Planning a vacation is hard, but with kids, sometimes it makes planning even harder. If you are headed to Oahu for a week, here is a list of kid-friendly activities. Our girls are five, three and one and one-half and we brought them home tired every day!
The Dole Plantation is not only a site to see but an actual working/growing piece of property. Thankfully, they have made the experience fun for people of all ages. You can choose to go on the train ride through the plantation where you will see the many different produce that is grown on the grounds, you can stroll through the garden or test your sense of direction in the Pineapple garden maze!
There are also some shops around the main gift shop that sell jewelry, painted name signs, bracelets, etc. Make sure you try a Dole Whip in the food section before you leave! It is a pile of delicious frozen yogurt like, pineapple yumminess.
There is no fee to get into the plantation but there is a fee for each activity that you would like to experience. You can do one or all three. If you want to do all three of the activities you can buy a package so it is less expensive. Check out the full Dole Plantation blog post here.
The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) is a great place to get a hands-on experience about the different island cultures of Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, Aotearoa, Tahiti, and Tonga. In each ‘island’ you can sit through a presentation, learn how to weave a basket with leaves or dance the hula. Each island is different and has its own culture.
One of our girls’ favorite things was to hula and get a skin stamp. They also loved the Canoe Parade that is performed once a day. There is something mesmerizing about seeing the different dances and feeling the vibration of the music on your soul.
You could spend a whole day here or why not spend three? They have passes to suit your time on the island. The kids probably would have loved to go back but we had other plans. I have a whole post here about the PCC.
We actually just stumbled on this awesome water park when Colter was going to meetings in the same facility. Our girls had so much fun! This center is a full recreation, workout facility. The outdoor pool, splash pad and tube slide is a lot of fun, without the sand!
There is definitely no shortage of beach and sand on Oahu! Lanikai is a beautiful white-sand beach with crystal blue water. The waves are calm and there are actually some islands you could paddle to in a kayak or on a paddleboard.
If you head to this beach it would be best to bike or walk unless you get there early enough to get a parking space. Parking is very limited and most people park alongside the residential area. The beach is beautiful though.
If hiking is your thing, there is also the two-mile Pink Pill Box hike right by Lanikai.
If swimming with the turtles and fishes is your thing, do some scuba! We had such a great time with Hawaii Eco Divers. You do not even need to be a certified scuba diver to go down. The dive master will do a quick run-down on the way out to the site and you can get a taste of what it is like to be underwater with the marine life.
We were able to see turtles and the unique tropical fish and reef of Hawaii. It was an incredible experience which you can read all about here.
Maunawili Falls is a two-mile hike through the Hawaiian hillside to a 20-foot waterfall and pool. As with any Hawaiian hike, the ground is most likely to be muddy in places so come prepared. A hiking stick will also make the hike a little more manageable. We took Blakely (5 years old) and Tessa (3 years old) with us and it was a little slippery for them. They fell down and got dirty many times but that is what made the experience. They trekked all the way in and all the way out.
Unfortunately, we didn’t bring our swimsuits so we didn’t swim but there were some adults jumping off the cliffs into the deep pool at the bottom of the waterfall. You can find more information about the hike here. http://www.best-of-oahu.com/maunawilifalls.html
We had to strip the girls down after we got done hiking because they were so muddy and we didn’t want the mud to get all over the car. We have some pretty sweet pictures to document our adventure though.
If you want to get up close and personal with dolphins, Sea Life Park is the place to go. You can buy the general admission ticket or you can have a more interactive experience by swimming with sharks, dolphins or exploring the lagoon.
Educational programs about the animals and sea life go on throughout the day and there is also a little playground area where the kids can roam free and play if they get tired of looking at the exhibits. A favorite, besides swimming with the dolphins, was going into the aviary and feeding the lovebirds! We practically had to pull Tessa out both times we went to see the birds.
Whether you want to relax on the beach or see all Oahu has to offer, there is something for everyone in this action-packed eight-day activity list in Hawaii. Enjoy!