Four great alternatives to Waikiki Beach to help you get your beach fix without having to fight all the tourists for a spot on the sand.
TEXT BY JESSICA BLACKMUN // PHOTOS BY JACKSON GROVES
Waikiki beach can be fun at first, and very convenient due to all of the rental services it has conveniently located on the shores. It offers great people watching and is in extremely close proximity to stores, restaurants and the hotel you’re probably staying in. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get tired of going to Waikiki. It’s just too over crowded!
So here are four other great beaches that are within walking distance of Waikiki and without all of the crowds.
ALA MOANA BEACH PARK
Ala Moana Beach Park neighbors Waikiki and is very popular among both tourists and locals. It is located right across the street from the Ala Moana shopping center. A grassy park that offers tennis courts, an outdoor gym (Link to sneaking in a workout article), and walking paths surrounds Ala Moana. It is the meeting place for many outdoor activities such as canoeing, yoga, boot camps, and surfing.
This beach is great for swimming due to the white sand and calm waters that the outer reef provides. And because of its expansive size, it is usually pretty easy to find an uncrowded spot to claim for the day. The park also has restrooms and outdoor beachside showers.
Ala Moana is also great for sunset. Many people take yoga classes (Link to SUP yoga class article) or just come with dinner to enjoy the incredible view.
KAIMANA BEACH PARK
Kaimana Beach, also known as San Souci Beach is located in Waikiki right next to the Aquarium and and the New Otani Kaimana hotel. Kaimana Beach is attractive as it isn’t nearly as crowded as Waikiki; it’s also nice and sandy. It is a little bit smaller, but there aren’t as many tourists. There is also a nice grassy lawn dotted with Palm trees straight back from the beach if you prefer laying in the grass or setting up a hammock. One thing to be wary of is, that this beach can have strong currents a bit further out, so if you are unsure of your swimming abilities, stay closer to the shore.
This beach also has a parking lot (if you prefer to drive), and extra parking nearby around the Kapiolani Park (Link to sneaking in a work out) (right across the street).
MAKALEI BEACH PARK
Makalei Beach is located between Kaimana Beach and Diamond Head Beach. It is small and easily missed from the road due to the park in front of it. In order to reach this quiet beach you just go back towards the stone sea wall and turn right where you will more likely than not find an empty beach. We love this beach because of how vacant it is. There are a few areas where the reef is quite shallow, but also sandy areas that are easier to enter the water. From the beach you’ll see surfers, swimmers, and snorkelers. There are tropical fish here as well which makes for a good snorkel spot. This beach doesn’t offer parking or restrooms, but there is an outdoor shower and a few picnic tables. Also as the beach is quite small so it can be a bit tricky at times to find dry sand during high tide. But if you’re looking for something more secluded and private this is a great option that is still within walking distance of Waikiki.
DIAMOND HEAD BEACH
Diamond Head Beach extends along the south side of the island to the east of Waikiki. You just head towards Diamond Head volcano past Kapiolani Park. Diamond Head lookout offers a great walking path, a small grassy lawn and astounding views. We like to pack picnic dinners and have dates here sometimes.
There are a few different pathways to get down from the lookout to the actual sand. Diamond Head beach is popular amongst the surf and windsurfing community for its surf break about a quarter mile out. There are also tide pools, breathtaking beachfront homes, and a lighthouse.
The reef of this beach comes right up to the shore so swimming can be a bit challenging, but there are a few different areas where the reef breaks that offers a sandy place for you to take a dip! Interesting fact about Diamond Head Beach, one section of it is Waikiki’s unofficial nude beach. This is just a small section, and not extremely popular, but something to be aware of if you are walking along the beach with children. One of the best things about Diamond Head beach is that it’s not very crowded, while the lookout definitely attracts some tourists, the beach is more popular to residents of Hawaii.
Looking for a hike within walking distance of Waikiki with some incredible views? Check out THE FIRST THING YOU HAVE TO DO IN HONOLULU, HAWAII
I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!