Aloha! Sun, sand and surf is what Hawaii is famous for. Home to hundreds of beautiful beaches sprawled out across six different islands, it's a dream destination for relaxation. It is also an exciting place for adventure, and the island of Oahu is full of fun, family-friendly activities. So whether you're after an adventurous holiday or want to mix up rejuvenation with excitement, here are our top recommendations for family-friendly adventures in Oahu.
Jump right into Hawaiian culture and endeavour into the waters of Oahu. For a truly eye-opening experience, these are the best spots for families to go snorkelling.
Waikiki Beach: One of the most recognisable beaches in the world, it can get busy and although it's full of swimmers and surfers, turtles and other sea life can be spotted here regularly. The calm, warm waters of Waikiki make it a great place for the little ones to learn the basics, plus there are plenty of tours on offer here.
Hanauma Bay: Located about 15 kilometres from Waikiki, the crystal-clear waters here make spotting turtles and over 400 species of colourful fish easy.
Turtle Bay: If you'd prefer to go on your own snorkelling adventure without a tour, then Turtle Bay is your go-to. A lot of hotels around Oahu supply guests with snorkelling equipment, otherwise gear can be rented.
Hiking Diamond Head
Hiking the inside slope of the extinct volcanic crater, Diamond Head, is one of the most popular things to do in Oahu. It’s a relatively easy hike and suitable for kids who are capable of walking about about 2.5km or 1-2 hours.
Reaching the top of this natural wonder is a truly rewarding experience. The striking bird’s eye views of Waikiki at the top makes the trail of tunnels and stairs worth it.
Surfing is a way of life in Hawaii so it would be a crime not to join in. Waikiki Beach is the perfect place for first timers or children, with its warm waters and gentle waves that offer smooth, long wave rides. Surf schools are accessible along the beach everywhere, including Hans Hedemann Surf School and Ty Gurney Surf School.
Hans Hedemann Surf School: No matter what skill level, it is worth trying out a lesson here. Kids aged 6-13 years old are required to enrol in private lessons, and semi-private and group lessons are available for those 14 years and older.
Ty Gurney Surf School: This surf school offers private, semi-private (great for families) and group lessons. Kids programs are also available including a multi-day Kid’s Surf Camp which run for 3 days and run for 3.5 hours each day and kids must be 6 – 15 years old.
Both of these surf schools also offer stand up paddle boarding lessons.
Exploring Kualoa Private Nature Reserve
Older children and teenagers will love the Kualoa Private Nature Reserve because there are so many adrenalin-pumping things to see and do here. This location has been used as a film site for over 50 of Hollywood's blockbuster movies and television series, including Jurassic Park and King Kong: Skull Island. They offer behind-the-scenes tours of many of the sets, including Jurassic Park where you can get your photo taken with the infamous fallen tree.
Get your family’s excitement levels high with a zipline tour, involving a tour of the Ka’a’awa Valley with 7 exciting tandem sections, 2 suspension bridges and 3 mini-hiking nature trails which are about 5 minutes in length. Although there are no age restrictions for this, you must be at least 142 centimetres tall. Another fun activity for the whole family is horseback tours around the reserve (children must be 10 years old +).
Feeling inspired? Book your Hawaiian holiday now.