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10 Best Things to do in Oahu with Toddlers & Preschoolers

If you are looking for things to do in Oahu with toddlers, preschoolers and younger children, you are in the right place! Hawaii is one of my favourite places to vacation as a family with young children.

We even have a post dedicated to Why you should visit Oahu on your next family vacation! There are so many things that makes a vacation to Oahu with toddlers the perfect place to relax and enjoy your time together.

Read on to see my 10 best things to do in Oahu with toddlers, babies and children.

Oahu for Toddlers and Preschoolers on your next Hawaiian Vacation

10 Best Things to do in Oahu with Toddlers

Activities for Kids Oahu: the Honolulu Zoo is one of our favorites
The Honolulu Zoo is one of my favorite things to do in Oahu with toddlers. With affordable entrance rates and plenty of shade, spend the morning at the zoo!

1. Things to do in Oahu with Toddlers:  Honolulu Zoo

With their affordable entrance rates and stroller-friendly paths, the Honolulu Zoo is a great way to spend the day with your kids who might not yet be ready to surf the North Shore. It is one of my favorite toddler friendly activities in Hawaii. It is the perfect size to wander around for a few hours and you are able to see everything!

Large trees afford lots of shaded areas around a grassy area and a playground for your little ones to play and enjoy a picnic without the sun beating down on them.

And if your kids are like mine, they will be asking to go back the next morning and see the animals again! If you are a foodie, make sure you try the Kapahulu Burger while you are at the Zoo. It tastes amazing and I don’t think I have had anything quite like it!

Want an AirBNB close to the Zoo side of Waikiki Beach? Check out this one!

Things to do in Oahu with Toddlers Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head Crater
In the Early morning, Waikiki Beach is empty and it is a great one of the Oahu activities for kids before it gets hot and crowded! We visit early morning with a coffee and a snack and let the kids run around on the cool sand!

2. Oahu for Toddlers: Waikiki Beach

Early mornings at Waikiki beach are one of our favorite times when you are visiting Oahu with a Toddler. They will likely be up early and you might as well make the most of it! One of the best things about Hawaii is that you can visit and enjoy Waikiki beach at any time of year. Read more about the best time to travel to Hawaii.

Build sandcastles as the sun comes up (make sure you grab a coffee for yourself!) and watch Waikiki come alive!

We always share our crackers with the birds in Kapiolani Park and let the kids run around on the sand. It is a great way to spend the morning or a whole day! Here are some things to pack for your day at the beach!

After you get your fill of photos, check out these handy Hawaii Instagram captions for your memories!

Hawaii for Preschoolers and Toddlers
Waikiki Beach at Sunrise when the beaches are empty. You can see why it is one of my favorite things to do in Oahu with toddlers! Plenty of SPACE to run around and a beautiful view for me! This is the Diamond Head side of Waikiki beach and the waters are nice and calm for young children!
Oahu for Preschoolers and Toddler friendly activities in Hawaii
One of our many sand castles on Waikiki Beach! The boys would play and I can enjoy a Starbucks before the crowds arrive!
 
Oahu for Toddlers
Exploring the tanks at the Waikiki Aquarium

3. Things to do in Oahu with Toddlers: Waikiki Aquarium

The Waikiki Aquarium is an Aquarium rich in history, and small enough for your toddler to wander around That makes it another one of the popular toddler-friendly activities in Hawaii.

Our kids loved running from tank to tank to see what they could find and it is a great way to get out of the sun for a little while. It is stroller friendly but small enough for toddlers and preschoolers to run around without needing one. You can spend as little as an hour here.

Things to do in Oahu with Toddlers: Learning about the rescued wildlife that the aquarium cares for
Learning about the rescued wildlife that the aquarium cares for

4. Watch the Street Performers on Kalakawa Ave

After dinner, put the kids in the stroller and walk along Kalakawa Ave as the sidewalks come to life with street performers. I suggest the stroller because the streets can get packed in the evenings and it can get tough for little ones to navigate!

5. Watch a Parade

Waikiki has dozens of parades every year. Check online before you leave, or look for the no street parking signs. Those are usually a good indication of a parade date on Kalakaua! Stake out a spot early; bring a chair and a blanket!

Wandering one of Oahu's Beautiful Beaches in Punaluu
Wandering one of Hawaii’s Beautiful Beaches
Oahu things to do with kids Found a Sea Cucumber in the tide pools
Markus found a Sea Cucumber in the tide pools as we explored the empty beaches near Chinaman’s Hat

6. Things to do on Oahu with Kids: Explore an Empty Beach

The beach is public property, however, you sometimes need to find a way to “access it” but once you do, (via the many beachside parks around the island,) spend some time exploring the beautiful shores.

Oahu is a great vacation with kids because beauty is all over at any time of year.

They do not need to be in strollers while you explore historical sites, they can run around and explore as you wander the beach or enjoy some time in the sun! You will often find beaches with no one on them at all!

You will probably be told you need to see Hanauma Bay, but unless your little ones are super comfortable in the water snorkeling, it is something better left for older kids. You can see beautiful fish and turtles right off the shores of any beaches in Hawaii and your little ones can play on the shore. If you want to go to Hanauma Bay, you need to get an early start ( the parking lot opens at 6am), as the parking lot fill fast. It is closed on Tuesdays.

Ensure you have Reef Safe Sunscreenfor your visit to Hawaii to protect the marine life.

This is my absolute favorite thing about Hawaii. Beaches and beaches. Even if you choose another Island, such as Maui, there are so many ways to keep kids busy on beaches! Here are a few more things to do on Maui with Kids

Oahu for Preschoolers
Laie Point (or Hole in the Rock)

7. Oahu for Kids: Attend a Luau or watch Polynesian Dance

It is possible to catch a free Hula performance while in Hawaii with your children. If you are at Ala Moana Centre, they have performances daily. I highly suggest checking out the Polynesian Cultural Centre for the full experience!

The Polynesian cultural centre offers a 42 acre site that celebrates the Polynesian culture in Samoa, Fiji, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and of course Hawaii!

 

8. Things to do on Oahu with Toddlers: See the Fireworks

This one can be hit and miss depending on your own child. But if your child is a night-owl and not afraid of loud noises, consider watching the Friday night fireworks around 8pm at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel.

Hawaiian Food you must Try in Hawaii
Poi (Taro) Like a Pudding Texture
Kalua Pig
Kalua Pig

9. Grab some uniquely Hawaiian Food

Hawaiian cuisine is a fusion of Asian, North American, Portuguese, and Native Hawaiian foods. Just go into any local grocery store and you will find many different foods. Grab some ready-made Poi (Taro) for the kids to try. Its taste is bland, consider adding milk and sugar, and serve it like oatmeal. Click here for some Hawaiian Foods we think you should try!

 
One of the best things to do in oahu with toddlers is to Enjoy some Dole Whip from the Dole PLantation
Enjoying some Dole Whip
Things to do in Oahu with Kids: Even in the Rain the Boys ran off some energy at the Worlds Largest Maze
Even in the Rain the Boys ran off some energy at the Worlds Largest Maze

10. Things to do in Oahu with Kids: Visit Dole Plantation

Easily accessible by car or by taking TheBus (and we all know that kids love a bus ride! BONUS that kids ride free and Adults are only $2.50) spend a few hours at the Dole Plantation. Take the 20 minute train ride and learn about the pineapple industry in Hawaii and take your children for a run in the “World’s Largest” Maze (stroller friendly for off road type strollers like the BOB)

Don’t leave before you grab a DoleWhip ice cream!

They also have great food if you go for lunch; we enjoyed the Kalua Pig Quesadillas and the kid’s chicken nuggets!

You can also use the Oahu Go Card for the Maze at the Dole Plantation!

Do not forget to pick up some of the best Hawaiian souvenirs in their gift shop! If you are looking for it, they probably have it at the Dole Plantation!

11. Take a Glass Bottom Boat Tour

If you are like me, it is not easy to keep kids still, but put them on a boat and they are lulled into a slumber. On this glass bottom boat tour near Waikiki kids 2 and under are free, which is always a plus for families!

If adventure is what you seek, join this daily boat tour. Enjoy the beauty of Hawaii’s South Shore as you head out from the slip in the Kewalo Basin Harbor and head toward Diamond Head. Aboard the Haleiwa Queen, enjoy the clear view of the Pacific Ocean floor as you cruise over live tropical reefs and one of Hawaii’s shipwrecks. Keep an eye out for sea turtles, eels, reef sharks, dolphins, and schools of tropical fish, all from the deck of the vessel through the glass bottom boat view ports. Experience a unique perspective of Honolulu, above and below the surface.

This family-friendly activity is sure to be a blast and it is also budget-friendly! Click Here to check out a popular tour offered by Get Your Guide!

BONUS! Disney’s Aulani

This is arguably a vacation in itself but due to its popularity I thought it should be included in the best things to do in Oahu with Toddlers. Disney knows how to do everything right and with the wealth of kid-friendly activities at Aulani from the water parks to the entertainment from “Auntie” and “Uncle” there is tons to keep the littlest and the oldest members of the family busy!

BONUS! Kualoa Ranch

While many of these are suited to older children, I wanted to add in Kualoa Ranch, as it is more than just horseback riding! You can check out their activities here and there might be something that works with you and  your little ones!

BONUS! Diamond Head for Older Children

If you want amazing views of the Diamond Head crater and have kids that can hike uphill, consider a few hours to hike to the top of Diamond Head! It offers beautiful views of Waikiki Beach and the inside of the massive volcanic crater!

This also gets busy and has a lot of switchbacks, but I took my 7 and 5 year old up it the last time we visited Hawaii and they have no problems getting to the top!

If you have an adventurous preschooler or a toddler who will still go in a hiking pack, this hike is totally doable!

BONUS! Pearl Harbour

Most adults want to visit Pearl Harbour and it is worth a visit for sure! If you want more info about visiting Pearl Harbour, this post has a ton of info! If you want to book a tour, I highly suggest you check out this popular one!

Things to Pack for Hawaii with Kids

Here are our favorite essentials we packed when we traveled to Oahu with a Toddler and a Preschooler:

JJ Cole Outdoor Blanket – I love that this folds bigger than the beach mats and is comfortable! It is always in my beach bag! If you are bringing car seats and do not think you have room in your suitcase for this, you can always throw it into the car-seat bag!

Puddle Jumper Swim Vest – These are getting super popular and give moms and dads some peace of mind with those brave toddlers! While the waves are quite calm on the beach, for the most part, some of the waves that come in can knock little ones over! If you are packing a car seat, throw one of these in your car seat bag 

Stroller Fan – when little ones need to nap at the beach, I like to be able to cool them off with this fan.

If you want my full list check out these Beach Packing Essentials 

MORE INFORMATION ON OAHU WITH TODDLERS:

Where to Stay on Oahu with Toddlers

I have been to Hawaii plenty of time with my kids, and tend to look for a mid-range budget place. If you are a typical family traveller like me, you may enjoy these spaces.

AirBNB near the Zoo – I like this place because it specifically welcomes young children. It has multiple bedrooms, contains a crib and has in-suite washer dryer!

1 bedroom AirBNB in Waikiki Banyan Property – I personally like staying in these privately owned units in hotels. They are always very clean and you have access to the hotel amenities (like the pool) without those silly per day fees that all hotels in Hawaii charge these days! I like that this unit has a pack and play for the little ones!

Sleeps 8 One Bedroom Unit in the Banyan – If you liked the one above but need more room, this unit in the Banyan sleeps 8 people! That is rare!

Rental Equipment

If the thought of bringing a car seat and stroller and everything you need for a baby to your condo-style hotel sounds like a huge pain, do not worry, there are baby gear rental places that deliver right to your hotel or apartment.

Check out Paradise Baby 

If you are traveling with your car seat, check out our reviews on the best car seat travel bag here

Babysitting

While I have not used this service myself, Nannies Hawaii has great reviews if you would like to do some non-toddler friendly things like hiking or snorkeling or would like to enjoy an evening without the kids!

This Diamond Head HIke looks like something I would check out if I had booked a babysitter!

Need more ideas? Check out some ideas from Barbara at Jet-Settera here!

How is that for 10+ things to do in Hawaii with toddlers? If you have more suggestions I would love to hear them!

Things to do in Oahu with Toddlers
10-things-for-Preschoolers-in-Oahu-Hawaii

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Pamela

Wednesday 20th of January 2021

Oahu is one of my favourite places, thanks for sharing.

Jannie

Monday 21st of December 2020

Wow, this is so helpful article for travel lovers. Very amazing reading for me to do different things and activities in Oahu. I really enjoy this reading. Thank you for sharing this wonderful article.

Alyssa

Wednesday 29th of August 2018

Your kids are ADORABLE! These are supremely great tips that I definitely need to hold on to. I'm not a kid but a luau, fireworks and parade are all things I can get behind. Also, your list sounds a lot like Disneyland which of course I am all about.

Chelsea

Saturday 25th of August 2018

Great tips and cute pics, Lindsay! There may be a family trip to Hawaii in our future, so this will come in handy for our youngest nephews :)

Lindsay Nieminen

Sunday 26th of August 2018

thanks Chelsea! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Matt

Wednesday 7th of September 2016

Nice write up and photos! The #2 point is a must...but many people consider Waikiki as one beach and don't realize it is 11 separate beaches. We list them here if you're interested: https://lookintohawaii.com/hawaii/48622/beaches-of-waikiki-information-oahu-hi

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