Top Ten Family Activities in Oahu
Oahu is the heart of Hawaii. Its name has no literal meaning, but the island has always been nicknamed “Gathering Place”. Sure enough, there are few better places for your family to gather than Oahu. The island’s varied terrain and balanced convenience and authenticity make it a perfect destination for families that need a relaxing vacation with a side of adventure.
Here are our top ten picks for family activities on the island to prove it. Also, have a look at our special packages for travel and accommodations in Oahu.
The oceanside Honolulu Zoo has a little bit of everything from the animal kingdom. With more than 160 bird species, 64 reptile species and 38 mammal species, the zoo divides 42-acres into three lush ecological zones—Pacific Islands, Tropical Rainforests and the African Savanna. At its petting zoo, kids can stand in the middle of a koi pond and get friendly with llamas. Best to visit in the morning, when the animals are most active.
Oahu’s north shore is lined with beaches that are frequented by old and massive green sea turtles. These turtles live up to 80 years, and they can often be found in the shallows eating seaweed off rocks or on the beach basking in the warm sun. Visitors are completely free to snorkel around the turtles and watch them on the beach. They’re generally friendly, but it would be wise not to treat them like pets.
Duke Kahanamoku Beach & Lagoon
Right beside a small stretch of Waikiki Beach’s white sand and azure waters is a 5-acre lagoon of calm saltwater. The Duke Kahanamoku Beach & Lagoon is a main feature of Hilton Hawaiian Village, and is a perfect place to lounge on the sand, or sweep along the serene waters on a paddleboard or kayak. Its wading depths are perfect for small children to safely splash around in.
Oahu’s coasts always have a large selection of sunset cruises to choose from. Whether you want a quiet couple’s dinner, an accommodating family dinner or a boisterous booze cruise, you can enjoy it with a stunning Oahu sunset over glistening ocean waters. Many cruises offer live music and other entertainment to pair with the beautiful scenery.
‘Aha’Aina, a Royal Hawaiian Luau
This luau, staged by the Royal Hawaiian Resort, is Waikiki’s best and only oceanfront luau and dinner show. It’s an awe-inspiring celebration of traditional Hawaiian music, traditions and cuisine that will mesmerize and delight you. Experience time-honoured traditions like kapa- making, poi-pounding and na lawai’a. Hear stories, witness hypnotic fire spinning and taste native cuisine.
Hula Classes Hula dance classes are a fun family activity that can keep kids moving and learning about Hawaiian history and culture. Hotels and resorts like Moana Surfrider, Sheraton, and the Royal Hawaiian offer laid-back public classes. You can also find schools to teach private one-off classes.
Bishop Museum and Iolani Palace
Bishop Museum and Iolani Palace are Oahu’s best museums. At Bishop Museum, you can see relics and artefacts from Hawaii’s pre-contact and contemporary history. Bishop Museum also has a large planetarium theatre where you can watch breathtaking and immersive films about space and the night sky over Hawaii. Bishop Museum also heads tours to Iolani Palace, the old house of Hawaii’s royalty. Discover how they lived in opulence and luxury with walkthroughs of the palace’s decadent rooms.
Join in the favoured pastime of beach bums everywhere with surf lessons. No other sport combines a laidback enjoyment of Hawaii’s warm, crystal waters with an occasional adrenaline rush, and kids always have a blast getting a hang of hanging ten. Experienced instructors specialise in teaching kids and keeping them safe in the process.
Trot along beaches, hills, valleys and through forests on horseback for a relaxing and unique trail trip. Horses make for great travel companions, and offer the best seats in the house for views of Oahu’s stunning mountains and surrounding ocean. Gunstock Ranch has pony rides for kids and advanced rides for seasoned equestrians. They also have swimming, hiking, roping, games, a petting zoo and more.
Go for a Swim
If all else fails, there’s always water. Tons of it. Oceans of it. And whether it’s in a pool, or rolling in and out over soft sand, it’s warm, welcoming and perfect for a swim.
-- Feeling the urge to hang loose with the kids? Gather your family for a Hawaii getaway with one of our special packages for flights and accommodations.