Planning a beach vacation in Hawaii is exciting since there is so much to see, do, and experience while on the islands. Oahu is a place that fits for people of all ages to visit and especially recommended if you have small kids offering comfortable and safe locations to enjoy the sun and sea. If you decide to visit this wonderful island, these are the best beaches in Oahu for families to head to!
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Ko Olina Lagoons
Spanning 642 acres, the man-made Ko Olina Lagoons offers jewel-colored waters connected by a series of pathways. This popular location tops the list for the best beaches in Oahu for families with good reason; the views are beautiful and various beachfront activities are available. Thanks to the protected waters, the lagoons offer safe swimming and snorkeling opportunities for kids.
Although, you should note that since the lagoon areas are maintained by the resorts located here like the Marriott Ko Olina, there are many prohibited activities. Among them are kite-flying and Frisbees. You cannot bring your watercraft, loud music, pets, and alcoholic beverages are not allowed.
Note that parking is scarce and available on a first-come, first-served basis. So if you’re wanting to spend the day exploring the lagoons, arrive early to secure your spot.
Kualoa Regional Park
Located on the Windward Coast of Oahu, Kualoa Regional Park may look familiar. It’s where many hit movies were filmed, including Jurassic World, Jurassic Park, and 50 First Dates. In addition, TV series filmed on the island include Lost and Hawaii Five-O. You and your family can tour the sets if you’re a fan of these movies and TV shows.
It is also one of the most kid-friendly beaches in Oahu thanks to the 4,000 acres Kualoa Private Nature Reserve, you and your family can enjoy various activities, including swimming, fishing, and kayaking.
If you want to cookout, there are many locations with BBQs and picnic tables. You also have access to a lifeguard at the beach, along with restrooms, showers, and phones.
Lanikai Beach lives up to its translated name of “heavenly sea.” It’s among the best beaches in Oahu for families because of its pristine waters and fine sand. In the summer, Lanikai draws a crowd wanting to explore its shores. Lanikai is a good spot to witness marine life on the island: the great variety of colorful tropical fish make it an excellent snorkeling spot.
Should you get bored at the beach, you can go hiking too. The Kaiwa Ridge Trail is a welcome break from sitting and laying because it’s an hour-and-a-half round-trip hike with views of Kaneohe Bay and Makapu’u Lighthouse. The trail’s difficulty rating is intermediate, making it ideal for children and adults to take part in exploring.
On the south shore of Honolulu is the famous Waikiki Beach, an area with a rich history for being the place to go as Hawaiian royalty. It’s best known for its excellent hotels within walking distance of the ocean, but the area features superb Oahu family beaches too with soft sand and swimmable waters.
Soaking up the sun and participating in local customs is something visitors to the area do regularly. Surfing is a big part of the culture at Waikiki Beach, thanks to the legend Duke Kahanamoku whose legacy continues to inspire people today. If you want to shop and dine, visit Kalakaua Avenue which is considered the main strip and attracts visitors who look for some entertainment.
One of the secluded family friendly beaches in Oahu is Secret Beach. It’s located on MCBH, so you need a military ID for access or reserve one of the beach cottages found here.
The waves are very low here so it is a great place for kayaking. The water is crystal-clear, there are a lot of coral and many turtles! If you are looking for an Oahu snorkeling beach that is quiet and kid-friendly, Secret Beach will be just perfect!
Hanauma Bay is not only one of the best beaches in Oahu for families but probably one of the most famous Hawaii beaches. To enter this nature reserve, you need to pay an entrance fee, however, it’s limited to a specific number of visitors each day, making it easier to deal with the crowds. Adults pay $12 for access to the beach, and children under 12 can visit it for free. Locals have free access to the area.
The most incredible activity to experience at this Oahu kid-friendly beach is snorkeling and exploring the various tropical fish and other marine life in the area. You can make a day out of exploring Hanauma Bay by bringing your own life jackets, vests, and floaties. There is a snack bar, free tram service, and even beach wheelchairs available for anyone visiting the area.
Ala Moana Beach
A family friendly location thanks to its lush green park and shallow, calm waters, Ala Moana is a quiet beach with fantastic sunset views. It’s an excellent place to walk and serves as an amazing backdrop for photography with Waikiki in the background.
If you want to get away from the crowd but still be in the city on your beach vacation in Hawaii, this is the place to go. Your kids can have the time of their life exploring the beach and swimming in the ocean while you sit back and soak up the sun. You can picnic at Ala Moana Beach or opt to grab a bite to eat after you shower and rest at a nearby restaurant.
Located on the Leeward Coast of Oahu, Keawaula Beach is a place to swim, surf, and hike. The beach is unusually curvy, which makes it unique. This place is also known as Yokohama after the Japanese fishermen who often came here in the early 1900s.
The turquoise waters offer a break from the bustling world you’re used to being in daily. Instead, you can take time to soak up the sun and watch the surfers.
With a lifeguard on-site, it’s safe to swim with the kids. You can also check out the dolphins that appear in the ocean. If hiking is something that interests your family, you’ll want to check out Kaena Point. The view from the top is incredible!
If you are looking for kid-friendly beaches in North Shore Oahu, the protected Kuilima Cove is a great place to go that allows beginner snorkelers to become acquainted with the ocean. It provides beautiful views of the reefs as well as marine life of all sizes.
The presence of sea turtles can be very exciting, especially for children (that’s why this place knowns as Turtle Bay too). You can photograph the marine life but should not attempt to touch or move them. It’s best to leave things exactly as you find them so other families can also enjoy what the ocean has to offer.
On top of these attractions, Kuilima Cove offers lounge chair rental and places to buy snacks and beverages, making it easy to spend the entire day at the location. Should you want to spend your whole vacation at this dreamy location, we recommend staying at the Turtle Bay Resort!
Kaiona Beach Park
Picnic tables and a few covered areas for eating make Kaiona Beach Park one of the best beaches in Oahu for families. It draws a crowd on the weekends, so parking may be hard to find, but it is still a must-visit Oahu kid-friendly beach. If being with a crowd of people doesn’t appeal to you, visit Kaiona on a weekday.
The beach gives you an unobscured view of the turquoise ocean. Bathrooms and showers present in the park make it a good place to bring kids. There are plenty of shade, the water is usually calm and the tide pools are shallow, encouraging exploration. Moreover, snorkeling is not bad either here!
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When it comes a beach vacation, Vic is the person who certainly has tips on where to go and what to do no matter it is a luxury tropical holiday, peaceful seaside getaway or a family trip to the ocean. She enjoys exploring new places, trying out various water sports and most of all, loves sharing her tips with those seek out their next adventure.