Visiting Waikiki with a Baby: The Complete Guide

Last Updated on May 14, 2024 by travelingwithsunscreen

Planning a vacation to Waikiki with a baby? You’re in for a treat! Waikiki is known not only for its stunning landscapes but also for being exceptionally family-friendly. From the serene beaches to the welcoming cafes, this is a place where families with young children are not just accommodated but celebrated. But long-distance travel with a baby is no joke, and it’s best if you plan ahead. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to make your family vacation in Waikiki smooth and enjoyable, for baby AND for parents!

Enjoying Waikiki’s Baby-Friendly Beaches

Kuhio Beach stands out as a perfect spot for families traveling with babies. This beach features a protective breakwater that creates gentle, baby-safe surf where little ones can splash around without getting an eyeful of saltwater. Our baby loved crawling around where the sand and water met. I was surprised by how easy it was to take a nine-month-old “swimming!” It’s also great that there are convenient faucets right near Kuhio Beach, so you’ll be able to rinse off the sand before heading home.

But, is your baby a sand-eater? If you don’t trust your little guy for even a second on the sand, there’s another option for you! You’ll notice that some parts of Waikiki Beach are bordered directly by grassy areas. Specifically, there’s a great grassy spot across from the Hyatt Regency Hotel. This is a perfect spot for babies who are tempted to devour sand by the fistful, allowing parents to relax with a view of the ocean without having to constantly stop baby from getting a mouthful of tiny rocks.

View of Waikiki Beach from the grass nearby
All of the beauty, none of the sand

Preparing Your Baby for the Beach

The sun in Hawaii is STRONG. We recommend staying indoors as much as possible during peak UV hours. If you must go outside, make sure your baby has UV-protective clothing, a good sunhat, and reef-safe mineral sunscreen.

Another challenge is the swim diaper. These are designed to hold solid waste, but liquid waste will flow right through them. This is fine in the water, but can pose a problem en route. Our solution was to put a regular diaper over the swim diaper for the stroller or carrier ride to the beach, and then to remove the regular diaper right before hopping in the water. On the way back, we sat baby in his swim diaper on a towel and rushed home as quickly as we could, hoping for the best.

Non-Beach Options in Waikiki with a Baby

Sometimes you (or your baby) might want a break from the beach, no matter how beautiful it is! The Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium offer fantastic family-friendly attractions. The zoo is particularly great for babies, thanks to its shady environment and a dedicated kids’ area with farm animals and a petting zoo. (Check the hours before going, since the petting zoo is not always open). Although there are many trees for shade, we’d still recommend avoiding the zoo in the peak sun and heat hours.

The Waikiki Aquarium provides a quick, engaging activity that’s mostly indoors. Keep in mind that it probably won’t take more than an hour at most for the whole visit, but sometimes that’s almost enough to take up an entire wake window!

The Waikiki-Kapahulu Public Library surprised me with its excellent children’s section, despite mixed online reviews. It’s a great spot to cool down and let your baby play in a safe, engaging environment. There are fun toys and books, and nice, clean rugs for babies to crawl around on. Plus, it’s a very quick walk from the zoo!

Another useful tip for parents: upscale resorts often have accessible, clean changing facilities in their lobby bathrooms—ideal for quick diaper changes while exploring.

Sans Souci State Recreational Park, Honolulu
Take a break in the shade at Sans Souci State Recreational Park after visiting the zoo or aquarium!

Dealing with Baby Jetlag in Hawaii

Keep in mind that Hawaii is far to the west of the mainland US, which means that your baby might spend the trip waking up at a horrible hour (like 3 AM), and wanting to go back to sleep in mid-afternoon. There’s no magic cure for jetlag, especially in babies! We switched from our nice, predictable by-the-clock schedule at home back to a wake-windows based schedule when we arrived in Hawaii, and this did not work out well for us. It took baby a full ten days to adapt to his new time zone – just in time for us to return home! In light of this, we’d recommend trying your darndest to keep baby as close as possible to his or her regular schedule. There will be a rough couple of days, but everyone should be happier by the end of your trip.

Is your trip really short? I hate to say it, but I might discourage you from coming at all. A jetlagged baby is not a fun baby to be around, and conventional wisdom says that people need at least one day to recover from each hour of jetlag. In our experience, babies need even more, especially when traveling east to west. Hawaii is SIX hours from the east coast of the US in terms of time zones, and three hours from the west coast. Plan accordingly.

Choosing the Right Accommodation with a Baby: Airbnb vs. Hotels in Waikiki

When it comes to where to stay in Waikiki with a baby, consider the benefits of booking an Airbnb over traditional hotels. Airbnbs often offer multiple rooms, which can be INCREDIBLY helpful for maintaining your baby’s sleep schedule (and your sanity). Kitchens for meal prep, as well as amenities like high chairs, baby toys, and portable cribs, add convenience and comfort to your stay. Look for listings that cater specifically to families to find the best fit for your needs. I’d recommend searching in particular near the zoo and Kuhio Beach, since this area is likely where you’ll be spending a lot of your time!

Our Airbnb had a balcony, which was something that we didn’t seek out in particular, but which turned out to be an incredible asset. The baby went to bed VERY early each night due to jetlag, but it still felt like a tropical vacation sitting on our balcony enjoying takeout and white wine. Highly recommended!

Mountain view from our Airbnb in Honolulu
Beach views are great, but we really loved our mountain view!

Make Waikiki Your Next Family Vacation Destination

Embarking on a trip to Waikiki with your baby can be a delightful experience with a bit of planning. With its mix of beautiful natural settings, baby-friendly attractions, and accommodating facilities, Waikiki stands out as a prime destination for families. Pack your bags and prepare for a vacation filled with beautiful memories in one of the most picturesque places on Earth.

You might also be interested in:
Where to Stay on the Big Island (Hawaii)
Baby Changing Tables in Barcelona: Where to find them
Why we hate the question, “What did you do there?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *