Top 10 Oahu Family Activities and Attractions


If you’re taking the kids to Oahu for summer vacation, you’ll definitely find some great things to do that the entire family will love. Of course, you’ll enjoy some excellent beach time, but you can also take the  opportunity to learn about Hawaii’s culture, history, and environment all while having fun.

I’ve compiled this list of top 10 Oahu activities that will suit a range of ages from toddlers to teens:

1.  Visit the Dole Plantation to hop aboard the Pineapple Express Train, test your a-mazing skills in the Pineapple-shaped maze, learn all about pineapples, and enjoy a refreshing DoleWhip.

2.  Escape the sun for a bit by touring Honolulu’s Iolani Palace and the Bishop Museum.

3.  Oahu’s Pearl Harbor offers a full day of interesting history lessons with tours of the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Missouri (Mighty Mo),the Pacific Aviation Museum, and the USS Bowfin Submarine

Fiji Temple - Polynesian Cultural Center

4.  Learn about all the Polynesian island cultures at the Polynesian Cultural Center. (See my Polynesian Cultural Center review.)

5.  See what’s “undah da sea” as the Little Mermaid’s friends would sing by visiting the Waikiki Aquarium or snorkeling at Hanauma Bay.

6.  Learn to surf with at the Hawaiian Fire Surf School operated by firefighters at a secluded beach with gentle waves. I’m pretty much a surfing chicken, but the set up that these guys do make it sound very safe.

7.  Learn about dolphins while swimming with them in a controlled environment with Dolphin Quest at Honolulu’s Kahala Resort. (See my review of Oahu’s Dolphin Quest.)

8.  Take a tour of one of the most remote zoos on the planet at the Honolulu Zoo.

Kuhio Beach Park Hula Show

9.  Catch a Polynesian music and dance show at the free Kuhio Beach Park show or at a luau. Oahu’s most popular luaus are Germaine’s, Paradise Cove, and the Polynesian Cultural Center. Kids can sample Hawaiian food if they are adventurous eaters, otherwise most luaus have the standard kid-friendly foods on their buffet.

10. Enjoy a shave ice. Two great places for shave ice on Oahu are Matsumotos in Haleiwa and Waiola Shave Ice near Waikiki.

So these are my top 10 suggestions for family-friendly fun on Oahu. What recommendations would you add?

  1. WOW !! We already knew most of your reccomendations !!! We’ll enjoy many of those this August !!!!!!!!!!!
    I’ll add that we loved watching the fireworks ( held at Hilton Hawaiian village) from Waikiki beach – I guess it was on Friday night; a FREE treat while you take a stroll along the beach – under the stars !!!
    Mahalo Sheila !!! You always bring us such LARGE smiles !!!!

  2. Hawaiian Fire Surf School is fantastic! I’m a chicken, too, but I felt totally safe with these guys.

  3. I think the Children’s Discovery Center is a great place to take preschoolers and early-elementary age children. Their upstairs section is unique to Hawaii and highlights many of the cultures represented here.

  4. Hey There!

    I work for Oahu’s premier surf school; Girls Who Surf!

    The Hawaiian Fire guys are great! But I think you should check us out too. We run a different style of surf lesson. More personal and super safe!

    Much Aloha,


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