The Waikiki Insider

March 18, 2014 | By Lacy Matsumoto

Traveling with kids in Waikiki? Learn about family-friendly activities and get some tips from a local mom.

Sometimes traveling with kids can be daunting. The long waits for transportation, endless packing, lost stuffed animals and of course the unforeseen potty accidents. Luckily, Waikiki is one of those “all-inclusive” destinations with built-in entertainment, a wide selection of dining for the picky eaters, great shops to pick up those forgotten necessities and kid-friendly hotels. Not to mention, Waikiki Beach has been rated one of the safest beaches in the world.

The Hilton Hawaiian Village is one of my favorite hotels when I’m vacationing with the ‘ohana (family) because of the useful amenities. The choice of five pools offer hours of water fun and the penguin habitat always brings a smile to my son’s face. Having restaurants like Benihana on the hotel grounds is also a family pleaser. Who doesn’t love the onion volcano or having their rice flipped and fried? One event that shouldn’t be missed is the Hilton’s Friday night fireworks show, which will lighten up everyone’s vacation.


One of our favorite family activities is the Waikiki Aquarium, which boasts several native fish species and an up-close look at the Hawaiian Monk Seal. A quick walk down Kalakaua Avenue is the Honolulu Zoo, which is sprawled across 42-acres of land at the foot of Diamond Head. With an African savannah, petting zoo, indigenous gardens and an impressive jungle gym, you may want to schedule at least half a day there. Kapi’olani Park is also a great place for the family to have a picnic or to catch the sunset.

If you’re like me and forget to pack that one essential item, there are some great shops that can offer your last minute needs. Angelo at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel has a great selection of flip-flops, aloha shirts and sun dresses for toddlers. Petit at the Royal offers a variety of designer and conceptual gifts and items for infants to young children. And AirBuggy at Waikiki Beach Walk has all your transportation needs from lightweight strollers to lunch boxes and beach bags.

If there were three “insider” tips as a mother that I could provide, it would be:

1. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen and water. The hot Hawaiian days can take a toll on the body, so keep your children protected and hydrated.

2. Pack a “mommy hook” with your stroller. The small invention is a lifesaver when you’re shopping or lugging around a beach bag with wet clothes.

3. There’s no shame in acting like a mermaid or building a sand castle. Sometimes playing with your child is the best entertainment there is. Enjoy yourself!

From my ‘ohana to yours, I hope you enjoy your vacation and create lasting memories.

Hilton Hawaiian Village
2005 Kalia Road [D:4 Waikiki Map]
(808) 949-4321

Hilton Hawaiian Village
2005 Kalia Road [D:4 Waikiki Map]
(808) 955-5955

Waikiki Aquarium
2777 Kalakaua Ave.
(808) 923-9741

Honolulu Zoo
151 Kapahulu Ave. [C:12 Waikiki Map]
(808) 971-7171

Sheraton Waikiki
2255 Kalakaua Ave. [D:7 Waikiki Map]
(808) 931-8906

Petit at the Royal
The Royal Hawaiian
2259 Kalakaua Ave. [C:8 Waikiki Map]
(808) 921-2125

Waikiki Beach Walk
226 Lewers St. [C:7 Waikiki Map]
(808) 533-9070