Modern Comfort Meets Family Adventure at Oahu’s Turtle Bay Resort

The North Shore of Oahu evokes a vision of Hawaii that makes vacationers feel like they’ve embarked on a journey to a tropical country. Turtle Bay Resort makes that vision a reality with ocean views from every room, a swimmable beach area with palm trees and all the comforts of a modern resort with a touch of Tom Sawyer-like adventure.

Turtle Bay Resort, the only full-service resort on the North Shore, completed a massive $52 million renovation in Summer 2016. The resort gets rave reviews from families as a place for parents and kids to play and relax, and with 850 acres of spacious grounds, there is room for everyone. 

The children's poll

The children’s and all-ages pools are surrounded by the surf

Family-Friendly Review of Turtle Bay Resort

Accommodation Options for Families

The three-pronged shape of the hotel ensures that each wing and each room has ocean views. The 482 updated rooms, suites and cottages are light and airy and provide views of the legendary North Shore waves. Some rooms also include pool or beach views.

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Rooms and cottages share similar ocean decor. Cottage photo by Turtle Bay Resort.

Rooms and cottages share similar ocean decor. Cottage photo by Turtle Bay Resort

For families, the resort’s 42 cottages with private lanais are a spacious option and can sleep up to five people. The cottages are spread out in groups of six around the resort grounds and have varying-sized grassy areas in front. With small children, it’s important to request a cottage that is set farther back from the water’s edge, as there is no barrier between the cottages and the ocean.

Stand Up Paddle with a dog on-board is a must-do activity

Stand-up paddling with a dog on-board is a must-do activity

Kids’ Programs and Onsite Activities

There is no structured kids’ club, but there are seasonal and holiday programs for kids as well as year round family activities. We tried stand-up paddling with the surfing program manager and his dogs, and it was a huge hit with my 11-year-old daughter — so much so that she was “selling” the experience to other guests at the pool. The photo above looks calm, but the dogs jump back and forth between the paddle boards, excitedly searching for the sea turtles that tease them and easily swim away. Bring a waterproof camera to capture the excitement!

Hide n' Seek in the Banyan Tree

Hide and seek in the banyan tree

Another family experience, which we didn’t have time for, is the outrigger canoe trip to a sandbar for a picnic and swimming. These only-in-Hawaii experiences are a 5-minute drive from the resort and usually include a stop at the banyan tree for a Tarzan-style swing on the vines. (We couldn’t swing because a Hollywood sequel film set was being constructed around the largest banyan tree!)

The protected beach is great for swimming, snorkeling and boogie boarding.

The protected beach is great for swimming, snorkeling and boogie boarding

There are so many activities at the resort, including golf and tennis, but our focus was on water fun at the pool and beach. One perk of the resort fee is that it includes 2 hours’ free daily use of snorkel equipment or boogie boards, which we used to discover tropical fish and explore the cove.

Poke is a must-try in Hawaii and Roy's does it very well

Poke is a must-try in Hawaii, and Roy’s does it very well

Dining

The resort has fine dining and casual options, but none may be as enjoyable with kids as the newly opened Roy’s Beach House. The poke bowl lived up to its reputation and the kids’ menu is a step above the normal chicken fingers-only fare. Plus, the beachside location means there’s always something to capture the attention of kids.

There is also upscale sea-to-table dining at Pa’akai, more casual cuisine at North Shore Kula Grille and a grab-and-go cafe at the Lobby Lounge.

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Local Area

The North Shore is perfect for exploration. The famous pipeline surfing spot is nearby, snorkeling spots abound and for foodies there are shrimp trucks waiting to be tested. Haleiwa is a surfer town turned hip, filled with shops and restaurants about 20 minutes’ drive from the resort.

Honolulu + Turtle Bay Resort = A Great Combo for an Oahu Family Vacation

Thinking about an Oahu family vacation? It’s convenient to start with a couple of nights in Honolulu to see the historical sights and then head to Turtle Bay Resort for pure relaxation. We thought this combo was a good balance and wished we’d had more time to explore all that the area offers.

Relevant Links:

Browse all family-friendly accommodations and activities in Hawaii on Ciao Bambino

Why Hawaii is the ultimate tropical escape with kids

Favorite activities in Oahu with kids

Editor’s Note: received a media package to experience Turtle Bay Resort, but as always our opinions are our own. All photos by Kristi Marcelle unless noted.

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