Best of Hawaii with Kids
Family-friendly things to do and see in Hawaii By Sarah Vernetti
Hanauma Bay in Hawaii (Flickr: Prayitno)
The Hawaiian Islands might be the perfect destination for a family getaway. Easy to navigate, incredibly picturesque, and filled with family-friendly activities, the islands help families create lasting memories. Whether you’re hoping to spend every free moment of your trip at the beach or are looking forward to exploring Hawaii’s historic and cultural highlights, you won’t want to miss these top kid-friendly attractions when you visit the Aloha State.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Located on the big island of Hawaii, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is one of the most unique in the country. Visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch and beautiful views at Kilauea Overlook, located along Crater Rim Drive. The park also offers opportunities for guided and self-guided hiking, including the relatively short Sulphur Banks Trail and the stark, one-mile Devastation Trail. Don’t forget to go to the Kilauea Visitor Center and pick up your free Junior Ranger booklet for kids ages 7 to 12. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is located approximately 45-minutes by car from the town of Hilo. Admission to the park is $15 per vehicle or $8 per individual/bicyclist.
Waimea Canyon (Flickr: KendanX)
Known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific," Waimea Canyon is a picturesque place to visit on the island of Kauai. Take the winding drive up to the scenic overlook and snap a few photos before heading back down to sea level, if you are short on time. Or, if you have set aside further time to explore, hike the short Iliau Nature Trail at Waimea Canyon State Park, which takes travelers past impressive views on the western side of the canyon.
Kaanapali Beach in Maui (Flickr: Edmund Garman)
Maui’s Kaanapali Beach is a great family-friendly option for those seeking sand and surf. Located on Maui’s western coast, near many of the island’s popular resorts like Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club and the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas, the beach offers visitors beautiful views of Lanai and Molokai in the distance, along with a family-friendly vibe and plenty of nearby shopping and dining options. Be sure to visit the beach’s northern cliffs at the end of the day to see the cliff diving ceremony that takes place at sunset.
Aulani Resort and Spa
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa (Courtesy Aulani)
Oahu’s Aulani Resort provides families the magic of Disney combined with a distinctly Hawaiian flare. Everything from the architecture to the menus at the on-site restaurants reflects the resort’s surroundings. Families will find a large pool with a water slide, lazy river, and splash pad, not to mention a quiet beach just steps away from the resort. Boogie boards, snorkels, and kayaks are available for rent. Aulani is located at 92-1185 Aliinui Drive.
(MORE: 6 Oahu Resorts to Fit Any Budget)
Honolulu Zoo (Courtesy Honolulu Zoo)
As Hawaii’s most comprehensive zoo, the Honolulu Zoo is a popular choice with families visiting Oahu. Take a break from the beach by visiting this attraction, which combines the fun of a zoological park with the lush surroundings of a botanical garden. Honolulu Zoo is located at 151 Kapahulu Avenue. Admission is $14 for adults and $6 for children ages 3-12. Kids under age 2 receive free admission.