Honolulu with Teens: A Perfect Family Day

Honolulu with Teens: A Family Vacation


Honolulu, Hawaii, offers a plethora of activities to keep teenagers amused while on vacation. Visiting Diamond Head State Monument, snorkeling at Hanauma Bay and parasailing represent some fun adventures to be had on beautiful Oahu, the crown of the Hawaiian Islands. Here are a few things you can do in Honolulu with your teens.


A day running around Honolulu with teens will rejuvenate the parents as well as the kids. Start your day by putting on your walking shoes, a ton of sun-protection lotion, sunglasses and a head covering. Grab your bag with beach towels, swim suits, extra clothes, plenty of water and your favorite camera. You are ready to face the day.

Breakfast at 6AM HT
Rise early to walk over to the IHOP restaurant at 2211 Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki. The International House of Pancakes offers the best breakfast food on the planet. The trademark pancakes, waffles and French toast with real fruit, whipped cream and syrup make a sumptuous breakfast. Prices on the menus start at $5.99. The local teens love the food and milieu.

Walk the Diamond Head Trail at 7:30AM HT
Diamond Head State Monument rises up on the east end of Waikiki Beach. Fort Ruger, the first United States military reservation in Hawaii, resided in Diamond Head Crater beginning in 1911. Remnants of the military post can still be seen in the crater. The trail begins with a hike through the Kahala Tunnel that lies off Diamond Head Road between Makapu'u Avenue and 18th Avenue, at the back of Diamond Head. The park hours are from 6AM to 6PM HT daily. Hike early in the day to avoid the heat; make this the first thing on your agenda. The entrance fee is $5 per car or $1 per person for walk-ins. Bring a flashlight to traverse the dark areas in the tunnel. The often-steep trek averages one to two hours to the rim. At the rim, the panoramic view extends from east end of the island -- Koko Head -- to Pearl Harbor in the west. Teens and parents will breathe in the exquisite view and line up for photographs with the backdrop of Waikiki Beach.

Travel to Hanauma Bay for Snorkeling at 10AM HT
Hanauma Bay Park, on the eastern end of Honolulu, resides in an extinct broken volcanic crater that is shaped like a horse shoe. The bay became the first marine conservation district in Hawaii in 1967. The coral reef within the bay boasts of hundreds of reef fish to observe while snorkeling. Due to overuse of the environment over the last two decades, visitors may not feed the fish, as it contributes to water pollution and change in fish behavior. Before entry to the beach area, visitors must watch a nine-minute educational video that outlines ways to protect the reef and also includes safety advice. The park is closed on Tuesdays. The admission price for non-residents is $5 for persons 13 years and older. The park charges $1 per car for parking. Snorkel sets are available to rent. Hanauma Bay is filled with a multitude of multi-colored fish, and swimming in the warm waters while observing them is sure to be the highlight of your time in Honolulu.


Stop at California Pizza Kitchen in Kahala Mall at Noon HT
Every young adult loves the food and atmosphere at California Pizza Kitchen, and there's one located in the Kahala Mall at 4211 Waialae Avenue, an easy trip from Hanauma Bay. After the rigorous morning activities, everyone in the family will be ready for this casual dining experience. The menu prices start at $7.90. The Chinese Chicken Salad and the Vegetarian Pizza with Japanese Eggplant remain favorites of Hawaii's locals. A young bubbly crowd always seems to be on hand at the California Pizza Kitchen, and the fun and laughter are infectious.

Shopping at Kahala Mall at 1PM HT
After filling up with lunch, Kahala Mall provides an enclosed, air-conditioned shopping adventure with 90 establishments. Kahala Mall is east of Diamond Head, at 4211 Waialae Avenue. Parents might consider stopping by Barnes and Nobles to relax and read while turning their teens loose to shop. Teens will find the exploration of the small shops filled with Hawaiian treasures a cool respite after the morning fun in the sun.

Go Parasailing at 3PM HT
The recreational activity called parasailing places a person in a chair attached to a specially designed parachute; then a boat drives forward causing the parasail and chair to rise and float in the air. Oahu Parasailing Tours in Kewalo Basin takes adventurers up every hour on the hour and charges from $49 per person for a ride, depending on the amount of time in the air and a range of flying heights (between 300 to 1000 feet). Once up in the air, riders will see Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head from a spectacular vantage point out in the ocean. Teenagers rave about this experience to all their friends. Choose to go later in the afternoon for a cooler float in the breeze.


Dinner at Willows at 6PM HT
After parasailing, return to your hotel to shower and dress casually for dinner. Willow's Garden Restaurant at 901 Hausten Street, is off the beaten tourist path in the Moili'ili neighborhood behind Waikiki. Willow's opened its doors in 1944 and continues to please both local residents and visitors to the island with its open-air seating, cascading waterfalls and green flora. The Hawaiian-American buffet meal for dinner costs $34.95 per person. The restaurant remains open 365 days of the year from 11AM to 9PM HT daily. Even finicky eaters enjoy the meals at Willows because of the broad food variety. One can choose from regular garden greens and prime roast to Hawaiian poi and Laulaus.

Walk down Kalakaua Avenue at 8PM HT
Return to Waikiki after dinner and spend time walking down Kalakaua Avenue to enjoy the bustling sights and sounds of the heart of Honolulu's tourist area. It's hard to imagine that wetlands once dominated the entire Waikiki area. Now the bustle of people inhabits the area and the street after offers shopping, dining and entertainment. But after such an action-packed day in Honolulu, even teenagers may be ready to head home and rest up for tomorrow, when another wonderful day in paradise awaits.

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