Looking for kid friendly hikes in Oahu?
Oahu is the perfect destination for a family vacation. With gorgeous beaches, beautiful scenery, and dozens of outdoor activities to keep the whole family entertained, what’s not to love? And what better way to explore everything the island of Oahu has to offer than a hike?
If you’re traveling with young kids, though, hiking can be a tough activity to handle. You certainly don’t want to start a hike just for the little ones to get tired 20 minutes later, and you don’t want to be carrying them up and down steep inclines.
Lucky for you, Oahu Hawaii has plenty of kid-friendly hikes you can choose from to ensure that the entire family has a great – and fairly easy – time. So what are the best kid-friendly hikes in Oahu? We’ve got a few ideas for you.
Kid Friendly Hikes in Oahu
Diamond Head Hike
Just a five-minute drive from Waikiki, this hike is 1.6 miles round trip and should take you about 2 hours if you’re moving pretty slowly. This moderate hike is slightly steep and includes two sets of stairs consisting of 173 steps, so it’s not stroller-friendly. Be sure you know what you’re getting into before you go! The path has some paved areas and a few pillboxes where you can stop to admire the view, so if you need to take a break there are plenty of opportunities.
Diamond Head itself is a dormant volcano, so once you get to the top, you can expect incredible views of Waikiki and the Hanauma Bay. The path on the way up to the top can get hot, so bring plenty of water and if possible, do this hike in the morning. Another good reason to head there early is that this hike is popular with tourists, so if you want to beat the crowds it’s best to go right when it opens.
Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail
This trail is 2 miles roundtrip and is fully paved, meaning it’s stroller-friendly. This hike is also rated as moderate, so even though it’s paved you’ll still have a steady incline with an elevation gain of 500 feet. On the way up you can expect to enjoy stunning views of Oahu’s coastline, including natural landmarks like Koko Head and Koko Crater. When you reach Makapu’u Head, the destination of this trail, you’ll be rewarded with views of the historic lighthouse, which has been standing since 1909.
If you visit between November and May, you may also get to see humpback whales migrating, so be sure to bring some binoculars. The scenery and the wildlife make this one of the best kid-friendly hikes in Oahu. There’s nowhere to get drinking water on this trail though, so make sure you bring plenty with you. The trail is also wide enough for you to stop and take breaks if needed.
Manoa Falls Trail
Only 1.6 miles round trip with the star of the show being a majestic 150-foot-tall waterfall, the kids will absolutely love this hike. This hike is not stroller-friendly, as it will be taking you straight through the Hawaiian rain forest, featuring lush vegetation, bamboo forests, beautiful native flowers, and tall trees providing plenty of shade. If you don’t think your little ones will make it the whole way, a baby carrier and some kiddie hiking poles are recommended.
The trail to the waterfall is well-maintained, but might be slippery at some points so be sure everyone has good footwear. Once you reach the waterfall, feel free to find a place to sit and have a snack if you brought one while you admire the cascading waterfall. However, it’s not recommended to swim here.
Speaking of waterfalls…
This intermediate hike is about 4 miles round trip and will take about 2-3 hours depending on how long you spend at the falls. The trail is mostly dirt and gravel and is easy to follow, with a few small inclines leading you to the 40-foot waterfall. Wear your swimsuits on this hike because there’s a swimming hole on the trail about 15 minutes in. It’s perfect if you want to stop and take a quick dip to cool off at the beginning or end of your hike.
There are also lots of side trails shooting off from the main one, so you can make it your own little adventure if you so wish. However, be aware that this trail is owned and maintained by the Board of the Water Supply, so you should obtain a permit before doing this hike.
WHat’s better than exploring some waterfalls when hiking in Hawaii?
This kid-friendly hike in Oahu is only 1.5 miles round trip and stays mostly flat, so it’s perfect for the whole family. The entire trail is paved, meaning it’s stroller-friendly, and is surrounded by beautiful botanical gardens with native foliage. You’ll also find a preserved historical Hawaiian village along the way, so feel free to explore.
Finally, you’ll reach the 30-foot waterfall. Be sure to wear your swimsuits because it’s open for swimming and manned by lifeguards, so it’s the perfect place to take a dip and cool off during your hike. There are restrooms and changing rooms on the trail, as well as a little stand where you can get snacks and drinks.
If your kids are too tired to walk all the way back after the waterfall, there is also a shuttle service that will take you straight back to the beginning. Just be aware that there is an admission fee to do this hike, but it’s totally worth it for one of the best kid-friendly hikes in Oahu!
Lanikai Pillbox Hike
Also known as the Kaiwa Ridge Trail, this is a 1.8-mile round trip out-and-back trail. It’s pretty popular, so if you want to beat the crowds be sure to get there early! With a steady incline throughout the entire trail, this hike is rated as moderate and is not stroller-friendly, but trust us, it’s worth the view! Just be aware that the beginning of the hike is the hardest, and even includes ropes to support you as you walk up the incline. Make sure everyone has good footwear for this one!
The vista rises above Kailua Beach, Lanikai Beach, and provides stunning views of the Mokulua Islands. The summit of the hike contains two pillboxes which serve as the perfect lookout points so your whole family can enjoy the view over the ocean. Pro tip: get to the summit for sunrise and it will be an experience you won’t soon forget.
As you can see, there are plenty of kid friendly hikes in Oahu. Start with these six and if you’re still looking for more, there are plenty of options! The whole family will love the gorgeous scenery, the exotic foliage, and the majestic waterfalls offered by these hikes. Plus, these trails are short, easy, and not too difficult to manage for the little ones – or for the parents who may have to carry them.
With plenty of nooks and crannies to explore, this island is one of the best destinations for nature enthusiasts with kids, so take advantage of all it has to offer and take the family on one of the many kid-friendly hikes in Oahu.
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