Many people think of Hawaii as a destination that’s reserved for romantic couples celebrating a honeymoon or anniversary. After all, this is an ideal place to go for all-inclusive resorts and island adventure packages that take all of the stress out of planning for busy couples. But Hawaii is also a wonderful place to take a family vacation because of all of the cultural, recreation, and relaxation opportunities the islands have to offer. It’s easy to hop from one island to another on a short flight so you can experience different sides of island life. To help you plan a trip with kids, here are our suggestions for the top family vacations to Hawaii.
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Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
Located on the Big Island, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is one of the most unique landscapes in the entire world. This park is home to Mauna Loa, whose summit stands at an impressive 13,677 feet. Mauna Loa and Kilauea are active volcanoes, and there are some great day hikes you can go on to explore them. The Crater Rim Drive Tour and Chain of Craters Road are popular scenic routes for families. The Kilauea Visitor Center is a great place to start your exploration of this place. This is a top vacation destination because there is lodging and camping available at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The Hawai’i Volcanoes Lodge Company operates Volcano House, and there are some nice bed & breakfasts just outside the park boundary. To camp with your family inside the park, stay at the Nāmakanipaio Campground, Kulanaokuaiki Campground, or in a cabin run by the Hawai’i Volcanoes Lodge Company.
There is certainly no shortage of beaches in Hawaii, but one of the most popular vacation destinations for families is Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu. This is one of the most famous beaches in the entire world and lined with top-notch family-friendly resorts. Resorts in this part of Honolulu that are particularly kid-friendly are the Sheraton Waikiki, Kahala Hotel & Resort, and Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa. There are numerous sections of Waikiki Beach to explore together from the western tip going east towards Diamond Head and ending at San Souci Beach. But there is a lot more to do here than just bask in the sand and sun. The Waikiki region is also home to many kid-friendly activities, including the Waikiki Aquarium, Honolulu Zoo, and the Waikiki Historic Trail.
Another incredible destination for your family vacation to Hawaii is the Molokini Crater, which is known for its epic snorkeling and scuba diving trips. Molokini is a crescent-shaped volcanic crater that is partially submerged in the ocean and home to hundreds of species of tropical fish. This is an ideal place to bring older children who love the water and who are up for the adventure of a lifetime. The crater is located just off of the shore of Maui, where you’ll find plenty of family-friendly resorts to make your home base. However, the crater itself has an isolated and magical feel, with clear water that the sunlight easily penetrates to illuminate colorful fish and coral reefs down below. Book a snorkeling tour with a local guide that specializes in kid-friendly tours to see it for yourself!
Haleakalā National Park
Another national park worth planning your family vacation around is Haleakalā National Park. Here you can explore the coast and the summit if you’re up for a remote and rugged experience for your adventurous family. Located on the island of Maui, the Kīpahulu District is the place to come for waterfalls, ocean views, and Hawaiian cultural experiences. Families who enjoy hiking will want to check out the summit area and perhaps enjoy a guided activity. You can make a weekend vacation out of this destination by drive-up camping at the Hosmer Grove Campground or wilderness camping at the Hōlua and Palikū Campgrounds. With very little light pollution in this remote region, the national park is also one of the best places to see the stars at night.
Road to Hana
If you plan to visit Maui with your family, traveling along the Road to Hana is a must. This popular scenic drive has lots of sights to see along the way, including the town of Paia, the Ho’okipa lookout, and the hike to see Twin Falls. Other nice natural areas to get out of the car to see are the Garden of Eden Arboretum, Kaumahina State Wayside Park, and Upper Waikani Falls. There are plenty of waterfalls, beaches, farms, and small stores to keep everyone in the family entertained. You can make this destination a day trip or spend several days along the route by staying at hotels along the way.
Honolulu’s World War II Sites
It’s easy to get caught up in Hawaii’s natural beauty and unforgettable landscapes, but this is also a very historical place full of learning opportunities for families with kids. To make your family vacation to Hawaii a bit more educational, plan to visit some of the World War II sites in Honolulu. The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor is a top attraction, as well as the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park and USS Missouri Memorial.
Coffee Farms in Kona
You can also take your family to see the coffee farms in Kona, especially if you love starting your morning off with a strong cup of joe. Some coffee farms and plantation offer tours and tastings on the Big Island, and some of the best coffees in the world come from here. Farm tours will show you how coffee beans grow in the field, the processes of getting coffee into your cup, and let you taste it too.
Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park
Families planning to visit Kauai can easily plan their vacations around the beautiful Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park. This state park features the 11-mile Kalalau trail for experienced hikers, as well as boat and helicopter tours for families. Campsites are available in the park for you to explore the waterfalls and Kalalau Valley with epic ocean views from the high cliffs that rise 4,000 feet above the ocean.