Best Swimming in Hawaii (O’ahu) with Kids
The island of Oahu (Hawaii) is abundant with swimming opportunities for both big and little kids. Here is a list of my favourite swimming spots for travelling with kids in Oahu.
Ala Moana Beach Park
Ala Moana Beach Park is a free public park right near Waikiki. It’s perfect for younger kids because the water is really clear and calm and it doesn’t seem to be anywhere near as crowded as Waikiki beach. I can’t work out why though, because it’s much nicer in my opinion.
The Hilton Lagoon
The Hilton Lagoon is a man made lagoon (free and open to the public) in front of the well known Hilton in Waikiki. I’m not usually a fan of ‘man made’ but its perfect for kids as the water is flat with no waves. It has a gradual slope and there are snack shops and facilities really close by. The water temperature is noticeably cooler than the ocean and every Friday night, the Hilton puts on a really decent fireworks show. You get a really great view of the fireworks if you are sitting around the lagoon.
I thought Waikiki Beach was nice….however, it was too similar to the beaches back home in Australia for it to be my favourite. I found it hard not to be tempted by the Hilton Lagoon nearby as the sand was nicer. It is still a fantastic place to cool off, and I loved floating on my back with the famous Diamond Head and resort buildings against the blue sky in the background.
The Windward Coast
I thought all of the beaches on the Windward Coast were beautiful. There is plenty of sand for the younger kids who aren’t quite ready for ocean swimming with waves yet. Just hire a car or take a bus and go exploring on your own!
Ko Olina Beach Park Lagoons
The Ko Olina Beach Park is worth a visit! However, you will need some kind of transport to get here as it’s on a part of the island that isn’t really central to anything. We spent a day exploring the Wai’Anae Coast and paid a visit to these four white-sand lagoons which are open to the public.
Waimea Bay and Pipeline
I personally don’t think the North Shore beaches are suitable for young kids to swim in. They have still been included on this list as there is plenty of sand to play in and if you are into surfing, the strong water probably won’t bother you.
We still had a fantastic time just playing in the sand and watching the surfers. We didn’t visit in big wave season however the current was still too strong for me as I’m not much of a swimmer…..Jason loved it though.
Whilst you are visiting the North Shore, make sure you take the short 20 minute walk to Waimea Falls through the lovely Waimea Valley. There is an entrance fee however it’s definitely worth it as the grounds are maintained like a beautiful botanical gardens and there is a lot of cultural things on offer. Snack shop and facilities are also available. When you get to the falls, there is a lifeguard on duty as well as free life jackets if you wish to use them.
Hanauma Bay State Park
Hanauma Bay is a must see when visiting the island of Oahu (Hawaii). There is an entrance fee, however it isn’t much, and there is also a snack bar, gift shop and facilities here. There is a steep walk down to the lovely water however you can catch a regular tram if you can’t be bothered walking. Car parking is limited so you need to get here early or book a shuttle from your hotel. The water is really calm and a great place for the kids to learn to snorkel.
In general, the island of Oahu is a fantastic place for a beach holiday with kids. I’m sure there are plenty more places to swim on this island however unfortunately, we ran out of time to explore them all!
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For more blog posts, photographs and information on my travels through Hawaii (Oahu) with kids, please check out this page: Hawaii
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