Things to Do in Honolulu for Kids: A Parent's Guide

May 22, 2019

The question that arises inevitably when planning that getaway is, “what about the kids?” Not to worry, though: There are plenty of things to do in Honolulu for kids.

When thinking of that dream vacation nowadays you can’t just pack your bags and jet off to any far away land when palm trees and clear blue waters start speaking your language.


Where to Stay

The city of Honolulu on the island of O’ahu features an urban-island culture that provides an eclectic mix between lush valleys and pristine waters to fine-dining and a high-energy environment. Staying in Waikiki would probably be your best bet if you’ve got the whole family coming along since entertainment and endless stimulation is right out the door of your hotel lobby. A few places we recommend include:

  • Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
  • The Outrigger Reef on the Beach
  • Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

What to Do

Family-Friendly Attractions

Along the Waikiki strip, you’ve got world-class shopping and a variety of cuisines to try in the form of take-out, sit-down or fine dining experiences. Miles of the world-renowned beach can be seen from your window or is just a 5-minute walk away. Upon these sandy shores, you’ll find Faith Surf School where the surfing world's own Moniz family runs a top-notch aquatic operation in front of the Outrigger Hotel. They offer surf lessons, stand-up-paddle lessons, canoe rides, and rentals so you’ll be sure to find something fun for the whole family. Be sure to stick around after the lesson to check out the photos capturing your entire family riding the waves, dancing with diamonds.

The Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium are also in the vicinity. The Zoo was once the home of King David Kalakaua’s own private bird collection and over many years has grown to encapsulate a sanctuary and display of Pacific tropical island ecosystems alongside Hawaiian values of hospitality and care for the land. Attractions include elephants, tigers, hippos amongst other creatures which have now come to call the islands home. The price for keiki or children, in Hawaiian, is only $11.00 and for adults, it’s $19.00.

The Waikiki Aquarium is a central place of learning for adults and children alike as Hawaii depends so heavily on the ocean and its inhabitants for so many realms of life. The aquarium features a shark tank, Hawaiian green sea turtles, and a Hawaiian monk seal exhibit along with a variety of other curious and beautiful underwater creatures.

Hanauma Bay Oahu Hawaii

Aerial view of famous Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve with beach and coral reef in Oahu island, Hawaii, United States. Summer time leisure and water sports recreation. Nature scenic landscape.

Outdoor Adventures

To see Hawaii’s underwater wildlife up close head to Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in Hawaii Kai on the east side of the island. The Hanauma Bay was once a volcanic crater home and is now home to an aging coral reef and the many life forms and species who dwell in the bay. There are so many vibrant colors and funny, fishy faces to behold under the water’s surface but be sure to not step on the reef. Also, bring some snacks and arrive early! The lot fills up quickly and it’s best to find a spot under a palm tree as shade is minimal. Rental snorkel equipment is offered at the bay as well.

If you’re on the East side of the island after snorkeling and still have got some energy left head to the Makapu’u trail for a quick and easy hike for the whole family yielding breathtaking views of the coast. While it’s best to do the hike in the morning while parking is still available, watching the sunset from the trail is equally as rewarding. During the winter months humpback whales make their way through the area so bring some binoculars and definitely that camera. These sights are something you and your kids will never forget.

Get Ready for Family Fun!

Try these things to do in Honolulu for kids to your Hawaii vacation. Your kids will thank you!

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