Find the Real Hawaii on Family-Friendly Oahu

Photo by Katherine Gallagher

Making the most of your family trip to Oahu

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One of the many beauties of the Hawaiian island of Oahu is the endless number of incredible things to do! From snorkeling with sea turtles to traditional luaus to hiking the beautiful landscape, there is no shortage of ways to make your family trip to Oahu unforgettable.

Oahu for Families: North Shore

Have the “complete pineapple experience” at Oahu’s Dole Plantation. Take a ride on the Pineapple Express Train Tour, or walk through the Pineapple Garden Maze (recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records). Try their famous frozen treat, Dole Whip, you won’t be disappointed.

Another option is the Polynesian Cultural Center, spanning an impressive 42 acres in the north shore town of Laie. This includes a lagoon with canoe rides, a theater with award-winning shows, a luau, and villages representing seven different island cultures. Go back in time at the adjacent Hukilau Marketplace, modeled after a 1950’s north shore marketplace, where you can buy gifts, souvenirs, jewelry, clothes and art.

See some of Hawaii’s famous honu (Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles) at Laniakea Beach or swim under a waterfall at Waimea Valley.

Where to Eat with Kids on Oahu:

A refreshing shave ice is the perfect sweet treat to cool you and the kids down after a day in the Hawaiian sun. Try the famous Matsumoto’s Shave Ice in the north shore town of Haleiwa or the convenient Island Vintage Shave Ice in the heart of Waikiki.

If you haven’t tried a warm, sugary malasada by now, take a page from all of Hawaii’s book and get yourself to Leonard’s. This Portuguese donut (without a hole) is a perfect symphony of golden brown sugary outside and warm, fluffy inside.

Café Haleiwa on the north shore has been family owned since 1982, so you will definitely feel that homey vibe inside.

Great Views:

For those families who crave those sweeping Hawaiian views without the hassle that comes with hiking with children, the Pali Lookout is a perfect compromise. Or, take a hike on the child-friendly Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail, known for its picturesque and panoramic views of the windward coastline.

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Check out Oahu’s West Side:

Enjoy a side of the island that most tourists don’t get to see, the west side. Explore 12 acres of prime oceanfront property at Ko’olina’s Paradise Cove Luau on Oahu’s west side. Here you can enjoy traditional Hawaiian music, food and drinks at a spectacular location (with prime sunset viewing).

A short drive down from Paradise Cove are the Ko’olina Lagoons, a group of four lagoons known for their calm protected waters, perfect for teaching the kids to swim or snorkel in the ocean.

Have an Adventure in Waikiki:

Looking out on Waikiki’s calm blue waters, you wouldn’t expect to see a fully loaded pirate ship. Nevertheless, the eighty-three-foot Spanish galleon, “Treasure Seeker” is out there almost every day.

At A Glance

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