Before our baby girl was born, my husband and I decided we would skip the babymoon and instead go on family trip with our girl. We fell in love with Hawaii (The Big Island) during our honeymoon so we knew we had to go back and check out the other islands. We decided on Oahu for our first family trip and stayed in Waikiki (our main reason was that it was a bigger city, and just in case of an emergency, a hospital would be nearby). Funny how, now that we have a baby, our trip planning is very different than when it was just us two!
Our 9 days in Oahu overall was decent. I think in our minds we were expecting something similar to Kona, where there were less tourists, private lagoons, peace and serenity. We definitely didn’t expect the overcrowded streets full of tourists, and the hustle and bustle. The busyness really turned us off with the area. But we did end up finding a few great places to see with a 10 month old baby, and a lot of great places to eat, which made our trip a little bit more pleasant.
So if you are planning to visit Oahu with an infant, here are a few tips and recommendations we gathered from our trip:
** TIP: We purchased the GoOahu Card from Costco.ca which gives you free admission to a lot of activities in Oahu and also includes 1 premium activity (you can choose from 4 different ones, but we chose the Polynesian Cultural Centre Ali’i Luau). The price may seem a bit steep at $260/person CAD but if you plan to do a lot of the activities from their list, it’s worth it. The exchange rate alone already saves you a few dollars (paying CAD for the GoOahu card, versus paying USD for all the activities individually.)
Places to Visit
A great place to visit with a little one. The Luau was excellent and the food was great. They suggest you arrive early so you can spend the whole day there, but we came just as the Ali’i Luau was about to start and we definitely regretted it. It’s like a mini Disneyland except without the rides. Take their advice and arrive early to take advantage of all the different things you can do, like the bus tour, canoe tour, and visit all the villages and see all the free shows. The best part about it was the Ha: Breath of Life show in the evening. I had low expectations but this production amazed us! It’s a bit long, running at 1.5hrs but it certainly wasn’t boring. I didn’t fall asleep and that’s a big deal considering I fall asleep at the movie theatres all the time. A show really has to be great for me not to fall asleep, and this was surely captivating.
The Kualoa Ranch Movie Site Tour was the highlight of our trip! It was also included in our GoOahu card which was awesome. I didn’t really know what to expect on this tour other than what I read from the description which was a few sites from Jurassic Park, which was meh, okay. But as soon as we loaded onto the bus and started touring the Valley, the view was breathtaking! It really is a beautiful place, and I didn’t know I would get so excited seeing where Jurassic Park was filmed! I highly recommend this tour and it’s good if you have a little baby because you will mostly be on a school bus with a few stops to take in the view.
Places to Eat
I love love love this place! It’s super expensive, but oh so good! We found out about it on TripAdvisor and all the comments raved about how great it was. So, of course, we had to try it for ourselves. We mostly went here for breakfast and my husband got the ham and cheese croissant and I got the Island Breakfast Platter. The food tasted fresh and they use healthy ingredients. Don’t mind the people working there, you can expect them to have a rather rude demeanour, especially when there is a long line up. But don’t let that discourage you from trying it. There is another Island Vintage location inside the Ala Moana Centre Mall, but that location does not serve breakfast. They only have the smoothie bowl and coffee, so don’t go there if you want to try their food.
We found this food truck by accident while we were at Sandy’s Beach and we weren’t disappointed. The garlic shirmp was very delicious and in my opinion way better than Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck in the North Shore. We had high expectations for Giovanni’s because we heard so many great things about it and even our hotel concierge recommended it, but it just did not meet our expectations. The shrimp was dry and the garlic sauce tasted burnt. 808 had great garlic sauce (almost like a curry sauce) and it was garlicky and salty and everything delicious! And it wasn’t burnt!
If you are craving great Italian food, Arancini de Mare is a great choice. We ate here twice because it was just at the lobby of our hotel and it was better than we had expected. The Arancini Sicilliani was awesome and the Spaghetti alla Scoglio was really good as well. They also serve crepes for breakfast, but we didn’t get to try that. I recommend eating out on the patio in the evening for the cooler breeze!