Next, your group walk across the street to the beach, don’t worry about carrying boards, there’s a cart that does the work for us. Once you get to the beach the instructor will set the boards up on the beach and help you strap on the leash. Off into the beautiful clear warm water you go.
There will be a maximum of four students for each instructor.
You will paddle out to where the waves are breaking, with your instructor by your side to help you and guide you the whole time.
Now the real fun begins, paddle-paddle, paddle-paddle, stand-up and ride!
This half day tour is one of the “must do” hikes you need to do when visiting Waikiki.
The Diamond Head volcanic crater was formed roughly 300,000 years ago. The US army built the trail at the start of the 20th century that leads to a panoramic view from Koko Head Volcano to Waikiki.
The tour includes a beautiful and scenic drive through the east side of the island with a quick stop at Halona blowhole and Eternity beach. Many think this is the most beautiful and swim-friendly beach on the island. The tour finishes with a beautiful walk through Byodo-In temple.
You are not going to want to miss a sunset luau at Paradise Cove Luau – it’s one of the largest and most respected luau shows in Hawaii. If there is one experience you must have during your visit to Oahu, it is a night of Hawaiian culture and hospitality at a traditional Honolulu luau!
This tour is likely to Sell-out! Paradise Cove Luau regularly sells out weeks in advance, so book ahead to avoid disappointment!
The Waikiki luau at Paradise Cove Luau begins with a tropical Mai Tai greeting, while live Hawaiian music sets the festive mood of the evening.
After the delightful Shower of Flowers, participate in the Hukilau on the beach and learn the net fishing techniques of old Hawaii. Following the pageantry of the Royal Court Procession and imu (earth oven) ceremony, your evening continues with a sumptuous feast.
Make sure you bring along your appetite to fully enjoy Paradise Cove’s extensive menu, blending the best traditional Hawaiian dishes, local favorites, and continental cuisine.
Then, after dinner, with a spectacular Hawaiian sunset as a backdrop, award-winning performers will entertain and amaze with an unforgettable display of songs and dances from across Polynesia at the Paradise Cove Extravaganza.
Paradise Cove boasts brilliant sunset views from its oceanfront setting and offers three dining packages, perfect for all tastes and budgets. If you are staying in Waikiki, you have the option to include hotel pickup and drop off to ensure a hassle free night of Hawaiian fun. See tour and pricing options below for full details.
Experience yoga while floating on the crystal clear waters of Honolulu, Hawaii.
Standup paddleboard yoga is a unique adventure that combines the physical challenges of practicing yoga on a paddleboard with the majestic beauty of Hawaii’s oceans and shorelines.
Classes available for all levels.
Small group sizes ensure personalized attention from our highly qualified instructors, allowing each student to work at their own ability level.
The SUP yoga classes include many familiar yoga poses adapted to the water. Most of the poses are done seated, kneeling, or lying down, with a few standing poses as well to work on balance and core stability.
Free time is incorporated into each class, giving students a chance to try any poses they would like to work on.
Classes end with traditional savasana, a meditation experienced lying on the board with the soft rocking of the oceans waves, fingers and toes trailing into the water, and the mind free to relax and let go.
This tour is a three hour guided zip line tour, including Oahu’s longest zip lines ranging from 500 feet to nearly half a mile long.
You will explore a working agricultural farm along the tour which includes eight world-class dual zip lines, two rappels, four sky bridges and a fun ATV adventure to the ridgetop.
You’ll also learn about Hawaii’s rich history and culture all while taking in panoramic ocean and mountain views of Oahu’s famous North Shore.
Hawaii’s original North Shore Activities Tour, Beach Bus and Turtle Tour.
The Surf Bus will take you on a full-day tour to the famous North Shore of Oahu! See the famous surfing beaches of Pipeline, Sunset Beach and Waimea Bay, then get off The Surf Bus to do your activities and have some real fun!
On The Surf Bus, you’ll get up-close to the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles – a must-see – and also have time to explore Historic Haleiwa Town quaint art galleries, shave-ice stands and hip shops housed in plantation-era buildings! Don’t miss out!
This private tour requires no previous snorkel experience.
All the gear and equipment will be provided and your group’s personal dive professional will teach you everything you need to know to have this awesome snorkel experience.
On this tour, you are guaranteed to see a ton of beautiful aquatic life and tropical fish and sometimes even sea turtles! A complimentary GoPro video of your experience is included!
Paradise Helicopters’ Scenic tour is the best way to see some of the most famous spots in Hawaii, by air. On this small group tour departing from the Kalaeloa Airport, just minutes from the resorts at Ko Olina, you will see Pearl Harbor from the same vantage point as the US Airmen who responded to the fateful attack on the Day of Infamy. You will also drink in the incredible views of Ala Moana Beach Park, the busy Ala Wai Boat Harbor, and the iconic white sand beach of Waikiki.
10. Pearl Harbor
An incredible full day tour of all the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites!
This is the most popular tour sold at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.
The Passport to Pearl Harbor is the most popular tour offered by the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites. The Passport to Pearl Harbor allows you to visit all of the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites at a discounted price.
11. Bonus – Hanauma Bay
Just because 10 things weren’t enough and I couldn’t decide on which one of these to leave out, I’m throwing a bonus for you.
Hanauma Bay is a rather inexpensive jewel that you should experience and should be in your list of What to do in Waikiki.
The Hanauma Bay Oahu Nature Preserve is a natural crescent beach in the sunken caldera of an extinct volcano. The bay is protected by the volcanic formation and the waters are famously clear, providing the ideal environment to spot fish and other marine wildlife.
This is one of my favorite spots on the island.
There is so much to do in Waikiki, but hopefully, this post helps you plan your first visit to Waikiki and if you have been before but have missed one or more of these amazing things to do, make sure to check them out.
I recommend you to plan a trip to Waikiki next, but regardless if Waikiki is your next destination or not, make sure you keep traveling because life is a getaway!