Best 20 Family friendly activities in Oahu (fun, kid friendly, cool)
There’s plenty of fantastic places to visit and activities in Oahu that is family friendly. If you are planning a trip to Oahu soon, check out these top activities, tips and places to visit that are kid friendly and won’t break the bank in terms of costs especially if you are on a budget for your entire family visiting and vacation on the island.
Check out the top kid friendly activities in Oahu
Hike up Diamond Head
One of the most popular hikes on the island is to hike up to the rim and observation areas of Diamond Head state park. The hike is a work out but not too bad with kids at different age groups on some paved, gravel and dirt trails to the top and also a set of stairs to get to the observation decks.
You’ll enjoy all the views and return through the downhill rim trail to see some of the beautiful eastern side of Oahu and some gorgeous views of the areas below. There’s plenty of parking but you can also take Uber, bus or the Waikiki trolley that goes right into the park entrance.
Family friendly beaches
There are plenty of fun and kid friendly beaches to enjoy around the island. Many are protected from the main ocean waves and currents with barriers which create safe zones and lagoons that make it relatively shallow and safe for kids of various age ranges.
Check out these top family beaches below for your fun beach day with the entire family.
Ala Moana Beach Park
Located further down from Waikiki Beach and more of the local beach in Honolulu. Easy to park and take public transportation. The water is calm and protected by a reef area and the beach is about a half mile and wide.
Connected to Ala Moana Beach Park, Magic Island is a lagoon and beach with rock barriers that make it very safe to swim for children and the sandy bottoms are easy to get around from beach to water.
Located on the eastern side of Oahu with a fun downtown section to explore. The beach is beautiful with a white sandy beach and aqua water and shallow for a distance with mostly calm waters.
A neighborhood beach next to Kailua and is a very popular local beach and beautiful, clear waters and shallow areas that are safe for kids to swim in or do some fun activities like kayaking or snorkeling
Snorkeling Hanauma Bay
One of the most popular snorkeling spots to enjoy on the island, Hanauma Bay is fabulous and also a great beach to enjoy on the Hawaii Kai side of Honolulu.
You have to make reservations to get to Hanauma which is restricting daily traffic numbers to maintain the quality of the marine life and coral at this ocean preserve. Aim for visiting early morning with a reservation to avoid crowds and ease of parking in the area.
A fun way to see the underworld areas without getting wet, you take a boat tender to the loading area to the submarine and then cruise underwater 100 feet to where artificial reefs are with marine life, coral and tropical can be seen from your own porthole.
It’s a fun and different experience, educational and an easy way to explore the waters around Honolulu area.
Wet and Wild Water Park
You can spend an entire day here with your kids and they will love all the fun water slides and activities to do around the park.
There’s over 25 slides and attractions to keep your kids occupied and enjoying the fun water experience and activities offered at the park.
Located at Kapolei area, parking is available and the park is open year round for visitors and locals
Polynesian Cultural Center
A fantastic experience for the family to travel to 6 islands of Polynesia including: Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, New Zealand and Tonga.
While exploring the various miniature locations, locals with their native ancestry from those islands share their music, dance, culture, story tell and other fascinating aspects of traveling to their island. It’s an immersive learning opportunity to throw spears, learn to cook the native way, easy crafts, canoe paddling to even starting a fire from scratch.
It’s a fun family friendly venue and the additional luau experience is also worth staying later for this wonderful activity.
Sea Life Park
You can have a fun day on the eastern side of Oahu and spend some time with family at Sea Life Park which is a perfect way to get children to enjoy all the marine life from the island with a variety of shows, immersion experiences in an educational, playful and interactive environment.
Located on the eastern side of Oahu and about a forty five minute drive from downtown Honolulu on scenic Highway one. There are plenty of things to also do on the east side of the island when you are done with visiting Sea LIfe Park.
Located at Kapiolani park in Waikiki, the Honolulu Zoo feels like an intimate tropical garden that you are walking through and housing over 1,230 animals in special park habitat areas of the park. It’s easy to walk around the park with kids and visit all the main animal areas including native birds, amphibians, insects to monkeys, elephants, cheetah and popular giraffes.
Originated with the King’s granting of royal lands to create Kapiolani park and the beautiful zoo. Check out more details to visiting the zoo here for more information.
A visit to Pearl Harbor is but fun and educational with children to show them how important the base was at Pearl Harbor and the attack from the Japanese naval fleet that created the start of World War II with Japan.
You’ll see some fascinating movies, visit museums and tour some of the vessels docked at Pearl Harbor and also take a short boat cruise to the USS Arizona that is sunk at the bottom of the bay.
A fun family-oriented attraction that is part cattle ranch and the original filming of Jurrasic Park. You can do a variety of activities from horseback riding, ATV touring to ziplining activities for the whole family.
Located on the east side of the island at Kaneohe, Kualoa Ranch is a very popular attraction that kids will enjoy doing with so many cool choices of activities to try at the ranch.
Dole Pineapple Plantation
A fantastic visit to the Dole Pineapple Plantation both educational and fun with children, taking a train through the growing fields, exploring a large-scale maze and some cool gardens to explore.
You can visit the information area/welcome and shopping area to and enjoy some pineapple inspired foods like their delicious Dole Whip, a pineapple dairy free ice cream and some other pineapple inspired desserts or local goods.
Do a Luau experience
Luaus are perfect for families with interactive activities, delicious food, educational talk story and cultural lessons along with a fabulous entertainment to include live music, hula dance, singing and other traditional story telling and activities.
You can check out the Luau that is offered at the Polynesian cultural center in East Hawaii or this fantastic luau located in the Honolulu area for booking a luau activity for your entire family.
The Bishop Museum is a museum of history and science in the historic Kalihi district of Honolulu. The grand hall inside inspires you to visit and check out all the cool attractions and showcases, interactive displays and other educational areas for families to learn and explore the many facets of history, science and the Hawaiian culture.
While visiting there are many exhibits and programs geared for children to enjoy and participate while visiting the museum including the planetarium, the Hawaiian and Pacific Hall, a science adventure center and many other interesting sections to explore.
Check out their website here for more details on what to see and do.
Children’s Discovery Center
Located at Kaka’ako Waterfront Park outside of Honolulu, this children’s museum is both a museum, discovery, science and technology center aimed to educate, inspire and offer a kid friendly and safe environment to enjoy and explore he center.
There are different sections to walk through to learn about Hawaiian culture, history, celebrations and also about the environment and the importance of the aina or land that we live in and taking care of it. Find out more details to visiting the Children’s Discovery Center here for more information.
Located close to the Honolulu Zoo and Kapiolani park is the Waikiki Aquarium which is fun for children to explore the various aquariums and outdoor exhibits with local marine life, corals and tropical fish to visit.
The second oldest operating aquarium in the USA, the Waikiki Aquarium is easy to explore, has great signage and fun staff to engage and ask questions while visiting.
Check out their website here for more information to visiting.
Explore Haleiwa town
Located on the North Shore of Oahu, this western plantation town exudes a small and charming town vibe. It actually was an old plantation town and the buildings have been repurposed with galleries, boutique stores and shops.
A fun North Shore destination, exploring the old western town of Haleiwa with converted buildings and storefronts filled with galleries, bake shops and shave ice stands, food truck courts and fun window shopping in this colorful town that is artsy and has a fun young vibe from the surfer scene in the area.
While visiting Haleiwa, you can also explore the surrounding area and enjoy some time visiting the attractions in the North Shore area.
Visit Chinatown area
Chinatown is a family friendly venue that is fun to explore, eat some delicious dim sum, check out the lei stands and explore the cool gift shops and mom and pop shops for cheap bargains to take home.
You can even sign up for walking tours with the local Chamber of commerce to learn the history and cultural aspects of the Chinatown district in Honolulu.
If you are hungry, there’s plenty of dim sum, Chinese or Pan Asian or fusion style eatery’s along with many public markets where you can sample some local snacks or plate lunch dishes for take out service.
Snorkeling at Shark’s cover in the North Shore
Snorkeling is a fun activity on the island and one of the most kid friendly locations is on the North Shore at Sharks Cove which is sheltered by some barrier rocks and makes the area safe to snorkel in and explore all the fantastic marine life, corals and tropical fish in the area.
It is relatively shallow throughout the cove area, so it is very family friendly to swim in. Just be careful of entry to the water since there are rocky areas to walk through instead of beach.
Experience a fun waterfall hike and plunge at Waimea Waterfalls
Both a botanical garden and hiking area to a waterfall that you can actually swim in the pond area fronting the waterfalls, Waimea Falls is a non-profit educational facility that educates and inspires all visitors.
They offer docent tours, cultural immersion, a luau after hours event and also some play time at the waterfalls after a nice and easy hike on paved trails up to the waterfall area. For more details, check out this post on visiting Waimea Canyon.
The best part is the waterfall and swimming pond area that is safe with a lifeguard and swimming vests that everyone is obligated to wearing while they swim.
Check out the details to visiting Waimea Valley Botanical garden and falls here for more information to visiting the park.
Explore a local farmers market
You can check out the fun stands filled with fresh tropical fruits and produce. Maybe try some of the local snacks or treats along with artisanal finished goods or souvenirs you can buy as gives. How how about trying some yummy shave ice or try some of the delicious food truck or food stands offering local food to try.
Here’s a list of farmers markets around Honolulu and Oahu that you can check out here when you visit Hawaii.
Hike Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail
This is easy trail to the lighthouse observation point at Makapu’u on the eastern side of the island is fun. Paved all the way to the lighthouse with just a slight grade, this walk is very easy and family friendly.
You’ll get spectacular views of the tide pools and blow hole below as well as the look out point to the lighthouse, Makapu’u beach and the entire coastal areas to the east side of the island.
Conclusion on Family friendly activities in Oahu
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