If you are looking for some of the best things to do in Oahu with kids, you need to look no further than this list of great ideas. Having been several times with my kids since they were toddlers, I can confirm Oahu is one of the most family-friendly islands in Hawaii.
It is also a great stop for any multi-island family vacation and a hub of Hawaiian history and life. As the busiest of the islands, and home to Honolulu, it is often a great place to start to get your “feet wet” – both in the pacific ocean and in Hawaiian life.
The Hawaiian Island of Oahu is a beautiful tropical paradise and not just a destination only a couple can enjoy. There are so many top things to do in Oahu with family!
Families can visit many Oahu attractions and important monuments like Pearl Harbor, discover Polynesian culture at the Polynesian Cultural Center, snorkel with green sea turtles, enjoy a luau, take kid-friendly hikes, and so much more.
There is no shortage of things to do for kids in Oahu. Keep reading this blog post to learn about 101+ of the best things to do in Oahu with kids – I've got you covered from A-Z!
This post contains affiliate links which means I receive a small commission at no cost to you should you make a purchase using this link. See my disclosures. Cover photo credit: © Donkdafied | Megapixl.com
About Oahu, Hawaii
Oahu is the third-largest Hawaiian island and has a population of just over one million people. It's where Honolulu is located, which is the state capital. At nearly 600 square miles, Oahu is sometimes called “The Gathering Place,” and that name matches it perfectly.
It's home to two military bases – Pearl Harbor Naval Base and Schofield Barracks – and Honolulu Airport. And it is a wealth of Hawaiian history and traditions.
When traveling to Hawaii with kids, Oahu is a great introduction to the culture of Hawaii, where they can eat local food and learn about Hawaiian culture.
It's also a place to experience marine life! Some of the special marine animals to look for include the famous humhumnukunukuapua'a fish and green sea turtles, as well as ecosystems that thrive in Hawaii. And, let's not forget the incredible beaches!
The Best Things to Do in Oahu, Hawaii
With so many different kid-friendly activities and attractions, it's hard to know where to start! But here is a list of the top things to do in Oahu with family.
Visit The Best Beaches In Oahu For Kids
This is one of the most popular and best beaches in Oahu for families. There are plenty of things to do in Waikiki Beach, from taking in the beautiful water views to paddle boarding to tons of restaurants along the shoreline. The beach itself is very wide, so you'll find plenty of space – but be warned: it can get crowded during peak hours.
Ala Moana Beach
Right across from the Ala Moana Center is Ala Moana Beach, which is a great beach in Oahu for families. It will soon be getting an upgraded playground and restrooms.
You will also find picnic tables, concession stands, foot showers, tennis courts, and a grassy area for running around. Popular with locals for barbecues, nothing says “family-friendly” like a beach you can gather with your Ohana.
Go Snorkeling in Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay is a world-famous snorkeling spot, and it's one of the best places to go exploring in Oahu with kids. The bay has tons of tropical fish that you can see up close, as well as coral reefs. The coral reefs and colorful tropical fish are in some of the most popular photos you see in Hawaii.
Hanauma Bay is a popular location and a favorite beach for families. It has picnic tables where you can have lunch after your swim – it'll make for some great pictures!
Check Out Turtles at Laniakea Beach
Laniakea Beach on North Shore Oahu beach is worth a view to see the sunbathing turtles. While it is a beautiful beach worth spending the day on, it is the green sea turtles that are the biggest attraction for many. But note that you cannot touch or harass the animals in any way.
Hailed as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, this calm and clear beach is perfect for little ones. Lanikai Beach is a bit of a hidden gem in that beach access is through a residential area and a bit hard to find. But it is well worth the hunt for this beautiful treasure of a beach, one of the best beaches for kids in Oahu.
My husband claims Kailua Beach is the best beach in Oahu. It is actually right next to Lanikai Beach, so it is an extension of that beach. But its turquoise clear waters and soft beige sand make it one of the best beaches in Oahu for kids and families.
Ko Olina Lagoon
If you are staying at Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa or the Marriott Ko Olina, THIS will be your beach! It is a stunning cove with calm waters and beautiful sand.
Perfect for sandcastle making, sunbathing, paddle boarding, and swimming, this is one of the best beaches in Oahu for families.
Waimea Bay Beach
In the summer, Waimea Bay Beach is great for families. The sand is soft beige grain and the water is nice for swimming, though there can always be a current so be careful in open water no matter what time of year you are in the ocean.
There are restrooms and lifeguards in the summer but bring in your own snacks.
In the winter, it is home to many big wave surfers (so don't go swimming then,) but you can watch some big names surf some enormous waves.
Waimea Beach is also where famed local hero Eddie Aikau was the first-ever lifeguard. His heroic efforts gave way to the saying, “Eddie would go”, which you may see on t-shirts in surf shops.
Similar to Waimea Bay Beach, Sunset Beach (Paumalū) is one of the best beaches in Oahu with kids in the summer, not the winter. You can snorkel, swim, enjoy the clear waters and beautiful sand.
And it is an epic spot for watching the sunset in Oahu.
Avoid this beach in the winter unless you want to watch big wave surfers catch huge waves (which is also a great thing to, just watch from the shore.)
There are bathrooms and foot showers here.
Learn to Snorkel Kulima Cove
One of the most peaceful and serene beach spots on Oahu, on the east side of the Turtle Bay Resort, Kulima Cove is a great place for splashing, swimming, and learning to snorkel. Its calm and clear waters surrounded by a natural rock barrier to protect it from waves makes it ideal for getting your fins wet.
Surrounded by soft white sand, this is one of the best beaches on Oahu for toddlers!
Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon at Hilton Hawaiian Village
The Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon at Hilton Hawaiian Village is a great place for kids – even toddlers – to enjoy some water fun. In fact, my toddler and I splashed around in it for hours when we stayed at the Hawaiian Village.
Kid-Friendly Water Activities In Oahu
In addition to swimming, here are some kid-friendly water activities that are fun things to do in Oahu with kids.
When you visit Hawaii, it's hard to come to one of the top surfing areas in the world and not take part in this cultural tradition. After all, Oahu is home to Duke Kahanamoa, the father of modern surfing.
So when in Hawaii, do as the Hawaiians do! If you're up for taking surfing lessons, there are some great instructors on Waikiki who will teach your family to surf. This is a great thing to do in Oahu with older kids or teens.
Ride in an Outrigger Canoe
One of the most beautiful ways to experience Hawaii is by going on a traditional outrigger canoe surfing tour with an expert local guide. Called the “original Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride,” it was one of the main ways of transport throughout Polynesia historically.
These tours allow you to paddle through crystal-clear waters and sometimes even get a glimpse at some Hawaiian wildlife. It is one of the best things to do in Oahu for families.
Snorkel at Shark's Cove
Shark's Cove is a rocky beach located at Pupukea Beach Park and is known as some of the best snorkeling and shore diving in the world. For more experienced snorkelers, you can experience marine life in a spectacular way at Shark's Cove.
If you love shore diving and are going to be island hopping, be sure to check out Koloa Landing in Kauai. It is full of marine life due to a mineral-rich stream that flows into it. So, it offers some of the best of Kauai diving on the island.
A wonderful way to enjoy the Kai (Hawaiian for ocean) is by kayak, and it is one of the best things to do in Oahu with kids. You can enjoy a self-guided kayak tour in the picturesque Kane'ohe Bay with Kane'ohe Bay Kayak and Snorkel tours.
It is a wonderful way to spend some time in a beautiful, clear bay and one of the best snorkeling spots in Oahu. You will also have a view of the island of Mokoli'i (also called “Chinaman's Hat.)
Fishing in Hawaii is a family activity that kids love to do and gives them an appreciation for where their food comes from. There are plenty of places to cast your lines offshore, but one of the best locations is definitely Ala Moana Beach Park.
If you want to make it really easy, you can purchase a rod and reel at Kailua Beach Center or Shark's Cove (be sure to get bait here too) and drop your line off the pier. It is one of the easiest things to do in Oahu with kids!
There are also a few agri-farms where you can fish, catch, and even cook your catch for dinner!
Pupukea Tide Pools
The Pupukea Tide Pools are a great place to visit for kids who love the ocean. There's an interactive tide pool there that shows visitors the different types of Hawaiian sea life you can see in their natural habitat.
Oahu Shark Dive
Create your own “shark week” experience. Ok, I am going to be straight with you and say despite being a scuba diver, diving in a cage with sharks is not MY cup of tea. BUT, if you have teens or adults in your party who are up for it and are shark enthusiasts, a shark dive would be a cool underwater adventure. You will mainly see Galapagos and Sand Sharks, but you may also see Tigers and Hammerheads.
Mermaid Snorkel Adventure
Kids can learn to swim like a mermaid during this fun Mermaid snorkel adventure. Ages 5 and up will be guided through mermaid swimming with a provided mermaid suit, instruction, a chance to see marine life up close, and photos to capture the memory! It is a fun thing to do in Oahu for kids who love mermaids!
Visit the Iconic North Shore With Kids (especially teens!)
Any surf-loving team will NOT want to miss this area of Oahu.
Tour The North Shore
North Shore Oahu is one of the most popular tourist locations in Oahu. It's a well-known surf spot, and it offers some beautiful views that families will enjoy.
If you want to have a guided tour, the North Shore Surf Bus is a tour company that can help you hit all the top spots not to miss in this area.
Visit the Famous Surf Town Haleiwa
While you're visiting the North Shore, visit the famous surf town of Haleiwa for shopping and dining or hanging out. If you are visiting in the winter months, head over to the beaches to watch some of the big wave surfers.
Shop In Surf Shops In The North Shore
If there is one thing my teenage, surf-loving son must do in the North Shore, it is to stop in at the surf shops for a souvenir. From a cool Quicksilver hat to a t-shirt with a cool surf logo (my husband loves getting one of the Eddie Aikau invitational shirts), this is a must-do on North Shore Oahu.
Get Shave Ice from Matsumoto's Shave Ice
While you are trying out the local cuisine at one of the food trucks (see below) or restaurants, be sure to grab shave ice from Matsumoto's Shave Ice. This is a local treat you don't want to miss.
Grab Lunch from the North Shore Food Trucks
Don't leave North Shore Oahhu without stopping by one of the many food trucks for lunch. Some of these food trucks were even featured on Man vs. Food, the Cooking Channel, and the Travel Channel.
The most popular are the shrimp trucks and acai bowl trucks (the acai bowls are favorites of the surfers!) Keep an eye out for Mike's Huli Chicken, the best Huli Huli chicken you will find!
The Best Hikes On Oahu With Kids
These are family-friendly hikes on Oahu to enjoy!
Hike to Diamond Head
Diamond Head crater is a volcanic tuff cone and part of a volcanic range from centuries ago. It is Oahu's most recognizable landmark and most visited state park.
The trail starts on the south side and winds up to the crater's rim. It can be pretty steep in some sections, so you'll want to wear sturdy shoes if you go hiking here. You may want to also check out some hiking tips with kids before planning this adventure.
Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail
Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail is a wonderful place to hike with your family. It's not too strenuous, and it has amazing views of the ocean, which makes it perfect for taking photos.
Ka'ena Point State Park
Another great thing to do with kids in Oahu is to take a family hike at Ka'ena Point State Park. This fairly remote and wild coastline park has a 2.7 mile (one way) family hike, which would be great for older kids (may not be great for toddlers.)
On the hike, along a volcanic coast, there are tide pools, small stone arches, and views of the coastline of Makua. If you visit in the morning, you might get to see dolphins. You can also see a large sea kave, called Kaneana.
This is a hot area with little shade and no drinking water, so if you decide to take kids on this hike, be sure to pack plenty of water, food, wear sunblock, and go early in the morning if possible.
The Best Waterfalls On Oahu With Kids
When visiting this Hawaiian island with kids, seeing the best waterfalls is a must!
Waimea Falls is a very popular hike and must-see as part of the Waimea Valley. The hike to Waimea Falls is paved but around 1.5 miles long round trip. There is a fee to enter this part of the Waimea Valley, which is $20 for adults and $12 for children.
Waimea Falls is one of the best places to swim in the Waimea Valley (so pack your swimsuit and swim shoes.)
While visiting Waimea Falls, you can also visit all of the Waimea Valley, which includes a botanical garden and historical sites along the way to the waterfall.
Not far from Waikiki, Manoa Falls is a popular one to visit on Oahu. About a mile hike, this trail goes through a lush rain forest and you'll need to climb over rocks and boulders for this trail. It is not a difficult hike but the trail can be muddy and rocky so do wear sturdy shoes.
Historical and Cultural Activities in Oahu With Kids
These historical and cultural activities in Oahu are wonderful things to do with kids.
Visit Pearl Harbor Memorial
Pearl Harbor is a naval base, and you don't want your kids to miss this history lesson. It's an important landmark for history buffs because Japan bombed it on December 07, 1941 and it marked America's entry into World War II. This act led to the U.S.'s entrance into World War II, one of the most pivotal moments in American History.
When visiting Peral Harbor, keep in mind it is a solemn site honoring the lives that were lost on that fateful day. It has been turned into a beautiful state park and museum, telling the story of Pearl Harbor through multimedia installations.
Visit The USS Arizona Memorial Program
While visiting Pearl Harbor, you can also explore the USS Arizona Memorial program. This is a 45 program facilitated by the US National Park Service and the US Navy, which takes you to the memorial on a boat. The time includes a boat shuttle to the memorial, some time on the memorial site, and the return trip. While this program is free, reservations are required.
Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor Memorial
The Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor is a fun place to visit for kids of any age. It's one of the world’s largest aviation museums, and it has tons of planes, helicopters, rockets, etc., that they can explore. They also have an IMAX theater that shows different movies throughout the day.
Discover The Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center is one of my favorite spots to learn about the local culture and Pacific Islanders. This is a great activity from toddlers to teens.
This full-day activity will teach you about and help you experience the similarities and differences within all of the Polynesian cultures. Not only will you learn about the culture of the Hawaiian people, but you will also discover SIX total Polynesian island nations, including Tahiti, Figi, Samoa, Aotearoa, and Tonga.
The Cultural Center also hosts events, including a Hawaiian Luau!
Hukilau Marketplace at the Polynesian Cultural Center
When you are visiting the Polynesian cultural center, be sure to stop at the Hukilau Marketplace! This is a fantastic place to step back into 1958 Hawaii while enjoying local foods (like pineapple ice cream, shave ice, Huli Huli Chicken, and more!). And, be sure to grab a souvenir, as this is a great stop for local goods.
Visit The Dole Plantation
Pineapples are abundant in Hawaii, so a visit to the Dole Plantation is a great thing to do with kids on Oahu. Tour the factory and visit the country store to get your pineapple-related gifts to take home. And don't forget to get a dole whip snack while you are here!
And be sure to take a ride on the Pineapple express train, on the property. It's a great thing to do with kids in Oahu of all ages!
Iolani Palace is the former home of Hawaii's last monarch, Queen Liliuokalani. It's a great spot to learn about Hawaiian royalty and history in Oahu with kids.
While you are here, you can visit Peace Memorial Rose Garden, Royal Mausoleum and Crypt, Iolani Palace Grounds & Bandstand, and the Coronation Platform.
Experience Hawaiian Traditions and Culture
When you come to Oahu, be sure to take part in cultural experiences!
Enjoy A Hawaiian Luau
This is a great way to experience Hawaiia's vibrant culture and a must-do if you visit Oahu with kids. There are many on the island, including the one at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Take A Hawaiian Cultural Lesson
When in Hawaii, do as the Hawaiians do. It is a great time to learn about Hawaiian culture and the islands.
Many hotels offer classes on key aspects of Hawaii's rich culture, but you can also find some on the island of Oahu outside of the hotels. The Royal Hawaiian Center offers complimentary classes.
Our favorite experiences have been:
- Lei Making Class
- Ukulele Lesson
- Hawaiian Cooking Class
- Hula Dancing Lessons (Keiki or adult Hula Dancing Lessons)
- Lauhala Weaving Lesson
- Hawaiian Art Lesson
Classes at the Royal Hawaiian Center are great ways to learn about and teach children about Hawaiian culture and one of the best things to do in Oahu with kids.
Tour Oahu With Kids
These are some of the best tours, activities, and attractions in Oahu with kids.
Take a Circle Island Tour
If you really want to experience the Polynesian cultures that make Hawaii the unique place it is, take an island tour. Some tours last all day, like the 120-Mile Full-Day Circle Island Tour. It lasts 9.5 to 10 hours and shows you the most beautiful beaches and best attractions on Oahu.
Waikiki Trolley Company
If you want to tour Oahu on your own schedule, I recommend the Waikiki Trolley Company. You can choose from several tours, including the one that stops at Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, Koko Crater Botanical Gardens, and more. It's a hop-on-hop-off trolley, so it is a great way to see the area and stop at top attractions at your leisure.
Kualoa Ranch is a MUST SEE in Oahu and it can add an immersive experience to your holiday. Here are some of the things you can do there:
Hollywood Movie Sites Tour
One of the top things to do in Oahu with family is to visit the Kualoa Ranch and take the Hollywood Movie Sites Tour. This tour shows you some of the sites where famous movies and shows like Jurassic Park, Pearl Harbor, 50 First Dates, the TV shows Lost and Magnum P.I. was filmed.
Enjoy A Day At “Secret Island”
Kualoa Ranch has a “Secret Island” beach, which can only be accessed when you take a tour of Kualoa Ranch. Inquire before you go so you can pack your day bag accordingly. You can also enjoy Kualoa on horseback (see below).
Horseback Riding at Kualoa Ranch
While you're at the ranch, you can go horseback riding along the Northeast Shore and further into the valley. One of the best things to do for kids in Oahu is to give them the authentic ranch experience of this horseback riding adventure.
Kualoa Raptor ATV Tours
If you really want to feel like you are on the set of Jurassic Park, the Kualoa Raptor ATV tours will take you there! Enjoy a four-wheeling, off-road adventure through the ranch and beautiful lush scenery you will quickly recognize from many films.
Additional Kualoa Ranch Activities:
- Jurassic Adventure Tour (a walking tour through many of the scenes filmed in Jurassic Park)
- Aloha Aina Tour (to see an ancient preserved fish pond)
- Jeep Jungle Tour
- Malama Experience (an Eco Adventure and Cultural Experience)
- The Best of Kualoa (an all-day experience which includes the Movie Tour, Jurassic Jungle Tour and the Aloha Aina Tour)
Visit Gunstock Ranch
Gunstock Ranch is a unique experience in Hawaii. A true working ranch, Gunstock brings a bit of country with Hawaiian farming together at Gunstock Ranch. Located on the Koolau Mount Range near Kaneohe Bay, you can explore the mountain trails, go on horseback rides, take Eco tours or go snorkeling. You can even zip line at Gunstock Ranch! It is one of the top things to do in Oahu with family Multiple packages are available for booking.
North Shore Zipline Adventure
There are so many zipline adventures to choose from in Oahu for getting a birds-eye view of all of the beautiful scenery of the island. But I recommend the North Shore Zipline Adventure for its views and access to Oahu's famous beaches. This tour is unique because you get a birds-eye view of Waimea Bay, Banzai Pipeline, and Paumalū Beach! It is one of the best and has the longest zipline in Oahu.
Kahuku Farm Tour
A Kahuku Farm Tour is a top thing to do in Oahu with family – and it's great for adults too! The tour gives you a look at what Hawaiian farming looks like, as well as how they grow taro (a common crop in Hawaii.) You'll also learn about some Hawaiian customs that still take place today. It's an interactive experience that's great for families.
Take a Helicopter Tour Over the Island
If you have the time and money, we recommend taking a helicopter tour over the island. Touring the island by helicopter is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that most visitors are not able to do.
A helicopter tour gives you amazing views of Oahu's lush landscapes, volcanic rocks, coastlines, waterfalls, and more.
Visit Top Attractions In Oahu With Kids
Here are some top things to do with the family in Oahu.
The Waikiki Aquarium is a great place to visit for the whole family and is perfect for toddlers. It features an interactive exhibit where children can touch sharks and stingrays, as well as learn about other marine life like octopuses or starfish. Visiting the Waikiki Aquarium is a great rainy-day activity.
Dolphin Quest is one of the top things to do in Oahu with kids because you get to swim alongside these amazing creatures.
A Dolphin Encounter experience allows for some of the best dolphin encounters – where swimmers can hug, kiss, play games with them, and even take pictures too. You also get to learn about the importance of protecting these creatures and how you can help.
The Bishop Museum
The Bishop Museum is a must-go destination for kids on Oahu. It's one of the largest museums in Hawaii, and some things include their Hawaiian family history center, their amazing collection of orchids, and much more.
Some things to see at the Bishop Museum include:
- The Hawaiian family history center
- An amazing collection of orchids
- Pacific Islander art museum with traditional Polynesian tattoo designs
- The planetarium
Children’s Discovery Center
The Children’s Discovery Center is a great place to spend the day with kids. It's an interactive museum where children learn about nature, science, and more. The Discovery Center is a great activity for toddlers.
The Honolulu Zoo is another fun place to visit with kids in Oahu. Your family will be able to enjoy the day walking through all of the exhibits and animal habitats. Some of the special animals you'll find at the zoo include a Komodo Dragon, hippopotamus, and African wild dogs.
The Honolulu Zoo is a great way to see some local animals up close and another toddler-friendly activity. It's full of native Hawaiian wildlife, and you'll be able to learn all about Hawaii from this experience. Pay attention to the “Keiki Zoo,” (Keiki means “kids” in Hawaiian), where children can experience some of Hawaii's most popular animals at the Honolulu Zoo.
Sea Life Park
Another family favorite is Sea Life Park in Oahu. This is a marine education center and interactive aquarium where guests can feed the stingrays and sharks. It's a great place to learn about what Oahu has to offer underwater.
At Sea Life Park you can also take an up-close encounter with dolphins, meet the Hawaiian monk seals, and even swim with the beautiful green sea turtles too! The Sea Lion Show at Sea Life Park features a family-friendly show with sea lions, walruses, seals, and otters. You can also learn some interesting facts about the Hawaiian Islands during the day at their shows like Ocean Discovery and “Ai'ai Kakou”.
The Atlantis Submarine Ride is a great place for kids to explore some of the ocean's deepest secrets.
The Atlantis offers up-close views of many different types of sea creatures, including sharks, turtles, and more. It also has an interactive exhibit that will teach kids about different kinds of fish and how people catch them for food.
Whale Watching in the Winter
Whale Watching in the Winter is a really great opportunity for kids to explore the ocean. It's one of our favorite things to do because you'll often get up-close views of whales, dolphins, and more.
Hawaiian Railway Society Train Ride
The Hawaiian Railway Society Train Ride is a great way to get out of the city for kids! This train ride will show you scenic views, beautiful landscapes, and some of Oahu's historic old buildings.
The Byodo-In Temple is a great place to visit for kids of all ages. A non-denominational Buddhist temple, it features an interactive exhibit that will teach children about different religions and how people from all over the world can get along peacefully.
It is a beautiful place to visit and is home to peacocks and Japanese koi fish that kids would enjoy. It is also a great place for gorgeous pictures on Oahu to remember your trip.
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden
The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is a great thing to do in Oahu with kids of all ages. It is one of the most breathtaking, peaceful, and tranquil places to visit.
This garden hosts one of the best plant collections in the world, and it's also home to some endangered Hawaiian plants that you might not be able to find anywhere else.
The garden offers weekly art and craft lessons at the garden, and this is a fantastic kid-friendly activity.
Eat Local Cuisine: Best Places To Eat On Oahu With Kids
Trying local cuisine is part of the experience on Oahu. Here are some great places to eat on Oahu with kids.
Disney Character Breakfast at Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa
If you have come to Oahu but need a bit of Disney magic, visit Aulani, Disney's Hawaiian resort in Ko'Olina for a Disney character breakfast to see some of your favorite pals on vacation. You will find some local Hawaiian flavors and traditional breakfast foods here.
Taste Free Samples At The Honolulu Cookie Company
I'm not gonna lie, this is one of my FAVORITE stops in Oahu and I have been known to taste test quite a few of their FREE SAMPLES! Honolulu Cookie Company has delicious cookies with authentic Hawaiian flavors. These cookies are divine and make great souvenirs to take back home.
Try A Local Restaurant for Great Hawaiian Flavors!
These are some of our favorite family restaurants on Oahu to take the Keiki:
- Duke's Waikiki
- Sansei Sushi Restaurant & Seafood Bar
- North Shore Food Trucks
- Sidestreet Cafe Honolulu
- Teddy's Bigger Burgers Waikiki
- Hula Grill Waikiki
- Maui Brewing Company Waikiki
- ‘Ama ‘Ama (Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa) in Ko' Olina
- Cinnamon's in Kailua (breakfast served all day!)
Try Some Hawaiian Treats
When in Oahu, do not pass up the opportunity to get some of the most delicious Hawaiian treats on the island. Some of our favorites include:
- Hula Pie (from Duke's Restaurant)
- Dole Whip (many places around the island but Aloha Whip is a favorite)
- Hawaiian Island Vintage Shave Ice (Matsumoto's or Waiola Shave Ice)
- Honolulu Cookie Company Cookies (multiple shopping Centers)
- Banana Bread (bakeries, road side stands, Island Vintage Coffee)
- Chocolate Haupia Pie (Ted's Bakery)
- Passion Orange Guava Juice (called P.O.G) (any grocery store, ABC store)
- Haupia Cake (often served at luaus, Liliha Bakery)
- Lilikoi bars (Liliha Bakery)
- Malasadas (Leonard's Bakery Malasada Truck)
Shop Til You Drop: Best Places To Shop in Oahu With Kids
When visiting Oahu, you can't go home without a special Hawaiian souvenir!
Royal Hawaiian Center
This premier shopping center is right in the heart of Waikiki with a range of shopping and dining options. Royal Hawaiian Center also offers complimentary Hawaiian culture classes (check for schedule.)
Ala Moana Center
The world's largest open-air shopping center, located in Waikiki, you will find a range of boutique shops, high-end retailers, and local Hawaiian stores as well as restaurants at Ala Moana Center.
Aloha Stadium Swap Meet
For a fun and unique shopping experience to find a range of local goods and handicrafts, visit the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet. It is set up at Hawaii's largest stadium, and it is where you can find good deals on a large selection of quality goods. From clothing to Hawaiian souvenirs to jewelry to handicrafts and foods, you will find a special treasure here to bring home for sure.
Visit These Additional Places to shop for souvenirs on Oahu:
- Na Hoku (for jewelry)
- Honolulu Cookie Company
- ABC Stores
- Dole Plantation
- Hukilau Marketplace
- Oahu Farmer's Markets
- Art Galleries (Sunshine Arts and Tabora Galleries are favorites)
- Matsumoto Shave Ice T-Shirt (it's so good, you'll want the shirt!)
- Crazy Shirts
- Olu Kai (best sandals on earth!)
- North Shore Town Haleiwa
- Oahu's Farmer's Market
Best Souvenirs To Take Home From Hawaii
- Quilted bags and blankets
- Cookies from the Honolulu Cookie Company
- Pearl jewelry or a Plumeria Necklace
- Jewelry With Turtles or Other Hawaiian Symbols
- Hawaiian Shirts, Dresses, Bags, and Fabric
- Kona Coffee
- Books For Kids With Hawaiian Words/Characters
- Hawaiian “surfer” Toy Cars
- Wooden Utensils/Bowls
- Packaged Pineapples (make sure they are properly packed to get through the airport)
More Things To Do In Oahu With Kids!
Here are a few other things not to miss on Oahu.
Fireworks At Hilton Hawaiian Village
If you decide not to spend the day on Waikiki Beach, make sure to see one of their fireworks displays. The fireworks happen every Friday night in front of the Hilton. It's one of the best things to do in Oahu in the evening.
Watch an Oahu Sunset
Hawaiian sunsets are EPIC. And no trip to Hawaii can be complete without watching at least one, if not many Hawaiian sunsets. Because truth be told, they can differ from night to night.
We have seen gorgeous orange sunsets, breathtaking purple (yes I mean purple) sunsets, and everything in between. And, they never get hold. Visit Sunset Beach for one of the best views of an Oahu sunset.
Watch an Oahu Sunrise
Hawaiian sunrises can be as incredible as the sun sets. Of course, this means getting up early, but if you are visiting Oahu with toddlers, surely you will be up early. Whether you catch one from your hotel window or head to the beach, watching the sunrise in Oahu over Diamond Head or over the horizon is definitely a great thing to do on Oahu.
Visit A Historic Hawaiian Heiau
One of the best things to do with kids on Oahu is to visit a historic Hawaiian Heiau or ancient temple. The Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau is a state historic site and the largest place of worship on the island that overlooks Waimea Bay.
It is well worth a visit with kids as they learn about the history and culture of Hawaii, as these temples are sacred sites. It is a National Historic Landmark as well, making it well worth one of the top things to do in Oahu with family.
See Kaka'ako Street Art
The community of Kaka'ako is a progressive neighborhood in Oahu dedicated to progressive urban island living. It is home to many creative innovators and entrepreneurs and encompasses nine city blocks, rooted in Hawaiian cultural values. It is a great place to take a stroll to see the Kaka'ako street art, and it is also a fantastic place for dining and shopping.
Golf On Oahu
If you love golfing on vacation, few places are as gorgeous and scenic for hitting the greens as Oahu. With a large variety of options from public to private courses, you can range from affordable to expensive. Always call ahead to see if there are age limits or dress codes. Here are a few places for great golfing:
- Turtle Bay Arnold Palmer Golf Course
- Royal Hawaiian Golf Club
- Hawaii Prince Golf Club
- Ko' Olina Golf Club
Where To Stay on Oahu with Kids
There are plenty of great places to stay in Oahu with kids, but the best are resorts because they have so many amenities and family-friendly activities. Here are some of our favorite resorts.
Best Kid-Friendly Resorts on Oahu
Hilton Hawaiian Village
The Hilton Hawaiian Village is located on 22-acres of the widest part of Waikiki Beach. It has tropical gardens, waterfalls, five swimming pools, and one of the best slides in the area. With daily cultural activities and a spa, the whole family will love it here.
Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa
Located right on the beach, the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa has an ocean-front swimming pool with a sun terrace. The restaurants are great, and the Infinity Massage Spa has a sun terrace with beautiful ocean views.
There are free daily cultural activities for children, and the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center and the Beach Walk are a five-minute walk from the resort.
Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa
The Disney Aulani Resort and Spa is open again with a variety of places to stay, from villas to standard rooms. It's located in the Ko' Olina Resort district and is set right on the beach. Aulani has its own private beach for residents, which is really nice. There are a variety of activities for families daily, including Disney character activities.
Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club
The Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club is at the Marriott ownership resort in Oahu, and the entire family can enjoy staying here for years to come. Surrounded by crystal clear blue waters and a beautiful lagoon, the Beach Club is a gated community, so it's extra safe.
Located just 30 minutes from Honolulu, it has three outdoor pools and its own physical fitness center for the ultimate getaway experience.
Turtle Bay Resort
Turtle Bay Resort is known as deeply rooted in the history, natural beauty, and cultural richness of Hawaii. It's located just 984 feet from Turtle Beach, so the whole family can see the famous sea turtles that make this beach so popular.
They offer a variety of packages, including a Spa and Wellness package. Plus, its North Shore location ensures you're in one of the hottest spots in Hawaii.
VRBO's and Air Bnbs
Another way to stay on Oahu is to book either a VRBO or AirBnB rental. For families or multigenerational groups, a home rental is a great option with a kitchen, room for spreading out, and sometimes even a private pool! Be sure and consider this option as well when considering where is the best place to stay on Oahu with kids.
What is there to do in Oahu for families? Where Can I Take My Kids On Oahu?
Oahu has plenty of family-friendly activities, and there are SO MANY places to take kids on Oahu, including:
- Hike to Diamond Head
- Hanauma Bay State Park
- Bishop Museum
- The Children's Discovery Center
- Dolphin Quest
- The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum – The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is home to America's very first World War II battlefield.
- Pearl Harbor National Memorial – The Pearl Harbor National Memorial is another somber site where you can learn more about the attack on Pearl Harbor.
- A Visit to Matsumoto Shaved Ice
- The Waikiki Aquarium
- Hawaiian Railway Society Train Rides
What should I avoid in Oahu?
It's hard to say what to avoid in Oahu, because there is so much to do and a lot of it depends on interests and ages of your kids. Waikiki and Honolulu are busy. So I recommend enjoying what these areas have to offer, but also avoid staying in just these areas. Be sure to branch out and see more of the island.
What is there to do in Oahu for teens?
There are so many things to do in Oahu for teens. But at a glance, I would say what you should not miss in Oahu with teens:
- Pearl Harbor
- North Shore
- Kualoa Ranch
- A water adventure (like snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing)
- Shave Ice
- Hiking to Diamond Head and Waimea Valley
Where can I take my toddler on Oahu?
There are a lot of places to take a toddler on Oahu. In fact, our first visit was with our toddler son! Here are some of my favorites:
- Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon at Hilton Hawaiian Village
- Kulima Cove
- Hanauma Bay
- Dole Plantation (and the Pineapple express train)
- Polynesian Cultural Center
- Children's Discovery Center
- Honolulu Zoo
- Sea Life Park
- Waikiki Trolley Tour
- The Wakiki Aquarium
What are the best beaches on Oahu for families?
Of course, if you visit Oahu with kids, no Hawaiian vacation would be complete without spending a relaxing day on the beach. There are many beautiful options including Kailua Beach or Lanikai Beach (our favorites), or you can visit Waimea Bay or Waikiki Beach. Two of the best beaches for families of toddlers in Hawaii are Ko Olina and Hanauma Bay.
Here's a quick list of the best beaches in Hawaii for families, which include:
- Waikiki Beach
- Ala Moana Beach
- Hanauma Bay
- Lanikai Beach
- Turtle Beach
- Kailua Beach
- Ko Olina
- Paumalū Beach and Waimea Beach (in the summer, waves are flat, but in the winter, you may find big wave surfers here!)
Many of these beaches in Hawaii illustrate the true beauty of the Pacific Ocean; The water is such a beautiful color.
Final Thoughts on the Best Things to Do in Oahu with Kids
As you can see, there are so many Oahu attractions for kids. We love Oahu for all of the kid-friendly activities that range from land to air to sea.
You can really immerse yourself into the island, enjoy breathtaking scenery, and kids can learn a great deal about Hawaiian culture. Oahu is one of the best Hawaiian islands to visit with kids.
Can't take a real trip right now? Check out these staycation ideas to create an interesting vacation right at home.
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