Best Free Activities for Teenagers on Oahu

Best Free Activities for Teenagers on Oahu

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Grace Towle

Living on Oahu, Grace Towle knows all the best places where locals go.

Have you traveled with teens? The cliché of eye-rolling, moody, perpetually starving, self and phone-obsessed mini-human rings true. As we have learned from interesting exposés featured in National Geographic magazine — amongst many other scientific journals — the teenage brain is doing its best to be reasonable, but at any given moment the surge of hormones can and will overwhelm.

That said, here are some activities that even the pickiest adolescents will enjoy free of cost.

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Feature image: Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Rock Jumping

Do they like to jump off 30 ft rocks into the ocean? If it’s summer, head to Waimea Beach Park, between the town of Haleiwa and Turtle Bay Resort and let them jump of the rock, just like Jack Johnson did in the “Upside Down” video for the Curious George movie. Fun fact: Waimea means ‘red water’ in Hawaiian, and Waimea Bay/Rock was named because of the nearby red Waimea river. Keep in mind, this is only for the kids who are mentally and physically equipped to jump this high, land in the ocean and swim back to the beach. 


Paddling to a far off Island

“The Mokes” or Mokulua islands off Lanikai Beach are famously the back drop for many beach commercials; you’ll recognize them when you see them. And they are just about a mile off the coast, which usually takes about 30 minutes to paddle the distance. Here’s a good description of the experience on the UnReal Hawaii website, with great photos (much better than mine). Warning — you do need to put the SUPs or Kayaks on your car, but the folks at Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks will help you, and give you directions to get to Lanikai Beach. Stop at Kalapawai Market on your way to the beach for a picnic lunch and snacks — your kids will be hungry.

Body Surfing

Makapuu on the easternmost tip of the island or Sandy Beach just up the road. I’m only recommending this to the kids who are comfortable in the water. Makapuu is the more gentle of the two and can provide hours of body surfing fun, while Sandy Beach is definitely an expert beach, and if they are already competent bodysurfers, this beach can be a wild experience they will remember for years to come. I can’t stress enough that these both can be dangerous if your teen isn’t already a strong swimmer. Be sure to bring sunscreen, snacks and water because there is no place to buy anything near either spot. If you have any concerns about their safety check with the lifeguard to get their advice on where to swim.

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