3 Must Do Family Activities On Oahu, Hawaii

Hanauma Bay

Heading to the main island of Hawaii with your family? Well, we have 3 must do family friendly activities during your stay on Oahu!

1. Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial

The Arizona Memorial has so much historic significance, it’s a must see in our opinion. December 7, 1941 will always live in infamy. How could it not? It’s the day Oahu was awaken by a surprise attack of hundreds of Japanese fighter planes that eventually killed 2,403 Americans and wounded thousands more. This marked the day America entered World War II.

Pearl Harbor is also home to another significant battleship, the USS Missouri. It was on this ship that Japan agreed to surrender, marking the end of WWII. With all this history, do not miss this opportunity to educate your children about the significance of Pearl Harbor, and honor our fallen heroes and survivors at the same time.

Entry to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is free. And, tickets to the USS Arizona Memorial are free.

1,300 tickets are given away daily, starting at 7:00 a.m. It’s on a first­ come first ­served basis and each person must be present. Christmas, Spring Break and Summer are the busiest times and tickets run out fast. So, get there early if you want a ticket!

Alternatively, you can reserve tickets in advance for a fee. See https://www.nps.gov/valr/planyourvisit/fees.htm for more information.

Or you can save the hassle of driving, finding parking, and risking not getting a ticket and do one of the many Pearl Harbor Tours available.

2. Hanauma Bay

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You’ve made it all the way to Oahu, where beaches are it’s number one attraction. What better place to spend time with family than the world famous Hanauma Bay.

This crescent ­shaped bay was formed by two sunken craters, which are now home to a myriad of tropical sea life (“Hanauma” literally means “curved bay”). A part of the crater wall actually collapsed, which let in ocean water to form the bay. The curved walls do a pretty good job protecting the bay from high surf and strong currents, which makes it ideal for an unforgettable snorkeling adventure. However, since there is an inlet, currents are strongest near the mouth of the bay. So, stay close to shore and away from rock ledges for maximum safety. Always check with Lifeguards for current conditions.

Hanauma Bay is about 10 miles east of Waikiki, and is open daily from 6:00a.m. to 7:00p.m. except on Tuesdays. As hours may change for various reasons, be sure to get the latest hours by calling (808) 396­4229. If you’re driving, there is a $1 parking fee. Arrive early as parking ALWAYS closes once it’s filled. In this case, you may find parking outside the Bay and walk in about 10 minutes to the entrance.

Hanauma Bay has restrooms, showers, picnic areas, snorkel gear rentals, locker rentals, and a Marine Education Center if you’d like to learn more about this preservation. There is a $7.50 per person entrance fee for visitors 13 years of age and older. Children under 12 and Hawaii residents w/ proper ID are free.

3. Iolani Palace

ʻIolani Palace - Photo Credit: D Ramey Logan 2011

ʻIolani Palace – Photo Credit: D Ramey Logan 2011.

Want to visit the only royal palace in the United States? You’re in luck if you’re on Oahu.

The Iolani Palace is located in the middle of downtown Honolulu. It was built in 1882 by King David Kalakaua and his wife Queen Kapiolani. It’s architecture was inspired by the King’s travels through Europe and is the only building in the world to be categorized as an example of American Florentine architecture.

The significance of this Palace occurred in January 1895. This is when the last reigning monarch of Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani, was imprisoned in her own palace during the overthrow of her government.

True or not, you’ll have to hear for yourself. But, some have said you can hear the Queen’s footsteps pacing across the room where she was held captive.

This Palace also served as the territory’s capitol when Hawaii was annexed to the United States in 1959, which adds more to the historic value of the Iolani Palace.

There are 2 tours available. One is a self­guided audio tour and the other is a guide led tour. Allow about 90 minutes for either tour. Tours vary based on the time and day, so check their website for current information: http://www.iolanipalace.org/

If you’re in the area, visit the ticket office in the Iolani Barracks on the Palace Grounds Monday-
Saturday from 8:30am­4pm. If you’re ready to make reservations, call 808-­522-­0832 or 808-­522­-0823 or email palacetickets@iolanipalace.org

With the historical value and uniqueness of these 3 places, we feel it’s a “must do” on your next

Hawaiian vacation.

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