There are so many faces to Oahu..from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki to the sleepy North Shore to the quiet of Ko’Olina, where do you start? Here are our top 10 activities on Oahu with kids.
Hawaii has amazing beaches (obviously)!! It is super easy to hit whatever beach is closest to your hotel, but there are so many gorgeous beaches on Oahu not near the hotels. Take a day trip and check a new one out. Some of the favorites are Waimea beach for watching the surfers, Ko’Olina for the calm waters, Waikiki for the people watching, or Hanauma Bay for the wildlife. So many options, you just might need to extend your vacation.
Oahu has tons of hikes that are kid friendly (and many that are not). Do your research depending on what the level of hiking ability for your family and head out. Whether it is the easy and very accessible Diamond Head Crater (only 1.6 miles and 2 miles from Waikiki) or the more challenging Stairway to Heaven (10 miles and in the mountains), there are so many options and the scenery is stunning. Here are some resources to find the best hike for your family:
With an average rainfall of 17 inches for the island, but up to 230 inches in the mountains, there are a ton of waterfalls to visit on Oahu. Choose the one that is the right hike length for your family. If you want to swim in a waterfall, visit Waimea Falls which is a pretty easy hike (2 miles), has lifeguards, and provides life vests for all. This park has a hefty entrance fee though ($16 per adult, $8 for kids), so is a bit pricier than some of the other waterfall hikes, which are free.
Shaved Ice is a uniquely Hawaiian specialty and it is everywhere. From the towel stand at your hotel to the famous Wailoa Shaved Ice, there is a huge range of what you can get. Check out one of the more “known” places for the full deal with ice cream, coconut syrup, and more.
Given all the tourists and activity happening on the beaches, it is amazing that there is so much easily accessible wildlife. Whether it is snorkeling off of Waikiki, a trip to Turtle Beach, or whale watching in the winter, there is a ton of great wildlife for kids to enjoy and marvel at. On our most recent visit to Oahu, we happened upon some sea turtles just swimming in front of our Waikiki hotel, some of the more consistently reliable places to view wildlife are: Turtle Bay for turtles, Hanauma Bay for snorkeling/turtles, and Whale Watching/Dolphin Tours November-February.
Hawaii has a ton of great food that is very uniquely Hawaiian. From Loco Moco to Poke to tons of fresh fruit there are so many yummy food options that are also very kid friendly. Check out some of the following sites to find your foodie inspiration:
It seems like almost everyone in Hawaii surfs and it’s true. Whether you take a lesson or just rent a board and go on your own, Oahu has easily accessible surfing with beginner level waves along the Waikiki beach, making it a great place to try this local pastime.
There is nowhere more “Hawaii” in feel than the north shore. Head up there for the day to experience the chill Hawaii vibe. Stroll the streets of Haleiwa and grab some delicious food at Opal Thai and Matsumoto’s, visit Waimea Beach Park to watch the surfers, and relax.
Sunset sail tours to kayaking there are a ton of great options to get out on the water. If you are kayaking, Waikiki or Kailua are the easiest places to kayak with kids, with the rental companies within close walking distance to the beach. For more information, visit here.
Some people go to Oahu to relax and others go for the shopping, eating, and nightlife and much of it is very kid friendly. Check out a luau, the Hilton Hawaiian Village Friday night Fireworks, or just walk the Waikiki strip for a few blocks and people watch.
So these are our top 10 activities with kids on Oahu, what are your Oahu favorites? What should we add to our next trip? For more Oahu inspiration, check out my Oahu PINTEREST board.
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