The oceanfront neighborhood of Waikiki is located in the city of Honolulu at the southern end of the island of Oahu, Hawaii. It’s renowned for its beautiful beaches, high-end shopping, sightseeing attractions, and abundant opportunities for water sports. It’s a local hotspot for surfing with the long rolling offshore break perfect for beginners learning to ride the waves by surfboard or canoe. The surrounding city of Honolulu provides endless fascination and fun and there are a variety of vacation rentals in and around Waikiki that will get you close to the beach and local activities. Here are the top 12 locations for vacation rentals around Waikiki.
1. West Waikiki
At the western end of Waikiki is family-friendly Kahanamoku Lagoon, a shallow man-made pond with clean filtered water that’s perfect for wading, swimming, kayaking, and paddle boarding. It’s right next to Kahanamoku Beach, a wide stretch of open sand and calm waters. Western Waikiki also hosts Ala Wai Harbor, the largest haven for yachts and other small boats in the state and the launch point for numerous exciting events such as fishing tournaments and sailing races.
2. Central Waikiki
Running through the center of Waikiki is Kalakaua Avenue, a fascinating thoroughfare full of luxury hotels, designer boutiques, surf stores, and other types of shops. The Fort DeRussy Military Reservation, an unfenced complex that is open to the public, houses the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii, which focuses on Hawaiian military history, World War 2 armaments, and U.S. Army warfare in the wider Pacific theater. Fort DeRussy Beach Park has a large grassy area with picnic tables, grills, a playground, and tennis and volleyball courts. Its beach is a great spot for the whole family to swim and play.
3. East Waikiki
Vacation rentals on the east side of Waikiki have convenient access to Kapiolani Park, the largest public park in Hawaii with open spaces and multiple sports facilities. The park is home to the popular Honolulu Zoo, which features African wildlife, exotic birds, Komodo dragons, and many other species of animals. It also hosts the award-winning Waikiki Aquarium with its exhibits of live coral, giant clams, reef sharks, and many other types of marine creatures.
4. Ala Moana
The neighborhood of Ala Moana lies adjacent to Waikiki’s western side. With almost 300 shops and restaurants, open-air Ala Moana Center, the largest shopping center in Hawaii, offers endless shopping opportunities. Ala Moana Beach Park, providing soft golden sand and calm waters protected by a reef, is a great place to take the kids. Magic Island is a small peninsula that juts out into the sea on the eastern side of the park. It has a small beach at its tip, and it’s a great place for swimming, sunbathing, picnics, and Frisbee-throwing.
5. Downtown Honolulu
Downtown Honolulu is a wonderful haven for shoppers and sightseers. It’s home to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Aloha Tower, Iolani Palace, Kawaiahao Church, and the statue of King Kamehameha I. It adjoins Chinatown, a fascinating blend of historic buildings, antique dealers, gift shops, herbalists, and exotic restaurants. The Chinatown Art Walk leads you through a stimulating array of galleries and museums.
Kalihi is a Honolulu neighborhood just northwest of downtown. It is home to the immense Bishop Museum, a vast, multi-building complex whose exhibits highlight the history of Hawaii, Polynesian culture, space exploration, natural history, and many other topics. Nearby is Keehi Lagoon Beach Park, which periodically hosts outrigger races and is a great place for canoeing and kayaking. Among the small islands in the lagoon is Mokauea Island, the site of one of Oahu’s last traditional fishing villages.
The inland Honolulu neighborhood of Moanalua is northwest of Kalihi in a beautiful valley of the same name. Moanalua Golf Club, the oldest golf course in Hawaii, features friendly staff and a beautiful location. Extensive Moanalua Gardens used to be a royal residence but is now a vast green expanse with scattered monkeypod trees, streams, a pond, ancient petroglyphs, and a cottage that a Hawaiian king formerly owned.
8. Pearl Harbor
Vacation rentals in Pearl Harbor make it easy to visit the Hawaiian section of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. This includes the USS Arizona Memorial, a floating structure that sits directly over the site of the sunken battleship. The Battleship Missouri Memorial is a museum on the huge warship. You can explore the ship on your own or take a tour that includes restricted areas. In the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, you can explore the interior of a real submarine. The Pacific Aviation Museum highlights World War II aviation history in the Pacific.
Manoa is a beautiful Honolulu neighborhood north of Waikiki. This verdant valley is home to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the main campus of the University of Hawaii System. The Manoa Falls Trail leads through tropical rainforest to a picturesque waterfall that appeared in the movie Jurassic Park. The waterfall is frequently haloed with rainbows. Nearby is the Lyon Arboretum, which has a large collection of tropical plants.
The beachfront neighborhood of Kahala is east of Waikiki. It’s near Diamond Head, a huge volcanic cone that dominates the skyline of Honolulu. You can hike to the top of Diamond Head for a spectacular view of the city of Honolulu, the surrounding countryside of Oahu, and the vast Pacific Ocean. Diamond Head Beach Park, set below high sea cliffs, is less crowded than Waikiki and great for snorkeling.
Palolo is a neighborhood northeast of Waikiki in a verdant valley cut by a lovely stream. Vacation rentals offer scenic views of Honolulu and the ocean and there are some great hiking trails just up the hill. The hike to Kaau Crater allows you to view three waterfalls and a magnificent vista of the southern part of Oahu.
12. Hawaii Kai
Hawaii Kai is a beautiful community at the eastern end of Honolulu. The peninsula of Koko Head across Maunalua Bay dominates the landscape. Koko Crater, which is the highest feature, has hiking trails around it and a botanical garden inside its cone. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is a protected area where you can snorkel alongside green sea turtles and many species of fish.
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