Oahu, the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands, is the ideal starting point for family island adventures. Once a playground for Hawaiian royalty, Waikiki, Oahu's main tourist destination, is now a playground for families. Travel in warm, off-season months and you'll benefit from smaller crowds and lower prices.
Sun-splashed Waikiki is one of the most famous beaches in the world. Need a break from the sun? Check out the beachside Waikiki Aquarium or the nearby Honolulu Zoo. Don't forget to catch an unforgettable Waikiki sunset.
Book a half-day trip with your hotel or rent a car for a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.
Rent a snorkel and dive mask and enjoy colorful fish and corals at the pristine Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve. On the way home, stop at Oahu Dolphin Quest, located within the Kahala Hotel and Resort. Your kids will have a chance to touch, feed, play and swim with dolphins.
Learn more about Hawaiian and other South Pacific cultures at the Polynesian Cultural Center, about one hour's scenic drive from Waikiki. The center features eight village re-creations nestled around a large lagoon. Try your hand at traditional activities. Stay on for the authentic evening luau.
Daring teens will love the challenge of hanging 10 on the Waikiki waves: Oahu Surf School offers small group lessons starting at $70. Afterward, devour a giant shaved ice, President Obama's favorite cool treat when he lived on the island. One of the best can be found at the Sandwich and Shaved Ice Shop, just off Kaimana Beach near the New Otani Hotel.
Amy Bizzarri is a mom of two living in Logan Square. She also blogs at tiramisumom.com.
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