Kailua, Hawaii is a wonderful family-friendly destination nestled on Oahu. Not only does Kailua host plenty of spacious, relaxing vacation rentals, but it is also a great jumping-off point that gets you out of the hustle and bustle of Honolulu and out into the real Hawaii. Book a stay at a Kailua vacation rental today. Take a look at some of the fun, kid-friendly activities that await you and your family along the North Shore of Oahu.

1. Polynesian Cultural Center

Kids are thrilled to spend a day at an educational venue when it’s as spectacular and fun as the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie. Plan a whole day to visit the different “villages” in this 42-acre park, where you can learn about the cultures of Fiji, Hawaii, the Marquesas, New Zealand, Samoa, Tahiti, and Tonga. Watch incredible shows featuring authentic dance and celebration from each island, and experience one of the best luaus on Oahu.

2. Visit the Pipeline

The Pipeline is widely recognized as one of the top surf breaks in the entire world. While this is not the spot to send inexperienced surfers out with boards, watching the experts surf at Ehukai Beach Park can be a spectacular and inspiring way to spend part of a day. Then, turn your attention inland for a fascinating hike into history. Starting at the parking lot of Sunset Elementary School, a 20-minute hike heads up into the hills, where you find two World War II bunkers – definitely something you don’t see every day!

3. Visit Dolphins and Seals

Sea Life Park near Waimanalo Beach, just down the coast from Kailua, is home to dolphins, penguins, seals, and other animals. Enjoy watching animal shows that make your kids laugh, and learn about the marine animals as trainers interact with and feed them. The park also features play areas and spots to eat, making for a full day of fun.

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4. Swim With the Sharks

Go on a real adventure when you take a shark-watching tour with North Shore Shark Adventures. Kids as young as three can come along for the boat ride, which takes you about three miles out from shore. The boat’s crew points out any dolphins, sea turtles, and whales that you pass along the way. Once you reach your destination, you can climb in the metal shark cage to experience what it’s like to be surrounded by a swarm of sharks. Make sure you bring along underwater cameras to capture the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

5. Play at Waimea Bay

It’s not a Hawaiian vacation without plenty of time spent at some of the best beaches anywhere. While the North Shore of Oahu tends toward rough, choppy water, in the summer, Waimea Bay calms down, and lifeguards are on hand to keep an eye out for riptides. Pack a lunch at your vacation rental, and head for a day of playing in the surf and jumping off rocks into the water. Don’t be surprised if you see dolphins frolicking in the bay, and make sure you pack the sunscreen.

6. Play Hide and Seek Around a Banyan Tree

A banyan tree grows new trunks that reach down from its outspread branches, so an established banyan tree can spread out over almost an acre of land. Visit this famous banyan tree at the Turtle Bay Resort at Kawela Bay, and take time for a fun game of hide and seek in and out of the trunks. Give the kids a chance to burn off some energy while you marvel at the unusual structure of the tree. You may even recognize the tree from the TV show “Lost,” which used it as a location.

7. Enjoy a Shave Ice

Shave ice is one of the delightful treats that the Hawaiian Islands are known for, and when you stay at a vacation rental in Kailua, you’re near one of the most renowned shave ice shops in all of Oahu. Stop by Matsumoto Shave Ice, and don’t worry if you have to wait in line – it’s worth it. Though you may be tempted to try familiar flavors like strawberry, be daring and go for tropical flavors, such as passion fruit or lilikoi, with all the syrups made in-house.

8. Swim Under a Waterfall

Head to the Waimea Valley Audubon Center to soak up some of Hawaii’s incredible natural beauty. The Center is home to exotic birds that your kids can feed, as well as Polynesian sacred sites and beautiful flowers. Bring your swimsuits from your vacation rental to enjoy swimming under a waterfall that empties right into a freshwater pool. Don’t worry; there are lifeguards on duty, and they have life jackets for your kids.

9. Attend a Polo Game

If you have a horse-lover in your family, trek right on over to the Hawaii Polo Club. You don’t have to choose between watching and riding horses here; you can enjoy both. Sign up for a horseback ride through beautiful scenery, enjoy a sunset ride on the beach, and relax in the shade as you watch an exciting polo match before you head back to your vacation rental for the evening.

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