Families love the ‘Gathering Place’ of Oahu is loved by families for a good reason; there are loads to do for everyone, especially kids of all ages! Oahu is one of the more developed Hawaiian islands. Hence, you’ll find everything from luxury resorts, well-developed roads, and fabulous family-friendly beaches. Moreover, there are also water activities for kids and families, free entertainment, and even kids menus in the restaurants. There are a lot of things to do in Oahu for kids, whether you want to indulge in land activities or water-based ones. Even if you want to stay in your resort, there’s a whole lot of fun for kids in that too! And, of course, there are so many top things to do in Oahu, HI, as it is. To that end, here are the 13 best things to do in Oahu for kids.
Table of contents
- Dolphins Catamaran Cruise
- Kualoa Park and Circle Island Adventure
- Submarine Tour
- Manoa Falls Rainforest
- Glass Bottom Boat Tour
- Coral Crater Zipline Tour
- North Shore Dole Plantation
- Diamond Head Morning Hike
- Polynesian Canoe Excursion
- Waimea Canyon and Koke’e Valley
- Hawaii Polynesian Star Voyage
- Pearl Harbor Memorial
- Cool Facts About Oahu
- Get Some Culture in Oahu
- Grab A Bite in Oahu
Dolphins Catamaran Cruise
The West O’ahu: Swim with Dolphins Catamaran Cruise is one of the most fun things to do in Oahu for kids. This exciting 4-hour tour takes you onboard a 40-seater double-hulled catamaran on a lookout for dolphins. As you relax in your comfortable seat, look for the gentle sea creatures. What’s more, you might also end up spotting other rare wild sea creatures. These include tropical island fish and Hawaiian green turtles. During winter, you might even spy the annual migration of humpback whales that playfully swim the ocean waters. But that’s not all. Your return journey is no less majestic, as you can see the magnificent cascading views of the Waianae Mountain range.
Kualoa Park and Circle Island Adventure
If you’re looking for a full-day activity to do with the kids on Oahu, then this Kualoa Park and Circle Island Adventure is the best thing to do. This amazing guided tour begins at the Halona Blowhole. Next, enjoy coffee at the Tropical academia nut Farm and try spotting whales at Makapu’u Lighthouse. The best bit is the spectacular views of the east shore all the time. Now, it’s time for some real adventure as you rent snorkel gear and enjoy swimming, followed by lunch at Shark’s Cove. Your action-filled day finishes off at the gorgeous Pali Lookout. Here, you can snap some fantastic photos of the Oahu coastline and the landscape.
The Oahu: Waikiki Undersea Adventure Submarine Tour is one of the most exciting things to do in Oahu for and with kids. How would you, or rather your kids, like to climb onboard the largest high-tech passenger submarine in the world? Behold the Atlantis XIV, which can hold a whopping 64 passengers and dive 100 feet below the surface of Waikiki and discover its marine mysteries. What’s more, you even get to see real marine life up close, as the Atlantis Waikiki dive site is home to many Hawaiian turtles, coral, and fishes. Moreover, this eye-opening experience also visits some of Hawaii’s most famous artificial reefs, airplanes, and sunken shipwrecks. The best bit? This Atlantis submarine has comfortable seating, large viewports, and a spacious air-conditioned interior.
Manoa Falls Rainforest
If you love hiking as a family, then the Manoa Falls Rainforest Tour with Healthy Lunch from Waikiki is just the thing to do with older kids. This guided nature walk tour picks you up from your Waikiki hotel and transports you to the Manoa Falls trailhead in a comfortable air-conditioned coach. Next, follow your guide along the 1.5-mile trail that winds through the tropical rainforest used as a backdrop in the TV series ‘Lost’ and the superhit movie ‘Jurassic Park.’ Listen to the birdsong and soak in the natural beauty of the Hawaiian rainforest, including natural tree arches and bamboo forests. Meanwhile, your guide keeps up a steady flow of information and tidbits about Hawaiian history and cultural facts.
At the trail’s end sit the Manoa Falls, a dazzling 150 feet of cascading freshwater and Oahu’s tallest accessible waterfall. Soak up the ambiance and snap pictures before heading back along the trail. The next stop is a healthy power lunch before the tour ends at the stunning Tantalus Lookout. It’s the perfect vantage point to capture pictures of the Waikiki skyline and the Diamond Head volcano cone.
If your children love the water, then the Kids Surfing Lesson in Waikiki Beach is one of the best things to do in Oahu with kids. Children or “keiki” (Hawaiian for “little one” or “child”) who’re between 4 and 12 years can participate in this 2-hour surf lesson helmed by patient, professional surf instructors. They not only provide the greatest level of care to young surfers but also offer them a thrilling and optimal surf experience. Watch as your little ones learn surfing tips and techniques and better their confidence after this 1-on-1 instruction. Moreover, all lessons include 20 minutes of beach technique at the minimum. These include instructions on etiquette, safety, and how to stand up on their surfboard properly. Finally, there’s open-ocean instruction of more than an hour. Ultimately, your kid leaves happily with surfing pictures and a Surfer Girl Academy original gift sticker!
Glass Bottom Boat Tour
What’s the best way to spend an afternoon in Oahu with kids? Go on this thrilling Afternoon Glass Bottom Boat Tour in Waikiki! If your family is adventurous, then this daily boat tour aboard the Haleiwa Queen is perfect for you guys. Your journey begins from the slip in the Kewalo Basin harbor as you head towards Lē’ahi and enjoy the beauty of Hawaii’s South Shore. Stay dry and discover Oahu’s underwater world from the glass-bottom boat and enjoy clear views of the Pacific Ocean floor. You cruise over everything from Hawaiian shipwrecks to live tropical reefs. What’s more, you can spy schools of tropical fish, dolphins, reef sharks, eels, and honu sea turtles from the deck through the viewports. This is one unique perspective of Honolulu that your kids shouldn’t miss.
Coral Crater Zipline Tour
“Thrill” is the name of the game on the Coral Crater Zipline Tour, one of the most enthralling and exciting things to do in Oahu for kids. You can feel the adrenaline pumping as you fly through the air on this family-friendly zipline experience at Coral Crater Adventure Park. Follow your guides and choose to ride 3 or 6 times on zip lines ranging from heights of 300 to 900 feet! Since these ziplines feature modern braking systems, you don’t need to control your speed or stop yourselves. Thus, it’s one of the safest yet most exciting activities for kids. So, people of all abilities and ages can partake in this safe yet thrilling, high-flying experience. The best bit? Expert guides will be with you every step of the way throughout the adventure.
North Shore Dole Plantation
If you’re culture vultures as a family, then don’t miss out on this The North Shore Dole Plantation Pineapple Day Trip on Oahu. This trip gives you exclusive access to the Dole pineapple fields, where you’ll be told all about the Dole process, from planting to packaging pineapples. Your day begins with a quick stop at the GreenWorld Coffee Farms for a steaming and delicious local cup of coffee. Next, your guide takes you to the Dole pineapple fields, where field workers plant, pick, and process the pineapples. Not only can you take a complimentary pineapple home, but you can also enjoy one straight from the fields! After a delectable local lunch at a food truck, visit the historic Waialua Sugar Mill. Wrap up your trip by soaking in Hawaii’s agricultural history and snapping pictures at the statue of King Kamehameha.
Diamond Head Morning Hike
There’s nothing to experience on Oahu like the Diamond Head Morning Hike, which is one of the best things to do in Oahu for families with older kids. This easy guided hike takes you to the best vantage point on Oahu, where you can enjoy calm mornings with the sun rising out of the Pacific Ocean. After picking you up from the hotel, your guide takes you on this easy and lovely hike up to the Diamond Head summit. Since the staircase is sturdy, the idea is to reach the top before sunrise. After soaking in the views and taking pictures, descend and relax with a delicious breakfast at Il Lupino. This popular restaurant is famous for eggs benedict breakfasts, complete with crispy English muffins, melted eggs, ham, and creamy Hollandaise sauce. Yum!
Polynesian Canoe Excursion
Families with older kids will enjoy an immersive tour of Honolulu with this one-of-a-kind Cultural Day Excursion on Polynesian Canoe. On this guided tour, you get to listen to the history of the Hawaiian Islands via songs and storytelling. Your excursion begins with an oli (Hawaiian chant) welcoming you on board, followed by introductions, storytelling, and music. Listen to astounding stories of the island’s history as you sail along the coast from the Kewalo Basin towards Diamond Head. What’s more, you also enjoy locally grown pupus (Hawaiian snacks) and learn to make poi (traditional Hawaiian food).
Since this is a fully immersive cultural experience, you even get to make a Hawaiian lei and try out a hula lesson, complete with a practitioner/teacher on board for guidance. What’s more, you can relax in between the activities and marvel at the gorgeous Waikiki coastline and the waters.
Waimea Canyon and Koke’e Valley
Families looking for full-day tours will love the Waimea Canyon and Koke’e Valley Bus Tour, one of the best things to do in Oahu for kids. This bus takes you through the heart of the Kauai countryside to the base of a mountain filled with endless fields and lush trees. From there, a meandering road takes you to the impressive Waimea Canyon with deep gorges and immense cliffs. Your next stop after descending is the stunning Spouting Horn Blowhole, followed by views of the Hanapepe Valley and the famous Hanapepe Swinging Bridge.
After a delicious lunch at the alluring Waimea Plantation Cottages, soak in the views of the two-mile black sand beach. The tour then takes you down an easy nature trail hike in Koke’e State Park, full of native Hawaiian fauna and flora. Listen to birdsong and take in the views of the island, finally ending your tour at the gorgeous-smelling Kauai Coffee Plantation.
Hawaii Polynesian Star Voyage
Are you staying at the Ko Olina Resort? Your kids will love turning astronomers with the Stars Above Hawaii: Polynesian Star Voyage. Join people of all ages on the gorgeous beaches of Hawaii under the starry skies, where a guide takes you on a tour of the galaxy. With giant telescopes and a powerful laser, your guide explains all about constellations, cultural mythologies, astronomy discoveries, and the latest NASA information on space. Depending on the time of the year, you can spy everything from Saturn’s rings and Jupiter’s moons to seeing galaxies millions of light years away. Your kids will love absorbing all the interesting information and using the telescopes to discover the wide, vast sky. The best bit is that the experience also involves learning about the Hawaiian star line and cultural mythologies.
Pearl Harbor Memorial
If there’s one thing to do in Oahu with kids, it’s seeing the Pearl Harbor memorial. This Salute to Pearl Harbor tour gives children and adults a peek into one of the darkest times in the country’s history. What’s more, the guided tour takes you through all the personal stories, sounds, and sights of the world-changing events of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Observe never-before-seen media displays, replicas, and artifacts as you enter the Pacific National Monument. Soak in views of the blue waters of the Harbor at Ford Island as your guide takes you through the horrific events of that fateful winter morning of 1941. Moreover, you also get to travel across the harbor by shuttle boat to the peaceful and reflective USS Arizona Memorial. The calming presence of Hawaiian marine life, such as colorful fish and green sea turtles, makes the experience all the more moving.
Cool Facts About Oahu
- Honolulu on Oahu is the state capital of Hawaii. Check out some of the top things to do in Honolulu.
- Nothing can beat a sunset in Oahu, so much so that it’s hailed as one of the world’s most spectacular sunset locations.
- Oahu is very popular with families as it offers many opportunities for family fun and also has some amazing family-friendly hotels. Here are the best family hotels in Oahu.
Get Some Culture in Oahu
- Honolulu Festival: This family-friendly festival is Honolulu and Oahu’s most famous cultural festival for both locals and tourists. It honors and celebrates the diverse culture of the Hawaiian Islands and sees everything from ethnic dances and performances to music and art exhibits. If you’re in Oahu during this festival, do take your kids along, as it’s a unique way to learn and understand the importance of cultural values, unity, Aloha, and family.s
Grab A Bite in Oahu
- Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman: Not only does Monkeypod have a kid’s menu, but children under the age of three years also eat for free! So, it’s no surprise that it’s a huge hit with families. What’s more, it’s ranked one of Oahu’s best local kid-friendly restaurants, aside from having farm-to-table meals, 36 craft brews, and the lazy strums of a guitar filling the air.
- Leonard’s Bakery: People of all ages, including kids, will have a grand time at this Hawaiian gem of a bakery. It’s famous for just one thing, malasadas, which is a Portuguese deep-fried specialty donut that’s the size of your fist! This absolute Oahu favorite is rolled in sugar and flavored with cinnamon and lemon and will surely be a hit with your kids.