Travel Tips for Hawaii with Kids

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I recently got back from a 10 day holiday on the Hawaiian island of Oahu with my 3 year old daughter, my sister and her 13 year old son. We stayed at the Sheraton in Waikiki and hired a car so got to see quite a bit of the island. If you’re ok with driving on the other side of the road I’d definitely recommend a car so you can escape Waikiki for a few days and see the other beautiful spots Oahu has to offer. There are LOADS of activities and places to visit on Oahu, these are just a few of my top tips for visiting Hawaii with kids. If you need any recommendations or other tips, please feel free to comment below and I’ll try my best to answer.

1. Beaches – obviously one of the best parts of Oahu and Hawai’i is the beaches, but you need to be careful of strong rips and big beach breaks at a lot of them. If you’ve got younger kids and looking for a nice safe spot to swim check out
Ala Moana Beach Park
Hanauma Bay
Diamond Head Cliffs Beach
Kualoa Beach Park
Kailua Beach or
Waimea Bay (but only when there are no waves, it can be very dangerous here during winter when they get gigantic surf)

The beautiful North Shore of Oahu

2. Animal Lovers – if you need a break from the beach (as if!) but anyway, if you do, check out Honolulu Zoo or Sea Life Park for a good day trip idea. Or if you’re more into animals in their natural habitat take a drive out to the North Shore and see if you can spot any turtles at places like Laniakea Beach (Turtle Beach) or Hanauma Bay.

sea life park oahu

Sea Life Park

3. One of the best days of our holiday was breakfast with the Disney characters at Aulani Resort. For $32 for adults and $18 for kids it’s actually really reasonable. The buffet breakfast was huge and yummy with loads of choices and Winnie got heaps of one on one time with Mickey, Minnie and Goofy (apparently the characters change day to day so you don’t know exactly who you’ll get – I think your pretty much guaranteed Mickey and Minnie though) My tip would be to book in for one of the late breakfast sessions, apparently the buffet and the characters stay until the last guest has left the restaurant, we were there for close to 2 hours and didn’t once feel rushed to leave. It was excellent, we loved it! ps – the resort itself is AMAZING and if it’s in the budget I’d suggest you look at treating the kids to even just one night.

4. If you’re not hiring a car and want to see a bit more of Oahu than Waikiki Beach, check out the Waikiki Trolley. you can buy single tickets and multi day passes that can be used over their four lines – the panoramic tour, the scenic tour, the historic tour and the all important shopping tour. Some of the buses are open top double deckers and what kid doesn’t love a ride on one of those!

5. Shave Ice – is everywhere, and is so yummy. Make sure you try lychee and mint flavour. We had one pretty much every night after dinner and either sat to watch the sunset on the beach o in one of the parks. It became our little holiday routine.

Yum! Shave Ice

Yum! Shave Ice

6. If you’re staying in Waikiki and planning on catching taxis take a while to get your bearings. A lot of the streets are one way and sometimes a short stroll to the right corner can cut out an extra few bucks off your ride by not having to drive around the block.

7. Coffee Spots – my favourite coffee was at Gorilla in the Cafe nice coffee, really yummy acai and yoghurt bowls minus the huge line that some of the more popular places have every morning!

8. Food Spots – we had some fantastic hits, and some really bad misses this trip. Places we loved were The Cheesecake Factory – HUGE serves and lots of family friendly options especially if you have fussy eaters. Dukes on the beach – has lots of room outside for kids to play while you drink cocktails and my ALL TIME favourite Buca Di Beppo. If you love Italian food, and you’re REALLY HUNGRY please check this place out, the pizzas are epic (in size and taste) and it’s definitely a sharesy type arrangement so don’t order one thing each off the menu, a dish between 2 and sometimes 3 is enough.

9. Right above Buca Di Beppo is Dave and Busters, a big arcade game place which is a gamers idea of heaven (aka my 12 year old nephew) It’s actually a pretty fun way to spend a couple of hours, especially if you go on Wednesday where they have half price games. Both the kids had a ball both times we went there.

dave and busters

Trying to win EVERY toy in the Skill Tester!

10. Horse Riding – if you’ve got older kids, and especially older ones who love the Jurassic Park movies, going horse riding in the famous Ka’a’awa Valley (where Jurassic Park was filmed) is really great. Kualoa Ranch has some great tour options and they can cater for kids as young as 10.

11. Fireworks -if you’re around Waikiki on a Friday night there is a cool fireworks show on the beachfront of the Hilton Hawaiian Village from about 8pm. A great way to end a night out in Waikiki

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