Are you ready to plan a trip to Hawaii with kids? Awesome! There are so many things to do in Oahu with kids.
We recently took our four kids and explored the island. We will share what our kids loved and what they didn’t love. Personally, I feel like Oahu is the best island for a family vacation or a first trip to Hawaii. There are so many family activities on Oahu. You can easily plan a one-week Oahu itinerary.
Get ready to enjoy reading about all the activities in Oahu for kids. In this post, we will list the best kid-friendly Oahu activities to help you plan a family vacation to Hawaii.
Let’s explore all the fun things to do in Oahu with Kids!
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1. Kualoa Ranch - Jurassic Park Adventure
Give a shout-out if you love Jurassic Park!! We are big fans of the Jurassic Park movies. (and dinosaurs in general) Kualoa Ranch is one of the best things to do in Oahu with kids!
Kualoa Ranch is a beautiful working ranch. It contracts its land out for movies to be filmed. Many famous shows have been filmed here such as Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, Godzilla, Kong, Windtalkers, 50 First Dates, Lost, and more. The sets of these movies are still set up and available to see.
Family Activities on Oahu – Kualoa Tours
Kualoa Ranch is great for all ages. There are zip lines, catamaran rides, horseback riding, ATV tours, movie tours and so much more! There really is something for every age including teens if you have older kids. There are some age restrictions on certain tours, so be sure to check before you book.
If you are a Jurassic Park fan we highly recommend going on the Jurassic Park Adventure Tour. My kids loved it!
Kualoa Ranch also offers other tours that your family might love such as:
- Hollywood Movie Site Tour
- Jurassic Adventure Tour
- Jurassic Valley Zip Line
- E- Mountain Bike Tour
- Horseback Riding Tour
- ATV Jurassic Tour
- Aloha Aina Tour
- Catamaran Tour
- Plus many more!!
We thought the Jurassic Adventure tour was a perfect family activity on Oahu. Our 6-year-old is obsessed with the Netflix show Camp Cretaceous. He loves dinosaurs and all things Jurassic Park. We knew we had to do the Jurassic Adventure Tour when we went on our family trip to Oahu.
It was beautiful, fun, and perfect! Our 6 year old said it was his favorite thing we did on the entire trip.
This makes it one of the top things to do in Oahu with kids list. (According to our kids.)
These tours book out sometimes 4-6 weeks in advance. If you are planning to go book early!
2. Dole Pineapple Plantation
The Dole Pineapple Plantation is a perfect kid-friendly Oahu activity. It is the best place to get a Dole Whip in Hawaii! We had to try all the fun different treats! Not only does it have delicious treats but there are many fun things to do at the Dole Pineapple Plantation.
It is free to visit the Dole Plantation, however, if you want to participate in the activities there are individual admission prices for each activity.
The maze is a 3-acre adventure. You will be given a puzzle to solve while you are in the maze. My kids loved doing the maze. My 9-year-old said this was her favorite family activity in Oahu.
The train ride is a kid-friendly Oahu activity your family will love. This 20 minute narrated ride is fun. It is a very popular attraction and even if you arrive early the line is going to be long. Just be prepared!
The garden tour allows you to visit eight gardens within the beautiful grounds of the Dole Pineapple Plantation. There are exotic fruits and beautiful flowers.
3. Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) is amazing! This is the best cultural experience in all of Hawaii. It has been voted the #1 thing to do on Oahu many years in a row. It is the best activity in Oahu for kids.
Things to Do at PCC
PCC has different villages with shows and cultural experiences at each one. These shows are funny and entertaining. It is a very interactive experience with lots of crowd participation. Between shows, you can visit each village and learn cool things like how to make oil, spear throw, or play an instrument.
If you want to attend the Luau in the evening you will need to purchase your tickets months in advance. It sells out!
There is also a nighttime cultural show after the luau with fire dancers. It is a great family activity on Oahu for sure.
There are a few different ticket options to book. You can purchase a day-only pass which will allow you to just visit the villages. You can purchase a buffet package, a luau package, or an ambassador package. Each ticket is good for 3 days. So if your kids love it and want to return you have the option.
This was my 12-year-olds favorite family activity on Oahu. He loved taking Ukulele lessons. He actually bought a green one as a Hawaii souvenir.
Book your tickets as soon as you know your dates. The luau sells out 3-4 months in advance.
4. Swim with the Sharks
Swim with Sharks? Really? You’re adding this to the best things to do on Oahu with kids? Yes, but only for older kids! Teenagers are kids too!
On our trip, grandpa really wanted to go to the shark cage. We decided to let our 14-year-old join in on the fun. She loved it! This is the perfect teen activity on Oahu.
Included in your ticket for Oahu Shark Dive is a boat ride out to the sharks. There are hundreds of sharks swimming around. You are lowered down into a viewing cage. The sharks swim all around you. Snorkel gear is provided.
The boat can rock back and forth making you feel a little seasick. You might want to bring a patch or take some meds before you board the boat.
This is a great thing to do in Oahu with kids, just slightly older ones.
5. Hiking with Kids on Oahu
My kid’s top four things to do in Hawaii with kids are listed above, but I thought I need to add a fail in this post.
My husband and I love to hike. Our kids come along but we may have hiked so many times that they are a little burnt out. My kids love to complain about hiking.
On a previous trip, my husband and I had hiked all the best hikes on Oahu including Manoa Falls. I loved it. I don’t remember it being hard but Wow, we took our kids and it was miserable! It rained hard and it was all uphill! If you look closely in this picture my kids are soaking wet and there is mud covering the entire trail.
Hiking Oahu with Kids
Maybe your kids are up for a hike. (and won’t complain like mine) If so, the following hikes are popular on Oahu.
- Waimea Falls (Does cost money)
More Intense Hikes
- Manoa Falls
- Diamond Head
- Makapupu Lighthouse
6. Snorkeling with Kids in Oahu
Snorkeling in Oahu with kids is a great free family activity on Oahu. However, it is a little tough for younger kids.
Best Snorkeling Spots On Oahu for Kids
On a previous trip, my husband and I snorkeled all over the island. We had tested out different spots and knew what would be good for our kids.
We decided to take our kids to Turtle Bay. There is a public beach that has some great snorkeling. Turtle Bay has a cove that blocks the large waves of the North Shore.
Hanauma Bay is beautiful and a great option for snorkeling with kids. One thing we found was that the water was really shallow. It was hard not to step on the coral. We weren’t sure if our kids would be able to avoid the coral and didn’t want them to get cut.
On a positive note, there is a lovely beach to relax on if you get tired of snorkeling.
At the Disney Aulani Resort, there is an aquarium full of beautiful fish. You can purchase and reserve a time to snorkel in this area. It is a much more controlled environment.
Family Activities on Oahu – Snorkeling
Overall the experience was hard with kids. We didn’t last more than an hour. But we gave it a try! The older kids were able to do a lot better.
If you do want to snorkel, you may want to pre-purchase your gear ahead of time. We bought each kid a snorkel set before we went to Hawaii.
7. Turtle Beach in Hawaii (Laniakea)
Visiting Turtle Beach is a fun free thing to do in Oahu with kids. Lanaikea beach on the North Shore has many sea turtles just hanging out! It is awesome to see them. You can plan to spend around 30 minutes in this area. This isn’t an area where you swim.
This is a great stop between the Dole Pineapple Plantation and the Polynesian Cultural Center.
8. Best Kid-Friendly Beaches Oahu
Waikiki was hands down the best kid-friendly beach on Oahu. We loved it! Partly, because we were jet-lagged and woke up very early. We were on the beach by 6:00 am. We swam played and built a sandcastle before our day even started. We stayed at the Royal Hawaiian which has direct access to Waikiki beach. It is incredible.
Waikiki has a very long sand bar which allows you to walk out a long way. The water is also the perfect temperature year-round.
Waikiki can become very crowded during the day but we never experienced that.
Ko Olina is on the west side of the island has some great beaches for kids on Oahu. In this area, there are man-made coves. These coves are great for paddleboarding and swimming. Large waves do not come into the coves.
Turtle Bay – Kawela Bay – Kuilima Cove
Kuilima Cove is a great area located at Turtle Bay on the North Shore. It is a small beach with a cove. We love to snorkel in this area but it is also great for swimming and having fun.
Waimea Bay is another great beach on the North Shore. This place can get very crowded. It is a great surfing spot. If you visit during the winter you can watch the 20-30 feet ways while you relax on the beach.
There are other great beaches located on Oahu. Going to the beach is one of the best things to do on Oahu with kids.
9. Pearl Harbor with Kids
Visiting Pearl Harbor was one of the most important family activities in Oahu I wanted them to do. My family loves historical sites. I think it is important to remember and learn from the past.
We enjoyed going on the boat ride out to Pearl Harbor. It was a fun experience. Kids do have to be quiet to show respect for those that died. This can be hard for younger kids.
My two youngest also wanted to go to the USS Bowfin. This has a separate entrance fee and offers a separate museum experience. They loved exploring the submarine. They went through it at least 3 times playing pretend.
They enjoyed the museum and didn’t really want to leave when it was time.
Pearl Harbor is a great thing to do with kids on Oahu!
10. Oahu Family Resorts
One of the best things we did on Oahu with kids was stay at an Oahu family-friendly resort. Many resorts offer fun activities and amazing pools. It is so nice to just relax and enjoy some downtown. I know my kids really need breaks from all the activities.
We loved staying at Aulani. It is an experience all its own. There are scavenger hunts, character meet and greets, crafts, lessons, and so much more. It is one of the top things to do on Oahu with kids.
Turtle Bay is another great Oahu family resort that is sure to provide lots of fun. The rooms are great for families and the pool is fun. It is a great place to relax and enjoy your family vacation to Oahu.
If you are coming to Oahu with a toddler or baby I recommend picking a really nice family-friendly resort and enjoying the amenities offered. Resorts provide some of the best Oahu toddler activities. (beach, pool..) Aulani offers in-room babysitting.
11. Luau with Kids
A great option for things to do on Oahu with kids is to attend a Luau. Luaus are offered all over the island. They are all around the same prices.
Here are a few options to look into:
- Paradise Cove Luau
- Chief’s Luau
- Ka Moana Luau
- Toa Waimea Luau
- Polynesian Cultural Center
- Aulani Luau
- Rock-A-Hula Luau and Show
Luaus with Kids
One thing I noticed is that there were not many young kids at the Luau’s we have attended. The food may not be best for picky eaters and the shows can be long. Most teens and adults will be fully entertained but some kids might not like sitting for so long.
Attending a Luau can be expensive, so make sure your kids will enjoy the experience. I honestly think the Polynesian Cultural Center is the best deal because you get a full day of fun at the villages, a luau, and then a show.
12. Take A Boat Tour
If you are looking for a fun family activity on Oahu consider a boat tour. There are several boat tours available to do on Oahu. Let’s explore a few options.
Catamaran Boat Tour
One of the most popular tours is a catamaran cruise. These catamarans resemble the Moana boats from the movie. This is one of the best things to do in Honolulu with kids because most of these tours are based out of Waikiki Beach. The Catamaran is also available on the Go Oahu Pass.
Glass Bottom Boat Tour
A glass-bottom boat tour is another option. The water is so clear you can see all the sea life under the water. This is pretty neat as well.
Dolphin or Whale Watching Tour
I think the best boat tour for kids would be this wild dolphin and turtle encounter tour because on this party boat there is a slide that goes directly into the ocean from the boat. How cool is that?!
You could also go on a whale-watching boat tour.
All of these tours are great kids’ Honolulu activities!
14. Matsumoto Shave Ice
A shaved ice is a must-do on Oahu with kids. One of the most famous locations is Matsumoto. Matsumoto is located on the North Shore. They offer a ton of different flavor choices, even sugar-free.
Be prepared to wait in line. No matter what time of day, plan for an hour wait. If it is less than that consider yourself lucky! This is a great stop after you finish all the fun things to do on the North Shore.
15. Helicopter Tour
A helicopter tour is a great family Oahu activity. It is a little more expensive, but how often do you get the opportunity to go on a family helicopter ride?
The price ranges from $275 to $375 depending on how long your ride is. Rides typically are 30 minutes to 1 hour long.
The helicopters seat up to 6 people which is great if you have a bigger family and need more space!
16. Halona Blowhole Lookout
If I could go back and change something from our Oahu family trip I would replace our hiking adventure with a drive to the Halona Blowhole Lookout.
This is an incredible experience. The overlook provides an incredible view of the blowhole. I always find blowholes so impressive. I love the power of the ocean pushing through and showing its might.
The Halona Blowhole is a kid-friendly Oahu activity! With the added bonus, it is a free Oahu activity! I highly recommend going!
17. Kayaking Tour of Kailua Bay
This was high on my list of things to do on Oahu with kids. We ran out of time! I was so sad! I really wanted to do this activity!
Kailua Bay is about 35 minutes from Honolulu. You can rent kayaks and paddle out the island. Once you are at the island you can snorkel. Rentals are available on-site or you can bring your own.
18. Take Family Surfing Lessons
Most resorts will offer a complimentary introduction surf lesson. These typically do not include instruction in the water. Most of these lessons are offered at Waikiki Beach resorts. If you want the real experience it is a good idea to book a family surf lesson.
Family Surf lessons
19. Learn to Paddle Board
Paddle boarding is a little easier than surfing, so if you prefer to do a family paddleboard lesson this family Oahu activity is for you.
Paddle Board in Oahu
There are so many places to paddleboard all over the island. Ko Olina is a great area, even downtown Honolulu offers great areas to paddleboard.
Paddle boarding is a great Oahu activity for kids.
20. Family Photo Session
For most people, Hawaii is a dream vacation. One of the best things you can do in Oahu with your kids is capture the memories you are making.
You can hire a local photographer and get family photo’s taken on the beach. It is a great way to capture your memories and end your perfect Oahu with a kid’s vacation.
Are you Ready to Go to Oahu with Kids?
I hope you have enjoyed reading some of the best things to do in Oahu with kids. There are so many amazing things to do in Oahu. You will be sure to plan some awesome kid-friendly activities on Oahu!
Now it is time to get your bags packed for Hawaii!
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