Family Travel to Oahu
Ohana Travels to Oahu
Let's start off right - when searching for airfare be sure to open a browser window in incognito mode and/or clear cookies. I won't get carried away with that, but it may help should you repeatedly look at the same airfare. The sites I suggest using for researching the best prices are Google, Skyscanner and Momondo. Why are Skyscanner and Momondo different from say Expedia or Priceline, you may ask. The answer is they are not selling you anything, they just show you the lowest fairs and you book directly with the seller. So you are getting the lowest price without any third party fees. Always research the airline itself and these other sites. Happy searching!
Where to stay.....
Things to consider when deciding where to stay:
Do you want quality, quiet time with family?
If so, then check out Turtle Bay. Note - the link is for you to see the resort, not to book it. Unless you want to spend a few hundred a night. I suggest going over to VRBO and consider staying in a condo on the resort. There are several restaurants at the resort, but right down the street are many local places to eat that are much cheaper than the resort food traps. Turtle Bay is also near Polynesian Cultural Center.
Do you want active, city life?
If so, then Waikiki is the place. Hotels and restaurants galore! All the amenities one could ever ask for. Check out my post for travel tips on getting around Waikiki.
Maybe the small town feel with some outdoor activities?
Perhaps camping, or a campgrounds, is your style...
Bellows AFB is my first suggestion.
You have fought long and hard to bring your family to the islands. You twisted your spouse's arm to make a decision to spend the money. You told your children over and over how much adventure there would be. You made it on the plane with all of your hair still attached.
Family Fun of course!
On the Experience Oahu list, there are plenty of things for you to do that are family friendly. Pre-teens and teens love their Snapchat and Instagram - so spend a day circling the island. Stop and see all of the beautiful scenery and take many pictures- Waikiki, Diamond Head, Blow Hole, Bellows, Chinaman's Hat, Byodo-In Temple, Kualoa Ranch, Sunset Beach, Haleiwa Town sign for a selfie, etc. Parents this is a win-win for you! Stop in Haleiwa by the rainbow bridge, rent a few paddle boards and head down the river. You are likely to see some turtles swimming next to you.
The experience of a luau can be a bit "touristy". I thought it was great the first 5 times I went! I've gone to Paradise Cove multiple times, Polynesian Cultural Center, and Hale Koa. Personally, I enjoy Paradise Cove. Call me a tourist! I'm ok with that. Although, there are other options such as being in Waikiki or Turtle Bay when they have hula dancers and fire knife dancers showing off the amazing skills for FREE. Yes, it happens often! Then you can go eat great food after you've seen all of the dancing you and your family want. Places to see free hula and fire knife dancing: Hyatt Regency, Waikiki beach, International Marketplace, Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, and Turtle Bay by the pool.
Watching a Hawaiian Rodeo is surprisingly different from mainland rodeos and entertaining. If you're here in the summer, I suggest checking it out. Bring an umbrella to block the sun.
Careful not to get caught in Waikiki buying a snorkeling tour - there's NO need. If you want to spend $100+ on a snorkeling tour for your family, call me! Seriously, there are plenty of beaches to snorkel without paying someone else to drive you there. Yes, you still need to purchase masks or rent some if you didn't bring any with you. Great beaches to snorkel at are: Haunama Bay (entry fee, Hawaii Kai), Waimea Bay (left side), Three Tables (North Shore), and Shark's Cove (North Shore).
Save your money for family photos and take them on the island. This may be the only time you visit with your entire family and it's a whopping vacation. There's nothing like sending a Christmas card displaying your tropical vacation. There are many photographers on the island and they can be expensive. If you would like my recommendations, please contact me via email.
Ohana tip: don't make your schedule so busy you forget to stop and smell the flowers, the ocean, and the air. Watch the sunrise and the sunset - together, as a family. Thank God for paradise on Earth.