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Planning a Hawaii family vacation and looking for the best things to do in Hawaii with kids? Then you’ve come to the right place.
We spent three weeks on a family vacation in Hawaii and had an incredible time exploring all the family-friendly attractions.
We explored three of the Hawaiian Islands – Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island, and had the best family vacation in Hawaii that we still talk about years later!
The best thing about Hawaii is it’s a great all-year-round destination. It’s famous for its sunshine, volcanoes, untamed landscapes, marine life, and crystal clear blue waters. It’s not just a place for adventure, but a learning experience for your kids.
If you’re not sure what to do in Hawaii with kids (that adults love doing too) then this guide might help. I’ve not only listed the best kid-friendly attractions in Hawaii but also listed our favorite kid-friendly hotels and some cool places to eat.
So if you want to escape the cold for a week or two, have a beach vacation, go snorkeling, chase waterfalls, see amazing sunsets, or witness live volcanoes, then you’re in for an incredible Hawaii vacation with kids.
This post is brought to you by Orbitz. Learn how you can earn rewards by traveling. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions are my own
- Getting Around Hawaii
- 33 Things to Do in Hawaii With Kids
- 1. Snorkel at Hanauma Bay, Oahu
- 2. Volcanoes National Park, Big Island
- 3. Diamond Head Summit Trail, Oahu
- 4. Eat Ginormous Pancakes at Bogart’s Cafe
- 5. Hang Out on Waikiki Beach
- 6. Visit Pearl Harbor, Oahu
- 7. Drive the North Shore Road, Oahu
- 8. Swim at Lanikai Beach, Oahu
- 9. Eat Shaved Ice
- 10. Stay at Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
- 11. Play at Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon
- 12. Watch a Polynesian Luau Show
- 13. Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center
- 14. Eat WONUTS
- 15. HULA Dancing Lessons
- 16. Watch a Free Hula Show
- 17. Atlantis Submarine Dive
- 18. See Green Turtles on Black Sand Beach
- 19. Take A Surfing Lesson in Waikiki
- 20. Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Maui
- 21. Swim with Manta Rays at Keauhou, Kona
- 22. Take on the Pancake Challenge at the M.A.C. 24/7 Bar + Restaurant
- 23. Snorkel at Kealakekua Bay
- 24. Stay at Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort
- 25. See Akaka Falls
- 26. Snorkel at Black Rock Beach, Maui
- 27. Watch the Nakalele Blowhole, Maui
- 28. Visit the Dole Plantation
- 29. Learn About Honolulu’s Place in WWII History
- 30. Visit Waimea Canyon State Park
- 31. Relive a Jurassic Park Moment at Kualoa Ranch
- 32. Hiking in Haleakala National Park
- 33. Paddle at Kailua Beach Park
- Tips for Planning a Hawaii Family Vacation
- Before You Go
Getting Around Hawaii
Hawaii is an archipelago of several islands and it can be difficult to know how to navigate your way around. While there is public transport on the larger islands such as Big Island and Kauai, buses run fairly irregularly and it takes a long time to get from A to B.
We highly recommend you hire a car when traveling around the island. It’s not only faster and more convenient, but you also get to explore some of the scenic drives such as driving the North Shore road, or driving to Hanauma Bay.
If you want to step your adventure up a notch, you could even hire an RV and save big dollars in accommodation and overnight hotel parking expenses (on average $25 per day).
Another thing to consider is getting from island to island. You can find ferries that take you from Maui to Lanai, but that’s it. There are no other ferries between islands in Hawaii.
Your best way to get from island to island is to take flights. You can find cheap direct flights with Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines, and Southwest Airlines.
You can search for flights to Hawaii with Orbitz you can receive text alerts about your trip.
Bonus: Earn rewards on top of your airline miles with Orbitz Rewards.
33 Things to Do in Hawaii With Kids
Now you know how to get around Hawaii, it’s time to take a look at the best attractions in Hawaii for kids!
1. Snorkel at Hanauma Bay, Oahu
One of the best things to do in Oahu with kids is go snorkeling, and one of the most popular places to visit in Hawaii, is Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.
This gorgeous cove was once a volcanic crater and is now home to lively reefs of colorful fish and clear blue water.
Located just 30-minutes east of Waikiki, you can drive there in your rental car, or you can take one of many guided tours on a shuttle bus.
Bring your own snorkeling gear if you have it, otherwise, you can rent masks, snorkels, and fins for $20.
Either way, it’s a must do in Oahu with kids.
Get here early, around breakfast time if possible, as this place is one of the most popular things to do in Oahu with kids and gets CRAZY busy and there are only 300 parking spots!
Also, if you wait too late in the day the water gets churned up by the hundreds of snorkelers which affects visibility.
- Open from 6am – 7pm (summer), 6am – 6pm (winter).
- Closed on Tuesdays, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
- Entrance fee is $7.50 per person (kids 12 & under are FREE).
- Masks, snorkels, and fins can be rented for $20.
If you are not confident with snorkeling, or just want to be led around, you can join a guided snorkeling tour.
2. Volcanoes National Park, Big Island
One of our favorite places to visit in Hawaii with kids was the Big Island of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
We had never witnessed an active volcano before – Kīlauea – and it was a highlight of our visit to the Big Island with kids.
Start your visit at the Visitors Center, then check out the Jaggar Museum and overlook to learn more about volcanoes and see the bubbling lava in the crater of the Kīlauea Volcano.
There is a lava lake in the crater and when it fills up it bubbles over (amazing at night).
Don’t miss the 18-mile Chain of Craters Road, it’s one of the best things to do in Hawaii and a drive that takes you from the visitors’ center to the coast where you can see lava still pouring into the ocean – amazing!
You can pull off the road to view craters, see giant fields of lava rock, and marvel at their texture and shape.
If you want to see more destruction caused by volcanoes, head to the nearby Thurston Lava Tubes outside the national park. These are caves created by the lava flows and are free to explore.
If your family is up for more Hawaii adventures to volcanoes, you can get closer with an 8-mile return hike, or on a boat tour, depending on the visibility and safety situation.
$25 per car, or $12 per person without a car to enter the park.
If you’re looking for a unique experience in Volcanoes National Park, consider taking the family on one of the helicopter tours. Exploring the park in helicopters is much better way to view the lava flows.
Check out more in this Hawaii Volcanoes National Park video:
3. Diamond Head Summit Trail, Oahu
One of the most popular things to do in Waikiki with kids, and probably the most popular hike in Oahu, is the Diamond Head Trail.
Whilst fairly steep, it’s a relatively easy hike for kids with lots of switchbacks making the climb to the summit fun.
Rated as moderate, the 1.8 mile out and back hike starts from the middle of the Diamond Head volcanic crater and climbs about 500 feet up the side to the top of the rim which offers fantastic views over Waikiki Beach from the summit.
I suggest going early in the morning. It’s a popular sunrise walk, but if you can’t get your kids up there for sunrise, arrive at the park around 8am and you will beat most of the crowds.
If you get there mid-morning, be ready to share it with hundreds of other visitors.
Allow at least 90-minutes to complete the circuit.
Park entrance fee is $1.
Diamond Head Hike Video:
4. Eat Ginormous Pancakes at Bogart’s Cafe
Reward your kids for completing the Diamond Head walk with ginormous pancakes at Bogarts Café & Espresso Bar, which is on the way back to Waikiki Beach.
They were big enough for our kids to share, and they gave them and their hot chocolates (also huge) the thumbs up.
Mom and dad, you’ll enjoy one of the best acai bowls here, and the coffee and green smoothies are GOOD too!
5. Hang Out on Waikiki Beach
Looking for free things to do in Honolulu with kids?
A relaxing day at the beach is one of the main reasons you booked your Hawaii family vacation package.
With Diamond Head and the Honolulu skyline as a backdrop, Waikiki Beach is famous and needs little introduction. It’s one of the most recognizable and gorgeous beaches in the world.
In Waikiki, the water is a perfect temperature and generally safe for kids to swim with those calm rolling waves (no dumpers like most other beaches).
They can play on the sand, swim, surf, or ride in one of those famous outrigger boats.
The main section of Waikiki Beach is in front of The Royal Hawaiian Hotel (the Flamingo Pink), but it does get crowded as it’s here where most of the outrigger boats operate from and learn to surf schools.
But, if an overcrowded beach makes you weary, you can get away from most of the congestion, as Waikiki Beach is kind of split into three sections.
The other two sections are:
- Kahanamoku Beach – a curved section of beach at the western end of Waikiki, right in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort (another reason to stay here). The sand is golden and the water is crystal clear. It’s protected by the breakwater and pier, and if you fancy a snorkel there’s coral running between them.
- Kuhio Beach – Further east toward Diamond Head, this family-friendly section of the beach is protected from the ocean waves by a sea wall and is away from the hustle and bustle. It’s pretty here with the palm trees and uninterrupted views of Diamond Head.
If you are visiting Hawaii with toddlers, you’ll appreciate these two quieter options.
6. Visit Pearl Harbor, Oahu
Our kids learn so much from travel and the world around them, and we like to expose them to as much as possible.
One of the most important and historical places to go in Oahu is Pearl Harbor, and if you are visiting Hawaii with kids it’s a beneficial educational experience.
Though a tragic event, it’s a beautiful memorial and very moving, and if you are foreigners like us it offers new insights into US culture.
Visit the grounds and museum before catching a boat over to the Arizona Memorial, the ship that sunk and is now the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and Marines killed.
Seven decades later, oil still leaks from the fuel tanks of the sunken hull of the USS Arizona. Little drops of oil bubble up from the surface and dance across it – known as the black tears of the USS Arizona.
This is a must-do in Hawaii, but if you are short on time, and without a car, you can join a half day or full day tour.
Pearl Harbor with Kids Video
7. Drive the North Shore Road, Oahu
You can’t spend every day laying on beaches in Hawaii, well you can but driving around the Island of Oahu is a great way to spend a day on your family trip to Hawaii.
We rented a car in Waikiki and spent a full day driving around both sides of the island – we got to Haleiwa on North Shore Oahu then cut back through the middle of the island to Honolulu.
It was such a pretty drive, especially on the South East Coast.
And this road trip is how we visited Hanauma Bay, Lanikai Beach (see down below) the North Shore beaches and the historic town of Haleiwa.
The North Shore’s claim to fame is big wave surfing with swells reaching up to 30 feet high.
But the big wave season is during the winter months (November – February) and the famous North Shore beaches of Waimea Bay, Pipeline, and Sunset are worth visiting in any season.
And the coastal scenery is stunning!
See more of the North Coast drive in our video:
8. Swim at Lanikai Beach, Oahu
Consistently rated the best beach in Oahu, you’ll quickly see why Lanikai Beach is a family favorite.
Much quieter than Waikiki, or Hanauma Bay, this strip of sand was our favorite spot on our road trip around Oahu and makes for a perfect place to have a swim with your kids or go stand up paddle boarding or kayaking to nearby islands!
When you do a drive around Oahu to the North Shore, don’t miss Lanikai, we think it’s one of the best things to do in Oahu with kids.
9. Eat Shaved Ice
If your kids are in need of a unique treat, shaved ice is a popular dessert in Hawaii made by shaving a block of ice with flavored syrups added and absorbed by the ice.
The most famous shaved ice in Oahu is at Matsumoto in Haleiwa (we went here on our North Shore drive), but we took one look at the LONG line and kept driving.
We ended up buying our kids shaved ice from a food truck a bit further down the road in Haleiwa called Snow Factory – there was no line and our kids had nothing to compare it to and loved their treat!
10. Stay at Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
We loved staying at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, which you could say is a destination in itself.
Before we even booked our Hawaii vacation with kids we had several friends (who also have kids) say “you must stay at this hotel.”
The Hilton Hawaiian property is huge with five towers and a five-acre saltwater lagoon complete with all the water activities and toys to make for a great family-friendly place to play!
Not only did our friends rave about this resort, but thousands of other travelers on their reviews. And now after visiting, we agree it’s one of the best family resorts in Hawaii for these reasons:
- 5 pools and water slides
- Amazing location on Kahanamoku Beach, but an easy walk into the hub of Waikiki
- 5-acre salt water lagoon
- Best kid-friendly hotel in Waikiki
- Spectacular Friday night fireworks display
The minute we walked into our room and saw the stunning view of Waikiki Beach from our balcony, we were wowed – one of the best hotel views we’ve ever seen, period – we stayed in the Rainbow Tower.
We weren’t in Waikiki on a Friday night, but if you find yourself here, then we’ve been told to don’t miss their fireworks show!
Search all Honolulu hotels:
Check out this awesome Hawaii hotel in our video review of Hilton Waikiki
11. Play at Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon
Even if you don’t stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort, one of the best things to do in Waikiki with kids is play at the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon (otherwise known as the Hilton Hawaiian Village lagoon).
Here you can play on paddle boats, stand up paddle boards, swim in a safe lagoon, and kick back on the sand.
It’s one of the best places to visit in Hawaii for families to hang out and a nice spot to take in the sunset.
12. Watch a Polynesian Luau Show
I know, going to a Luau show probably sounds like one of those over-the-top Hawaii tourist attractions.
Yes and no. Like everything, there are good and bad Luau shows.
Not only is the Hilton Hawaiian Village one of the awesome places to stay in Waikiki with kids, but it’s also home to the Starlight Luau.
Initially we also thought a Luau would be a bit kitsch and over-touristy, but we thoroughly enjoyed the dancing and music from this show which highlights the stories and culture of the different Polynesian islands.
The spirit of the Hawaiian people really shines through, and a buffet dinner and a couple of free drinks never go astray.
Whilst I can’t vouch for other Luau shows, consider putting this on your list of things to do in Hawaii with kids.
13. Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center continues to be one of the top Oahu attractions.
Many folks come just for the evening luau and show.
But, it’s recommend coming in the day time and it’s one of the interesting things to do in Honolulu with kids since you can visit villages set up to reflect the culture and traditions of various Polynesian nations: Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Aotearoa, Marquesas, and of course Hawaii.
14. Eat WONUTS
We’d never heard of, let alone had a wonut before, and the minute we arrived at our hotel the friendly bellboy enthusiastically suggested we must try the wonuts downstairs at the TR Fire Grill.
So what’s a wonut you ask? A hybrid between a waffle and a donut.
After our kids begged us for long enough, we gave in and they got to try them for dessert one evening.
15. HULA Dancing Lessons
Hula is the Hawaiian heartbeat. And rarely does anything happen or get launched in the Hawaiian Islands without the chanting and singing of a traditional blessing and hula.
Our kids had a fun time learning the graceful steps of the hula under the kukui nut tree at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel in Maui.
Our teacher was patient and humble and made it seem so easy to learn. Our kids practiced every day after and can still remember it – isn’t that what family vacations are all about, memorable moments!
16. Watch a Free Hula Show
On Kuhio Beach in Waikiki, you’ll find a beautiful free hula show. A lovely setting with the sounds of the ocean mixing in with the Hawaiian music.
The show includes authentic Hawaiian music and hula performances as well as a torch lighting ceremony. It’s offered every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night (weather permitting).
You’ll find the show at the Kuhio Beach Hula Mound near the intersection of Uluniu and Kalakaua Avenues – add it to your free things to do in Hawaii with kids list!
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center in Waikiki offers free hula lessons.
17. Atlantis Submarine Dive
We’ll admit, when choosing family activities in Hawaii we were a little nervous about the thought of getting into a submarine as we’d never been in one before.
The Atlantis Submarine submerged to 120 feet underwater off the coast of Waikiki Beach so it was a little nervy. But, it was awesome!
We’re not scuba divers so thoroughly enjoyed getting an insight into the underwater world.
The Atlantis submarine cruises by several intentionally sunken ships and airplanes to help create new artificial reefs. We saw coral growing, sharks, lots of fish, and turtles.
Put this on your list of Honolulu family activities.
18. See Green Turtles on Black Sand Beach
One of the best things to do in Hawaii with kids is to see Green Turtles, and Punalu’u (Black Sand Beach) on the Hawaii main island is one of the best places to see them.
Not only is this beach interesting due to its black sand, but Hawaiian Green Turtles also like to visit here and we were lucky enough to see one on the sand at the water’s edge.
The jet-black sand formed when molten lava from two nearby active volcanoes flowed into the water, cooled, and then broke into fragments that washed ashore.
If you’re lucky, you might also be able to do some whale-watching from the shore here, since the allusive humpback whales live in the waters around Big Island.
Check out the turtles on the black sand beach in our video
19. Take A Surfing Lesson in Waikiki
Our eldest daughter, Kalyra, learned how to surf back in Australia, so she just wanted to hire her own surfboard and play in the gentle waves with me.
But, if you are interested in learning to surf, this is one of the most fun things to do in Hawaii with kids and Waikiki Beach is one of the easiest places to learn.
With its clear waist-deep water and gently rolling waves, your kids could be standing up in no time.
There are several surfing lesson operators spanning Waikiki Beach offering group or private lessons.
A typical 90-minute surfing lesson runs about $95, or, you can do what we did and hire a board – $25 for two hours.
20. Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Maui
We love Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP), it’s one of our favorite family activities and we seek out opportunities wherever we go.
One awesome place to do it in Hawaii is at Kaanapali Beach, three miles of white sand and clear water and was once rated America’s best beach.
Supping here quickly became one of our favorite things to do in Maui with kids.
With the islands of Molokai and Lanai providing the backdrop for your stand up paddle boarding fun (or the views from your beach chair whilst the kids swim or play on the sand) it will have you longing to return.
You can rent SUP (stand up paddle boards) from the Kaanapali Beach Hotel for $25 an hour.
Out of all the places to go in Hawaii with kids, Ka’anapali is the one place that calls us to return to and soak up that Hawaiian sunshine.
Check out our family vacation on Kaanapali Beach:
21. Swim with Manta Rays at Keauhou, Kona
One of the most amazing things to do in Hawaii with kids, and one of the best experiences we have had anywhere, is swim with the manta rays near Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.
At first, we were a little apprehensive about this activity – swimming in the ocean, in the dark, with manta rays and our five-year-old child.
You set out on a traditional Hawaiian 40-foot double-hulled Hawaiian sailing canoe with the crew from Eka Canoes as the sun goes down.
Once out in the bay, we slipped into the water and held onto the side of a floating surfboard, lowering our heads under the water with snorkeling masks on and torch lights.
What happens next is incredible. Manta ray after manta ray swim around you, somersaulting and literally brushing up against you – that’s how close we were to them!
Don’t miss Keauhou – it’s one of the best places to go in Hawaii with kids for a wildlife encounter!
Video: Swimming with Manta Rays on the Big Island
22. Take on the Pancake Challenge at the M.A.C. 24/7 Bar + Restaurant
Speaking of pancakes, located inside the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel, the M.A.C. 24/7 Bar + Restaurant serves killer pancakes!
M.A.C. 24/7’s claim to fame is its Pancake Challenge.
Featured on the Travel Channel show, Man vs. Food, the Pancake Challenge consists of eating three 14-inch pancakes topped with either blueberries, walnuts, and chocolate chunks; pineapple, coconut, and macadamia nuts; or cinnamon streusel with vanilla glaze.
Is your family up for the challenge?
23. Snorkel at Kealakekua Bay
One of the other best places to visit in Hawaii with kids to go snorkeling is Kealakekua Bay – 17 miles south of Kona on the Big Island.
This bay is an underwater marine sanctuary and is famous for its excellent snorkeling and kayaking.
It’s also the place where Captain Cook lost his life – being Australian, it was one of the more interesting places to visit in Hawaii.
We took a tour with Fair Wind Cruises and had a blast zipping down water slides off the side of the boat (and jumping off the top deck) into a pristine marine bay filled with colorful fish and coral.
This ticks the box of fun things to do in Hawaii with kids.
See more of our snorkeling trip on the Big Island:
24. Stay at Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort
If the idea of a relaxing all-inclusive Family resort vacation is more your style, then the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort on the Big Island is one of the best Hawaii family resorts.
With 62 oceanfront acres, 3 swimming pools (including a 200 feet water slide) a saltwater lagoon, dolphin encounters, a full-service spa, and world-famous golf courses – this place is huge!
Located just north of Kona Town on the Big Island of Hawaii, head here and you’ll have everything you need.
Our kids loved the pools and water slides and it was one of the most relaxing thing to do in Hawaii during our Hawaii family vacation.
Don’t miss sunset drinks at the nearby Lava Lava Beach Club – get there early to grab a beach chair and enjoy the vibe and views as it’s one of the most popular things to do in Waikoloa. And you kids can play on the sand.
See our video review of Waikoloa
25. See Akaka Falls
The Big Island of Hawaii is about adventure, volcanic wonders, black sand beaches, and wow moments.
It’s one of the best places to visit in Hawaii for waterfalls and is full of awesome Hawaii activities for kids.
Akaka Falls is Hawaii Island’s most famous waterfall and one of the most popular things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii.
It plunges 442 feet into a stream-eroded gorge situated within the Akaka Falls State Park.
There’s a loop walk here you can do and see the 100-foot Kahuna Falls – but it was closed for us during our visit, I believe due to storm damage.
Entry to the state park costs $5 per car or $1 per pedestrian.
Don’t visit in the afternoon as the sun is in the worst position behind the falls making it difficult to see with your eyes, and terrible for taking photos – go in the early morning!
26. Snorkel at Black Rock Beach, Maui
At the northern end of Ka’anapali Beach is popular Black Rock Beach.
Black Rock is popular for two reasons; green sea turtles and cliff diving.
This was another one of the most amazing experiences we had in Hawaii with kids. Giant sea turtle after giant sea turtle gracefully swam beside us unperturbed by our presence and others around us.
And the great thing is, it’s easy to access the water directly from the beach with your kids – no boat tours are needed here!
Also, every evening a cliff diver lights the torches along the cliffs and dives off in a re-enactment of a feat by Maui’s much-loved King Kahikili.
Don’t miss Maui’s spectacular sunsets. We enjoyed watching it from the Cliff Dive Bar located in the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, or from anywhere along Ka’anapali Beach.
27. Watch the Nakalele Blowhole, Maui
Nakalele Blowhole is one of the cool places to see in Hawaii with kids and can squirt water up to 100 feet high.
We had an impromptu science lesson here with our kids talking about how blow holes work, and then watching it in action.
The location is pretty and you can walk around the rocks, but keep a safe distance from the blowhole.
And the scenery on this short drive around the Ka’anapali coast is gorgeous, and the beaches along this part of the coast are pretty as well.
28. Visit the Dole Plantation
If you’re ever wondering what fruit Hawaii is famous for, then the answer has to be pineapples. The climate is perfect for growing them, and you can learn all about the process and cultivation from the Dole plantation.
You may have heard of Dole, or seen their stickers on pineapples and bananas in supermarkets, but the Dole Plantation in Hawaii is the only place where visitors can get an inside view of where their fruit comes from.
In the 1950s, Dole started out as a fruit stand, but quickly grew into a huge plantation. Now open to the public, visitors get to see the “Pineapple Experience” where you can explore the garden, a pineapple maze and also attend presentations and ride a Pineapple Express Train.
It certainly is one of the most unique things to do in Hawaii with kids.
29. Learn About Honolulu’s Place in WWII History
Many of us have heard about Hawaii’s involvement in WWII because of the devastating catastrophe at Pearl Harbor, but if you want to learn more about the state’s place in the war, you can learn so much from the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park.
USS Bowfin Submarine is a US Navy Balao-class submarine that was converted into a museum in 1981. This is one of the most educational things to do in Hawaii with kids as it not only shows kids around a real submarine, but there are STEM activities for your children to learn new information.
There are scavenger hunts, workshops, and demonstrations. It’s an immersive and fun way for kids to learn about history.
Also nearby is the shipwrecks of the floating USS Arizona Memorial. You can also board the battleship USS Missouri walk along the hangars of the Pacific Aviation Museum, where you can see an actual WWII aircraft.
30. Visit Waimea Canyon State Park
Known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, the Waimea Canyon State Park in Kauai is an area of outstanding natural beauty.
It rose to fame after it was found by American explorer John Wesley Powell in 1869.
The park is famous for Waimea Canyon, which was formed when the Waimea river mixed with lava and basalt formations. There used to be a volcano in the canyon, but it collapsed 10 million years ago, creating the unique landscape you see in the canyon today.
The area is a popular hiking spot, and has many trails. You can hike through wild foliage, across steep cliffs, past incredible waterfalls and unspoiled nature. It’s the perfect thing to do in Hawaii with kids who love nature.
31. Relive a Jurassic Park Moment at Kualoa Ranch
If you think about movies and TB shows set in Hawaii, you’ll immediately recognize this spot. Kualoa Ranch is the backdrop for Jurassic Park, Lost, and many other award-winning shows.
If you want to relive your classic movie moments and take photos pretending to be chased by dinosaurs, this is the place to do it.
A great way to explore the park is on an UTV tour, which takes you passed the iconic Jurassic Park sites. It also has some incredible views of Oahu and its untamed, rugged terrain.
32. Hiking in Haleakala National Park
Another great hiking spot in Hawaii is the Haleakala National Park, which is on the island of Maui. It’s famous for its sunrise, which can be viewed from the summit of Haleakala, a dormant volcano.
If you don’t feel like hiking, you can drive to the summit. But be mindful that it’s 10,023 feet above sea level, so ascend slowly to avoid altitude sickness.
The park is also a sacred site for the people. It is said that the demigod Maui once stood at the top of the volcano and lassoed the sun from the sky. This is possibly one of the reasons why sunrise is so breathtaking here!
The park is also home to some rare species of endangered animals which are cared for by the park rangers.
33. Paddle at Kailua Beach Park
If you’re looking for white sand beaches in Hawaii to spend a day at with the kids, then Kailua Beach is the one for you. The waters are clean and clear, and vibrant turquoise blue.
The waves are gentle on the shore and the sand slopes gradually, which makes it the perfect sandy beach for families with small children.
You can rent kayaks, SUPs and surf boards, or just play in the sand. There are showers and changing rooms available, too.
It’s the perfect beach in Hawaii for families and a great place to relax and enjoy island life. If you’re looking for things to do with toddlers in Oahu, then splashing in the shallow shores here is a great activity.
Tips for Planning a Hawaii Family Vacation
Before you go searching for flights and mapping out your itinerary, I have just a few more tips for you before you go.
- Book in advance. Hawaii is not known to be a cheap vacation destination but it’s even more expensive if you leave to last minute. The further in advance you search for accommodation in Hawaii the more likely you are to get a deal.
- Consider staying in vacation rentals. Having your own space, with a kitchen and a washer and dryer, and separate bedrooms for mom and dad – well, I think you can see the benefits of that. Vacation rentals also have free parking can often be more affordable than hotels, in the right place.
- Watch out for the dreaded resort fee, which is not included in advertised room rates. Resort fees can add $15 to $30 plus tax to your daily bill.
- Don’t be afraid to book vacation deals that offer a bundle such as flights + hotel. Or flights + hotel + rental car, etc. They can save you a ton of money if you find the right one.
- Wear appropriate sun protection, even in winter. The Hawaiin sun is strong so don’t let the cool coastal breeze sway you, it is still strong.
- Visit attractions early in the day to avoid crowds. The most popular time to visit attractions is around 10am – 11am, and stays busy until around 4pm. If you want to escape the crowds and queues, visit attractions at opening time.
Before You Go
Do there you have it, those are the best things to do in Hawaii with kids and as you can see, there is a lot of diversity here! Hawaii is an incredible destination with so much to offer, that your family can’t possibly be bored on a vacation here.
Whichever attractions you add to your itinerary, we hope that you have an incredible time exploring these majestic islands.
But before you go, take a little look at some information from our travel sponsor below.
About Orbitz Rewards
Orbitz rewards travelers for traveling! Users who have an account earn Orbucks on every purchase, and 1 Orbuck = $1.
They can also earn rewards by signing up with the Orbitz Rewards Dining program (which does not require the Orbitz CC), by signing up for/using the Orbitz Credit Card, and by taking advantage of rotating Special Promotions.
As an Orbitz Rewards member, travelers are also eligible for additional ‘benefits’ including complimentary hotel upgrades, reimbursement for pet fees, and TSA PreCheck Membership at no cost.
When you book with Orbitz, you Earn Orbucks instantly: $1 Orbuck = $1 USD, good toward hotels!
You can book flights to Hawaii on the new cutting-edge mobile tool for Android or iPhone users. Hotel packages, flight updates, and changes can all be accessed using this tool.
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I hope this post helped to inspire and inform you for planning a Hawaii family vacation? If you have any question, leave a comment down below!