12 Jun Three Great Routes to Run or Walk in Waikiki
Staying active while we travel is very important to us. There are a number of obstacles to exercising while on the road- from less frequent laundry access to busy itineraries. That’s why we often plan trips around places where we can run, hike, or bike to explore.
In my opinion, going for a walk or jog is one of the best ways to see a new place.
We often visit Jedd’s family in Honolulu, Hawaii. With its picturesque landscapes and favorable climate year-round, Hawaii is an ideal place for an active vacation.
Honolulu is a unique place in that it is a “major” city on a relatively small island. While you may not get the traditional, quiet, country vibe if you stay in town, there certainly is a lot to see and do. And it’s easy to take day trips to the rest of the island.
If you want to be at the heart of all the action, then Waikiki is the place for you. There’s an abundance of hotels and condos for rent within walking distance of the beach. But you can also find a place elsewhere (we recommend Kailua) and do a day trip into Waikiki to see what it’s all about.
The following are my three favorite running routes in or around Waikiki. They allow you to explore, people watch, and experience the highlights of Waikiki while burning off that delicious Hawaiian food! Just click on the maps to get an interactive look at each route on MapMyRun.
Route 1: Heart of WaikikiDistance: 4.45 miles (can easily cut it short numerous ways)
Description: This route will take you from one end of Waikiki Beach to the other, and you can start on either end – or in the middle. You’ll see the whole gamut of activity along the beach – from the well-used Kapiolani park, to the crowded beach full of surfers and sun-bathers, from high-end stores to tourist shops, lots of hotels, and also one of the marinas. Technically, you can walk the whole beach if you don’t mind soft sand and the crowds of beach-goers, but this mapped route stays on paved pathways and sidewalks. Take a detour into Fort DeRussy Park (next to the Hale Koa hotel) to mix up your work-out with an exercise circuit (pull-ups, etc.).
Parking: There is free parking at the marina on the NW end of this route but you may have to wait for a spot to open up. Paid parking ($1/hr) is usually easiest to find around Kapiolani Park or the Zoo parking lot. Or test your luck throughout Waikiki.Click to see details
Route 2: Diamond Head Loop
Distance: 3.89 miles
Description: This is a nice big loop around Honolulu’s most iconic landmark. There’s one good uphill (and a few small ones) either direction you choose to go. You’ll see some high-end homes, part of Kapiolani Park, and pass a number of eateries on Montserrat if you want to reward yourself with a coffee or snack. We sometimes take a break to watch the surfers from above or time our run to end up at Kapiolani Community College for the Saturday market. If you really want a work out, do this route and then pay $1 per person to walk in (or $5/vehicle) to the State Monument and climb the stairs to Diamond Head’s scenic overlooks. Or stop off at one of two exercise parks near the Monument entrance to get in some pull ups.
Parking: There’s paid parking in Kapiolani Park along Kalakaua Ave and free parking around Fort Ruger Park (a.k.a. Triangle Park) and some of the surrounding neighborhoods. If you’re going to the Saturday Market or into the State Monument area afterward, you should also be able to find parking around those areas.
Magic Island & MoreDistance: 4.35 miles (can shorten to about 3 miles)
Type of Route: The bulk of this route is a 3 mile paved loop around Magic Island and Ala Moana Beach Parks. It’s a fun place for watching surfers, paddle boarders, and outrigger canoe teams. I added an additional leg on the East side, through the neighboring marina, to boost the distance- you’ll also start there if you’re coming on foot from Waikiki. Also, some people will probably prefer to just go out and back along the beachside of Magic Island as it is more scenic than making the loop back on the trail that parallels Ala Moana Boulevard. Apart from little bridges, this route is actually quite flat.
Parking: You can park free within Ala Moana or if you drive all the way in to the marina, but you may have to wait for a spot as they are popular with surfers.Click to see details
We welcome your thoughts and questions! Please use the comments section below.
Photo credit: Josh (instagram.com/pdxploration) Note: Click on the maps to get more details about each route on MapMyRun.com
Get our best tips and resources for transformational travel
Subscribe now to get our free Checklist for International Travel, plus other exclusive content about how to travel more, save money, and enjoy transformational experiences around the world.