Tips for Traveling with Teens in Hawaii

Looking forward to a trip to Hawaii with the family this year? We just got returned from island hopping between the Big Island of Hawaii and Oahu! Traveling with teenagers definitely poses some challenges and although most restrictions and height requirements are wiped away, at the same time leaving you to deal with grouchier older kids that don’t want anything to do with you. Here are several tips for traveling with teens in Hawaii!

Tips for Hawaii with Teens

Have them Help with the Planning Process

Do you have moody teenagers that don’t want to do anything with you as a family? How about having them help with the planning process, by making them feel that their decisions are important and so that they are more willing to come along?

Give them one specific task or activity to plan. It can be something easy like making a list of restaurants that have the best views or the best Instagram walls to visit.

Another idea is to give them a specific area like the North Shore or Kailua to research and find the most popular things that people like to do or eat in those locations!

Give Them Some Freedom

You might not be totally used to this idea, but they’re nearly adults. Try and give them space and extra freedom than you do back home. Most of the time at home they spend behind closed doors anyway. If you’re visiting a safe area, allow them to venture off a bit with a cell phone on hand.


Bring their Friends

While this sounds like a bad idea, hold on for a minute. Most teenagers won’t treat their parents like garbage in front of their friends. This will also help you with peace of mind when they head out somewhere with an extra buddy looking out for them.

Both you and your kids will have an even more exciting and good time in Hawaii. 

What to do With Teens in Hawaii!

Head over to Waikiki Beach

How about heading over to Waikiki Beach, one of Hawaii’s most iconic beaches? There are also several other beaches on the island that are just as beautiful and full of activities. How about learning to surf with your teenagers or snorkeling amongst sea coral and schools of fish?

Waikiki also provides some fun activities like paddle boarding or canoeing which could be fun for the entire family to try out!

tips for visiting hawaii with teens

Go Hiking

Are your teens still in love with exploring? There are hundreds of trails in Hawaii that have majestic views and different challenges that you will come across. 

Hiking up Diamond Head offers a beautiful backdrop for those all-important selfies!

Haleakala National Park

How about hiking along volcanoes in Haleakala National Park? Even if you don’t go hiking, your teens will appreciate seeing active volcanoes in this humbling experience.

Visit Pearl Harbor

Your teenagers have studied Pearl Harbor in their history books. It’s time to pay a visit so they can see it in real life and appreciate the sacrifice of these men and women that died at Pearl Harbor. I’d recommend going to Pearl Harbor as early as possible since it gets super hot out at the site!


Seeking a thrill? I know your older kids are. Consider going ziplining at several great locations on the islands. Ziplining in Hawaii is a popular adventure activity that allows visitors to experience the beautiful Hawaiian landscape while gliding through the air on a steel cable. Many zipline companies in Hawaii offer guided tours that take participants through lush rainforests, over waterfalls, and along scenic ridges.

We love Jungle Zipline on Maui!

Swim with the Dolphins on the Big Island

You don’t have to be a visitor to the Hilton Waikoloa to have a chance to swim with their dolphins. We stayed on the Waikoloa property which is huge! The Hilton Waikoloa has everything a teen needs for entertainment, dolphins, sports equipment, and teen activities on-site.

Mauna Kea Observatory

If your teens have an interest in the stars, consider taking them to Mauna Kea Observatory located on the Big Island.

Atlantis Submarine Oahu

Your teens will love this submarine tour where they will come across sunken ships and airliners along with countless sea creatures. 

Wet n’ Wild Hawaii

 Located in Kapolei, is the Wet n’ Wild Hawaii water park.  The park has 29 acres of land and has more than 25 rides and attractions! It is Hawaii’s most popular attraction for families with teens.

Here are some reasons why teens would love Wet’n’Wild Hawaii:

  1. Exciting Water Slides: The water park features a variety of exhilarating slides that cater to different levels of thrill-seekers. From high-speed body slides to twisting tube slides, there’s something for everyone. Teens can enjoy heart-pounding drops, twists, and turns that provide an adrenaline rush.
  2. Wave Pool: Wet’n’Wild Hawaii boasts one of the largest wave pools in the United States. Teens can experience the excitement of riding the waves without going to the beach. Whether they want to bodyboard or swim, the wave pool offers a great place to cool off and have a blast.
  3. Lazy River: For a more relaxed experience, the park offers a lazy river where teens can float on tubes and enjoy the sun. It’s a perfect way to unwind and take a break from the more intense rides. Friends can also float together, making it a great social activity.
  4. Adventure Zone: Wet’n’Wild Hawaii has an adventure zone specifically designed for teens. It includes activities like water basketball, challenging obstacle courses, and interactive water play structures. This area provides an opportunity for teens to engage in friendly competitions and enjoy some friendly rivalry.
  5. Cabana Rentals: Wet’n’Wild Hawaii offers cabana rentals where teens can relax and have their own private space. Cabanas provide shade, comfortable seating, and food and drink options. It’s a great way to have a base to hang out with friends and take a break from the water activities.

Disney Aulani

Disney Aulani is a great place for teens and they have lots of activities for them! The lagoon is great for snorkeling or paddleboarding. The resort offers fun character meals, Mickey ear-making classes, hula and ukelele lessons, and an amazing luau.

The resort also has a variety of dining options that are sure to appeal to teens. The best snacks on the resort are easily the spam musubi, dole whip, shave ice and poke!

These are a number of tips and places that your teenagers are sure to enjoy and thank you for down the road. If you’ve visited Hawaii with teens before, what other tips or places to visit would be up a teenager’s alley?

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