Things to do in Oahu

I always dreamed of going to Hawaii on some big long romantic vacation.  Well the kids came before that ever happened so we just brought them along with us.  We discovered as much as Hawaii seems like a couples romantic getaway it can also be a fun family escape.  Below is a list of our family favorites.  Perfect for families with small children.

1.Polynesian Cultural CenterA magnificent way to submerge yourself in so many different island cultures.  They have created seven different villages including Tonga, Tahiti, Marquesas, Hawaii, Fiji, Aotearoa, and Samoa.  You are able to visit each one stepping yourself into a new part of the world with food, culture, music, and lifestyle differences at each place.  They have a parade on the river that runs through the Cultural Center where they dance and sing.  We bought tickets online 10 days in advance and got 10% off.  We purchased the package that came with the Luau Dinner and Evening Show.  All were fantastic.  A tip to know is that you can go back for free to the villages within three days of visiting.  Because we had such small children instead of trying to do it all in one day we spit up the villages and did two and the luau the first day and went back for a second full day and did the other 5 villages.

2. Pearl harborWent back in time when we toured the World War II Valor in the Pacific Monument including the USS Arizona Memorial as well as seeing the Battleship Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor.  Felt the reverence for all the men and women that died there.  They showed a great little video before taking you on the road ride out to the memorial.  You can also walk around the grounds for free and see the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and park as well as the Pacific Aviation Museum.   The is plenty of parking and the tours are free from 7-5 every day.  Best to go as early as possible in the day to avoid waiting in a long line.

3. Dole PlantationWe just had to check out the pineapple plantation and get ourselves a fresh dole whip or two.  We took the Pineapple Express and got a ride past the gardens and part of the farm and plantation.  We learned about the history of pineapples on the island and enjoyed the beauty all around.

4. Aloha Stadium Swap Meet -Great market place to wander around and get all your souvenirs.  Admission is only $1 every Wed and Sat 8am-3pm.  We didn’t even make it 1/4 of the way around it was so huge.  We were able to try some fresh fruits and even had someone carve us our very own totem.


5. North Shore Turtle Bay– Watch sea turtles, swim, snorkel, and fish, lay around on sand Located between Kawela Bay and the Turtle Bay Hotel Watch for honu (Hawaiian sea turtles) at Laniakea Beach on Oahu’s North Shore.  Don’t forget eating at the Shrimp Shack.


6. Waimea ValleyBeautiful garden forrest with an easy path to a gorgeous waterfall.  One of the best and probably safest place to swim at a waterfall.  Here is a very informative  post I found helpful when planning to visit here.


7. Valley of the Temples Memorial Park The Byodo-This temple make you feel like you’ve suddenly been transported to Japan. The temple’s architecture and colors are especially beautiful with the mountainous backdrop.


8. Hawaiian Temple -FREE visitor Center and beautiful fountains.


9.  Hanauma Bay Due to hurricanes we were unable to snorkel the week we visited but the view was spectacular. Here you can normally snorkel to discover Oahu’s underwater world.


10. Hale’iwa Town– We went here many times to explore the little village and shops.  Also to get the best Hawaiian snow cone around.  They also have the best hamburgers of all Hawaii at the Kua Aina Sandwich shop.


11. Diamond Head–  We drove into the center of the crater all the way to the visitor center instead of taking the 1.6 miles steep incline hike to the top.  We will do this next time when our kids can walk themselves.

12. Waikiki Beach- Most commercial beach on Oahu but a must see with its long sandy beaches and great restaurants.

13.Halona Blowhole- Great place to stop on your drive around the island.  A magnificent blowhole that goes off every few minutes depending on how high the tide is.






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