We have lived on O’ahu with kids for the last 2 years. It’s safe to say we have learned a thing or two about the best places to go as a family. Whether you’re headed here for a vacation or are about to call this island home, I thought it would be super helpful to come up with a list of 50 kid friendly activities on O’ahu. Let’s dive in!
1. Take A Guided Bus Tour
Driving on O’ahu can be pretty hectic if you’re not familiar with the island. If you prefer to leave the driving up to someone else, I would highly recommend taking a guided bus tour. Not only will you stop at a ton of the destinations on this list, but you won’t have to worry about parking.
2. Hike Diamond Head
One of our family’s favorite kid friendly activities on O’ahu is to go hiking. One of the best (and more iconic) kid friendly hikes on the island is Diamond Head. Located right next to downtown, this hike has a gradual incline that even the youngest hiker can conquer.
3. Go Underwater With Atlantis Submarines
Atlantis Submarine tours are among the top most kid friendly activities on O’ahu. Since everyone is enclosed inside, you can bring children of all ages along for the ride without having to worry about someone going overboard. The views below water are unlike anything else you will experience so I would highly recommend trying this out.
4. Hike To A Waterfall
I did just tell you hiking is one of our favorite kid friendly activities on O’ahu so you can’t be surprised to see it twice. And honestly, tropical paradise and waterfalls kind of go hand in hand.
If you’re not sure what waterfall hikes will be appropriate for your children, check out my post on 5 kid friendly waterfall hikes. Whether your kids are in a stroller or teenagers, there is something on that list for everyone.
5. Visit the Bishop Museum
Rain is bound to happen when you visit O’ahu with kids, but that doesn’t mean it has to ruin your day. Take your fun inside and learn all about Hawaiian culture, volcanoes, and science at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. For 5 reasons this museum has to be on your destination list, check out my previous article here.
6. Take A Stroll Through Downtown Waikiki
This is one of the more obvious kid friendly activities on O’ahu. Waikiki is an incredibly beautiful city with tons of shopping, dining, and street performances. Whether you are looking to pick up some souvenirs for friends and family or learn some history about this beautiful island, you will find everything you need in Waikiki.
7. Go Shopping At Ala Moana
Did you know O’ahu is home to the largest open-air shopping mall in America?! You may as well take the time to visit while you are on island. Be sure to print a copy of the mall map and mark where you parked the car because it is super easy to get lost!
8. Have A Beach Day
What’s a list of kid friendly activities on O’ahu without suggesting a beach day?! There are so many beaches to choose from that it can make your head spin. For some extra guidance, check out my article on kid friendly beaches on O’ahu.
If you are set on staying in the downtown area, I would highly recommend Ala Moana Beach Park. Not only is there tons of room to spread out, but the water is gentle and perfect for kids of all ages.
9. Eat A Plate Lunch
While you’re at Ala Moana Beach Park, you will see a few L&L BBQ stands. Don’t just pass by, my friend! L&L is home to some of the most iconic Hawaiian plate lunches that you absolutely have to try. My personal favorite comfort food plate lunch is Kalua pork, cabbage, and macaroni salad.
10. Visit The Byodo-In Temple
If you are looking for a peaceful, cultural, and educational experience when you visit O’ahu with kids, look no further than the Byodo-In Temple. The location of this temple is one of my favorites on the whole island. Add that to the gorgeous statues and koi ponds and you have a truly one of a kind experience the whole family will enjoy.
11. Visit King Kamehameha Statue And Iolani Place
Hawaii 5-0 fans assemble in the comments section!! This is the statue that appears in the opening scenes of the show. Whether you watch Hawaii 5-0 or not, the statue of King Kamehameha is truly gorgeous and worth the photo op.
12. Visit The Pali Lookout
This is one of the simplest kid friendly activities on O’ahu with the biggest payoff. The Pali Lookout gives you an eagle eye view of the East side of the island. On a clear day you can see for miles along the coastline and surrounding areas.
13. Take Surfing or SUP Lessons
This is one of the many kid friendly activities on O’ahu geared toward older children (or those who are comfortable swimming in open water). One of the best places to learn how to surf is here in Hawaii where the surf is good year round. For ideas on where to surf for the time of year you are visiting, click here.
14. Hang With The Animals At The Honolulu Zoo
When on O’ahu with kids, why not see a bunch of cool animals at the zoo?! Although the island is somewhat small, the Honolulu Zoo is absolutely massive. It is home to over 1,200 animals from all over the world. In addition to cool animals, there are tons of native plant species that can only be found here in Hawaii.
15. Get Down In The Dirt At Keiki And Plow
This is one of the messier kid friendly activities on O’ahu, but it is still a super rewarding experience for the kids. Keiki and Plow is an adorable little farm that opens to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Families are encouraged to get down in the dirt pick their own local organic produce.
16. Get Creative At The Children’s Discovery Center
It’s no secret our family absolutely adores children’s museums. It’s not surprising that the Children’s Discovery Center is one of our favorite kid friendly activities on O’ahu. This 3 story interactive museum will keep the whole family entertained for hours on end.
17. Appreciate The Street Art In Kaka’ako
If you are an artist like me or just enjoy urban street art, Kaka’ako is the place to go! The artwork in this affluent community is mesmerizing. Plus, there are some excellent restaurants and shops in the area so it’s worth the trip.
18. See Fireworks At Hale Koa
Seeing fireworks is a classic kid friendly activity anywhere you go. On O’ahu, you can see a show while swimming at gorgeous resort. You don’t have to stay at this hotel to enjoy the Friday night fireworks. For a small fee, you can spend the evening swimming in the beautiful and newly renovated pools until the show begins.
19. Try Fresh Poke
While you’re on a tropical island, you may as well try some of the freshest fish you will ever encounter in your life. Poke is an iconic Hawaiian dish so you can’t leave the island without trying it at least once. There are so many varieties of meat and flavors to choose from that everyone can find a favorite.
20. Snorkel At Hanauma Bay
What better place to swim with the fishes than O’ahu?! I would say the most kid friendly place to enjoy this activity would be Hanauma Bay. The waters are gentle and the fish are plentiful. You may even get lucky and spot a sea turtle or two.
21. See The Halona Blowhole
Another of the easier kid friendly activities on O’ahu is driving to see the Halona Blowhole. This is a side of the road attraction that requires almost zero walking so kids of all ages can enjoy. When you are done snorkeling at Hanauma, I would highly recommend driving 5 minutes up the road to see the blowhole.
22. Spot Some Whales At Makapu’u Lighthouse
O’ahu has a pretty incredible whale watching season from December to May. One of the best spots to see these amazing animals is at the Makapu’u Lighthouse. This will require some hiking, but the path is paved so strollers are welcome. For more information about hiking to the lighthouse, check out this article.
23. Play In Tide Pools
Kids of all ages will enjoy spotting sea creatures and playing in the warm waters of the tide pools. Since the water is so peaceful, this is one of better kid friendly activities on O’ahu for toddlers and young children. In fact, when you’re done the hike to the lighthouse you can access the Makapu’u tide pools off the same trail. For more information, check out this article.
24. Swim With Dolphins At Sea Life Park
If you’ve ever seen 50 First Dates, you probably remember Adam Sandler’s character worked at Sea Life Park. In addition to being a movie icon, this park is home to some pretty unique adventures including swimming with dolphins. Children ages 3 to 7 will require adult supervision, but the older kids can go at it alone.
25. See The Mokes At Lanikai Beach
Lanikai Beach is one of the most iconic beaches on the island. It is home to white sand beaches and stunning views of the “twin islands” aka The Mokes. Parking can be a bit tricky here so I would recommend arriving early. You could also park at Kailua Beach Park and take a short walk over.
26. Hike To A Pillbox
Yes, I know I already listed hiking twice on this list of kid friendly activities on O’ahu. BUUUUT each hike is different, I swear. Diamond Head is iconic, the waterfalls will take you through the rainforest, and the pillboxes will lead you to some of the most exquisite views of the ocean.
One of the best pillbox hikes is the Lanikai Pillboxes. If you are already checking out The Mokes from the beach, you may as well head over and do a hike while you’re at it. Another gorgeous hike is the Ehukai pillboxes on the North Shore.
27. Tour The Macademia Nut Farm
The Macademia Nut Farm is one of my favorite hidden kid friendly activities on O’ahu. Whether you want to crack open and eat your own nuts or see an awesome show that includes fire and singing, the Macademia Nut Farm going to be a fun experience. The show times are only at 11 am and 1:30 pm so plan your trip accordingly.
28. Explore At Kualoa Ranch
When you are done visiting the Mac Nut Farm, head a mile or so up the road to Kualoa Ranch. The Ranch has been the setting for many famous movies such as Jurassic Park. Kualoa Ranch has kid friendly activities for all ages including bus tours and ziplining. Be sure to book in advance though because the spots fill up quick.
29. Visit Chinaman’s Hat
Directly across the street from the ranch is Kualoa Regional Park. This park is excellent for a beach day while checking out the famous Chinaman’s Hat. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can rent kayaks and paddle out to the hat. The water can get choppy and the ascent is pretty steep so this activity is not suitable for all ages.
30. Get Cultural At The Polynesian Cultural Center
One of the most memorable kid friendly activities on O’ahu is the Polynesian Cultural Center. This is truly an all day experience as the shows begin at noon and runs until 9 pm. Visitors can expect to learn about all of the different Polynesian cultures, eat at a luau, and watch a fire show. Be sure to pack a stroller for the younger kids because they will be tuckered out by the end of the day.
31. Swim In a Waterfall At Waimea Valley
How often do you have the opportunity to swim IN a waterfall?! When on your trip to O’ahu with kids you absolutely have to stop by Waimea Valley and try it out. In addition to swimming, this kid friendly activity will take you on a beautiful walk through the gardens, provide you with a chance to see wild peacocks, and provide information on Hawaiian heritage.
32. Eat At A Food Truck
Yes, the restaurants on O’ahu are delicious, but the food trucks are seriously next level! I could go on for days about the best food trucks to visit, but I will just stick to our favorites. Head to Giovanni’s Shrimp for the garlic shrimp and North Shore Tacos for literally anything on the menu!
33. See The Sunset At Sunset Beach
After you grab your life changing taco from North Shore Tacos, head across the street to Sunset Beach to catch an absolutely breathtaking sunset. If you don’t want to keep the kids up too late, but still want to visit, the beach is awesome in the daytime as well!
34. Catch A Surfing Competition
You can’t be too surprised to see this on a list of kid friendly activities on O’ahu. It requires minimal effort on your part and the kids are in for a great show! Where you catch the competition will depend on what time of year you visit the island.
In the winter, the most noteable competition is the Pipeline Masters on the North Shore. In the summer, the best event is Duke’s OceanFest right in Waikiki.
35. See The Sea Turtles At Laniakea Beach
One of the coolest and most unique kid friendly activities on O’ahu is seeing sea turtles. Laniakea Beach is the best place to go to view these beautiful creatures as they tend to frequent this beach. In the summertime, this beach is also an excellent kid friendly beach with calm waters.
*If you do see a turtle, be respectful and keep all the members in your party at least 10 feet away!*
36. Visit Iconic Surf Town Hale’iwa
No trip to O’ahu is complete without a visit to the North Shore. Hale’iwa is an iconic international surfing destination that is full of beautiful beaches and adorable boutique stores. Even if shopping and surfing aren’t your cup of tea, the kids will have a blast taking photos with all of the butterfly wings scattered around town.
37. Cool Off With Shave Ice
While you’re in Hale’iwa, you have to stop by one of the MANY shave ice stands and pick up a treat. One of the most popular destinations for shave ice on the North Shore is Matsumoto’s. They have been serving up shave ice to the community for over 65 years!! You may have to wait in line, but trust me it’s sooooo worth it!
38. See The Seals And Birds At Kaena Point
I promise this is the last hike on this list, but you need to try at least ONE while you’re on O’ahu with kids so I’m giving you lots of options. Kaena Point can be accessed from both the west and north sides of the island, but I prefer the north route.
This is a relatively flat trail, but you’re looking at a 6 mile round trip experience so it’s not going to be appropriate for toddlers. This trail is also not shaded so be sure to pack extra sunscreen and water. With all of that being said, though, it’s totally worth the sweat to see the natural beauty and wildlife on this side of the island.
39. Visit Dole Plantation
I have two words for you: Dole Whip! If you’ve never had it, it’s basically frozen heaven! That’s not the only reason to visit the Dole Plantation, though. There are train rides, botanical gardens, and a gigantic outdoor maze which makes this destination one of the most entertaining kid friendly activities on O’ahu.
40. Get Caffeinated At The Coffee Bean Farm
Traveling to O’ahu with kids is an extremely tiresome experience so caffeine will quickly become your best friend. Stop by the Green World Coffee Farm for an amazing local cup of coffee. While you’re slowly regaining your sanity, the kids can explore through the farm and see how coffee beans are grown.
41. Visit A Botanical Garden
If you’re not trying to hike while on O’ahu with kids, but you still want to get in touch with nature, just visit one of the many botanical gardens! Your kids will learn about plant species and their origins without having to get super muddy or sweaty. For a list of where to find these gardens, click the link here.
42. Cool Off At Wet N Wild Waterpark
Whether you are visiting O’ahu with kids in the winter or summer, it’s going to be hot! What better way to cool off than at a waterpark?! Head over to Wet N Wild in Kapolei for an entire day of fun. The rides here range from chill to extreme so you will find something everyone in your family can enjoy.
43. Dine And Dance At A Luau
Do I even need to expand on why you have to go to a luau on your trip to O’ahu with kids? It’s basically a given.
If you don’t want to spend all day at the Cultural Center, there are excellent luau’s all around that are short and sweet. I have heard a lot of great things about Germaine’s Luau and our family’s personal favorite is Paradise Cove.
44. Swim With Sea Turtles
If you decide to go with the Paradise Cove luau, I would highly recommend arriving earlier in the day so you can swim with the sea turtles at the Paradise Cove beach. The best time to view sea turtles is usually mid morning/early afternoon, but parking can get hectic so the earlier you arrive the better.
45. Discover Magic At The Mermaid Caves
This is one of those hidden gems that you NEED to make the time to visit while you are on O’ahu with kids. I promise your kids will love you forever because it is literally magical here. I love this place so much I have a whole post about it. For more information on where to go, what to wear, and how to safely navigate the area, check out the post here.
46. Take A Dolphin Cruise
Day cruises are among the coolest kid friendly activities on O’ahu. Not only do you have the chance to relax on the water, but you can see the beautiful marine life. The kids will absolutely love seeing dolphins and turtles swimming next to the boat (and you can have a cocktail and sunbathe if you want).
If you are coming to O’ahu with kids under the age of 5, your options can be slightly limited. We were able to take our 2 year old on the Dolphin Star Cruise which takes off from Waianae on the west side of the island. I loved this cruise because adults and older kids were allowed to go snorkeling mid cruise and the lunch was really delicious.
47. Explore The Kaneana Cave
After you explore the mermaid caves and/or take a dolphin cruise, continue heading west until you hit the Kaneana Cave. This is another of the kid friendly activities on O’ahu that is suitable for kids of all ages. It’s a quick stop, but worth it if you’re already on that side of the island.
48. Visit Historic Monuments At Pearl Harbor
When on O’ahu with kids, take the time to educate them about the past at the Pearl Harbor Monuments. Whether you see the USS Arizona, Battleship Missouri, or Bowfin submarine, your whole family will learn about a huge part of America’s history. Be sure to book in advance and arrive early because the memorials tend to be crowded later in the day.
49. Shop At The Aloha Stadium Swap Meet
Whether this is your first time to O’ahu with kids or your 10th, I guarantee you’re going to want to bring some souvenirs home. While there are great options at the ABC Stores, my personal favorite place to shop is the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet.
Not only will you get to walk around the famous Aloha Stadium, but you will support local vendors and find way more handmade items. It does tend to get really hot here so be sure to bring extra water and sunscreen. For hours and directions, visit the official site here.
50. Drive The H3 To Kailua
Last, but certainly not least is to go on my favorite drive on the entire island. I will seriously go out of my way on a bad day to cross the Tetsuo Harano Tunnels into the pure magic that is the H-3. The best time to go on this drive surprisingly is on a rainy day.
When the rainfall is heavy enough, the mountains make way for over 20 gorgeous waterfalls. It is seriously an out of this world experience and I highly encourage anyone travelling to O’ahu with kids to check it out.
Have Fun On Your Trip To O’ahu With Kids!
With a list this extensive, I promise your trip will be nothing short of jam packed and amazing! Let me know in the comments below if you have ever been to O’ahu with kids and tried any of these activities. I would love to hear about your favorites (and least favorites).
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