Kids can be a fickle bunch. They’re eager to run through parks, but then drag their heels around a popular outdoor attraction. Some need non-stop entertainment, and other children are content to go with the flow. One thing ankle biters, teens, tweens and those in-between can all agree on? Water, or more specifically, water activities. Something the Hawaiian Islands has in abundance. Rather than spend a day at a water park or theme park, parents can please the kids and themselves at a Hawaii hotel with its own pools, slides, private beaches and even its own lagoon. Here’s where the whole ohana (family) can stay, swim, snorkel and learn to surf – all in the one place – on Hawaii’s Oahu Island.
Water Babies’ Haven At Waikiki
You may remember the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort from the enviable backdrop it provided when Kochie, Sam and the Sunrise crew stayed and filmed from here recently. The resort really is like a mini village with shops, restaurants and bars ringing the six hotel towers.
With no less than five pools dotted around the property, plus its own sheltered lagoon and ocean access, water babies of all ages can choose whether they dip their toes in a pool, try snorkelling at Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon or swim, build sandcastles or sunbake on Duke Kahanamoku Beach fronting the Pacific Ocean. Kids can also learn to surf, sign up for a SUP lesson or go sailing and kayaking in the sheltered lagoon.
The Paradise Pool is where all the action is, with a lower level suitable for tots and smaller children to touch the pool floor. On the upper tier, the tube slides are overseen by lifeguards in a heated freshwater pool framed by lava rock formations and waterfalls, making it quite easy for the whole family to while away a few hours in the water. There are drinks for the grownups and swimming aids for fledgling mermaids available for purchase too.
Address: Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, 2005 Kalia Road, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
Take A Dip At Disney's Aulani Resort
It’s Disney, but not as you know it. Sure there’s the character meet-and-greets and Mickey Mouse lamps in your suite, but Aulani, A Disney Resort is infused with a laidback aloha appeal that both keiki (Hawaiian for ‘kids’) and adults will appreciate. The award-winning resort may be located on Oahu’s drier leeward coast, but around the landscaped grounds you’ll find plenty of water: hot tubs, pools, slides, a meandering stream plus the manmade lagoon and beach.
If you like to make a splash, line up early (pool wristbands are available daily from 8am), grab an inflatable donut and tackle the rapids on the Pu’u Kilo volcano slide. Another must-do for kids (under 11s will need to be accompanied by an adult) is the Rainbow Reef, an underwater snorkelling adventure in a dedicated pool with countless colourful tropical fish.
If you’d prefer a break from the screaming and splashing, adults can retreat to the serenity of the secluded infinity Wailana Pool or the whirlpool spas at ‘Alohi Point overlooking Ko Olina Beach. Rest assured, safety is of paramount importance here and the ratio of lifeguards to swimmers is high for the water-obsessed tykes.
Address: Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, 92-1185 Ali’inui Drive, Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii
Ride The Waves And Slides On The North Shore
Currently the only resort on Oahu’s famed North Shore, Turtle Bay Resort makes the most of its idyllic surrounds and status as a surfing mecca with myriad water activities. Dive into one of two saline pools – the kiddie pool is equipped with a supervised water slide – and the main pool is large enough for laps but also has nooks where the littlies can stand up in the water with mum and dad.
As the birthplace of many big wave riders, surfing the North Shore is one must-do activity for grommets. Hans Hedemann Surf School helms the SUP and surf lessons from Turtle Bay Resort (they also have a base at Park Shore Waikiki). Kids will have private lessons with their experienced instructor at Kuilima Bay, right next door to the resort, or at Kawela Bay, also on the property. Look out for the amazing surfing dogs, which also go out with instructor Rocky and the kids on the board sometimes.
If your keiki would prefer to hang with the honu (green turtles), the whole family can don a snorkel mask (complimentary two-hour daily rental for guests) and explore the underwater world outside the resort, or older kids can go turtle spotting on an outrigger canoe excursion.
Address: Turtle Bay Resort, 57-091 Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku, Oahu, Hawaii