When it comes to vacation destinations fitting for a baby, Hawaii is a popular choice for many reasons. Safety, sanitation, and weather aren’t generally concerns; travel logistics are easy; and for Americans, the baby doesn’t even need a passport yet! Restaurants and hotels nearly all cater towards families—but when nature treks and water-sports can feel too ambitious with a baby, it may seem like there isn’t actually much to do with a little one except stay on a resort and head to dinner at opening hour.
Considering Oahu was our first vacation destination with our six-month-old, we kept it super chill. Here are some easy activities to do with a baby in Oahu, not too far from Honolulu in the popular resort areas of Ko Olina and Waikiki.
#1: Wade in a kiddy pool or a hang out at a splash pad with your little one.
If you’re concerned about water safety or your baby bursting into tears as soon as he touches a giant body of water…hang out by a splash pad or gently wade in the shallow end of a kiddy pool! Bring floaties and inflatable toys if you think it’ll help entertain the kid and ease your nerves. Before booking a place to stay, call to see if there is a family-friendly “zero entry pool” where the ground gradually eases into the water. Most resorts will have multiple pools designed for different types of use. If you choose to stay somewhere without easy pool access, here’s a great list of fun spots to get wet at.
#2: Watch a free show if a luau is past bedtime.
We stayed at the Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club, which is where the Fia Fia Polynesian Luau is held on Tuesday nights, but we ended up not booking the show given our son was still too young to enjoy it and would be asleep the whole time. We were still able to enjoy the free festivities happening on the lawn while the sun was still up—and duck out when needed. If you’re staying on a resort, ask for a schedule of events to see which ones would be fitting for your family. Malls such as the International Market Place are also great places to catch free shows, just check the schedule in advance.
#3: Take a dip in the ocean near calmer shores and catch a glimpse of the sunset before bedtime!
With shallow shores and wide beaches, the lagoons in Ko Olina are a great option for this. Ko Olina Beach Park has a publicly accessible lagoon if you’re not staying on one of the resorts. If you are, there is a walking path that connects most of the beachfront if you’d like to go for a stroller walk during nap time.
Ko Olina Beach Park
92-100 Waipahe Pl, Kapolei, HI 96707
Open daily, 6am-10pm
#4: Ride along a historical railroad from Ewa to Kahe Point with the Hawaiian Railway Society.
If you’re looking for an easy activity to do on the weekend, go for a 90-minute leisurely train ride on a historic rail and enjoy the breeze! You’ll learn a little bit of narrated history while the baby gets to nap or look at the moving landscape. Towards the end of the line, you’ll see ocean views at Kahe Point. Opt for the 3pm train ride if you’d like to stop in Ko Olina for ice-cream.
91-1001 Renton Rd, Ewa Beach, HI 96706
Rides are Sat: 3pm, and Sun: 1pm & 3pm
Ticket sales start 2hrs before the ride and are on a first-come, first-served basis.
#5: Go for a stroller walk at the International Market Place, an open air mall with ample shade from a giant banyan tree.
The International Market Place sits on historic ground, as it was once part of a royal residence and then the start of Waikiki Village in the ’50s. The Market Place has since been completely renovated from the ground up and turned into an upscale mall, but the original banyan tree still sits towering in the center.
If shopping isn’t your thing, continue along Kalakaua Avenue to point out interesting architecture to your little one, such as the Waikiki Galleria Tower—a fusion of Polynesia and post-modernism with a beautiful, “tropical” lattice structured shell. The historic Moana Hotel with ionic columns and archways is another architectural gem to see.
International Market Place
2330 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Open daily, 10am-10pm
#6: Visit the Waikiki Aquarium and spot a giant clam!
The aquarium is located just south of the Waikiki beachfront and park areas, about a mile away from the main shopping area, if you’d like to go for a nice stroll away from the crowds. The aquarium has indoor and outdoor exhibits featuring marine life you’d typically spot snorkeling along Hawaiian reefs but also some unique creatures, such as the ancient nautilus, beautiful seahorses, and a giant clam that could one day reach 500 pounds! Our son really enjoyed looking at the leopard shark swimming up close to the tank.
2777 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Open daily, 9am-4:30pm
#7: Spot savanna animals, various primates, and even native Hawaiian wildlife at the Honolulu Zoo!
Since we only spent one day in Waikiki, we didn’t visit the zoo after the aquarium, but I thought it was worth mentioning given that it’s next door to the aquarium. If the weather is mild and you’re not concerned about spending too much time outdoors, the zoo would be a great place to point out various animals including native birds like the nēnē (Hawaiian goose) and the koloa (Hawaiian duck).
151 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Open daily, 9am-4:30pm
All in all, our first vacation as a family of three was super laid back, and our baby still got to touch the ocean, see some sea life, ride a train, and watch some flame throwing before bedtime!
What were some other activities you’ve done in Hawaii with a baby? Let me know in the comments!