Top 10 Things to Do in Hawaii with Kids
Whether you’re planning a surprise Christmas vacation trip or taking a fun-filled summer trip, Hawaii is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world– and it’s no surprise as to why!
Often times, people picture Hawaii as a destination solely for couples. However, I’m here today to talk to you about all of the fun things you can do with the entire family – no matter the age. (To be honest, I have been trying to convince my husband it’s time to take the kids to Hawaii… I know they are too little to remember the trip, but I will remember it!!)
While there are many islands to discover, I’m going to focus on the most kid-friendly island, Oahu. It’s the island we’d like to go back to… Because of this, I’ve partnered with my friends at Get Away Today to give you the top ten things to do in Oahu Hawaii with kids.
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Top 10 Things to Do in Oahu with Kids
Go to the BEACH (of course!):
There is nothing better than an amazing (free) beach day… and Hawaii is beach heaven!
The lagoons at KoOlina are PUBLIC (as in you can visit them even if you are not staying at the super expensive disney hotel in front of them – YAY!) And they are sort of sheltered so crazy waves and rip tides are not a fear there. This is definitely one of the very best things you can do in Hawaii with kids (of course)!
We spent a gorgeous day there last time we were in Oahu and I can’t wait to go back!
The Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon is also very calm and GREAT for younger kids / babies.
Visit the Waimea Valley:
There IS an admission fee, but it’s a gorgeous place to visit and the paths are paved – it’s an easy walk and a great place to take a stroller.
There are some cool archaeological / cultural sites to see, and a beautiful waterfall (you can swim in) at the end.
Polynesian Cultural Center:
Located on the North side of the island, in the city Laie, you can find the Polynesian Cultural Center. Here, you can explore and experience the rich heritage of the Pacific Islands.
With 42 acres filled with hands-on activities, tropical scenery, and breath-taking entertainment, the Polynesian Cultural Center should be at the top of your vacation to-do list.
The Polynesian Cultural Center has an area dedicated to each of the Pacific Islands. Guests can explore and learn about Tonga, Tahiti, Samoa, Aotearoa, Fiji, and Hawaii.
Additionally, you won’t want to miss their nighttime spectacular, Hā: Breath of Life. This show features over 100 Polynesian natives as they tell the symbolic story of Mana and Lani.
With dance, special effects and animation, this is a jaw-dropping show for kids.
Want to experience a traditional island Luau?
At the Polynesian Cultural Center, you can choose between three authentic dining options for you and your family to enjoy. Of course, each of them includes unique atmospheres and a buffet menu, along with song, dance, and an unforgettable celebration.
While prices to the Polynesian Cultural Center can vary, depending on what type of package you choose, it’s a great place that the entire family will appreciate.
The Honolulu Zoo is located between Waikiki and Diamond Head and is home to over 24 acres, filled with exotic animals, botanical gardens and more.
Not only can you and your little ones explore and learn about varieties of amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles, but the Zoo is an affordable activity.
Adults (13+) are $19, children (3-12) are $11.00 and infants 2 and under are free. Plus, the Honolulu Zoo is only a hop and skip away from Waikiki. So, if you’re staying in the area, you can easily take a taxi or Uber for a low fare.
Sea Life Park:
On the southeast side of the island, you can visit Sea Life Park.
Not only can you interact with amazing marine animals, but there are so many activities and entertainment options for young children to enjoy.
Watch the brand-new Dolphin Lagoon Show, which takes you along a journey through island-style stories and music. Not only is this show engaging, but you can even feed the dolphins afterward!
Plus, your kids are sure to love the Discovery Reef Touch Pool. Here, children can carefully touch starfish, urchins and baby Hawaiian green sea turtles.
Related: How to Plan a Dirt Cheap Holiday
If your children are fascinated with sea life, you might even want to consider purchasing an encounter experience.
For an additional cost, you can swim with dolphins, meet sea lions or curious creatures face-to-face in the Hawaiian Reef Encounter.
With educational opportunities, exhibits and aquariums around every corner, the Sea Life Park is one of our favorite things to do with kids in Hawaii.
The Dole Plantation has grown into one of Hawaii’s top visitor attractions for all ages. At the heart of the plantation, kids can learn more about how they grow the sweet, tropical fruit.
However, they also have the Pineapple Express train that takes you for a narrated tour through breathtaking vistas. Additionally, you can go through their Pineapple Garden Maze, which was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.
What would a vacation to Hawaii be without indulging in a world-famous Dole Whip?
Visit Pearl Harbor:
While young children may not understand the significance surrounding Pearl Harbor, it’s a perfect opportunity for them to learn. On family vacations, I’m always thrilled when I can incorporate an educational experience into our trip.
At Pearl Harbor, you can visit the Arizona Memorial for free. This program lasts about an hour and 15 minutes and it includes a short documentary on the history of Pearl Harbor which also includes a short boat ride to and from the memorial.
However, if you or your children are history buffs, you can opt to purchase additional tours which will give you access to various attractions.
These tours can include access to the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum and the Pearl Harbor Virtual Reality Center.
Overall, Pearl Harbor is a humbling and academic experience. If you’re planning on visiting this historic site, I would schedule your day around seeing it.
Remember that you can not take bags into Pearl Harbor, so plan accordingly. Eat a big breakfast and put snacks in dad’s pockets.
Take a drive to see some turtles:
Kids of any age will love seeing turtles in the wild, and there are a number of places you can find them on Oahu where it could be just you and the turtles… no crowds of tourists!
We found a number of small beaches on the west side of the island where turtles were sunning themselves and NO ONE else was around. Just google where to see turtles on the west side of Oahu or ask a local. (OR watch for signs that say not to touch the turtles!!)
Snorkel at Sharks Cove (Pupukea tide pools):
I would do this with kids IF THE WAVES ARE CALM. The day we went there were hoards of kids there, and everyone was having a blast. I have heard that the waves can be a bit much in the winter, so use your good judgement.
It’s a really cool cove full of fun tide pools and LOADS of fishes! You can learn more about sharks cove here.
Hike Diamond Head:
Probably not the best of things to do in Oahu with BABIES, but definitely fun for slightly older kids – the views are amazing and it absolutely burn off some of that energy.
Take water, and wear sun screen and hats.
As you can see, there are so many things for kids to enjoy and experience when you’re visiting Hawaii. If you haven’t booked your next trip to Oahu, what are you waiting for?
No matter what island you choose to travel to, Get Away Today’s travel experts will give you insider tips and tricks on how to make your next Hawaiian vacation the best one yet.
Let them know that Carly from Mommy on Purpose sent you!
What are your favorite things to do on Oahu with kids?