Destinations

Oahu’s top family-friendly activities

Ashlee Galea

The Hawaiian Islands are loved by families for plenty of good reasons: there’s loads to do for kids of all ages, there’s a variety of places to eat, often with free entertainment or a kids eat free option, and there’s a raft of family-friendly places to stay.

Beyond the beautiful beaches and hotels, there are some activities and attractions that will create lasting happy memories if your clients decide to explore further.

Here are 10 activities for families to experience when they’re on the island of Oahu:

1. Free Hawaiian entertainment

Care to learn hula or ukelele? Weave a traditional floral lei or learn Hawaiian quilting? The Royal Hawaiian Center offers free lessons throughout the week, and also has free live entertainment and hula shows most evenings.

The Ala Moana Center has a daily hula show at 1pm at Centerstage, and International Market Place has everything from Hawaiian music to storytelling and lei making.

2. Learn to sail an outrigger canoe together

Family holidays are all about bonding and learning to sail is a true team effort. Your clients can paddle across the waves of Waikiki Beach, pick up some sailing tips and hear all about how the ancient Hawaiians navigated the South Pacific with nothing but the stars to guide them.

3. Road trip to the North Shore

Visitors can hop into a hire car and leave the hustle and bustle of Waikiki behind. It’s worth stopping off at colourful roadside shacks for shaved ice and locally-farmed shrimp, exploring local village shops and packing some swimmers for a dip along the way.

4. Day trip to the Polynesian Cultural Center

Families can sneak in some education with a day out at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Built to look like a traditional grass hut village, the Polynesian Cultural Center takes guests on a figurative journey through the South Pacific where they will learn about the history, culture, mythology, food, and handicrafts of this vibrant region.

5. A day out at Honolulu Zoo

Located a short drive from Waikiki, Honolulu Zoo is set on 42 lush tropical acres that are often referred to as a botanical garden because it’s so beautiful. For something a little different, visitors can head along on one of the Twilight Tours held on Friday and Saturday nights.

6. Diamond Head Crater hike

Do your clients enjoy a challenge? If so, they can lace up their sneakers, slap on some sunscreen and make their way to the Diamond Head Crater trail head.

The 1.2-kilometre hike is steep, but if they make it to the top, they will be rewarded with a view that includes a lighthouse, Koko Head and, in winter, passing humpback whales.

7. Go deep with Atlantis Submarines

Submarines are generally only used by the navy, superheroes and James Bond villains, but families can go undercover, too – the cover of water, that is – and explore the underwater world off the coast of Oahu.

In Atlantis Submarines’ fully air-conditioned vessel, they will see marine life, exotic tropical reefs and sunken vessels.

8. Kahuku Farm tour

Why not take a Kahuku Farm tour before enjoying lunch in the on-site cafe? This is a true farm-to-fork experience where guests can enjoy produce that has been picked that very morning.

9. Ka Waa – A Luau at Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa

Your clients can add a dash of Disney to their holiday with a night out at the Ka Waa – A Luau at Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa.

Set on the lawns of the resort, outside visitors are welcome to buy tickets for dinner and the show. The luau performance brings The Hawaiian Islands’ ancient legends and lore to life, and the dinner showcases regional specialties like Kalua pig.

10. Bishop Museum

Bishop Museum is a treasure trove of significant South Pacific artefacts, including King Kamehameha’s feathered cape and headdress, only recently returned to The Hawaiian Islands from the British Museum in the last few years.

There is a planetarium where visitors can learn about star navigation, a special skill of the ancient Hawaiians, and there are highlight exhibitions throughout the year that focus on science and nature.


This article was written by Ashlee Galea and originally appeared on Hawaii Tourism Authority’s website. It has been republished on Travel Weekly with permission.

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