5 Best Family-Friendly Destinations on O‘ahu


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5 Best Family-Friendly Destinations on O‘ahu


  • Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Gardens are a hidden gem located on the windward side of O‘ahu.- 5 Best Family-Friendly Destinations on O‘ahu
  • The view west to Waikīkī from the summit of Diamond Head (761 ft).- 5 Best Family-Friendly Destinations on O‘ahu
  • Rent a paddleboard or kayak to take down the river in Historic Hale'iwa.- 5 Best Family-Friendly Destinations on O‘ahu
  • Hikers en route to Mānoa Falls. The trail is great for all ages!- 5 Best Family-Friendly Destinations on O‘ahu
  • Experience a tropical escape along the Mānoa Falls Trail.- 5 Best Family-Friendly Destinations on O‘ahu
  • View of Hanauma Bay with plenty of sunshine and snorkeling!- 5 Best Family-Friendly Destinations on O‘ahu
  • View of Hanauma Bay's coral reef, with shallow pools near the beach.- 5 Best Family-Friendly Destinations on O‘ahu
Pro Contributor

Hawai‘i is definitely renowned as an ideal location for honeymooners, destination weddings, and adventure-seekers alike. As far as a family getaway is concerned, O‘ahu also has activities that are perfect for visitors of all ages! Here is a list of our top five favorites for a sampling of tropical paradise that the whole family can enjoy!

1. Diamond Head Crater

Although the midday heat can be oppressive, there is a reason that Diamond Head Crater is always on the list of things to see near downtown Honolulu. Hike the paved trail to the summit for unbeatable views of the city skyline, Ko‘olau Mountains and Pacific Ocean, and don't forget plenty of water and sunscreen! There is also a parking fee for visitors.

2. Historic Hale‘iwa Town

This north shore town is a nice place to spend an afternoon. There are plenty of unique shops offering handmade gifts, art, and other treasures. Picky eaters will be sure to find something interested at one of the many food trucks featuring famous shrimp, burritos, crepes, Thai cuisine, and more! Head to the shoreline for a surfing lesson, kayak rentals, stand-up paddleboarding, or shave ice!

3. Mānoa Falls Hike

Experience the jungle vibe in the back of Mānoa Valley, where plenty of rain creates a lush ecosystem at the base of the jagged Ko‘olau mountain spine. This trail is short and well-maintained. However, bring good shoes because it can oftentimes be muddy! Bug spray is also a good idea because the mosquitoes near the falls can be persistent! Although the pool at the base of the waterfall can be inviting, approaching too close can be dangerous due to falling rocks and bacterial-contaminated waters. 

4. Hanauma Bay

Possibly one of the most popular destinations for snorkeling, Hanauma Bay is a busy yet worthwhile place to take the whole family. Snag a spot on the beach, play in the calm and protected shallow waters close to shore, or adventure out along the coral reef. The entire bay is a marine reserve, so chances of seeing turtles and larger fish are quite good! Hanauma Bay does charge an entrance and parking fee and the park is closed on Tuesdays. 

5. Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens

This hidden gem on the windward side of the island is a perfect place to wander, and the best part is that there is no entrance fee! One could easily spend hours walking around the entire park, though each unique section of the garden can also be easily driven to. On weekends there is permitted camping and fishing in the pond. Even a short visit to Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Gardens is rewarding as the moody views of the misty mountains above make for some great pictures!

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