Who is this list for?
Oahu activities for adventurous families is list of personal favorites. This list is for families who love nature, the beach and like to get off the beaten path to try something a little different. There are ideas for a few beaches, a few hikes and a bonus.
Is an adventurous beach a thing? Yes, it most definitely is. These are spots where should know how to swim and keep an eye on ocean.
- Halona Beach Cove – This tiny beach is tucked away along Oahu’s southeast rugged shores. The steep ascent and high surf make it tricky, but rewarding.
- Snorkel at Electric Beach – Oahu’s Leeward coast has a thirsty, rugged beauty. You’ll find raw beaches studded by sharp kiawe trees and pounded by the surf. Experience the power of the ocean from the stretch of coastline beyond Koolina to Kaena Point.
- Waimea Bay – In the summer months this bay is a placid lake dotted with sailboats, but in the winter the shore break is a beast eager to slam you into the sand. The popular jumping rock tests your bravery and the memories stick with you for a lifetime.
- Ke iki Beach – This wide expanse of beach has my heart – from the mountain view to the glorious sunsets silhouetting whales, dolphins, and manta rays. True, the massive rocks draw you in but then threaten to shred you feet, but it’s worth it. At low tide, there is a fun little tidal shelf to explore. Not nearly as big as adjacent shark’s cove, or Three Tables but a lovely alternative. If you can brave the shore break (easier in summer), you can snorkel out and around toward Shark’s Cove.
Adventurous Family Hikes
Hawaii has no shortage of adventurous hikes with its knife ridges and slippery waterfalls. This list is safe enough for families who don’t want to cheat death necessarily, just adventure a little further. A little harder.
- Kuliouou Trail – This is a ridge trail so you get great views and a summit trail so you get views of both Honolulu and windward Oahu. The final bit takes you through some native vegetation which you can examine with great care as you pant for breath.
- Poamoho Trail – This may be my favorite hike on the island. True, it’s not accessible without a 4WD and (an easy to obtain in advance permit), but it’s level, beautiful throughout and its a summit hike.
- Crouching Lion Trail – Crazy steep and a bit sketchy but super short. You can keep going up the mountain if can’t get enough but we prefer to make our way down for lunch at the Poi Factory instead.
Bonus Family Activity
We regularly have this conversation at our home on weekends – Do you want to go to the beach? No. Do you want to go for a hike? No. Well, then there’s nothing else to do. Honestly, we don’t have this conversation anymore because –
1. There no free weekends. They all belong to soccer and we spend most of our time moving back and forth from Kailua to Waipio Soccer Complex.
2. We know the answers will invariably be no to both questions because as teens/tweens my kids never want to go to the beach or for a hike. It’s frustrating.
Anyway, if you’re at the point in your trip where you don’t feel like the beach or a hike but still want to do something active (that doesn’t involve soccer, the mall, or PokemonGo), you can ride horses at Gunstock Ranch.
And there you have it, Oahu activities for adventurous families. If you’re looking for ideas, you can see four versions of the “Best Day Ever” on Oahu here.