family travel guide: oahu


You know when you’re booking on Airbnb and they say the home is “right on the sand” but you aren’t quite sure if it really is or if they’re stretching the truth? Well, luckily this time they were telling the truth… this house is literally built on the sand so we were pleasantly surprised! We originally had wanted to stay on the North Shore but we ended up deciding on staying on the east side near Kualoa Ranch because the waves are much smaller and swimmable for kids. It’s nothing fancy inside but its clean and minimal and the location is so great! I’m sure there are plenty of good options for staying in this area also but I’ll link the Airbnb listing that we booked here for all those who asked! 

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When we first flew in, we stopped at Costco and stocked up on snacks and food and then made the beautiful drive up the coast to our Airbnb. We woke up this morning to the most amazing sunrise, the time zone here is three hours behind than back home so we were all up at 6:30 am feeling like it was 9:30 am. We spent the morning snorkeling, floating in the ocean and getting friedddd while Crosley napped. When he woke up, we took the top off the Jeep and went for a short drive to the North Shore for shave ice. We of course had to stop at Fumi’s for some farm raised shrimp on our way to Sunset Beach. We watched the surfers catch some of the biggest I’ve ever seen and then headed to the Sunrise Shack for some iced coffee for us and smoothie bowls for the kids. While we were waiting, we realized there were a million wild roosters and a few pigs and Crosley absolutely died chasing them around. 

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Kahana Bay:

a nice, not crowded spot on the east side and so beautiful all framed in with green hills!

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Lanikai Beach:

white sand, and Caribbean looking water.. so beautiful and definitely a little more busy but worth it. You can take kayaks over to that little island also!

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Hauula Beach:

If you’re looking for a less crowded beach on the east side, the most northern part of this beach park was right in front of our airbnb and we enjoyed it a lot! And this swing can be found there.

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Ko Olina Lagoon
This lagoon is right in front of the Aulani Disney Hotel and the 4 Seasons on the west side (which honestly is more of a drier, desert looking side of the island and not my favorite) but this lagoon was nice and shallow and a hit for my toddler Crosley! Park at the public park next to the Aulani.

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Favorite Spots in Waikiki:

From left to right:

Here.: store with cute clothes and home trinkets

The Laylow Hotel and Hideout Coffee Shop: Cutest hotel with a rooftop bar and adorable coffee spot called hideout

The Surfjack Hotel: We stayed here and they upgraded us to a two bedroom suite and we loved the live music in the lobby in the evenings, free coffee in the mornings and their pool and cute coffee shop!

Must see family spots

Polynesian Cultural Center: our friends bought us a luau and Ha show here and we had no idea what to expect. It was a little touristy but by far the kids favorite day. They had all kinds of Hawaiian shows and activities for kids, canoeing, tattoo’s, spear throwing, fire-starting, and a lot of fun cultural activities. My daughter says the Ha breathe of life show complete with hula, singing and fire dancing was one of her favorite parts of the whole trip!

Kualoa Ranch: we came here for a wedding and it was gorgeousssss. This is the location where they film a lot of movies like Jerassic Park, Lost etc. They have all kinds of movie site tours, utv/atv rentals, zipline, kayaking, horse backing riding and other family activities also!