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Explore Waikiki with car hire from DriveNow

A trip to Hawaii is a fantastic tropical getaway that lets you see a different part of the world without having to spend quite as long cooped up in an aeroplane. This tropical offshoot is quite different from the rest of the United States, with heaps of gorgeous beaches and an incredible climate that make it seemingly impossible to do anything but relax and have a good time. Having a home base in Honolulu, the capital of the state located in the south-eastern section of the island of O’ahu, is one of the best ways to make the most of your Hawaiian holiday. And the best part of Honolulu to call your own during your stay? Probably wonderful Waikiki. This famed beachy area is where you’ll find some of the finest resorts in the islands, with resorts, swim spots, and dining options for all sorts of travellers. But that’s just the start of the amazing attractions all over this incredible island. One of the best things about O’ahu is that it’s small enough to drive around with ease, meaning you can explore all of its glory at your leisure. DriveNow makes it simple to get your hands on the keys of a great Honolulu rental car, whether you want to pick up car hire at Honolulu airport or grab it at one of the many outlets located around the city. Then it’s up to you to sample all the sunny beaches, scenic walks, and divine eating and drinking spots!

Get Going in Waikiki with Car Hire at Honolulu Airport from DriveNow

Airport Information

Address: 300 Rodgers Boulevard, Honolulu, HI 96819

Code: HNL

Telephone: +1 808 836 6411

Location: Honolulu Airport is located about 6 miles northwest of Honolulu

No. of Terminals: 3

Timezone: GMT/UTC -10:00

If Waikiki is where you want to set up shop on your trip to Hawaii, you’ll want to fly into the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. This is the collection of islands’ largest airport, with more than 20 million passengers arriving and departing each year. The Honolulu airport is often used as a gateway to the other islands, as well, so even if you’re not making Waikiki or another part of O’ahu your first port of call, chances are you’ll be seeing the tarmac here before you jet off elsewhere.

If you are, in fact, staying on O’ahu, you’ll hop on a shuttle that will take you from the international terminal to the main building. From there you’ll grab your bags before grabbing the keys to your Waikiki car rental.

One of the best ways to rent a car for Waikiki is by taking care of it when you land at Honolulu Airport Source: airports.hawaii.gov

If you use DriveNow for car hire at Honolulu airport, you’ll be able to choose from vehicles from some of the biggest and most trusted names in the business. With rental cars available from companies such as Avis, Budget, Enterprise, and Hertz, you can find a ride that will have your cruising around the island comfortably.

As with most things on the island of O’ahu, Waikiki is not too far from your area of arrival. Hop in your Waikiki car rental and take Interstate H1 East to HI-92 East. Stay on that for about 6 miles, travelling down the coast of the island. You’ll find yourself in Waikiki in about 20 minutes or so.

Where to Stay in Waikiki

You certainly won’t have trouble finding places to stay in Waikiki. In fact, the only issue you might have is figuring out which of the amazing resorts you want to call your temporary home! Hosting some of the finest accommodation in all of Hawaii, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to stay in this Honolulu hotspot.

Aston Waikiki Beach

For a fun stay that won’t break the bank, check out the Aston Waikiki Beach hotel

While you save plenty of money when you use DriveNow for your car hire in Waikiki, sometimes the posh luxury life isn’t for everybody. If five-star amenities aren’t your thing, that’s totally cool! There are still plenty of other awesome options that provide heaps of value for your money, and pretty much anywhere in Waikiki is going to have you within a stone’s throw of the beach. One such spot is the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel. This mammoth accommodation isn’t the ritziest, but you’ll find 500-plus rooms (most with seaside views), lively design, and the aforementioned beach access in a nice, affordable, and convenient package.


The Halekulani is a premium example of just how amazing Waikiki accommodation can be. Situated just steps from the beach, this famous five-star hotel features a lavish environment that doesn’t feel overbearing. Highlighting the outstanding views with its famous “seven shades of white” interior design scheme, you can drink in the breathtaking scenery hours after you’ve settled in for the night.

Waikiki Parc Hotel

Another hotel option that prides itself on its interior design, the Waikiki Parc Hotel represents more of a boutique option that isn’t quite as exy as some of its contemporaries (including its sister hotel, the aforementioned Halekulani). This spot is about a block away from the beach, so you’re still plenty close to the coast. You’re also just a short walk to some of the amazing shopping options in the area. The rooms have a minimalist feel, and private balconies give you your own private spot from which to gaze out over the sea or the skyline.

What to do in Waikiki

Listen, we’re not going to be at all surprised if all you want to do is sit on any of the amazing beaches in and around Waikiki. Who are we to argue? With one of the most incredible landscapes in North America, it might be hard to drag yourself away. But, if you do want to get out and stretch the legs a little bit, here are a handful of options that are close enough that you might not even need your Waikiki hire car to get around.

Diamond Head Beach Park

The breathtaking cone structure at Diamond Head is well worth the walk or ride from Waikiki

Diamond Head Beach Park sits at the foot of the awe-inspiring Diamond Head, a huge cone structure created by lava flow from a now-dormant volcano. The stunning backdrop is joined by silky, sandy beaches and a tranquillity that makes this one of the best parts of all of O’ahu.

You can get to Diamond Head Beach Park via foot, as it’s a short walk from the resorts around the southern edge of Waikiki. Even if you’re up around the northern section of Waikiki, you can walk to the park in about an hour with the waves of the ocean keeping you company on your right along the way. When you get there, you can continue strolling along the coast or head up onto the sea cliffs for another vantage point.

Ala Moana Center

The famed outdoor Ala Moana Center is worth a visit even if you don’t consider yourself a shopaholic

If you think you could benefit from a bit of retail therapy, the first place you should head to is the Ala Moana Center. The world’s largest outdoor mall has about 340 stores and is a spectacular spot to fill up that extra suitcase you brought overseas. This massive collection of retailers contains global favourites as well as local delights, providing a quality mix for you to browse, pick through, and purchase from.

The complex is located on the north-west edge of Waikiki, not too far from the beach. Depending on where you’re staying, you can walk to Ala Moana, or you can drive your Waikiki hire car and take advantage of the ample free parking available.

Sample the Music Scene

Hawaii is known for its great tunes, which can act as a wonderful complement to the outstanding scenery all around. Try to search out some live music while you’re in Waikiki to treat your ears as well as your eyes. Perhaps the best spot to catch a gig is Duke’s. This iconic spot at Diamond Head features musicians just about every night of the week, with some of the finest local strummers and singers on the island.

Where to Eat and Drink in Waikiki

With culinary delights to match its delicious environment, the scenery isn’t the only thing that’s delicious in Wakiki. Seeing as the area has become a desirable destination for travellers both international and domestic, it’s not exactly surprising that a thriving food scene has grown to match both internal and outside interest. And, like many of the other attractions in the area, you won’t be forced to spend a ton of time en route to these destinations. Your Waikiki rental car makes travel time to these scrumptious spots short so you can tuck in.


If you want a bit of a twist on your normal sushi experience, you’d be wise to give poke a whirl. This island treat has been standard fare in Hawaii for a while, and it’s only in the past year or two that other cities around the world are starting to catch on. One taste and you’ll see why that is the case.

To get an idea of what poke is, start with a huge sushi roll that’s been deconstructed. You’ll get delicious cubes of raw fish that are seasoned by seasoned poke chefs. These morsels from the sea are then mixed in a bowl with sushi rice, vegetables, and other features that most likely will add a bit of a crunchy texture.

If you want to have a try, it’s hard to beat Ono Seafood, an unassuming poke spot near the far side of the Ala Wai Golf Course. What this place lacks in eye-catching aesthetics, it more than makes up for in its delicious poke bowls. If you come in your Waikiki hire car, just be prepared to keep your ride a few minutes’ walk away, as parking can be a bit tricky during busier hours.

Leonard’s Bakery

Just a couple blocks up from Ono Seafood is Leonard’s Bakery, the place to turn for local delicacy malasadas. These pastries have a heavy Portuguese influence but have become the pride of Honolulu, with Leonard’s a local favourite for trying them. If you can’t make it to the brick and mortar location, feel free to seek out the Malasada Mobile. You’ll find this fun food truck outside the Waikele Shopping Center.

Waiola Shave Ice

Cool down with a sweet treat from the famous Waiola Shave Ice Source: Waiola Shave Ice

Another one for those looking for a bit of a treat, Waiola Shave Ice is a hidden gem that specialises in dishing up delicious shave (not“shaved”) ice. What you’ll get is miles away from a frozen coke or sno cone. Instead, you’ll receive a creamy, icy concoction that pairs wonderfully with any of the 40ish syrups made in-house. The owner of Waiola Shave Ice, Jerry Lee, created and patented his own ice shaving machine, so you know that he and his team are serious about what they do. And you won’t have to go far to get your hands on these refreshing cups of shave ice; the shop is in Waikiki!

Arancino at the Kahala

Italian might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of tropical island fare in Hawaii. But don’t let that keep you away from Arancino at the Kahala. As with much of the food on the islands, there is a healthy dose of Asian influence in many of the dishes here. This leads to new spins on Italian food that you most likely haven’t experienced elsewhere. Save this for a celebration, as it’s a fancier place to sit down for a meal. Hop in your Waikiki hire car and take the short drive east; you won’t regret it.

Get out and Explore O’ahu

As previously mentioned, one of the things that makes O’ahu such an optimal vacation spot is its size. When you have the keys to a rental car in Waikiki, you’re never more than an hour or so from another amazing adventure. In fact, from your location in Waikiki in the south of the island, it only takes about 90 minutes to get all the way up to the north shore up in Kahuku.

Here are some of the best road trips you can take in your Hawaii car hire from Waikiki.

North Shore

OK, so by this point you probably get the picture that Waikiki is perhaps the best place to establish your home base during your trip to Honolulu and the rest of O'ahu. But most would say it would be a mistake to not get behind the wheel and cruise up to the North Shore. With some of the most famous beaches in Hawaii making up the adequately named Seven Mile Miracle, this spot is a haven for those who want to ride the waves and hang 10. Even if you’re not a surfer, the sandy beaches are plentiful and swim spots are quite enjoyable for most travellers. It’ll take you about an hour to get to the North Shore in your Waikiki car rental.

Waikiki to Hawaii Kai to Kailua

While driving the south coast of O’ahu certainly has its perks (including a stop-off at the aforementioned Diamond Head Beach Park if you feel so inclined), the real jewel of this route is the second leg, from Hawaii Kai to Kailua. The cruise along HI-72 takes you well above sea level, giving you a spectacular array of stunning views. This includes sparkling beaches, rolling waves, and rocky volcanic formations. Try to budget enough time to hop out at Lanikai Beach to check out the Lanikai pillboxes to do a bit of swimming, hiking, and chilling.

Even better is that you’ll get all of this in a manageable drive that won’t chew through your entire holiday. The loop from Waikiki to Hawaii Kai to Kailua and back to Waikiki only takes about 90 minutes in your car hire.

Waianae Kai Forest Reserve

While the beachy coasts get a lot of well-deserved hype, the inland portions of O’ahu also provide plenty of opportunity for excellent exploration. Waianae Kai Forest Reserve is where you’ll find the highest peak on the island. If you have the stamina and the strength, you can hike up the only public route to the top of Mount Kaala at a point of 4,025 feet. The walk is best left for those with a bit of experience with hiking, as it can be slippery and sometimes has limited sight lines.

Compare Cheap Car Hire in Waikiki with DriveNow

DriveNow makes finding a rental car in Waikiki much easier with a convenient, free comparison service. With DriveNow, you can line up heaps of cars based on key features such as price, size, make, and model to see what’s available on the island. Then you can compare them side by side to see which one suits you and your travelling party the best. And these aren’t just any random vehicles. We’ve partnered with some of the biggest and best names in the industry to offer up a fantastic range of hire cars in Waikiki. This includes vehicles from Alamo, Avis, Thrifty and Dollar.

Comparing hire cars is just the beginning. Actually making a reservation is just as easy. All it takes is a few clicks of the mouse or taps on your favourite device for you to make your reservation. You don’t even have to pay or provide any credit card information until you actually pick up the keys. And when the time comes to do that, you don’t have to worry about any sneaky extra charges coming your way. The price you see is the price you get.

Why Use DriveNow for Car Hire in Waikiki?

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Hawaii isn’t the only place in which you can find awesome hire car options from DriveNow. We have cheap car hire in the USA so you can experience everything the country has to offer. Travel to mainland US to rent a car at the San Francisco or Los Angeles airport and explore the west coast. Not fond of the west? Fly into New York airport and take a bite of the Big Apple or see what Sin City has to offer with a flight into Las Vegas airport; or perhaps you want to grab some cheap car hire at Orlando Airport and tour the southeast. Whichever region tickles your fancy, DriveNow has the vehicles that can help scratch your travel itches.