Some may say that there is no need to create a list of fun things to do in Waikiki. After all, from the moment you step out of your hotel in the AM the beach town is bustling with activity. Turn left or right, and there’s pretty much something enjoyable to get into. But therein lies the crux. With too many options comes indecision, and all of a sudden everyone in your party is debating on how to best spend the day. To avoid dispute, we have put together an indisputable guide to a fun-filled day in this tropical patch of Honolulu.
Your Step by Step Itinerary to Spending a Perfect Day in Waikiki Beach, Honolulu
Dawn Patrol Surf Lesson
Grab a quick coffee and macadamia nut muffin from your hotel or nearby Hawaiian Aroma Caffe (open at 6 AM) then head to the Duke Kahanamoku statue to meet your surf instructor. You may be a little sleepy, but there’s nothing like beating the late AM crowds to learn to ride the waves in Waikiki – the birthplace of surfing. Whether coming solo or with your family/friends, we suggest a private session from the best surf lessons in Waikiki Beach – Sparky’s Surf School. Sparky is a real Waikiki Beach Boy, and has been ushering everyone from ke iki to kapuna into the gentle waves of the place he calls home for decades. There’s no better way to start your day!
Breakfast at Morey’s
Technically, Cafe Morey’s is located on the outskirts of Waikiki on Monsarrat Avenue at the base of Diamond Head. You’ll forgive the extra 5-minute walk outside of the boundary because this is the best breakfast joint in the area, and is even more convenient that Eggs ‘n Things (where others will tell you to go) where the lines are far too long. With a great breakfast menu (including mimosas and banana macadamia nut pancakes) and an expansive, pastel-colored, open-aired establishment with a surfy theme, it’s a perfect apres-surf place to fuel up for the day. View location, recommended orders, and photos of Cafe Morey’s right here.
Rent Some Wheels and Ride to Diamond Head Beach
Explore the Waikiki area (and beyond) by renting a beach cruiser, mountain bike, e-bike, or scooter from Hawaiian Style Rentals & Sales on Lemon Road. Rentals are in high-demand, so be sure to head straight there after breakfast at Cafe Morey’s (view directions). Once you score your dream-vacation set of wheels, feel free to venture as you please. Staff at Hawaiian Style will provide you with maps and suggestions, but we recommend a ride up to Diamond Head Beach Park. The uphill peddling can be a challenge for those who rent beach cruisers, but the view from above is worth it! From the peak, lock up your ride, and head down to the path to bask in the sun at this local-centric beach. View more about Diamond Head Beach Park and Hawaiian Style Bike Rentals.
Cool-Off With Some Authentic Hawaiian Shave Ice
Once done with your ride, drop your bike or scooter off at Hawaiian Style (view directions from Diamond Head Beach) and seek immediate refreshment – you’ll need it! While there are a few shave ice options in the area, one of the best in the world is located right in the heart of Waikiki Beach. The Island Vintage Shave Ice stand is conveniently located at the base of Island Vintage Coffee at the Royal Hawaiian Center, on Kalakaua Avenue. View location, recommended order, and more on what makes this our top pick for Waikiki shave ice.
Hawaii’s largest mall may be located about 10-minutes outside of Waikiki, but you don’t need to leave the vicinity to do some great shopping. And while Kalakaua Avenue is peppered with so many big brand retailers (H&M, Forever 21, LV, Hermes, Apple, etc.) that it seems like you’re not on a remote pacific island, we wholeheartedly encourage you to shop local and buy Hawaiian. There are shops in the Royal Hawaiian Center and International Marketplace to help you put dough back into the hands of local artisans, designers, and makers. Highlights include Island Slipper, Martin & MacArthur, Polu Gallery, Greenroom Gallery, Kahala Aloha Shirts, Ukulele Store, and the cool new Aloha Beach Services store. The House of Mana Up, which is the best place to buy modern and locally crafted art, fashions, and other goods, is also in Waikiki – and is one of the top places to buy authentic souvenirs on Oahu.
Sunset Catamaran Cruise
You hit the ocean at sunrise for surf lessons, so why not return for sunset? However this time, let someone else do all of the work! The captain and crew at Na Hoku II Catamaran will take you and your party out and off the shores of Waikiki Beach for an unforgettable Sunset Sail. The entire tour is approximately 2-hours, which leaves you with plenty of time to enjoy your evening in Waikiki. View booking information for the No Hoku II Catamaran.
Dinner and Drinks at Duke’s
There is no better place to go for late evening dining and drinks than Duke’s Restaurant and Barefoot Bar which is located within the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. Duke’s honors the legacy of Duke Kahanamoku, which makes it one of the more authentic places to wind down any day in Hawaii. In addition to an impressive dinner menu, the establishment entertains with live Hawaiian music (Henry Kapono) and bar serves one of the best Mai Tai’s (among other cocktails) on the island. View recommended food, dessert, and drinks at Duke’s Waikiki.
Enjoy a Slow Walk Back to Your Hotel
With a day full of great memories and bellies brimming with good food and drinks, we now encourage to take your time and enjoy the tropical breeze as you walk back to your Waikiki Beach accommodations. Be sure to get a good night’s rest as tomorrow you can head to the other side of the island for a fun-filled day in Haleiwa on the North Shore.