From adrenaline-pumping rocket packs to time with sharks or dolphins, Honolulu offers an exciting selection of water activities for ocean lovers, and they're all fit for family fun. Each side of the island offers unique ocean enjoyment, so we've woven together an itinerary of the best ocean experiences families can have on Oahu.
Begin your oceanic adventures right in Honolulu with SeaBreeze Water Sports, an all-around water sport company providing everything from scuba diving and parasailing to flying high in the air with a jetpack on your back. With this outfitter, you can live those fantasies and put on a jet stream backpack to shoot yourself high in the sky and even hang 30 feet in the air for a while. The Jet Lev R200 was released just last year, and there are only eight units being used around the world - two of which are being offered here at SeaBreeze.
Further south you'll approach Hanauma Bay, a beautiful experience created from a collapsed volcano crater. Protected and calm, Hanauma is ideal for snorkeling and swimming. The snorkeling is truly amazing, since the preserve protects the wildlife and creates a favorite place for the fish to come eat. Additional facilities include picnic areas, showers and restrooms, concession kiosks, a volleyball court and lifeguards. Although parking can be difficult if you don't arrive early, a shuttle bus runs from Waikiki in the mornings and makes return trips in the afternoons.
Hanauma Bay — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
Down the road from Hanauma on the east side is Island Divers Activities, an outfitter that will take you snorkeling and scuba diving (as well as whale watching, jet skiing, and parasailing) daily. They have two daily snorkeling trips, with the ride out leaving at 9 am and returning at 1 pm, for just $25. They'll take you to see loads of tropical fish as well as green sea turtles.
They also offer scuba diving trips daily. No experience is needed to try scuba diving on this mission. You can expect to see hundreds of tropical fish and Hawaiian green sea turtles along several types of eel and other sea life.
Rainbow over Waimea Valley — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
Is anything more exciting than swimming with sharks? With North Shore Shark Adventures, the original Oahu shark tour company, you have a choice of two tours beginning at 7 am and leaving from Haleiwa. You'll travel three miles out to sea for about two hours and there's a good chance of green sea turtle, dolphin and whale sightings along the way.
Jump onto either vessel, the Anela or Abunai, and head out into the ocean where you'll hop into the metal cage and enjoy time in the center of a swarm of sharks. Children as young as three are invited, and ages 3 to 13 can get in the cage for $60. Children under three can ride on the boat for free. Shark sizes range from 5 to 15 feet and each boat is 42 feet long.
For a beautiful end to an overall beautiful day, drop by Waimea Bay. Deceptively beautiful, this scenic cove is home to some of the planet's most calm waters - in the summer - and most unforgiving surf in the winters. In the winter, rip currents are strong, and waves can rise to thirty feet. Summer brings calmer waters, however, and even mere mortals can enjoy the beauty of Waimea. Either way, you'll be treated to gorgeous sunsets and amazing sunshine on fine white sand.