Book 'Em, Daddy-O

OAHU

    Photo: K. Aeder, Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau

Best Bet: SHERATON MOANA SURFRIDER
A daily dozen wedding parties and throngs of Waikiki pedestrians shuttle through the doors of the Sheraton Moana Surfrider, but grit your teeth and check in anyway. The old part of this hotel, the original Moana, beautifully restored and renamed the Banyan Wing, was the home of the classic radio show Hawaii Calls. From 1935 to 1975, songs of tropical moonlit nights, the swish of ball gowns, and the rhythmic crash of the surf lured mainlanders to the islands. (My own mom remembers it dreamily.) This is the classic Waikiki resort, with an Ivy League children's program to match: field trips to the Honolulu Zoo and that mother lode of Polynesian anthropology, the Bishop Museum; kite building and flying; catamaran sailing; boogie boarding and snorkeling; and a children's high tea. (All activities are based at the Sheraton Waikiki, Moana's sister resort).

Nuts and bolts: doubles from $260; Keiki Aloha program $31 all day, $21 half-day, lunch $6.50, and dinner $12. Contact 800-325-3535, www.sheraton.com.
Runner-Up: OUTRIGGER REEF ON THE BEACH
Is your kid a budding Steven Spielberg? The Outrigger Reef on the Beach, also surfside in frenetic Waikiki, has a children's program that takes kids to Kualoa Ranch, where they can explore the sets where Jurassic Park and George of the Jungle were filmed. There's a giant catfish pond (that I don't recall from either film) where they can practice catch-and-release fishing. Another genuine high point for 5- to 13-year-olds in the Cowabunga Kids Club is the hike up Diamond Head crater to the cinematic view that the early Hawaiians must have enjoyed while they performed a little human sacrifice (yup, true).

Nuts and bolts: doubles from $220; a full day of the Cowabunga Kids Club with lunch, $50. Contact 800-688-7444.

Must-See
Watch Endless Summer before you go, and your family will dream of emerging from the perfect curl with lace-white foam showering the tail of a well-patched longboard. Even beginners can learn to walk on water on the legendary North Shore. Head to Haleiwa, where North Shore Eco-Surf Tours (808-638-9503, www.ecosurf-hawaii.com) offers two-hour surfing lessons for $65 per person (kids must be six or older) and guided walking/surfing tours of famous surf sites. After class, take your sore muscles to Sunset Beach to watch the world's best try to conquer the monster sets.

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