Top 10 Family Activities To Do On Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu, one of the Hawaiian islands is a great place to visit with kids – particularly tweens and teens. The long stretches of golden beaches are the perfect place to spend the day playing in the sun and there are plenty of activities, from surfing to hiking for the more adventurous visitor.


Top 10 Family Activities To Do In Oahu

Go snorkelling at Hanauma Bay.

The lagoon is home to large areas of coral teeming with fish and turtles often visit the Bay too. Local guides are on hand to advise on safety and to help identify the wildlife in the area, they are very knowledgeable and it is well worth stopping to talk to them.


Hanauma Bay in Oahu. The coral reefs can be seen just below the surface of the ocean. The mountains are covered in greenery and rise up behind the beach.


Hire a Mustang and drive around the island.

The beautiful weather and breathtaking scenery make Oahu the perfect place to drive around with the roof down. It gets very hot in the sunshine though so make sure everyone is wearing sunscreen. The island is very easy to navigate around and it doesn’t take long to get from one side of the island to the other.


A grey Mustang with a black roof.

Visit The North Shore

The North Shore is like stepping back in time, Haleiwa Town is the complete opposite of Honolulu, there are no skyscrapers or well-known brand shops. Instead the town lines a single street and is peppered with art galleries and boutiques. You’ll find the famous Matsumoto Shave Ice in Haleiwa and a little further around the coast is Ted’s Bakery and numerous shrimp trucks.


A group of people sitting on a bench outside some shops in Haleiwa Old Town in Oahu


Take In The Panoramic Views At The Top Of Diamond Head

Overlooking Honolulu is Diamond Head Crater. Standing at 760 feet high the natural crater, formed over 100,000 years ago, offers stunning views across the island. It is a fairly easy hike to the top, although it is worth noting that there are 175 steps to conquer. Visitors are advised to start the trail early in the day before it gets too hot and to carry water with them as there is nowhere to buy a drink once on the trail. Sensible footwear is also advised as the trail is uneven in places.


The view of Honolulu and Oahu from the top of Diamond Head Crater

Spend A Day At The Polynesian Cultural Centre

The Polynesian Cultural Centre displays the cultures of the South Pacific Islands, including Tonga, Samoa and Fiji. There are demonstrations, hands-on activities, canoe tours, a canoe pageant and many more things to see and do. A marketplace offers the opportunity to pick up a souvenir and a new cinematic experience – The Wonder of Hawaii is a welcome break from the heat, whilst seeing the natural beauty of Hawaii. There is a Luau with buffet and also a fantastic nighttime show Ha:Breath of Life.


Ladies in traditional Polynesian dress dancing on a barge. There is a crowd of people lining the bank of the canal watching them .

Have A Go At A Watersport

Whether it’s a surf lesson in Waikiki, paddle boarding or splashing around with a boogie board, Hawaii is the perfect place to have a go at a watersport. Many areas along the coast are safe for families, but pay attention to any warnings. If participating isn’t for you, there are plenty of watersports events to watch such as surf competitions.


Surfers and swimmers in the ocean at Waikiki Beach

Go To A Swap Meet

Every Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday the Aloha Stadium is home to the Swap Meet, a huge outdoor market. There are vendors selling everything from souvenirs, jewellery, crafts, photography and food items. Get there early before the temperature rises too much.


Stalls selling a variety of handcrafted items and brightly coloured leis at the Aloha Stadium in Oahu 

Spend A Day On Waikiki Beach

Waikiki is a fun and vibrant area. One side of the main street is lined with designer shops while on the other side is one of the most famous beaches in the world. Soft, golden sand stretches for miles and despite the waves looking huge, the larger ones tend to break a fair way off the shore, making it a popular destination for families.


A busy Waikiki Beach. The beach is full of people sunbathing, lines of surfboards for hire and canopies to block out the sun. Palm trees are dotted all over the beach. In the background office buildings and tall skyscrapers can be seen.

Visit Pearl Harbor

A visit to Pearl Harbor is a must for anyone travelling to Oahu. The USS Arizona Memorial is a beautiful tribute to those who lost their lives in the attack. It’s well worth visiting The Battleship Missouri and the USS Bowfin Submarine , as well as the the Pacific Aviation Museum too.


Looking across Pearl Harbor to the USS Arizona memorial. A white building that spans the water above the wreck of the ship.

Spend A Day At Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch has so much to offer. Take a tour of the ranch and see where some of the most iconic movies and tv shows have been filmed. Zip-line across the valley, take a horseback ride or drive yourself on an atv. There are so many different options available to visitors. The Ranch also offers a gift shop and restaurant – the Plate Lunch is delicious!

A deep lush green valley flows through tall mountains covered in vegetation to the ocean.

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