Traveling with teenagers (and soon-to-be teens) can be a challenge. Maybe they’re easily bored or would rather be hanging out with their friends instead or maybe they find sightseeing a chore. Luckily, Oahu’s beautiful views and entertainment options offer exciting options that your teens and tweens will be happy to brag to their friends about—likely on social media. The Gathering Isle is filled with some of the coolest outdoor activities, delicious and unusual food options and scenic landscapes that will even make your 11-18 year olds excited about planning your tropical vacation itinerary.
With ATV, bus and horseback-riding tours of scenes where famous Hollywood movies are filmed, teens will have a hard time complaining when you journey through the verdant mountain backdrops seen in "Jurassic Park", "50 First Dates" and "LOST. Later, if your teens make the height and weight requirements, they can zip line through the trees.
While you relax on the beaches of Waikiki, Sunset Beach or Pipeline (and take pictures from afar) your teens can get a thrilling rush of learning to surf with private or semi-private instruction. Your well-behaved and adventurous teens might want to indulge in a half-day or all-day surf safari, without being under your watchful eye.
Teens ages 13-17 can indulge at Laniwai’s Painted Sky, the only teen spa on the island. For adolescents only, your kids can meet new friends from around the world. With daily teens-only wellness events, a DIY mixology bar for body polishes and facemasks and spa services designed for youthful skinyour kids can relax amongst their peers.
After a long day at the beach, a cup or bowl of shave ice with fruit-flavored syrup is the ultimate cool treat, especially with a scoop of ice cream or red beans on the bottom and condensed milk or mochi balls added on top. Flavors aside, the bright rainbow-colored syrups make for the perfect photo opportunity to share with their friends.
A popular local spot, this eatery offers generous portions that youthful appetites will appreciate. Known for their plate lunches, you and your teens can refuel with a loco moco, shoyu chicken or chili, served with two scoops of rice and macaroni salad. Your non-rice eaters will still find happiness with a hot sandwich and a slushy float.
When traveling with teens, the beauty of the Waikiki shoreline is the high population of people. Teens will enjoy people watching while sunning themselves on the beach, or taking a surf lesson or outrigger canoe ride sans parental supervision. If they tire of the beach, nearby shops offer plenty of oopportunities to keep them entertained.
A road trip to the countryside of the island is a nice family getaway, with plenty of scenic stops along the way. Once in the country, you and your teens and tweens can sample farm-fresh shrimp in Kahuku, eat haupia macadamia nut pie at Ted’s Bakery or go shopping at local beachwear and surf boutiques before watching big waves from shore.
If your teens love shopping, then they won’t get enough of the biggest open-air malls in the world. With over 300 shops and restaurants, find everything from department stores to lpopular national chains to surf shops. With local entertainment and a free hula show offered daily, your teens will have more than enough to keep them occupied.
Rent a couple of two- or three-person kayaks and take a ride to the iconic Mokulua Islands, a small islet just about a 45-minute paddle from Kailua Beach Park or Lanikai Beach. The larger island is open to the public with much to explore. Be sure to pack a picnic lunch, because your teens will inevitably get hungry.
Initially, your adolescents may balk at the idea of wearing a life vest and riding on a bumper tube or banana boat with their family, but after a few minutes skimming across the water, they won’t be able to stop laughing. A boat tows you and your family on a bumpy and wet ride, while you all try to stay aboard.