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Many people think of Hawaii as a destination reserved for romantic couples celebrating a honeymoon or anniversary. 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.
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. 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.
Kauai, or the “Garden Isle”, is extraordinarily intoxicating, filled with spectacular natural wonders and tourist attractions from waterfalls with hidden pools to colorful gardens, lush valleys, dramatic cliffs, and postcard-perfect beaches. Kauai is a favorite tropical destination for active travelers and an incredible place to get in touch with your outdoorsy and adventurous sides.
Maui is an ideal place for families to visit if you’re looking for beautiful beaches, delicious food, incredible water sports, and an array of incredible natural attractions. It’s a dream destination for many families because of its long list of opportunities for fun in the sun, while it’s also a haven for wildlife lovers because whale sightings are common between the months of December and April. There are also tons of activities for kids, whether you want to enjoy a day of splashing around at the pool or build sandcastles on the beach, join boat excursions, sunset luaus or visit the Maui Ocean Center.
Families can head to Hawaii’s Kailua-Kona on the west side of the Big Island. One of the island’s most scenic getaways, it enjoys a sunnier, drier climate and makes an ideal base for exploring the region’s top sights, from kid-friendly beaches to historical attractions. If you love the outdoors, you’re also close to activities like snorkeling and swimming with dolphins. Just south of Kona, Kealakekua Bay offers some of the best snorkeling on the island. There are big tourist resorts here along with plenty of surfer shops, restaurants and bars – and, if you want to get away from the resort areas, you’ll be less than 90 minutes from lush Waipio Valley and its famously stunning overlook.
Honolulu is a top Hawaiian destination for families, as it’s full of beautiful beaches and amenity-filled hotels. It’s known as an East-Meets-West destination where you can immerse yourself in Hawaii’s unique culture, while outdoor enthusiasts will fall in love with the area’s jungles and volcanoes, which are perfect for exploring on foot. Located on the island of Oahu, the best times to visit Honolulu are between September and November.
The North Shore of Oahu is perfect for families. It’s the best place to go for tranquility on the island, far from the tourist crowds in Waikiki, yet just an hour’s drive away. While the area is famous for its winter waves that draw surfers from across the globe, in the summer, the water is calm enough for kids to go swimming and snorkeling. You can explore small towns nearby that are home to local boutiques, art galleries, delicious eats, as well as luxurious resorts. The beaches are gorgeous, and if you drive around the shoreline, you’re likely to find a stretch to enjoy all to yourselves.
Just nine miles from the popular resorts on West Maui, Molokai feels as if its world away. One of the less-visited of the Hawaiian islands, there’s virtually no nightlife or crowds here, but there is a good chance that you’ll be able to enjoy a spectacular beach all to yourself. Papohaku, better known as Three-Mile beach, is one of Hawaii’s longest stretches of white sands. On a clear day, you’ll even be able to see Oahu. Despite the lack of commercial and tourist development, there’s plenty to do here other than lounge on the sand. Witness the tallest sea cliffs on the planet, visit archaeological sites, experience authentic native Hawaiian culture and snorkel among coral reefs.
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.