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20 Best Things to Do in Hawaii with Teens

Heading to Hawaii with teens? Find out some of the best things to do with teens in Hawaii; scroll down for all our recommendations!
This things to do with teens in Hawaii post was written by Hawaii travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Planning a family vacation with teenagers this year?

This is a great opportunity to give them more freedom and trust, while you get pampered and have a drink along the beach.

You don’t necessarily want to have a grumpy teenager with you the entire week, do you?

While I don’t have teenagers yet, I visited Hawaii a lot as a teen, and I picked up a few ideas about what I thought was “cool” and “not lame.”

It turns out, most of them don’t even cost much money.

There are several frugal activities that they can enjoy that are not only cheap, but provide enough entertainment to hold their interests.

Here’s a closer look at some free and cheap things for your teenager to do while visiting one of Hawaii’s islands.

Hawaii on a Budget: Best Frugal Things to Do with Teens in Hawaii featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids.

The Best Things to Do with Teens in Hawaii

Here are some of the top things to do in Hawaii with teenagers! Each of these are budget-friendly options too, so your vacation is fun and affordable!

Head to the Beach

Your family vacation has to include visiting the world-famous beaches on the Hawaiian islands.

Hawaii has countless gorgeous beaches to choose from, no matter what island you’re on.

Hawaii on a Budget: Best Frugal Things to Do with Teens in Hawaii featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Waimea Bay is a great snorkeling spot on Oahu
Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

It also can’t get any cheaper than heading to the beautiful beaches on the Hawaiian islands.

Teens will love sunbathing in the white powdery sand and then swimming in waters that are the color of topaz.

It’s also a great place to people-watch and intermingle with other people their age.

Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head Beach are great options for just about anything, from relaxing on the sand to swimming and exploring the waters.

If you want to take in a gorgeous sunset, head to Sunset Beach.

Kapalua Bay is considered the best beach in the world, so if you are on Maui, definitely head here.

Hit the Waves on Your Surfboard with your Teens

One of the best activities that you will find on the beach is surfing. You can also find fairly reasonable prices on surfboard rentals. If you stay at a vacation rental, sometimes they have them there for you to use for free too!

Surfing with friends or siblings will be an amazing experience for teenagers in Hawaii.

Be sure that your teens surf with someone looking out for them, or you can keep an eye on them along the beach.

Surfing lessons are also another option of things to do in Hawaii for teens that aren’t too expensive. You can even book surf lessons for the entire family! Check out these awesome surf lessons on Oahu.

Or enjoy watching the experienced surfers at the annual surfing competition on Oahu’s north shore!

Another (less intense) option is Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP.) Paddle boarding has become quite trendy in the past few years and is perfect for people of all skill levels. Boogie boarding is tons of fun for teenagers.

Snorkel Among Schools of Fish in Hawaii

You can find some incredible places to go snorkeling in Hawaii. Some spots are so clear that they’re among the best places to snorkel in the world.Hawaii on a Budget: Best Frugal Things to Do with Teens in Hawaii featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Top 9 Places for the Best Snorkeling on Kauai featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Find out the best Kauai snorkeling spots

Teens will love this aqua experience of seeing marine life while swimming among them.

They will come across schools of fish, sea turtles, and coral beds in this snorkeling experience. Snorkel gear for rent is also very reasonably priced.

You will find good snorkeling at Shark’s Cove, Napoopoo Beach, Honolua Bay, and Napili Bay.

Or, you can snorkel at Hanauma Bay, which isn’t too pricey. They offer excellent snorkeling with calm waters and tons of tropical fish and other marine life you will love.

Head out on Great Hiking Trails with your Teens

Hawaii is loaded with hiking trails that have amazing views with diverse terrain to explore on these trails.

This is another activity that won’t cost you anything while giving you a great workout.

Check out this list for some of the best waterfall hikes on Oahu.

Explore the natural beauty of Hawaiian islands at Haleakala National Park or the green Waimea Canyon on Kauai.

Hiking is among the top things to do in Hawaii with teenagers.

Go Sightseeing with your Teens in Hawaii

No matter where you are located on the islands of Hawaii, there are numerous points to explore and see.

Hawaii on a Budget: Best Frugal Things to Do with Teens in Hawaii featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Top 6 Free Things to Do on Oahu featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Diamond Head is a kid-friendly Oahu hike
Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Diamond Head, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, and Haleakala National Park are among some of the best places to see on the islands.

Be sure to ask your teenagers what they want to explore while on your trip too.

Highway 3 (H-3) Waterfalls

Located on Oahu is Highway 3 (H-3), a scenic drive that travels around many mountains and takes you by misty waterfalls.

If teens are looking to get out and get some fresh air, this is a drive totally unlike one they will experience back at home.

The other islands also have laid-back drives with gorgeous scenery, including the Road to Hana on Maui.

“Sunset on the Beach” at Waikiki Beach (Except August)

Teens love free events if mom and dad don’t fork over any money and they don’t have two nickels to rub together.

“Sunset on the Beach” at Waikiki Beach is an outdoor movie theater playing on a 30-foot screen.

There’s also plenty of entertainment and food vendors. It’s a great way to socialize and finish off an epic day in Hawaii.

Kapiolani Park in Waikiki

If you’re a teenager, make sure you stop in and have a picnic at Kapiolani Park.

It’s located at the base of Diamond Head, and it’s in the less crowded part of Waikiki.

Kite flying, music, and sports are among some of the best activities to do while visiting Oahu.

Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa

Teenagers will want to head over to Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa just before dusk for a free fireworks display.

Hawaii on a Budget: Best Frugal Things to Do with Teens in Hawaii featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: The Hilton Hawaiian Village has a free fireworks in Waikiki show every Friday
Photo credit: Hilton Hawaiian Village

Fireworks are shot off here every Friday night here in Waikiki. Did we mention this is a free event?

It’s another one of the best things for teens to do in Hawaii!

Free Hula Dancing Lessons Waikiki Business Plaza

It’s not every day you get to do the Hula, so stop on in at the Waikiki Business Plaza for free hula dance lessons.

It’s usually a mix of little kids and older adults who are brave enough to try to hula. But that doesn’t mean it’s not also for teens!

Teenagers might even be able to make a few new friends as they develop their new hula skills!

Visit Pearl Harbor with your Teens

Even teenagers can appreciate the sacrifice of the men and women that fought in Pearl Harbor.

Hawaii on a Budget: Best Frugal Things to Do with Teens in Hawaii featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: You can visit Pearl Harbor for free
USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor.

Teens will see and learn about the USS Arizona Memorial while taking a small boat ride.

While visiting Pearl Harbor in its entirety is expensive, you can visit the USS Arizona Memorial for free.

Visit the Hawaii State Art Museum

Maybe you have a teenager that is fascinated with art.

Have them check out the free Hawaii State Art Museum, where they can see some of the finest artwork in Hawaii.

It’s a great place to visit on a rainy day and can be toured within 1-2 hours, as it’s not very big.

Turtle Spotting at Laniakea Beach

Laniakea Beach is also called “Turtle Beach,” and for good reason. This won’t be your typical beach visit.

Hawaii on a Budget: Best Frugal Things to Do with Teens in Hawaii featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Please remember not to touch Hawaiian green sea turtles like the one in this photo. Volunteers put up signage to remind tourists to give turtles some space.
Turtle Beach on Oahu

If you visit at the right time, you will see hundreds of sea turtles beached along the seashore.

Just remember not to get too close as you try to snap a selfie with a turtle. It is another one of the things to do in Hawaii for teenagers.

Explore the Shops with your Teens

Check out the Ala Moana Center, which has some of the finest shopping areas, along with dining in all of Hawaii.

There’s nothing wrong with shopping and window shopping without spending any money.

It also gives teenagers a great opportunity to people-watch and hang out with friends.

And they have quite a few free programs available, including a polished hula show.

Plus, what teen doesn’t like to shop?

Grab Shave Ice with your Teens

Teenagers love shave ice with the many fruity flavors that you can add.

Hawaii on a Budget: Best Frugal Things to Do with Teens in Hawaii featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Best Shave Ice on Oahu featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids
Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)

How about making a rainbow-colored treat at the famous Matsumoto Shave Ice in Haleiwa on the North Shore?

Or head to President Obama’s favorite shave ice in Honolulu: Waiola Shave Ice.

It’s a cheap way to grab a sweet treat. Plus, it’s easy to share with friends.

Find out the best shave ice on Oahu

ArtAfterDark Honolulu Museum

On the last Friday of the Month, ArtAfterDark, presented by the Honolulu Museum, is a cheap event to attend.

It’s an art party with plenty of entertainment and a great place for young people to hang out and have fun. (As long as a person over 21 is present with them.)

Polynesian Cultural Center

On the Hawaiian island of Oahu, you will find the Polynesian Cultural Center, which is a Polynesian-themed park the whole family will love.

Explore a little of each of the islands with shows and other great activities.

Get your PCC tickets here

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Teens will love to explore active volcanoes! So, if you are visiting the Big Island, stop by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Everything you Need to Know About Traveling to Hawaii Big Island with Kids featured by top Hawaii travel blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids | Visiting the Hawaii Big Island with kids? Find out the best kid-friendly places to go and where to eat on the Big Island.

Not only will you see the active volcano, but you can also go on hikes and explore other areas of this park.

It is another one of the top activities to do in Hawaii with teens.

Jurassic Park Tour

One of the fun historic sites on Oahu is Kualoa Ranch. Here your teens can do so many fun activities, including a movie tour, zipline tours, ATV tours, and more.

Visiting Kualoa Ranch will be the highlight of your Hawaiian vacation with teens for sure!

You can even go explore a secret island, where you can relax in a hammock right on the beach, go paddle boarding, kayaking, beach volleyball, and so much more. It truly is paradise!

Get your Jurassic Park tour tickets here!

Water Park

The entire family will love having fun at a water park in Hawaii.

Going to Wet N Wild on Oahu is one of the top things for teenagers to do in Hawaii!

But it is not just for teenagers, even little kids will love this water park with areas for toddlers, teens, and adults.

Get your Wet N Wild tickets here!

Traveling with Teens in Hawaii FAQs

What should a teen bring to Hawaii?

Teens should pack comfortable clothing like shorts, shirts, sundresses, flip-flops, swimsuits, and sunglasses. If you’re planning on doing lots of hiking or other adventures, you’ll want sturdy shoes and any other required items.

Is Maui or Oahu better for teens?

Both islands are actually pretty great for traveling with teenagers. Oahu with teens is pretty nice because it does have a lot more activities, shopping, and attractions. But Maui has some amazing resorts if your teen just wants to hang out by the pool.

Where should I go in Hawaii for the first time?

For your first trip to Hawaii, Oahu is always the best bet. That’s where you’ll find Pearl Harbor, Waikiki Beach, Polynesian Cultural Center, and the popular North Shore. Plus, there are tons of things to do in Oahu with teenagers!

Which part of Hawaii is best for families?

The best Hawaiian island for teens is probably Oahu. You will find plenty of awesome things to do in Oahu with teens that they will love! The Big Island, Maui, and Kauai are also great places for family vacations.

What’s the cheapest island to visit in Hawaii?

Oahu is generally a cheaper place to visit and stay. Plus, it has tons of tourist attractions and family-friendly resorts, so it’s well worth the trip.

What age is good for Hawaii?

The main islands are all kid-friendly islands, perfect for all ages! Many will take their babies to Hawaii and visit Oahu with teenagers too. Every age is good for Hawaii.

What island is best for a Hawaii vacation with teenagers?

The best Hawaiian islands for teens are Maui and Oahu. The best Hawaii island for young adults is usually Oahu. However, during your planning process, you can determine what your teens would like to explore and can better find the island best suited for your trip.

Hawaii with Teenagers Wrap-Up

These are a number of frugal activities that teens can enjoy while visiting the state of Hawaii.

These are just some of the top things to do in Hawaii with teenagers, but there are tons of options! I’m sure anything you will do with teens in Hawaii will make for the perfect Hawaiian trip.

Whether you visit the garden island, the Big Island, the North Shore of Oahu, or Maui, your teenagers will have a blast.

If you’re planning on giving your teenagers a little freedom on this trip, what do you think that they will enjoy doing?

If you’ve already been to an island, what are your favorite things to do with teens in Hawaii? Let me know in a comment below!