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Say goodbye to your cold winter and aloha to a warm, sunny Hawaiian vacation you and your family will never forget. Traveling with your kids is great, but finding something that’s fun and unique for them to do can be difficult. Sure, you could go to Disney World or Sesame Street again, or you could find a unique vacation, like on the islands of Hawaii. Each island has incredibly, unforgettable kid-friendly activities for the whole family to enjoy. We’ve helped you out with a list of the top four kid-friendly islands in Hawaii.
Often called the “Garden Isle”, Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian islands and home to stunning landscapes, lush rainforests, and Hawaii’s famous clear beaches. This island is perfect for you and your adventure-seeking family.
Try your hand at kayaking or paddleboarding down the Hanalei River or take your kids for surfing at Hanalei Beach, where you’ll find rental boards and lessons from local surfers. Once you’ve mastered that, take your family to any of the other pristine beaches to test out your new skills.
An activity you can’t miss, for both the most awe-inspiring natural beauty, and for an experience your kids will surely never forget, head to the island’s isolated North Shore, known for its drop-dead gorgeous views. Na Pali Coast State Park is only accessible by boat or by helicopter tour from above.
If you’re looking to get away from the water for a day, check out the Kauai Kunana Dairy Farm, where you can tour the property, learn how to make milk and cheese, and even pet the goats and sample the foods.
The island is also home to many kid-friendly parks. Take your kids to Kamalani Playground for a castle-like playground fit for a king or a queen. You can also head across the street with them to Lydgate Park, with closed-in swim areas and on-duty lifeguard, making it the perfect spot for your family to explore.
When thinking of Oahu, you probably thought of Honolulu’s bustling city atmosphere, or the resorts lining Waikiki Beach, but the island is home to much more than that, with plenty of unique things to do for the whole family.
Take a tour of the site of the Jurassic World movie at Kualoa Ranch. Tours are given on ATV or horseback, showing you where different scenes were shot while also tying in Hawaiian history lessons.
Or, if land seems too ordinary, head to the Atlantis Submarine Tours, a family-fun option that takes you on the excursion of a lifetime to find artificial reefs and learn about marine life 100 feet underwater.
If that isn’t enough culture, Oahu is home to the Polynesian Cultural Center. The interactive center is the perfect place to bring your kids and learn about Hawaii’s traditions. The program here combines cultural education with a full show and traditional luau, giving you and your kids a full Polynesian experience.
Want a break from the beach? Bring your kids to the Dole Plantation’s Pineapple Garden Maze, which the Guinness Book of World Records records as being the largest maze in the United States. Or if you’re an active family, hike to the top of Diamond Head Crater, a Honolulu classic overlooking the city and the Pacific Ocean below.
Hawaii’s second largest island has most of its attractions nestled between two astonishing mountaintop parks, and of course, surrounded by the clearest of blue oceans.
Maui is named after the demigod of the same name (who your kids might recognize from Disney’s Moana), who is said to have brought the islands up from the ocean and to have lassoed the sun to make the days longer, according to Hawaiian legend.
Want to walk amongst sharks and dolphins? The Maui Ocean Center allows you and your kids to do just that, with a large underwater tunnel. The center is the largest tropical aquarium in the Americas and provides tours that teach your family about ocean life.
Go see a site so beautiful, you won’t believe it belongs on this Earth. Haleakala National Park, or “House of the Sun” as it’s known in Hawaiian, sits on the eastern shore of the island. The 10,000-foot high summit provides stunning views of the red sand mountains of the park. For young kids, the park has a “junior ranger” program to learn about wildlife and earn badges.
Set on the opposite end of the island from Haleakala, ‘Iao Valley State Park’s green park sits as the entrance to the lush, tropical mountains and the exit from the clear ocean views. The park is also home to the ‘Iao Needle, a 1,200 foot-high rock often hidden in the clouds, and the Hawaii Nature Center, a must-see spot for families with children.
Hawaii, Big Island
The Big Island, and the namesake of the state, Hawaii Island is a family fun-filled dream vacation. Hawaii is home to stunning blue water beaches, other-worldly parks, active volcanoes, and more.
Punalu’u Beach is not just like another classic Hawaiian beach. With black sand and natural springs coming up from the water, it is truly a unique site in Hawaii. On the southern end of the island, this beach is relatively secluded, except for some newborn sea turtle friends who may pay you a visit.
If you’re looking for something more educational, learn about seahorses at the Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm. This unique farm is located on the western side of the island and provides an eco-friendly sanctuary to 15,000 seahorses. Your kids will love seeing and even holding these little creatures, as well as learning all about them and their habitat.
Head away from the typical beaches and sea life for an afternoon and spend your time gazing at the stars at Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo. In traditional Hawaiian culture, voyagers used the stars as navigation. At the museum and planetarium, your kids can learn all about the stars as they relate to traditional Hawaiian culture and modern astronomy.
Another natural wonder, Volcanoes National Park should absolutely be on your to-do list. This park features an active volcano! Not to worry though, you’re not likely to be in the next Pompeii (though we advise you to check on the Hawaii Volcano Observatory website before visiting).
Check out the craters, hikes, and ocean-side road, a road that leads from the volcano and disappears directly into the ocean. The end of the road was destroyed in a volcanic eruption, giving you a taste of an eruption without actually seeing one.