Waikiki Beach vs Waimea Bay

O’ahu is the most populated of the main Hawaiian Islands. However, even with the high number of visitors, residents and development, it is still possible to find a variety of beaches. Two favorites are Waikiki Beach and Waimea Bay. After traveling to both places we compare Waikiki Beach vs Waimea Bay. Hope you enjoy reading about my experience!

Waikiki Beach vs Waimea Bay

Waikiki Beach

Even though it is located in the middle of the hustle and bustle, Waikiki Beach always seems to maintain a connection to its past that blends beautifully with modern day Hawai’i.

Waikiki’s ocean conditions only vary slightly from winter to summer. Summer will see an increase in swells while winter will be a little calmer. The beach is accessible on foot from any of the numerous hotels, including the Moana Surfrider HotelHyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Hotel and the Royal Hawaiian Resort, also known as the Pink Palace.

Sunday is my favorite day to be in Waikiki. It seems to have a more lighthearted attitude as residents soak up the last day of their weekend and tourists relish in each day of their vacation. A perfect Sunday in Waikiki would start with breakfast, overlooking the famous banyan tree and incoming surf, at the Moana Surfrider’s Veranda  at the Beachhouse. After breakfast head down to Waikiki Beach, stopping by the Duke Kahanamoku statue for a picture and a little history lesson. For the more adventurous a canoe ride or surfing lesson will be in order. For others a relaxing nap on the beach will suffice. Around 4:00 pm head over to Duke’s Waikiki for an early dinner and live music. Be sure to save room for Kimo’s Original Hula Pie!

Waimea Bay

Waikiki Beach is located on the South shore of O’ahu. Located on the North Shore of O’ahu is Waimea Bay.

This beautiful bay has two personalities depending on the time of the year. In the winter, the bay can be rough and home to some of the biggest waves ever ridden. By contract, in the summer the water is smooth, glassy and an excellent place for swimming or jumping off the rock.

Getting to Waimea Bay requires a car, taxi or bus since, unlike Waikiki, there are no hotels on or near the bay. There are available vacation rentals on the North Shore, however even those would require transportation to get to Waimea Bay. There is a large parking lot so when you arrive parking shouldn’t be an issue.

Winter is my favorite time to go to Waimea Bay. Before you go, check the surf report for upcoming swells and remember bigger is better! Whenever large swells arrive, many of the world’s best, big wave surfers, come down to take on the biggest waves Waimea has to offer. Before heading out be sure to pack a beach towel, hat and binoculars. On the way through Hale’iwa, stop by Kono’s to grab food to eat while sitting on the beach enjoying Mother Nature’s show.

Final Thoughts on both beaches

Waikiki and Waimea couldn’t be more different. From South to North; town to country; stable to volatile, these vastly different beaches do share one thing in common, the sand! Though not in practice anymore, sand from Waimea used to be trucked into Waikiki to enhance the beach. Perhaps that is why you can close your eyes and feel like you’re at either place. For me, there is a nostalgia about Waikiki Beach that draws me back. A feeling of knowing that even though many changes and developments have occurred over the years, it somehow still feels like it did decades ago.