Ever dreamed of vacationing to Hawaii with the family? We had long dreamed of vacationing in Hawaii and on our trip around the world we visited the archipelago. This part of the trip felt mostly like a vacation. We celebrated our vacation of over two weeks in Honolulu, the most famous place in Hawaii and located on the island of Oahu. There are enough activities to do in Honolulu that you could easily spend a week there. Herewith a little mini travel guide to vacationing in Honolulu for parents with kids.
Table of contents
What can you do on a vacation in Honolulu?
Waikiki beach and honolulu with kids #1: Waikiki Beach
Hawaii’s most famous beach is, by far, Waikiki Beach. Located on Honolulu’s boulevard, this beautiful white beach is perfect for parents with small kids. Because a part of the beach has created a kind of bay, where there are hardly any waves and the water is shallow. This makes it easy for kids to play in the sea here. This beach is ideally suited if you are vacationing in Honolulu.
In addition, it is great fun to rent a surfboard from one of the surf stores located along the promenade. Of course, you can also take surfing lessons, which is great fun for parents with slightly older kids. Our daughter had a bodyboard with which they tried to float along on the waves.
Along the beach are very many restaurants, making it easy to have lunch. There are also plenty of stores where you can buy food and eat it on the beach.
Be aware that if you go surfing there are plenty of sharp rocks in the water and that water shoes do come in handy (as does a wetshirt). The only drawback of this beach we found was the many bums hanging around the promenade.
Hawaii has a large number of bums on the islands and a large portion are around Waikiki Beach. As a result, our daughter suddenly lost her giant inflatable turtle and we found it 100 meters away with a sleeping bum on it.
Waikiki beach and honolulu with kids #2: Hanauma Bay
From Honolulu, it is just over half an hour by bus to
. This is one of the best places to snorkel with kids. The water is not deep and the beautiful tropical fish are very calm. This also makes it very doable for kids to snorkel. Bring a life jacket if your kids can’t swim yet and goggles and they’ll have hours of fun here. With a little luck, you will also see turtles here.
A ticket for the bus costs less than $3 for a one-way ride per person, and kids under five get in free. Before being allowed to enter the beach, every visitor is required to watch a 15-minute film about the coral. The entrance fee for adults is about $7.5 and kids under 5 are free. At Hanauma Bay, you can also rent snorkeling gear.
Tip: Only a limited number of people are allowed at Hanauma Bay, so make sure you get there on time. On Tuesdays, Hanauma Bay is closed to visitors.
Waikiki beach and honolulu with kids #3: Diamond Head
A fun activity with kids is climbing the crater
in Honolulu, where you’ll have great views of the surrounding area.
By cab, it is only a few minutes drive from Waikiki Beach, but there are also buses (bus numbers 22 and 23) to this crater. You could even walk to the crater from Honolulu center with big kids (about a 40-minute walk). Admission is $1 and the climb is a bit tough at some points, but doable even with small kids (our daughter did occasionally sit on daddy’s neck, during the climb).
The view is really beautiful and down at the starting point you can enjoy a shaved ice.
Waikiki beach and honolulu with kids #4: Pearl Harbor
One of the most impressive sights in Hawaii, is the museum Pearl Harbor. This U.S. naval base has become known worldwide, due to the attack on the base in World War II.
Even with small kids, this is a great place to spend an hour or two. Then visit especially the USS Arizona ship by boat and the museum at the embarkation point.
You can additionally visit the submarine Bowfin, Battleship Missouri and the aircraft museum, but then you need to buy a more extensive ticket and need more time to see everything.
Look carefully beforehand to see how interesting your kids will find it. If you go here by bus 20 or 42, count on an hour travel time. By rental car, it is less than half an hour from Honolulu. Especially to visit the island of Oahu further, it is convenient to rent a car. Read our blog on the points to consider when renting a car abroad!
For a full day of Pearl Harbor, you can purchase tickets online here.
Tip: A limited number of free tickets are given away each day at the museum to visit the sunken USS Arizona ship. So be there on time in the morning!
Waikiki beach and honolulu with kids #5: Shopping area Ala Moana
At Ala Moana you have a
large shopping mall
and also enormously beautiful quiet beaches. For moms who want to go shopping for a while, (while the kids are at the beach with the partner) this can be a godsend.
For example, Ala Moana beaches are very spacious and these beaches are much less crowded than Waikiki Beach beaches. By bus you can get here in just under half an hour.
Waikiki beach and honolulu with kids #6: Hilton Hawaiian Village
Hilton Hawaiian Village
is a hotel complex, with several pools and also a lagoon. We went here for a few days and had a great time.
The largest pool is for guests of the Hilton hotels, but is open to everyone. Therefore, not once did we hear anything that we were not welcome here. They also have a pool with slides and here you do need a band at the entrance gate.
Now the entrance gate is very often open due to the number of guests who walk in and out of here all the time, so slipping in is no problem at all (we obviously didn’t do this ;)))
The lagoon is also free to visit and here you can rent various pedal boats (at a sky-high price). For variety, we found this to be a very nice option. You can of course also stay in this hotel complex book a room with your family for your vacation in Hawaii.
Waikiki beach and honolulu with kids #7: Fireworks show
Every Friday night there is a huge fireworks show in Honolulu. From Magic Island, this show is easy to see. We ourselves watched the show from our apartment and were very impressed with the amount of fireworks that were set off. The fireworks show starts around quarter to eight and lasts about 10 minutes.
For animal lovers, there is also a zoo near Waikiki Beach. We have not visited this zoo ourselves, but if you want more information about this zoo click
Vacation Honolulu with kids: transportation
There are several options for getting around in Honolulu. Most places are easy to reach on foot and for other places you can use the inexpensive public transportation (the bus) or take a cab.
For bus times and places where the bus stops, check
. A day pass for the bus is about 5 euros. Cabs are everywhere and are not super expensive. For example, we took a cab from Waikiki Beach to Walmart to do some shopping and there were plenty of cabs at Walmart to take us and our groceries back home to our accommodation. This way, we had enough food and drinks in one go for our entire vacation in Hawaii.
A cab from the airport to the hotels around Waikiki Beach costs about $40. If you have the time, bus number 19 will get you from the airport to Waikiki in just under an hour. The cost of a bus ticket is $2.75.
Vacationing Honolulu with kids: food and drink
Eating and drinking while vacationing in Honolulu
In Honolulu you have a very large selection of restaurants and check tripadvisor to see if there is one that appeals to you.
In addition, you are obviously in the United States, so there are lots of fast food restaurants (especially around the boulevard). There are also large supermarkets, where you can get food.
For lunch, we would often get some sushi from a store to eat on the beach. In addition, we had accommodation with a kitchen, so we often cooked our own meals. This, of course, again saves a lot in costs.
Tip: One of Hawaii’s most famous delicacies is shaved ice. These are large sundaes with ice cream to which a flavor has been added. Very refreshing and you can buy this ice cream anywhere on the island.
Vacationing Honolulu with kids: staying overnight
Hotels in Honolulu are generally very expensive, with prices starting as low as 110 euros per night. Then you basically have nothing at all (small room, with no separate room for your kids).
We wanted to be around Waikiki Beach and here the prices are still a lot higher. We then quickly ended up with AirBnB. For example, we had a very large apartment with two bedrooms, a living room and a very luxurious kitchen for 160 euros per night. This apartment was within walking distance to Waikiki Beach. Obviously still a huge amount, but relatively low when you see hotel prices in the area.
If you do prefer to sit in a hotel, there are several good options. Close to Waikiki Beach and a relatively low price.
Waikiki Central Hotel
. From 128 euros per night. The
Holulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations hotel
is a beautiful resort hotel within walking distance of Waikiki Beach and has a large pool and is rated a big 9 by guests.
want to know what else you can see on hawaii with kids? check out this blog below.
hawaii vacation with kids