The Walking Mermaid

The Top 5 Kid-Friendly Hikes in Oahu, Hawai’i

On a beautiful day such as today, where the sky is bright and sunny, full of life and not too hot, I would grab my girls and go on a beautiful hike. Now hiking with little ones is not easy so sometimes choosing a hike that is good for the kids can be a little challenging. If you are visiting Hawaii you will come to find that Hawaii is filled with all sorts of hikes for any hiking experience level. For this reason I have decided to make it a little easier for you by creating this list of my top five favorite kid friendly hikes in Oahu. You will come to find that there is a little bit of everything in this list. From ocean views on top of volcanic craters to waterfalls in the rain forest and even mountain top scenes. You are destined to have a very amazing experience when venturing of to any of these hikes.

Top 5 Easy Hikes in Oahu, Hawaii.

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Tips For Parents When Hiking With Kids

I love hiking and taking my little ones on new adventures all the time but finding the right ones for them can be a little challenging at times. There’s been plenty of times that I go to a hike and turn back around to find something else to do cause I don’t want to push my kids limits or put them in any sort of danger. All the hikes listed below I have done with my two girls (at the time they were age 1 and 3) and we managed to do the entire hiking trail and enjoy ourselves. In most of the hikes I did carry my 1 year old but there were areas where she can still go around and play.

I did create a few hiking guides to help you get started on safe hiking with kids.

Before traveling make sure to know what the requirements are to visiting the islands of Hawai’i. You can learn more about traveling to Hawaii during the pandemic here. Also due to the pandemic, the number of people entering the attractions is limited so it’s important to reserve your tickets in advance if you plan to visit any attractions.

Hiking With Kids Essentials Packing Checklist

Don’t forget to bring these hiking essentials when going on a hike in Oahu:

  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Comfortable shoes for hiking
  • Comfortable hiking clothes
  • Snacks
  • Baby carrier
  • and for babies we made sure to bring wipes, diapers, feeding items, etc.

5 of the Best Hikes in Oahu, Hawai’i for Kids

When we lived in Oahu our girls were both 2 years and under so finding the easiest hiking routes to do for their level was important. I didn’t want to push them on strenuous hiking trails or take them on areas that will be too difficult or challenging. My goal was to do hikes that are both fun and enjoyable for them and easy on their feet.

While Oahu has a lot of hiking trails too offer I have narrowed down my list to the top 5 hiking trails that are easy for kids. These trails will take you through jungles, to overlooks, and even stunning ocean views and waterfalls.

Manoa Falls hike in Honolulu, Hawaii. Beginner friendly hikes in Oahu, Hawaii.
Manoa Falls in Honolulu, Hawaii

1. Manoa Falls Hiking Trail

This beautiful waterfall hike will take you through the jungle in Honolulu. It is a pretty easy hike with tons of flowers and gorgeous trees to make you want to never get off the trail. I would do potty breaks right before going on the hike cause there will be no place to go to the bathroom throughout the hike. Once you reach the end you can find your perfect rock and just chill and admire the waterfall. The best time to go is in the morning and a day or two after a strong rainfall has passed. It will bring the waterfall to a full life that will keep you wondering why you would ever want to leave the island. This hike is fairly easy for kids and tons of fun.

Hike Details:

Length: 1.5 miles round trip

Waterfall: 150 foot fall.

Elevation: 784 feet

Cost: Parking – $3
Small shop by the parking area to refresh at after the hike. 

Location:

3860 Manoa Rd., Honolulu, HI 96822

Diamond Head Crater Trail, Honolulu, Hawaii. Easy hikes in Oahu for kids.
Diamond Head Crater Trail in Honolulu, Hawaii. This is a photo of the inside of the crater.
Diamond Head Crater Trail hike in Honolulu Hawaii. Easy hikes in Oahu for beginners
At the top of Diamond Head over looking the city of Honolulu.

2. Diamond Head Crater Trail

Probably one of our favorite hikes in Oahu is the Diamond Head Crater Trail. Diamond Head is a fairly easy hike with gorgeous views of Waikiki, Honolulu, and all the way around to Hanauma Bay. The view is absolutely breathtaking.  The path is rugged most of the way but has some paved areas as well as tons of stairs towards the top. There’s several pillboxes where you can go to to get the best views. There are no restrooms on the top so potty breaks before starting and once arriving to the parking lot is definitely a must for the little ones. I highly recommend arriving early when the park opens so you can take advantage of the cool morning weather. 

Hike Details:

Cost: Parking – $5 per vehicle.
Small gift shop by the parking area for souvenirs as well as food trucks and shaved ice. Leonard’s Bakery is not to far away from here. They have very delicious treats and drinks for after your hike.

Length: 1.6 miles round trip

Elevation: 521 ft

Location:

Diamond Head Rd
Honolulu, HI 96815
(800) 464-2924

Diamond Head Crater Website

Top of Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail. Easy hikes in Oahu for kids.
Top of Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail
Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail. Showing the path to the lighthouse.
Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail
View of Koko Head Crater and hanauma Bay from Makapu'u Lighthouse trail.
Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail overlooking Sandy Beach, Koko Head Crater, and Hanauma Bay. You can also see Diamond Head Crater at the far distance.

3. Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail

This hike is fully paved. The way up and down is absolutely breathtaking. When starting the hike you will see Sandy Beach and Koko Head Crater to the right. Then, as you continue on the trail, it’ll loop around the mountain to where you can see the ocean and the whales splashing around as well as the Makapu’u Tidepools down below. Once you reach the end of the trail you will see two small islands (pictured above) making the end even more amazing then ever imagined.

You will also see the small lighthouse right below this scenic point. On your way back down you will see a small rugged trail on the left leading to the lighthouse. It’s best to arrive early to get good parking or else you’ll have to walk quiet a ways. There’s no restrooms here so I would take napkins or baby wipes in case your little ones can’t hold it. There’s a few good bushes to hide in. Don’t forget to always have hand sanitizer and to always clean up after yourself.

Hiking Details:

Cost: free
No shops or restroom. They had an area under construction for restrooms and a lookout so it may be open at this time.

Length: 3.3 miles round trip

Elevation: 1220 feet

Location: 

Kalanianaole Hwy, Waimanalo, HI 96795

Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail Website

Ehukai Pillbox Trail, Northshore, Hawaii. Easy hikes on Oahu for kids.
Ehukai Pillbox Trail, North Shore, Hawaii

4. Ehukai Pillbox Hiking Trail

This hike was so much fun. One of my favorites hikes in Oahu. When you arrive you will go through the mountain and work your way up to two different pillboxes, each with breathtaking views overlooking the North Shore of Oahu and the beautiful Banzai Pipeline beach area. You will also see the beautiful tide pools down below. This is the popular hike that we all see on social media with the peace sign. Yes that one. It’s so beautiful. Definitely bring wipes or toilet paper as there’s no restrooms here. There’s shops and food trucks a little ways down the road closer to the Banzai Pipeline as well as restrooms which is a short driving distance from the parking area. Don’t miss out on the fish tacos there. They’re amazing. Best on the island.

Hiking Details:

Cost: free
No shops or restrooms on trail but there is a few food trucks and local shops on Kamehameha Hwy right down the road from the trail point.

Length: 2.4 miles round trip

Elevation: 912 feet

Location:

59-178 Ke Nui Rd, Haleiwa, HI 96712

Want to check out another pillbox hike? Lanikai Pillbox hike is another fun one to do. 

Waimea Valley waterfall on Oahu, Hawai'i. Easy, stroller friendly, and paved hiking trail. Waterfall hikes on Oahu perfect for kids.
Waterfall at Waimea Valley

5. Waimea Falls Hiking Trail

Waimea is another gorgeous hike found on the North Shore of Oahu. This gorgeous hike has a small creek running from the waterfall all the way to Waimea Bay. The whole trail is paved and surrounded by gorgeous botanical gardens and historical buildings such as huts. This trail was fairly easy and has a beautiful waterfall at the end where you can swim at. There’s lifeguards present there and life jackets available to use. This trail requires an admission ticket to do but it’s worth it. It’s beautiful. This trail is also handicapped accessible which is awesome cause you can take your senior family members on this trail with no problems whatsoever. They even have a small tram that will take them up to the waterfall and back down. There are restrooms located at both ends of the trail which is awesome for the little ones and there’s also changing rooms by the waterfall as well.

HIKING DETAILS:

Cost: Adults $16, Seniors $12, Children $8 (military discounts available.)
Shops and restrooms available.

Length: 2 miles round trip

Elevation: 429 feet

Location:

59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

Phone: (808) 638-7766

Waimea Falls Website

Bonus: Lanikai Pillbox Hiking Trail – (Best For Older Kids)

Above I mentioned the easiest hikes for kids but I had to include this stunning hiking trail. However, the Lanikai Pillbox Hike can be a bit strenuous for younger kids so please thoroughly read the hiking guide and make sure to go prepared. It is best to do this hike with older kids or baby wearing.

The Lanikai Pillbox Hiking Trail leads you to the pillboxes on the mountain ridge where you can find a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean. It is absolutely beautiful but the start of the hike is pretty steep and can be slippery in some areas. Lots of climbing and holding on to trees to make your way up the mountain side to the ridge.

Always Follow Leave No Trace Principles When Exploring Outdoors

  • Always plan ahead and be prepared.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  • Dispose of waste properly.
  • Leave what you find.
  • Minimize campfire impacts.
  • Respect wildlife.
  • Be considerate of other visitors.

Summary of the Best, Easy Hikes in Oahu, Hawaii for Kids

Well this is my list of my top five favorite hikes in Oahu, Hawaii. They are all kid friendly and perfect for any family vacation. I hope that this list helps you choose a good hiking trail for your family to enjoy. I’m curious to know, have you ever done any of these hikes with your kids? If so, which one was your favorite? I would love to hear more about your experience or any other kid-friendly hikes in Oahu in the comments below.

Hi, I'm Jessica!

I am a wife and mother to three amazing kids. A coffee addict and wine lover. I also have a huge love for the mountains and the the ocean. Through my blog I hope to inspire families to spend more time outdoors.Β 

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13 Responses

  1. Thank you! We’re headed back this Fall, but this time with a 14 month old, and I’ve been trying to figure out what hikes would be appropriate for her. Mahalo! Thank

    1. Awe yayy! I am glad. I love Hawaii and these hikes were really enjoyable for us. Hope you have a good Hawaiian vacation. Thank you for reading and taking the time to leave me a sweet comment.

  2. Thanks for the list! We did Waimea Falls last year and I totally agree that it is worth the admission. Looking forward to trying another hike during our next visit in May. My girls are 3 & 4 so your info will be quite helpful. Mahalo~!

  3. I’ve heard that you swim at your own risk in the Manoa Falls water/pool due to the lepto disease. Have you heard the same for the Waimea Falls water/pool? We are going this summer and all five of these hikes are on our list πŸ™‚

    1. Hi, When I went to Waimea Falls several years ago there was nothing about any diseases. They have a life guard and personnel there with life jackets for you to swim. The only way you can swim at Waimea Falls is with a life jacket though.

    1. Hi Vanessa. We didn’t get in the water so I can’t tell you. Sorry. However, anyone that does get in the water has to wear a lifejacket and there is a lifeguard there so you should be good. According to their website it is about 30 feet deep in the water.

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