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Kahanamoku Beach – Beaches of Waikiki Series


Kahanamoku Beach is named after the famous Surfer, Waterman, Olympic Medallist, Sheriff and Hawaii Ambassador, Duke Kahanamoku. Duke Kahanamoku is a Hawaiian legend. He invented the freestyle (crawl) in swimming and won his first gold medal at the olympic games in 1912. After that he was invited all over the world and spread ALOHA.

He introduced surfing to Australia and just to make sure he doesn’t get bored he became Sheriff of Honolulu in 1932 until 1961 and completed 13 consecutive terms. Yes, this guy is a LEGEND. Fair enough that a beach in Waikiki was named after him and he has a statue on Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki.

Duke Kahanamoku is pictured with his surfboard. He is the subject of a Google Doodle today.
Duke Kahanamoku with Surfboard

Kahanamoku Beach – The Location

Coming from Honolulu Airport into Waikiki, Kahanamoku Beach is the first beach to your right. It is behind the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The famous Rainbow Tower is located on Kahanamoku Beach. Many tourists know the rainbow tower from the TV Show “Hawaii Five-0”. There are several surf spots right when you paddle out – Ala Moana Bowls, Kaiser’s and Rockpiles, just to name a few.

Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki
Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki

PERFECT: If you stay on the other end of Waikiki for example and don’t want to walk ot take a taxi, just take a BIKI. Rent a bike and ride over to Kahanamoku beach. There is a Biki Station next to the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Find out more about rental bikes in Waikiki in our other article & video.

Water & Sand

There are barely any waves as long as you stay on the inside. Perfect for kids or people who don’t know how to swim. Who wants it even safer can go and dip in the Hilton Hawaiian Village Man Made Lagoon. Some shallow sections in the water are a little reefy, so watch out where you go.

The sand is grainy and massages your feet when you walk on it.

Activities at Kahanamoku Beach

The water is calm and great for swimming, paddling or just floating in the water. Yes you can snorkel there, but we doubt there’s much to see. There are just too many people in the water, so the fish barely go there. If you like to snorkel, you might consider to snorkel at Hanauma Bay or Sharks Cove on the North Shore. Some sections of the ocean at Kahanamoku Beach are a little reefy so watch out where you go. But definitely catch some sun here (always use coral reef-friendly sunscreen in Hawaii).

Bathroom & Showers

There are showers next to the beach and some smaller fountains to wash your feet. There is also a public bathroom. If that’s not good enough for you, there’s always the bars and restaurants at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and there are bathrooms. Perfect if you want to get a drink or a snack anyways.


Gilligan’s Food Truck in Waikiki

You have different options at Kahanamoku Beach. You can eat at the Food Truck in the parking lot, if you don’t want to eat at a bar or restaurant. Gilligan’s Food Truck of course offers Shrimp and lots of other dishes. If you like to sit down and have a beer, the bars and restaurants at the Hilton Hawaiian Village are perfect for that. They have one bar and one restaurant right next to the beach.