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Best Oahu Family Activities

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Hike Diamond Head
View of Waikiki from the top of Diamond Head

View of Waikiki from the top of Diamond Head

Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com

The island of Oahu is the perfect place for a vacation that the entire family will remember and treasure forever.

Most visitors to Oahu stay at one of the many hotels or resorts in Waikiki. While Waikiki and downtown Honolulu have plenty of great activities for both adults and children, (several of which we'll include in this feature), far too many visitors never take the time to explore the rest of what this wonderful island has to offer.

Allow yourself a full week to really get to know and appreciate the island. In order to really see and enjoy Oahu you'll probably want to rent a car, at least for a few days. Oahu does have an excellent public transportation system, appropriately called TheBus with routes that cover all of the places mentioned in this feature. A four-day adult pass costs just $25.00. A youth pass (6 through 17 years of age) costs just $25.00 for a full month's use.

We've chosen 15 activities which offer a wide assortment of things to do and see. There are plenty of other choices, but these should give you a good idea of what Oahu has for you and the entire family.

Hike Diamond Head

Diamond Head looms large over the Waikiki. Actually named Le'ahi by Hawaiians, it received its more well known name in the late 1700's when British seamen saw calcite crystals sparkling in the sunshine and thought they had found diamonds.

A hike to the top of Diamond Head takes about an hour over a well-worn path. The summit offers a spectacular 365-degree view of Oahu and is a must trip for photography enthusiasts.

You can get there by bus, car or taxi. There is a large parking lot.

The hiking trail to the summit is very steep and uneven in some areas. The last 1/10 of a mile is all stairs and especially steep. The site is accessible to those with disabilities near the visitor booth. Allow 1.5 to 2 hours for your hike. Wear good walking shoes, bring water, and wear a hat and sunscreen.

The only restroom is at the bottom and I would recommend using it. There is no visitor center, only a stand where you will pay and get a brochure.

The Diamond Head State Monument is located off Diamond Head Rd. between Makapuu and 18th Ave. on the south shore of Oahu. It is right on the coast southeast of Waikiki.

The Monument opens at 6:30 a.m. and closes at 6:00 p.m. year round. Last entrance to hike the trail is at 4:30 p.m. It costs $1.00 to walk in or $5.00 per car. There is ample parking for rental cars.

Read our feature on hiking Diamond Head.

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