If you are looking for the best things to do in Oahu with kids this is the list for you. This list is based on personal experiences from kids who explored Oahu, Hawaii. We had a ton of fun when we took our family trip to Oahu and I went to the kids after to find out their favorite things. This list of things to do with kids in Oahu is based on the things my kids loved.
The Best Things to Do in Oahu Hawaii With Kids
When we took our trip to the Island of Oahu we wanted to make the most use of our time. We broke our trip up as best as we could by area. This way when we explored the island of Oahu so we were not wasting time driving all over the place. This list is the Best Things to do in Oahu with Kids based on my kid’s opinions.
If you are looking for posts that are specific to different areas of the Island be sure to check out our individual posts. This list of the best things to do in Oahu with kids is based on the things my kids told me were their favorites. There are many other things to do when you are visiting Oahu, Hawaii that are included in other posts I have done.
- Things to do with kids in Honolulu
- things to do with kids on the Windward Coast
- things to do with kids in Central Oʻahu
- things to do with kids on the Leeward Coast
- things to do with kids on the North Shore
If you are planning a trip around the whole Island, be sure to check out our 7 Day Oahu Hawaii Itinerary.
Is Oahu Good for Kids?
Yes, Oahu is a fantastic destination for kids! The island offers a wide range of activities and attractions that are suitable for children of all ages. We went with our 4 kids who were ages 6, 12, 15, and 17 at the time and all of them enjoyed our trip.
How many Days do you need to Explore Oahu with Kids?
The duration of a trip to Oahu with kids can vary depending on personal preferences. You will also want to base things on your available time, and the activities you want to do. However, I would suggest 7 days for a family trip to Oahu. This allows for a good balance of exploring the island’s popular attractions, enjoying the beach, and having some flexibility.
During this duration, you can visit iconic sites such as Pearl Harbor, the Polynesian Cultural Center, and Diamond Head. You can also spend time at family-friendly beaches, take part in water activities like snorkeling or surfing lessons, and explore the natural beauty of the island by hiking or visiting botanical gardens.
7 days also will also allow for some relaxation and downtime, as well as the opportunity to experience the local culture and cuisine. It’s important to consider the age and interests of your children when planning the itinerary and ensure that you have enough time for rest and relaxation between activities.
Where to Stay when you are in Oahu
For this trip with stayed at the Hale Koa Hotel which is a military hotel. If you are not a military family and are visiting Honolulu there are plenty of hotel options in the Waikiki beach area and downtown Honolulu to pick from. We picked to stay in the Honolulu area for the first part of our trip. We wanted to have walking distance to things along with having easy access to the highway so we could easily get to places all over the entire Island. Our first 5 nights at the Hale Koa before having 2 nights at Aulani Disney Resort and Spa.
The Best things to do with kids in Oahu
This list of the best things to do with kids in Oahu is based on the things my kids said were must-dos and that they enjoyed doing the most.
Jump off the big Rock at Waimea Bay Rock
Waimea Bay Rock, also known as “Jump Rock,” is a prominent feature located at Waimea Bay Beach Park on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii that is near Waimea Valley Park and the waterfall. It is a large rock formation that has become a popular spot for thrill-seekers and cliff-jumpers.
My older 2 kids told me this was their all time favorite outdoor activity that we did while in Oahu. They have had to jump off a rock into the water on their bucket lists forever. While we were in Hawaii they got to check that off and spent over an hour jumping off the large rock formation and into the water.
See the Hawaiian Sea turtles
When I told the kids that we might be able to see Sea turtles on our visit they all said it was a must do. While the stop was short at Laniakea beach to see them it is one of the things all the kids still bring up often about our trip.
Laniakea Beach is a great spot to take the kids, also known as turtle beach because that is where the Hawaiian green sea turtles can be seen when you are in the North Shore. The sea turtles at Laniakea Beach are protected species, and they often come ashore to rest and bask in the sun. Their presence on the beach has made Laniakea a popular destination.
Hike Diamond Head
I have to admit when I first told them all we were going on this hike they were not all super thrilled. Then after the hike and getting to see the views all of them were so glad they went on it.
Going on a hike to Diamond Head is a must-do when you are visiting Oahu. The journey starts at the Diamond Head State Monument, where the trail ascends towards the summit, bestowing panoramic views of the city, coastline, and the Pacific Ocean. With well-kept pathways and a succession of staircases, the trail is accommodating for most visitors. Upon reaching the pinnacle, one can fully grasp the grandeur and splendor of the Diamond Head crater. Be sure to check out tips for hiking Diamond Head with kids.
Snorkeling in Oahu
Snorkeling in the Ko”olina Laggons is a must-do with kids when you are in Oahu. The sea life you will see is amazing and there are lots of great places to go snorkeling around the island.
The Ko Olina Resort area is where we went when we were staying at the Disney Resort. It is on the western coast and features four man-made lagoons with calm waters, making them ideal for snorkeling and swimming. Each lagoon has its own unique marine ecosystem, and you can expect to see a variety of tropical fish, marine life and corals.
There are many different catamaran sail options. We choose to do the kepoikai II catamaran morning sale. If you are military give them a call and you can get the military discounted rate. Even the normal rate is affordable at $35 a person compared to many of the other ones I had found.
Swimming at the beach
There are many beaches to go swimming at when you are in Oahu. They vary from white sand to golden yellow sand. Some have lots of waves while others are calm and perfect for the kids. I highly suggest taking trips to multiple beaches so you can check a few of them out.
What beaches are good to visit with Kids in Oahu?
This is not a complete list of the beaches you can visit on the island. These are just some that we suggest checking out during your trip because we enjoyed them.
Waikiki Beach. Located in Honolulu, Waikiki Beach is one of the most famous and iconic beaches in the world. It offers a wide sandy shore and relatively calm waters, making it ideal for swimming and beginner surf lessons. This is a great beach to stop at if you have plans to visit the Waikiki Aquarium or Honolulu Zoo.
Lanikai Beach. Known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and powdery white sand, Lanikai Beach is a picturesque spot on the windward coast. The calm and gentle waves make it great for swimming and snorkeling.
Kailua Beach Park. Adjacent to Lanikai Beach, Kailua Beach Park features a stunning stretch of golden sand and inviting waters. The beach provides excellent swimming conditions and is popular among both locals and visitors.
Ala Moana Beach Park. Located between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu, Ala Moana Beach Park is a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists alike. The park features a wide sandy beach and a shallow swimming area, perfect for families and leisurely swims.
Sunset Beach. This beach is located on the North Shore. Sunset Beach is renowned for its gigantic winter waves, attracting professional surfers from around the world. During the calmer summer months, the waters are more suitable for swimming and enjoying the beach.
Bellows Beach. This beach is located on the eastern coast of Oahu. It is a picturesque and family-friendly beach known for its soft golden sand and turquoise waters. With its gentle waves and ample space, it’s a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking.
Go to a Luau
Attending a luau with kids in Oahu is a fantastic way to immerse the whole family in Hawaiian culture. The whole family will also enjoy a memorable evening. We went to the Hale Koa Luau and the whole family loved it. There are many options on Oahu for Luaus and they are great for taking the kids.
It’s important to note that each luau may have its own unique features and activities for kids. It is worth researching different options to find one that suits your family’s preferences. Additionally, it’s advisable to make reservations in advance, as luaus can be popular and have limited availability.
Fun Educational Places to Visit with Kids on Oahu
There are many places on Oahu that are not only fun but also educational to take the kids. While on a vacation you might not want to do things that are educational, but as a homeschool family I try to get learning in wherever I can. These stops were educational but fully enjoyed by the kids. The kids told me they think they should be on the list of the Best fun things to do in Oahu with kids.
Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center
At the Polynesian Cultural Center, children can engage in a range of activities that showcase the rich diversity of the Pacific Islands. They can participate in traditional dances, partake in traditional games, and delight in a Polynesian luau.
When you walk thru this location you will learn about many places including Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, and more. With so much to offer, visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center ensures an abundance of things to do and explore for kids.
Nestled within the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, is the Byodo-In temple. It is a faithful replica of a 900-year-old temple in Japan. Children can engage in feeding the vibrant koi fish swimming in the temple’s pond and discovering the serene gardens. A visit to the Byodo-In Temple promises a delightful experience for the entire family.
Visiting Pearl Harbor with kids is an educational and impactful experience. It will help them understand the historical significance of this iconic location. While the topic can be sensitive, it offers an opportunity to teach children about the importance of peace, resilience, and honoring the sacrifices made by those who served.
The USS Arizona Memorial provides a powerful and solemn tribute to the lives lost during the attack. The exhibits and museums at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center offer valuable insights into the events of that day. It’s essential to approach the visit with sensitivity and age-appropriate explanations, ensuring children grasp the historical context. Pearl Harbor can serve as a reminder of the importance of unity, empathy, and the commitment to learning from history.
Visiting the Dole Plantation with kids is a delightful and fun-filled experience that offers a unique glimpse into the world of pineapple farming and Hawaiian agriculture. As you explore the plantation, you can go on the Pineapple Express Train ride, go thru the pineapple maze, explore the garden, and enjoy tasty treats.
Kids can challenge themselves to find their way through the maze, adding an element of adventure to their visit. Don’t forget to get a Dole Whip, a pineapple-flavored soft serve ice cream, which is a refreshing and delicious treat. Visiting the Dole Plantation offers an entertaining and educational experience for the whole family to enjoy.
Visiting Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace is a renowned historic landmark with profound cultural and historical importance. Once the royal residence of the Hawaiian monarchy, this magnificent palace holds a significant place in Hawaiian history. Constructed in 1882, it was the official home of King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani. The palace showcases a captivating fusion of Western and Hawaiian architectural styles, boasting exquisite interiors and grand halls. Guided tours provide the opportunity to explore the opulent royal bedrooms, majestic throne room, and learn about the monarchy’s legacy and the events leading to the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
Character Breakfast at Aulani
The character breakfast at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, offers a delightful and interactive dining experience for guests of all ages. As you indulge in a delicious breakfast spread, beloved Disney characters make their way around the restaurant, stopping at each table to greet and interact with guests. From Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse to Goofy and Stitch, the characters bring laughter, joy, and memorable photo opportunities to the breakfast experience. This enchanting encounter allows guests to create lasting memories while enjoying a scrumptious meal in the magical setting of Aulani.
Take a Scenic Drive
You can follow a road or just keep on driving around the island to see the beautiful scenery that is on the island. Everywhere you drive you will pass thru beautiful areas, and if you are like us will want to stop and find a spot to park so you can take beautiful photos.
Tasty Eats you Must try with kids in Oahu
There are many local Hawaiian foods you will want to try when you are visiting Oahu, but there are a few that are a must-try when you are visiting Oahu with kids.
Get Shave Ice at Matsumoto Shave Ice
We planned a specific stop for getting shaved ice at Matsumoto while exploring North Shore after a friend of mine told me it was a must-stop place.
A visit to Matsumoto Shave Ice is not only about the delicious treat but also about experiencing a part of North Shore’s cultural heritage. It has been serving shave ice since 1951 and remains a beloved destination for locals and tourists seeking a refreshing and delightful taste of Hawaii.
Dole Whip at Dole Plantation
When you are visiting the Dole Plantation there are many things to do with the kids but while you are learning about pineapples you are going to want to get some tasty Dole Whip treats to enjoy.
Traditional Hawaiian breakfast
Just about anywhere you go including McDonalds you can get a traditional Hawaiian breakfast. This is a meal of eggs, white rice, and meats including spam or Portuguese sausage.
A popular snack or lunch item, Spam musubi combines a slice of grilled Spam with rice, wrapped in a strip of seaweed (nori).
These Portuguese-inspired donuts are a sweet indulgence that you shouldn’t miss. They are deep-fried until golden brown and coated in sugar. You can get them plain or filled with various delicious fillings like custard, chocolate, or tropical fruit flavors.
This traditional Hawaiian dish consists of fresh, raw fish (usually tuna or octopus) marinated in a flavorful blend of soy sauce, sesame oil, and other seasonings.
North Shore Macadamia Nut Company
If you share my love for Macadamia nuts, then this is a must-visit spot. Not only can you find delicious treats like Macadamia nuts and local honey here, but it’s also a fantastic place for children. The owners are incredible and provide an educational experience by demonstrating how Macadamia nuts are cracked out of their shells. They even let the kids try it themselves. My children absolutely adored this brief yet delightful stop we made.
Get Lunch at a Food Truck
There are many food trucks around the island of Oahu where you can get many different meals from shrimp to burgers and many other options depending on the food truck that you are visiting. We tried a few different food trucks and all of them had delicious food.