Hawaii is renowned for having some of the world’s best sunsets and Waikiki is no exception!
This is a quick guide on where to watch the sunset in Waikiki (and nearby), including a variety of options for different travelers.
If you’re traveling to Oahu last minute, you want to ensure you have lodging/tours ahead of time! Below are some of our top picks on Oahu!
Best Tours and Activities on Oahu:
- Full-day Oahu island tour (my top recommendation to see the island!)
- Waikiki afternoon glass-bottom boat trip (a Honolulu bestseller!)
- Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial Tour (essential!)
- Paradise Cove luau (a luau that is great for families!)
- Diamond Head morning hike from Honolulu
Best Hotels and Lodging in Honolulu:
- Moana Surfrider Hotel (famous place that I love!)
- White Sands Hotel (budget – I stayed here many nights and enjoyed!)
- Hotel Renew (budget option in HNL)
- Laylow (mid-range and stylish)
- Espacio the Jewel of Waikiki (luxury living in Waikiki)
Traveling to Oahu independently? Be sure to book your rental car ahead of time to ensure availability!
Please note that these places are either in Waikiki or somewhere nearby and within a short walking distance!
Do you have any tips for watching the Waikiki sunset? Let us know your top spots in the comments. Thanks!
Where to Watch the Sunset in Waikiki
Catching a glimpse of the sunset at the beautiful China Walls lava-rock formations on the eastern tip of Oahu resembles a deep gaze at a masterful landscape painting that is alive with moving colors.
The peacock-blue hue of the water slowly gives way to the soft golden and crimson haze of the sunset, as locals reel in fish and surfers ride out the last waves of the day, bringing it to a delightful end.
Very little sand is seen in this area, giving it a distinct look from other nearby locations.
This scenic location which is also known for being a famous cliff-jumping spot is best enjoyed from the shore if you are not an experienced swimmer or surfer, especially since there are no lifeguards around.
Be sure to arrive early in order to find a comfortable spot to enjoy the sunset at Waikiki.
Kuilei Cliffs Beach Park
What better way to embrace the sunset at Waikiki Beach than gazing at it from scenic views on a sandy beach? The Kuilei Cliffs Beach Park at the foothills of Diamond Head is the perfect location.
Park your car on the south side of Diamond Head Road and hike down to the ocean, enjoying the breeze as you go.
While not the ideal location for swimmers due to its shallow bottom, the beach park is a haven for surfers and windsurfers alike, whose silhouettes against the dusk add an extra layer of ambiance to the scenery.
You can also visit three lookouts, each offering breathtaking vistas of the sunset.
One also acts as a memorial to Amelia Earhart, the first woman who dared to fly across the vast Atlantic Ocean before disappearing into eternity in 1939.
Yet another breathtaking location in the area is the Diamond Beach lighthouse, which needless to say is ideal for gazing at the sunset.
Tantalus Lookout at Puu Ualakaa State Wayside
The Tantalus Lookout at Puu Ualakaa State Wayside gives you a pleasing panoramic view of the sun as it slowly embraces the endless ocean over Honolulu.
Mount Tantalus is only a 15-minute drive away from downtown Honolulu, giving you the perfect opportunity to end your day on a high note as you watch the relaxing sunset colors bleed into the skyline of the city.
On the drive up, you will be greeted with aromatic eucalyptus trees on either side of the road, the scent of which adds to the aura of the location.
Overlooking Diamond Head, the Pacific Ocean, and the southern part of Oahu, the Tantalus lookout will create the impression of watching the sunset unfold from the zenith of the universe.
The more adventurous visitors can also hike the Round Top Forest Reserve trail, but make sure to be at the lookout before the sun sets, as the gates are closed down during the event.
Restrooms and picnic tables are available, and the area itself is wheelchair-friendly.
The sound of conches being blown echoes alongside the relaxing breeze, accompanied by the rhythmic susurration of soft ocean waves. Kuhio Beach is ready to welcome you as you celebrate the setting of the sun in the Hawaiian sky.
What we just described is part of a sunset celebration ceremony which is held at Kuhio beach every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Torches are lit against the backdrop of the fading horizon, as traditional music fades in and Hawaiian dancers perform hula shows to the delight of those attending.
The show runs from November through January of each year, and starts either at 6 or 6:30, lasting for an hour.
We recommend arriving early with your blankets or folding chairs, as the area can be fairly crowded, especially on celebration days.
There are several accommodation options near Kuhio Beach, such as the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa, Aston Waikiki Beach, and Ewa Hotel Waikiki, all of which are within walking distance of the beach.
The next location in our list of the best places to watch the sunset at Waikiki Beach (and Honolulu) is not a work of nature, but a man-made lagoon on the southern shore of Oahu.
The fact that Magic Island is man-made, however, does not take away from its breathtaking scenery. Nor does it make the location less magical!
The peninsula is part of the Ala Moana Beach Park and spans over 30 acres. The island is dubbed Aina Moana or land from the sea, and we think it is aptly named.
Visitors are in for twice the luck, as the park offers stunning views of both Honolulu and Waikiki. Swimming is ideal for children in Magic Island, as the waters are always calm and protected by lifeguards.
What makes Magic Island the perfect location for watching the sunset, however, is the series of picnic tables placed conveniently under shady trees.
While the area is also beautiful during the day, it is at sunset that its grace truly appears. The dusk colors add a golden hue to the Hawaiian white-sand beach, as the scenic views soothe the eyes which gaze at them.
Ala Moana Beach Park
Ask anyone who has ever been to Hawaii, and many will tell you that the Ala Moana Beach Park is the spot to watch the sunset, and for good reason.
Located between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu, the beach park covers an impressive 100 acres and attracts millions of visitors each year.
The section closer to Diamond Head is most preferred if you are into swimming, as other locations include rocks and reeds which make them suitable for surfers instead. Lifeguards keep a watchful eye at all times.
Ala Moana, or “path to the sea,” is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, and just like Magic Island, it is equipped with picnic tables, making it a great spot to relax and watch the sunset from.
If you are eager to experience an even more memorable sunset at Ala Moana, reserve a spot at nearby hotels early to attend the annual Memorial Day ceremony, during which 6,000 floating lanterns are released into the Pacific at sunset to honor military veterans.
The area is also well-equipped. There are showers, phones, places to get some food, restrooms, and many other amenities. There’s even a music pavilion that often hosts various performances and events.
Did we miss any amazing places to watch the sunset at Waikiki Beach or nearby? Let us know your favorite Waikiki Beach sunset spots in the comments. Thanks!
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