When it comes to family-friendly adventures, the Windward Coast of Oahu is a great place. It offers a treasure trove of activities and attractions that are sure to delight kids of all ages. This list of things to do with kids on the Windward Coast of Oahu will help you plan your trip when visiting Oahu Island of Hawaii.
Things to do on the Windward Coast of Oahu with Kids
When you are visiting the Island of Oahu there are many fun things to do with kids. We wanted to make the most of our time on the island since we only had 7 days. When making our day plans I tried to keep us in the same area of the island for each day as best as we could. It worked and we were able to see almost everything on our Oahu, Hawaii bucket list.
We loved exploring the Windward Coast of Oahu and so did the kids. There is so much to do and see that you can make this area more than a one day trip. If you are adding in the Polynesian Cultural Center then I do suggest planning 2 days for your Windward Coast exploration.
We broke our trip up as best as we could to explore the Island. The Hawaiian island of Oahu is divided into 5 major sections. Those sections are Honolulu, the Windward Coast, Central Oʻahu, the Leeward Coast, and the North Shore. For this post, we are going to focus on the things to do with Kids on the Windward Coast.
If you are planning a trip around the whole Island when you are taking your vacation, be sure to check out our 7 Day Oahu Hawaii Itinerary.
Things to do with kids on Oahu Island in Hawaii
What is the windward side of Oahu?
The windward side of Oahu refers to the eastern coast of the island. The area is known for its lush green landscapes and abundant rainfall. The term “windward” is used because this side of the island is exposed to the prevailing trade winds that blow from the northeast. These winds bring moisture from the ocean, resulting in a side that is generally wetter and greener compared to the drier leeward side of the island.
The Windward Coast of Oahu includes areas such as Kailua, Kaneohe, Waimanalo, and Kahaluu. It is characterized by beautiful beaches, dramatic mountain ranges like the Ko’olau Range, and scenic viewpoints offering breathtaking views of the coastline. The Windward Coast is also home to several attractions, cultural sites, hiking trails, and outdoor activities.
Things to do with kids on the Windward Coast of Oahu
There are many things to do when you are visiting the Windward Coast that will keep the whole family entertained and having fun.
Visit Kailua Beach Park
The calm waters with little waves make it an ideal spot for swimming, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding, while the offshore reefs offer excellent snorkeling opportunities. Surrounded by lush mountains and lined with palm trees, Kailua Beach Park is a true tropical paradise that captures the essence of Hawaii’s natural beauty.
Visit Bellows Beach
Situated within the Bellows Air Force Station, the beach is accessible to the public on weekends and certain weekdays. Known for its pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters, Bellows Beach provides a serene and uncrowded atmosphere. The beach is ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking, with ample space to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings. It is also popular among water sports enthusiasts, offering opportunities for kayaking, bodyboarding, and snorkeling.
Visit Kualoa Ranch
This expansive ranch offers various family-friendly activities such as horseback riding, ATV tours, and jungle expeditions. You can also explore the film locations of popular movies like Jurassic Park and Jumanji.
This protected marine life conservation area is perfect for snorkeling and observing vibrant coral reefs. Kids will have the opportunity to see tropical fish, sea turtles, and other fascinating underwater creatures.
Located in the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, this serene Japanese temple is a replica of a 900-year-old temple in Japan. Kids can feed the colorful koi fish in the temple’s pond and explore the tranquil gardens. The whole family will love taking a trip Byodo-In Temple.
Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens
This 400-acre garden is a great place for families to take a stroll and appreciate the beauty of tropical plants and flowers. Kids can participate in nature programs and explore the various gardens within the park.
See China Man’s Hat
China Man’s Hat, also known as Mokoliʻi, is a distinctive volcanic islet located off the Windward Coast of Oahu, Hawaii. Its unique shape resembles a traditional Chinese hat, giving it the popular nickname. Rising from the clear blue waters of Kaneohe Bay, China Man’s Hat is a sight to behold. China Man’s Hat offers a picturesque backdrop against the scenic Koʻolau Mountain Range. Surrounded by vibrant coral reefs, makes it a favorite spot for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. The islet can be reached by kayak or boat, and adventurous visitors can even hike to the summit for a panoramic view of the bay.
Makapu’u Lighthouse, located on the easternmost point of Oahu’s Windward Coast, is a picturesque landmark that offers breathtaking views and a glimpse into Hawaii’s maritime history. The lighthouse sits atop a dramatic coastal cliff, overlooking the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean. Completed in 1909, the lighthouse stands tall at 46 feet, guiding ships safely along the island’s shores. The surrounding area features the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail, a popular hiking trail that leads visitors to stunning panoramic vistas of the coastline, neighboring islands, and the turquoise expanse of the ocean.
Eat Tasty Food
There are many delicious foods to eat when you are in Hawaii. My kids are foodies and love to try new foods whenever we are traveling.
- Poke. 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.
- Haupia. Haupia is a creamy and silky coconut pudding made with coconut milk and cornstarch. Often served as a dessert, its delicate coconut flavor is a true delight.
- Shave Ice. Shave ice is finely shaved ice flavored with a variety of syrups, often including tropical flavors like pineapple, coconut, and passionfruit. Often it is topped with condensed milk and various add-ons like ice cream or azuki beans.
- Kalua Pork. Prepared by slow-roasting a whole pig in an imu (an underground oven), Kalua pork is tender, smoky, and packed with flavor.
- Loco Moco. Loco Moco is a hearty dish that typically features a hamburger patty topped with a fried egg and smothered in savory gravy, all served over a bed of rice.
- 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.
- Malasadas. 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.
- Spam Musubi. A popular snack or lunch item, Spam musubi combines a slice of grilled Spam with rice, wrapped in a strip of seaweed (nori).
- Poi. Poi is a traditional Hawaiian staple made from the taro root. It’s pounded and fermented to create a smooth and slightly tangy paste.
Nuʻuanu Pali Lookout
Nuʻuanu Pali Lookout, situated in the Nuʻuanu Valley on the island of Oahu, is a breathtaking overlook that showcases the awe-inspiring beauty of Hawaii’s natural landscape. Perched at an elevation of over 1,000 feet, the lookout offers sweeping views of the verdant Koʻolau Mountain Range, the lush Nuʻuanu Valley, and the distant Pacific Ocean. The site holds historical significance as well, as it was the location of the Battle of Nuʻuanu in 1795, where King Kamehameha I achieved a decisive victory that united the Hawaiian Islands.
Go on a family-friendly hike
The Windward Coast offers several hiking trails suitable for families, such as the Manoa Falls Trail, Maunawili Falls Trail, and Aiea Loop Trail. These trails often lead to beautiful waterfalls or scenic viewpoints.
More Information about Visiting the Windward Coast of Oahu
When you are visiting the Island of Oahu there are something you will probably want to know while making your trip plans. I have included this information to help you when you are making your plans.
Where is the Windward Coast of Oahu located?
The Windward Coast of Oahu is located on the eastern side of the island of Oahu in the state of Hawaii, USA. It stretches along the coastline from Makapuu Point in the south to Kahuku Point in the north. The Windward Coast has the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Ko’olau Mountain Range to the west. The main cities and towns on the Windward Coast include Kaneohe, Kailua, Waimanalo, and Kahaluu.
How long does it take to drive from Waikiki to the windward side of Oahu?
It will take about 35 minutes to drive from the Waikiki beach area to the windward side of Oahu.
What is the difference between the leeward side and windward side of Oahu Island in Hawaii?
The difference between leeward and windward Oahu lies in their geographical locations and the prevailing weather patterns they experience.
Leeward Oahu refers to the west side of the island. The area is sheltered from the prevailing trade winds, which blow from the northeast. As a result, the leeward side tends to be drier and sunnier compared to the windward side. The lack of consistent winds and the presence of mountains on the windward side result in less rainfall and a more arid climate on the leeward side. Leeward Oahu is home to popular areas such as Waianae, Kapolei, and Ko Olina, known for their beautiful beaches and resort areas.
Windward Oahu refers to the east side of the island. It is exposed to the predominant trade winds that blow from the northeast. The windward side receives more rainfall due to the moist winds coming off the ocean. This creates a lush and green landscape, with tropical rainforests, vibrant vegetation, and numerous waterfalls. The side of the island is known for its picturesque beaches, such as Kailua Beach and Waimanalo Beach, and its scenic mountain ranges, like the Ko’olau Range. The main cities on the windward side include Kaneohe and Kailua.
What towns are on the windward side of Oahu?
The Windward Side of Oahu is home to several cities and towns along the eastern coast of the island. The main cities and towns on the Windward Side of Oahu include:
- Kaneohe. Kaneohe is the largest city on the Windward Side and is located in a scenic bay. It has a bustling town center with shopping centers, restaurants, and recreational facilities.
- Kailua. Known for its beautiful sandy beaches, including Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach this town is a popular stop. It offers a vibrant downtown area with boutique shops, restaurants, and outdoor activities.
- Waimanalo. Waimanalo is a smaller community located further south on the Windward Coast. Known for its picturesque beach, Waimanalo Beach, it is often less crowded than other popular beaches on the island.
- Kahaluu. Kahaluu is a residential community located north of Kaneohe. It offers a mix of residential areas and rural landscapes with beautiful mountain views.
- Heeia. Heeia is a smaller community located north of Kaneohe. Known for its fishponds and marina, offering opportunities for fishing and boating.