The Islands of Hawaii are an idyllic destination for families with toddlers to teens. Hawaii Destination Specialist Barbi Partlow has a special love of Hawaii and knows it extremely well. Here she shares her favorite family-friendly activities and hotels on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island.
Barbi’s Favorite Family-Friendly Islands of Hawaii:
Oāahu, āThe Gathering Placeā
Full of history, beauty, and the excitement of Waikiki, the island of Oāahu is teeming with activity. An obligatory visit to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial will satisfy the WWII history buffs, and itās really a moving experience not to be missed. Other family-friendly attractions include the Polynesian Cultural Center, Honolulu Zoo, Sea Life Park, or a visit to the Dole Plantation and a ride on the āPineapple Express.ā Your ohana (family) will enjoy staying in a hotel right on Waikiki Beach to swim, have a surfing lesson, or people-watch.
Barbiās Oahu Hotel Recommendations: The Outrigger chain has reasonable family-friendly hotel options that have cultural activities for all ages, so everyone can delve into the hip Hawaiian culture. Or, venture over to the Koāolina area away from the frenzy of Waikiki and stay at Disneyās Aulani Resort & Spa. Disney knows how to make magic happen for keikis (children) and adults alike.
Maui, āThe Valley Isleā
On Maui the Kaāanapali area and Lahaina Town is an exciting venue for families with an abundance of shops and restaurants and there are hotel options galore. Everyone loves to see the huge banyan tree on Front Street in Lahaina ā its massive 12 major trunks take up an entire block. Rent a vehicle to fit the clan and venture off on a scenic and fun āRoad to Hanaā drive, passing by the many waterfalls along the twisting turns. Stop off at Hoāokipa Beach Park and watch the surfers and windsurfers hang ten from the vantage point of Hoāokipa Lookout – itās amazing! In up-country Maui, visit a goat farm, lavender farm, and a winery, or take a drive up to the summit of Haleāakala to see the crater.
Barbiās Maui Hotel Recommendations: The Westin Maui Resort & Spa at Kaāanapali is an excellent family-friendly hotel choice, with a fantastic outdoor pool complex featuring five pools, waterslides, a swim-through grotto and more. Mom and Dad also have an adult-only pool if they need some quiet time. The Hyatt Regency also has fun kidās attractions and special pools. For well-heeled and well-budgeted families looking for an upscale hotel experience, look no further than the Four Season Maui at Wailea. If traveling with small children, your room can be ready with complimentary amenities such as a playpen, baby monitor, high chair, and stroller so you donāt have to schlep it all from home. Activities for ages 5-12 called āKids for All Seasonsā keeps those ages busy and teens appreciate complimentary age-appropriate activities.
Kauaāi, āIsland of Discoveryā
Kauai offers plenty of active nature discovery for all ages. Horseback riding, bikes, boats, and boogie boards are available or enjoy a mountain tubing tour, zip-line adventure, or train ride at Kauaāi Plantation Railway. Hiking options are everywhere, and Kokeāe State Parkās āWonder Walksā on weekend afternoons are a fun option. There are kid-friendly calm waters for swimming at Lydgate State Park in Wailua or Poāipu Beach Park on the South Shore (both are lifeguarded). For garden enthusiasts, the Na āAina Kai Botanical Gardens and Sculpture Park is filled with whimsical bronze sculptures in the formal gardens that are sure to make you smile. The little ones will enjoy an interesting educational diversion at the Childrenās Garden, where they can explore a āgecko maze,ārubber tree treehouse, a kid-sized railroad and more.
Barbiās Kauai Hotel Recommendations: The family can stay at any of the wonderfully kid-friendly hotels on the island, such as the Grand Hyatt Kauaāi Resort & Spa (with the famous Camp Hyatt for kids), the St. Regis Princeville with their āYoung Voyagers Clubā, or the Sheraton Kauaāi Resort offering the āKeiki Aloha Club.ā
The āBig Islandā of Hawaii
Adventure is found in every corner of the Big Island. Head to Volcanoes National Park for a great educational and recreational experience. The ranger station has updates on current eruptions, hiking information, and ranger-led activities. For more action, check out the KapohiKine Adventures at Honolii Outpost and enjoy dual zip lines, or just watch the kids zip from the ground as you walk the adjacent path.
Barbiās Hawaii Hotel Recommendations: Good hotel choices with kid-friendly programs include the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel situated at fabulous Hapuna beach, sister hotel Mauna Kea Beach, and the Hilton Waikoloa Village. The Sheraton Kona Keauhou Bay is a smaller, more budget-friendly property thatās fun for families. Located right on the waterfront on a bed of lava, you can watch giant manta rays gather in the bay each night to eat plankton and perform their mesmerizing underwater ballet as overhead lights illuminate the spectacle. Itās magic.
No matter what your pleasure is, the Islands of Hawaii deliver the goods! To plan your next family vacation to Hawaii, contact the family travel experts at Covington Travel.
Barbi Partlow is a Luxury Travel Advisor with Covington Travel who has a passion for tropical islands and has earned destination specialist credentials for most of the worldās favorite tropical vacation spots. Her travelers benefit from her personalized trip planning and unwavering commitment to quality service; her co-workers affectionately know her as a crazy cat lady and a talented thespian with a comical sense of humor.