Despite Oahu’s reputation as a surf mecca and a honeymooners’ paradise, its year-round sunshine, non-stop activities, and dozens of white-sand beaches make this tropical outdoor playground well-suited for the whole family. Here are some ways to make the most of a trip to Oahu with the kids in tow.
- Check out marine life at the Waikiki Aquarium and Sea Life Park. Both offer different experiences—the aquarium, within walking distance of most Waikiki hotels, hosts a bevy of colorful reef residents, while Sea Life Park, further afield, focuses on larger creatures like dolphins and seals.
- Get out on the water to see some sea creatures in the wild—head to the protected Hanauma Bay for some of the best snorkeling on the island, or set sail on a whale-watching tour between November and April.
- Learn about local culture at the Polynesian Cultural Center on the North Shore. Living exhibits showcase different facets of life in cultures throughout Polynesia. Their elaborate nightly luau—complete with in-the-ground-steamed pig—is a must-see.
- Spend a day immersed in the outdoors of Kualoa Ranch, where you can go hiking, kayaking, and ziplining, or take an ATV-based movie tour to see filming locations from Jurassic Park, Hawaii Five-0, and 50 First Dates.
- Get lost at the Dole Plantation's huge hedge maze and discover the former pineapple plantation's history.
- Take a family surf lesson or rolling outrigger canoe ride at the gentle breaks in Waikiki.