Say Aloha to Your Next Gay Honolulu Vacation!

Nov 7, 2023

It’s time to start planning your gay Honolulu bucket list vacation! They have exactly what you are dreaming of for your next gaycation! White sand beaches, warm, azure blue water, hot sunny days, luxury accommodations, daytime adventures, and exciting nightlife! Honolulu, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu has all this, and so much more!

Luxury accommodations on the Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Oahu is a tropical island paradise waiting to be explored! The vibrant region of Honolulu and the famous Waikiki Beach are the heart and soul of this island. They’re home to lush forests, volcanic landscapes, and fabulous beaches! Combined with a warm, welcoming climate, make it a favorite travel destination. 

Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.

For some, it’s an annual tradition, while for others, it’s a dream-come-true bucket list adventure. Hawaii is open for business and welcomes LGBTQ travelers with open arms – Aloha and Mahalo! 

Boats floating in the water in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Getting to Honolulu

Your stunning journey to Honolulu begins with a landing at Honolulu International Airport (HNL). At this bustling gateway, you’ll find ridesharing, taxi, and rental car services, providing convenient options for reaching your dream destinations across the island.

Panoramic view of Waikiki from Diamond Head volcano, Hawaii.

Gay Honolulu Adventures Await

Oahu offers a plethora of outdoor adventures, catering to both thrill-seekers and relaxation enthusiasts! If you really want to see everything the island has, you may want to consider renting a car. This is great for seeing sites like the pineapple plantations and coffee roasters. 

For those who crave beachfront bliss, the vibrant city of Waikiki promises a pedestrian-friendly environment perfect for soaking up the sun. Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen, as the Hawaiian sun shines brightly, so be sure to protect your skin!

People enjoying the Waikiki Beach on a sunny day.

Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch is a vast nature reserve on Oahu’s north side. It’s a 35-minute drive from Waikiki, taking you through a fabulous tropical jungle and scenic oceanside route! As a nature reserve, it safeguards indigenous flora and fauna, offering refuge to numerous species. The sweeping jungle mountains are impressive, sweeping from the ocean into the sky. The rugged looking mountains, sometimes shrouded in clouds, are exactly what you’d imagine earth looked before humans roamed the planet.

The 'Secret Island' near Kuala Ranch, Hawaii.

As a nature reserve, Kualoa Ranch protects species of flora and fauna that are indigenous to the region. They actively plant, manage, and harvest various types of plants, shrubs, flowers, and trees. These provide a refuge and home to many species of insects, birds, and other creatures. 

The sprawling valley of Kuala Ranch nature reserve.

They also have a herd of free-range cattle that can be seen grazing in their fields. There is a shop on site where you can purchase fruits, vegetables, and meats! All are produced on the nature reserve, along with other items from the local area by other producers. It’s a great and effective way to support the local communities during your stay!

The jungle mountains of Kualoa Ranch, reach towards the blue skies.

Kualoa Ranch has been the filming location for many hit movies over the years, including Planet of the Apes and the Jurassic Park series of movies. There’s a large gift shop that offers everything from Jurassic Valley t-shirts and hoodies to kitschy souvenirs and Hawaiian shirts!

Part of the Jurassic World film set at Kuala Ranch, Oahu, Hawaii.

Kualoa Ranch also offers a variety of public tours to see, experience, and explore the nature reserve – four-wheelers, horseback rides, trucks, ziplines, and more!

A four-wheeler tour of the Kuala Ranch nature reserve.

While at Kualoa Ranch, make sure to visit Aunt Pat’s Café for a taste of locally produced delights! You can also explore the gift shop for souvenirs that capture the magic of this unique location. 

A hamburger from Aunt Pat's Cafe at Kualoa Ranch, made with beef raised on the nature reserve.

Learn more about Kualoa Ranch.

Hike Diamond Head Volcano

To the east, the backdrop of Waikiki is the Diamond Head volcano. This is Hawaii’s most recognized landmark and is known for its historic hiking trail, stunning coastal views, and military history. Did you know the saucer-shaped crater was formed about 300,000 years ago? This happened when a single eruption sent ash into the air, which fell back down and created a cement-like rock. Today, it’s a moderate hike to see the photo-worthy views of the Honolulu coastline and Waikiki!

View of Waikiki from Diamond Head Volcano.

The iconic hike from the parking lot to the summit is less than a mile. It gains about 560 feet from the crater floor to the top of the scenic volcano rim. About 25% of the trail is a concrete path, while most of the climb goes up trails and staircases. You’ll go through a tunnel, and switchbacks that traverse the steep slopes.

The concrete path, the first 25% of the trail, to the summit of the Diamond Head Volcano.

Once at the top, there is a bunker that was used by the military to defend this side of the island with artillery fire. Here you’ll find multiple scenic outlook platforms – perfect for getting selfies and postcard-perfect photos! There are views of the entire crater, along with the Honolulu shoreline looking off in the distance towards Koko Head.

The scenic view of the Diamond Head Volcano.

Reserve your time to hike Diamond Head volcano.

Surf Lessons at Kaimana Beach

It wouldn’t be a trip to Hawaii without a surfing lesson! Owned by the legendary surfer, Kai Sallas, he is the WSL World Longboard Champion and World Longboard Champion. Located at Kaimana Beach Hotel, get geared up and hit the waves! Beginners can be on a surfboard and learning to ride the waves within an hour! 

Learning to surf at Kaimana Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii.

If you’ve tried surfing before, it’s a great opportunity for a refresher course before going out on your own. This way you can fully enjoy your time riding the rollers. Get a private lesson with an instructor who will teach you how to get on the board. They’ll provide safety tips, guide you on how to stand up, and provide feedback and tips to help you stand up and stay up on the board. You’ll be riding the waves in no time.

Surf lessons from Kaimana Beach Resort surf shop.

Book your surfing lesson at Kaimana Beach Surf Shop.

Gay Honolulu Retail Therapy on Kalakaua Avenue

Boutique stores to luxury retail chains, convenience stores Honolulu small businesses, there are plenty of opportunities for retail therapy. Here you’ll find everything from swimwear and Hawaiian shirts to Hawaiian coffee, cookies, and snacks, to jewelry, evening wear, and skincare.

Waikiki's Main Street with Pride banners to celebrate Honolulu Pride.

For all the gays that love a little shopping and spending, Kalakaua Avenue is the place to be. They offer boutique stores and luxury retail chains for all the bougie gays. There’s also plenty of convenience stores and small local businesses as well. Shopping these local shops is an authentic and perfect way to help support the local community during your stay! Here you’ll find everything from swimwear and Hawaiian shirts to Hawaiian coffee, cookies, and snacks, to jewelry, evening wear, and skincare. They truly have everything covered!

Beach Day at Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach, with its crescent shape and sparkling white sand, is a must-visit spot. Whether you’re sunbathing, playing vollyball, surfing, boogie-boarding, or simply splashing in the waves, the beach offers the ideal backdrop for a day of relaxation. Nearby coffee shops and cafes provide the perfect refreshments to keep you energized.

Group of friends playing volleyball on Waikiki Beach.

Gay Honolulu Bars and Fine Dining

Honolulu’s dining scene offers a delectable fusion of flavors, blending fresh seafood with locally inspired Hawaiian dishes. Join us as we savor the essence of Hawaii and discover the perfect spots for handcrafted cocktails and memorable dining experiences. Honolulu’s dining and drinks scene invites you to delight in the flavors of the islands.

Homemade pasta at Hau Tree restaurant at the Kaimana Beach Resort, Hawaii.

Fine dining is an important part of every vacation. In Honolulu there are plenty of fantastic restaurants serving up fresh seafood and locally inspired Hawaiian dishes. However, there are two special restaurants you must visit, and reservations are required, because they are extremely popular.

Hula’s Bar and Lei Stand

There are several gay bars in Honolulu, however nothing compares to Hula’s Bar and Lei Stand. Celebrating its 50thyear in 2024, Hula’s has been a steadfast destination welcoming the LGBTQ+ community and allies. It’s the most popular and favorite bar of locals and should be your first stop for cocktails.

Exterior view of Hula's Bar and Lei Stand, Honolulu, Hawaii.

During the day, the open-air restaurant is a great spot to grab delicious food and craft cocktails! All while enjoying the views of Diamond Head volcano and Waikiki beach. At night, the lights come on and the music turns up, creating a sensational dance club!

Hula's Bar and Lei Stand entry in the 2023 Honolulu Pride Parade.

Hula’s has been a long-time supporter of the LGBTQ+ community! They are often hosting fundraisers and events and sponsoring the annual Honolulu Pride! Be sure to swing by for drinks and enjoy the welcoming atmosphere!

Hau Tree

Located at the Kaimana Beach Resort, Hau Tree is a wonderful open-air, beach side restaurant. It’s the perfect place to celebrate big life events during your visit to Honolulu! The dining area is built around beautiful trees with lights hanging from the branches, and tiki torches line the beach. Plan to arrive before sunset! This way you can enjoy a cocktail as the sun sets, blazing the sky with yellow, orange, and red. It couldn’t be more romantic!

Steak dinner at Hau Tree restaurant at the Kaimana Beach Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Hau Tree menu offers everything from fresh seafood and salads to homemade pasta, and steak grilled to perfection. Their signature drink is the Waikiki Mai Tai, and they have a wonderful selection of wines. Wrap up your dinner with a slice of cake and gelato, both made in-house.

See the menu and make your reservation at Hau Tree.

House Without A Key

Located at Halekulani, House Without A Key is a stunning indoor/outdoor restaurant on the shores of Waikiki. Known for its handcrafted cocktails, appetizers, and Hawaiian entertainment, it’s the perfect backdrop to catch the evening sunset.

Sailboats during sunset at Waikiki Beach.

Open from breakfast through to dinner, there are fresh dining options available throughout the day. The restaurant proudly supports local farmers! They’re serving up fresh fare made with ingredients from across the Hawaiian Islands, creating unique and signature flavors.

Handcrafted, tropical Mai Tai cocktails at House Without a Key in Honolulu, Hawaii.

From fresh seafood to fall-off-the-bone ribs, perfectly grilled steaks and burgers, and brick oven flatbreads, there are plenty of dining options! They serve up an incredible Mai Tai and the most light and fluffy coconut cake you could ever dream of! It’s exquisite.

A 16 oz steak at House Without a Key restaurant in the Kalekulani Resort.

Each night there is live entertainment with music and a hula dancer. It’s a can’t miss opportunity.

Hula dancer and live music.

View the menu and make your reservations at House Without A Key.

LGBTQ+ Friendly Hotels Make a Gay Honolulu!

There are plenty of resorts and luxurious accommodation options available in Honolulu. These are two accommodation choices highly recommended by HomoCulture! They are LGBTQ+ friendly properties located in Waikiki.

Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani

Halepuna Waikiki stands as a beacon of inclusivity and hospitality, where all are not just welcomed but celebrated. There’s amazing food within reach, and fabulous beaches to walk.

View of resorts and the ocean from a luxury resort in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani is a sanctuary of sophistication and tranquility on the world-renowned Hawaiian island of Oahu. This fabulous boutique property brings together contemporary luxury with the timeless allure of Hawaii. Halepuna Waikiki is surrounded by the iconic beauty of Waikiki Beach and the azure waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Seek relaxation by the beach, explore the local culture, or have an adventurous day on the water! Whatever you choose, this boutique gem provides the perfect base for a Hawaiian vacation that blends luxury and island living!

Pool selfie at the Halepuna Resort rooftop hotel with the Pacific Ocean in the background.

Read more about the Halepuna Waikiki.

The Kaimana Beach Hotel

Along the shores of Waikiki Beach, the Kaimana Beach Hotel beckons you with the promise of a fabulous island escape. Originally the beach was known as Sans Souci, which translates to “without cares”, this family-owned and operated boutique hotel thrives in the spirit of carefree living.

An ocean-view room at the Kaimana Beach Hotel, Hawaii.

They have an unbeatable location right at the eastern end of Waikiki Beach! Only 12 minutes away from the best shops, and dining establishments there’s plenty to do. The Kaimana Beach Hotel offers up direct access to one of the world’s most stunning coastlines with private beach access!

Kaimana Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii

Kaimana Beach Hotel has plenty of rich history, offers authentic Hawaiian hospitality, and has an undeniable connection to the life of the islands. Claiming to be “perfect for the barefoot beach lifestyle,” the Kaimana Beach Hotel captures the very essence of Hawaii.

Gay man in sequin tank top, wearing sunglasses, and traditional lai, with Honolulu in the background.

Read more about the Kaimana Beach Hotel.

Plan to Attend Honolulu Pride in 2024

For the entire month of October, Honolulu becomes a melting pot of LGBTQ+ pride, education, and cultural festivities. These events shine a spotlight on the exuberant LGBTQ+ community and Hawaii’s loving embrace. 

The only thing as hot as the temperatures was the enthusiasm and excitement for Honolulu Pride 2024. Standing out as one of the grand finales in the global Pride calendar, Honolulu Pride on Oahu is a Pride event like no other. 

Held the third week in October, the streets of Waikīkī are dressed in rainbows and filled with spirited marchers for the Honolulu Pride parade. This procession started its journey at the scenic Magic Island of Ala Moana Beach Park and finished at Kapi‘olani Park. It’s one of the few Pride parade routes along an oceanfront beach.

The Honolulu Pride Festival offered attendees an impressive lineup of live performances, motivational talks, and engaging activities. 

The shores of Waikiki are buzzing with events, from the essential Pride parade and festival to electrifying dance parties, alluring drag brunches, and refreshing pool parties.

Read more about Honolulu Pride.

Start planning your trip to Honolulu for Pride 2024 now!

Gear up for your Waikiki adventure! 

Honolulu, situated on Oahu’s southern coast, is Hawaii’s capital and the entry point to its stunning islands. Dive headfirst into Waikiki’s gay scene, enjoy delectable dining, lively nightlife, and enticing shopping options. 

Waikiki’s renowned crescent-shaped beach, framed by palm trees and towering hotels, provides a picturesque backdrop with the majestic Diamond Head crater standing tall afar.

A beautiful city part by Waikiki Beach.

You’ll kick yourself in the rear if you miss this so – stop procrastinating and start planning today. 

Honolulu beaches.

The Hawaiian Islands is your go-to guide for an unforgettable gaycation. Discover top recommendations for accommodations, activities, nightlife, dining, and shopping destinations on their website.

Sculpture of a surfer, adorned with traditional Hawaiian lei's.
Brian Webb

Brian Webb

Author

Brian Webb is the founder and editor-in-chief of HomoCulture, a celebrated content creator, and winner of the prestigious Mr. Gay Canada – People’s Choice award. An avid traveler, Brian attends Pride events, festivals, street fairs, and LGBTQ friendly destinations through the HomoCulture Tour. He has developed a passion for discovering and sharing authentic lived experiences, educating about the LGBTQ community, and using both his photography and storytelling to produce inspiring content. Originally from the beautiful Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia, Brian now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. His personal interests include travel, photography, physical fitness, mixology, drag shows.

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