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   >>> See all Hawaiian Island travel tips from TravelswithBaby.com


 Oahu's 5 Best


Beaches for Kids

under 5



Contributed by Cara Ballard

Being born and raised on the Island of Oahu in Sunset Beach, I love being able to share my island knowledge with visitors.  Oahu has beautiful white sand beaches, spectacular volcanic mountain ranges and oozes the Polynesian culture. I speak with moms and dads everyday on the phone that are hiring our baby equipment rental services, and one of the main questions I get asked about traveling to Oahu with kids is “what are the best beaches to take kids?” Therefore, I wanted to share with you my best five beaches on Oahu for kids.


1. Kailua Beach

Kailua Beach is located on the East side of the island. Kailua Beach Park has been called one of the best beaches in the United States and I couldn’t agree more. The  park offers visitors parking, showers, picnic areas and ample shade. The fine white sand beach stretches for over 2 miles and there are lifeguards on duty. The shore break is generally calm and offers safe swimming conditions year round.  If there is a hazard a sign will be posted at the beach. Jellyfish can be blown in when trade winds are strong so always ask a lifeguard if there are any warnings that day. Typically Kailua beach is not crowded during the week but can get busy on weekends and during Holidays. There are several kayaking rental companies in Kailua Town that can set you and the family up for a day of paddling around the pristine waters of the bay.  After spending the day at the beach there are many great family friendly restaurants in Kailua to choose from.

View Kailua Beach Park - Oahu's #1 beach for families with young children in a larger map


2. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve


Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is the by far the most popular place to snorkel on Oahu. The protected cove has been a Marine Life Conservation District since the 1960’s, which makes it illegal to fish or remove any marine life from the Bay. Hanauma Bay offers clam and safe swimming conditions, making the Preserve the ultimate playground for your young marine scientist to explore the reef and underwater world of Hawaii. The Bay is a short and beautiful drive just 10 miles East of Waikiki. Hanauma is a curved bay that is actually an ancient volcanic crater. What kids wouldn’t be thrilled to swim around in a volcanic crater? The Bay is teaming with marine life, including turtles, rays and over 400 different types of tropical fish have been recorded at the park. There is an entrance fee of $5.00 and parking is $1.00. With only 300 parking spaces available, the park can fill up quick during holidays and summer. Hanauma Bay is open from 6:00am-7:00pm and is closed on Tuesday. There is Snorkel gear available for rent at the beach as well as a snack shop. All of the facilities at the Hanauma Bay are designed to be fully accessible to the disabled guests and wheel chairs are available free at the information center. For families traveling to Hawaii with kids this is a must-do activity!

View Hanauma Bay - Oahu's #2 best beach experience for families with young children in a larger map

3. Waimea Bay (spring through summer)


Waimea Bay is famous for it’s gigantic winter surf that can reach 50 plus feet during the months of Oct- March. Surfers come from all over the world to take on the monster waves of the North Shore, which can be quite exciting to watch. However,  for many of us locals we look forward to the calm conditions when there are no waves.  As the large winter swells diminish, spring thru summer time at the bay could not be more fun for a family with kids. Waimea Bay has some of the most beautiful clear picturesque water on the island, making for great diving and swimming conditions. The small park has restrooms and lifeguards on duty year round. Be sure to bring snacks or stop off in Haleiwa Town for food on your way to Waimea. The closest food is a grocery store called Foodland about a mile away.  This is a beach that you will always want to check with the lifeguard before swimming.

View Waimea Bay Beach Park - Oahu's #3 best beach for families with young children in a larger map


4. Makaha Beach (spring through summer)

Like Waimea Bay, Makaha Beach is also well known for its great surf, but when the waves are small Makaha Beach is a perfect beach for a family to visit on Oahu. Located on the West side of the island Makaha is known to be hot and sunny almost everyday of the year. Dolphins, Turtles and whales can be seen regularly from the shore. When the waves are up the beach can have a powerful shore break so like all Hawaiian Beaches check in the lifeguards about any warnings. There are restrooms and showers for use as well as plenty of parking.  The closest restaurants are in Waianae town so it is best to pack a lunch for your trip to this beach. Ko Olina Resort, which is an excellent kid friendly resort on Oahu, is about 20 minutes away and has some great places for dinner.

View Makaha Beach Park - Oahu's #4 best beach for families with young children in a larger map

5. Waikiki Beach

Finally, one of the most famous beaches in the world, Waikiki Beach, is my number five best beach for families on Oahu.  If you are visiting Oahu chances are you are  staying in Waikiki and lucky for you have the safest swimming beach right outside your hotel. The wonderful white sand beach offers not only calm swimming conditions but lots of great beach activities. For old children that can swim surf lessons are just about the most fun you can have in Hawaii. The beach boys of Waikiki are world renowned for their water safety skills and are all amazing surf instructors. The gentle waves of Waikiki make it the ideal place to learn to surf.  Canoe rides are also a blast and you can book a ride next to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on the beach. This is an activity the whole family can enjoy.  After a long day at the beach my favorite thing to do is walk straight off the beach into Dukes at the Outrigger for sunset time. There is great live Hawaiian music and pupu’s (appetizers) every night.

View Waikiki Beach - Oahu's #5 best beach for families with young children in a larger map


Your suggestions?


Do you have a great restaurant, cafe, park, attraction, or other Oahu tip you'd like to share with readers? We'd love to hear from you! Please contact us with a subject line Re: Oahu and your tip. Bloggers, feel free to include a link to a related post in your tip for us and we will include it here. Tips should be related to visiting Oahu with young children. Thanks!

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About our contributor:


Cara Ballard is a native of Oahu, a mother, and the owner of Paradise Baby Co. baby gear rentals, which serves all of the island of Oahu, including hotels, condos, private residences and B&Bs. She offers plenty more tips for families planning vacations to Oahu in the Paradise Baby Blog.


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