Are you planning a trip to Oahu for 2024 and want to start working on your Hawaii itinerary? Check out these awesome things to do on Oahu with kids!
This list of the best things to do on Oahu with kids was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Planning a trip to Oahu with kids and want to find the best kid-friendly attractions, activities, restaurants, and more? You’ve come to the right place!
I’ve visited Oahu many times over the past 20 years and we always find new things to do.
I started visiting with my family when I was a teen and now we do big family trips with our own kids.
Because we’ve done so much on Oahu, I thought I’d create a huge list of our favorite kid-friendly things to do on Oahu. Some are favorites from when I was growing up and others are new favorites.
Check out this list of the best things to do on Oahu with kids! You won’t regret it – these activities will keep your little ones entertained for hours on end.
Keep scrolling for my top 25 things to do in Oahu with family!
Need help planning? Save time and money with this Oahu with Kids guidebook!
Don’t have time to read a bunch of Hawaii blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Oahu.
Popular Oahu Tours/Activities
- Kualoa Ranch UTV Tour (this is a fun adventure with the prettiest views)
- Full Pearl Harbor Tour (this is the BEST way to do everything at Pearl Harbor)
- Hawaii Bucket List Tour (you get to pick where you stop on this custom Oahu circle island tour)
- Toa Luau (this is my all-time favorite Oahu luau)
- CLIMB Works Ziplining (this is the longest zipline on Oahu)
- Book a Photo Shoot (this is a Hawaii souvenir you’ll treasure forever)
Favorite Oahu Resorts/Hotels
- Hilton Hawaiian Village (this is our favorite Waikiki resort because of the amazing pool area and nearby restaurants)
- Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa (this is a splurge that is totally worth it)
- Royal Hawaiian Hotel (this is a luxury resort in Waikiki that is pink and gorgeous)
Want to Rent a Car in Hawaii?
One of the best places to rent a car in Hawaii is Discount Hawaii Car Rental because they get the best rates from top national companies like Alamo, Dollar, Thrifty, Avis, Enterprise, Budget, and Payless.
Want a Hawaii travel guide? I’ve got detailed guides and 7-day itineraries!
25 Must Do Things in Oahu for Families
1. Have an Adventure at Kualoa Ranch
One of the coolest Oahu attractions is Kualoa Ranch. It’s a major filming site in Hawaii (you’ll know it from LOST) but they also have tons of adventures.
For families that don’t mind getting a bit dirty, head to Kualoa Ranch for an ATV Raptor Tour where they filmed Jurassic Park! It’s for kids ages 5 and up and it’s one of the coolest things to do on Oahu.
The way it’s set up, you can do multiple adventures in one day or split up your party so people are doing different things at the same time.
2. Go to an Authentic Hawaiian Luau
One of the top things to do on Oahu at night is attend a luau.
Out of all the Hawaiian islands, Oahu has the largest variety of luau shows. You can do one at Sea Life Park, at a Waikiki hotel, inside a water park, or at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
However, not all Oahu luaus are great quality or worth the money.
My favorite luau in Honolulu is the Experience Nutridge Luau at Nutridge Estates. It’s very small and it feels like you are hanging out in your Aunty’s backyard. It’s a laid-back island-style luau.
We also really love Toa Luau up on the North Shore. It’s a super intimate, family-run luau with tons of hands-on activities for kids.
3. Get Shave Ice on Oahu
One of the best Hawaiian treats is shave ice. It’s a thousand times better than a snow cone because the ice is shaved so finely that it just melts in your mouth.
The most famous North Shore Oahu shave ice spot is Matsumoto’s Shave Ice. It’s located in Haleiwa and most people stop here on their drive up the North Shore.
The best place to get shave ice in Waikiki is Island Vintage Shave Ice. They are open late so it’s the ultimate after dinner treat.
4. Visit Waimea Valley Waterfall and Cultural Park
North Shore Oahu is one of the best places to visit in Hawaii with family.
Waimea Valley has a botanical garden and tons programs perfect for parents who want their kids safe while they enjoy culture, swimming at waterfall base or having fun on easy hiking trail leading up towards it!
And you can get free admission here if you book Toa Luau— my favorite luau company here on North Shore. This is one of the best things to do on Oahu North Shore.
5. Enjoy Breakfast at Cinnamon’s
You can’t go wrong with a meal at Cinnamon’s! They have the best guava chiffon pancakes in all of Waikiki and Kailua.
It’s also a great place to try authentic Loco Moco (white sticky rice topped with a hamburger patty and fried egg smothered in gravy). And they have lots of options for kids.
They serve breakfast all day long and it’s a great place to go before or after a morning at either Lanikai Beach or Waikiki Beach.
Book a Family Photo Shoot
Whenever we travel, we almost always book a family photo shoot with Flytographer. They are super easy, affordable, AND guarantee that I’ll be in some photos. You can get $25 off if you book through this link or use the code HAWAIITRAVEL.
6. Try Outrigger Canoe Surfing
Want to learn more about Hawaiian culture? You can take your family on an Outrigger Canoe Surfing experience that will be both fun and exciting!
You can book a 30-minute Outrigger Canoeing experience that’s geared for families of all ages and abilities. This is one the top kid friendly things to do in Oahu!
7. Hop on the Waikiki Trolley
Whether you’re staying in Waikiki or just visiting, a fun way to get around town is by hopping on the open-air Waikiki Trolley.
They offer different routes that cover most of Honolulu and kids will love being able ride while also getting some sightseeing opportunities themselves!
You can use it like an all day tour (it hits lots of attractions), or take this as transportation for going shopping or grabbing dinner.
8. See Animals at the Honolulu Zoo
There are so many things to do in Honolulu with kids!
The Honolulu Zoo is one of the best things to do on Oahu with toddlers.
It’s located near Waikiki, which means you can go there after breakfast and enjoy a morning exploring this Hawaii zoo before your little ones need to take their nap.
You’ll find giraffes (my favorite!), zebras , hippos – even rhinos! There are countless other animals too. And they even have a play area!
9. Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center
If you are looking for one of the most popular Oahu attractions, look no further than the Polynesian Cultural Center up in Laie.
They have set up little “villages” featuring Hawaiian, Tahitian, Maori, Fijian, Samoan, and Tongan cultures.
Kids will love the hands-on activities at Polynesian Cultural Center. There are tons of things to do and see, not just for kids but also adults!
They also host a full luau and the Ha: Breath of Life show if you want to make it a full day trip.
10. Kayak at Kailua Beach
The first time I went to Kailua Beach, it was love at first sight. The sand is incredibly soft and beautiful there.
It’s also ranked as one of the top beaches on Oahu because not only does this spot offer gorgeous scenery with bright blue waters (perfect swimming!), but you can enjoy peace in your own private slice of paradise when exploring these 2 miles long stretch from end-to-end.
One of the top things to do at Kailua Beach for families is to kayak over to the Mokulua islands. There’s a really cool eco-friendly kayak tour worth booking!
11. Explore Sea Life Park
The best place to take kids who love animals is Sea Life Park. It’s an open-air attraction where families can learn more about sharks, sea lions and penguins among other things!
There are hands on exhibits that will keep you entertained all day long while your little ones enjoy their own adventures.
They have lots of animal encounter experiences including swimming with dolphins for kids of all ages.
I recommend taking the Waikiki Trolley to make it a full day adventure!
12. Learn About Pearl Harbor
Visiting Pearl Harbor with kids is an educational and historical experience. For older kids who have learned about World War II, you’ll definitely want to visit this site where Japan attacked the United States leading America into WWII.
It’s not just a somber spot but there are so many other things that make up what happens here!
One our favorite activities at Pearl Harbor is touring the USS Battleship Missouri. It has giant guns on board and tons of cool exhibits inside the ship.
There’s also the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum that has flight simulators for kids and adults!
13. Hike Manoa Falls
If you’re looking for a kid-friendly waterfall hike on Oahu, it doesn’t get much better than the Manoa Falls trail. It’s only about 20 minutes from Waikiki.
The trail is less than 2 miles round-trip and you’ll get to explore the rainforest before seeing a gorgeous Oahu waterfall!
After your hike, head over to the little restaurant in the parking lot for shave ice, Dole Whip, or even an acai bowl.
14. Try a Hula Dog
Hula Dog is a kid-friendly place in Waikiki that has some of the most unique hot dogs you’ll ever taste.
They take this small loaf of bread and stuff it with a hotdog. Then they top off your dog with specialty sauces and relishes.
If I could recommend just one thing for kids who aren’t adventurous eaters – try out their lilikoi mustard!
This is an easy grab-and-go food item to take to the beach or you can sit at one of their tables. Oh, and make sure to get their freshly squeezed lemonade!
This is one of our favorite places to eat on Oahu for kids.
15. Shop at Ala Moana Center
There are plenty of things to do in Oahu with teens, including going shopping.
If your family likes luxury brands and small boutique stores then head over Ala Moana Shopping Center which has an array for everyone! It’s the largest outdoor shopping mall in the world!
In 2021, they got an IT’SUGAR store that is pretty awesome. It’s a massive candy store with tons of cute gift ideas with pop culture references. My kids LOVE it!
Ala Moana Center is located close by Waikiki so it’s easy access if you’re staying there too. You can take the Waikiki Trolley Pink Line for just $5 (or just send your teen on it).
They also offer a lot of free programming (including hula shows) and they have a fairly new play area by Target.
16. Swim at Ko Olina Lagoons
There are four little man-made lagoons that can be found near Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa.
They each have their own perfect beach spot and because of how the rocks stack up in these areas it is safe for kids to swim around them without worrying about strong currents or underwater dangers like sharp objects sticking out from beneath sand banks!
The water here typically isn’t too deep so you’ll have plenty of sunlight on your skin while soaking wet thanks again those dry conditions—what better way could there really feel relax after spending some time exploring?
17. Visit Bishop Museum
The Bishop Museum has been around since 1889 and is home to one of the largest collections of artifacts in all Hawaii.
With 24 million artifacts from across Polynesia, this museum will impress kids who are interested not only cultural tours but also activities like Hawaiian storytelling or shows with experts on various topics such as archeology!
There’s so much more than just history at play here. They even have planetarium sessions where your child can learn about wayfinding (just like in the movie Moana)!
Because it’s indoors, it’s one of the best things to do on Oahu with it rains.
18. Get Malasadas at Leonard’s Bakery
The malasadas, a Portuguese doughnut and an island staple in Hawaii for decades, is kind of like oversized holes that are rolled in sugar.
You can find them at local bakeries (the most famous being Leonard’s Bakery) or stands outside shops with tropical flavors such as coconut cream, mango, and guava.
They definitely taste best when eaten warm. I suggest buying a box and bringing them to eat at the beach.
19. Go Snorkeling
One of the most popular Oahu activities is going snorkeling. There are tons snorkeling beaches all over the island, and you can easily rent or buy gear if going for just one day!
You can also book a snorkeling boat tour that gets your out into the ocean where you’ll have the opportunity to see Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles and maybe even dolphins!
20. Take a Waikiki Submarine Ride
The Atlantis Submarine Tour is a great way for kids and adults alike to get an underwater experience without getting wet.
You can see all kinds of Hawaiian sea life from within this real-life aquarium, including brightly colored tropical fish and cool shipwrecks!
There’s even a short boat ride where you can see sweeping views of the Waikiki coastline.
21. Visit Iolani Palace in Honolulu
Your kids will be blown away when they visit Iolani Palace and see how Hawaiian royalty lived in the 1800s.
With incredible artifacts, furniture pieces from around our country as well displays of historical photos it’s no wonder why this was one palace that couldn’t really compare!
While you can explore on your own, I highly recommend doing a docent-led tour so you can ask questions and get a much bigger understanding of the brutal history of how the United States overthrew the Hawaiian government.
22. Have Breakfast with Mickey Mouse
You can book a Disney character breakfast at Aulani Resort in Ko Olina even if you aren’t staying there.
Not only will your family get to chat with several classic characters, but they’ll also have an experience that’s perfect for kids who love the company of Mickey Mouse.
The food is really good (and plentiful) and there’s an Aunty who plays traditional Hawaiian music. And there is usually an opportunity for kids to get up and dance or learn how to play music.
23. Learn to Surf
Learning to surf is one of the most fun things you can do in Oahu. And what better place than Waikiki Beach, one of the most famous surfing spots in the world!
The waves are usually pretty gentle and shallow, which makes it perfect for teaching kids who might not be experienced swimmers or confident riders yet.
These Waikiki Beach surfing lessons offer private coaching so instructors give each student their own attention
24. Get Souvenirs at the Aloha Swap Meet
There’s a reason why families love to visit the Aloha Swap Meet in Hawaii. You can find some amazing souvenirs, including t-shirts and dresses that will make you feel like royalty while wearing them!
It’s a great place to find matching Aloha shirts and dresses to wear to luaus or for family photos.
And they have a bunch of hair accessories like silk flowers and artificial flower crowns!
We like to give our kids $10 and let them pick out whatever they want. Usually it’s tiki statues, candy, and souvenir toys!
25. Visit Dole Plantation
The kids will love visiting the Dole Plantation on Oahu’s North Shore.
They can explore a cute pineapple maze, ride an exciting train called “Pineapple Express”and taste all kinds of delicious items made from fresh island fruit like pineapples in various forms – including ice cream!
We especially recommend their awesome-looking Dole Whip which has flavor combinations you never thought possible!
Top Things to do on Oahu FAQs
You’ll find tons of fun things to do in Oahu with kids that don’t cost a dime. Try going on a hike, body surfing at the beach, and seeing a free hula show. There are also some cheap things to do on Oahu like getting shave ice, snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, or exploring Waimea Valley.
Many families swear that Oahu is the best Hawaiian island for kids simply because there are SO many attractions and activities for all ages and interests. Some of the best things to do in Oahu with family include riding ATVs at Kualoa Ranch, going ziplining, visiting Pearl Harbor, and exploring the Polynesian Cultural Center.
There are tons of places to go in Oahu that the average tourist doesn’t know about. Mermaid Cove is a hidden gem on Oahu, as is Kahuku Farms and the Byodo-In Temple. You can even try to spot Hawaiian Night Marchers, one of the spookiest things to do in Oahu at night.
Best Things to do in Oahu with Kids Wrap-Up
Whether you’re looking for what to do in Honolulu, Waikiki, or anywhere else on Oahu with kids, we have you covered!
There are tons of things to see in Honolulu (like Bishop Museum and Iolani Palace) as well as unique things to do in Oahu (like riding an ATV through Kualoa Ranch)!
There are lots of fun things to do on Oahu for kids of all ages!