IN A NUTSHELL
- Soft Sandy Beach Floor
- Gentle but fun waves
- “Private” Showers and Bathrooms
- Shade available in the morning
- Weekend parking is difficult, particularly if there are events at Kapiolani Park
- Showers both on the beach, and indoors
- Small Semi-Circle Parking
- Volleyball court next to Natatorium
If you want the safety of shade but hate dealing with umbrellas or tents, the New Otani Hotel keeps half the beach in the shade, while the water stays warm in the sun. Come in the morning to take advantage of this feature, as the shady spots quickly start to disappear around noon.
Kaimana Beach, also known as San Souci Beach, is located just south east of Queen’s Beach in Waikiki, between the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial just past the Waikiki Aquarium, and the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel.
For years I called this beach “Kaimana Beach” as that is what everyone else I knew called it, assuming it was called this due to it’s proximity and views of Diamond Head (kaimana is the Hawaiian transcription for diamond). It was not until I was visiting the beach to take photos for this post that I realized all the signs said San Souci beach (“san souci” being French for “without care”) Whatever caused the discrepancies is beyond me, I tend to go with the Hawaiian name since we are in Hawaii, not France, but either name suits this gorgeous beach perfectly.
The beach park as a whole has a large grassy area and benches and palm trees lining the outer sand. In the morning, the New Otani hotel shades the left side of the beach until noon. This makes it perfect for keiki to play in the sand without the risk of a sunburn.
The surf is more existent than the practically motionless water close to shore at Ala Moana, but it is tranquil enough for my two-year-old to stand and play without assistance. It is a perfect beach for children who are no longer afraid of the constant movement of the ocean, but still too small to enjoy much larger surf.
The sand at this beach is absolutely perfect, and the ocean floor is equally soft aside from a few large rocks further out that are easy to avoid. During one of my visits I actually saw a hotel employee combing the beach with a large wide rake, which explains how the sand stays to soft and relatively free of debris.
A friend of mine from the mainland came to visit and immediately stated that there must be something in the water because this is the “pregnant” beach. And indeed, there was quite a lot of pregnant women enjoying the sand on that particular day. In fact, I came to this beach a lot when I was pregnant myself, and the beach continues to be a favorite for families. Because it’s slightly removed from the rest of the stretch of Waikiki by the Natatorium, the beach seems to usually be less crowded and chaotic.
If you find yourself missing sunscreen or in need of a soda, there is a mini mart attached to the New Otani. Additionally, there are showers located both directly on the beach, and in the Natatorium facilities on the far right of the beach. Nobody is saying the facilities are pristine, but if you have a child or if you yourself are more private and prefer to change out of your swim suit behind actual walls (instead of an open car door) this indoor area can be a welcomed feature.