fbpx

Why is Waikiki Beach Famous?

View of Waikiki Beach with building and palm trees lining the left-hand side. Beach umbrellas and lounge chairs are scattered throughout the sand and swimmers are in the bright blue ocean water. Diamond Head is in the background. The sky is blue with some light clouds.

Whether you’re from Hawaii or have never even been to the islands, you’ve probably heard of Waikiki Beach. Often rated as one of the best beaches in the United States, Waikiki Beach has become a premier place to spend a holiday. Waikiki Beach is known for its beautiful white sand and turquoise blue water but that’s just the beginning! 

Where is Waikiki Beach?

The photo is looking down at Waikiki Beach from the water. The Royal Hawaiian "Pink Hotel" stands out among the other hotels along the beach. There are bright blue beach umbrellas throughout the sand and swimmers are scattered in the ocean water. A bright yellow-orange catamaran boat is pulled up on the shore.

Located on the tropical island of Oahu, Waikiki Beach gets the benefit of natural beauty as well as the glamour and excitement of being a district of Hawaii’s largest city, Honolulu. As people come to relax with the breathtaking backdrop of Diamond Head, they stay at one of the most well known hotels in the country, The Royal Hawaiian. The Royal Hawaiian, aka The Pink Palace, adds a special character to Waikiki and helped establish the beach as a hub for tourists early on. 

Waikiki Beach also benefits from its location as Waikiki has grown into a thriving district. Home to world-class dining & shopping, entertainment venues such as a zoo and aquarium, and several places to stay, everything you could possibly need is within walking distance from the beach. 

Where Surfing was Born

There are surfers out in the water on Waikiki Beach, catching waves on the bright blue water. Diamond Head is in the background and the sky is mostly clear with a few clouds.

Surfing was once considered a sport only for Hawaiian Royalty until Duke Kahanamoku was able to share it with the world. Growing up in Waikiki, Duke surfed, swam, and worked as a Waikiki Beachboy. He eventually went on to win 5 Olympic medals for swimming which gave him the voice he needed. 

Now a famous athlete, Duke introduced the world to surfing by showcasing the sport from the East Coast to West Coast and even in Australia! Now, Waikiki Beach surfing brings millions of tourists to where it all began as they try to surf Queens, Canoes, and Pops just as the father of surfing once did. 

Famous Beach for Celebrities

Elvis Presley is sitting on a lounge chair in Waikiki Beach. His hair is damp and hanging down over his forehead and he has a white towel draped over his shoulders. Diamond Head is in the background along with a few people playing in the water.
(Picture source: Victorias Vintage)

While Waikiki Beach is famous for surfing and its beauty, it got a little boost from other famous icons in the early 1900s. Shortly after the first hotels were built on the beach, celebrities such as Bing Crosby, Amelia Earhart, Frank Sinatra and Joe DiMaggio rushed down to see Waikiki Beach. Not long after, Elvis Presley began performing in Waikiki as well as starring in a handful of movies that were shot at Waikiki Beach.

As the decades passed, Hollywood consistently picked Waikiki Beach to be the setting for several TV shows, movies, and vacations.

Planning a trip in Waikiki

Aerial photo of Waikiki Beach. You can see rocks and coral through the bright blue water, hotels and buildings are lined behind the sand and continue off into the city. Mountains are in the background. The sky is blue with thick white clouds lingering low above the mountains.

Waikiki Beach is certainly worth the hype it receives and is worth visiting. Whether you’re vacationing for the week or just stopping by to see a Waikiki Beach sunset, make sure to plan ahead so you can fully appreciate what Waikiki Beach has to offer. 


An often overlooked part in the planning process is figuring out where to park in Waikiki. Knowing where to park will save you time and money which can be used on the important things!

Scroll to top