Aloha hula dancers,
Choosing the best luau in Oahu for you, your family, kids, significant other or friends is so difficult! Some are great fun for the whole family with activities for kids of any age like lei making or coconut husking. Other Oahu luaus will get hoots and laughter from the audience as guests order cocktails from the bar.
Some resorts choose to host their luau right on their property, while the more extravagant luaus require a ride to the beach. Then there’s the dancing, food and price to worry about.
I’ve broken down the best luaus in Oahu (in my opinion) for you. You’ll have an awesome night at any of these Oahu luaus, but I hope my experience and local tips will help you choose the best one for you.
How Do You Choose From So Many Great Luaus?
It’s too difficult to choose just one best luau in Oahu. Each Oahu luau is different and you’ll find that the entertainment, food served and even the atmosphere appeals to different ages and tastes.
In general, luaus are “touristy” and are marketed to tourists. They usually start just before sunset with food, drinks and a show featuring a variety of dances, music and songs from Polynesian islands such as Hawaii, Tahiti, Easter Island, and the always popular Samoa’s fire knife dancing.
Local Tip: If you’re looking for an “authentic” luau, let me stop you right there. Today’s luaus are more of a potluck style or even (gasp!) catered food. As for entertainment, I’ve seen hula performances by someone’s daughter’s friend’s cousin who knows some hula to skilled hula halaus (hula groups) who regularly perform in public. It’s a mixed bag and usually the dancing doesn’t last more than a half-hour. So if you want to be exposed to Hawaiian food and a fantastic Polynesian dance show, do the “touristy” luau.
Before booking the best luau in Oahu for you, take a look at who is coming with you to the party and ask yourself a few questions:
- Will there be young kids?
- Are you traveling with friends your age?
- Are you interested in a family-friendly luau?
- Is alcohol important to your party?
- Will someone be in a wheelchair?
- Is this your only chance to eat Hawaiian food?
- Do you prefer a fantastic show or a hands-on experience?
- How important is the evening view for you?
- Do you have transportation to reach distant luaus?
- What’s your budget?
Book A Budget Luau: Compare Luau Prices And Check Discounts Here
Toa Luau Is The Best Luau In Oahu For Families and Kids
Toa Luau is really a gem that’s buried by the more mainstream marketing of Oahu luaus. While most Oahu luaus will have just dinner and a show, Toa Luau devotes extra time to interactive activities like lei making and coconut husking – something that the larger luaus can’t do because their staff would be overrun by the crowd size.
There are instructors everywhere to teach you, which really brings out an intimate atmosphere to the party. And since you’re in Waimea Falls Park and Botanical Gardens in Waimea Valley, it’s easy to pretend you’re at a real luau since there are no big buildings in the area. The fresh forest smells and chirping birds make a huge difference!
Read About My Waimea Falls Visit: Oahu Photography Tour With My Smartphone
The price for the Toa Luau is average for an Oahu luau – roughly $90 – $160 per adult depending on which package you choose. But in addition to the activities, dinner and the evening show, the price also includes the entrance fee into Waimea Valley, which already has a price tag of $17 per adult. This is a really good deal if a luau and a visit to Waimea Valley is on your Oahu to-do list.
Book Toa Luau: The Best Luau In Oahu For Pretty Much Anyone
Local Tip: Unlike most Oahu luaus, the Toa Luau does not provide transportation to and from Waimea Valley. Take this into consideration since Waimea Valley is in the North Shore and not all Oahu visitors choose to have a rental car.
Polynesian Cultural Center Is Always Winning Best Luau Rewards
The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) consistently ranks as the #1 attraction in Hawaii all the time. They are a juggernaut in Oahu activities due to many of the staff members and performers coming from the Polynesian islands that are showcased at the center. So if you’re looking for skilled performers, this is a great place to find it.
Local Tip: Online, PCC only sells their luaus together with the center’s entrance fee. This prices their luau and park entrance combo at $200 – $250 depending on the package you choose. But I’m pretty sure you can purchase just the luau by phone or in person at the front desk.
The luau at PCC is a bit different than your usual Oahu luau though. To get the most out of your PCC visit, visitors attend the interactive island shows at each island from noon until early evening.
Following these island shows, one of the dinner options available is their Alii Luau Buffet and Dinner Show (think a meal + dance show). After dinner is the final show, held in a proper outdoor auditorium with everything from Hawaiian hula to Samoan fire knife dancing.
First of all, I highly recommend visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center for the whole day. You won’t regret it – there’s just too much to do and see. As for the Alii Luau Buffet and Dinner Show, here’s how I look at it:
- The island shows in the afternoon and final show in the evening are absolutely a must in my opinion. They are the highlight of the whole PCC experience. I’ve gone several times and I don’t mind choosing the cheaper dinner option (without a dinner show) because I know the final show is awesome.
- If you’re really wanting that luau experience while you’re in Oahu (great food, an intimate stage, seeing the performers up close, a fresh flower lei greeting, etc.) AND have the money to splurge, then the Alii Luau is worth it.
Book A PCC Luau: Polynesian Cultural Center’s Luau Packages
Local Tip: Basically, if you’re on a budget and don’t mind pretending that the final show is your dinner show, choose the first option. But if you want to enhance your day at PCC and fit a fun luau into your Oahu itinerary, you can’t go wrong with the second option.
Germaine's Luau Is The Best Luau In Oahu For Drinks And Large Groups
Right off the bat, here’s what disappointed me about Germaine’s Luau: With the cheapest ticket, some of the food ran out and our lei greeting was with those thin single strand shell leis that come from the Philippines.
But don’t let these negative experiences turn you off. Truly. Here’s why:
If you’re willing to pay for the more expensive tickets, you’ll get way better seats, which means you’ll get to stand in line earlier for the food. You’ll also get more drink tickets and a few other perks (mostly related to your alcohol service).
Local Tip: One of the best parts about Germaine’s Luau is that it’s on the beach. You have this amazing view of the waves and sand that adds another layer to your luau experience. But, I wouldn’t recommend Germaine’s Luau for anyone in a wheelchair or has difficulty walking. The sand makes it really hard to maneuver, especially if you’re on wheels.
The price points for Germaine’s is similar to Toa Luau’s. There are 3 luau packages ranging from $90 – $160 per adult. The main differences are:
- Germaine’s Luau is probably the best luau in Oahu for large groups and adults in my opinion. There’s a bar right behind you, everyone gets at least one drink ticket, and the whole night has got that “big family party” vibe to it.
- While Toa Luau is in the North Shore, the actual location is in Waimea Valley, which is like a big botanical garden with a waterfall. Germaine’s Luau is located on a beach in Kapolei where you’ll be walking around on sand and can see the waves rolling onto shore.
- Toa Luau gives out a fresh flower orchid lei to everybody while Germaine’s Luau you’re either given a shell lei or kukui nut lei depending on your ticket.
Book Germaine’s Luau: An Oahu Luau Perfect For Groups And Adults
Paradise Cove Is Another Great Family-Friendly Luau At Ko Olina
If Toa Luau sounds like the best luau in Oahu for you and your family, but you aren’t looking forward to the ride out to the North Shore, then Paradise Cove would be my next suggestion.
Because it’s located in Ko Olina (near the Aulani Disney Resort), there’s an awesome pre-program of interactive activities for children of all ages. Even adults will enjoy activities such as the canoe ride and traditional Hawaiian games.
Check Out This Hotel: The Aulani Disney Resort For Kids At Heart
Like Germaine’s Luau, Paradise Cove is an outdoor luau with a spectacular sunset view. You can enjoy the fun and games until the sun sinks down and dinner begins.
Local Tip: If you’re driving yourself (or staying in Ko Olina), get there a couple of hours early so you can enjoy the pre-luau festivities. It’s fun! But if you’re in Waikiki, don’t hesitate to book transportation on their shuttle bus. Your guide will keep you laughing the whole ride.
Book A Paradise Cove Luau: Another Family-Friendly Luau In Oahu
Chief's Luau At The Wet 'n' Wild Water Park
Chief Sielu Avea’s luau is very unique. He’s most famous for his time spent at the Polynesian Cultural Center as “The Coconut Man” and bringing laughter to audiences all over the world. He’s also a world champion for fire knife dancing and his unique humor will make you laugh!
Local Tip: Chief’s Luau is now held at Oahu’s Wet ‘n’ Wild Water Park, its second home. The water park is small compared to the huge water theme parks on the mainland, but it’s a good option especially if you have young kids or can’t go to the ocean.
Book Tickets: A Day At Wet ‘n’ Wild Water Park In Kapolei
Chief’s Luau makes my best luau in Oahu list because of Chief Sielu himself. It isn’t just a spectacular performance or neat activities. It’s his passion to share his knowledge with you. He loves what he does and there’s a genuine desire that shows the moment he’s on stage.
Local Tip: There are activities before the luau begins that are fun for the whole family. If you’re driving from Waikiki, make sure you check the traffic so you can get to the luau on time! From 3 PM on weekdays, traffic from Honolulu to Kapolei is in rush hour.
Book Chief’s Luau: See Chief Sielu Avea In Action!
Which Is The Best Luau In Oahu?
There are several more Oahu luaus that are out there, but in my opinion, these are the best luaus that you should be considering if you want authenticity and a good time. If you’ve been to another luau that you feel should make this list, let me know in the comments below or shoot me an email.
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