There’s no shortage of family friendly activities on Oahu. In fact, the hardest part will be fitting them all in! From exploring the natural scenery, to discovering the history of Hawaii, to tucking into some sweet treats, Oahu has plenty for the keiki (that’s kids!) to enjoy!
To help you plan the perfect family vacation, we’ve put together this guide of the best things to do on Oahu with kids. We’ve got activities for all ages, interests, and budgets!
No trip to Hawaii is complete without a luau. A luau combines dining with entertainment, bringing you an evening rich with Polynesian cultural history.
Children will be enchanted by the music and dance of a luau, which brightens storytelling in a whirl of color. Our favorite is the Ka Wa’a Luau at Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa.
Children will feel inspired and excited by a trip to Honolulu Zoo, located just outside Waikiki. Set among acres of lush landscape, the zoo is home to numerous creatures, from the smallest monkey to the largest hippopotamus.
This exceptional educational experience shouldn’t be missed. For something extra special, come along for a twilight tour.
Matsumoto’s Shave Ice
What is shave ice? This popular Hawaiian treat uses flakes of ice, packed down and flavored, to form a dessert that’s incredibly refreshing and surprisingly creamy.
Matsumoto’s is the best shave ice spot on Oahu, popular with both locals and tourists. Want to make it even better? Add a dollop of condensed milk.
Treat the family to an unforgettable experience by taking them to swim with dolphins at Dolphin Quest, in the Kahala Hotel and Resort. Get up close with these curious and playful creatures, as they dance and swim around the saltwater lagoon.
Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum
The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum can teach children about this solemn period of history in a way that engages and informs.
The aviation museum tells the story of America in WWII, as well as innovations in flight that have occurred in the following decades. Ideal for families with older children.
Children’s Discovery Center
Hands-on play is encouraged at the Oahu Children’s Discovery Center, a treat for younger children. The interactive exhibits immerse children into the Hawaiian culture and environment, with play at the heart of everything!
Check out what events are coming up for even more fun.
Visit the falls, tour the gardens and valleys, or simply watch the surfers tackle the waves at Waimea beach. There’s plenty to do in Waimea to interest children and adults of all ages.
The waves at the bay are legendary, so we don’t recommend taking to the waters yourself. But watching others ride the swells is a thrill after a morning spent exploring the landscape.
Kualoa Ranch provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of agriculture and environment on Hawaii. But let’s be honest, kids will mostly be excited to discover that this is where Jurassic World and Jumanji were filmed!
Take a Raptor tour and get close to Hollywood sets, or punch up the adrenaline with a zipline tour. For something low-key, discover the ranch on horseback.
Polynesian Cultural Center
The best way to immerse you and your family in the rich cultural history of Hawaii is at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Through the gates of the Polynesian Cultural Center are loving recreations of Polynesian villages from across the islands.
You really will feel like you’re traveling the ocean as you move from village to village. Make sure to book the luau, for a complete experience.
Even beginners can try snorkeling on Oahu. Clear seas and reefs that hug the coastline allow even little ones to explore the underwater landscape of Oahu.
Our top choice of snorkeling beach has to be Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, although you must reserve in advance. Or take a trip to Lanikai Beach, and see if you can spot turtles on the sand.
The ocean surrounds Oahu, and you can discover exactly what’s hiding beneath those sparkling waves at Waikiki Aquarium.
Located close to Honolulu Zoo, the aquarium takes kids and adults on a tour beneath the waters of Oahu, without having to leave dry land. Make sure to say hello to the Hawaiian monk seals.
Hike At Diamond Head
Pack plenty of water, wear sturdy shoes, and do not forget your camera! The hike up Diamond Head can be tough going in places, but the views from the top are absolutely breathtaking.
And it is kid friendly, even though we wouldn’t recommend it for kids under 5. Close to Waikiki, finish the hike with an ice cream and relax on the beach.
Bishop Museum isn’t the boring and dusty museum that you might be imagining. Instead, the vibrant exhibits tell the story of Oahu.
Discover how the Polynesians arrived on Oahu, and how they lived alongside the natural environment. Whatever you do, don’t miss the planetarium.
Travel beneath the waves of Waikiki with the Atlantis Submarine, an experience that takes ‘immersive’ to a whole new level.
Moving silently through the water, the Atlantis Submarine tours an artificial reef, introducing you to the abundant sea life. Including sharks, stingrays, and turtles!
Royal Hawaiian Center
What’s a trip to Oahu without visiting a shopping center? Pick up souvenirs for back home, treats for the kids, and grab a few things for yourself at the Royal Hawaiian Center.
As well as shops and dining, the Royal Hawaiian Center is a cultural hub. From hula to ukulele, there’s lots to see.
Visit The Beach
Of course, the most keiki friendly activity on Oahu is discovering the beaches that populate the coastline. From Ko Olina Lagoons to Ala Moana Beach to Waikiki Bay, there are plenty of soft sandy beaches for kids to enjoy.
Oahu is the most keiki friendly of all the Hawaiian islands, with interactive, educational, and just plain fun experiences to be found on every coastline. We hope this guide has given you some ideas for planning your own Oahu vacation!
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