My husband and decided that we would like to visit Hawaii before our daughters second birthday in February of 2017. Gotta take advantage of the free infant ticket while we can. We had never visited the island in January so we were not quite sure what to expect. Thankfully it was the perfect winter destination!
Are the temperatures colder than the summer time? Yes, but the cold of Hawaii was much warmer than the freezing temperatures that we left behind at home. We had a few rainy days but thankfully there is plenty of fun to be had indoors. Not to mention the fact that my days of laying on the beach all day are history with a little munchkin.
Another nice thing about winter time on Oahu is that the sun rises a bit later. We were able to enjoy many beautiful sunrises without having to wake up too early.
One of the greatest benefits of visiting in winter was the lack of crowds.
The main people that we came across during our trip were families traveling with small children, just like us. Beaches that are normally crowded during the summer were surprisingly empty. Very often, we were able to have an entire section of beach to ourselves.
Now that you know why winter can be a great time to visit I would like to share some great activities, beaches, hikes, gluten free food options and places to stay during your Oahu winter destination getaway.
Kid friendly beaches
My daughter loves the beach! In addition to our three favorite beaches, we also decided to visit some of the beaches in town.
Ala Moana Beach Park is a great spot for families. It is typically less crowded than near by Waikiki. This beach is protected by a shallow reef, which means there are hardly ever any waves. Making it a great option for young families. The beach park is a good place to go jogging, picnicking, play games, sunbathing, fishing, swimming, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding and relaxing. There is a life guard on duty daily.
The 100-acre park has large grassy areas, banyan and palm trees, restrooms, showers, concession stands, a music pavilion, tennis courts and plenty of picnic tables. And when you are done playing on the beach you can go do some shopping at the near by Ala Moana Shopping Center.
While this beach might technically be called Queens Surf Beach, it is known by locals as “walls“. There is a parking lot on Kapahulu Ave right by the Zoo, as well as street parking on Kalakaua Ave. (Make sure you lock your car and do not leave things out for people to steal.) Before we had kids we would hangout on the left side of the wall, a great spot for boogie boarding. But now that we have a munchkin we hung out on the right side of the wall.
This is a protected area that makes for extremely calm waters. Perfect for the little ones. Waikiki can be very crowded in the summer, however during winter we were very happy to quickly find a nice open spot to set up our little beach hangout.
On our last Hawaii trip we enjoyed taking our munchkin on these kid friendly hikes. During this trip we added a few new favorites to the list.
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Diamond Head crater is a great hike with amazing views at the top! The lower part of the path is a paved trail, as you begin to make your way up the crater it becomes a dirt trail. This would not be a good hike for a stroller. Be aware that the end of this trail has some very steep stairs that small children would need assistance on as well as a rather dark 250 foot tunnel that you walk through. If you are claustrophobic or think this may be scary for your kids you may want to skip this one until everyone is a little older.
We chose to put our munchkin in her Tula when walking up the trail. After going back through the tunnel and down the steep stairs, we allowed Genevieve to get out and walk with assistance. Be sure to check out the information about park hours, parking and parking prices.
In 3 kid friendly hikes on Oahu we shared about the Pill Box hike in Lanikai. If you are up early, I highly recommend doing this hike for sunrise. We decided to go to the second peak rather than all the way to the first pill box. This was perfect because we had the spot all to ourselves. This hike was one of my favorite parts of our trip.
This is more of a walk than a hike, but it is very beautiful. The path has a paved section as well as a gravel section. This is perfect for families that want to get some exercise and enjoy the beautiful scenery and tropical birds. We saw a lot of dogs, much to my munchkins delight, as well as plenty of young families. A walk along the Marsh is a great option for a low key fun activity that the entire family can enjoy.
Delicious gluten free food
Whenever we travel we like to bring our Bob’s Red Mill gluten free steel cut oats so we can make our delicious and filling overnight oats. We cooked an entire bag at the beginning of the trip. This provided us a quick and easy breakfast option all week. We also decided that we wanted to do a bit more eating out this time around. These are some of the places that we enjoyed most.
We found this little gem thanks to the find me gluten free app. The food was amazing. My husband and I visited Thailand in 2010 for our 5 year anniversary. This was one of the few times that we have had Thai food that felt like it was made in Thailand! They had plenty of gluten free options and were very accommodating regarding our need to have gluten and egg free food. We are so happy we found this place!
This spot was great for a quick and delicious meal. Paniolos was like a hawaiian version of Chipotle. If you enjoy Chipotle then you will most likely really enjoy the food at Paniolos. I know we did!
Located on the Ko Olina Resort property makes this a great restaurant to visit after watching the sunset from your favorite lagoon. The food was amazing! The prices are on the expensive side but the food really is very high quality. There were gluten free options and our server was extremely accommodating regarding our families dietary needs. I recommend making a reservation so you do not find your self having a long wait.
AMA AMA is located in the Aulani Disney Resort. One of the funnest parts of eating here was walking through the resort to get there. The service was top notch and the food was mouth watering. They were knowledgeable about their dietary options very accommodating. The kids meals were fantastic.
We were lucky enough to have a view of the pool and were able to catch the pool party entertainment when we were done. Hopefully we will have the chance to stay and review this resort in the future.
In addition to making a stop at one of our favorite coffee shops, Morning Brew, we visited the Island Vintage Coffee shop at Ko Olina. Our favorite drink was the iced Hawaiian Honey Latte with almond milk.
Genevieve was delighted to have her very own drink of freshly made juice. Being able to get a cup of delicious coffee on our way to the beach was perfection.
Where to stay
If you are looking for a local experience when visiting the island, be sure to check out the Hale Chinen. My Aunty and Uncle have renovated this lovely two bedroom one bathroom home in the beautiful town of Kailua. This is a great rental for young families. There is a park nearby and the Kauai Nui Marsh walking trail a few blocks away. In fact the main house on the property is located along the beautiful Marsh.
This rental is off the beaten path but with in a 5 minute drive to stores, shops and beautiful beaches.
Please note that Oahu is a tropical island and on a tropical island live plenty of bugs and creatures. When visiting the island always be sure to clean up food right away, otherwise the bugs will try to clean it up for you.
Visit Hawaiian Airlines to start planning your trip today.
If you have never been to Hawaii what subjects would you like to learn more about? If you have visited, what are some of your favorite places to eat, stay and play?
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