A Waikiki Hawaii Guide For Families & Travelers

the beach of waikiki hawaii

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Are you planning a trip to Waikiki, Hawaii?

We put together a Waikiki Hawaii guide for families and travelers wanting to explore this place!

In this guide, we’ll cover all the need-to-know information for families and travelers alike.

From the best activities to the best time of year to visit, we’ve got you covered.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Overview

Best Time to Visit Waikiki, Hawaii

palm trees waikiki hawaii guide for families

The best time to visit Waikiki is between December and April.

During these months, the weather is warm and sunny with very little rainfall.

However, it should be noted that this is also the busiest time of year in Waikiki!

If you don’t mind crowds and are looking for the best weather, this is the time to go.

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly vacation or want to avoid crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of May-June or September-November.

How to get to Hawaii

plane flying in the air

There are two main ways to get to Hawaii: by airplane or cruise ship.

If you’re taking an airplane, you must fly into Honolulu International Airport (HNL).

This is the only airport that services Waikiki and the surrounding islands.

If you’re taking a cruise ship, you will likely dock at either the Port of Hilo or the Port of Nawiliwili.

These are the two main cruise ports in Hawaii.

Hawaiian Airlines:

Fly with Hawaiian Airlines, which has roomy, pleasant aircraft, and you are given a welcome drink and cookie from the Honolulu Cookie Company.

There are delicious island-inspired meals and snacks that are free on North America, South Pacific, and Asia flights.

Southwest:

To Honolulu, Southwest offers several flights.

Families should fly with this airline, especially if they have little children under the age of six.

The airline is experimenting with this option to have families more likely sit together with those who have children 6 and younger.

Alaska Airlines:

Alaska is one of the major airlines.

Onboard meals can be ordered in advance, and all seats feature power outlets for personal entertainment using your device.

There are flights from all the major airlines to Honolulu.

You can anticipate a similar experience with each of them.

Avoid purchasing Basic Economy tickets if you are a family because they frequently do not include seat allocations or personal items.

How To Get Around Hawaii

Once you’ve arrived in Hawaii, there are a few different ways to get around.

If you’re staying in Oahu (where Waikiki is located), you can either rent a car or take public transportation.

We recommend renting a car if you plan to explore outside of Waikiki.

If you’re only planning on staying in Waikiki, public transportation is a great option.

The Waikiki Trolley and The Bus are both affordable and convenient ways to get around Waikiki.

If you’re staying on one of the other islands, your best bet is to rent a car.

Waikiki-Hawaii-guide-for-families: 10 Things to Do

hawaii-pearl-harbor

Families visiting Waikiki will never find themselves short on things to do.

From beaches and parks to museums and historical sites, there’s something for everyone in Waikiki.

Popular family-friendly activities include swimming at one of Waikiki’s world-famous beaches, hiking the Diamond Head crater, taking a surf lesson, visiting Honolulu Zoo, and checking out the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

1. Waikiki beach

boy over looking the beach of waikiki

Hawaii is not complete without a trip to the beach, and fortunately, Waikiki Beach is the ideal location for sipping Piña coladas and tanning.

The pristine dunes, shimmering waves, and lazily waving palm trees will make you feel like you have stumbled into a picture-postcard setting.

2. Diamond Head Crater

The extinct volcano on the east side of Waikiki is Hawaiian Le’ahi and serves as the city’s emblem, Diamond Head Crater.

From the crater bottom to the summit, a well-known hiking trail ascends steeply before turning into stairs and leading to a vantage point with views over Waikiki.

3. Honolulu Zoo

kids at the zoo

The Honolulu Zoo is one of the most popular attractions in Hawaii, boasting a wide variety of exotic animals from around the world.

With its lush tropical gardens and diverse habitats, visitors can observe animals such as lemurs, tigers, and elephants up close.

The zoo also offers educational programs for both adults and children, providing an opportunity to learn more about wildlife conservation and animal behavior.

Whether you’re looking for a fun day out with the family or an educational experience, the Honolulu Zoo is sure to have something for everyone.

4. Pearl Harbour National Memorial

Hawaii-famous-for

Pearl Harbor National Memorial is one of the most iconic and historic sites in the United States, as it memorializes the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

This site is more than just a memorial though; visitors can explore and learn about the history of Pearl Harbor, from the day of the attack to its aftermath.

The memorial also provides an opportunity to honor those who lost their lives while defending our nation.

It is a place of remembrance and respect that should be visited by all who wish to learn more about our shared history.

This makes our list of top Waikiki Hawaii Guide for families and travelers both wanting to learn more about the U.S. history.

5. Learn Surfing at Waikiki

Learn to surf like a pro at the top-notch surfing schools in Waikiki.

Opportunities are available for people of all ages and children as well.

6. Explore Chinatown

Another recommended top thing in our Waikiki Hawaii guide for families and travelers worth exploring is Chinatown in Waikiki Hawaii.

Chinatown in Waikiki Hawaii is renowned for its vibrant culture, distinctive cuisine, and unique shopping experiences.

In addition, this area has been a popular destination for tourists and locals alike for years, offering a wide range of exciting activities to explore.

From historic temples to lively markets and street vendors, Chinatown in Waikiki Hawaii is the perfect place to experience the best of Hawaiian culture.

7. Royal Hawaiian Center

Enter The Royal Grove to learn more about Helumoa, Waikiki’s famous coconut grove in Royal Hawaiian Center, and its rich history.

While you visit our 110 unique businesses and 30 diverse dining establishments, it encourages you to take in our celebration of dance, music, and Hawaiian customs.

8. Maui Island

Maui Island, located in Hawaii, is one of the most recommended and top-rated vacation destinations in the world.

In addition, with its stunning beaches, lush tropical landscape, and wide range of attractions to explore and activities to enjoy, Maui Island offers an unforgettable holiday experience for all types of travelers.

Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or a fun family vacation, Maui Island has something for everyone.

9. Snorkeling and Turtle Watching Tour

waikiki hawaii guide for families snorkeling in the water

Go snorkeling at Kewalo Basin Harbor for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Dive into the clear blue waters to closely examine the corals and other marine life.

10. Atlantis Submarine Experience

For a 45-minute underwater journey, board the biggest sightseeing submarine in the world to witness marine life, shipwrecks, and an aviation aircraft that has crashed.

Do it all without disturbing the sea wildlife.

Waikiki Itinerary (4 days)

Day 1: Arrival and Check-In

After arriving in Waikiki and checking into your hotel, take some time to explore the area.

Start by walking along Kalakaua Avenue, the main drag in Waikiki.

You’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants, and cafes to keep you busy.

In the afternoon, head towards farmer markets near Waikiki in Oahu.

Oahu farmer’s markets are characterized by their abundance of locally produced tropical fruits in various hues, sizes, and varieties.

However, Oahu’s farmer’s markets are fantastic locations to try the region’s seafood and handcrafted fare.

Day 2: Hiking Diamond Head

Start your day with a hike up Diamond Head crater.

This popular trail offers stunning views of Waikiki and Honolulu.

Be sure to bring your camera!

After your hike, treat yourself to a well-deserved lunch at one of the many restaurants in Waikiki, like Japanese Noodle Marukame Udon Walk.

It is an undo noodle restaurant you must not miss trying!

In the afternoon, take advantage of your hotel’s pool or head back to the beach for more fun in the sun.

Day 3: A Day Trip to Another Hawaiian Island

On day 3, take a day trip to another Hawaiian island.

The most popular options are Maui and Kauai, but there are many others to choose fry.

In the afternoon, plan a trip to Iolani Palace.

It served as the residence of the monarchs of the Kingdom of Hawai’i, beginning with Kamehameha III.

Explore the history of Hawaii.

At night, enjoy the Lual Show with a buffet dining option.

It is Waikiki’s most popular performance and the award-winning Rock-A-Hula.

From stirring performances by the artists and musicians, hula, Tahitian, fire knife dancing, and incredible musicians to luxury dinners, the show has it all.

Day 4: Departure

After enjoying one last day in Waikiki, it’s time to say goodbye.

Check out your hotel and head to the airport for your flight home.

The shopping experience in Waikiki

Shops including Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic, Honolulu Cookie Co., Kona Coffee, Pandora, Sunglass Hut, and Swarovski can be found in The International Market Place, which also has Hawai’i’s first Saks Fifth Avenue.

While T Galleria by DFS at Royal Hawaiian Ave is a posh duty-free shopping center, the stylish two-level, open-air Waikiki Beach Walk includes more than 40 businesses, cafés, and an outdoor plaza where live performances are staged.

Top Family Restaurants in Waikiki

Waikiki has many eating options that can satisfy all types of cravings.

The top-rated dining recommendations in Waikiki are:

Duke’s Waikiki

Nothing is more famous than this eatery honoring the heritage of Hawaii’s most well-known surfer.

Excellent seafood, a setting with a view of the action in Waikiki, and the opportunity to enjoy Hula Pie.

Duke’s is quite well-liked.

Therefore, I advise making a reservation in advance or going during off-peak hours to avoid crowds.

House Without a Key

Live music is played here in the open air at the Halekulani every night at sunset under the kiawe tree, along with a solo hula dancer.

Families would benefit much from experiencing some Hawaiian culture, even though it sounds a little fancier.

In the end, a meal here is significantly less expensive than at a luau, so that it might suit that interest at a cheaper cost and in a more understatedly elegant atmosphere.

Blue Water Shrimp

This is the best place for seafood in a very casual atmosphere with seating if you only need a quick snack and are staying at or close to the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

The food is tasty and inexpensive (in comparison to Hawaii’s prices).

Garlic shrimp, coconut shrimp, and everything on the menu is excellent.

Afternoon tea at Veranda

It is another kid-friendly restaurant.

The outdoor porch setting is magical, the food is lovely and delicious, and the prices are quite affordable.

Sandwiches better suited for picky eaters are included with the Keiki tea option.

Frequently Asked Questions (F.a.Q.s)

waikiki hawaii guide for families

How many days should you spend in Waikiki?

How many days you should spend in Waikiki depends on what you want to get out of your trip.

If you want to relax and soak up the sun, a few days may be all you need.

However, if you want to explore everything that Waikiki offers, I recommend spending at least a week in the area.

Is Waikiki safe for families?

Yes, Waikiki is safe for families.

There is a strong police presence, and crime is relatively low.

However, as with any place, it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to keep yourself and your belongings safe.

Are four days enough in Waikiki?

Four days in Waikiki is enough time to see and do the essentials.

However, if you want to explore everything that Waikiki offers, I recommend spending at least a week in the area.

What is so special about Waikiki?

Waikiki is a world-famous beach destination that offers something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore the vibrant nightlife, or participate in various activities, Waikiki has something for you.

What is the best month to go to Waikiki?

The best time to visit Waikiki depends on what you want to get out of your trip.

If you’re looking to avoid crowds and enjoy lower prices, I recommend visiting in the spring or fall months.

However, if you’re looking to enjoy the warm weather and enjoy all that Waikiki offers, I recommend visiting during the summer months.

My Review of Waikiki

The first time I came to Waikiki I came during the summer months of July when Waikiki was in the full summer mood.

Kūhiō Beach specifically was extremely crowded!

You could not find a spot in the sand to lay down your towel.

In addition, the Waikiki beach center was super crowded.

There were lots of people there.

Keep in mind, I went during the full swing of July.

But if you don’t mind the large crowds then summer might be the best option for you.

The weather was mild, and the water was a tad bit too cold for me.

After a bit of jumping and swimming my body adapted.

All in all, I did enjoy exploring and visiting Waikiki, however, in my experience, it was too crowded in summer.

I hope to return in the off-peak season to enjoy more of what Hawaii has to offer!

Final Thoughts

We hope this Waikiki Hawaii guide for families gives you a bit of an overview of what to expect when visiting this place!

Remember, whether traveling with your family or flying solo, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful Hawaiian destination.

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Jess and Jeanette are two sisters who were inspired by their family beach vacations while growing up. Their passion lies in guiding you toward the most remarkable beach destinations across the United States! Cheers! ❤️

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