Sans Souci Beach

May 13, 2021 | General Information

Table of Contents
Sans Souci Beach is a small but beautiful beach with a big history. This lovely white sand beach is in Kapiolani Park just about a fifteen-minute walk from Waikiki. Sans Souci Beach is a great place to go to avoid the crowds typically found in Waikiki and it’s a great place to lay-out or enjoy a wonderful swim. Many local residents can be seen in the mornings doing laps from one side of the beach to the other and it is also generally calm enough for stand-up paddling as well. Snorkeling is not its strong suit however although it is probably one of the better places to snorkel close to Waikiki. Surfing can be good when the south swell is upon us and there is a break known as “Castles” and another known as “Old Man’s” which will break on the outer reef that protects Sans Souci Beach. A channel to the open ocean that arrives at Sans Souci Beach is the Kapua Channel and caution should be exercised here because it can often produce a very strong current which is difficult to swim against.

A Relaxing Day at Sans Souci Beach
San Souci Beach’s original claim to fame came in the mid 1880’s when perhaps the original visitor lodging in Waikiki, and probably all of Hawaii, was opened by a proprietor named Allen Herbert. Meaning “without a care” in French, he called his accommodation San Souci and began to attract visitors, the most famous of whom was Robert Louis Stevenson who stayed at this location for a period of weeks as he made his way through the Hawaiian chain of islands in 1893. The small beach location of Sans Souci also provided another major piece of Hawaiian history when it became the ending point for the Steamship “Silvertown” which in 1902 completed its twelve day voyage across the Pacific from San Francisco in its successful attempt to lay the first trans-Pacific telegraph link via an underwater cable. The system famously became operational on the first day of the new year of 1903 when President Theodore Roosevelt sent the first message over this important new communication medium.

The Natatorium at Sans Souci Beach
On the northern border of Sans Souci Beach is an iconic structure that was built there in 1927, the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium. This structure, which has been in disrepair for some years but is the focal point of a restoration movement that hopes to have it eventually preserved to its original condition, served a dual purpose. It was a saltwater swimming competition arena which offered swim competitions that drew thousands of spectators such as the Keo Nakama Invitational meet which in its heyday was considered the longest running swim meet of its type in the nation. Hawaii’s most famous waterman and Olympic swimming champion, Duke Kahanamoku swam the first ceremonial 100-meter freestyle event on opening day in 1927 and provided some star-power to give the Natatorium a good send-off. In addition the Natatorium was also constructed to honor the 10,000 enlisted men who volunteered for duty in World War 1 and for the one-hundred and one soldiers who were killed in the conflict.

Ocean Caution
Please be advised that all beaches and ocean locations in Hawaii can be potentially dangerous including this location. Be completely aware of the ocean conditions prior to entering the water and of course, never turn your back on the ocean when you are on the shoreline. It should also be noted that all shorelines and beaches in Hawaii, including this one, can be frequented by sharks, jellyfish and other sea creatures which can provide potential harm to people entering the water.