I finally discovered the part of Waikiki I like


I’ve never been a particularly big fan of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. I’ve visited many times and, quite frankly, it has never been very appealing to me. The beach itself isn’t all that great and the crowds regularly grated on me. I’d make the trips for the miles and I came out of it OK, but definitely not my idea of a great vacation destination. On some of my trips in the past few years I’ve managed to find a couple restaurants I enjoy – mostly off the main strip – and I’ve even found a few hotels which meet my budget and style requirements. But it was not until a visit this past week that I finally managed to also find a small slice of the beach life that I reasonably enjoyed.

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It turns out that, much like Venice, Italy, Waikiki is a completely different world in the pre-dawn hours. And it just so happens to be during those hours that it is a world I like to be a part of. There are no crowds. Heck, there are barely any people out. It is a quiet, calm, serene environment that is truly relaxing.

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I wandered around for about an hour each of the two mornings I was in Waikiki on this trip, with barely another soul to interrupt my day. Sure, there were a few others on the beach. But most of them were either joggers or surfers, headed for a morning set before the day really got started.

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There were no crowds hovering around the statue of The Duke.

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The beach chairs were all still empty.

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And there was a beautiful full moon shining down as the first light of sunrise made its way over the top of Diamond Head.

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Finally, as the day really got started, I was able to head over to Eggs-n-things and grab a quick breakfast to ready myself for the rest of the day to come. Awesome pancakes, especially when the chocolate chips are added.

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No doubt that the part of Waikiki I like isn’t particularly long-lasting and it certainly isn’t going to be enough to make me really want to go back to the area. But when the fares are right and a deal comes along, at least I know that I can find a decent hour or two on the beach, without the chaos and crazy which fills a typical day there.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

14 Comments

    1. It isn’t that I hate people, Matt (though I do some days). It is that I hate people who don’t know any better, and Waikiki seems to attract a lot of that. At one point while on the beach a bit later int he day I overheard a conversation between a mother and her kids. She was trying to get them to pose for a photo on the “awesome” beach. The kids asked what was so special about it, seeing nothing which made it appear particularly so. Her response was, “Well, it is Waikiki Beach so it is famous and that’s all that matters.” I’d certainly rather not have to deal with that.

      As for other suggestions, Mark, my favorite restaurant in town is a small sushi show which is very hard to get in to. I got shut out on this past trip for not calling far enough in advance. You want to go to Morio’s and you absolutely need to make reservations in advance. If you can get to Rainbow Drive-In that’s a lot of fun, too. And if you’ve got a car definitely head up to the shrimp trucks on the North Shore.

      On the Eggs-n-things front, I tried both the main restaurant and the “Waikiki eggspress” location and would head to the main one every time. Worth the quick walk over to Fort DeRussy park.

  1. One of the great joys of east-to-west jet lag—the early morning! I fell in love with Venice flying in from Hong Kong, and Tokyo flying in from NYC…

  2. We were there for about 6 weeks last summer, and are moving there next week, and we love getting up early before everyone else! Glad you found a spot you like, next time you’re in town I’ll take you up to Boots and Kimo’s in Kailua for the best breakfast you’ll have in a while!

  3. Love breakfast at egg’n’things …. and a quiet morning beach. Can’t wait till November 2013 for my next trip.

  4. Seth – Be glad you have come after Waikiki’s beach was restored to its 1970’s line. For the past year, much of the beach has been just giant mounds of sand dredged up from off-shore. They just finished a few months ago. Really took the allure off the place (and prevented nice morning walks along the beach), and now there is quite a bit more room to the beach.

    1. Indeed, glenn, one of the Hawaiian FAs mentioned the dredging project to me and that they were still working on it. Even the parts supposedly recently restored had “steps” in them where the sand was eroding again faster than they could manage. I suppose that’s one of the many risks of trying to take a man-made beach and keep it as an iconic destination over the years.

  5. I fully agree – the early morning hours are my favorite part of the day in Waikiki! While I don’t mind sharing a piece of the island with other during the day, the quiet of the morning gives me the opportunity to have it all for myself!

  6. We were there back in March. I agree, as a whole, that Waikiki Beach can be rather obnoxious and crowded. However, we saw some of the early morning views that you had as well, with virtually nobody on the beach except for maybe a person or two walking. It’s such a different place at that time. Thanks for capturing that with your photos and putting it in writing.

  7. Funniest thing (for me) about Waikiki is that everyone will first speak to you in Japanese if you’re Asian. If you turn out to be an American, they’ll pretty much ignore you after that.

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