Hawaiian Islands provide something special for families of all ages, with young kids being enchanted by Moana at Aulani while older children might prefer an exhilarating whale watching cruise or hiking magnificent mountains on Oahu.
Navigating Hawaii’s many islands can be taxing for young travelers, so Oahu is an excellent option that offers beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and cultural events – ideal for making family travel easy.
Hawaiian vacations have long been a favorite choice of families looking for tropical vacations, offering breathtaking beaches, stunning scenery, and plenty of exciting activities that are sure to please every member of the family. But with over 100 volcanic islands to explore and resort options available on each of them, selecting the ideal Hawaiian island can be challenging – the decision should take into account your interests as well as travel style – to find their ideal fit.
Oahu is Hawaii’s most family-friendly island, boasting many fun activities and attractions to keep everyone occupied for an exciting trip. Honolulu, Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbor are among the must-visit spots. Additionally, Polynesian Cultural Center (with villages, luau and Hanauma Bay State Park), dolphin excursions or visiting Honolulu Zoo will keep everyone busy!
Try something different during your stay, like exploring the Pineapple Garden Maze – known as the world’s largest garden maze! This park was specially designed to allow easy walking and exploration; making it ideal for toddlers and preschoolers.
Oahu’s southern side offers luxurious yet relaxed getaway options perfect for families. Near Kona, this area is filled with upscale restaurants, shopping opportunities and beautiful beaches – unlike other parts of Oahu where rainfall levels often make this part dry and sunny all year long.
For an authentic Hawaii experience, make your way west on the Big Island. Home to 11 out of 13 climate zones worldwide, here you can see black, white, green and even snow-capped mountains all within an easy drive from each other. Hike Akaka Falls Trail or witness lava flow at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for maximum experience!
Kauai Island is an absolute must for nature lovers, known for its spectacular foliage and lush beauty that earned it the moniker “the Garden Isle.” One of Hawaii’s oldest islands, with valleys, cliffs, streams and more to discover; relax by taking in views and sunsets from Kalalau Lookout or hiking up Hanakoa Falls for breathtaking panoramas and hikes!
Maui is one of the best Hawaiian Islands for families, offering an abundance of activities, food, and beaches to entertain children of all ages. Families will especially love Waikiki Aquarium and Honolulu Zoo while adults appreciate shopping spaces and cultural events such as Aulani Disney Resort & Spa where children can meet Moana while enjoying kid-friendly luaus!
Kauai is another ideal Hawaiian island for families as its tranquil and scenic paradise offers some of the most stunning landscapes found anywhere. Boasting lush greenery and majestic cliffs, its nickname “The Garden Isle” describes this idyllic retreat perfectly.
Kauai, as one of the oldest Hawaiian Islands, provides an ideal setting for family adventures and explorations. A favorite activity among families visiting Kauai is driving the Road to Hana – its 52-mile journey takes just a few hours but offers fun stops like Twin Falls hiking, visiting Garden of Eden, black sand beach views, snorkeling in Molokini Crater where green sea turtles reside, amongst other marine life species!
The North Shore of Kauai is an excellent place for families to stay, offering plenty of activities while still having a laid-back ambience. The beaches here are incredible and you may even try your hand at surfing! However, keep in mind that this area can often experience large waves which may pose potential swimming safety concerns during winter.
Kauai is a large island that requires at least two weeks for exploration. To reduce rental car costs and make your vacation more cost-effective for your family, flying into one of the other islands first before driving over to Kauai is another great way. When selecting your hotel location on Kauai it may also benefit to pick either the south or north coast for convenient access to various attractions and activities.
Kauai is often neglected, yet is one of the finest Hawaiian islands for families. Not only is it less crowded than Oahu but there are countless activities and natural wonders here that should not be missed by nature-lovers. Kauai truly deserves its moniker “Garden Isle.”
Explore its beautiful beaches, lush forests, and breathtaking waterfalls on an excursion through Hanauma Bay or trek the Kalalau Trail and uncover its many caves! This is sure to be an adventure that all children will cherish.
The Kauai Museum offers an entertaining way to gain insight into Kauai’s rich history and culture, featuring life-sized replicas of whaling ships, native plants, ancient relics, and much more. Plus, visit their Performing Arts Center for some entertainment!
As part of an active family getaway, consider hiking Akaka Falls State Park for an active family hike. Its paved loop path features handrails for all ages. When finished hiking, cool off with some swimming at nearby Ke’e Beach before rewarding your kids with some delicious shave ice.
Kauai’s northern end offers families the perfect place to stay, with beachfront resorts in Princeville that are both luxurious and family-friendly, as well as master-planned communities such as Ko Olina that allow them to spend most of their time at their resort. And for an added dose of Disney magic, Aulani at Ko Olina might just be what’s required!
Oahu is the easiest Hawaii island for children to access and offers many urban adventures as well as laid-back Hawaiian experiences. Additionally, it is the most economical of the Hawaiian islands. Popular family hotels in Waikiki and top-rated zoo and aquarium attractions make Oahu worth a visit for travelers; while landmarks such as Iolani Palace and Pearl Harbor National Memorial should not be missed either!
To maximize your stay on Hawai’i Island, Kona offers lively seaside charm where upscale restaurants and boutiques await. Kihei provides ideal family accommodations close to attractions on the Road to Hana.
If you really want to experience Hawaii Island (The Big Island), I advise booking at least two weeks. This will give you ample time to experience a range of attractions, beaches and cultural activities on this large island; car rentals are highly recommended and the best way to travel around it.
Waikiki is a top destination for families with young kids as it offers the perfect blend of beach life and city living. The southern shore beaches are calm, making them suitable for babies and toddlers not used to rough surf conditions; on the North Shore however there are larger waves ideal for surfing; finally on Big Island visitors can visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park where visitors can discover volcanic sites including lava tubes.
Molokai may not be as developed as its sister islands, but it remains an ideal option for families looking for an authentic Hawaiian experience. Stepping foot onto this idyllic island feels like taking a trip 50 years back in time; and children can gain valuable insights into native Hawaiian culture here.
Kauai is another fantastic island destination for families looking for an idyllic beach- and resort-like vacation, featuring family-friendly restaurants and attractions such as the Kauai Children’s Museum and Waimea Canyon Lookout, plus hiking opportunities on Kalalau Trail and Hanalei Canyon Trail – Poipu Beach is also an excellent spot for viewing endangered monk seals!
Decidng which Hawaiian islands are ideal for families can be subjective and depends on personal preferences as well as the ages of your kids. To help identify which Hawaii island would best meet your travel goals, speak with a Fora Advisor about what’s important to you – they can offer expert recommendations on where to stay and activities to do on each island, plus provide help navigating complex logistics related to flying there and getting from island to island.