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Waikiki, the most famous destination in Hawaii, has plenty of activities, restaurants, shops, beaches, bars and attractions. Walking Waikiki is the easiest way to get around, so you don’t have to deal with expensive and limited parking. Wear your swim suit, pack a towel, sunscreen and water, and don’t forget a credit card for some serious shopping. Don’t worry about comfy shoes, flip-flops (or slippahs, as they say in Hawaii) are just fine since you’ll be in and out of the water. If your feet get tired, take advantage of Biki, the Waikiki bikesharing program that lets you rent a public bike from one bike rack and return it to another one nearby. Here are our favorites stops along Waikiki’s two-mile stretch.

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Illustration by Becky Wardinski

1) Breakfast With a View

Start your tour at the less crowded south end of Waikiki Beach with breakfast at Hau Tree Lanai. Located inside the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel, this oceanfront eatery offers upscale cuisine underneath a beautiful Hau tree. Try the Hawaiian breakfast platter with poi pancakes (and coconut syrup), eggs, sausage and fresh pineapple slices. Don’t forget a cup of Kona coffee to wash it down. This gourmet breakfast will be just the fuel you need for a day of exploring Waikiki.

Waves lap on Kaimana Beach

Photo by Ericbvd / Getty Images

2-5) Kaimana Beach

After breakfast, take a dip in the tranquil and warm ocean water at the adjacent Kaimana Beach. This is where the locals go—away from the jam-packed beaches—to take a dip. Occasionally, the adorable Hawaiian monk seal can be found beached here. Take photos, but don’t approach because they are federally protected. Since the water is calm and flat at this location, you’ll typically see people doing open water swims. Although it is closed to the public, you can take a peek at the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial at the north end of the beach. It is a salt-water swimming pool built on the ocean. After a swim in the Pacific, dry yourself in the sun, then swing by the nearby Russell’s Convenience store to pick up some Passion Orange Guava (POG) juice or chocolate macadamia nuts to snack on while you walk.

Sea horses

Photo by kunalsaswani

Just a few blocks away is the Waikiki Aquarium. Operated by the University of Hawaii, this charming aquarium is home to more than 500 marine species with a focus on those found in Hawaii. Visitors can see a wide variety of colorful, tropical fish, various types of coral, seadragons, Hawaiian Day octopus, urchin, jellyfish, zebra sharks, eight-foot groupers, Hawaiian Monk seals, giant clams and more. It’s a great place to learn about the creatures you might encounter while snorkeling.

Giraffe and zebra at the Honolulu Zoo.

Photo by jaylene / Getty Iimages

6) Honolulu Zoo

Next up, take a look at land animals at the Honolulu Zoo, some of which can only be found in Hawaii, such as the Hawaiian Nene goose, Hawaiian Koloa duck and the Hawaiian hawk. The zoo is also home to more traditional animals like tigers, monkeys, zebras, and elephants. There is also a large African Savanna exhibit.


Photo by Sharael Kolberg / Orbitz

7) Duke Kahanamoku Statue

Wander down the beach path until you come to the iconic 9-foot bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku on the left side at Kuhio Beach Park. The statue is almost always adorned with fresh flower leis. Duke is most well known for being the “father” of surfing, a gold-medal Olympic swimmer and an actor. This is a great spot for a selfie.

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Posh Kebabs

Photo by GolePhotography

8) Duke’s Waikiki

Get a better glimpse into the life of Duke Kahanamoku at Duke’s Waikiki, a casual restaurant where you can stop for lunch and a Mai Tai. Located in the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, guests can overlook Diamond Head while watching surfers ride the same waves that Duke once rode. Dine on some Ahi poke, Waikiki hot wings, mac nut chicken Katsu, Duke’s cheeseburger or fresh fish of the day. Make sure to leave room for some Hula Pie, made with macadamia nut ice cream, chocolate cookie crust and a thick layer of fudge. While there, be sure to check out the Duke memorabilia lining the walls.


Photo by Sharael Kolberg / Orbitz

9) Surfing Waikiki

Next up, time to hit the waves yourself. Waikiki is a great spot for beginners to give surfing a try. The water is warm and the waves long and gentle. There are plenty of surf shacks lining the beach that rent boards and give lessons with reasonable rates. If surfing seems too intimidating, ride the waves in a six-man outrigger canoe instead.


Photo by Sharael Kolberg / Orbitz

10) Banán

Move over froyo. For an afternoon treat, don’t pass up delicious Banán, a frozen soft serve made from local bananas, which comes in various flavors such as passion fruit, green tea and acaí. Choose from concoctions such as the Chunkadelic topped with mac nut honey butter, dark chocolate, granola and shaved coconut. Or create your own dessert treat from a variety of toppings. You’ll find this gem tucked in the alleyway between Duke’s and the Cheesecake Factory off Kalakaua. Not only are they farm to table, but also table to farm—their banana peels feed pigs at a local farm.

11) Shopping on Kalakaua

Head away from the beach to Kalakaua Avenue, a shopper’s mecca where you’ll find stores like Coach, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Rolex, Tori Burch, Kate Spade, Christian Dior, Tiffany, Gucci and Harry Winston. It really has become the Rodeo Drive of Hawaii. After a $350-million-dollar renovation, the International Market Place, which was once home to kiosks with souvenirs and handmade trinkets (that have now moved to Duke’s Lane), is now a world-class outdoor shopping center and home to Hawaii’s first Saks Fifth Avenue. Luckily, they preserved the beautiful Banyan tree. While on Kalakaua, don’t forget to stop in one of the ABC Stores for classic souvenirs (you can’t go home without a Happiness Tiki) and any essentials you might have forgotten to pack. Save your receipts to get a free gift.

Golden hour sunset along Waikiki Beach

Photo by agaliza / Getty Images

12-13) Sunset dinner

After an exhausting afternoon of shopping, end the day with a sunset dinner at the oceanfront Shore Bird Restaurant & Beach Bar where guests can season and cook their own dinner on the outdoor grill. Located in the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, this casual dining option is the perfect place to watch the sun go down. For a more cultural experience, walk a little further down the beach to the Hilton Hawaiian Village and catch the Starlight Luau with talented dancers showcasing various types of Polynesian dance and an expansive buffet with traditional Hawaiian fare such as Kalua pig and Hulihuli chicken and other popular favorites, as well as a free Mai Tai. Head back to your hotel in style with a private driver and luxury vehicle from Black Lane.

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Tagged: Hawaii

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Sharael Kolberg |
​Sharael, founder of Family Travel Channel (, has been writing about travel since 1995. Her work has appeared in Sunset magazine, Outside magazine,,, and many others. Follow her on Twitter @FamTravChannel, FB and Instagram @FamilyTravelChannel. See more of her work at
Sharael Kolberg |


Where to stay, where to eat, and what to do once you arrive. Follow me on Instagram @familytravelchannel. #familytravel #travelblogger #influencer
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