Destination, Family, Hawaii, USA

11 Bucket List Days on Oahu

Featured Oahu Photo

Bucket list days on Oahu are not difficult to come by. It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been with amazing activities around every corner.

Most family vacations in Oahu include Pearl Harbor, Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki Aquarium, building sand castles on the beach, and splashing in the kid’s pool. Even with a toddler, that’s not how we do vacation. We’ve lined up three spectacular family-friendly resorts, tons of unique adventures, delectable dining with a twist, and fun cultural experiences. We’re doing Oahu bucket list style. Check out our 11 bucket list days on Oahu.

11 Bucket List Days on Oahu

Hilton Hawaiian Village

Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon Hilton

Our first stop on Oahu is Hilton Hawaiian Village. We’ll enjoy an array of fun-filled family activities at Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, a spectacular five-acre salt-water lagoon. We most certainly will not be lounging on a beach chair or taking a tranquil swim. Heck no; we’ve arranged to take advantage of the aqua bikes, kayaks, SUP and peddle boats. Put water wings on Athena and she’s good to go. We’re also planning on the Spirit of Aloha Turtle Lunch Snorkel Sail. With all-you-can-eat lunch at sea and the best snorkeling in Hawaii’s azure waters at Turtle Canyon, we hope to see green sea turtles at play off the Waikiki coast. With a “we can do it all” attitude, we’re also going on the Atlantis Adventures Waikiki Submarine Tour where we’ll descend to 100 feet underwater. Our tiny dancer loves to shake her booty so we’ll finish our stay at Hilton Hawaiian Village with a unique feast of music, color, food and dance at the Waikiki Starlight Luau. 

North Shore Shark Adventures

Reef Pirates Hawaii

Renting a car was the best option since we want to take in as much as humanly possible. A drive out to the North Shore is a must and in true bucket list fashion, I will be doing the Shark Dive with North Shore Shark Adventures. Since we didn’t want to bring Athena on this one just yet, Darren will stay with her while I do the dive. Then, he has his own dive planned with Reef Pirates. Spending time together as a family and spending time on our own is equally important. We want it to feel like a vacation for everyone. If you notice though, those two things are totally for us so what about Athena? We’ll visit the Polynesian Cultural Center and stay for an authentic luau meal which includes kalua pig, lomi salmon and poi.

Aulani Resort

Just in case the Polynesian Cultural Center isn’t enough fun for Athena, we’ve planned something else: Disney’s Aulani. Yep! That’s our next stop. For three days, we will discover a Paradise with a touch of magic. One of the most unbelievable experiences during our stay will be Aunty’s Breakfast Celebration at the Makahiki. Mickey Mouse and some of Athena’s other favorite Disney characters will be available for photos, fun interactions and a few very special surprises that I’m certain she’ll never forget. Also at Aulani is the Starlit Hui at Hālāwai Lawn. It’s a signature family event filled with music, dance and fun. We’ll gather with Uncle under the stars for a magical evening featuring local artisans, hula, live music and even a dance party with our favorite Disney friends. Life can’t get any better than that!

Trump Waikiki

diamond head hike waikiki

We’ll finish our Oahu stay at Trump Hotel Waikiki where Waikiki’s famous white sand beaches are just steps away. From there, we’ll do a Diamond Head hike, with Athena in tow, and spend our last day surfing the Waikiki waves.

Every time we plan a trip and I look over the itinerary I feel like it’s not possible to have some many unique adventures packed into one trip, but this time I’ve outdone myself. This could be our most epic family trip yet! I think I might need some sort of hyperactive traveler therapy.

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6 thoughts on “11 Bucket List Days on Oahu

  1. Kirsten says:

    Sounds like an amazing trip.

    Just a tip: We did the shark dive on the North Shore and the swells were crazy and over half of the boat got seasick. Definitely take your Dramamine as the guys said that was normal (or maybe call and ask how rough the seas are).

    If you’re interested in skydiving, the skydive on the North Shore is AMAZING. You can jump from 15,000′ and get 60 seconds of freefall and from that high up you can see Waikiki, Diamond Head and the entire island. Absolutely incredible.

    Have a great trip!

    1. Lesley says:

      Thanks for the tip with the swells. I heard this time of year was pretty bad. I’ll pick something up before I head out. (Maybe it will be good practice for my Antarctica sail in January.)

      Skydiving is one of my favorite ways to spend my time but our schedule is so packed on this trip that I don’t think I’ll get up. They do, however, have the HALO dive here and I may have to come back just for that. Have you done it before?

      🙂

      1. Kirsten says:

        No, I haven’t done a HALO jump – I actually had to google it. I’ve only been skydiving once (in Hawaii) but would love to do it again some day.

        I’m so jealous you’re going to Antarctica. That’s on my bucket list and is my last continent to see. Some day.

        Have a great trip in Hawaii. Can’t wait to read all about it (and cry a little as I miss living there).

        Kirsten

  2. Kirsten says:

    Sounds like an amazing trip.

    Just a tip: We did the shark dive on the North Shore and the swells were crazy and over half of the boat got seasick. Definitely take your Dramamine as the guys said that was normal (or maybe call and ask how rough the seas are).

    If you’re interested in skydiving, the skydive on the North Shore is AMAZING. You can jump from 15,000′ and get 60 seconds of freefall and from that high up you can see Waikiki, Diamond Head and the entire island. Absolutely incredible.

    Have a great trip!

    1. Lesley says:

      Thanks for the tip with the swells. I heard this time of year was pretty bad. I’ll pick something up before I head out. (Maybe it will be good practice for my Antarctica sail in January.)

      Skydiving is one of my favorite ways to spend my time but our schedule is so packed on this trip that I don’t think I’ll get up. They do, however, have the HALO dive here and I may have to come back just for that. Have you done it before?

      🙂

      1. Kirsten says:

        No, I haven’t done a HALO jump – I actually had to google it. I’ve only been skydiving once (in Hawaii) but would love to do it again some day.

        I’m so jealous you’re going to Antarctica. That’s on my bucket list and is my last continent to see. Some day.

        Have a great trip in Hawaii. Can’t wait to read all about it (and cry a little as I miss living there).

        Kirsten

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