🏄 The 7 Best Waikiki Beach Surfing Lessons [2024 Reviews]

There is no better place to learn how to surf than Hawaii. Waikiki Beach is the home of modern surfing. Local hero Duke Kahanamoku popularized surfing worldwide in the early twentieth century.

The vast open waters of the Pacific Ocean and the topology of the islands results in the best variety of waves for surfers of all ability levels. And the warm tropical waters mean that a fall from your surfboard isn’t unpleasant.

Because it is such an ideal surfing destination, there are many surfing schools based in Waikiki Beach. We have identified the 7 top-rated surfing lessons and provided reviews below.

Each of these lessons has its own strengths. Some are best for beginners and some are better for children.

Be sure to see our other reviews of Sunset Dinner Cruises, Pearl Harbor Tours and Whale Watching Tours.

Best Surf Lessons on Waikiki Beach

Surf Lesson | Waikiki Private Group
From Waikiki: 2-Hour Beginner Group Surf LessonOahu: Kids Surfing Lesson in Waikiki Beach

Best Private Lesson

Best Beginner Lesson

Best Kids Lesson

editors choice
From Waikiki: 2-Hour Beginner Group Surf LessonOahu: Kids Surfing Lesson in Waikiki Beach
Location:Ocean Patio B Retail, 2161 Kālia Rd Space 107, HonoluluFree transportation from the Waikiki areaFree transportation from the Waikiki area
Starting:Between 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM9:00 AM, 12:00 PM8:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 12:00 PM
Duration:1.5 hours2 hours2 hours
Includes:Catch waves with a professional big-wave surfer, surfboard & leash, & Aloha spiritSmall group instruction, certified instructors, surfboard & leash, rash guard, reef booties, & free transportation1-to-1 instruction w/ a professional guide, surfboard, rash guard, transportation, Aloha gift, & photos of your kids surfing

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking

Quick Answer: The 7 Best Rated Waikiki Beach Surf Lessons For 2024

  1. Best Private Lesson: Surf Lesson | Waikiki Private Group
  2. Best Beginner Lesson: From Waikiki 2-Hour Beginner Group Surf Lesson
  3. Best Kids Lesson: Oahu Kids Surfing Lesson in Waikiki Beach
  4. Best Group Lesson: Oahu: Beginner-Friendly Waikiki Beach Surfing Lesson
  5. Best Budget Lesson: Surfing – Group Lesson – Waikiki, Oahu
  6. Best Young Kids Lesson: Waikiki 1-Hour Surf Lesson for Children
  7. Best Couples Lesson: Waikiki Beach 1-Hour Surf Lesson for 2 People

If you would like some ideas of other things to do, please see our list of the Top 15 Things To Do In Oahu and Top 10 Things For Couples.

Waikiki Beach Surfing Lesson Reviews

1. Best Private Lesson: Surf Lesson | Waikiki Private Group

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Meeting Point: Ocean Patio B Retail, 2161 Kālia Rd Space 107, Honolulu
  • Starting Times: Between 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Includes: Catch waves with a professional big-wave surfer, surfboard & leash, & Aloha spirit

This is the best surfing class in Waikiki for students who want the full benefit of personal one-to-one tuition. This surfing lesson is a wonderful opportunity for beginner and intermediate surfers to improve their surfing technique.

Because you will have the undivided attention of your teacher, this surfing lesson will exactly match your requirements whatever your current skill level. If you need to learn the basics, your professional guide can show you the ropes. If you’re an intermediate surfer, your experienced tutor can help you rise to the next level.

This surfing lesson is held in an ideal location that provides the best waves for beginners and intermediate surfers. If necessary, the lesson will begin on land so you can learn the basics. More advanced students can hit the waves sooner.

As an optional extra, your Waikiki Beach surfing experience. can be videoed. A film of your surfing class makes a wonderful souvenir of your vacation in Honolulu.

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience

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2. Best Beginner Lesson: 2-Hour Beginner Group Surf Lesson From Waikiki

From Waikiki: 2-Hour Beginner Group Surf Lesson

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Meeting Point: Free transportation from the Waikiki area
  • Starting Times: 9:00 AM, 12:00 PM
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Includes: Small group instruction (max 10 students), taught by current professional surfers, CPR & lifeguard certified instructors, surfboard & leash, rash guard, reef booties, & free transportation

This is the best surfing lesson in Waikiki for complete beginners who want to learn their technique from the best professional surfers in Oahu.

When you begin a new sport, it’s all too easy to fall into bad habits. That is especially true if you have bad instructors. This small-group surfing lesson is taught by some of the best surfers in Hawaii.

Not only are the instructors current professional surfers, they are also CPR and lifeguard certified. You can rest assured that they will teach you the best techniques with the maximum safety.

The lesson occurs in an uncrowded beginners’ surfing spot a mile outside of Waikiki. This enables you to learn the necessary skills without worrying about fighting over space on the waves or fearing for your safety.

The lesson begins with a 20-minutes tutorial on land, teaching you how to stand properly on the surfboard provided and familiarizing you with the basic knowledge you need to begin. After this, you will spend 1 hour 40 minutes enjoying the waves under expert supervision.

Following your first lesson, the experienced instructors will be able to advise you on the right surfboard and other equipment you need to progress in the sport. They will tailor their recommendations to your skill level and size so that you know exactly what to buy or hire should you wish to continue surfing in Waikiki.

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience

3. Best Kids Lesson: Oahu Kids Surfing Lesson in Waikiki Beach

Oahu: Kids Surfing Lesson in Waikiki Beach

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Meeting Point: Free transportation from the Waikiki area
  • Starting Times: 8:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 12:00 PM
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Includes: 1-to-1 instruction from a professional guide, surfboard, rash guard, free transportation, an Aloha gift, & photos of your children surfing

This is the best surfing lesson for kids in Waikiki Beach. Children up to the age of 11 receive one-to-one instruction from experienced and professional instructors who specialize in teaching kids.

You can relax as your kids receive the best instruction possible. The lesson begins with a 30-minute session on the beach where they will learn about surfing safety, surfing etiquette, and surfing techniques. They can practice safely on land before hitting the waves.

Once in the ocean, your kids will continue to learn under close supervision. Before you know it, they’ll be riding the waves. And the instructors will also take souvenir photographs on your behalf so that you can cherish the memory of this day forever.

When the fun is over, you’ll received an Aloha gift to remind you of the experience. Your children do not need prior experience or surfing equipment. Everything will be provided on the day. Your kids will have a wonderful time, and you get a peaceful rest.

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience

4. Best Group Lesson: Oahu: Beginner-Friendly Waikiki Beach Surfing Lesson

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Meeting Point: Free transportation from the Waikiki area
  • Starting Times: 8:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 2:00 PM
  • Duration: 2.5 hours
  • Includes: Small group instruction (max 10 students), taught by certified instructors, surfboard & leash, HURLEY rash guard, reef shoes, Aloha gift, & free transportation

This surfing class with Surfer Girl Academy represents the best value for money surfing lesson in Waikiki Beach. The maximum number of students in any class is 10, and the maximum ratio of instructor to student is 1:4. You will receive a top-rated surfing lesson tailored to your experience and skill level.

This surfing lesson is especially good for adult beginners and people who feel intimidated by the ocean. The instructors are experienced at making you feel relaxed and preparing you for the waves. The teachers are also all lifeguard-certified, so you will be safe in the water.

This surfing class will begin with between 20 and 30 minutes of instruction on the land. You will be taught about surfing safety, surfing etiquette, and basic surfing techniques. After this, you will enter the water under the close supervision and guidance of experienced instructors.

Surfing is an adrenaline-fueled adventure, and you will have a wonderful time out on the waves. After the lesson, you will receive an Aloha gift to remind you of your fun in the surf. You will also take with you memories you will cherish for a lifetime.

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience

5. Best Budget Lesson: Surfing – Group Lesson – Waikiki, Oahu

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Meeting Point: 150 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu
  • Starting Times: 8:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 4:00 PM
  • Duration: 2 hour
  • Includes: Small group instruction (max 4 students), taught by experienced and professional big-wave surfer, surfboard & leash, & Aloha spirit

This is an excellent Waikiki Beach surfing lesson for more ambitious adult beginners. The main instructor is a professional big-wave surfer. He aims to hone your skills so you can achieve as much as possible on your first surfing adventure.

Students who have surfed before are also welcome to join these small-group surfing lessons to improve their techniques and receive surfing tips tailored to their current level of experience and skill.

The lesson will begin on the dry beach where you will learn the basics of how to stand on your surfboard. You will also learn about safety and surfing etiquette. Once you are feeling confident, you will proceed to surf on the ocean waves.

As an optional extra, the surfing school staff can take photographs of you surfing that you can later share with your friends and post on your Instagram. An action-shot makes an ideal souvenir of your Waikiki surfing experience.

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience

6. Best Young Kids Lesson: Waikiki One-Hour Surf Lesson for Children

Waikiki: One-Hour Surf Lesson for Children

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Meeting Point: The Duke Kahanamoku statue.
  • Starting Times: 8:00 AM – 4 PM every hour on the hour
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Includes: A tandem surf with an expert guide, surfboard & leash, & Aloha spirit

This is the best Waikiki surfing class for more timid but keen kids. Your child surfs in tandem with an experienced, professional big-wave surfer.

This provides your kid with the safest possible surfing experience. It also enables him or her to attempt more exciting waves than they could without such close one-to-one guidance.

This surfing class will begin on land and progress into the ocean. Because this surfing lesson is one-to-one, your kid will receive tuition tailored to their specific experience and skill level. Before hitting the waves, they will have the opportunity to hone their standing skills and learn about surfing safety.

Out on the waves, a surfing school staff member will video their surfing lesson. A few days after this surfing adventure, you will receive an edited video of your kid enjoying themselves surfing in Waikiki.

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience

7. Best Couples Lesson: Waikiki Beach 1-Hour Surf Lesson for 2 People

Waikiki Beach: 1-Hour Surf Lesson for 2 People

Tour Highlights at a Glance:

  • Meeting Point: The Duke Kahanamoku statue.
  • Starting Times: 10:00 AM – 4 PM every hour on the hour
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Includes: Professional instructor, surfboard, & leash

This is the best surfing lesson in Waikiki Beach for couples. Learn how to surf with your spouse, your partner, or your best friend. You and your friend will benefit from the undivided attention of an experienced big-wave surfer.

The surfing lesson can be tailored to any skill level. This class will begin with an introductory session on the beach where you will learn how to stand on the surfboard. You will also learn about surfing safety and surfing etiquette. Once you are both confident with your surfboards, you will hit the waves.

The sandy shoreline and slow-breaking waves in Waikiki Beach are perfect for learning how to surf. As the lesson progresses, your professional instructor will point out your areas of weakness and teach you how to improve your surfing technique.

You and your friend will enjoy the best possible surfing experience in Waikiki. Few other surfing destinations can compete with this prime surfing spot.

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience

Oahu Travel Guide

Best surfing lessons in Waikiki Beach World Travel Guides
Waikiki Beach is a great surfing destination for surfers of all ages and ability levels


Although Hawaii has been a US State since 1959, it still feels like another country. Oahu is the most popular of the Hawaiian islands, hosting many of its iconic attractions.

Where else in the US can you visit not just one but two genuine royal palaces?

Whether you’re most fascinated by volcanic features like Diamond Head, the abundance of marine life in the surrounding ocean, or local traditions like lei greetings and luaus, you’ll find something amazing to see and do in Oahu.

Airports & Entry

For most visitors, the only practical means to get to Oahu is by air. There are no ferries from the continental US to Hawaii.

However, you can opt to join a cruise to Hawaii from Vancouver, San Francisco, or Los Angeles.

By Air

Hawaii’s main airport is Honolulu International Airport in Oahu, which is also known as Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

Most visitors to Hawaii arrive here, and the airport handles over 21 million passengers a year. By air, you can reach Oahu from almost anywhere in the world.

If you compare the price of flights on a ticket site like Skyscanner, you’ll find one-way flights from LA for as little as $232, from NYC for $367, and from London for $484.

As one of the 30 busiest airports in the US, Honolulu offers all the facilities you’d expect inside a large airport.

International flights land at Terminal 2, which is the main terminal sometimes referred to as the Overseas Terminal.

You’ll find most of the food outlets, stores, and other services in Terminal 2. All 3 terminals of the airport are linked by the Wiki-Wiki shuttle bus service.

You can reach central Honolulu or Waikiki from the airport by shuttle bus, public bus, taxi, or hire car. Some hotels offer a free shuttle bus service.

Shuttles are the easiest economical option, costing around $16 one way. The public buses are cheaper, but they’re slow and don’t allow luggage. Taxis usually charge between $40 and $45.


Cruises from the continental US depart from Los Angeles and San Francisco, and Canadian cruises depart from Vancouver.

The shortest duration of such a tour is 11 days from Vancouver, but that would involve 5 days at sea and 5 in port.

A 14-day cruise from LA consists of 9 days at sea and 4 in port. If you want to reach Oahu by cruise liner, you’ll sacrifice half your vacation to just getting there.

But the biggest disadvantage of taking a cruise over flying is that a cruise will typically only spend one day in each port.

You won’t have enough time to adequately explore Oahu or any other Hawaiian island.

Traveling in the time of Covid

Like many other destinations worldwide, tours and visitor attractions in Oahu have adopted special procedures.

Wearing a mask in mandatory in many locations. You will be expected to supply your own mask and wear it when you enter public buildings.

Keep your distance from other visitors who are not in your family group or bubble. You will be expected to keep your distance inside minibuses and other vehicles and when seated in restaurants.

At the time of writing, the State of Hawaii welcomes visitors but requires pre-travel testing for Covid-19. You can obtain the most up-to-date information directly from the State of Hawaii Portal.

Surfing in Hawaii

Hawaii is considered the home of modern surfing. Although we tend to think of surfing as a relatively modern sport, it isn’t. In fact, surfing in Hawaii is believed to date back over 1,600 years. The first British sailors who visited Hawaii wrote about the local tradition of surfing, including Lieutenant James King in 1779. And Mark Twain also wrote about surfing during his visit to Hawaii in 1866.

The wind across the Pacific Ocean creates the perfect wave formations for excellent surfing along the south shore of Oahu. The warm tropical water makes swimming here a pleasure. Unlike many other popular surfing destinations, you don’t need to wear a wet suit for surfing in Waikiki Beach.

A huge advantage to surfing in Waikiki is that the wind and wave conditions make it possible to surf year-round. That’s why Waikiki is the best place in the world to learn to surf.

That is not to say that there are no surfing seasons in Hawaii. There are a distinct summer season and a winter season. However, only the most advanced surfers need to know what parts of the islands are best at which time of year. For beginners and intermediate surfers, there are locations along Waikiki Beach that are perfect any time of the year.

Modern surfing was first popularized worldwide by Duke Kahanamoku in the early years of the twentieth century. He was born in Honolulu and spent his childhood in Waikiki before becoming a famous Olympic swimming medalist. He originally gave swimming exhibitions but incorporated surfing into his routine. Over time, the spectators became more interested in the surfing than the swimming.

In recognition of Duke Kahanamoku’s contribution to surfing, a 9-foot-high bronze statue stands on Waikiki Beach, where he was buried. His legacy has not been forgotten by the islanders, and you will find fresh leis and other tributes adorning his monument.

General Planning Tips

Oahu is arguably the most interesting of the Hawaiian Islands to visit, boasting many of the top attractions in the state. Here are 5 tips to help you plan your visit.

Tip #1: If you love whales, go in winter

Every winter, humpback whales migrate from Alaska to the waters around Hawaii to mate and calve.

If you want to see whales breaching the surface, come take a whale watching tour in Oahu between December and April.

Between 10 and 12 thousand whales gather in the nearby ocean. You can often see them from the beaches, and they are known to circle small boats that approach their pods.

If you’re not interested in whales, the best time to visit Oahu is between September and November.

There are fewer crowds in the shoulder season, and accommodation prices can be cheaper. The fall isn’t as hot as summer but not as busy as winter.

Tip #2: Explore beyond Honolulu and Waikiki Beach

Many visitors to Oahu don’t travel far from their hotel in Honolulu, but many of the island’s more interesting attractions are further afield.

During your stay, make sure you explore some of the more unusual and remote attractions Oahu has to offer.

Tip #3: Book Oahu accommodation and tours in advance, especially during winter

Oahu is a popular destination, so accommodation and tours are sometimes fully booked well months ahead.

To ensure you get the room you want and tickets for the tours you’re interested in, book in advance.

Tip #4: Pack smart clothes and raincoats

Because Oahu has a tropical climate, you’ll spend a lot of time in shorts and T-shirts. However, occasional heavy rainstorms do occur, especially during the summer months.

For that reason, you might want to pack a light raincoat.

And, if you plan to attend any special events in the evenings, such as a traditional luau, or you want to visit a plush cocktail lounge for a romantic evening, then ensure you pack some more formal clothes for such occasions.

Tip #5: Buy traditional local craft souvenirs

You’ll see “authentic Hawaiian crafts” in gift shops around the island, but many of the carvings and traditional clothes are actually “made in China”.

However, there are several arts and crafts stores around the island that specialize in locally produced goods.

For example, check out Na Mea Hawaii, 1200 Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu.

Na Mea Hawaii is a store where you can buy books written by and about Hawaiian people, original art, crafts, and cultural products.

fruit market Honolulu oahu hawaii hotels world travel guides
A traditional fruit market in Honolulu

Restaurants & Eating Out

Oahu is an island where the indigenous Polynesian inhabitants boast an uninterrupted cultural history. This means it’s a great place to sample authentic Polynesian food.

But the vast numbers of immigrants who have settled here from Asia, Puerto Rico, and Mexico add to the rich cultural mix.

Oahu is also a great place to eat traditional Korean, Japanese, and Mexican dishes.


Because it’s an island, you’ll find lots of seafood dishes in Oahu. Poke is a popular traditional delicacy. Poke is similar to sashimi but the fish is presented in chunks instead of slices.

Monchong is marinated and grilled, deep-water fish. And opakapaka is baked, grilled, or steamed crimson snapper.

If you want to sample traditional poke, check out the Highway Inn in Waipahu. This renowned, award-winning restaurant has served authentic Hawaiian food since 1947.

The Highway Inn also has branches in Kaka’ako and inside the Bishop Museum in Honolulu.


A popular Polynesian cooking technique is using an earth oven called an imu. Any dishes cooked this way are described as luau.

Luau parties are actually named after this kind of food because it is often served at Hawaiian parties.

A popular luau dish is laulau, which features fish, chicken, or pork wrapped in taro leaves.

These wraps are slow-cooked for hours until the meat grows tender. The resulting delicacy has a smoky taste.

For hand-wrapped laulau, again head over to the Highway Inn in Waipahu. While there, also check out the smoked meat loco moco with mushrooms over brown rice. Delicious!


In Oahu, taro is the staple food source. This versatile root crop is often found crushed down into poi, a steamed or baked paste.

Poi is thick and tastes a little sour because of the fermentation that occurs during preparation.

For the best hand-pounded poi, check out the Waiahole Poi Factory on the Kamehameha Highway north of Kahaluu.

Here you can not only eat delicious poi in their restaurant, but you can also attend Hawaiian traditional food demonstrations and tastings. You can also enjoy laulau here.

Asian Food

Honolulu Kitchen in Waipahu, despite its name, is a great place to taste traditional Asian dishes, such as Sichuan pork eggplant, furikake garlic chicken, and kung pao chicken.

Manapua (cha shao bao) are popular all over the island, and Honolulu Kitchen serves a broad variety from spicy, deep-fried Korean style to traditional steamed manapua.

If you enjoy Korean dishes, Sara’s Café (Jun Café) on Beretania Street in Honolulu is popular with the locals. It has a reputation for good-quality, affordable Korean meals.

But if it’s authentic sushi you desire, check out Sushi Sasabune on South King Street in Honolulu. It’s highly rated on both TripAdvisor and Google.


Kulolo is a traditional pudding made from steamed taro, sugar, and coconut milk. You won’t be surprised to hear that you can taste it at the Highway Inn.

Breadfruit is often eaten as a dessert, served steamed, baked, deep-fried, or boiled.

You’ll also love Haupia, a delicious pudding made from coconuts. You can sample haupia, fresh apple bananas, pineapples, and kulolo at Haili’s Hawaiian Food in Honolulu.

Nightlife & Entertainment

Nightlife on Oahu is focused around Honolulu and Waikiki. Typically, the night doesn’t get started until sunset.


With so many tourists here ready to have a good time, Hawaii’s capital is blessed with lots of great bars.

Check out Buho Cantina, a swanky rooftop bar and Mexican restaurant in the Waikiki Shopping Plaza that features panoramic views of Waikiki.

It’s a great place to watch the sunset and start the night. Or if you’re looking for something more upscale, head over to the Halekulani Hotel.

Inside, you’ll find Lewers Lounge, where you can sip cocktails in a plush environment while listening to live jazz.

This is one of those places where they won’t let you in wearing flip-flops and T-shirts.


If you’re looking for a lively nightclub where you can dance to live music and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, you’ll love The Republic.

This popular club is centrally located opposite the famous Ala Moana Shopping Center. They feature regular concerts and special events.

Nearby is the more upmarket The District. You must be 23 to get inside. They feature a broad dance floor, a VIP section, 3 bars, and live DJs.

Alternatively, check out Addiction Nightclub inside the Modern Honolulu Hotel. Addiction features a stunning light show, with 40,000 lights to light up your dance moves.

Luau and hula hoops

While you’re in Hawaii, it would be a shame not to experience some of the traditional evening entertainments.

You can enjoy a FREE traditional torch lighting, Hawaiian hula show, and blowing of the conch shell at around sunset on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Go to the Kuhio Beach Hula Mound near the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Hotel.

The show starts at 6 pm November through January, 6:30 pm February through October, and lasts for an hour.

If you want a fun-packed evening of laulau food, drinks, traditional songs, and epic stories, go to a traditional luau.

At a luau, you can experience a lei greeting and eat traditional cuisine cooked in an imu while watching indigenous performers perform traditional acts.

At the best luaus, you’ll see locals dressed in authentic Hawaiian clothing and performing Ha: Breath of Life, one of the most famous traditional epic sagas.

There might even be brave fire-knife dancers and fire walkers. Just don’t stand too close.

There are several venues where you can enjoy a luau, such as the Germaines Luau and the Paradise Cove Luau.


Instead of dping just sightseeing and snorkeling, Oahu has more adventures than you can shake a stick at. If you want to explore the backcountry, take an tour by horse back. To see Oahu from above, consider doing a parasailing adventure or ziplining through the trees.

Getting Around

If you’re staying around Waikiki, many great attractions, bars, entertainment venues, and restaurants are within easy walking distance.

However, if you’re staying elsewhere on the island, or want to explore the island, you probably ought to hire a car.


The major urban area around Honolulu and Waikiki features pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. You’ll also want to explore the beaches in this area on foot.

When walking any great distance, remember to take a light raincoat. Rain showers are always a possibility, especially during summer.


Cycling is a great, eco-friendly way to cover longer distances. It’s faster than walking but still provides you with the freedom to stop wherever you want and explore.

Bicycles and mopeds are easy to hire around the island.

However, if you’re headed anywhere hilly, or you want to visit other towns, you must make sure everyone in your group is fit enough to go the distance.

Hotel shuttles

Many of the larger resorts and hotels provide shuttles to help you reach the beach and major attractions around the island. These are often complimentary.

However, some hotels charge for their shuttle services, and often those services are limited. Before you set off for the day, ensure you know what your hotel shuttle is going to cost and the timetable.

The Bus

The public bus service in Oahu is literally called The Bus.

There are mixed opinions about The Bus, with some travelers finding the service great for getting around the island, but others complaining about crowding and slow services.

The Bus does provide 93 routes around the island with an astounding 4,200 stops. You can go anywhere on The Bus!

You pay cash on the bus or purchase a bus pass. You can buy a 1-day pass on the bus for $5.50.

When traveling, keep an eye out for your destination. To stop The Bus, you must pull the cord in advance.

For information about ticket prices, concessions, maps, and schedules, visit The Bus website.

Waikiki also has a trolleybus service with stops along Waikiki Beach. Trolleybuses are great fun for short journeys in the immediate area but useless for really exploring the whole island.

Car hire

If you want the freedom to travel anywhere whenever you want, you can always hire a car. It’s a lot more expensive than purchasing a 1-day bus pass, but you will get places quicker.

You can easily hire a car at the airport, though some rental companies require drivers to be over 25.

However, note that parking in Honolulu and Waikiki is difficult.

Traffic all around the island gets congested during the busy winter months. And speed limits are lower than in the continental US and strictly enforced.


Because of the problems with parking, congestion, and navigation, you’ll find it easiest to explore Oahu island on a tour where the tour operator provides the transport.

You won’t have the same flexibility as when you rent a car, but you’ll get where you need to go with less hassle.

Taxis and Uber

Taxis in Oahu can be expensive, and they’re difficult to find outside of the main urban area. Hailing taxis isn’t common practice in Hawaii.

However, Uber and Lyft can often offer more affordable solutions to your travel problems.

Honolulu beach oahu hawaii hotels world travel guides
View across Honolulu Beach


Most accommodations for tourists in Oahu are found in Waikiki. But you can also find a range of accommodations in Leeward Waianae, along North Shore, and Windward East.


Premier hotel brands, such as Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, and Sheraton, are found around Waikiki.

Business-class hotels are clustered around the downtown and airport areas of Honolulu.

Prince Waikiki is the top-rated hotel in Honolulu on TripAdvisor and is also highly rated on Booking.com and Google.

Prince Waikiki is a modern and stylish luxury hotel with an infinity pool, wall-to-ceiling windows, and a popular rooftop bar.

If you’re working to a tight budget, you can also find cheaper hotels in this area.

The Inn On The Park in Waikiki offers low rates and free parking, which is useful if you intend to rent a car.

And the Ambassador Hotel is also affordable, though it does have relatively low ratings on both Google and TripAdvisor.

Leeward Waianae

The Makana Valley area contains a luxury resort, championship golf course, and a few vacation rentals.

The Hawaiian Princess Resort is highly rated and offers great surfing conditions in a much quieter setting than Waikiki.

North Shore

This area mainly offers B&Bs and vacation homes, though there is a major resort at Turtle Bay.

The Turtle Bay Resort is situated in a stunning location on a peninsula overlooking the bay. If you love snorkeling and turtles, it’s a great place to stay.

Windward East

This is a residential area, and the accommodations in this area are mainly vacation homes.


The weather in Oahu doesn’t fluctuate much over the year. There are really only two seasons: winter and summer. Most of the rain falls during the summer.

And there is only around an hour’s difference in sunrise and sunset times between midsummer and midwinter.

Generally, the leeward (west) side of the island is drier than the windward (east) side. This is why the eastern coast is greener than the west.

The hurricane season is from June to November, though bad hurricanes are rare.

The coldest winter month is February, with an average daily high of 780F and a low of 630F. By May, temperatures have risen to an average high of 810F and low of 670F.

August is the hottest month of the summer, with an average high of 850F and a low of 710F. By November, the average high drops to 810F and the low to 680F.

Honolulu oahu hawaii hotels world travel guides
View across Waikiki and Diamond Head

Other Adventures

You will never be bored in Oahu. Its not called adventure island no reason! No matter what you like to do outside you will find it here.

If you would like a birdseye view of Oahu’s beauty while enjoying the rush of high speed, consider a ziplining adventure. As you zoom through the trees seeing the birds, flowers and other natural sights you can enjoy an adrenaline rush!

Before you head out on your snorkel tour, you may want to get a look from above. There is no better way to do that, than with a parasailing adventure.

While floating 500 feet up while pulled pulled behind a boat you can get a birdseye view of where you will be snorkeling. Check out the fish and coral from above and locate the best spots when you go into the water!

If you are into horseback riding, Oahu has some spectacular places for you to go. Whether it a romantic beach ride or through a rainforest, Oahu has it all!

Afraid of heights but looking for some adventure? Well an ATV tour of Oahu is a great way to see areas few people will ever see!


Oahu boasts many iconic attractions that make it the most visited of the Hawaiian Islands.

Royal Palaces

Honolulu boasts 2 authentic royal palaces!

The more sumptuous of the 2 is the Iolani Palace. It was built in 1882 for King Kalakaua and became the official residence of the Hawaiian Royal Family.

In recent years, the palace has been lovingly restored. Docent-led tours of the grand halls and opulent rooms are available.

Queen Emma Summer Palace (Hanaiakamalama) was built as a summer retreat in 1857.

This house is a museum filled with displays of the personal possessions of Queen Emma, her husband King Kamehameha, and their son Prince Albert Edward.

You can enjoy a self-guided or docent-guided tour of this royal residence.

Pearl Harbor

While you’re in Oahu, it’s only polite to pay your respects to the servicemen who lost their lives to defend your freedom here during WWII. The Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor draws 1.8 million visitors each year.

The USS Missouri (WWII battleship) and USS Bowfin (WWII submarine) are permanently anchored in the harbor.

You can explore these nautical relics and learn about sailors’ lives during the war. You can also visit the Pacific Aviation Museum.

Diamond Head

You can’t not notice Diamond Head while you’re strolling along Waikiki Beach. The Diamond Head Trail is a great way to explore the volcanic cone that dominates the Honolulu skyline.

Although there are some steep sections, and it looks daunting, the hike to the summit is easier than it looks. It only takes between 40 to 60 minutes for the average hiker.

From the top, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Waikiki and the Pacific Ocean.

Waimea Falls

This waterfall at the back of the Waimea Valley is relatively easy to reach. The 15-feet waterfall is surrounded by botanical gardens, and you’re allowed to swim in its plunge pool.

The Waimea Falls trail is only ¾ miles long. Your whole family can follow the paved path that passes important archaeological sites to reach the waterfall.

And if your walk leaves you hungry, you can find the Na Mea Ono Snack Bar at the visitors center.

Waikiki Aquarium

Your whole family will love the Waikiki Aquarium. Inside you’ll find 3,500 species of marine life native to Hawaii, including crabs, jellyfish, sea horses, octopus, squid, sharks, and seals.

You’ll find the aquarium across from Kapiolani Park near San Souci Beach. It’s a great place to see all of Hawaii’s marine life in one place.

Polynesian Cultural Center

This is a great attraction for anyone fascinated by Hawaiian culture.

The center demonstrates traditional music, dances, food, and other traditions. But it’s not only limited to Hawaiian culture.

The center features 7 separate villages each representing a different region of the South Pacific. You can learn about all Polynesian cultures at the Polynesian Cultural Center.


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Robert Baker

Robert is a content writer and editor at World Guides to Travel where he shares his love for the great outdoors. He also writes in-depth travel blogs for other websites around the world. Robert is passionate about the environment and uses his writing to educate people about the advantages and importance of sustainable living. Robert enjoys creative writing. In 2009, his children’s novel Sally Hemings & the Good Associates won the Children’s Fiction section of the You Write On Book of the Year Award.
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