Surrounded by the warm waters of the south pacific lie the most remote islands the Hawaiian islands…. On Oahu, Hawaii’s most populated island, awaits beautiful scenery, cultural history, wildlife and fun for the whole family!
Oahu is the Hawaiian island known for the best family beaches. Some popular favorites are Lanikai Beach, Kailua Beach, Lagoons at Ko Olina, Makaha Beach, and Waimea Bay.
Hawaii is known to have some of the most incredible sea life in the world. The island is surrounded by sea turtles, seals, dolphins, octopus, wales and tropical fish. You can snorkel almost anywhere on the island, but some favorites are Hanauma Bay, Shark’s Cove on the North Shore, and Paradise Cove in Ko Olina. Kids will love seeing a sea turtle for the first time!
On one fateful December day, American was attacked while its soldiers were sleeping. Pearl Harbor, home to the USS Arizona’s final resting place, is a poignant reminder of America’s role in the World Wars, and the people who have fought bravely to defend our freedom.
Oahu is a fantastic place to get up into the mountains and really explore the island. The weather is almost always pleasant and lush vegetation abounds! Be sure to wear sunscreen and bug spray. Some of the best hikes for kids on Oahu are Diamond Head, Makapuu Lighthouse, Manoa Falls and Lanikai Pillboxes.
Oahu is a relatively small island, only 597 square miles, and can be circumnavigated with a car in about 3 hours without stopping. The airport and capital are in Honolulu with Waikiki nearby, but there is so much more to do and see beyond the city center.
If you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation with a local flare, the North Shore might be a good option for your family. There aren’t many hotels in the north, but there are plenty of vacation homes and condos suitable for families. Turtle Bay is the only Resort on the North Shore.
If a resort vacation is what you’re after, Ko Olina is a fantastic option for families. The three resorts, The Disney Aulani Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club and the Four Seasons are right on 4 manmade lagoons that are calm and perfect for small children.
Known as the Valley of the Priests, this nearly 2,000 acre valley is a variable paradise. Kids will love running around the lush world class botanical gardens and spotting the many peacocks wandering the grounds. You can take the 3/4 mile walk up to Waimea Falls and swim to the waterfall. Life jackets are provided and required to swim in the falls.
This is a fantastic place to learn all about polynesian island culture from polynesians all over the world. Run by Brigham Young University Hawaii, The Polynesian Cultural Center employees students from all over the Polynesian islands. You can travel between different Polynesian “villages” and learn about each culture. End the day with a classic Hawaiian Luau and fire show!
Here you can visit the spot where the US involvement in WWII began, and where it ended. Take a boat out to the USS Arizona Memorial which floats above the boat that was destroyed during the attack on Pearl Harbor, and tour the Battleship Missouri, where the Japanese surrender and ended the war.
See where your pineapples come from with a stop at the Dole Plantation. Kids will love riding the Pineapple Express and tasting the Dole Whip!
This marine mammal, bird sanctuary and aquarium is a great place to take the family to learn all about the wildlife of Oahu.
Oahu has a reliable bus transportation system that will take you all over the island. Many of the locals use the bus system to commute so it can get crowded in the mornings and evenings. Car rentals are available from the airport and driving the island is pretty easy. Traffic leaving Honolulu during rush hour can be brutal, but circumnavigating the entire island is a great way to see everything.
Vanessa Hunt is a full-time traveling mama who is passionate about world-schooling and food. You can find her sharing all about her travels with her family of six (her four children are 4, 7, 9 and 11), as well as her favorite recipes at WanderlustCrew.