• Visiting Oahu with Kids


    It feels like a world away now, but last month we took a family trip to Oahu for a 10 days, and I’m excited to give you a full report today on some of our favorite spots….

    Thanks to Airbnb for sponsoring this post and putting us up for the week in Oahu.

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    I had been nervous about the flight with two little girls (Henry’s now super easy on a plane). Luckily, we were able to get Dot to sleep a bit in the carrier, and she loved looking out the window. Edie, on the other hand was exhausted by the end, despite all the movies and snacks on hand. We were all happy to finally get land in Honolulu!


    We stay in Airbnbs a lot when we travel as a family. It’s feels so comfortable to be in a home with more space for sleeping babies, first of all. Secondly, it can be really expensive to eat out every meal so a kitchen makes the world of a difference and keeps the kids happy with foods they like. Thirdly, there are always little local tips the hosts share, like the best beach for kids and the pile of beach gear waiting for us in the garage. It feels so personal and thoughtful. Here’s the property info for the Oahu Airbnb if you’re interested in checking it out.

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    There was a lot of great food on the North Shore we wanted to try, so we did eat out a lot. But we also fired up the BBQ a few nights right on the patio. The patio was also a favorite place for Edie to nap, eat popsicles in the afternoon, and watch rainstorms (which the kids were super excited about!).

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    My favorite thing about our Airbnb on the North Shore of Oahu was its location. Right across the street was my very favorite beach on the North Shore, Sunset Beach. In the winter the beaches on the North Shore are home to some of the most famous surf breaks in the world (and therefore not very swimmable). But in summertime the beaches are flat with amazingly warm water, and perfect for kids to swim and snorkel in.

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    Beach vacations are the easiest with families. It still feels like an adventure, but the day to day planning is simple: every day you go to the beach. Maybe you explore different ones, or maybe you just go to the same one every day. Everyone’s happy. In the afternoon you have naps and explore other places. It’s simple and fun for everyone.


    Sunset beach is also magical at sunset (I know, super surprising). But it really is, there was something special about it there. Every night a small crowd would show up in their suits and picnic dinner for one more dip in the beautiful waters before settling down on their blankets in the sand to watch the sunset.


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    Next to us was this sweet little coffee stand, Sunset Shack, that was open in the mornings and we hit up regularly! Speaking of morning treats, about 5 min walk away was Ted’s Bakery which we frequented on the daily. Cinnamon rolls, donuts, and their famous chocolate haupia pie! You can grab just a slice of pic or take a whole pie home for dessert. Delicious!



    Because the water was so calm, most beaches were very kid-friendly on the North Shore. On the beach side of the road, there were many little walkways every block or so that would lead to a quiet beach. Often times, that was the easiest place to access while avoiding crowds.

    In addition to Sunset beach which was probably my favorite, Shark’s Cove was a great spot for playing around on the rocks and snorkeling. You can rent gear right across the street and swim out pretty far into the bay there with your snorkel gear to check out fish and turtles swimming around. Edie loved just sitting on the rocks and exploring with me a bit.


    Right across the street from Shark’s Cove is an amazing gathering of food trucks. We were there so many nights because there was something for everyone, and such a cool vibe. Henry and Jared’s favorite was the shrimp truck. There is also an amazing thai truck called Elephant Thai, a great taco truck, poke truck, and also burgers, etc.

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    With huge long tables set up, movies playing at dusk, fun little beach cutouts and shaved ice for the kids, it was a dinner paradise for families!


    Waimea Bay beach was beautiful (although very crowded) for cliff jumping and people watching. On one of the last days we were there to cliff jump. It was crazy- Henry just walked right up there and jumped off like it was no big deal, while dozens of grown adults were standing there trying to muster up the courage. I went next and it took me a few minutes to actually make the jump. I still can’t get over how brave Henry was!

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    Across the street from Waimea Bay is the Waimea Valley Trail that leads to Waimea Falls. It’s not really a hike, but a paved walk through beautiful and lush tropical plants. I had Dot on the carrier and Edie was on Jared’s shoulders but that didn’t last long because she was getting sleepy. They ended up stopping just short of the falls and taking a little nap under a tree while Henry, Dot and I took a dip in the water. At the falls, they have refreshments (more shaved ice!) and life vests to wear.


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    It’s pretty crowded but still very cool place to swim! Next time, we might rent a wagon which were available at the entrance to cart the little girls up to the falls because it’s probably a good mile long walk.

    Laniakea was another beautiful one further south for turtle watching but not much beach to walk on.

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    Banzai Pipeline is a very famous one for the surf break in the winter. They’re equipped with full showers (same as Sunset beach), tables, easy parking, and a playground across the street if the kids are sick of the sand.

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    Another fun thing we did was the Ehukai Pillbox hike across the street from Banzai Pipeline beach. You park in the Elementary School lot, and there’s a very travelled, beautiful trail that heads up to a couple beach lookouts and two pillbox spots (a concrete landing overlook) if you continue to follow the trail. It’s about 20-30 minutes to the top and the views are jaw dropping!

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    We spent another morning kayaking through the Haleiwa beach and up the river. Henry and I also went paddle boarding at that same spot. There is a great little business district with restaurants and fun beach shop. It’s just down the street from Matsumoto Shaved Ice, which was our very favorite treat spot. Once we went there we were back every day! Delicious!

    One day, Henry and Jared went swimming with sharks! Humans in a cage lowered into the water, sharks swimming around in the open ocean. They both loved it and I’m adding it to my bucket list for next visit.

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    Such a great tip to the North Shore, and our first time! Have you been to Oahu? Any favorite spots you’d like to add?

    Thanks again to Airbnb for putting us up in Oahu. 


    1. […] Oahu with kids, outside of […]

    2. Rebecca said… July 30, 2017 3:20 am

      Edie is exactly your mini 💕 Wonderful family vacation

    3. Paige Flamm said… July 28, 2017 10:00 am

      So fun! My husband and I are dying to go to Oahu at some point!


    4. Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog said… July 28, 2017 8:32 am

      Waimea Bay beach looks perfect!! I’d love to visit. Thank you for the guide!

      Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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