There may be plenty of islands in Hawaii, but Oahu ranks as one of the best islands in the state road trips so prepare to enjoy a Oahu family road trip. US Travel News states that Oahu is among the best family destinations in the country due to its stunning beaches, cultural attractions, and historical sites.
Your entire family can even enjoy more landmarks in Oahu by driving around the island.
Since Oahu is a relatively small island, you can easily explore its many attractions on wheels in just one day or two. Before setting out for your adventure, make sure to plan and map everything out properly so that you don’t miss out on the sights.
Parents can entertain young kids in the island’s zoos and memorials, while tweens and teens can have a taste of adventure by doing water sports at the beach.
How long does it take to drive around Oahu?
What is the estimated duration of the Oahu circle drive? Depending on the route taken and number of stops made, the drive can take between 4-6 hours. A full day is required to travel from Waikiki, Honolulu to the North Shore and return, with a recommended time frame of 8 hours.
Make sure that everyone will be happy and comfortable during your road trip by following these tips:
Get the right vehicle for your Oahu Family road trip
First things first, you’ll need to find a vehicle that can fit your family and all the items that you’ll bring during the road trip. A mid-size vehicle or a van may be enough for small families, but families with five or more members will need an SUV.
Though you can rent these cars at the airport, you need to reserve ahead of time to save costs and get the model your family needs. Some rental vehicles are going for $500 a day in Hawaii, especially during peak seasons when there is a strong demand for these services. However, it can even hit $700 a day in extreme cases, making it crucial for you to book your preferred car in advance.
Research the best driving routes in Oahu
While a spontaneous road trip can seem fun, you can make sure everyone will be comfortable by identifying your route ahead of time. The local rush hour can be quite overwhelming in Oahu, so you need to plan a route where your family can enjoy scenic spots without getting stuck in traffic.
You can plan your Oahu trip by identifying the best driving routes around the island, such as the Oahu Circle Drive. You can avoid the morning traffic on this famous route by starting your trip in Waikiki, heading towards the Diamond Head, then following the shoreline around Kailua.
You can then take Hwy 83 to visit North Shore before heading back on Hwy 99 to drive back to Honolulu.
Map out locations that each family member will enjoy
Routes like the Oahu Circle Drive will take you across multiple spots on the island. To satisfy everyone in your family, make sure you’ll stop at destinations your loved ones will be interested in.
For instance, one of the spots that you may pass by on Oahu Circle Drive is a popular attraction called the Bishop Museum. This spot is perfect for kids and teens who enjoy history because it features costume artifacts, royal Hawaiian heirlooms, and even fossils.
If you have adventurous teenagers, you can also make a stop at the Bonzai Pipeline or Sunset Beach on North Shore so that they can watch surfing competitions or even learn how to surf.
Here are some of the best places to visit on your family road trip in Oahu:
• Waikiki Beach – This iconic beach has been a favorite of tourists for decades and is a must-visit for families looking for fun activities in the sun. Make sure to experience its boardwalk, which features local shops and restaurants.
• Koko Head Stairs – This scenic spot is ideal for families looking to have a bit of an adventure. The steep stairway leads up to a stunning view of the surrounding area, making it perfect for taking family photos.
• Pearl Harbor Historic Sites – A visit to Oahu would not be complete without exploring Pearl Harbor’s historic and moving sites. Families can learn more about the significance of this site and pay their respects.
• Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve – This nature preserve is an ideal spot for families who want to explore Hawaii’s diverse marine life. The clear waters offer visitors a chance to snorkel and spot colorful tropical fish.
• Dole Plantation – The Dole Plantation is another great spot for families who want to explore Oahu’s tropical landscape. Visitors can sample the sweetest pineapple in the world and enjoy a fun train ride around the plantation.
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Aside from visiting these attractions, families can also enjoy Oahu’s outdoor activities and delicious food offerings. Make sure to take advantage of the island’s great weather by going on a hike or biking along the trails.
Prepare activities and snacks for your kids
Your road trip in Oahu can either last in hours or take up the whole day, depending on how many stops you take. As such, you need to plan activities and bring snacks to ensure that no one will get hungry or bored during the drive.
To satisfy your kids’ appetites, Today’s Parent recommends bringing mess-free snacks like a trail mix, granola bar, or a homemade smoothie. These snacks will give them enough energy during the trip and put them in a good mood as you travel from one spot to another.
Pick up some local snacks as well such as macadamia nuts, mangoes, and pineapple so that your family can get a taste of Hawaii’s delicious local fare. You can also sample some local dishes like Hawaii-style shave ice or poke bowls and shrimp trucks for a truly unique experience.
To keep kids entertained throughout the drive, pick up some books or magazines that they may be interested in. You can also install apps like Scavenger Hunt for Kids which will turn your car ride into an interactive game that everyone can participate in.
You can also bring along music and sing-alongs to get everyone in an upbeat mood during the ride. Meanwhile, you can entertain little kids during the drive by playing games like I Spy, Car Bingo, or The License Plate Game.
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By taking the necessary steps to plan your Oahu family road trip, you can make sure that everyone in your family has a comfortable and memorable time on the island. Make sure to book your car rental in advance, research routes to explore, and map out locations that everyone will enjoy. By doing all of these things, you can be sure of a successful family trip in Oahu.
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