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  • Last Updated On
  • November 19, 2023

11 Best Family Vacations in Hawaii — That All Ages Love!

Caleb Hayes

With its beautiful beaches, clear water, laid-back lifestyle, and delicious food, Hawaii is an ideal destination for a vacation.

Experience symphony for the senses as you explore The Aloha State’s majestic mountains, pristine beaches, and gnarly waves.

But planning a family vacation trip to this sun-soaked state is challenging, especially if it’s your first time.

I can relate to that.

I’ve been traveling for as long as I can remember.

And as a parent and a seasoned travel writer, I’ve visited numerous places in Hawaii.

So, I’ve got your back when it comes to deciding where to spend those precious vacation days.

To make things easier for you, I’ve listed the places where you can enjoy the best family vacations in Hawaii.

Plus, I ranked these places based on certain factors and criteria.

I’ll also share valuable information based on my family and other travelers’ experiences.

So, check out my in-depth reviews and tips below and start planning your fun Hawaii getaway.

Best Family Vacations In Hawaii Compared

From fun-filled activities to top-of-the-line accommodations and amenities, you have many family vacation options in Hawaii.

Here’s a quick reference guide for my top picks.

Editor’s Choice

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea is an open-air beachfront resort with luxurious accommodations and amenities.

  • Kid-friendly Activities: 5/5
  • Family Accommodations: 5/5
  • Dining Options: 5/5
  • Safety and Security: 5/5
  • Value for Money: 4/5
  • Location and Accessibility: 5/5

#2nd Best Choice

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui

Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui, is an upscale resort that offers refined-modern rooms, poolside, and upscale regional restaurants.

  • Kid-friendly Activities: 4.5/5
  • Family Accommodations: 4/5
  • Value for Money: 4.5/5
  • Location and Accessibility: 4.5/5

#3rd Best Choice

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

Sheraton Maui, with its children’s programs and salty adventures, is truly one of the kid-friendly weekend getaways in Hawaii.

  • Family Accommodations:  4.5/5
  • Dining Options: 4.5/5
  • Safety and Security: 4.5/5

Here are the top 11 vacations in Hawaii for families.

1. Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea (Editor’s Choice)

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

3900 Wailea Alanui Dr Kihei, HI 96753 (808) 874-8000 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Ratings Criteria

  • Spacious rooms with ocean views
  • Whale watching tour
  •  Expensive

Who Should Vacation Here

Four Seasons Resorts Maui at Wailea is one of the best places to spend your family vacation.

They have clean and spacious rooms enough to accommodate your family.

The rooms also have grounds or ocean views you can enjoy.

Also, you can have fun with your family by whale watching, hiking, and canoeing.

Moreover, there are restaurants on site serving various cuisines and delectable dishes.

Don’t forget to get a spa or a massage while you’re here.

The resort also offers babysitting services, so you can relax while your kids are having fun.

Also, check out the restaurants serving various cuisines and kid-friendly menus for a delectable treat with your family.

Related: The Best All Inclusive Hawaii Resorts

2. Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui

family of 3 trip to hawaii

4100 Wailea Alanui Dr Wailea-Makena, HI 96753 (808) 875-4100 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

  • Exceptional service
  • Island-inspired cuisine

Nestled on the soft white sands of Wailea’s Polo Beach, Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui, is ideal for your family vacation.

This oceanfront paradise offers three swimming pools, a private beach, and delicious food at the restaurants.

Aside from that, there are children’s activities and water sports activities to enjoy.

Moreover, as soon as you set foot in the resort, you’ll see how their staff provides their well and beyond service to every guest.

For a cheap family vacation, you can visit in April to June or September to mid-December.

While staying at this resort, you can enjoy the six dining venues, three swimming pools, and a private beach.

Also, you can snorkel with turtles and fish or paddle board on the beach.

Related: Best Things to Do in Hawaii

Also See: Restaurants in Kauai Hotels in Kauai Kid Friendly Resorts in Kauai

3. Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

family of 3 trip to hawaii

2605 Kaanapali Pkwy Lahaina, HI 96761 (808) 661-0031 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Sheraton Maui , with its children’s programs and salty adventures, is truly one of the kid-friendly weekend getaways in Hawaii .

  • Complimentary program for kids
  • Lots of fun activities 

Sheraton Maui Resort’s prime spot offers endless ocean activities for families.

For instance, you can go stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling and even join the night cliff diving sunset ceremony.

The resort also has an array of complimentary programs for kids, including fire knife demos, fake Polyenisian tattoos and Hawaiian games.

Stay at the ‘Ohana Suites.

It has a couple of double beds, a spacious bathroom and a pull-down wall bed.

Moreover, it’s literally steps from numerous large swimming areas that are interconnected by a water slide, a lazy river and lava-rock waterways.

Related: Restaurants in Oahu, Hawaii

Related: Best Beaches in Hawaii

4. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Dr Waimea, HI 96743 (808) 882-7222 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

With a full-packed adventure for kids, luxurious accommodations, and top-of-the-line amenities, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is an excellent alternative to Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa and Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui.

It is absolutely one of the best family resorts in Hawaii .

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is a superb Hawaiian getaway for families who are aching for a luxurious, action-packed vacation.

The Mauna Kea Keiki Club Adventures program has full-day adventures for your kids, including hiking, shell hunting, and exploring lava tubes and caves.

What’s more, this beachfront resort has plenty of other amenities, including water sports, canoeing, a tennis court, a golf course, skiing and snorkeling.

Need some help with your toddlers or infants?

Want to relax on your vacation at this resort?

I suggest that you availl the resort’s babysitting service, and take a break from your non-stop parental duties.

From pools to spa treatments, there are plenty of ways to unwind here as the resort staff keeps an eye on your little ones.

5. Honolulu


Honolulu, HI Visit Website Open in Google Maps

Honolulu is a beautiful mash-up of cultural sites, awe-inspiring scenery and cosmopolitan luxury.

Honolulu is an urban destination with a host of kid-approved attractions and education cultural sites.

In fact, you’ll find the Diamond Head State Monument, Pearl Harbor National Memorial and Waikiki Beach all in the state’s capital.

What’s more, the city offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor pursuits, like hiking, snorkeling and surfing.

And, with an international airport, Honolulu can be a great base for exploring the family vacations near Hawaii.

For a cheap family vacation in Honolulu, visit it in spring (April to June) or fall (September to mid-December).

Not only are the room rates cheaper, but these months also have thinner crowds.

For surfers, winter is, hands down, the best time to visit Honolulu.

Recommended Hotel: The Modern Honolulu By Diamond Resorts

Related: Honolulu Restaurants

Also See: Hotels in Honolulu Kid Friendly Hotels in Honolulu

6. Kaanapali Beach

Kaanapali Beach

Kaanapali, HI Visit Website Open in Google Maps

No list of the best family trips in Hawaii is complete without Kaanapali Beach.

With scores of water sports and a gorgeous beach, it can give you tons of beautiful travel memories with your crew.

Kaanapali Beach is a more laid-back alternative to the vibrant and robust Waikiki.

Furthermore, the beach is a prime destination for water sports, like paddleboarding, kayaking and surfing.

Head to the north side of Kaanapali, for a chance to spot turtles munching on seagrass or algae.

Do some exploration around the area.

While the area may seem small, it actually is home to several restaurants and hotels.

Plus, it has 2 championship golf courses and an open-air shopping center.

You can even spend your whole vacation here.

Recommended Hotel: Paradise Bay Resort

7. Kailua-Kona, Big Island

Kailua-Kona, Big Island

Kailua-Kona, HI Visit Website Open in Google Maps

Want to experience a wet and wild family-friendly adventure in Hawaii?

Then, make sure to include Kailua-Kona to your list of places to visit in Hawaii with kids.

Kailua-Kona is a gorgeous, historic and age-friendly coastal town suited for families who are longing for a wet and wild adventure.

Nestled in the heart of Kailua-Kona, King Kam Beach is perfect for snorkeling, sunbathing and swimming.

For a more thrilling adventure, join a manta ray night dive and snorkel tour.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Kona Coffee Living History Farm.

Here, you may purchase some world renowned Kona coffee, stroll among the cocoa trees and watch the farmers dry and mill the beans.

Recommended Hotel: Aston Kona By The Sea

Related: Restaurants in Kona

8. North Shore of Oahu

North Shore Of Oahu

Waialua, HI Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Although it has a more relaxed pace than Honolulu, Oahu’s North Shore is still packed with incredibly fun things to do in Hawaii with kids .

The North Shore, with its huge waves and fabulous shorelines , is a haven of fun for surfing aficionados and beach bums.

And, guess what?

It’s a captivating destination for kiddies too since it’s home to Kualoa Ranch, known for its gorgeous tropical landscapes and kid-approved activities.

Families may also explore the Waimea Valley, which has a stunning waterfall and a wide range of fauna and flora.

Don’t forget to drop by the Polynesian Cultural Center.

With its extraordinary demonstrations and exhibits, this living museum will give your family a deep insight into the South Pacific’s indigenous cultures.

Recommended Hotel: Turtle Bay Resort

9. Kailua, Oahu

Kailua, Oahu

Kailua, HI (808) 261-2727 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

From stunning beaches to a photogenic lighthouse, there are tons of family-friendly places to go in Kailua.

Kailua has two satisfying beach locations perfect for water-loving families.

With their crystal clear waters and powdery soft sands, Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach are terrific for water sports and swimming

To enhance your splashy experience here, rent a paddle board, snorkeling gear or a kayak at Twogood Kayaks Hawaii.

For groceries and food supplies, drop by the beachside Kalapawai Market.

Also, spend some time at Makapuu Point’s lighthouse as well as Sea Life Park Hawaii, wherein you can swim with sea lions, sharks and dolphins.

Recommended Hotel: The Kahala Hotel and Resort

Related: Best Family Beaches in Hawaii


Maui, HI (800) 525-6284 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

There’s something for everyone in your gang in Maui.

Maui is the best all-around destination for families yearning a leisure-focused getaway.

The island offers picturesque volcano and jungle hikes, incredible beaches , cultural activities and golfing opportunities.

Families can also go snorkeling, swimming and whale watching.

The best way to get around the island is by car, especially if you’re planning to explore large swaths of Maui .

Since the island has a rather comprehensive collection of roadways, finding your way in Maui shouldn’t be difficult.

While there are tons of public transportation options (hotel shuttles and a bus system), they don’t exactly make a great option for wide Maui exploration.

Recommended Hotel: Aston at The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach

Related: Best Maui Restaurants

Also See: Kid Friendly Hotels in Maui Hotels in Maui

11. Molokai


Molokai, HI Visit Website Open in Google Maps

Molokai is a charming and easygoing destination with a bevy of natural wonders and cultural sites.

Molokai is a great Hawaiian destination for families who prefer a rustic and back-to-basics experience.

Life is slow on this island, and though it lacks in organized activities, it home’s one of Hawaii’s most enthralling sites: the Kalaupapa National Historical Park.

Make a pit stop to the Big Wind Kite Factory, known for specializing handmade kites.

Likewise, it sells books, music and other one-of-a-kind Hawaiian items.

Spend a couple of hours touring the factory and learn the art of kite flying.

Recommended Hotel: Hotel Molokai

Related: Do You Need a Passport to Go to Hawaii?

Vacationer’s Guide 

Comparing destinations: which one is right for you.

Choosing the best place where you can spend a family vacation is challenging.

But I can make it easier for you by giving tips and suggestions.

However, it’s best to consider the factors and the personal preferences you seek.

As a parent who loves traveling, I research and compare places when planning a trip.

When we visited Hawaii for the first time, we had a blast and enjoyed our trip.

We had a luxurious vacation at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea.

We spent a day doing various activities at the resort, such as hiking and canoeing.

My kids love the whale-watching tour, and it’s the highlight of our vacation.

We also stayed at the Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui.

Aside from its excellent accommodation, the thing that I loved here was the delicious food and the exceptional service.

At Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, my little ones loved the kids club with the program for children.

There were also a lot of fun activities for the entire family that we enjoyed.

However, these resorts are on the expensive side, so you have to take note of your budget.

During our vacation, we created lasting memories to cherish.

Thanks to the resorts’ outstanding accommodations and family-friendly activities, we had a fun and memorable family trip.

So, before you decide, consider the factors and your preference to have an unforgettable Hawaiian trip.

How I Picked The Destinations 

I travel with my family once or twice a year for vacation.

As a parent and travel writer, I reviewed each place we visited.

I do this to give parents ideas for an enjoyable vacation.

So based on our Hawaii family trip, I’ve picked what I think is the best way to splurge money and have fun. 

Also, to write an honest review, I researched extensively and talked to other travelers for more valuable insights.

Our Rating Method 

I rate these properties based on the following criteria:

  • Kid-friendly Activities: I use this to evaluate the availability and variety of family-friendly amenities at every property. Does it feature playgrounds and kids’ clubs? Does it organize events designed specifically for kids? I ask myself these questions whenever I rate this property’s kid-friendly activities. 
  • Family Accommodations: This is used to assess the family accommodations of the property. Are the rooms spacious? Does it offer family suites with connecting rooms? Can it accommodate families of different sizes? Is there a crib or baby-proofing in every room? These questions are essential whenever I rate the property’s family accommodations. 
  • Dining Options: This evaluates the dining options at the property. Are there kid-friendly options at the property? Is there an on-site restaurant that caters to everyone’s dietary preferences and needs? I use these questions to assess the dining options of every property. 
  • Safety and Security: I use this criterion to assess the safety and security of every property. Are the premises secured? Is the staff trained to handle any emergency? I consider these factors when rating the property’s safety and security. 
  • Value for Money: This is used to evaluate the value for money of every property. Are the room rates reasonable? Are the services, activities, and amenities suitable for the price? I ask myself these questions to rate the value for money provided by the property. 
  • Location and Accessibility: This measures how accessible the property is for families. How far is it from the popular family attractions? Is it easily accessible via public transportation? I use these questions to evaluate the property’s location and accessibility. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is hawaii a good destination for a family trip.

Yes, Hawaii is an excellent destination for a family trip, with its beautiful beaches, diverse activities, and family-friendly attractions that cater to all ages.

Which Part Of Hawaii Is Best For Families?

The island of Maui is the best part of Hawaii for families, offering a variety of family-friendly activities, stunning beaches, playgrounds, and numerous vacation rentals.

family of 3 trip to hawaii

These places are the best family vacations in Hawaii.

Whether you want to spend your family time dipping in pools or oceans or participate in exhilarating activities, there is something for everyone here. 

Hawaii is for you to enjoy, and it depends on your preferences.

As for our family getaway in Hawaii, we had a blast and went home overjoyed.

My kids and I enjoyed the private beach and pools with slides at Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui.

We also had a great time snorkeling and diving.

We never starved at the island-inspired cuisine they served, and its exceptional service made our stay more memorable.

With their complementary program for kids and fun activities for the family, we also enjoyed our vacation at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa. 

There were no dull moments throughout our stay.

But if your family is into adventures, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is an excellent alternative. 

You can have the best family vacation with lots of activities for kids and adults. 

Still, we must know their drawbacks.

Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa and Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui, are expensive.

Meanwhile, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel has limited dining options.

Despite their drawbacks, these family destinations always have something to offer that every traveler loves.

As for the top choice, the best Hawaii family vacation is at Four Seasons Resort  Maui at Wailea.

The hotel has almost everything you’re looking for in a perfect vacation.

It has everything from luxurious accommodations and oceanfront views to fun-filled activities.

It’s an expensive property, but this is perfect if you’re willing to splurge some more for a grand vacation.

11 Best Family Vacations in Hawaii — That All Ages Love!

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13 Best Family Resorts in Hawaii, According to Parents and Travel Experts

Start planning your next getaway to one of the best family resorts in Hawaii.

Lindsay Cohn is a writer, editor, and avid traveler who has visited 45 countries across six continents — and counting. She contributes to Travel + Leisure, Hotels Above Par, InsideHook, Well+Good, The Zoe Report, and more.

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort

From the Caribbean to Hawaii, there are tons of sun-kissed island destinations to consider for your next vacation. The Aloha State — one of the 50 best places to travel in 2023 , according to Travel + Leisure —  is paradise for families with stunning natural scenery, activities galore, and many kid-friendly beach resorts. 

As someone who globe-trots with an adorable tot, I’m always searching for properties that go the extra mile for guests of all ages. In Hawaii, that looks like a jam-packed daily activity schedule to keep active youngsters busy, plus kids clubs and teen hang-out zones. In terms of facilities, you’ll want a pool with a shallow end (ideally a splash pad, too), gardens to explore, and direct access to a beach with calm surf and soft sand. Spacious accommodations with room to fit pack-and-plays, cribs, or rollaway beds are a must, and amenities like mini robes and slippers, bins for diapers (when needed), and high chairs are a bonus. Kids menus and free meals for the youngest guests go a long way in keeping costs down, too. And, of course, on-site babysitting services come in handy when parents want to sneak away for a spa treatment or dinner for two. It’s a tall order, but there’s a perfect spot for every family thanks to the myriad options across the archipelago. 

Scroll on for the best family resorts in Hawaii, according to parents and travel pros.

Meet the Expert

Chris Paterson is the owner and operator of Kailani Tours Hawaii , which offers tours around the Big Island. 

Carolyn Addison is head of product at Black Tomato , a luxury travel company. 

Hawaii has experienced several devastating wildfires in 2023. While these resorts were not directly impacted, communities on the islands may still be rebuilding. We recommend you read our guide to supporting Hawaii through tourism before you visit.

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Maui

Courtesy of Four Seasons Resorts

The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea promises a luxury family vacation sans any of The White Lotus drama. One of the best resorts in Hawaii for 2023 as voted by T+L readers and a WBA Hall of Fame honoree, the prestigious property supplies five-star facilities and an extensive list of activities, from torch bearer rituals to Hawaiian star stories. The complimentary kids program keeps kiddos busy with tennis and swimming while parents peel off to the spa or serenity pool. Sophisticated, spacious accommodations can be stocked with strollers, baby monitors, high chairs, and swings, guaranteeing a stylish, comfortable space for everyone to spread out. 

Montage Kapalua Bay, Maui

Courtesy of Montage Kapalua Bay

Tucked away a bit further south on the island of Maui, Montage Kapalua Bay — also voted one of the best resorts in Hawaii by T+L readers — is well worth the splurge with a peaceful location, luxurious accommodations, and five-star amenities — including a spate of family-friendly perks. After a day of hula lessons, lei making, strumming ukuleles, nature walks, swimming like a mermaid, and collecting Montage Merit Badges with the Paintbox children’s program, kids can chow down on Hawaiian cuisine, go stargazing, and fall asleep to the sound of the waves.

Turtle Bay Resort, O’ahu

Courtesy of Turtle Bay

Keen to plan a vacation that will make every member of your crew as happy as a clam? Turtle Bay Resort covers 1,300 acres of natural splendor on the North Shore of O‘ahu. “Featuring seven gorgeous beaches, multiple swimming pools, oceanfront bungalows, and a wide range of activities — from snorkeling with sea turtles and learning to surf alongside a pro to horseback riding to hula lessons — the legendary property leaves families with wonderful memories to last a lifetime,” says Chris Paterson, owner and operator of Kailani Tours Hawaii .  

Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, Island of Hawaii

Courtesy of Mauna Lanai

Also voted one of the best resorts in Hawaii by T+L readers, Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection is a really special place for family vacations with a deeply rooted ethos that reflects the spirit of Hawaii. “Guests feel the integral connection between land and sea running through each dish at CanoeHouse, the culturally immersive activities — from cooking classes to moonlight storytelling — at the complimentary kids club, and in the beautifully decorated accommodations,” notes Carolyn Addison, head of product at Black Tomato . There’s also a world-class spa and babysitting services for when parents need a little adult time. 

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, O’ahu

Courtesy of Walt Disney World

If your kids have been begging to go to Disney World, but you’d rather jet off to Hawaii, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa , might just be the perfect solution. Situated on the leeward coast of O‘ahu, it has a beach and private saltwater snorkeling lagoon, six pools, water slides, a lazy river, and a cove splash zone. Lū’aus with a special island buffet for pint-sized palates, lei making, and hula lessons bring Hawaiian culture to guests. Kiddos still get the chance to snap photos with everyone’s favorite characters, eat Mickey waffles, and watch classic animated movies on the outdoor screen. 

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Island of Hawaii

Glamorous but not so chichi that children receive side-eyes from other guests, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai — also voted one of the best resorts in Hawaii for 2023 — attracts families with a penchant for fun and the finer things. Perched on the Kona Coast of the Big Island, the five-star property provides sandy beaches with calm waters, seven pools, a complimentary kids program, Camp Manitou for tweens and teens, and endless activities. “Want to try ukulele lessons or get a close-up look at sea creatures alongside marine biologists? It’s all possible,” adds Paterson. 

Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort, Island of Hawaii

Courtesy of Kona Village

“The highly anticipated Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort opened to much acclaim recently — and for good reason,” says Addison. It’s a serene, luxurious, eco-focused Big Island retreat that’s expressly perfect for multi-generational families with a warm generosity of spirit and awesome amenities. Kids stay —  and play —  in style at the private beaches, pool, and Rosewood Explorer’s Keiki Club. “In addition to kayaking, sailing lessons, paddleboarding, and an interactive cultural center, the property even has a ‘cinema under the stars’ on the sand to watch movies together."

Related: T+L’s Kona Village Review

The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua, Maui

Courtesy of Ritz Carlton Resorts

Ranked among the best resorts in Hawaii for 2023, The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua pulls out all the stops for travelers of all ages. Tucked away on 54 tropical acres, the resort boasts glistening beaches, fragrant gardens, two championship golf courses, six dining venues, luxurious residences, and a century-old pineapple plantation. Ambassadors of the Environment, a program in partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society, teaches younger guests to be stewards of the land and sea through hands-on experiences such as snorkeling excursions, beach cleanups, and planting native seeds.

1 Hotel Hanalei Bay, Kauai

Courtesy of 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay

“I love 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay for its minimalist luxury aesthetic, commitment to sustainability, and breathtaking surroundings that seem plucked right from Jurassic Park ,” says Addison. The brand’s new oceanfront outpost on the North Shore of Kauai is also very welcoming to families. The onsite Seedlings kids club offers a plethora of activities and experiences aimed at connecting young ones with the natural world. The transformative wellness rituals at the renowned Bamford Spa are a high point for many stressed-out parents. And everyone comes together for cooking classes, yoga, surfing, and bonfires under the stars. 

Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui

Courtesy of Fairmont Kea Lani

Families absolutely love Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui . More than just a prime spot for fun in the sun, T+L readers ranked it as one of the best resorts in Hawaii this year because of its superb amenities and accommodations. Spend your days building sandcastles on Polo Beach, swimming in the pools, taking afternoon naps in the cabanas, and snacking on sweet treats at Makana Market + Cafe. All the one-bedroom suites are large enough for a crew of four. Of course, it’s also possible to upgrade to a palatial villa with a full kitchen, private courtyard, plunge pool, and grill if that’s more your vacation style. 

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, Kauai

Courtesy of Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

Endless activities and kids-oriented amenities — plus a championship golf course and a 45,000-square-foot spa — make Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa the perfect family escape, according to Paterson. Hours of splashing around in the multi-level pools and saltwater lagoon, floating down the lava-rock-lined lazy river, whizzing down the 150-foot water slide, and playing a game of water volleyball or basketball are guaranteed to tucker out kiddos. While little ones nap in the generously sized guest room, parents will enjoy reading a book on the private lanai. 

Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu, Autograph Collection, Kauai

Courtesy of Koloa Landing Resort

Basking in the sun and frolicking in the water comes with the territory at Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu, Autograph Collection . Located on the sunny south shore of Kauai, the family-oriented property possesses three sparkling pools — most notably for youngsters and young-at-heart adults, a 350,000-gallon main pool with water slides and cascades — a putting green, a volleyball court, a soccer field, and the largest accommodations in the area. As if all that wasn’t enough to keep keiki entertained, little explorers get binoculars, compasses, and activity books full of clues for hours of creative play.

Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, Maui

Looking for a family-friendly place to stay in Maui ? Paterson recommends Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa because of the giant maze of pools, waterfalls, whirlpools, rope bridges, and slides. The breakfast buffet is filled with favorites like homemade pastries, pancakes, and waffles. Many of the newly renovated rooms have two queen beds — an ideal setup for teens who don’t want to share. The slow rolling waves at Ka‘anapali Beach mean days spent splashing, floating, and swimming. Lū‘aus, rooftop stargazing, and golf also rank among the highlights.

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Planning a Hawaiian Vacation with Children

Family-friendly hawaii travel tips.

Hawaii is a wonderful family vacation destination! The sandy beaches, warm ocean water, and fascinating culture are sure to captivate the wonder and imagination of your children.

If you’ve never packed up the kiddos and headed to the Aloha State, planning for the trip can seem like a complicated task. However, with preparation and bit of serendipity, heading off to the Islands will surely be your best family vacation yet. 

Wondering how to go about making your Hawaiian vacation a smooth experience for everyone? Read on for some helpful tips. 

— article continued below —

Visiting Hawaii soon? Be sure to grab a copy of one of our updated Hawaii Visitor Guides .

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The Flight to Hawaii

From anywhere on the U.S. Mainland, a flight to Hawaii is pretty long. The shortest flight you can get to the Islands from the continental United States is a five- or six-hour flight from Los Angeles. If you’re anywhere farther east, you’ll have an even longer flight.

Unless your kids are used to cross-country or international trips, this might be a tough flight length to survive. However, you can make it fun and smooth. Before your trip, pack airplane goodie bags for your kids. It can be extra-exciting to let your kids know they'll be getting some travel gifts and surprises, but let the contents of the bags be a surprise.

Pack snacks, games, toys, and activity books for the kids, depending on their ages and interests. Audiobooks and the like might also be fun for older kids. If your kids are interested in the scientific or historic side of Hawaii, give them learning resources so they can educate themselves on Hawaii a bit before they land.

The flight to Hawaii can be fun with a little planning

The flight to Hawaii can be fun with a little planning


The Hawaiian Islands offer many wonderful family destinations. You won’t have any trouble finding plenty of things to do, but you might have a hard time narrowing down your options! Here are the top kid-friendly locations for the most popular islands:

Hawaii- The Big Island

Hawaii’s Big Island has so much to offer. There are so many distinct cultures, various climates, and fascinating attractions here. One minute you’re in a resort town, and the next you’ll be in a mango grove. You can hike the mountains, surf the seas, or wander the towns. No matter what you choose to do, you’re sure to fall in love with the Big Island.

There’s a lot to see on Hawaii’s Big Island , but the coolest activity just might be a trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park– the site of an active volcano known as Kilauea. Take a hike through the tropical rainforest and walk among the smoking vents. Or, just stop by the Visitor Center and gaze over the volcano from the viewing deck. If you’re lucky, you might get to see lava glowing orange in the night!

Hawaii Island also has many spectacular beaches . You can check out some of the most popular ones, like Hapuna Beach, for great surf, sand, and sun. If you want to see a unique beach with your family, Punaluu is a cool stop. This black sand beach is home to plenty of marine life, including sea turtles.

One of the most memorable family experiences on the Big Island is attending a luau. Check out Island Breeze Luau for an unforgettable cultural show. Your kids will learn to dance the hula and everyone can savor traditionally-cooked Hawaiian food. 

Hawaii is a great place for the kids to snorkel and explore

Hawaii is a great place for the kids to snorkel and explore

Oahu- The Gathering Place

Oahu is one of the most popular Hawaiian destinations for families, and it’s easy to see why. From kid-friendly beaches to child-oriented activities, Oahu is an awesome destination people of all ages will love.

Start your Oahu adventures with a Disney Luau, as this event is created just for families. It includes lei-making and temporary tattoos as well as traditional dancing. Of course, you’ll also get to meet Moana in the process! 

Waikiki Beach is the most popular hang-out spot in Oahu. This beach is located on the edge of downtown Honolulu, so you can grab a bite to eat or pick up souvenirs when you’ve had enough sun.  

Oahu is also the perfect place to learn to surf... and even kids can try to catch a wave. There are many surf schools available, but one of the coolest is Hans Hedemann Surf School, where your kids can join a surfing rescue dog, which makes the experience extra fun.

Finally, don’t miss out on the chance to enjoy a real submarine ride . Atlantis Submarine, for example, tours take families 100 feet underwater to see marine life and learn reef science. You’ll love the opportunity to explore Hawaii’s reefs while staying safe, dry, and comfortable. 

Waikiki Beach is a favorite of adults and kids alike

Waikiki Beach is a favorite of adults and kids alike

Maui- The Valley Isle

Many visitors consider Maui to be the most beautiful Hawaiian island. Take your kids here for an experience of the Islands’ natural world!

A great way to kick off your ocean adventures is with a Maui snorkeling tour. Older kids will love swimming among the colorful fish, spotting fascinating marine life, and marveling at the intricacies of the coral. Maui is home to some of the world’s best snorkeling, so don’t miss it.

Are your kids mermaids and mermen at heart? Then book mermaid lessons at Hawaii Mermaid Adventures! Your kids will learn how to splash, glide, and spin in the ocean with a mermaid tail.

If your kids aren’t quite ready to swim in the ocean with marine life, you can still take them to see animals up close. Maui Ocean Center is Hawaii's top-rated aquarium, and it has an astounding amount of marine life on display. 

The Maui Ocean Center is full of surprises

The Maui Ocean Center is full of surprises

Kauai- The Garden Isle

Kauai is an island for the adventurous. If your family loves to try new experiences and get the adrenaline pumping, you’ll be right at home on the Garden Isle.

Some of Hawaii’s best horseback riding is offered on Kauai. Ride through a tropical rainforest to a waterfall deep in the heart of the emerald mountains. Or, take a horseback tour through the island to discover more about this enchanting place.

If you want to see the island at top-speed, try a Kauai  zipline tour . Fly through the trees and get the best birds-eye views of Kauai! Many people think ziplining is the most exciting way to explore this lush green paradise. 

When it’s time for the grownups to relax while the little ones burn off a little excess energy, head to Kamalani Playground; a huge play space that’s sure to delight the littlest Hawaiian adventurers.

Horseback riding on Kauai is always kid-approved!

Horseback riding on Kauai is always kid-approved!

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Where to Stay in Hawaii

Hawaii is a popular destination for travelers of all kinds... retirees, relaxers, adventurers, and more. Of course, not all Hawaiian accommodations are suitable for kids. Some places are popular with the party crowd, while other places are so remote that keeping the kids entertained can be a challenge. However, there are also many options that offer the perfect blend of quiet, safety, and fun for families.

Book a Resort

Resorts are easy and luxurious options for family vacations. There are countless family-friendly resorts in Hawaii, but some of them really stand out. The most fabulous resort is the famous Waikiki Beach Resort. Stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village here for great views and beach access right outside the door.

If you’re staying in Maui, the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa is a great family option. Or, stay at the Moana Surfrider Resort and Spa on Oahu. Of course, you can’t beat Aulani Disney Resort & Spa on Oahu! With the beach, pools, and a waterpark for entertainment, you won’t ever have to leave the resort (but we're sure you'll want to in order to explore more). 

Family-friendly resorts offer luxury and comfort

Family-friendly resorts offer luxury and comfort

Stay in a Hotel

If you’d prefer to spend your vacation dollars on activities rather than accommodations, there are plenty of affordable hotels in Hawaii that cater to families.

If you’re staying in Oahu, Coconut Waikiki Hotel is a great option. This hotel has large rooms with kitchenettes, plus onsite dining and kids' packages.

For an authentic Hawaiian experience, you can even stay on a working farm. One great option is North Country Farms in Kauai. Your kids will surely love interacting with the animals and learning how tropical fruits are farmed.

For a unique stay on the Big Island, book a room at Lotus Garden Cottages. They are conveniently located near HVNP and all cottages feature a kitchenette, which can be very handy with picky eaters. Plus, the cottages are all beautifully appointed and are located in a breathtaking setting that you and the kids will enjoy. 

Rent a Beach House

Renting a beach house is undoubtedly one of the best ways to stay as a family in Hawaii. They offer ample space and freedom, and you won’t have to worry about having loud neighbors—or being loud neighbors. If you pick the right place, it can also be a lot more affordable to stay in a beach house rather than a resort or even a hotel. Look on the Hilo side of the Big Island for wonderful options. 

Renting a beach house can be very affordable for families with kids

Renting a beach house can be very affordable for families with kids

So there you have it. Traveling to Hawaii with the kids truly is an experience you won't want to miss. Make incredible family memories as you swim with sea turtles, make sand castles on the shore, and discover the natural world of Hawaii. There are so many kid-friendly activities, adventures, and accommodations. Start planning now to make your (and your kids') vacation dreams come true soon.

Happy traveling! 

About the Author 

Jessica watson.

Jessica Watson has been writing for websites and blogs for several years now. Currently, she is working with Bhaya Cruises who offers halong bay junk cruise . They are providing their services in Vietnam.

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family of 3 trip to hawaii

Unforgettable Memories: Planning the Perfect Family Trip to Hawaii

  • July 14, 2023

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Variety of Experiences

Hawaii offers a wide array of experiences, from exhilarating outdoor adventures to immersive cultural experiences, ensuring a memorable family trip. This variety makes Hawaii a unique vacation spot, catering to everyone’s tastes in the family. 

Rich Culture and History

Stepping into Hawaii is like opening a vibrant, dynamic book of history and culture. The Hawaiian culture, deeply rooted in its Polynesian heritage, is brought to life through its people, traditions, language, music, and art.

One can’t speak of Hawaiian culture without mentioning the enchanting hula dance, a storytelling tool that weaves tales of gods, legends, and history through graceful movements. 

Luau parties, another highlight, aren’t just about delicious feasts; they’re also an opportunity for families to enjoy traditional Hawaiian music, hula dances, and learn about ancient Hawaiian customs and crafts.

Then there’s the Hawaiian language, a cornerstone of the culture. While English is widely spoken, the Hawaiian language still holds a special place in people’s hearts. 

Words like ‘ohana (family) and ‘aina (land) reveal how Hawaiians value family ties and nature – beautiful lessons to impart to your children during the trip!

The islands are also dotted with historical landmarks. 

For instance, the Iolani Palace in Honolulu, the only royal palace in the United States, and the Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, once a place of refuge for lawbreakers in ancient times, are windows into the region’s intriguing past.

By diving into Hawaii’s rich culture and history during your trip, you aren’t merely visiting a destination; you’re living a story, walking through history, and becoming a part of a heritage that’s as profound as the Pacific itself. 

Isn’t that the kind of vacation that remains etched in memory long after it’s over?

family trip to hawaii

Natural Beauty and Adventure

When you think of a family trip to Hawaii, it’s impossible not to imagine its stunning natural beauty. It’s a veritable playground for outdoor lovers, with each island offering a unique backdrop for unforgettable adventures.

Hawaii’s stunning beaches are a highlight. There’s something magical about the shores, with sands that range from white to black, green, and even red. 

Whether it’s the famous Waikiki Beach on Oahu, the striking black sand beaches at Punalu’u on the Big Island, or the lesser-known Papakolea Green Sand Beach, Hawaii’s beaches are diverse and exciting. 

And let’s not forget the wide array of water activities for the family: snorkeling, surfing, paddleboarding, or simply building sandcastles with the little ones!

However, Hawaii’s beauty extends beyond its stunning shorelines. The islands boast diverse landscapes, ranging from lush rainforests and waterfalls to dramatic cliffs and active volcanoes. 

Ever imagined hiking through a bamboo forest to reach a cascading waterfall? How about a thrilling helicopter tour over an active volcano? 

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Or perhaps exploring the vibrant underwater world with a snorkel? In Hawaii, these aren’t just dreams, but realities waiting to be lived!

Then there’s Hawaii’s wildlife. Your family might meet a Hawaiian monk seal lazing on the beach, spot a humpback whale breaching in the distance, or discover the colorful tropical fish while snorkeling. 

And let’s not forget the birds. Hawaii is home to a fascinating variety of bird species, many of which can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

To put it simply, a family vacation in Hawaii is an unparalleled opportunity to witness the majesty of nature and the thrill of adventure. 

It’s a chance to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with the natural world. And isn’t that what the best family vacations are made of?

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Choosing the Right Time for a Hawaii Family Vacation

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from years of traveling, it’s this – timing can make or break a trip. 

Especially when it comes to a place like Hawaii, where each season paints the islands in different hues.

Weather and Peak Season

Hawaii, the Pacific’s paradise, is blessed with a warm, tropical climate all year round, making it a fantastic destination no matter when you decide to go. 

The average temperatures hover between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 29 degrees Celsius), providing a balmy backdrop for any activity you have in mind.

However, the beauty of the islands does not go unnoticed, and Hawaii can be quite busy during the peak seasons. The busiest times are generally during the winter months (mid-December to mid-April), when visitors from colder climates flock to the islands for some sun and warmth. 

Summer (June to August) also sees a surge of families traveling during the school vacation. During these times, popular attractions can get crowded, and prices for flights and accommodations can be higher.

For a more relaxed, crowd-free, and potentially budget-friendly Hawaii family vacation, consider planning your visit during the shoulder seasons – spring (April to June) and fall (September to mid-December). 

During these months, the weather is still pleasant, the crowds thinner, and the prices can be more reasonable.

Spring in Hawaii is a time of renewal, where you’ll witness the islands in full bloom and can partake in cultural events like the Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long celebration of ancient and modern hula.

In the fall, the weather cools slightly, providing perfect conditions for hiking and exploring. The Aloha Festivals, Hawaii’s premier cultural event that celebrates music, dance, and history, also takes place in September, adding a festive flair to your family vacation.

After all, the best time for a Hawaii family vacation largely depends on your family’s preferences and flexibility. Whether you crave the buzz of the peak seasons or the tranquility of the shoulder seasons, Hawaii is bound to deliver an unforgettable experience. 

Remember, there’s no such thing as a bad time to visit Hawaii – it’s always aloha time!

family trip to hawaii

Best Hawaiian Islands for Family Trips

The beauty of planning a family trip to Hawaii is the freedom to choose from various islands, each offering a unique flavor of the Aloha spirit. 

From the cosmopolitan charm of Oahu to the untamed landscapes of the Big Island, there’s an island for every family’s preference.

Oahu: The Gathering Place

Oahu, aptly nicknamed “The Gathering Place,” is often the first stop for families. It’s where the state’s capital, Honolulu, is located and is home to the world-renowned Waikiki Beach. 

Here, the modern meets the traditional, offering an exciting mix of experiences. You can visit the historic Pearl Harbor, hike the Diamond Head Crater for a breathtaking view of the Honolulu skyline, or simply soak up the sun at Waikiki. 

The island also boasts a bustling food and art scene, with numerous family-friendly restaurants and galleries.

Maui: The Valley Isle

If you’re seeking a balance between relaxation and adventure, Maui, “The Valley Isle,” is your answer. Maui is famous for its beautiful beaches, the historic town of Lahaina, the scenic Road to Hana, and the sunrise at Haleakala National Park. 

Plus, between November and May, it becomes one of the best places in the world to watch humpback whales. 

From the luxury resorts of Kaanapali to the laid-back vibes of Kihei, Maui offers a versatile family vacation experience.

Kauai: The Garden Isle

For families who love nature and adventure, Kauai, “The Garden Isle,” is a dream come true. This island is lush, wild, and relatively less crowded. 

It offers stunning hikes, including the famed Napali Coast trail, countless waterfalls, and beautiful beaches. 

The Waimea Canyon, often dubbed the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” is a must-visit for its awe-inspiring views.

Hawaii: The Big Island

Lastly, the Big Island, named Hawaii like the state itself, is for families who crave diversity. 

It’s the youngest and the biggest island, offering an impressive array of landscapes – from snow-capped mountains and active volcanoes in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to lush rainforests and black sand beaches. 

The Big Island is also a great place to learn about ancient Hawaiian culture, with sites like the Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park.

In essence, no matter which island (or islands) you choose for your Hawaii family vacation, each one promises a unique blend of natural beauty, rich culture, and the quintessential Aloha spirit. 

After all, isn’t variety the spice of life (and vacations)?

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Beaches and Water Sports

When you think of a Hawaiian vacation, the image that likely springs to mind is lounging on a golden beach, the azure sea stretching out in front of you. 

Hawaii’s beaches are renowned for their unique beauty and are a playground for a host of water sports activities.

Top Family Beaches to Visit

Each Hawaiian island offers a variety of exceptional beaches. Here are a few top recommendations for family-friendly spots:

  • Waikiki Beach, Oahu: Waikiki’s calm waters and golden sands make it perfect for families. There are also plenty of amenities nearby, including restaurants and shops.
  • Poipu Beach, Kauai: Offering calm waters for swimming and a playground for children, Poipu Beach is great for families with younger kids.
  • Hapuna Beach, Big Island: Known for its white sands, clear waters, and excellent facilities, Hapuna Beach is ideal for a family beach day.
  • Kaanapali Beach, Maui: This popular beach has great swimming conditions and is located near hotels, making it very convenient for families.
  • Lanikai Beach, Oahu: With its crystal-clear turquoise waters and white sands, Lanikai is a picture-perfect family beach.

Exciting Family Water Sports

While Hawaii’s beaches are perfect for relaxing and soaking up the sun, they also offer numerous water sports opportunities. 

Here are some activities to consider during your family trip:

  • Surfing: Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing, and there are plenty of surfing schools that offer lessons for beginners of all ages.
  • Paddleboarding: This is a fun and relatively easy water sport that the whole family can enjoy. You can rent paddleboards at many beaches.
  • Snorkeling: Explore the underwater world with a snorkeling trip. Many locations, like Hanauma Bay in Oahu and Molokini Crater off Maui, are teeming with marine life.
  • Scuba diving: For older children and adults, scuba diving is an unforgettable way to see Hawaii’s underwater landscapes.
  • Kayaking: Kayaking is another great way to explore Hawaii’s coastlines and enjoy its marine life.

In essence, the beaches and water sports of Hawaii offer a captivating blend of relaxation, adventure, and natural beauty. 

Whether you want to lie on the sand, ride the waves, or explore beneath the surface, Hawaii has the perfect beach and water activity for your family vacation.

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Family Wildlife and Nature Parks

Hawaii’s breathtaking beauty extends far beyond its idyllic beaches. From lush rainforests and active volcanoes to rich marine life, the islands are a treasure trove of natural wonders and diverse wildlife. 

And the best part? Many of these sites are easily accessible and offer memorable experiences for the entire family.

Experience Rich Biodiversity

The islands of Hawaii are home to several unique species, both on land and in the water. 

In the lush rainforests, you may spot colorful native birds, like the Nene (Hawaiian Goose), the state bird of Hawaii, or the elusive Hawaiian Monk Seal, one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world, sunning on remote beaches.

Underwater, the spectacle is even more remarkable. Hawaii’s clear waters are teeming with marine life, including sea turtles, dolphins, and a rainbow of tropical fish. 

And don’t forget the humpback whales – if you visit between November and May, you’ll have the chance to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

Explore Stunning Nature Parks

Hawaii’s nature parks are family-friendly and full of diverse landscapes. Here are a few must-visit locations:

  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island: This park offers a rare opportunity to see an active volcano up close. The park has several hiking trails suitable for families and offers ranger-led programs that educate about the park’s geology and ecology.
  • Haleakala National Park, Maui: Known for its stunning sunrise views, this park is also home to a dormant volcano, endangered Hawaiian Geese (Nene), and unique vegetation. Don’t forget to explore the Pipiwai Trail, a family-friendly hike that leads to a beautiful bamboo forest and the 400-foot Waimoku Falls.
  • Waimea Valley, Oahu: This botanical garden in the heart of Oahu is a great place to learn about Hawaii’s unique flora and fauna. A leisurely hike through the valley leads to a waterfall where you can take a refreshing swim.
  • Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, Kauai: Accessible only by foot, boat, or helicopter, this park offers some of the most stunning views in Hawaii. Families can enjoy a boat tour along the coast, spotting waterfalls, sea caves, and possibly even dolphins along the way!

The wildlife and nature parks in Hawaii offer families a unique opportunity to connect with nature and learn about the islands’ unique ecosystems. 

With an array of landscapes to explore and wildlife to encounter, these experiences will undoubtedly become a highlight of your Hawaii family vacation. 

Are you ready to answer the call of the wild?

family trip to hawaii

Hawaiian Cultural Experiences

Experiencing Hawaii’s unique culture is a key element of any trip to the islands. From traditional luaus to historic sites, Hawaii offers an array of opportunities to learn about and immerse yourself in its rich cultural heritage. 

Here are some recommended experiences for your family trip:

Immerse Yourself in Hawaiian Traditions

  • Attend a Luau: Luaus offer a fun and festive introduction to Hawaiian culture. The Old Lahaina Luau on Maui and the Chief’s Luau on Oahu are both renowned for their authentic presentations, including traditional Hawaiian foods, hula performances, and storytelling.
  • Take Hula and Ukulele Lessons: Learn how to sway your hips to the rhythm of Hawaiian music or strum a tune on the ukulele. Many resorts and cultural centers offer classes suitable for all ages.
  • Try Traditional Hawaiian Foods: Sampling local cuisine is a delicious way to experience Hawaiian culture. Don’t miss out on trying dishes like kalua pig, poi, and poke. We are going to expand this subject later. 

Explore Historic Sites

  • Visit Iolani Palace, Oahu: The Iolani Palace in Honolulu offers a fascinating insight into the Hawaiian monarchy’s history. Guided tours provide an in-depth look at the palace’s architectural beauty and historical significance.
  • Tour Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, Big Island: This ancient site provides a glimpse into traditional Hawaiian society and laws. Walking around the park, you’ll see recreated thatched buildings, carved wooden statues, and more.
  • Explore the Bishop Museum, Oahu: The Bishop Museum holds the world’s most extensive collection of Hawaiian and Pacific artifacts, making it an invaluable resource for those interested in Polynesian cultures.

Participate in Local Festivals

  • Experience the Merrie Monarch Festival, Hilo: This week-long celebration of hula is one of Hawaii’s most significant cultural events. Although it’s highly competitive, the festival also includes exhibitions, demonstrations, and performances open to the public.
  • Join the Aloha Festivals, Statewide: These annual celebrations take place on every island and feature music, dance, parades, and more. They offer an excellent way for families to experience the diverse cultures of Hawaii.

By engaging in these cultural experiences, you’re not merely observing Hawaii’s culture; you’re becoming a part of it. 

From the enticing rhythm of hula to the fascinating tales of history, are you ready to fully embrace the Hawaiian spirit?

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Family Dining in Hawaii – A Culinary Adventure

Hawaii offers an exciting culinary scene that reflects the islands’ rich cultural diversity. From traditional Hawaiian fare to the fusion cuisine known as Hawaii Regional Cuisine, food is an integral part of the Hawaiian experience. 

Trying the local Hawaiian cuisine should be high on your family trip’s to-do list.

Savor Traditional Hawaiian Foods

Traditional Hawaiian cuisine is a feast for the senses, featuring dishes that have been enjoyed on the islands for centuries. 

Here are some you shouldn’t miss:

  • Poi: A starchy dish made from taro root. It’s often served as a side dish and has a unique, slightly sweet flavor.
  • Kalua Pig: Traditionally cooked in an underground oven called an imu, this dish is a staple at Hawaiian luaus. The slow-cooking process results in incredibly tender and flavorful pork.
  • Lau Lau: A dish made of pork, fish, or chicken wrapped in taro leaves and then in ti leaves, and typically steamed or baked.
  • Poke: A raw fish salad usually featuring ahi (tuna), soy sauce, green onions, and sesame oil, among other ingredients. It’s fresh, flavorful, and can be found almost everywhere on the islands.

Try Hawaii Regional Cuisine

In the 1990s, a group of twelve chefs created Hawaii Regional Cuisine, a culinary movement that fused local ingredients with global cooking techniques. 

Today, this style of cooking is showcased in many restaurants across the islands. For a taste of this innovative cuisine, consider dining at restaurants such as Chef Mavro in Honolulu, Merriman’s in Waimea, or Mama’s Fish House in Maui.

Enjoy Local Treats and Snacks

Don’t forget about Hawaii’s sweet treats and snacks! Be sure to try shave ice, a local favorite similar to snow cones, and malasadas, delicious Portuguese donuts. 

For a quick snack, grab some Spam musubi, a sushi-style snack featuring Spam on a block of rice, wrapped with nori.

In conclusion, dining in Hawaii is truly a culinary adventure. With its unique blend of flavors and styles, the islands’ food scene provides an opportunity to explore Hawaii’s culture through its cuisine. 

So, are you ready to take your taste buds on a Hawaiian journey? 

As you savor the delicious flavors of Hawaii, consider how you’d like to experience everything else the islands have to offer. 

One of the most convenient and worry-free ways to enjoy your Hawaii family vacation is by choosing an all-inclusive package. 

Let’s dive into what these packages are all about.

family trip to hawaii

All-Inclusive Hawaii Family Vacation Packages

Choosing an all-inclusive package for your Hawaii family vacation can help you manage your budget while ensuring a stress-free and fun-filled vacation. 

These packages typically bundle accommodations, meals, activities, and sometimes even airfare, providing a one-stop solution for your vacation planning.

The Perks of All-Inclusive Packages

Opting for an all-inclusive package has several advantages:

  • Budget Management: With most costs covered upfront, it’s easier to manage your budget. You won’t need to worry about daily meal expenses or activity fees adding up.
  • Convenience: All-inclusive packages save you time and effort as they take care of most aspects of your trip, from accommodation to entertainment.
  • Variety of Choices: These packages often include a wide range of activities, so you can enjoy different experiences without the stress of planning and booking each separately.
  • Dining Options: All-inclusive usually means most or all meals are covered, allowing you to enjoy a variety of local and international cuisine at your resort.

Top Picks for All-Inclusive Family Packages

While Hawaii doesn’t have a lot of traditional all-inclusive resorts, several hotels offer packages that include meals, activities, and other extras. 

Here are a couple of top picks:

  • Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, Oahu: This family-friendly resort offers packages that include meals, kids club activities, and access to the resort’s many amenities. Plus, the Disney magic adds an extra layer of fun for kids.
  • Travaasa Hana, Maui: Known for its beautiful location in Hana, Travaasa offers an inclusive package that features meals, a daily resort credit for spa treatments or activities, and various cultural and adventure experiences.

Alternatives to All-Inclusive Packages

If you prefer more flexibility, there are alternatives to all-inclusive packages:

  • Vacation Rentals: Renting a condo or house can be more cost-effective for families. You’ll have more space, along with amenities like a full kitchen, which can help save on meal costs.
  • Plan Your Own Itinerary: Booking accommodations, activities, and meals separately allows you to tailor your trip to your family’s specific interests and needs.
  • Book your camper van : With a camper van rental, you and your family can travel around the islands at your own pace and experience the beautiful scenery and outdoor activities Hawaii has to offer.

In conclusion, whether you opt for an all-inclusive package or choose to plan each part of your trip separately, the most important thing is to enjoy the quality time with your family and create lasting memories in the beautiful islands of Hawaii. 

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Recap of Planning a family trip to Hawaii

In this guide, we’ve explored the enchanting allure of a family trip to Hawaii, offering insights to help you plan an unforgettable vacation. 

We’ve discovered that Hawaii is more than just a paradise of sandy beaches and crystal clear waters; it’s an amalgamation of rich history, diverse cultures, and stunning natural beauty.

We looked at the unique experiences that await in Hawaii, from exploring volcanoes and national parks to engaging in a wide range of thrilling water sports. 

We delved into the importance of choosing the right time to visit, considering factors such as weather and tourist seasons, to make the most of your family trip.

A highlight of our guide was the exploration of the Hawaiian islands, each with its unique charm and offerings. 

Whether it’s the bustling city life of Oahu, the picturesque landscapes of Maui, the dramatic cliffs of Kauai, or the awe-inspiring volcanoes of the Big Island, there’s an island that’s perfect for every family.

We’ve also tasted our way through Hawaii’s culinary landscape, a testament to the islands’ rich cultural diversity. 

From traditional Hawaiian dishes to innovative Hawaii Regional Cuisine and delectable local treats, Hawaii’s food scene is nothing short of a culinary adventure.

To wrap things up, we discussed the convenience of all-inclusive Hawaii family vacation packages, offering a hassle-free way to enjoy everything Hawaii has to offer. 

We highlighted some top picks for family packages and also discussed viable alternatives for those desiring more flexibility.

In essence, a family trip to Hawaii is more than a vacation—it’s an adventure, an education, and an experience that will create lasting memories. 

So, are you ready to embark on this remarkable journey with your family?

Spring and fall are considered the best times to visit Hawaii, offering favorable weather and fewer crowds.

Hawaii offers a range of kid-friendly activities, including beach outings, hiking, surfing lessons, and cultural experiences.

Don’t miss out on trying poke, kalua pig, loco moco, and haupia.

All-inclusive packages can offer great value, taking the hassle out of planning and often including meals, activities, and local transportation.

To experience authentic Hawaii, venture off the tourist track, visit local markets, try street food, and interact with the locals.

Question: How are you planning to make your family trip to Hawaii a unique and memorable adventure? We’d love to hear your ideas!

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How to Plan a Family Trip to Hawaii

Last Updated: October 31, 2022 References

This article was co-authored by wikiHow Staff . Our trained team of editors and researchers validate articles for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. There are 21 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 14,121 times.

Thinking of planning a tropical getaway for your next family vacation? Hawaii may be the ideal destination. With its pristine beaches, laid back atmosphere and enchanting local culture, Hawaii is as close to paradise as you’re likely to get. There’s an almost endless number of thrilling things to see and do, which will keep your itinerary full and have you and the rest of the family in constant awe. Arrange the flight and lodging for your crew, pack up your luggage and do as much or as little as you want to enjoy your time in the breathtaking South Pacific!

Booking and Preparing for Your Trip

Step 1 Pick a good time to go.

  • Resort fees tend to be highest during busier times of year like late spring, the height of summer and toward the winter holidays.
  • The weather in Hawaii is warm and hospitable year-round, making it possible to enjoy a tropical vacation on your own schedule. [2] X Research source

Step 2 Make arrangements for accommodations.

  • When traveling with a big group or young children, it will most likely be easier to snag a couple of rooms at a larger hotel chain for the sake of space and affordability. Some resorts even offer amenities just for kids, like special games and play areas, educational activities and appearances by their favorite animated characters.
  • Consider renting condos, villas or private Airbnb residences for short-term stays if you plan on making multiple stops. [4] X Research source

Step 3 Book your flight.

  • Shop around online for special deals on airfare. [6] X Research source
  • Plan on flying out in between peak travel seasons. Things tend to be less crowded in early spring and the tail end of summer, which means they’ll also be less expensive. [7] X Research source
  • You’ll need to carry your passport to enter Hawaii, unless you’re traveling from inside the United States. [8] X Research source

Step 4 Pack appropriately.

  • Don’t forget to load up on beach accessories like towels, sunscreen, an umbrella and any toys or sporting equipment you want to have with you.
  • Hawaii is a very laid back, casual place, so don’t worry about packing anything too fancy. A simple collared shirt or dress will usually be enough for an outing at even the ritziest places on the isle. [10] X Research source

Deciding How to Spend Your Time

Step 1 Lounge on the beach.

  • In addition to getting a tan, you’ll also find opportunities to go snorkeling, kayaking, windsurfing, or play a few games of beach volleyball. [12] X Research source
  • Bring extra sunscreen, and maybe some snacks, if you intend stay out on the beach all day.

Step 2 See the surrounding islands.

  • Work these stops into your travel schedule in advance to ensure that you’re not rushed. [14] X Research source
  • For shorter vacations (a week or less), limit your island-hopping to one or two places, or else you could spend more time packing up and commuting than actually sightseeing. [15] X Research source

Step 3 Plan some exciting activities.

  • Take a poll within your group to find out what activities everyone is interested in, then narrow down a list of adventures that you’ll have time to fit in.

Step 4 Enjoy delicious island cuisine.

  • Browse travel and dining websites for restaurant recommendations and reviews. [18] X Research source
  • Give local favorites like poi , poke and Spam Musubi a shot. [19] X Research source
  • Calculating a food budget before you depart can help you plan your meals.

Enjoying Island Culture

Step 1 Take in a luau.

  • Luaus are also often hosted by Polynesian cultural and historical centers, where they are designed to showcase the ritual character of the Hawaiian people.
  • This may be one of your only opportunities to savor authentic kalua , a time-honored method of cooking that involves wrapping succulent meats in banana or taro leaves and roasting them over hot coals dug into the ground. [21] X Research source

Step 2 Learn about the island’s history.

  • Tour important military landmarks like Pearl Harbor or the U.S. Army Museum in Waikiki. [22] X Research source
  • To get the full benefit of an educational jaunt, plan on seeing multiple islands. Each is a treasure trove with its own unique history and customs.

Step 3 Go on a hike.

  • If you plan on doing any hiking, take along a small backpack filled with bottled water, sunscreen, bug spray and your phone or camera for capturing the breathtaking views you’ll encounter.
  • Long hikes may be too difficult for young kids, but there are many shorter treks to choose from as well.

Step 4 Learn to surf.

  • Surfing is ingrained in Hawaiian culture, which means it’s something that you owe it to yourself to try at least once on your trip.
  • No matter where you stay, you’ll be able to take your pick of any number of spots to paddle out to and get radical. [24] X Research source

Community Q&A


  • Enjoy yourself! This could be a once in a lifetime adventure. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • A Hawaiian vacation would make an excellent birthday gift, graduation trip or holiday celebration. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Make a list of locations and activities you and the rest of your family want to hit so that you don’t miss out on anything. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • It is against the law to smuggle any outside animals, vegetation or contraband items in or out of Hawaii. Doing so could damage the island’s natural ecosystems and result in a hefty fine or even a prison sentence. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
  • Families with kids in school may not have a lot of wiggle room, as summer and winter breaks are they only extended periods they’ll have off. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 1

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  • ↑ http://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/10/15/the-best-times-to-visit-hawaii/
  • ↑ http://www.frommers.com/destinations/hawaii/planning-a-trip/when-to-go
  • ↑ http://www.frommers.com/destinations/hawaii/planning-a-trip/tips-on-accommodations
  • ↑ http://www.govisithawaii.com/2011/01/04/save-money-on-hawaii-vacation-accommodations/
  • ↑ http://www.govisithawaii.com/2010/05/10/strategies-for-finding-lowest-airfare-to-hawaii/
  • ↑ https://www.gohawaii.com/trip-planning/faq
  • ↑ http://www.frommers.com/destinations/hawaii/planning-a-trip
  • ↑ http://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/07/23/what-to-pack-for-your-hawaii-vacation/
  • ↑ http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/best-beaches-in-hawaii
  • ↑ http://www.prideofmaui.com/blog/maui/top-things-hawaii.html
  • ↑ http://www.govisithawaii.com/2010/06/28/how-to-pick-the-best-hawaiian-islands-for-your-vacation/
  • ↑ http://www.govisithawaii.com/2009/03/24/a-guide-to-inter-island-travel-in-hawaii/
  • ↑ http://www.govisithawaii.com/hawaiis-big-island-what-to-do-see/
  • ↑ http://www.to-hawaii.com/food.php
  • ↑ https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g29217-Island_of_Hawaii_Hawaii.html
  • ↑ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/04/hawaii-food-bucket-list_n_6738518.html
  • ↑ https://www.gohawaii.com/hawaiian-culture/luau
  • ↑ http://www.polynesia.com/history-of-the-luau.html
  • ↑ https://www.gohawaii.com/islands/oahu/things-to-do/land-activities/historic-places
  • ↑ http://www.gohawaii.com/statewide/discover/essential-hawaii/surfing-in-hawaii/
  • ↑ http://www.seeker.com/hawaiis-top-13-surfing-spots-1765574687.html

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family of 3 trip to hawaii

Things I Wish I Knew Before Going to Hawaii with Kids

Are you planning a trip to hawaii with kids and want to hear from other parents who have done it (and survived) i asked some top family travel bloggers for their best advice for traveling to hawaii with kids. keep scrolling to see what they said, this list of things i wish i knew before going to hawaii with kids was written by hawaii travel expert marcie cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, i may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog..

I’ve been traveling to Hawaii since I was 10 years old. Of course, my perspective has slightly changed each trip. And the islands themselves have changed over the years.

When I started bringing my own kids to Hawaii about 7 years ago, it was a pretty steep learning curve. It seems like my Hawaii packing list changed each trip, depending on if they were a baby , toddler , or preschooler.

Because it’s been so long since I first started visiting Hawaii, I figured I’d check with some other family travel bloggers to see what tips they would share with parents planning their first trip to Hawaii with kids.

Keep in mind that these ladies are super comfortable traveling with kids, so these tips go beyond the usual family travel tips. This is the extra important stuff to know!

Want to skip all the planning and just access my detailed Hawaii Itineraries complete with daily schedules, kid-friendly activities, and travel hacks? Click the button below.

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Hawaii with Kids: Top Family Travel Blogger Tips

Price match everything.

Before our month-long  trip to Oahu , we thought of every possible way to cut down on expenses. It had been a few years since our last (and much) shorter trip to Hawaii and I assumed that all the consumables we needed would add up during such a long stay.

I brought an entire suitcase with shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen , and more just as on our previous trip I had brought enough diapers and wipes to last our baby the entire trip.

These days, that type of preparation just isn’t necessary.

Costco is the cheapest grocery store in Hawaii

First, if you’re staying for an extended period as we did you can stop at Costco to load up on toiletries, diapers, snacks, and more at prices very close to what you’d pay on the Mainland.

Visitors staying for shorter periods probably won’t need such large quantities, but you have great options as well. We were excited to discover that Target in Hawaii will price match their app! 

We used this trick to save big money on everything from sunscreen to cereal. In some cases, we saved up to $5 per item.

When you need provisions for a family of four, all of those consumables really add up. But it’s a real convenience to purchase locally rather than lugging an extra suitcase and potentially paying to check it on the plane.

Melissa from The Family Voyage

Oahu is Busy and Expensive

Two things I wish I had known before traveling to Hawaii are how busy Oahu can be and the cost of groceries. 

While Oahu is a great Hawaiian island for families, one thing to note is that it can be VERY busy.  Traffic through Honolulu can be as busy as major metropolitan areas on the mainland. And it is something families should keep in mind when traveling throughout the island for kid-friendly activities  as it can make for a long drive. 

I would also note that some resorts can also be very busy.  While we love Hilton Hawaiian Village and Disney’s Aulani , the resorts themselves can be very full and so pool chairs, elevators, kids’ clubs, and restaurants can be in high demand. 

If you are looking for a quieter, less crowded vacation, some of the other resorts or islands may be a better choice. 

The best Maui grocery stores featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids.

The other thing to note is that because it is an island, things can be expensive, including grocery stores! Because we like to cook our own meals and food during our annual visit to Maui, we always stop at the grocery store . The one closest to the resorts can be very expensive. 

So we have gotten the store discount card and save it each year for that one trip.  Families can also try stopping at grocery stores farther away from the resort areas to try and cut down on food costs.  

Keri of Bon Voyage with Kids

Always Check Surf Conditions

One thing you’ll definitely want to be aware of when visiting Hawaii with kids is how to anticipate and check surf conditions at the beach.

If you’re not prepared with that information, you’ll end up hauling everyone to a beach only to find that the surf is simply too strong for your young children or inexperienced swimmers to play in.

Always be sure to check the surf report before heading to the beach in Hawaii. Image of a father and young sons going surfing at the beach.

As a general rule, don’t expect to be able to swim at any North Shore beaches in the winter (November – March). Winter is when the North Shore waves get famously enormous, and professional surfers travel from all over the world to compete.

While you might decide it’s worth a drive to the North Shore to catch a glimpse of the surfing action, you’ll be disappointed if you plan on being able to swim at the beaches.

Hawaii locals and long-term residents are generally very well acquainted with typical wave conditions at each beach around the island. But that’s not information you’re likely to find in any guidebook.

Feel free to ask other families where they’ve been swimming lately, but always plan to check an app like Surfline before you pack up for the day.

Pay attention to the average swell height (given in feet), when high and low tides are (this will tell you the relative depth of the water as well as how much beach there will be available for sitting and playing), and the wind speed (if it’s very windy, the waves are more likely to be choppy).

Constance of A Well-Read Wanderer

Don’t Over-Schedule

One of my top tips for planning a family trip to Hawaii is to not over schedule. The sun and swimming will tire kids out. 

The beaches are incredible and are our top recommendations for any trip to the Aloha State. Relax into it instead of fighting it and everyone will have a much better trip! 

Find out how to plan a trip to Hawaii by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel with Kids. Image of travel vacation concept with sun hat, camera, passport, airplane toy and weekend photos on wooden backdrop. Top view. Flat lay.

When our family travels, we usually pack a full itinerary. But when we lived in Hawaii, and now when we go back to visit, we adjust to the rhythm of life there and are much happier.

Hawaii is the only state within the tropics and the direct tropical sun really is different from what is on the Mainland. This is one of the reasons that the tempo of life, in general, is mellower on the islands. 

There are so many fascinating cultural, natural, and historic sites to see that we are all tempted to pack a lot into our trips there. But you don’t need to do it all to have a wonderful vacation.

Decide on your favorites and then pace your travel by taking advantage of opportunities to cool down and take a break from the sun. You can use air-conditioned drives, lodgings, and sites, as well as the cooler temperatures up at higher elevations and on the rainy sides of the islands to offer kids a little rest and reprieve. 

Save some things for next time and instead cherish your relaxing and very special trip with your family to Hawaii. 

Erica of Trip Scholars

Get My FREE Hawaii e-Book!

Our exclusive Ultimate Guide to Family-Friendly Activities in Hawaii is your treasure map to the most exciting, kid-approved adventures across the islands.

Learn Hawaii’s Car Seat Laws

One thing many parents don’t think about before their trip to Hawaii is making sure to abide by Hawaii car seat laws . Those laws aren’t the most stringent in the country, but they aren’t the weakest either. And you’ll want to know them when renting a car in Hawaii .

Some families assume they’ll be able to rent a car seat upon arrival, but that can be a risky proposition .

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Rental car agencies may not have the promised car seat. Sometimes they run out and can only offer an option that isn’t age-appropriate, like the choice between an infant car seat and a booster seat for a 2-year-old. Other times the car seats may be missing parts or just plain disgusting.

Even worse, some car rental agencies “sanitize” their car seats without consulting the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and may inadvertently render the car seat harness ineffective in a crash. In short, you don’t know what you’re going to get when you rent a car seat and it may endanger your child.

Families visiting Hawaii need to be sure to think about their transportation needs before they go to keep everyone safe.

If you plan to stay in Oahu, taking TheBus or the Trolley everywhere may be a viable option but it limits your experience. The other islands don’t have as developed public transportation options, so you may feel even more confined.

Even if you never plan to leave your resort, you need to be sure to have safe transportation to and from the airport .

Accidents happen, even in paradise. Riding in a car may be the riskiest thing your child does on vacation, so it’s important to spend a few minutes before your trip thinking about how to keep your child safe.

Melissa of Travel Car Seat Mom

Hawaii Family Travel FAQs

If you’re looking for a place to take your family, Hawaii is the perfect destination. There are so many things that children and adults alike will enjoy in this beautiful state from water activities on beaches or exploring cultural sites like luaus. With flights only taking less than an hour each way (sometimes even only 25 minutes!), it’s easy enough flying back-and-forth between different islands as well!

If you’re trying to plan a trip to Hawaii with kids, you’ve come to the right place! Our entire site is dedicated to helping you plan your perfect Hawaii trip. Sign up for our free email course on How to Plan a Trip to Hawaii like a Pro to get started!

This is a tough call and totally depends on what you like to do on vacation. Oahu is great for families who love sightseeing, historical attractions, and doing lots of activities. Maui is awesome for resort vacations with a few day trips to explore the islands. Kauai is super laid back and has a great mix of outdoor adventures and an impressive food scene. And the Big Island is great to unplug and have some epic adventures.

Hawaii Family Travel Tips Wrap Up

We hope these tips for traveling with kids to Hawaii have been helpful in getting you started on your next vacation.

If you want even more information about Hawaii, we recommend checking out our other articles and blog posts that cover the history of Hawaiian culture, the best beaches, and some of our favorite things to do while visiting this beautiful island state.

Whatever questions you may still have after reading through all of them (and don’t worry if there are a lot!), feel free to get in touch with us!

Looking for more Hawaii travel tips ? Find out whether or not you need Hawaii travel insurance , how to rent a car in Hawaii , worst time to visit Hawaii , top tips for Hawaii on a budget , and if you should rent a condo vs hotel room .

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Kauai's North Shore viewed from a helicopter

Planning a Trip to Hawaii: DOs and DON’Ts (2024)

This page contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Planning a trip to Hawaii is something many people dream of. With its stunning beaches, dramatic volcanic landscapes, and lush green hills, it’s one of the most beautiful places we’ve visited but also the most expensive.

While we do think the islands are worth the high price, to make the most of your stay, it’s essential to plan in advance.

In this post, we share our top Hawaii travel tips to show you how to plan a trip to Hawaii that’s perfect for you.

We’ll cover how many days you need in Hawaii, which island to visit, where to stay, the top activities, what you must book in advance, and everything else you need to know.

Video: Hawaii Travel Tips

How long to stay in hawaii, best island to visit in hawaii, best time to visit hawaii, planning a trip to hawaii: before you arrive, when you are in hawaii, what to pack for hawaii, is hawaii worth it, more hawaii posts, maui travel update 2024.

Since November 1, 2023, West Maui has been open for travel again (except Lahaina, which will remain closed indefinitely) after the devastating wildfire in Lahaina in August 2023.

Visitors to Maui are now encouraged, but please be mindful and respectful of the tragedy that everyone on the island has been impacted by.

Travel to other islands in Hawaii is unaffected.

If you’d like to donate money to support Maui’s recovery, consider the Hawaii Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund .

For more information about the ongoing situation, see the Hawaii Tourism Authority website .

Back to Contents

The average stay in Hawaii is about 7 days. I think this is a good minimum time for a trip, although 10-14 days is better if you want to visit multiple islands.

Some visitors do visit Hawaii for 4-5 days, but it’s a long way from the US mainland (or anywhere!) for a short trip, and you’ll spend the first few days adjusting to the time zone change. That said, if it’s all you can manage, it’s better than no time in Hawaii!

If you have a week for your Hawaii vacation, I recommend choosing just one island to visit. See below to find the best Hawaiian island for you.

If you have 10 days in Hawaii, I recommend starting with 3 days in Oahu and then visiting Maui or Kauai for a week.

Choosing the best island to visit is one of the most challenging parts of planning a trip to Hawaii. They are all diverse with lots to offer, so it just depends what you are looking for.

Most visitors to Hawaii visit one of these four islands:

View of Diamond Head and Honolulu from a helicopter tour of Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu is by far the most visited and developed Hawaiian island. It’s home to the large city of Honolulu, which includes the famous and very crowded Waikiki Beach (where most visitor accommodation is located).

Oahu offers the most choice of shopping, dining, and nightlife, so if you want to combine city and beach life, this is the best island for you.

It’s also by far the easiest place to manage without renting a car (although I still recommend it). If you stay in Waikiki, you can walk to the beach and many shops, restaurants, and activities.

You can also take tours, Ubers, or the Trolley Bus to nearby attractions including the Pearl Harbour memorial.

Oahu’s North Shore offers a much more relaxed vibe with beautiful beaches and huge waves for surfing in the winter.

Oahu is easy to fit into Hawaii vacations as Honolulu International Airport offers the most flights from the mainland US and international destinations.

Our favourite activities in Oahu are:

  • Taking a helicopter ride around the island for stunning views. We recommend the one hour doors off tour with Rainbow Helicopters from Honolulu.
  • Snorkelling at Hanauma Bay (be sure to book).
  • Relaxing on the Windward Coast beaches especially Waimānalo and Kailua.

See our 7 Day Oahu itinerary for many more tips.

Where to stay in Oahu: Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore is our favourite place we’ve stayed in all of Hawaii! It is seriously dreamy with incredible ocean views, isolated beaches (with turtles!), stylish rooms, and plenty to do. It feels a world away from Waikiki.

The black sand beach at Waianapanapa State Park, one of the best road to Hana stops on the island of Maui in Hawaii

Maui is the second most visited island and is a popular honeymoon destination.

It has gorgeous beaches, world-class whale watching, and the Road to Hana drive where you can see waterfalls, bamboo forest, and black sand beaches.

You can also watch the sun rise above a volcanic crater and visit wineries and lavender farms in Upcountry.

There’s a wide range of resorts, dining, shopping, and activities as well as natural attractions.

Our favourite activities in Maui are:

  • Staying overnight in Hana (we love Hana Kai Condos ) to explore popular sights like Waianapanapa without the crowds.
  • Whale watching from Lahaina. We saw an incredible amount of humpbacks on our small group boat trip with Makai Adventures (up and running in a new location).
  • Relaxing on the beaches of West Maui (with turtle sightings!).

See our Maui itinerary for more tips.

Where to stay in Maui: Kahana Reef has affordable, oceanfront condos on the west coast. We saw whales, turtles, and incredible sunsets from our lanai.

Hapuna Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii

The Big Island (officially called Hawaii) is the youngest Hawaiian island, so it’s not as green as the other islands and has more lava landscapes.

If you want to see an active volcano, this is the island to visit.

It’s the largest island with diverse landscapes from white sand beaches to snow-capped volcanoes.

Our favourite activities on the Big Island are:

  • Night snorkel with manta rays. We got incredibly close to these magnificent and huge creatures on our manta trip with Sea Quest .
  • Snorkelling at Kealakekua Bay and Two Step .
  • Kilauea Iki Trail  – Hiking into a volcanic caldera in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

See our guide to the best things to do on the Big Island for more tips.

Where to Stay on the Big Island: You’ll want to divide your time between the west and east on this large island. Our favourite area was Volcano, where we adored this peaceful cabin in the rainforest . It’s very different from the rest of Hawaii.

Kauai's Napali Coast from a helicopter

Known as The Garden Isle, Kauai is the most lush and green of the islands.

Kauai has become more popular, but it isn’t as developed as Maui or Oahu.

The jagged green cliffs of the stunning Napali Coast are the big draw, but there are also lovely beaches, waterfalls, hiking trails, and multi-coloured canyons.

Our favourite activities in Kauai are:

  • Admiring Kauai from above – Our Kauai doors off helicopter ride was spectacular.
  • Sailing the Napali Coast – The massive sea cliffs are stunning and we saw whales, dolphins and turtles on the way.
  • Seeing turtles and seals on Poipu Beach .

See our post on the best things to do on Kauai for many more.

Where to stay in Kauai: We loved our condo at Kiahuna Plantation on a beautiful beach in Poipu.

Hanalei Bay beach, Kauai, one of the best places to stay in Kauai

Less Visited Hawaiian Islands

If you are looking to get off the beaten track, you could consider visiting one of these smaller, much less visited islands (we haven’t made it to either yet but hope to next time):

  • Molokai – Known as The Friendly Isle, on Molokai you’ll find a slow pace of life and more native Hawaiians, but less choice of accommodation and activities. It’s also home to the leper colony of Kalaupapa, which I became fascinated with after reading a couple of these Hawaii books .
  • Lana’i – For many years Lana’i was a pineapple plantation and it’s now home to a few luxury resorts like the stunning Four Seasons Lana’i . If you want to enjoy the secluded beaches without the high price tag, the ferry from Lahaina on Maui only takes an hour, so you could visit on a day trip.

Which Side of the Island?

The character of each island also depends on which part you visit.

All the islands have a rainy side where the scenery is lush and green and a dry side where you’ll usually get more sun.

They are both worth visiting, which is why we split our island stays between two or three locations.

Where We Visited in Hawaii

We had 3.5 weeks on our first Hawaiian vacation (in January/February) and divided our time between Kauai and Maui, with one night in Honolulu before our onward flight.

There’s so much to do on each island that we’re glad we didn’t try to add in an extra island.

On our second 3 week Hawaii trip (in October), we spent a week on Oahu (but could have stayed longer) and two weeks on the Big Island.

We love all four of the major Hawaii islands, but our personal favourite is Kauai for the rugged green mountains and more laidback vibe.

There’s no bad time to visit Hawaii as it’s warm year-round, with daytime temperatures rarely dropping below 75ºF (24ºC), even in winter. Each season has its pros and cons.

To See Humpback Whales—Visit in Winter

We were astounded by how many whales we saw in Maui in February. January to March are the best months for whale watching, but you might see a few from November to May.

Winter weather in Hawaii is cooler and rainier than the rest of the year, but we still had mostly sunny days. The ocean is warm enough to swim year-round.

Winter is also the best time for serious surfers, with huge swells on the north shores (especially Oahu).

Christmas and New Year are some of the busiest times on the islands, so avoid them if you are on a budget (and book well in advance).

To Save Money—Visit in the Off-Season

In the spring (April and May) and autumn (September to mid-November), the islands are less crowded (relatively), prices are lower, and the weather is generally good. It can be very rainy on Kauai in April, though. 

For Snorkelling—Visit in Summer

The summer, from June to September, is the best time for snorkelling in Hawaii. The ocean is clearer, calmer, and warmer.

The shoulder months can be good, too—we found snorkelling better in October than in February. This does vary by island.

Hanauma Bay is an essential stop on any Oahu itinerary

  • Save up – Hawaii is expensive and you’ll enjoy it more if you aren’t worrying about every penny. On our first trip, we spent $267 per person per day (travelling as a couple), including everything except flights from the mainland US. You could spend less by travelling in the off-season, choosing non-beachfront accommodation, and skipping pricey tours. You could also spend a lot more by staying in luxury resorts and eating out for every meal.

Kailua Beach in Oahu, Hawaii

  • Book your accommodation far in advance – Especially if you are travelling in the high season, want an ocean view, or are travelling to places like Hana or Upcountry on Maui where accommodation is limited. You can search for resorts and hotels on Booking and vacation rentals on Vrbo .
  • Consider a condo rather than a resort – For families, stays of a week or more, and for those on a budget, renting a condo with a kitchen is a great way to save money. There are many to choose from and some have resort facilities like pools and beachfront locations. We mostly stay in condos and Kiahuna Plantation on Poipu Beach in Kauai is one of our favourites. Vrbo is a great way to find condos.
  • Split your stay – If you want the classic Hawaiian resort experience but can’t afford it for your whole trip, divide your time between a condo and a resort. We did this in Oahu—staying in a condo in Waikiki for 4 nights while we explored the south, then relaxing at gorgeous Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore for the last 3 nights.

Kiahuna Beach in Kauai

  • Camp if you are on a tight budget – It’s not for everyone, but if you don’t mind roughing it, camping is the cheapest way to experience Hawaii. There are some beautiful campsites at beaches and state parks, although you usually need to get permits in advance. See this guide to camping in Hawaii for more tips.
  • Search on Kiwi or Skyscanner for the best flight deals – You need to get on a plane to reach Hawaii. The cheapest rates will be from Los Angeles or other West Coast USA cities. Southwest now flies to Hawaii at low rates. You can also get affordable flights from Canada and Japan to Honolulu.
  • Fly in and out of different islands – Maximise your time on the islands by flying into one island (such as Kauai) and out of another (such as Maui). I was surprised by how many affordable direct flights there are from the US mainland to places other than Honolulu.
  • Rent a car – It’s the best way to see Hawaii and often there’s no other way to reach parts of the islands. At busy times rental cars can run out, so book far in advance. We use Rental Cars to find the best deal and just book the cheapest economy car.
  • Travel between islands by plane – There are no ferries between islands (except from Maui to Lana’i) so you’ll need to hop on an interisland flight. Most are operated by Hawaiian Airlines and are affordable and short (20 to 50 minutes).
  • Consider splitting your time between two or three locations on each island – If you want to do a lot of exploring, this will help avoid long drives to attractions. We’ve done this on all four main islands and it worked out well.

Sunrise at Haleakalā National Park crater visitor centre

  • Book Haleakala sunrise in advance – If you want to see Maui’s most popular sunrise, you must book up to 60 days in advance . If you miss out, try again two days before when more tickets are released.
  • Make reservations for some state parks – Non-Hawaii residents need to book in advance for certain parks and pay an entrance and parking fee. These include Haena State Park in Kauai, Waianapanapa State Park on the Road to Hana in Maui, ‘Iao Valley in Maui, and Diamond Head in Oahu. Time slots are released 30 days in advance. Book as soon as possible as they do sell out.
  • Pack a sweater – While most of the time you’ll only need summer clothes, it can get chilly on morning boat trips or if you go to higher elevations (like Upcountry in Maui or Waimea Canyon on Kauai) especially in the winter. Sunrise at Haleakala, Maui and sunset at Mauna Kea on the Big Island are freezing and you’ll appreciate as many layers as possible. See the end of this post for more tips on what to pack for Hawaii. 
  • Learn a few Hawaiian words – Even if it’s just Aloha (hello and goodbye but also love and compassion) and Mahalo (thank you). I picked up vocabulary by reading the astounding novel Shark Dialogues by Kiana Davenport (which I highly recommend every visitor reads).
  • Book restaurants in advance – Upscale restaurants do fill up, so make reservations for anywhere you definitely want to eat (including at resorts). A few weeks in advance should be fine but places like Duke’s on Waikiki Beach book up months ahead. People tend to eat early in Hawaii (around 6pm) so it’s easier to get later reservations.
  • Bring cash for tipping – While you can add a tip to your credit card in restaurants, it’s important to have cash for tour guides, valets, and resort staff. If you’re not American, familiarise yourself with tipping etiquette. We tipped 20% in restaurants and sit down bars, $10-20 per person for tours (including for helicopter pilots), $5 for valet attendants (when the car was returned), and around $2-3 a day for hotel housekeeping.
  • Plan to visit more than one island per week – You’ll spend too much of your precious Hawaii vacation time travelling and there’s so much to do on each island. While interisland flight times are short, airport security queues can be long (especially out of Honolulu) or flights delayed.
  • Forget hidden fees – The listed price for hotels and resorts is rarely what you’ll actually pay. You’ll have to add tax and often a resort fee, cleaning fee (for condos), and parking charge. Check the final total price when comparing accommodation options.
  • Visit during holidays – Try to avoid the busiest times of year, especially Christmas and New Year when crowds and prices soar. Thanksgiving week is another busy period. Avoid special events like Iron Man on the Big Island in October. If you must visit then, book far in advance.
  • Stay on the beach (maybe) – If you are on a tight budget, you’ll save by staying a short walk or drive from the beach. That said, we often splurge on beachfront accommodation and love it.

Sunset at Kiahuna Plantation in Poipu, Kauai

  • Read novels set in Hawaii – Learn more about Hawaii’s fascinating culture and turbulent history by reading one of these books about Hawaii while you relax on the beach.
  • Schedule your most important activities early – Weather can change and cancel activities like boat trips and helicopter rides, so make sure you’ll have time to reschedule.
  • Book Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve on Oahu two days in advance – If you want to snorkel at this popular beach, you must make a reservation here at exactly 7am Hawaii Standard Time two days before your visit. Slots sell out in minutes. Tickets are $25. It’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Waterfalls in Kauai from a helicopter

  • Use reef-safe sunscreen – Hawaii has banned the sale of sunscreen that uses coral-harming chemicals (oxybenzone and octinoxate). You need a product that uses zinc oxide instead, like this Raw Elements sunscreen . Honestly, it’s a pain to apply, but it’s surprisingly water resistant, and it’s worth it to protect the reefs. Longs Drugs and ABC Stores are good places to pick up all your beach supplies on the islands.

Reef friendly tips on A-Bay Beach on the Big Island

  • Wear a rashguard – Even better than sunscreen is to protect your skin by wearing a rashguard in the water, especially when snorkelling.

Outrigger canoe in Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island

  • Sign up to the Snorkel Report on Maui – You’ll get an email every morning with tips on the best beaches to visit that day. They also rent inexpensive snorkelling and beach gear.
  • Check the Hawaii Beach Safety website – To find out which beaches are safe for swimming or best for surfing.
  • Go whale watching – It was one of our favourite experiences in Hawaii. We chose a small boat trip with Makai Adventures from Lahaina in Maui and loved it so much we went twice. You can see whales on most of the islands— search for whale watching trips in Hawaii here .
  • Hike – All the islands have beautiful trails from easy coastal walks to challenging multi-day treks. It’s a great free way to enjoy the beauty of the islands.

Simon hiking through a bamboo grove on the Pipiwai Trail near Hana, Maui

  • Rent a Tommy Bahama beach chair and umbrella – Our condos came with these, but you can rent them on the islands inexpensively. They have backpack straps for easy carrying and make beach hopping much more comfortable.
  • Bring or rent snorkel gear – If you have space in your luggage, bring your own snorkel and mask. If not, rent it for the length of your stay from a service like Snorkel Bob’s (as we did on the Big Island). I appreciated being able to take a look at the reef whenever we went to the beach.
  • Visit a farmer’s market – The fresh produce is usually cheaper and better quality than the supermarkets and there are lots of tasty treats and foodie souvenirs to enjoy.
  • Cool off with shave ice – This delicious icy treat is so much better than we expected. Add a scoop of macadamia ice cream on the bottom for maximum tastiness. Our favourites are Waikomo Shave Ice on Kauai and Original Big Island Shave Ice Co on the Big Island.

Shave Ice in Hanalei, Kaui

  • Enjoy a Mai Tai on the beach – Touristy yes, but it’s a classic Hawaii experience and these tasty rum cocktails come in cool Tiki glasses.
  • Try Li Hing Mui – This dried plum is sweet, salty, and sour. It’s very popular in Hawaii (originating from China), and you can find them whole for snacking (a bit much for me) or as a flavour for many treats. It’s my new favourite shave ice flavour (especially combined with lilikoi/passionfruit and pineapple).
  • Drive the Road to Hana on Maui – Most people do this in one day, but we loved spending a few nights in Hana to explore without the crowds.

Sea stacks at Wai‘anapanapa State Park near Hana in Maui

  • Eat all the banana bread – Especially in the Hana area, homemade banana bread sold at farm stalls is so good.
  • Indulge in chocolate-covered macadamia nuts – We were addicted to the ones by Moana Loa.
  • Let local drivers pass you – They know the winding roads better than you and drive at a faster pace, so pull over and let them pass.
  • See Kauai from above – Our doors-off helicopter trip on Kauai was mind-blowing and it’s the best island for a scenic flight. Our Oahu helicopter tour was also amazing. Search for scenic helicopter flights on other Hawaiian islands here .

Waimea Canyon on a doors off helicopter Kauai tour with Jack Harter in Hawaii

  • Eat in restaurants for every meal – Restaurants are expensive and by self-catering in our condo we saved a huge amount of money. Even if you don’t have a kitchen, you can pick up a pre-made picnic lunch from a supermarket and enjoy it on the beach. Some of our tastiest meals were from food trucks which are far cheaper than restaurants. Hana in Maui and Hanalei in Kauai had the best selection of trucks.
  • Underestimate the ocean – Conditions can be dangerous and change quickly and drownings do happen. If you’re not sure it’s safe, don’t swim.
  • Turn your back on the ocean – Huge waves can come out of nowhere when you are swimming or even walking along the shore.
  • Fight a rip current –  If you get caught in a current, keep calm, float, and wave for help. Go with the current and conserve your energy.
  • Touch sea turtles or monk seals – You are likely to come across wildlife on the beaches, but it’s illegal to get too close or touch them.
  • Feed fish or other wild animals.

Monk seals on Poipu Beach on Kauai, Hawaii

  • Trespass – Please respect private property. While all beaches are open to the public, they don’t all have public access routes.
  • Litter – Don’t leave anything behind on beaches or hiking trails.
  • Park illegally – Respect “no parking” signs and don’t stop on the side of the road. This has become a real problem on the Road to Hana in Maui in particular.
  • Steal any rocks or sand .
  • Touch or step on coral – Be mindful of where your fins are when snorkelling.
  • Leave valuables in your car – And keep any luggage hidden out of sight in the trunk. Rent a mid-size car rather than a compact one (we found these didn’t have an enclosed trunk).
  • Laugh at the hula – It’s not just a dance for tourists, but a serious part of local culture.
  • Refuse a lei (flower garland) – It’s a symbol of affection and Aloha so wear it with gratitude and don’t take it off in front of the person who gave it to you.
  • Wear shoes into someone’s house .
  • Rush – Don’t feel the pressure to do everything. Make sure you allow time just to relax by the pool or on the beach. Slow down and enjoy these beautiful islands.

The weather is warm year-round in Hawaii so pack lightweight summer clothes—shorts, t-shirts, dresses, a couple of bathing suits, and a beach cover-up. 

I’m a big fan of PrAna for summer dresses and swimwear. 

There’s no need to pack formal clothes as Hawaii is very casual. 

I do recommend packing one set of warmer clothes for visiting places at higher elevations or boat trips in winter. A pair of jeans or leggings plus a lightweight fleece or sweater should be fine. 

If you are planning on sunrise at Haleakala in Maui or stargazing at Mauna Kea on the Big Island, it can be freezing, so add more layers and perhaps a packable down jacket if you have one (I like the Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody). 

We spend most of our time in Hawaii wearing hiking sandals—they are perfect for beaches and hikes. Many beaches have rough access trails so you’ll appreciate something more than flip-flops.

We both love Teva sandals which are very comfortable for hiking and most models are waterproof so are great for kayaking. Simon likes the Teva Fi Lite sandals and I have the Teva Verra sandals .

I also had a pair of ballet flats for a dressier option for the evenings. My current favourites are the super comfy Allbirds Tree Breezers —see my Allbirds flats review for details. 

For running, I wear the light, breathable Allbirds Tree Dashers .  

Other Useful Items

  • Reef-safe sunscreen – Avoid sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate which have been banned in Hawaii. 
  • Reusable shopping bags – Plastic bags are banned on the islands.
  • Spices – If you are self-catering, you’ll save money by bringing a small amount of spices with you. We bought some at the bulk-buy section of a supermarket on the mainland.
  • Water bottle – Avoid creating plastic waste by packing a reusable water bottle. We like the Vapur water bottle as it’s light and packs flat when empty. 
  • Packable daypack – These backpacks fit in your luggage on the trip over and are useful for hikes and exploring. 
  • Packing cubes – We swear by these as they keep your clothes organised and easy to find in your luggage. 
  • Quick-dry beach towel – These lightweight towels dry faster than traditional towels and sand shakes off them more easily. 
  • Compact binoculars – There’s so much wildlife to see in Hawaii including whales, dolphins, seals, turtles, and birds. The tiny Olympus 8 x 21 RCII waterproof binoculars were ideal for getting a closer look.

Yes, I think Hawaii is well worth visiting! While it is expensive and can be crowded, there’s something about that stunning scenery and relaxing vibe that entices many of us to visit again and again.

I hope this blog post helps you with how to plan a trip to Hawaii. Let me know if you have any questions and share your Hawaii travel tips in the comments below.

We share more of our Hawaii tips in these posts:

  • The Perfect 7 Day Oahu Itinerary
  • A Doors Off Oahu Helicopter Tour: Everything You Need to Know
  • 25 Best Things to Do in Maui
  • The Ultimate Maui Itinerary: The Best of Maui in 7 to 14 Days
  • 17 Stunning Road to Hana Stops & Why You Should Stay in Hana, Maui
  • Where to Stay in Kauai: The Best Areas and Hotels
  • 17 Unmissable Things to Do in Kauai
  • A Doors Off Helicopter Tour on Kauai: Is It Worth it?
  • 14 Best Beaches in Kauai
  • 23 Unmissable Things to Do on the Big Island
  • 9 Best Books About Hawaii to Read Before You Visit

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Your review made no mention of exploring the art museum & palace.

These 2 spots are essential visits in Oahu. Exploring how Hawaiian islands last provincial part of royal hawaiian culture just before annexation to the United States as a territory, and later a state is fascinating. The art museum and also Duke Mansion have extremely rare & valuable originals of some of the most revered artists in varying mediums. Picasso, Monet, Rembrant, Matisse, Van gough, O’keife. Really disappointing it is not even mentioned here. I have visited Hawaiian Island more than 10 + times. They are essential stops.

Reply ↓

Thanks for the suggestions, Susanne. Everyone has different priorities, and for us, with limited time in Honolulu, we preferred to focus on the amazing outdoor attractions.

I do think it’s important to learn about Hawaii’s history and culture so I’ve read a lot of books about it.

This is so helpful and thorough! I have been clicking back and forth to different articles. Thank you for putting your time in to such a great resource.

I’m glad you found it useful! Thanks Jennifer for the kind words!

Hi!! Do you have any recommendations on phone/data plans for internationals?💕

We’re currently in the US and are using T Mobile. Simon got an unlimited data plan for $50 a month and bought the SIM in advance from SIM Corner while we were in New Zealand (they ship from various countries).

That was useful as it meant we had the SIM as soon as we arrived (most airports don’t seem to have places to buy SIMs).

I just went into a T-Mobile shop to buy mine and got the cheapest plan of $15 for 2.5GB data valid for 30 days. Plus $10 for the SIM card. All plans have unlimited domestic talk and text.

If you look in the trucks at Farmers Markets….many of the boxes are from COSTCO. If you plan to self-cater, shop at COSTCO first and then Walmart if the island your visiting has one.

Do you know if the Covid restrictions would prevent people from renting a car and doing their own circle tour. These tours are outrageously expensive for only 15 mins at each location. I could easily just use our rental car and take our time seeing what we want to see. So my question is will the State of Hawaii only allow these pricey tours right now because of Covid? For example, I don’t want to drive to see the Halona Blowhole only to find out we can’t get near it because of certain restrictions.

You are allowed to rent a car (as long as you don’t have to quarantine which you shouldn’t if you get a test before arrival) so there’s no reason not to drive yourself. There is high demand for car rentals in Hawaii at the moment (many rental companies sold off cars last year) so book as far in advance as possible.

Hi! Thank you for this article it was very helpful. For the sunrise mountain in Maui, I saw the reservations is per car. Do you drive all the way up or hike? I will be traveling with some older people (70+), so trying to understand the feasibility? Thank you!

Yes, it is per car. You drive all the way up and don’t have to walk more than a few minutes from the carpark to the viewpoint. There are optional hiking trails around for post-sunrise, but it’s still stunning without any walking.

Thank you for the tips to “Bring reusable shopping bags” and “Schedule your most important activities early”. Very good points to keep in mind.

I love that Hawaii has so many places that offer to rent (folding) beach chairs! I find that option sorely missing from the islands in the Caribbean. In fact, I ended up buying an inexpensive beach chair from Wal-mart when we were in Puerto Rico this past winter.

What about tent camping, is that not a viable alternative to the high priced lodging?

Yes, that’s definitely the cheapest way to experience Hawaii. It’s not our thing, although we saw the campsite at Waianapanapa State Park on Maui and you can’t beat the location!

I’ve lived on Kauai for over 40 years. While I agree with nearly everything you say in this excellent article, there was one glaring error that any Kauai resident could confirm. Although visiting off season is, indeed, (somewhat) cheaper and certainly less crowded, the weather in April on Kauai (and generally March) is far from excellent. Many, many visitors to Kauai have had their vacations ruined by our relentless April rains (in fact, much of the north shore is still closed from catastrophic rains over a year ago, and a couple of years before that it rained for nearly 40 straight days (okay, maybe not, but any local will swear by it…). April is by far the worst possible month to visit Kauai and it does your readers a digs-service to urge them to do so.

Thanks for the information Bill. I will update the post.

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How Much Does a Trip To Hawaii Cost for a Family of Four (2023 prices)

hawaii cost for family hawaii trip cost estimate 2022

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Visitors to Hawaii returned faster than many travel experts expected in 2022. The high demand and inflation resulted in the cost of a Hawaii vacation increasing. For 2023, we received quotes on how much a trip to Hawaii costs for a family of four.

In 2019 we estimated that a comparable mid-range trip to Hawaii would cost $10,100 for a family of four. In 2021 the same trip cost $8,914. The price increased 37 percent in 2022 to $12,239 as demand for Hawaii vacations surged once travel restrictions ended.

How does the cost of a Hawaii vacation measure up in 2023? A 10-day trip to Hawaii in June 2023 for a family of four is quoted to cost $13,493.

With international travel fully open in 2023, especially for Japan, experts are predicting another busy year for travel to Hawaii. High demand results in higher hotel prices, rental cars, and plane tickets. Inflation hasn’t helped either.

Here is what a trip to Hawaii costs in 2023 for a family of four:

Read on for details on the quotes and ways to save on your Hawaii vacation.

hawaii cost estimate trip cost for hawaii

We know you’re here for some travel tricks, and we have your back: – If you’re looking for the cost for two, we’ve covered that here . – We’ve figured out how to get some of the best airfare prices available. – We’re here to help you decide whether a hotel or vacation rental is right for you. – Don’t overspend on a rental car in Hawaii again. – Oh, and did we mention our coupon codes ?

How Much Does a Trip to Hawaii Cost For a Family of Four in 2023?

To get to our estimate of $13,493, we used the following assumptions:

  • A 10-night trip to Oahu
  • Flights leaving from Los Angeles ( 25% of domestic flights to Hawaii leave from LAX)
  • A family of four includes two adults and two children
  • Trip booking for mid-June 202 3
  • Staying in a value hotel in Waikiki (central location and best prices)

As stated above, the average trip to Hawaii cost for a family of four came to $13,493. That’s $3,373 per person. 

For our cost estimates, we averaged hotel prices on Expedia for a non-ocean view room, car rental prices from Hawaii Discount Car Rental, airplane tickets using our booking method , and a few of our favorite Oahu tours and activities .

Oahu is the most visited Hawaiian Island, the Cheapest Hawaiian Island to Visit , and Waikiki is the best place to stay on Oahu in price and location (in our opinion). Hence, we used Oahu for our cost estimate.

For a 10-day trip, you may want to consider a 10-Day Oahu and Maui Itinerary . See our Hawaii island-hopping guide for info.

2022 monthly visitors to hawaiian islands graph

Of course, there are ways to do this trip cheaper (think: glamping on Maui ) and there are ways to make this trip much more expensive. But this is a pretty reasonable cost estimate for a mid-priced vacation that you’ll love.

The summer of 2022 saw a near return to 2019 visitor counts by the summer, pre-pandemic levels. We expect 2023 to be another busy year.

See our recommendations below on how to save money on your 2023 Hawaii Vacation. Then sign up for our Hawaii Travel Newsletter to stay up to date on visiting Hawaii this year.

Here’s how costs break down for our 10-day trip to Oahu in June.

trip to hawaii cost estimate 2022

Cost of Airfare to Hawaii

You can find some great deals on airfare right now to Hawaii. The low-cost carriers to Hawaii are Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines. See our article How to Get a Cheap Ticket to Hawaii .  Personally, we like Hawaiian Airlines as they make it feel like your Hawaii vacation has started when you board.

Most Hawaii low-cost carrier flights depart from the West Coast. As visitors (about 14 percent) are coming from the East Coast also, I averaged in higher priced Delta and United Airlines tickets from LAX to be more realistic.  

Roundtrip flights from Los Angeles to Honolulu (HNL) for mid-June (as of October 2022):

  • Alaska Airlines $722
  • Hawaiian Airlines $627
  • Southwest (reservations open 6 months prior to departure)
  • United Airlines $996
  • Delta Airlines $941

The average cost of airfare to Hawaii: $3,403 for four people

Hotel on Oahu

The biggest chunk of your budget is going to be spent on lodging. The majority of people who come to Hawaii stay in a hotel over a vacation rental. In June 2022, data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority showed that 67 percent of visitors stayed in a hotel vs a vacation in Hawaii .

So for this, we used nightly rates for staying in some of our favorite value hotels in Waikiki for 10 nights. The quotes are for a non-ocean view, standard room. Click the hotel links to learn more about the hotels.

  • Hilton Hawaiian Village $393
  • Queen Kapi’olani Hotel $334
  • Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger $301 per night ( watch our video tour )
  • The Laylow, Autograph Collection $349 per night

Just like with most places, hotel prices can range. You have budget accommodations and luxury resorts. For your interest, luxury Oahu resorts are quoted below.

For luxury resorts on Oahu, the nightly rates for June were the following:

  • Royal Hawaiian Hotel : $609
  • Turtle Bay Resort (North Shore): $ 844
  • Disney Aulani (Ko Olina): $ 694

These prices include taxes and a resort fee. Taxes and resort fees can be 20% to 30% of the total cost of your stay. Because there is such a wide range of prices, we averaged the value-hotel total costs.

Total hotel costs for four people: $ 4,686

Related articles:

  • The Best Affordable Family Resorts in Hawaii Your Kids Will Love
  • The 7 Best Family-Friendly Hotels on Oahu
  • Why are Hotels So Expensive in Hawaii? (clever ways to save!)
  • 6 Best Big Island Luxury Hotels

hawaii vacation cost hotel rates 2022 Hilton Hawaiian Village

Your lodging will be your biggest expense when you visit Hawaii. 2022 experienced a surge in hotel rates, especially during the summer, as visitor demand increased to the islands. Our 2023 quoted hotel rates are slightly higher than 2022 summer hotel prices, per the chart below.

2022 hawaii hotel rates graph

If you’re looking for a luxury resort or a value hotel, we have some ideas for you. Check out the videos below of Waikiki resorts and hotels from your favorite YouTubers.

You can technically skip the car rental and save on this cost, but there is so much to do and see on Oahu, we recommend sticking with a rental car. Yes, it can be frustrating to pay for nightly parking charges, but if you plan to see a lot and drive to different spots on the island, a rental car is well worth it.

To help save money, we book our rental cars through Discount Hawaii Car Rental . We always get the best prices and you reserve a car with the major car rental companies. There’s also no need to pre-pay your reservation. 

On an average trip, we usually save $60-$75 per week booking with Discount Hawaii Car Rental . But on a trip to the big island over New Year’s Eve, we saved over $300!

For this estimate, we used Discount Hawaii Car Rental and received a price for a 10-day rental in a standard-size car to be $1,006.

Let’s factor in a tank of gas for $100 and parking fees at a Waikiki hotel. The parking fees, even without valet, are stiff at $35 a night. The total for parking and fuel is $450

Total rental car costs: $ 1, 456

Hawaii car rental guides:

  • How To Get Around Maui Without a Car
  • How to Get Around Oahu
  • 7-Day Oahu Itinerary Without a Rental Car

Hawaii cost trip estimate rental car cost

Just when you think that you’ve paid for all of the expensive things on your trip, think again. Eating out in Hawaii is expensive.

Even hitting the food trucks ( Maui food trucks and Kauai food trucks are the best!) can add up to a considerable amount (though they’re delicious and worth it). 

But because we’re estimating the total cost of a 10-day trip, we have to include food. The average dinner can run $50 – $100 per person, depending on the type of restaurant and the number of beverages ordered. 

At Duke’s in Waikiki, for example, a fish entree is $34 – $39. Add in a drink, tax, and tip, and you’ve spent $70 without trying. Add on an appetizer or dessert and the bill climbs. 

Across the street at Paia Fish Market, you can get a less expensive meal, but an entree will still cost $15 – $20.

All that to say we estimate an adult will spend $75 per day on food and a child eating off the kid’s menu (keiki menu) will spend $30 per day. Costs are obviously less if you’re staying at a vacation rental and not eating out.

We think it’s safe to say you’ll spend around $210 per day on food for four people, with a comfortable budget. 

Total food costs: $2,100

hawaii trip cost food cost estimate

The last and possibly most exciting money you’ll spend on the trip will be on your activities. There are plenty of free and cheap things to do in Hawaii, so this category is a little challenging to estimate. Hiking is free , snorkeling is inexpensive ( Oahu has good snorkeling ), and even visiting the Pearl Harbor National Memorial is free.

Our Oahu Itinerary highlights the free or low-cost things to do, it isn’t full of paid activities!

So you can either go all out and spend a ton on activities, spend next to nothing, or somewhere in between. 

If this is your first trip to Hawaii , you may want to do a few special things. We recommend the following activities for 2 adults and 2 kids . These were selected from our favorite Oahu vetted and tested Oahu tours and activities .

  • Kualoa Ranch’s UTV Jurassic Valley Tour : $ 450
  • Polynesian Cultural Center Ali’i Luau Package : $ 745
  • Ko Olina Adventure Snorkel & Sailing Tour : $653 

The cost for these three activities is $1,848 (gratuity not included). Consider adding a tip for the guided tours of $10 to $20 per person.

Total activities cost: $ 1,8 48

The Polynesian Cultural Center is a lot of fun and educational for kids and adults. See our Ali’i Luau vs Gateway Buffet article for ways to save and see what package is best. Booking with our direct Polynesian Cultural Center link here includes a discount on packages.

Explore all our favorite Oahu luaus here!

trip to hawaii cost for family itinerary

More things to do in Hawaii:

  • 23 Best Things to Do on Oahu with Kids
  • 68 Things to Do on Maui with Kids
  • 24 Things to Do on Kauai with Kids
  • 12 Epic Things to Do in Kona with Kids

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Oahu Wayfinder Itinerary

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Maui Wayfinder Itinerary

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Kauai Wayfinder Itinerary

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Cruising Hawaii Guide

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Big Island Wayfinder Itinerary

How to cut costs on your trip to hawaii without sacrificing fun.

Now that you know how much a trip to Hawaii costs for a family of four, are there ways that you can save? Here are tried and tested ways to save on a trip to Hawaii. 

Don’t forget to check our Hawaii Vacation Guide Coupon Codes to find deals on snorkel tours to shave ice (most discounts are on Maui).

Also, our Planning a Trip to Hawaii: 15 Essential Details for more information can be a huge help for your Hawaii family planning!

Stay in a Vacation Rental

I love a good resort experience and most visitors stay in a resort when they come to Hawaii. But if a family really wants to save money, a vacation rental can offer significant savings. The best savings are on Waikiki vacation rentals, you may find more expensive options on Maui and Kauai, for example.

hawaii vacation rental rates graph 2022

It would be a safe estimate to say that staying in a vacation rental during this trip can easily save you $1,200 – $2,000. 

There are pros and cons to staying in a vacation rental and we’ve laid them all out in this video Where to Stay in Hawaii: Hotels vs Vacation Rentals . 

Costco Hawaii Vacation Packages

A Costco Hawaii vacation package can be a good way to save money on your Hawaii vacation if you book flights, hotel, and a car rental with them. 

Our community member James T. found booking his Hawaii vacation with Costco saved him about 30% compared to Expedia and Orbitz. 

There are drawbacks, like a strict cancellation policy, so see our article below for details.

Related article: Costco Hawaii Vacation Review: 9 Things to Know Before You Buy

Travel to Hawaii with Points and Miles

My partner Erica and I have made traveling our passion and one of our biggest expenses in life. No regrets! We travel throughout the Hawaiian Islands, of course, but we have also been around the world a few times. With all this traveling, we were always nervous about taking advantage of points and rewards offered through credit cards.

A great way to save on your trip to Hawaii, if you have good credit and know how to use credit cards responsibly, is to use credit card and hotel points and rewards for free travel to Hawaii. Our goal this year is to save $2,000 a year on travel around Hawaii and trips to visit family on the mainland. To do this, we have signed up with Zac at Travel Freely. Zac is an expert on using points and rewards for free travel. We have partnered with him to share his resources with our community.

For example, Travel Freely members have saved $7,400+ and $9,500+ on their trips to Hawaii. See the articles below for details as it is totally doable.

  • Member Success Story: Travel Freely Members Save $7,400+ on Anniversary Trip to Hawaii!
  • Member Success Story: Travel Freely Members saved $9,500+ on a 10-day Trip to Hawaii!

This isn’t overnight savings, but as most people plan more than 6-months in advance for a trip to Hawaii, using points & miles is a good way to save on a trip to Hawaii. I recommend becoming a Travel Freely member (FREE) for free video tutorials and info to learn of the best cards and programs to get to Hawaii. Sign up to be a Travel Freely member here .

We now have the Travel Freely app that we use to track our credit cards and maximize the rewards. Also free to download and use.

Travel During Hawaii’s Shoulder Seasons

The majority of visitors to Hawaii come either in the summer or the winter . It makes sense: if you have kids in school your options to travel are limited. But those are also the most expensive times to travel to Hawaii. 

Costs dip considerably if you visit in September and October or April and May. Not only that, but the weather is generally better during these months and you’ll escape the most crowded months. See our Best Time to Visit Hawaii for details.

If you can, planning a trip to Hawaii during the shoulder months could save you a lot of money.

Luxury Vacation to Hawaii for Less

There are a lot more ways to save on a trip to Hawaii. If staying in a value hotel in Waikiki doesn’t sound like your type of family vacation, see our How to Have a Luxury Hawaii Vacation for Less: 12 Ways to Save .

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii for the first time, download our FREE Hawaiian Island Cheat Sheets . These downloadable or printable one-page cheat sheets will get you familiar with the islands. Especially if you are trying to figure out which island to visit! We have a quiz on that!

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Sign up & we’ll send you our island cheat sheets so you can get to know the islands like the back of your hand!

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Thanks for reading The Hawaii Vacation Guide! I'm the co-founder, with my wife Erica, of the best Hawaii travel guide on the internet in our biased opinions. We enjoy traveling throughout Hawaii after living on Maui and Oahu. We share our adventures, travel tips and resources, and honest reviews so you can easily plan your dream vacation to Hawaii. Editing our videos, teaching the kids how to snorkel, and learning about the 'aina (land) and Hawaii culture are my favorite things to do. Have a wonderful trip to the Aloha State.

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The Family Voyage

15 things to put on your packing list for Hawaii with kids

This post contains affiliate links, for which I may earn a commission if you make a qualifying purchase.

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Whether you’re just starting to plan your family trip to Hawaii or you’re getting ready to board the plane, chances are you’ve started thinking about what to bring to Hawaii for kids. We’ve spent a lot of time in Hawaii with our own kids and I’m excited to share our family beach vacation packing list for Hawaii.

This packing list for Hawaii with kids will cover all the clothing and gear you need for an amazing trip – without overdoing it like we did as rookie parents . You’ll find out how to protect your kids from the elements and meet everyone’s needs while having a blast in paradise!

Want to plan the ultimate Hawaii vacation? Click here for step-by-step Hawaii travel planning help!

This article was produced in partnership with our friends at Thinkbaby. All opinions are our own.

UV rash guard for kids

If I were going to give you a sneak peek and one of two main themes in this packing list, it’s sun protection . There is never too much you can do to protect your kids from the sun’s harmful rays! Sadly sun damage experienced as a kid can have even more serious long-term effects than sun damage in adults .

One of my favorite strategies for keeping delicate kid skin safe in Hawaii is to make them wear UV rash guards any time we hit the beach or the pool. They’re extremely effective, don’t need to be re-applied and they’re also a huge time saver. Any time my kids scoff at them (because they’re kids) I just remind them that rash guards mean less time doing sunscreen and more time playing!

For babies and young toddlers, I really love these i Play sets . They include a rash guard and a reusable swim diaper that snaps off at the sides (just in case). They also sell separate swim diapers in adorable prints and coordinating rash guards in solid colors.

family of 3 trip to hawaii

For older kids who are potty trained, there are tons of great options out there! We’ve had lots of success with sets from Carters and Target . I really love all the new mix-and-match options from Primary too! They even offer one-piece swimsuits with sleeves built in.

Read more: What’s the best Hawaiian island to visit with kids?

Reef-safe sunscreen for kids

What should you do about the parts you can’t cover with a rash guard? Sunscreen! It’s also so important to wear sunscreen on faces, necks and everywhere else on non-beach days in Hawaii as well. You and your kiddos can certainly get burned even when you aren’t at the beach. Be sure to put good sunscreen at the top of your Hawaii family packing list!

For almost a decade our family has loved using thinkbaby and thinksport sunscreen. We first picked it up on a whim in the aisles of Whole Foods when our pediatrician gave the green light to use sunscreen on our baby (who is now a moody tween). We love that it’s non-nano zinc, so it protects the family’s skin without being absorbed like chemical options are. It rubs in easily and avoids the ghostly look of a lot of physical barrier sunscreens.

Importantly for those of us who love visiting Hawaii, it’s totally reef-safe! Hawaii’s ban on certain sunscreen ingredients that can damage fragile coral reefs went into effect at the beginning of 2021. It’s convenient to just pack our regular sunscreen rather than hustling to find special sunscreen in Hawaii that’s reef-safe, won’t cause me to have a rash ( been there, done that ) and also doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Though there was a mis-print on the TSA website recently, unfortunately US travelers are still restricted to 3oz tubes in their carry-ons. If you’re traveling light, you can put a tube in each person’s carry-on luggage. For families that plan to check a bag, you might as well throw in the 6oz family size tube.

We’ve also been able to buy thinkbaby and thinksport in stores in Hawaii when we needed a re-stock – check here to see if it’s carried on the island you’re visiting . You can even order online for store pickup to save time.

I will add that our family uses Thinkbaby, Thinksport Kids and Thinksport interchangeably depending on what’s least expensive (since we use a lot over the course of the year). They have slightly different scents (orange creamsicle, passionfruit and lemongrass, respectively) but identical ingredient lists. All of the scents are mild and everyone in our family is fine no matter which one they end up with!

Water-friendly sun hat

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Hats are a great part of sun defense too! They protect faces, necks and the often-missed tops of the ears. It’s the third part of the fun “Slip! Slop! Slap!” song that helped Australia and New Zealand dramatically decrease melanoma rates in the 1980s.

Be sure to choose a hat that’s water-friendly and offers a wide brim for extra protection. They’re great to wear both on the beach and for hikes.

family of 3 trip to hawaii

If you’re traveling with a nugget who’s too small for the water, you can opt for a soft cotton hat with a wide brim like our little snoozer above.

Read more: Is it worth visiting Hawaii with a baby?

In a pinch (like when you’re packing for Hawaii with kids this night before and realize their wide-brim hat is outgrown) a baseball cap will do. Target in Hawaii always has fun options!

2 Swimsuits

If your family is anything like ours, swim suits will be your primary “clothing” in Hawaii. Many days our son just wears swim trunks and a t-shirt (which he swaps for a rash guard at the beach) and our daughter wears a dress over her swimsuit. It’s so easy and everyone is always beach-ready!

I do recommend bringing at least two swim suits with you so that one is always dry and ready to go. Especially on the more humid windward sides of the islands, it can take time for sopping wet stuff to dry. Hanging swimsuits in the sun can speed things up, but make sure you turn them inside out to avoid fading!

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Just like skin, eyes are susceptible to sun damage. Being in Hawaii without sunglasses can also just be plain uncomfortable, especially on long scenic drives around the islands. Kids sunglasses with polarized lenses are great for UV protection as well as glare reduction.

Everything in Hawaii is extremely casual. Shorts are fine wherever your family will go! Most kids won’t need more than four outfits for a family trip to Hawaii. Shorts and t-shirts or casual sundresses will keep everyone comfortable and happy.

I usually throw one short-sleeve button down or polo shirt in for my son for attending a luau or nice dinner out. Check out my daughter and I wearing our favorite dresses on our last night on the Big Island ! (If you’re wondering what mom should bring, check out my Hawaii packing list for women .)

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Flip flops and/or sneakers

family of 3 trip to hawaii

For as much as you don’t need to get fancy with clothing for Hawaii, you really don’t need to get fancy with your footwear. The best shoes to bring to Hawaii for kids are flip-flops – called slippahs in Hawaii. Your kids will wear them almost everywhere: to the beach, to stores, to dinner. Our kids have loved these comfortable flip-flops over the years.

Should you bring sneakers to Hawaii for kids? We’ve used them, but only for hiking. If you plan to hike in Hawaii with kids , throw in some sneakers to give them proper footing and protect their tiny toes on the trail! You don’t need anything special, but if you’re planning to visit waterfall trails in Hawaii don’t bring anything too precious as you can see below.

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Light jacket or sweatshirt

While Hawaii is known for its perfect weather year-round, I always recommend bringing a light jacket or sweatshirt. Our kids usually bring these in case there’s an evening chill.

If you’ll be spending time on the windward side of one of the islands (including in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park) you might also want to bring one of these . Though it rarely rains all day, the showers can be intense when they pass through and it would be a shame to stop your plans completely.

Goggles and/or snorkel gear

best snorkel gear for kids

While we generally travel light, on our trips to Hawaii we aren’t afraid to bring the things we need for an amazing trip. At our current stage, that means go bring goggles and full snorkel sets for each kid. As you can see above, they love it! Having properly fitted goggles or snorkel gear can make or break your child’s experience in the water. Find the best snorkel gear for kids of all ages (and you’ll also get my best tips for teaching kids to snorkel).

family of 3 trip to hawaii

I also throw in goggles for each kid. We’ve really liked these thanks to the easy adjustment style. Last year we moved up to this slightly larger set and love the neoprene strap cover to prevent pulling in our daughter’s long hair.

Why bring goggles in addition to snorkel gear? They really come in handy! Our kids use them for boogie boarding to keep salt water out of their eyes. Now and then we’ll swim in a pool and their snorkel gear is overkill. Finally, for some easier snorkeling spots in Hawaii (like Haunama Bay on Oahu and Mauna Lani on Big Island ) the kids can walk out or ride on our backs and just hold their breath to look under water for a few seconds at a time.

family of 3 trip to hawaii

If you’ve never used wet bags, now is the time to start! They keep the wet stuff wet and the dry stuff dry. We originally started using wet bags for our cloth diapers but have kept them around for everything.

When we visit Hawaii with kid we bring several: a huge one for laundry, a medium one for wet swimsuits and rash guards in case we change on-the-go, and a small one for goggles and kid snorkel gear. Sometimes I throw in a spare just for good measure and wind up packing sunscreen in it, or I’ll even let the kids use an extra-small for seashells and other treasures. If you go on a muddy hike, you can toss the shoes in at the end so you don’t get your Hawaii rental car dirty!

There’s a wide range of styles and quality when it comes to wet bags. Here are some of my favorites that our family uses for each purpose:

  • For wet swim wear (also doubles as your beach bag and carry-on)
  • For goggles and snorkel gear (these pack down tiny so I bring a few)
  • For sunscreen or small treasures
  • For kid laundry or for family laundry

One of the best things about wet bags is that when they’re dirty you can just throw them in the washing machine with everything else. If they’re just wet, you can hang them inside out to dry off. Easy!

Packable sand toys

family of 3 trip to hawaii

If your kids are anything like my younger one, the first thing on their minds in Hawaii will be playing in the sand! If you want to get started on the fun right away and avoid constantly buying new sand toys on every vacation, grab a compact packable set ! These are also handy to bring to the playground sandbox at home.

You don’t have to bring every single piece with you to Hawaii, but the folded up pail, shovel and a few small molds should keep any kid happy for hours on end. You can even throw them in one of those wetbags you just got to keep all the pieces together and avoid getting sand on your other stuff.

family of 3 trip to hawaii

One thing we didn’t have on our first family trip to Hawaii with a baby was a good way to get our kid and allllllll of his junk from our room at the resort down to the beach. A wagon would have solved the problem for sure!

In truth, we’ve found very limited use for a stroller in Hawaii. Babywearing is extremely helpful for uneven terrain and hiking (and even going to the beach) and a wagon can handle all of the gear hauling. Folding wagons are great for the airport as well because you can put your travel car seat and all of your carry-ons in it.

The new stroller wagon options really give you the best of both worlds. Whether you opt for a high-end model or something more basic, many families find stroller wagons to be the perfect option for visiting Hawaii with toddlers and babies. Your kids can sit comfortably while you push or pull where you need to go.

Sun shade for babies

family of 3 trip to hawaii

If you’re visiting Hawaii with a baby under 6 months, unfortunately you’ll need a solution for sun protection as it’s not recommended to use sunscreen on their delicate skin. Unless you’re staying at a resort and can reliably plan on an umbrella every day (which limits you to resort beaches), you’ll want to bring your own shade or rent one in Hawaii.

My friends brought one like this on our trip to Puerto Rico and it worked out great! There was plenty of airflow to avoid her baby getting overheated and she could sit down in there to nurse and change him. We rented a more enclosed pop up sun shade in Hawaii and it was extremely hot inside and too cramped to comfortable tend to our baby’s needs.

Gear for visiting Hawaii with a baby

If you’re traveling with the tiniest globetrotters, you’ll no doubt need other gear for a smooth trip. If your resort or vacation rental can’t provide something you need, find a local BabyQuip consultant to fill in the gaps. The prices are very reasonable and I love that you can connect personally with a provider to find out exactly what’s available.

When we went to Maui with our 3 month old baby we rented a playmat, bouncy seat, sun shade and a few other odds and ends. You can also rent a wagon, high chair, stroller, monitor, crib and more. Click here to see all of the options for Hawaii – the service is available on all four major islands and lots of consultants will meet you at the airport or drop gear off at your hotel (which can be handy of your rental car isn’t huge).

Travel car seat for Hawaii

I recommend bringing your own car seat rather than renting if at all possible. The history of rental car seats (whether they’ve been in a crash, how they’ve been cleaned, who puked in them) is unknown, and often availability isn’t guaranteed by car rental companies.

The best option is to bring a lightweight car seat and use it on the plane for your kid. Whether you’re renting a car or riding in an Uber , your child’s safety needs don’t stay behind on the mainland . Be sure to use a harnessed car seat at least until age 5 and then a booster seat until your child passes the “5 step test” (typically age 10-12).

Before you go, I also recommend that you review Hawaii car seat laws to be sure you’re at least satisfying the local rules.

Still planning? Pin this for later!

family of 3 trip to hawaii

More articles to help you plan your family trip to Hawaii:

See all of our Hawaii travel planning resources in one place Travel planning resources: Compare rental car prices for Hawaii Buy a top-rated travel insurance policy 5 simple money-saving tips for booking.com General Hawaii resources: How to visit Hawaii on a budget Renting a car in Hawaii: 10 things you NEED to know What to pack for Hawaii Is a cheap GoPro knock-off worth it? Hawaii with kids: What’s the best Hawaiian island for families? Is it worth visiting Hawaii with a baby? Ultimate packing list for Hawaii with kids Top 10 things to do with kids on Oahu The best snorkel gear for kids of all ages Oahu resources: Best Oahu travel guide book Perfect 7 day Oahu itinerary Where to stay on Oahu Family-friendly Oahu vacation rentals Cheap Places To Stay On Oahu 10 Fun Things to do on Oahu for $10 or less Getting the most bang for your buck on your Go Oahu discount card Insider tips for visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center The best beaches on Oahu (and why to visit them) Where to find the best shave ice on Oahu The best easy hikes on Oahu North Shore Oahu complete visitors guide Kayaking to the Mokes with Twogood Kayaks Family-friendly kayaking with Holokai Adventures Visiting Pearl Harbor Maui resources: Best Maui travel guide book Perfect 3 day Maui itinerary Cheap Places To Stay On Maui Big Island resources: Best Big Island travel guide book Perfect 5 day Big Island itinerary Cheap Places To Stay On the Big Island Kauai resources: Best Kauai travel guide book Perfect 3 day Kauai itinerary Cheap Places To Stay On Kauai

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2 thoughts on “15 things to put on your packing list for hawaii with kids”.

Hi! Does the stroller wagon count as a stroller on the airline?

Hi Allyssa,

That’ll depend on the airline, and maybe even the representative. Generally it’s ok but some airlines might require you to check with baggage when you arrive at the airport. You’ll want to reach out in advance to double check.

Safe travels,

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The Family Vacation Guide

The Family Vacation Guide

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Choosing the Best Hawaiian Island for a Family Vacation

posted by James Brockbank on August 12, 2021 // last updated on August 12, 2021

Do you want to vacation in Hawaii but don’t know where exactly to go? Are you seeking some direction and inspiration as you begin your trip planning? You’ve come to the right place. 

Whether you are visiting the islands on a budget or planning a luxurious trip (see our guide on the best family resorts in Hawaii for a bucket load of inspiration), there is something for you and your family in Hawaii.

For many people, the Hawaiian Islands are a fantasy vacation location. They are a mash of scenic features and a lot of cultures. 

Hawaii is a group of over 130 islands and islets that make up an archipelago. The eight largest are inhabited, while the remainder of the islands remain desolate. The best Hawaiian island for a family vacation is one with attractions and beautiful beaches . 

Hawaii Island (The Big Island)

How to choose the best hawaiian island for your family, which is the best hawaiian island for a family vacation.

What does your family want to do in Hawaii? This question may appear to be foolish, but don’t reject it just yet; there is a reason we are starting here. 

Planning a family vacation can be challenging. Many families place restrictions on themselves, assuming that certain areas are off-bounds with children. Some places are difficult to navigate with children, but we advise investigating every island before dismissing it.

Taking your family to Hawaii is a unique experience. Making a choice is dependent on an individual. You’ll enjoy the aloha spirit, shave ice, and a luau on any island you choose (touristy but fun).

Each island has its unique appeal for families. When the time comes for you to choose which island to vacation in, consider these:

  • Oahu is the ideal island for a low-cost Hawaiian vacation with family-friendly resorts.
  • Maui is the finest island for a beach-loving family who enjoys ocean activities.
  • The Hawaii Island is the finest island to visit if you’re interested in volcanoes.
  • For nature enthusiasts, Kauai is the ideal island.
  • Molokai is perfect for families that want to immerse themselves in authentic Hawaiian culture.

All of these islands are great places to visit. This comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know about the best Hawaiian island for a family vacation.

family of 3 trip to hawaii

The Hawaii Island (AKA the Big Island) is the southernmost of the five biggest Hawaiian Islands. It is, as its name says, the largest of the islands. The island is still expanding as there are volcanoes on it.

Great Places and Activities

  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – home to Kilauea Crater, a very active volcano. During the day, go through a lava tube to see ancient petroglyphs carved into the lava rock. 
  • Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park refers to a place where individuals who breached a kapu (law) went to avoid punishment. Various archaeological sites and a restored temple make this place stunning and rich in historical culture. 

The sacred land utilized to farm and fish is the focus of Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.

  • The Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site is where the remnants of a massive temple where King Kamehameha 1 rose to power are stored. 

You can follow in the footsteps of Hawaii’s great king and learn everything there is to know about the Hawaiian monarchy.

  • Families who love visiting the beach will enjoy this location. There are a variety of beautiful beaches in this area. Choose from black, white , or green sand beaches and begin your adventure on the first day. 

Children aged five to twelve can earn a Junior Ranger badge while learning about these intriguing locations’ history, culture, and natural history. If you are world schooling and seeking educational opportunities, this is the most fabulous Hawaiian island to visit with kids.

The most convenient areas to stay with family are Hilo, the capital, and Kona, one of the two largest cities. There are some excellent natural spots close to Hilo that you may visit while visiting there. 

Additionally, Akaka Falls State Park, Rainbow Falls, Boiling Pots, and Wailuku River State Park are also worth visiting.

Given that this island is almost twice as big as all the others combined, it will have its own unique set of challenges. Your family will need to rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle to travel around various sites.


If you are on a budget and want to visit The Big Island, staying in a family-friendly Airbnb is among your best options. In every section, there are lots to select from, and the rates are affordable. The best family-friendly resorts on big island are;

  • Fairmont Orchid
  • Four Seasons Hualalai
  • Hilton Waikoloa Village
  • Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Oahu means “the Gathering Place.”Most people associate Hawaii with Waikiki Beach, the North Shore, and Honolulu. On the island of Oahu, there are all three. 

Oahu is the most inhabited of the Hawaiian Islands, although it isn’t the largest. Honolulu has the most regular direct flights from continental America, making it the most accessible island (and often, the cheapest).

With 6.1 million tourists in 2019, it is the most visited Hawaiian island. 

Honolulu is congested, so everyone rubs elbows on the bus and the city walkways. Despite this, the bustling city’s museums and historical landmarks are only a short drive away from kilometers of beaches and woodland paths.

  • Honolulu: Sandy Hawaiian beaches and blue oceans surround the city. Honolulu is the state capital and the biggest city in Hawaii. It’s a dynamic tropical city with everything from historical buildings to great eating and designer shopping.
  • Waikiki is the location of the majority of Oahu’s resorts. It is also a bustling tourist hotspot. The Strip is to Las Vegas what Waikiki is to Hawaii. It’s raucous, crowded, and tourist-y. Waikiki offers it all: big luxury resorts, a plethora of restaurants, shopping, and nightlife.
  • The North Shore, often known as “The Seven Mile Miracle,” is famed in the world of surfing and holds some of the most spectacular surf competitions. 

With its 7-mile stretch of world-class surf breakers and laid-back Hawaiian country vibes, the laid-back North Shore attracts surfers from all over the globe.

  • The four lagoons on Ko Olina are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports. Many residents claim that Ko Olina has the most excellent beaches for families. It’s no surprise that Ko Olina has several world-famous coastal resorts.
  • Beautiful green scenery, quiet beaches, and Kailua, Hawaii’s most famous beach town, may all be found on the Windward Coast on the island’s east side. 

The gorgeous 30-mile Windward Coast, with its various beaches and bays, offers some of Hawaii’s most magnificent natural splendor.

  • The diversity of things to do on Oahu is the best part of visiting with family. The Polynesian Cultural Center, numerous outstanding museums, and Pearl Harbor are many beautiful places to visit and explore. 

It is the ideal island in Hawaii for families that want a combination of urban and outdoor trips, since you could stay for months without running out of things to do.

The biggest challenges of visiting Oahu are traffic and the potential that you might not feel like you are in a far-flung place in the middle of the ocean. The terrain in Oahu makes it extremely difficult to build new roads. 

Fortunately, a train system is currently under construction to connect Kapolei with Ala Moana – and, depending on funding, even down to Waikiki Unfortunately, the first phase (which won’t be of great significance to tourists) won’t open until 2020, and the second phase won’t open until 2025. 

Honolulu and Waikiki traffic is notorious, but it’s possible to escape it if you stay in walkable places, such as Hilton Hawaiian Village, and then arrange for van transportation with your activities. 

The North Shore can also have heavy traffic from Haleiwa to Sunset Beach, but if you’re bent on seeing that section of the island, you can avoid it by staying at Turtle Bay in Kahuku.

Staying in a remote place, preferably on the north shore or windward coast, will make you feel like you are on holiday in a remote location. In Oahu, there is an attraction for everyone, notwithstanding their age.

The best family-friendly resorts on Oahu island are;

  • Outrigger Waikiki
  • Turtle Bay Resort
  • Hilton Hawaiian village
  • Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa

family of 3 trip to hawaii

The West Maui Mountain Range, post-pineapple/sugar cane flat areas, and mountaintops rising to the east in the shape of a dormant shield volcano, Haleakala, have earned Maui the nickname “ The Valley Isle.”  

Maui holds the title for the second-largest Hawaiian island, although Maui County encompasses Moloka’i, Lana’i, and Kaho’olawe. Whether it’s your first or seventh trip to Hawaii, Maui is a fantastic choice for families. It’s a grand island to visit, especially if you like to drive. 

Flights to Maui land in Kahului. In an hour, guests can be in the numerous Wailea resorts or along the seaside Honoapiilani Highway near the numerous Kaanapali resorts.

Maui is among the most fabulous islands to bring your family because it’s the perfect Hawaiian islands’ mix. It features fantastic beaches, tasty food, cultural activities, scenic views, shopping spaces, and great roads.

  • On Maui, the climb to Hana is a must-see. Wake everyone up before the sun rises so you can get a head start on the day. 

It’s only a fifty-two-mile journey. However, with 620 curves and fifty-nine narrow bridges, it may take several hours to complete. You’ll see waterfalls and the picturesque town of Hana along the journey.

  • Haleakala, a dormant volcano, is also worth the trip. Positioned 10,000 feet above sea level , the peak is a great site to watch the dawn or sunset. 

However, the views are equally breathtaking during the day. Bring sweaters for everyone because it can become chilly at the summit.

  • Two unusual farms worth visiting sit here on Haleakala’s lower slopes in Kula. You may wander through lavender fields at Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm. The lavender farm is a tranquil setting that provides tours and lavender products.
  • One of the best reasons to visit Maui is to explore the ocean. The best snorkeling in Hawaii is here, making it excellent for beachgoers. 

Maui is the place to go if you wish to snorkel, relax on white-sand beaches that aren’t too crowded, and view some of the best sea life, such as whales and dolphins.

  • The sea life around Maui’s reefs is fantastic, and you’ll see turtles, magnificent fish, and more not far from shore.
  • Maui is also known as the mother of modern surfing. There are so many opportunities for your family to try waves out. If you lack experience, you can try alternatives like kite and windsurfing.
  • Visit Maui Ocean Centre with your kids if you want them to learn while having fun. It’s a place with an Open Ocean, underwater passages, a turtle lagoon, and many natural creatures to witness.
  • Mermaid swimming lessons by the Hawaii Mermaid Adventures is another fun activity for kids. 

Your older children can go on a controlled snorkeling tour while your younger children are charmed by these fascinating experiences. You can also enroll in a two-hour class on the ecosystem of the surrounding Ocean.

  • A submarine adventure is rare, so doing it in Hawaii where aquatic life is so diverse would be amazing. Atlantis Adventures offers this experience, and this sub-aquatic tour takes place one hundred feet under the sea level and is a thrilling experience for children. 

The best spot to stay in Maui depends on your family’s requirements. If you’re planning on a resort kind of experience, a resort in Ka’anapali would be ideal. However, if you plan to visit Maui every day, Ka’anapali may feel a little secluded.

If you want a bit more room and don’t want to commit to eating at pricey restaurants every day, there are lots of budget vacation rentals and family-friendly vacations on Maui. The best family-friendly resorts on Maui island are:

  • Grand Wailea
  • Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa
  • Maui Coast Hotel. 

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Kauai, also known as the garden isle, is one of the most ideal Hawaiian islands to visit with children aged five and up. It’s one of the more tranquil and isolated islands. 

For families seeking the lushest scenery, then Kauai is your destination. Kauai offers beauty that is unique to it.

Kauai is the oldest of all the major islands and was created about five million years ago by an active volcano. 

The island has a certain allure that draws visitors from all over the world. Even if you’ve never visited the island in person, chances are you’ve seen it through the eyes of a filmmaker; the island is famous for its appeal to filmmakers. 

As with all of the Hawaiian islands, the scenery of Kauai constantly changes as you travel along the island’s coastline roadways. From sugarcane fields to rainforests, gorgeous beaches to ranch areas, your surroundings are never dull. 

Despite the island’s modest size compared to the mainland, the Na Pali is home to arid plateaus, tropical rain forests, verdant valleys, beautiful agriculture, and sea cliffs that will leave you speechless.

  • Kauai offers eight state parks to choose from, as well as a slew of trails that traverse the island. Roads barely cover around 10% of Kauai, and the great bulk of the island can only be seen by foot or by air.
  • The island offers an incredible range of outdoor activities, from wilderness hiking through Waimea Canyon to kayaking up the Wailua River. 

Kauai is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking adventure. Kauai is stunning from the ground, water, air, or, better yet, all three.

  • The island’s distinctive Fern Grotto, a lava rock grotto with hanging ferns and tropical greenery near a waterfall, is worth visiting. 

The cave was once solely accessible to Hawaiian nobility since it was a sacred site. Visitors can now reach the cave by taking a boat ride up the Wailua River. (There are a lot of tour groups.)

  • Allerton (Lawai-kai), McBryde, and Limahuli, all on the south shore, and Allerton (Lawai-kai), both on the north shore, are home to three of the world’s National Tropical Botanical Gardens. Each garden is exceptional in its own right.

While you may imagine Hawaii as the ideal location for a swim, most of the beaches in Kauai are not swimmable. Unlike other large islands, such as Maui, Kauai’s beaches are rife with hazards such as pounding surf, currents, and rip tides. 

Summer months bring calmer conditions, but don’t expect to swim at most of the beaches. Ke’e beach on the north shore and Poipu beach on the south coast are the best places to float.

Kauai is as relaxed as the other islands in Hawaii, but it appears to go out of its way to accommodate families. At the area attractions, there are several playgrounds and children’s activities. 

Everyone will be enthusiastic on this vacation, from lei creation at the Kauai Cultural Center to scavenger hunts at many hotels. The best family-friendly resorts on Kauai island are:

  • Grand Hyatt Kaua’i Resort and Spa
  • Marriott’s Kaua’i Beach Club Resort
  • Marriott’s Kaua’i Lagoons
  • Koloa Landing Resort

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Molokai, formed by volcanic eruptions 1.5 million years ago , is still a time capsule at the turn of the century. There are no premium resorts, no stoplights, and structures taller than a coconut tree on the island. 

Molokai is the least infrastructurally advanced of the islands in Hawaii, which appeals to adventurers and peace seekers alike.

Molokai is a small green wedge in the blue Pacific, measuring only 38 miles long and 10 miles wide. Like two sides of a coin, this long, thin island has two sides. There’s a flat, parched desert; on the other, there’s a lush, green, tropical Eden. 

Three volcanic eruptions created Molokai. The latest generated the island’s “thumb,” a peninsula protruding out of the north shore’s cliffs like a punctuation mark on Molokai’s geological record.

Molokai is yet to be overrun by tourism. Because natives primarily populate the island, you’ll receive an authentic Hawaiian experience with plenty of culture on “The Friendly Isle.” 

Molokai has no traffic lights, simply single- and dual-lane roads, with 10 to 45 mph speed limits. Prepare to experience a slower pace of life when you arrive in Molokai! There will be animals on the road that will excite your family.

  • Helicopter tours are among the most remarkable ways to tour the island. This excursion will provide you with breathtaking sights of rock outcrops, lush valleys, rivers, and enormous coral reefs. 

Throughout the tour, expect the presence of a narrator. The knowledgeable guide will tell you everything you need to know about the island’s history and natural wonders.

  • Get a lesson on selecting flowers and build your lei at the Molokai plumeria. The proprietor will give you a tour that will be scholastic and fun for your family. 

Have a detour at the postal service office on your way back to mail a coconut home. This modest ritual is an excellent task for your children to participate in.

  • Papohaku sunsets : Papohaku Beach is a three-mile-long white sand beach facing west, so you are sure to get a great view as the sun sets. These sunsets are a must-see on every vacation to Molokai. 

Watch the stars come out and engulf the sky, and it’s not uncommon to glimpse the glimmer of Honolulu’s lights in the distance, making for an awe-inspiring evening.

  • Many of the beaches are deserted or nearly empty, making them ideal for snorkeling or swimming . Some are only suitable for shelling or walking.
  • North Shore cliffs : The most pleasing way to observe Molokai’s vertical sea cliffs, which climb 3,800 feet above the sea, is from the deck of a boat. 

Enjoy the excitement of traveling beneath the world’s tallest sea cliffs, and there’s even a chance you’ll see Humpback whales if you go in the winter.

  • Enjoy scuba diving near the reef’s edge.
  • Ocean kayaking: On a guided kayak, explore inside the south shore reef, where easterly trade winds blow at your back and propel you down a coast fringed with fishponds and mangroves.
  • Mule rides to Kalaupapa – For over a century, this remote peninsula was a leper community, and excursions that depict life in the gloomy but beautiful location are available. 

Hop on the back of a mule or hike to reach Kalaupapa for the commencement of the tour and enjoy panoramic views from the trail, which lowers 1,700 vertical feet over 26 switchbacks.

Molokai is a location where aloha is a way of life, not just a show for visitors. Whether it’s in Kaunakakai, the island’s largest town, or in the other villages around the island, you see it every day with smiling faces. 

Take a moment to soak in the island’s natural sounds and atmosphere. You will be stunned by the authentic Hawaiian culture if you come to Molokai to become a part of what is here.

Molokai is not as popular with tourists as other Hawaiian islands, and you can only stay in one of five condominium buildings or the island’s only hotel. Molokai is a spectacular stretch of land with the world’s tallest cliffs and the world’s longest continuous fringing reef.

This island is ideal for families who don’t need a robust tourism infrastructure.

Each island offers a unique experience, so ruling one out would be an injustice. 

Traveling with your family requires consideration of factors such as safety, weather, attractions, and cost. The Hawaiian state government also demands you meet specific requirements before traveling there.

Hawaii is generally safe. Burglaries occasionally occur,  if you leave your room or car unlocked, especially in Oahu. Avoid displaying expensive gadgets in public; you may attract the attention of petty thieves. 

There is a dedicated tourist office that will guide you if you have any questions about safety.

Safety in the islands is on the same level except for Oahu. The popularity of Waikiki is perhaps what brings about the added insecurity.

Hawaiian islands enjoy a year-round balmy tropical climate that is almost perfect. 

The average high temperature in Hawaii is in the low to high 80 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 27 to 31 degrees Celsius), with a humidity level of around 64 percent. 

January and February are typically the coolest months, averaging 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius). 

July, August, and September are the hottest months, with temperatures averaging 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius). The temperature drops by roughly 10°F at night.

These conditions apply to all islands, but here are some tips on what to expect on each island.

  • Big Island – it is generally sunny. This island has eight distinct climatic zones, ranging from humid tropical to alpine. You can see the snow and the coral reef on the same day, yet get back to the hotel before dinner. 

The Kohala coast receives about ten inches of rain all year, making it the perfect place to reside on the island if you would like to avoid the rain.

  • Oahu – The weather here varies a bit, but most tourist areas have incredible microclimates. The Koolau mountain range ensures that the weather in the east and west is different. 

If it rains on the east coast, you can travel to the west coast and enjoy fantastic weather.

  • Maui – Maui experiences the best climate among all the islands. Kapalua gets a little rain during the winter.
  • Kauai – It is the wettest of all the islands. Rain mainly falls during winter in short bursts. Checking weather forecasts will be part of your schedule if you visit in the winter months. 
  • Molokai – the weather here is contrasting like in Oahu. The north shore is a lot wetter than the south. Most visitor accommodations are in the south.

All islands offer activities at all ends of the cost spectrum. Oahu is the most cost-effective island for visitors. Those looking for a budget trip to Hawaii will find that Oahu is just what they’ve been looking for, thanks to its low pricing and abundance of things to do.

On the other end, Maui is often regarded as the most opulent Hawaiian island due to its vast number of four- and five-star beachfront resorts that offer a more leisurely stay-at-the-resort holiday than Oahu.

The high season in Hawaii (when costs are at their most significant and resorts are frequently fully booked) lasts from mid-December to mid-March or mid-April. During the holiday season. the last two weeks of December are very crowded (and pricey) in Hawaii. 

Mid-June to late August is a busy period too because kids are in their summer holidays.

Make your plans early, expect more crowds, and be prepared to pay top dollar for airfare, car rentals, and lodging if you’re planning a trip during the holidays.


Attractions are dependent on your tastes and preferences. Each island has its personality, from the magnificent volcanoes of the Big Island to the lush interior of Kauai. Go through the highlights to decide which island suits you most. 

If you cannot choose, you can get the chance to visit all islands by vacationing here multiple times.

Hawaii is a fantastic vacation place all year. All Hawaiian Islands have unique charms. Maui, Oahu, The Big Island, and Kauai have the most to offer for kids. It’s difficult to tell which is the best Hawaiian island for a family vacation because each one provides a different experience. 

You will never want to leave Hawaii because there’s so much to see and do. While the best sights to visit are spectacular, these islands have a plethora of hidden gems.

Make sure you’re ready to explore because Hawaii has a little of everything you’d imagine a perfect vacation would have. You can switch between islands to experience a little bit of everything. 

Whatever Hawaiian island or combination of islands you choose for your family, you will be sure to engage your family in the island’s culture and spirit. And your ohana (family) will undoubtedly find Hawaii to be a unique destination.

More about our TFVG Author

family of 3 trip to hawaii

James Brockbank

A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.

Featured in Travel articles such as Travel + Leisure, TripSavvy and SFGate, you know you're reading some of the best vacation tips online.

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Take More Adventures

Unforgettable Family Fun: 11 Fun Things to Do in Hawaii For Families in 2023!

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Table of Contents

Aloha, families! Get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey to the enchanting islands of Hawaii, where the sun-kissed shores, vibrant culture, and captivating landscapes create the perfect backdrop for a family adventure like no other.

Whether you’re traveling with curious toddlers or energetic teenagers, Hawaii offers an abundance of kid-friendly activities and attractions that will leave a trail of cherished memories for years to come.

In this guide, we’re thrilled to present the ultimate collection of the best things to do in Hawaii with kids for 2023.

From the breathtaking shores of Maui to the bustling city of Honolulu on Oahu and the awe-inspiring wonders of the Big Island, there’s something for every family to enjoy.

So, pack your swimsuits, grab your sunscreen, and dive into a world of family fun and exploration in the tropical paradise of Hawaii. 

Prepare to make memories that will warm your hearts long after the vacation ends.

Hawaii with Kids: Why It’s Worth Visiting

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Hawaii is more than a dreamy destination; it’s a paradise tailor-made for families! 

With its warm aloha spirit and endless kid-friendly adventures, Hawaii beckons families from around the globe. 

From building sandcastles on pristine beaches to snorkeling with colorful marine life, the islands offer an abundance of family fun that will delight young and old alike.

So, get ready to bond, laugh, and create unforgettable memories on a family vacation in Hawaii.

Exploring Oahu with Kids

Welcome to Oahu, where family fun is taken to new heights!

This vibrant island offers a treasure trove of top-notch attractions that cater to kids of all ages.

Discover the historical significance of Pearl Harbor, splash in the waves at Waikiki Beach, and witness world-class surfing on the North Shore of Oahu.

Let the little ones’ imaginations run wild at the interactive Hawaii tourist attractions, and be enchanted by the natural beauty surrounding every corner.

Oahu is a playground of excitement and adventure, ensuring your family vacation will be extraordinary.

Maui: An Island of Adventures for Families

Aloha, adventurers! Welcome to Maui, where family fun meets paradise.

Brace yourself for a thrilling expedition as we unveil the best things to do in Maui with kids.

Snorkel with vibrant marine life, encounter gentle turtles, and witness the wonders of nature up close.

From kids of all ages to parents young at heart, Maui has something for every family member to cherish.

So, prepare for a vacation filled with laughter, exploration, and endless smiles!

Big Island: A Magical Journey for Families

Step into a world of wonder on the Big Island of Hawaii! Prepare for a magical journey where ancient volcanoes meet pristine beaches and lush rainforests.

Let your family’s imagination run wild as you venture through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a captivating experience for kids of all ages.

From thrilling family activities to unique encounters with nature, the Big Island promises an unforgettable adventure that will leave your heart brimming with joy.

Get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime!

Planning the Perfect Hawaii Family Vacation

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Hula your way to the perfect family vacation in Hawaii!

Planning a trip that delights every clan member requires a touch of aloha magic.

Here are some essential tips to ensure your Hawaii family adventure is a blast.

  • Timing is Everything: The best times to visit are spring and fall when the weather is delightful and the crowds are more manageable. Beat the peak season rush and savor Hawaii’s charms with your loved ones.
  • A Home Away from Home: Choose from an array of family-friendly accommodations that cater to your needs, whether a beachfront resort or a cozy vacation rental. Your little ones will adore the island vibes and the comforts of home.
  • Adventure Awaits: Research the best family attractions in Hawaii and create an action-packed itinerary that suits everyone’s interests. From snorkeling with turtles to exploring ancient treasures, there’s something for every member of the family to savor.
  • Beach Bum Bliss: Make the most of Hawaii’s pristine beaches, and indulge in sandcastle competitions, beach picnics, and fun-filled water activities. Building memories together has never been so enjoyable!
  • Pack Light and Right: Don’t forget the essentials like sunscreen, hats, and beach toys. Remember, less is more when traveling with kids – you’ll want to leave room for souvenirs!
  • Respect the Aina: Embrace the aloha spirit and be mindful of Hawaii’s natural beauty. Encourage your family to be eco-conscious and practice responsible tourism.

So, grab your leis and prepare for an unforgettable family vacation in Hawaii.

The islands await with open arms, ready to create memories that will forever warm your hearts. Mahalo and happy travels!

The Top 11 Things to Do in Hawaii with Kids

1. snorkeling adventures: discovering marine life.

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Ready to embark on an underwater expedition like no other?

Snorkeling in Hawaii is a captivating adventure that brings you face-to-face with the wonders of marine life.

Kids will be thrilled as they swim alongside colorful tropical fish, graceful sea turtles, and vibrant coral reefs.

It’s a chance to explore the ocean’s hidden treasures and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Manta Ray Night Dive and Snorkel EcoAdventure, Kailua-Kona

This incredible diving experience will leave you breathless, in awe of the underwater world, and connected to the rhythm of the ocean.

First, you’ll enjoy a sunset cruise along the beautiful Kona Coast, where you might spot dolphins, whales, and other marine life.

Then, you’ll gear up with a snorkel, mask, fins, and wetsuit top and jump into the water with your guide.

The guides also share fascinating insights about the manta rays, their behavior, and the marine ecosystem.

You’ll hold on to a floating board with lights that attract the plankton that the manta rays feed on.

As the sun goes down, the show begins. As you plunge into the dark waters, you’ll witness the mesmerizing dance of the majestic manta rays.

These gentle giants gracefully glide beneath you, their wings spanning up to 15 feet.

Sea Paradise Sailing and Snorkeling Tours, Big Island Hawaii

Explore the breathtaking Kona Coastline and get up close and personal with the vibrant marine life that calls the Kealakekua Bay off the shores of the Big Island on a Sea Paradise Sailing and Snorkeling Tour.

Several tours are offered, including a Morning Snorkel Tour, an Afternoon Snorkel Tour, a Sunset Manta Ray Snorkel, and Manta Ray Night Snorkel.

Whichever tour you take, your family will sail on the Hokulani, a 45-foot sailing trimaran.

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Oahu

Enjoy snorkeling at Hanauma Bay!

This beautiful beach is one of the top places to snorkel on Oahu, boasting hundreds of different marine life species.

Before you dive in, you’ll learn about snorkeling and all the safety measures at the Hanauma Bay Education Center.

Molokini Crater, Maui

family of 3 trip to hawaii

For the best Maui snorkeling experience, head to Molokini Crater. 

Take a boat tour to get there and enjoy half the fun on the journey!

We highly recommend taking a tour with Sea Maui ! Love these guys so much. Have taken over 5 tours with them over the last 5 years!

Once in the water, you’ll encounter Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles and gorgeous tropical fish.

Families of all ages claim this is one of the best activities to do in Hawaii.

Remember, Hawaii’s marine life is a treasure to behold. Ensure you and your kids follow proper snorkeling guidelines and respect the delicate underwater environment.

Now, get your flippers on, and let the snorkeling adventures begin!

2. Exploring Hawaii Volcanoes: A Volcanic Adventure

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Calling all young explorers! Are you ready for an extraordinary volcanic expedition at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park?

Prepare to be awestruck as you witness the Earth’s fiery creations in action and marvel at the mesmerizing lava flows and ancient craters.

This hands-on geology lesson will ignite your kids’ fascination with the forces of nature!

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

If your family is eager to witness the magic of lava in Hawaii, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is an absolute must-visit!

As one of the top Hawaii tourist destinations, this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers an abundance of places to explore and immerse yourselves in the wonders of nature.

Start your adventure by visiting the visitor center, where knowledgeable park rangers can guide you through daily programs, recommend kid-friendly hikes, and provide insights on the best chances of witnessing the active volcanoes’ lava flows.

The scenic drive around the park is a breathtaking experience, making it one of the best Hawaii tourist spots to discover with your family.

For an out-of-this-world experience, head to Mauna Kea for stargazing with your kids.

This towering mountain is the tallest in the world, soaring 33,496 feet from its peak to the ocean floor.

Its lofty height and crystal-clear skies make it a paradise for astronomy enthusiasts.

Begin your evening by watching a spectacular Big Island sunset, then stay for a mesmerizing starlit sky.

At the International Astronomy Visitor Information Station, your family can delve deeper into the universe’s secrets and enjoy free nightly stargazing experiences.

Mauna Kea is undoubtedly one of the most underrated Hawaii tourist places, offering a celestial adventure.

KapohoKine Adventures, Big Island Hawaii

Looking for thrilling family adventures on the Big Island? KapohoKine Adventures has you covered!

Offering a variety of small group adventure tours, including Kilauea Volcano, lush tropical rainforests, and cascading waterfalls, this experience will leave a lasting impression on you and your loved ones.

Choose from tours departing from two locations: Hilo and Kona.

The Hilo tours take you on an exciting journey, including a visit to the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo, the only tropical rainforest zoo in the country, and breathtaking beaches, waterfalls, and the captivating Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Pack your sense of wonder and embark on unforgettable family adventures in the heart of Hawaii’s volcanic wonderland.

Whether exploring ancient craters or stargazing under the night sky, these volcanic excursions promise a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the whole family.

3. Pearl Harbor: A Historical Journey for All Ages

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Step back and embark on a poignant historical journey at Pearl Harbor.

As one of the most famous Honolulu tourist attractions, this iconic site offers a glimpse into the past that will captivate the hearts of all generations.

From the solemn USS Arizona Memorial to the mighty Battleship Missouri, Pearl Harbor brings history to life with stories of bravery and sacrifice.

Pearl Harbor: More Than Just the USS Arizona Memorial

While the USS Arizona Memorial is undoubtedly a centerpiece, Pearl Harbor is also home to several other Oahu Hawaii tourist attractions, making it a must-visit for families.

Delve into history at the Pearl Harbor Pacific Aviation Museum, explore the U.S.S. Bowfin submarine, and marvel at the imposing U.S.S. Battleship Missouri.

Making Memories at the USS Arizona Memorial

At the heart of Pearl Harbor lies the poignant USS Arizona Memorial, a historical landmark established in May 1962.

It welcomes over two million visitors worldwide as part of the Pearl Harbor National Memorial every year.

This solemn and stunning sight marks the final resting place of 1,102 soldiers who lost their lives on the USS Arizona during the Attack on Pearl Harbor.

Begin your visit with a scenic boat ride to the historic site, where you’ll watch a powerful 23-minute documentary film that sheds light on the events of that fateful day.

Participate in an educational tour led by knowledgeable guides who will provide valuable insights into the significance of Pearl Harbor and its impact on world history.

It’s a chance to pay tribute to the brave souls who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Beyond the USS Arizona Memorial

After paying your respects at the USS Arizona Memorial, the journey continues throughout the Pearl Harbor National Memorial.

Engage in high-tech virtual reality experiences, explore captivating exhibits, and delve deeper into the historical context that shaped the world.

It’s an educational and thought-provoking experience that leaves a lasting impression on both young and old.

For families seeking an enriching Honolulu sightseeing tour, Pearl Harbor is an unmissable destination that honors the past and reminds us of preserving history for future generations. 

So, gather your loved ones and immerse yourselves in this significant chapter of human history.

Shave Ice Delight: A Sweet Tropical Treat

Cool off in true island style with a delightful shave ice treat!

This mouthwatering fusion of fluffy ice and an array of fruity flavors is a Hawaiian tradition that kids and adults love. It’s the perfect way to beat the heat and savor a taste of paradise.

4. Hands-On Fun: Interactive Activities for Kids

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Get ready for an adventure-filled learning experience with Hawaii’s hands-on attractions!

From interactive science museums to engaging cultural workshops, these immersive activities are designed to captivate your little ones’ imaginations and keep them wide-eyed and grinning throughout.

Children’s Discovery Center

Head to the Children’s Discovery Center in Honolulu, O‘ahu, when rainy days strike for a perfect indoor adventure.

This interactive center offers many educational activities and exhibits that spark curiosity and excitement in kids.

In the “Your Rainbow World” gallery, they can catch fish, sing karaoke, do the lion dance, and even enjoy pretend sushi while learning about East Asian cultures.

Dolphin Quest – Oahu

Create cherished family memories at Dolphin Quest, located at the Kahala Hotel and Resort.

Your entire family will be thrilled as they swim with the dolphins and participate in interactive programs suitable for children of all ages.

The Wee Family, Fins, and Fun program offers the perfect experience for younger children, while the Kids’ Aquatic Adventure is ideal for ages 5 to 9.

For an unforgettable private family swim or an immersive Dolphin Adventure program, Dolphin Quest delivers unforgettable encounters with these amazing marine mammals.

Bishop Museum

Experience the cool and fascinating world of the Bishop Museum, a must-visit attraction in Oahu.

Rainy day or not, this museum offers interactive exhibits, cultural tours, Hawaiian storytelling, and entertaining shows that keep kids engaged and entertained.

From archaeology to hands-on activities, Bishop Museum blends fun and education seamlessly.

Hawaii’s thrilling and educational activities provide the perfect combination of fun and learning for your little adventurers.

Whether they’re exploring diverse cultures, swimming with dolphins, or diving into Hawaiian history, these interactive experiences will leave lasting impressions and unforgettable family moments.

5. Family Hike: Discovering the Natural Beauty of Hawaii

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Are you ready to explore the enchanting beauty of Hawaii’s wilderness with your family?

Lace up your hiking shoes, and let the adventure begin!

Whether you opt for a short nature walk or a moderate trail, hiking in Hawaii offers a perfect opportunity to connect with nature and witness breathtaking views that will leave you in awe.

It’s a chance to unplug from the daily grind, breathe in the fresh air, and create lasting memories together.

Diamond Head State Monument

As one of the most famous hikes on Oahu, Diamond Head State Monument promises an unforgettable family adventure.

While not incredibly easy, it’s a fun hike that the entire family can enjoy.

The trail offers remarkable views of the coastline and the sparkling Pacific Ocean.

What is the reward for your efforts? Spectacular panoramas that will leave you feeling on top of the world.

Haleakala National Park

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Regarding unique experiences, Haleakala National Park on Maui takes the cake.

The park’s landscape resembles otherworldly terrain, and it’s no wonder it’s considered one of the best tourist attractions in Maui.

Kids will feel like they’ve landed on Mars and will be eager to explore every nook and cranny.

Watching the sunrise from Haleakala is an absolute must, and many visitors plan their entire trip around this breathtaking event.

After witnessing the sunrise, you can explore the park on foot or join one of the many Haleakala tours.

For a thrilling experience, consider renting bikes to ride down the mountain and soak in the beauty of Maui’s natural wonders.

I’ao Needle

Nestled in the I’ao Valley State Park on Maui, I’ao Needle is a hidden gem and one of the best Maui hikes for families.

This short 0.6-mile path leads through a picturesque trail adorned with exotic flowers and interesting sights. 

The hike culminates with stairs that take you to the top of the I’ao Needle, offering a stunning vantage point to admire the surroundings.

Since I’ao Needle is located close to the airport, it makes for a fantastic activity on a travel day or a great addition to a day of exploration, especially when paired with the Maui Swap Meet.

Whether hiking up to a volcanic summit or exploring lush valleys, hiking with your family in Hawaii is an unforgettable journey that brings you closer to the island’s natural wonders. 

So, grab your water bottles and cameras, and embark on an adventure that will leave you with cherished memories of Hawaii’s breathtaking landscapes.

6. Ancient Hawaii: Exploring the Island’s Cultural Heritage

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Step back in time and immerse your family in the rich cultural heritage of Hawaii.

Through engaging cultural experiences, your kids can participate in traditional dances, crafts, and captivating storytelling, offering a glimpse into the ancient traditions that continue to thrive on the islands today.

This journey explores the history and fosters respect and appreciation for the diverse cultures that shape Hawaii’s identity.

Pu’uhonua o Honaunau

One of the most extraordinary places on the Big Island is the Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park.

In ancient Hawaii, breaking the law often resulted in severe punishment, even death.

The only way to escape this fate was to reach Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, a sacred place of refuge.

Kids will find the history behind this site utterly fascinating, and visiting the visitor’s center will deepen their understanding of this unique cultural gem.

Pu’uhonua o Honaunau is one of the most captivating historic sites, where you can witness the remnants of ancient Hawaiian culture and immerse yourself in the stories of the past.

Additionally, it’s one of the best places in Hawaii to see tiki statues, which have cultural significance and play an essential role in Hawaiian traditions.

By exploring these ancient sites and engaging in cultural activities, your family will better appreciate the customs and history-shaping Hawaii’s vibrant and diverse culture.

This immersive experience will leave a lasting impact on your children, fostering a reverence for the past and a connection to the roots of the islands’ people.

Additional info:

Don’t forget to visit the other cultural sites and centers on the islands, such as the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu and the Lahaina Historic Trail on Maui.

These destinations offer hands-on activities, live performances, and interactive exhibits that provide an authentic and fun experience of Hawaii’s cultural heritage.

Hawaiian Journey, Oahu

Embark on an unforgettable Hawaiian Journey, where kids will learn more than they can imagine about Hawaii’s vibrant culture and heritage.

This multi-sensory cinematic experience takes them through a tropical paradise, offering hands-on activities and a traditional luau with a feast fit for royalty.

From interactive ancient games to learning traditional Polynesian dance and fishing techniques, the Hawaiian Journey in Oahu promises an awe-inspiring exploration of Hawaiian traditions.

7. North Shore Oahu: Surfing and Beach Fun

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Surf’s up, kids! Get ready to catch some waves and have a good time on Oahu’s North Shore.

This paradise for water sports enthusiasts of all ages offers endless opportunities for beachside fun and unforgettable family bonding moments.

Surfing Lessons on North Shore Oahu

For the little water adventurers in your family, North Shore Oahu offers exciting surfing lessons suitable for kids as young as four.

Certified lifeguards will guide them through a 2-hour surfing lesson, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience. And who knows, you might even spot some Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles while riding the waves!

Kid-Friendly Beaches on Oahu

Oahu boasts some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, perfect for families with kids. Here are some top picks:

  • Hanauma Bay: Explore miles of shallow reef with clear and mellow waters, making it an ideal spot for even the tiniest tots to snorkel without swimming. Colorful native fish add to the charm, providing a fantastic opportunity to get acquainted with sea life in its natural habitat.
  • Bellows Beach: Open to the public on weekends, Bellows Beach offers excellent facilities, an on-duty lifeguard, and a shaded picnic area. The soft white sand and protected waters provide an idyllic setting for kids to swim and play in the friendly surf.
  • Secret Island Beach: Located at Kualoa Ranch, this sheltered bay offers a variety of water activities suitable for families. From kayaks and stand-up paddle boards to snorkel gear, you’ll have all the equipment for a fun-filled day of adventure.
  • Kahana State Park: Head up the scenic route to the windward side of Oahu, where Kahana State Park offers unspoiled natural coastal beauty. Let your family escape into a tranquil paradise with gentle waves, wild chickens, and a serene atmosphere.
  • Kahala Beach: Enjoy a peaceful and quiet afternoon at Kahala Beach, where calm waters and stunning views of Diamond Head and the surrounding mountains create a serene tropical paradise. The protected outer reef ensures gentle waters, perfect for little ones year-round.
  • Ko Olina Lagoons: A family-friendly beach haven, Ko Olina features four man-made lagoons with calm waters, perfect for young ones to frolic in the surf without worries. Pristine white sand beaches and year-round calm waters make this a delightful spot for playing in the water.
  • Kaiona Beach: Escape the crowds and enjoy the soft white sand and crystal-clear waters at Kaiona Beach, just a short distance from the popular tourist spot, Lanikai Beach. The protective wall keeps out strong waves, providing an ideal environment for children to play safely in the water.

From surfing adventures to relaxing beach days, Oahu’s North Shore is a haven for families seeking sun, sand, and endless fun!

8. Waikiki with Kids: Fun in the Sun

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Waikiki, the heart of Oahu, welcomes families with its sun-kissed shores and lively ambiance.

Step onto the iconic Waikiki Beach and stroll along the Waikiki Beach Walk.

Shop at nearby stores, savor delicious Hawaiian treats and bask in the beauty of a Hawaiian vacation.

Top 5 Waikiki Activities for Families

  • Waikiki Beach: As one of Oahu’s top tourist spots, Waikiki Beach promises calm waters and scenic spots, especially during the sunset. Enjoy the shoreline, visit shops, try the shaved ice, and revel in the beauty of this gorgeous beach.
  • Glass Bottom Boat Tour: Experience Oahu’s South Shore in a fun and educational way with the Glass Bottom Boat Tour. Sail on a spacious catamaran, sip complimentary drinks, and witness marine life through the glass-bottom viewing ports: spot dolphins, sea turtles, tropical fish, and even whales in season.
  • Atlantis Submarines: Dive 100 feet below the waters off Waikiki on board a state-of-the-art submarine. View schools of tropical fish, sea turtles, and eels through oversized portholes. It’s a thrilling underwater adventure for the whole family.
  • Honolulu Zoo: Among the numerous Waikiki tourist attractions, the Honolulu Zoo is a family favorite. On a leisurely stroll through the zoo, encounter giraffes, zebras, elephants, and other fascinating animals.
  • Waikiki Aquarium: Discover the underwater wonders at the second-oldest public aquarium in the United States. Waikiki Aquarium boasts Hawaiian monk seals, green sea turtles, tropical fish, and various sea life, making it an enlightening and entertaining experience.

Waikiki guarantees an abundance of family fun, with something exciting for everyone. So, pack your sunscreen and sense of adventure, and prepare for endless smiles and cherished memories on the sun-soaked shores of Waikiki!

9. Shave Ice Delight: A Sweet Tropical Treat

family of 3 trip to hawaii

When the Hawaiian sun starts sizzling, cool off in true island style with a mouthwatering shaved ice treat!

This delightful fusion of fluffy ice and fruity flavors is a beloved Hawaiian tradition that kids and adults cherish.

So, get ready to savor a taste of paradise and beat the heat with this refreshing island delight!

Top 5 Shave Ice Spots on O‘ahu

  • Matsumoto Shave Ice : An iconic spot on O‘ahu, Matsumoto Shave Ice serves over 1,000 daily shave ice. Indulge in classic flavors like vanilla, strawberry, and banana, or be adventurous with coconut cream or li hing mui. A sweet tooth’s dream come true!
  • Shimazu Shave Ice : Next to Rainbow Drive-In, Shimazu Shave Ice offers unique flavors like peaches ’n’ creme and durian. The small shave ice comes with your choice of up to three flavors and is generously sized, so come hungry!
  • Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha : Enjoy real fresh fruit and locally made ice cream at this photogenic spot. Uncle Clay’s shave ice is made with aloha, making it a treat that’s hard to resist.
  • Waiola Shave Ice : Known for its soft, pillowy ice and extensive flavor and topping options, Waiola Shave Ice is a local favorite with lines out the door. Don’t worry about choosing—the pre-made combinations will delight you.
  • Island Vintage Shave Ice : If you love fresh fruit with your shave ice, Island Vintage Shave Ice is a must-try. Their unique combinations, like Heavenly Lilikoʻi and Green Island, are tropical paradise in a cup.

With so many good spots to choose from, the shave ice adventure on O‘ahu awaits—get ready to embark on a sweet and icy journey through the flavors of Hawaii!

10. Free Things to Do in Hawaii with Kids: Budget-Friendly Fun

family of 3 trip to hawaii

Explore the beauty of Hawaii without spending a dime! Plenty of free family activities ensure you have a fantastic time without breaking the bank.

Top 3 Free Activities in Hawaii with Kids

  • Mokupapapa Discovery Center : Discover the wonders of Hawaiian sea life at the Mokupapapa Discovery Center in the Papahanaumokuakeo Marine National Monument. With interactive exhibits and a 3,500-gallon saltwater aquarium, this free stop in Hilo is perfect for family fun.
  • Panaewa Rainforest Zoo : Enjoy a day with tropical plants and animals at the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo in Hilo. This free zoo offers exciting events like Tiger Day and animal encounters, making it a hit with the whole family.
  • Hawaii State Art Museum : Immerse yourself in art and culture at Hawaii’s leading free art museum. Stroll through the outdoor sculpture garden, featuring contemporary and historical exhibits that appeal to art enthusiasts of all ages.

And that’s not all! Attend a free hula dancing show at Kuhio Beach, where you can witness torchlighting, conch shell-blowing, and a real taste of Hawaiian culture.

Watch for spontaneous hula shows happening anywhere on the islands – feel free to join in the fun!

With so many free activities in Hawaii, your family can have a fantastic time without spending a penny.

Embrace the spirit of aloha, explore nature, and create cherished memories during your budget-friendly Hawaiian adventure!

11. Learning Activities for Your Children: Education Meets Adventure

Free Pineapple Decoration Dole Plantation photo and picture

Unleash your child’s curiosity and passion for learning with Hawaii’s learning activities! From submarines to plantations, these exciting attractions combine education with adventure.

  • USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, Honolulu: Dive into history and science aboard the USS Bowfin Submarine turned museum. Engage in hands-on STEM activities, scavenger hunts, workshops, and staff-led demonstrations – a fun way to learn something new!
  • Dole Plantation, Oahu: Delve into the history and significance of Hawaii’s beloved pineapple crop at the Dole Plantation. Enjoy family-friendly activities like the Pineapple Express Train Tour, Plantation Garden Tour, and the thrilling Pineapple Maze.
  • Kauai Plantation Railway, Kauai: Embark on an authentic passenger train tour at Kilohana Plantation. Explore the lush landscape, learn about the plantation’s history, and hand-feed adorable animals like goats, sheep, cows, and more.
  • Sea Life Park, Oahu: Dive into the world of sea animals at Sea Life Park. Learn about sharks, sea lions, penguins, stingrays, and more through interactive exhibits. For an unforgettable experience, consider swimming with dolphins in programs designed for all ages.

With these activities, your children can have a blast. Learning has never been this exciting – let the adventure begin!

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Is Hawaii worth visiting with kids? Absolutely! Hawaii is a fantastic destination for families with kids. The islands offer many family-friendly activities, from exploring beautiful beaches to engaging in educational and interactive experiences. Your kids will have a blast snorkeling with marine life, hiking through lush landscapes, and learning about the rich Hawaiian culture. Hawaii’s warm climate, breathtaking scenery, and friendly atmosphere make it a perfect choice for an unforgettable family vacation.
  • Is it better to go to Maui or Honolulu with the kids? Maui and Honolulu offer incredible experiences for families with kids, so the choice depends on your preferences. Maui is known for its stunning natural beauty, with plenty of opportunities for snorkeling, hiking, and exploring waterfalls. It’s a great destination for families seeking a more relaxed and laid-back atmosphere. On the other hand, Honolulu, located on the island of Oahu, is home to Waikiki Beach and offers a vibrant city atmosphere with a wide range of activities, attractions, and family-friendly amenities. It’s an excellent choice for families looking for a mix of beach fun, cultural experiences, and city adventures.
  • Which island to go to Hawaii with kids for the first time? For families visiting Hawaii for the first time, Oahu is a popular and recommended choice. Oahu offers a perfect blend of beach activities, historical sites like Pearl Harbor, family-friendly attractions like the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium, and the bustling city life of Honolulu. It’s a well-rounded island with a diverse range of experiences that will delight both kids and adults. Moreover, the convenience of Oahu’s infrastructure and accessibility makes it an ideal starting point for your unforgettable family adventure in Hawaii.

Bottom line:

Start planning your unforgettable Hawaii adventure in 2023, where your kids will discover the magic of the islands, and you’ll cherish the family bonding amidst Hawaii’s natural wonders and cultural riches. Whether exploring marine life, hiking in the lush wilderness, or savoring tropical treats like shaved ice, Hawaii for families and kids promises a vacation filled with joy, adventure, and discovery. So pack your bags and prepare for the ultimate family vacation in paradise!

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Vacations in Hawaii

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  • There are loads of types of vacations in Hawaii and the cost will depend on what type of trip you’re taking and for how long you’d like to stay. Here are the latest prices for a 3 night trip for 2 travelers: Top vacation $658; Family vacation $598; Romantic vacation $838; Luxury vacation $878; Budget vacation $412.

Why should you book a vacation package to Hawaii?

When should you book a vacation package to hawaii.

High season for tourists is typically from about mid-December to April, and you can find the cheapest Hawaii flight and hotel rates from September to mid-December. Hawaii enjoys a tropical climate, tempered by sea breezes. The rainy season is from October to April. There are fewer tourists on the beaches during the hottest summer months, from June to September, when temperatures average just under 90 degrees. Hawaii vacation packages can make travel during any season more affordable.

Where should you stay in Hawaii?

For any vacation type in hawaii:.

Set against a lush green hillside, with a pool and beach front on the Wailea coast, the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui offers a quintessential Hawaii experience. The hotel is located about 17 miles from Kahului Airport (OGG), with car rentals available both at the airport and the hotel itself. The Hilton Waikiki Beach hotel places you close to many of Honolulu's major attractions, including the Honolulu Zoo, with many shops and restaurants within walking distance. It's only 9 miles - and an affordable taxi ride - from the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL).

For family vacations in Hawaii:

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Oahu, is a renowned full service family resort set against an expanse of perfect beach. Waterslides and a man-made reef complement a huge, pristine pool area, with excellent service and Disney movie characters wandering the grounds. The resort offers a shuttle service to and from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, about 20 miles to the east. The Kauai Marriott Resort in Lithue, Kauai, lets parents and kids alike enjoy life on the palm-dotted beach, with one of the largest pools in Hawaii, and extensive on-site amenities, including a spa, fitness space and business center. Lithue Airport (LIH) is only 2 miles away, with a complimentary shuttle service available to and from the resort.

For romantic vacations in Hawaii:

Soak up the sun together in the peaceful Ko'a Kea Hotel & Resort, just a walk away from Poipu Beach and its golden sands. It's about 15 miles from Lihue Airport, with many taxis available to and from the resort. If romance plus adventure is appealing, Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu offers a range of water sports and experiences, including cage-diving with sharks, canoeing, and glass-bottomed kayaks. The shuttle service from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport can be booked through the hotel.

For luxury vacations in Hawaii:

The St. Regis Princeville resort in Kuai offers guests a serene escape from the everyday in the lush tropical setting of a 9,000-acre resort community. Enjoy the beach, gardens, nearby mountains, and the onsite Makai Golf Club. Private car and taxi services are available to and from Lihue Airport. Hawaii travel deals are available to the upscale Four Seasons hotel in Hualalai on Hawaii Island's Kona-Kohala Coast. It offers a taste of authentic Hawaiian culture and traditions in a luxury property, including fine dining and activities. Taxi service is readily available to Kona International Airport, about 10 minutes or 7 miles away.

For budget vacations in Hawaii:

The Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort offers the best of a beach holiday just steps from the Waikiki Beach Walk promenade, with multiple options for shopping, dining, and entertainment. A free shuttle service is available to and from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, about 9 miles away. Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort features two hotel towers set on Waikiki Beach. An expensive shuttle service is available to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, about 8 miles away, directly from the main lobby.

Where to stay in Hawaii

Hawaii vacation information, other popular package vacation destinations.

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Find Hawaii Vacation Package Deals

We are proud to offer exclusive vacation packages, most with rates under $1,000. These packages include airfare, car rental, and hotel stay for six to eight days. Visiting different islands, or "island-hopping" as we call it, is highly recommended because each island has its own distinct "personality."

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Hawaii.com has handpicked the best vacation package deals. The all-inclusive vacation packages include airfare to Hawaii, car rental, and hotel stay for up to eight days or more. Please keep in mind that rates for some of these trip packages change weekly, so if you see a vacation deal at a price you like, you’ll definitely want to book it. We also offer deals on luaus, dinner cruises, golf, daily breakfast and more.

Getting The Best Vacation Package Deal

A cheap vacation package doesn’t need to feel, well, “cheap.” The hotels featured in these all-inclusive offers are three star hotels or better and many of them are beautiful beachfront properties but you save when you book air + flight.

Our Top 3 Must Stay at Hotels

We have three hotels that we highly recommend: Kaanapali Beach Hotel and Royal Lahaina Resort on Maui, and Royal Kona Resort on the Big Island. Both Royal Lahaina Resort and Royal Kona Resort offer “Best Price Guarantee” as well as a ton of options for creating your perfect vacation package. And Kaanapali Beach Hotel goes above and beyond to ensure that they provide the most value possible to visitors like you. Known as the “Most Hawaiian Hotel,” Kaanapali Beach Hotel keeps drawing its guests back with its authentic Hawaiian hospitality.

Looking for Luxury Hotels?

Looking for something a little more luxurious? No problem. Check out our lists of the best hotels by island. If money is not so much the issue, we recommend Montage Kapalua Bay on Maui and Mauna Kea Resort on the Big Island. Both of these 5 star resorts are cozied up to beaches that have been voted #1 Beach in America by Dr. Beach. In addition, Montage Kapalua Bay is Hawaii’s newest Forbes Five Star property. Another bonus? They both usually offer “get the 4th night free” specials.

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Hawaii Itinerary for family with 3 kids - Maui Forum

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Hawaii Itinerary for family with 3 kids

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To get from one island to the next air is pretty much it - airlines are Mokulele, Hawaiian, Island Air, and GO. Each interisland flight will only take about half an hour, but you still have to get there well in advance of your flight - so average time allotment for inter island is four hours total from check in to sit down, to flight , to get luggage and new rental car before you rae on the road again.

The bext shopping will be on Oahu, next would be Maui.

Yes, a car is strongly suggested. On Oahu it is possible to get around without a car , as the transit system is more developed. Renting a car can be done through agencies directly, but http://discounthawaiicarrental.com/ http://hawaiicarrental.com/ are both reputable booking companies that can help you with any island.

Will you be looking for hotels or condos? For things to do you can look at each island's home page and find a tag on the left column that reads "Before you Go" and "Things to Do". The book " Hawaii for DUmmies" has a snarky title, but good information. If you are still undecided about which island or islands - this little quiz is fun and surprising. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28932-c81248/Hawaii:United-States:Which.Island..html

With three kids, three islands might be ambitious, but is is doable with 16 nights to spread out.

The key to doing three islands is how organized you are and how much luggage you are lugging around. You can burn valuable vacation time sitting in airports and transferring to and from especially if you don't have a car .

And being there that long, you probably want to consider condo accomodations. Aston Hotels & Outrigger Hotels have good condos and the Embassy Suites and Wyndham Suites on Oahu have some 2 bedroom units. Maui is full of other condos besides Outrigger & Aston and Ka'anapali & Kahana are good places to look at and Poipu Beach on Kauai .

' class=

Maui has a nice mix of relaxing and entertaining things to do. Hawaii is so unique with it's size, the volcano and excellent snorkeling. Kauai is really laid back and very beautiful.

Our family of 6 has always stayed in condominiums, you have much more room to move around, meal flexibility and will save money.

In October, the north part of Kauai would be a good bet and either west or south Maui.

I would select two islands and then ask again for further guidance.

family of 3 trip to hawaii

I would start on Maui and finish on Oahu.

I think it is funny, when I lived on Oahu and vacationed in Austrailia - I thought the shopping was soooo amazing!

I also agree to end on Oahu so you don't have to lug things around from shopping.

Rent a car on each island.

Lots of info including sites with free brochures for all islands.


I would recommend staying Kona side on Hawaii, Kaanapali on Maui and Waikiki or KoOlina on Oahu.

Have fun planning. There is a wealth of info using the search bar at the top for each island.

Kids like the Waikoloa on B.I. This is not the island for beaches or restaurants, BTW. Best snorkeling and diving -- but offshore except in a few spots.

On the other end of the size scale is Kauai . It's small and feels even smaller because so much of it is vertical and inaccessible. It's THE island for a helicopter tour or you miss seeing half the island. Seas may be getting a bit rough by October, but calm in Poipu.

Oahu is a typically tropical, beautiful island -- once you drive out of Honolulu's big city. Lots of history here: Pearl Harbor, Iolani Palace , Bishop Museum . Kids like the Polynesian Cultural Center too. (They have a wowser luau there.)

If you're spending time Waikiki, I'd stay South Maui over West. Look at South Kihei and Wailea . Fine swimming and snorkeling beaches from the Kamaole Beach Parks south through Wailea and Makena . Many condos to choose from along that stretch. The SW coast is less far from the 'rest' of Maui for touring, and it is served by a 4-lane highway, unlike West Maui. West does have more 'shopping', restaurants, bars -- centered on Lahaina /Kaanapali.

If I were planning I would skip Big Island this time. If the volcano is the big draw, be sure you know what you will and will not see. It's not 'rivers of fire' -- except in the grainy films at the ranger station! You may see nothing but a desolation of lava and cinder cones and have vog to contend with. It will be H-O-T out there on the lava.

I would look into an organized tour to get to the volcanoes so you don't need to do the driving.


I would also lean towards West Maui and Ka'anapli, Kahana or Napili Bay. Being in proximity to Lahaina gives you more to do than staying down South.

We did a similar trip in June with four children (15, 13, 8, 6).

On Oahu you'll want to do the Polynesian Cultural Center and do all your souvenier shopping at the Swap Meet at the stadium.

I haven't been to Maui , we did Kauai and *loved* it - so beautiful and so many things to do. We'd spent 10 days on the Big Island and then arrived in Kauai and wondered why in the world we'd spent so much time on the BI. If you want relaxing beach time I imagine Maui will be best for that, it will feel the most like a "vacation" while the Big Island is more "interesting" and Oahu is more busy, crowded and hustle/bustle.

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How Much Does a Trip to Hawaii Cost?

June Casagrande

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Hawaii is always on the short list of dream destinations for a relaxing beach vacation. But a potential trip to paradise doesn’t happen without first asking the critical question: How much is a vacation to Hawaii? 

The answer can vary depending on where you stay and when you travel. What does that mean? Well, we have crunched the numbers to give you a better idea of how much you can expect to spend and get you better prepared for your next Hawaiian vacation. Let’s take a look. 

Estimated Hawaii trip cost

family of 3 trip to hawaii

(Photo courtesy of Hilton Hawaiian Village)

We looked closely at the estimated costs of a 10-night trip for a family of four (2 adults and 2 children) during the peak summer travel season and a seven-night trip for that same family during the shoulder season. 

Here are the hypotheticals supporting these dollar figures:

Travel to Honolulu on the island of Oahu, the most popular island for visitors to Hawaii. 

Round-trip flights for four from Los Angeles.

A peak trip assumes a June 25, 2023, departure. A shoulder-season trip assumes a May 8, 2023, departure.

We used three different property types to assess price estimates. They are:

The beachfront four-star resort: Hilton Hawaiian Village. 

The three-star hotel: Holiday Inn Express Waikiki. 

A condo: Various Waikiki units on Vrbo.com.

Totals include resort fees. Those are:

$50 per night at the four-star resort.

$25 per night at the three-star hotel.

All management and cleaning fees at the condo units.

Totals include parking costs of:

$65 per day at the four-star resort.

$45 per day at the three-star hotel.

Parking is not included in condo totals (varies by building/unit).

Meals include nightly dinners of about $225, with drinks, taxes and tips. 

At a four-star resort, meal estimates include breakfasts and lunches totaling about $100 per day. 

Costs at a three-star hotel, which includes free breakfast, include only lunches totaling about $50 per day. 

Tightly budgeted meals assume cutting meal costs by 60% with cheap eats and/or preparing meals. 

Activities for the 10-night trip include a snorkeling excursion, surfing lessons, a Pearl Harbor visit and a day at a water park. For the seven-night trip: snorkeling, the Pearl Harbor visit and a day at a water park.

Economy rental car reserved through DiscountHawaiiCarRental.com or Turo.com.

$5-a-day tip for housekeepers.

» Learn more: The best times to visit Hawaii by travel style

With the information outlined above, here are our estimated budgets.

10-night trip, peak summer travel season

$12,296: Four-star beachfront resort, with a 10-day rental car.

$9,286: Three-star hotel, with a 10-minute walk to the beach and a five-day rental car.

$6,261 Low-cost condo with walking distance to the beach, tightly budgeted meals and a five-day rental car. 

Seven-night trip, shoulder season

$7,602: Four-star beachfront resort, with a seven-day rental car.

$5,792: Three-star hotel, with a 10-minute walk to beach, and a rental car for two days.

$3,892: Low-cost condo with walking distance to the beach, tightly budgeted meals and a two-day rental car. 

Can you beat these numbers? Definitely. Here are tips on how to save on your vacation to Hawaii.

» Learn more: The best island in Hawaii to visit for the first time

How to cut your Hawaii vacation costs

Stay on the beach or rent a car every day, but don’t do both.

Does your idea of a great vacation involve hitting the open road to explore every corner of the island? Then don’t pay premium Hawaii prices for a hotel on the beach. On the other hand, if your dream trip involves tons of time lounging on the sand and splashing in the pool, don’t pay $75 a day for a rental car plus $65 a day to park when it’s just going to sit there. 

Waikiki is home to about 85 hotels — all within walking distance of a car rental agency. 

So it’s easy to get a car for part of your trip. Select “Waikiki” instead of “Honolulu airport” as your pick-up and drop-off location for your rental car. If you pick the car up in the morning and then drop it off at the end of the day, you can save a night’s worth of parking costs, cutting down your trip cost.

The downside to this strategy is you may have to wait in a long line to get your car. So send one adult to pick up the vehicle in the morning while the rest of the crew gets ready for the day. And don’t forget to include airport transfers in your budget. Budget about $50 each way, including tip, for a taxi or rideshare between Waikiki and Honolulu airport. 

Video preview image

Eat cheaper

If your family of four has a nice dinner at the world-famous Duke’s Waikiki, including cocktails for the adults, an appetizer and a Hula Pie dessert to share, you’ll spend about $225, including taxes and tip. Of course, the beachfront views, tiki torches and aloha spirit are worth it. But you don’t have to spend that much every night. 

Step away from the beach and meals get much cheaper. For example, the outstanding burgers at Cheeseburger Waikiki are about $18, as opposed to the $36 fish at Duke’s. In addition, pizza joints, super-affordable ramen houses, authentic Hawaiian diners such as Rainbow Drive-In , chains such as Denny’s and IHOP, and fast-food restaurants including McDonald’s, Burger King and Subway can bring your meal costs way down. 

Or, swing into one of the many ABC Stores to pick up packaged salads, sandwiches, yogurt, snacks, drinks or some spam musubi (a slice of grilled Spam sandwiched between or on top of a block of rice, wrapped in nori) to fill up on the cheap. More affordable yet, you can buy cereal, coffee, milk, sandwich meats and bread to prepare breakfasts and lunches at your hotel or condo.

Consider a condo 

It’s not hard to find a vacation rental just a few minutes from the beach for much cheaper than you’d pay for a hotel.

family of 3 trip to hawaii

For example, we found a condo on VRBO for 10 nights for $1,618 plus tax, for a total of $1,887. And that’s during peak summer travel.

family of 3 trip to hawaii

For a seven-day rental during the shoulder season, you can cut your total accommodations cost down to about $1,000.

Many condos have kitchens, too, so you could save a ton by making eggs or pancakes for breakfast, spaghetti for dinner and even packing sandwiches for lunches while you’re out and about.

Pay with points and miles

The question “How much is a trip to Hawaii” has a much more appealing answer if you pay using airline miles, hotel points or credit card points — which can erase hundreds or even thousands of dollars from your trip cost. For more info on how to maximize your points, be sure to check out these articles: 

The Cheapest Ways to Fly to Hawaii Using Points and Miles .

How to Travel to Honolulu on Points and Miles .

Where to Stay in Waikiki With Hotel Points .

» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now

If you want to go to Hawaii …

So, how much does it cost to go to Hawaii? It can be very expensive. Hidden costs like resort fees and exorbitant parking prices can easily break the budget. But there are ways to save on the cost of a vacation to Hawaii. Traveling before or after the peak summer season can save considerably. In addition, don’t pay a premium to stay on the beach if you won’t take full advantage of that location. But don’t pay up to $65 a night to park a car because you’re splashing around the pool for several days. 

To save big, consider a condo where you can cook meals to save on dining. With these simple strategies, your answer to the question “How much is a vacation to Hawaii?” is one that fits your budget.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024 , including those best for:

Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

1x-5x Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.

60,000 Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

1.5%-6.5% Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

$300 Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

2x-5x Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

75,000 Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

family of 3 trip to hawaii

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Oahu on a budget: 5 things to do for free, adding value to your hawaiian vacation, natural hawaii, more about hawaii.

Discover the differences between these majestic islands and choose your paradise.

Hawaii Island is the largest of the islands and sits at the southernmost part of the chain. A temperamental youngest sibling of the family, this island is full of drama, adventure, and natural beauty. Explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, tour a local coffee plantation, stroll seaside villages, travel back in time at Puukoholo Heiau National Historic Site, and stand at the southernmost point of the United States where nothing but ocean separates you from Antarctica.

Kauai is the oldest of the islands and keeps watch over the others from the northernmost point of the chain. With age comes beauty and the dramatic landscape of Kauai reflects this sentiment. Hike Waimea Canyon and gaze at the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, trek the Koloa Heritage Trail for a glimpse of the past, visit local botanical gardens for their tropical treasures, tour cascading waterfalls, and helicopter out to the Na Pali coastline for the ultimate vantage point.

Maui is the second-largest island and just to the north of Hawaii Island. Known for famous beaches and championship golf courses, Maui delivers an experience filled with magic and beauty to visitors. Witness an awe-inspiring sunrise at Haleakala, snorkel with sea turtles at Molokini, stroll the eclectic shops in Lahaina and witness a ceremonial cliff dive at Black Rock.

Sandwiched between Kauai and Maui is the bustling island of Oahu. The most populated in the chain, Oahu offers a unique blend of modern and ancient influences. Transforming the southern coastline is the city of Honolulu while monster waves rule the northern coast. Reflect on U.S. history at Pearl Harbor, stroll through the pineapple maze at the Dole Plantation, hike the Diamond Head crater for unobstructed views of Waikiki Beach, visit the new International Market Place, and watch big wave surfers tackle the Banzai Pipeline.

There is indeed an island for every personality. Find your Hawaii, find your paradise.

Content provided by Costco Travel experts. Copyright © Costco Travel. All rights reserved.

Before You Go

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SF Gate

Japanese visitors to Hawaii are skyrocketing, are U.S. visitors next?

A subtle piece of data suggests that  Hawaii travel is on the verge of a full rebound and the window for nabbing the best airfare could soon shut. 

In the wake of the tragic wildfires in August 2023 , travel to Hawaii plummeted, even as Maui tourism officials called on travelers to return . Two months later, in October, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green lifted travel restrictions on parts of West Maui as thousands petitioned to extend the suspension . 

Following the reopening, visitor numbers continued to lag, but a data set suggests that consumer behavior is starting to shift. 

The search term “flights to Hawaii” is steadily rising in Google Search, to a level nearly as high as it was just before the wildfires.

Moreover, Going spokesperson Katy Nastro told SFGATE in an email on Friday that interest in Hawaii tourism began to show an uptick just before the new year, despite the concerns about Maui travel.

“Around mid-November however, we started to see the daily average of arrivals show signs of improvement ending the year just under 70% of what it was pre-fires,” she wrote.

Travelers may be feeling enough time has passed since the wildfires to reconsider Maui as a destination, and that planning a trip at this point could be more of a help than a harm, she added.

Airfare to Hawaii typically starts to climb in the spring, and  flight fares to Hawaii from the Bay Area shoot up by June , according to Going. This winter, competition for tickets could be keen, as some airlines have reduced the number of flights to Hawaii from the Bay Area. 

Alaska Airlines recently revealed its flight schedule for the first quarter of the year and is scaling back its San Francisco to Honolulu flight from two to one each day from now until mid-February. Meanwhile, the airline has reduced routes out of San Jose Mineta International Airport. SJC service to Maui has gone from six flights a week to one, SJC to Kauai went from four a week to one and SJC to Kona has changed from seven a week to four. 

A spokesperson for Alaska told SFGATE that the flight schedule was determined well before interest started to spring up.

“Alaska sets and publishes our schedules many months in advance based on projected demand for that season,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. “Our schedule to Hawaii, as with all destinations, varies by season based on historic and projected demand.”

Outside of domestic U.S. travel, visitors have started returning to Hawaii from a country that’s crucial to the islands’ tourism economy: Japan. 

Hawaii News Now reported last month that Japanese visitors are returning in their best numbers since the start of the pandemic . Nearly 63,000 Japanese tourists went to Hawaii in November 2023, a 142% increase from the previous year. They spent $95 million.

As for Lahaina on Maui, KOMO-TV reported in December that while  tourism numbers were still down , some hotels had begun welcoming guests again, while continuing to provide shelter for nearly 6,000 fire evacuees. But “dozens of people are still camping on the beach,” the outlet reported. 

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A new coming-of-age film 'How to Have Sex' follows 3 teens on a spring break trip


Elissa Nadworny

NPR's Elissa Nadworny asks Molly Manning Walker and Mia McKenna-Bruce about their new coming-of-age film, "How to Have Sex."


Partying on Lake Havasu, crowding into a hotel room at Panama City Beach, Cancun or Cabo - the spring break trip, a so-called rite of passage. For 16-year-old British teens Tara, Em and Skye, it's off to Greece for a holiday of clubbing and carousing on Crete in the new movie "How To Have Sex." Molly Manning Walker wrote and directed it. Mia McKenna-Bruce stars as Tara. And both join us now. Welcome to the program.

MOLLY MANNING WALKER: Thank you so much. Hello.

MIA MCKENNA-BRUCE: Hi. Thank you for having us.

NADWORNY: Did either of you do a spring break trip like this before? Like, can you relate to this experience in the film?

WALKER: Yeah, yeah, we both did.

MCKENNA-BRUCE: For me, it was - I mean, pretty much what you see in the film.


MCKENNA-BRUCE: It's kind of - someone described it to me a couple weeks ago, and I was like, that's it. They described it as like going into battle. You go in all guns blazing.

WALKER: Yeah. I went on, like, maybe six of them between the ages of 16 and 20. Some of the memories are like the best memories of my life, and then some of them are obviously more complicated.

NADWORNY: So it's probably already clear to our listeners that we're going to be discussing things that might not be suitable for children who may be listening, but that's also, in a way, kind of what this movie is about - that middle period when people are doing adult things with bodies and brains that aren't necessarily fully formed yet.

WALKER: Yeah, totally.

NADWORNY: One of the things in the film that really struck me is the storytelling felt so realistic, that kind of drunken chaos and confusion, the head-spinning feeling of being at a frat party and kind of not knowing where your friends are. You can't think straight. There's like this emotional roller coaster of it all. I wonder if you could just talk about kind of that world-building, and especially I'm interested in the pool, Molly.

WALKER: Yeah, for sure. We hired a documentary cinematographer, so that was one of the main things. The production design or the costuming was all sort of referenced from vlogs and TikTok. And we spent a long time scouting, and I guess we sort of eventually settled on probably the most party hotel in the resort, which is, like, right next to all the clubs. It wasn't until like a later date where we were all standing on the roof for a tech recce, and we were all looking at the pool and our heads like kind of craned. And we're like, is the pool a penis shape? And turns out the pool was a penis shape.

WALKER: And I guess that says a lot about kind of the environment and the sort of expectations of the environment.

NADWORNY: Yeah, you're like, I'm spot on, actually, in making this movie.

WALKER: And we picked the right hotel, I guess. And then, like, halfway through the shoot, the line producer came to me and was like, we're kind of under budget. Like, is there anything you want? And I was like, a drone shot of the pool.

NADWORNY: (Laughter) Mia, your character Tara starts off as this ball of energy. She has these great little jokes. Can you just start by telling us about her?

MCKENNA-BRUCE: Yeah, I mean, Tara kind of embodies that period of youth, you know, where you would really think you're a lot older than what you are, and you're kind of figuring it all out. And she does have this incredible energy, but then feels like she's got to continue with this energy, you know, even when she's not feeling like she wants to. So constantly trying to live up to the expectations of what people have of her, which I think is one of the things that resonates with a lot of people when they watch this film.

NADWORNY: She's also a virgin. What's her relationship to sex in this movie?

MCKENNA-BRUCE: Yeah, so when we first meet Tara, she's a virgin, and we see the girls discussing a lot that she is going to lose her virginity on this holiday. And one of her lines is literally, I don't want to die a virgin, which is hilarious because, I mean, we're looking at young girls that are, like, 16 years old and she thinks, you know, if she doesn't lose her virginity on this holiday, that's it. That's it for her, which just goes to show, you know, we're getting pressures from from all angles without having the tools to actually talk about it and understand what, what that means.

NADWORNY: You know, without giving anything away, is it true that in workshops before filming, girls who read assault scenes from the film didn't consider what was being described as assault?

WALKER: Yeah, you know, it would say, like, very clearly in the stage directions that Tara was very uncomfortable, and they would be like, but she said yes, so that's fine. So it was, like, an interesting comparison that they were sort of drawing to that meant, you know, yes is yes, basically.

NADWORNY: One night there's the scene where Tara is drunk and dancing and all you hear is her breathing and the pounding of the music. That scene feels like a turning point for your character.

MCKENNA-BRUCE: Yeah, yeah. You know, we follow Tara very closely on her figuring out what she's feeling and why she's feeling it. And I think we do reach this moment where she's a bit like, let me try and push through this because she doesn't know how to articulate it either, or who to go to, where to turn.

NADWORNY: Mia, I'm wondering, you know, you told W Magazine that you have two younger sisters, and you'd love for them to see this. Do you want them to see this out of pride for kind of their big sister, or because you want them to kind of get the message of the film about sex and consent?

MCKENNA-BRUCE: Definitely because I want them to get the message of the film, for sure. One of my sisters is 16 and the other one is 21, and sex has never really been an open conversation in our house. So for me, it was really important that, you know, from - as soon as I read the script, I was like, this is a brilliant way to open this conversation, to give us that in, you know, and also be able to talk about sex without necessarily using, like, yourself or your own experiences, just being able to have an open conversation around sex. And they have watched the film. They watched it when it first screened in London. And that's exactly what it's done for everyone in my family - kind of really opened up these conversations. And for me, like, that's just incredible that now my younger sisters and hopefully their friends as well, are starting to have this dialogue talking about what good sex is, you know, and, like, how it feels.

NADWORNY: Molly, I think this movie reminded me so much of being young. The whole film, I wanted to just be Tara's friend and give her a hug and kind of tell her everything I know now as an adult. For you, who kind of created her character and created this world, how does that make you feel? What's your takeaway from your debut film?

WALKER: It's been amazing. Like, I guess we thought we were sort of making quite a personal, small story. And I guess what we've realized over time is that it's a really universal story, and that's both amazing and kind of heartbreaking at the same time. And to see so many women feel seen by it - yeah, it feels like the conversation's got a long way to go, and we have a lot of battles to fight, I guess.

NADWORNY: That's Molly Manning Walker and Mia McKenna-Bruce. Their new film is "How To Have Sex." Thanks for speaking with us.

WALKER: Thank you so much.

MCKENNA-BRUCE: Thank you so much. Thank you.

Copyright © 2024 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

UPDATE: White House 'pleased' special counsel probe has concluded, but objects to 'inaccurate and inappropriate comments'

NEWS ALERT: School bus overturns following 'significant bus accident' in Howard County


Hawaii’s high court cites ‘The Wire’ in rebuke of US Supreme Court decision that expanded gun rights

The Associated Press

February 8, 2024, 5:03 PM

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HONOLULU (AP) — A ruling by Hawaii’s high court saying that a man can be prosecuted for carrying a gun in public without a permit cites crime-drama TV series “The Wire” and invokes the “spirit of Aloha” in an apparent rebuke of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that expanded gun rights nationwide.

“The thing about the old days, they the old days,” the unanimous Hawaii Supreme Court ruling issued Wednesday said, borrowing a quote from season four, episode three of the HBO series to express that the culture from the founding of the country shouldn’t dictate contemporary life.

Authored by Justice Todd Eddins, the opinion goes on to say, “The spirit of Aloha clashes with a federally-mandated lifestyle that lets citizens walk around with deadly weapons during day-to-day activities. ”

The ruling stems from a 2017 case against Christopher Wilson, who had a loaded pistol in his front waistband when police were called after a Maui landowner reported seeing a group of men on his property at night.

The handgun was unregistered in Hawaii, and Wilson had not obtained or applied for a permit to own the gun, the ruling said. Wilson told police he legally bought the gun in Florida in 2013.

Wilson’s first motion to dismiss the charges argued that prosecuting him for possession of a firearm for self-defense violated his right to bear arms under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It was denied.

Then in 2022, a U.S. Supreme Court decision known as New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen upended gun laws nationwide, including in Hawaii, which has long had some of the strictest gun laws in the country — and some of the lowest rates of gun violence.

Just as the Bruen decision came out, Wilson filed a second motion to dismiss the case. A judge granted the dismissal, and the state appealed.

Ben Lowenthal of the Hawaii public defender’s office, Wilson’s attorney, said Thursday his office is “taking stock of our options,” including seeking review from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wilson denied trespassing and said he and his friends “were hiking that night to look at the moon and Native Hawaiian plants,” according to the recent ruling.

Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez hailed the ruling as a “landmark decision that affirms the constitutionality of crucial gun-safety legislation.”

The ruling reflects a “culture in Hawaii that’s very resistant to change” and a judiciary and government that has been “recalcitrant” in accepting Bruen, said Alan Beck, an attorney not involved in the Wilson case.

“The use of pop culture references to attempt to rebuke the Supreme Court’s detailed historical analysis is evidence this is not a well-reasoned opinion,” said Beck, who has challenged Hawaii’s gun restrictions.

Beck represents three Maui residents who are challenging a Hawaii law enacted last year that prohibits carrying a firearm on the beach and in other places, including banks, bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

A federal judge in Honolulu granted a preliminary injunction, which prevents the state from enforcing the law. The state appealed, and oral arguments are scheduled for April before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Bruen set a new standard for interpreting gun laws, such that modern firearm laws must be consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.

“We believe it is a misplaced view to think that today’s public safety laws must look like laws passed long ago,” Eddins, of the Hawaii high court, wrote. “Smoothbore, muzzle-loaded, and powder-and-ramrod muskets were not exactly useful to colonial era mass murderers. And life is a bit different now, in a nation with a lot more people, stretching to islands in the Pacific Ocean.”

The Bruen ruling “snubs federalism principles,” Eddins wrote, asserting that under Hawaii’s constitution, there is no individual right to carry a firearm in public.

Dating back to the 1800s, when Hawaii was a kingdom, weapons were heavily regulated, Eddins wrote. He noted that in 1833 King Kamehameha III “promulgated a law prohibiting ‘any person or persons’ on shore from possessing a weapon, including any ‘knife, sword-cane, or any other dangerous weapon.’”

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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family of 3 trip to hawaii

family of 3 trip to hawaii

University of Hawai'i at Manoa Athletics

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WBB_Imani Perez_UCI

Women's Basketball 02.06.2024

Women's Basketball Opens Road Trip at UC San Diego

LA JOLLA, Calif. — The Big West-leading University of Hawai'i women's basketball team heads back to California this week for a two-game conference road trip. The Rainbow Wahine open the trip at UC San Diego on Thursday, Feb. 8 in La Jolla, Calif. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Pacific Time (5 p.m. Hawai'i Time).   They'll then head north for a game at UC Davis on Saturday, Feb. 10 in Davis, Calif. The game is scheduled for 2 p.m. Pacific (noon Hawai'i time).   UH (12-8, 9-2 Big West) enters the week on a three-game winning streak and swept last week's homestand to claim sole possession of first place in the conference standings. They head into Thursday's play a game in front of UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine, and two ahead of Cal Poly and UC Davis.

• UC San Diego leads the all-time series with UH 3-2. The Rainbow Wahine have won the last two meetings.   • UH defeated UC San Diego 64-52 on Jan. 20 at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center. Lily Wahinekapu led the 'Bows with 16 points and Daejah Phillips finished with 15.   • Daejah Phillips was named the Big West Player of the Week on Monday after helping UH to wins over Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine. The junior scored a season-high 22 points against Cal State Fullerton and contributed nine points, seven rebounds and three assists against UC Irvine.

• Lily Wahinekapu  leads UH with 10.5 points per game overall and 12.1 ppg in Big West games. • UCSD also won both of its games last week and is led by freshman guard Sumayah Sugapong's 14.2 points per game. Sugapong and forward Damilola Sule scored 15 points each in the first meeting with UH.

• UH enters the game first in the conference and 23nd nationally in scoring defense in allowing 56.0 points per game overall.

• UH opponents are shooting 36.5% on field-goal attempts overall, the lowest mark in the Big West and 25th in NCAA Division I.

* UH has held opponents to 25.1% shooting on 3-point attempts, which ranks first in the conference and eighth among 348 Division I teams.

• UH held an opponent without a 3-pointer for the first time since 2020 when UC Irvine went 0 for 15 on Feb. 3, 2024. The previous occasion came against Cal State Fullerton (0 for 10) on Jan. 23, 2020.

The Rainbow Wahine will take aim at the largest attendance figure of head coach  Laura Beeman 's 12-year tenure when the Rainbow Wahine host  "Beeman's Big Bash"  on Feb. 17 at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center. The 2014-15 Rainbow Wahine played their home finale before a Senior Night crowd of 4,340 on March 7, 2015 in Beeman's third year leading the program. This season's Rainbow Wahine squad will look to surpass that mark when they face UC Santa Barbara in a rematch of the 2023 Big West Championship game.

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    Winner of a 2023 Good Housekeeping Family Travel Award, Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa feels like paradise. "Everything in the rooms, pool area and restaurants is beautiful, clean and new ...

  22. Hawaii Vacation Packages

    Book by 2/29/24 Oahu: Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki Beach Walk Package Stay 5 / Pay 4 Waived Resort Fee Digital Costco Shop Card and More! Explore Oahu or Hawaii Island Digital Costco Shop Card Added Values in Every Package Family-Friendly Marriott Resorts Kauai: 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay Package $500 Resort Credit

  23. Planning Your First Trip to Hawaii

    Planning Your First Trip to Hawaiʻi. Discover why the six Islands of Aloha are home to treasures unlike any other on earth: The dramatic cliffs of the Nāpali Coast on Kauaʻi. The vibrant shores of Waikīkī Beach on Oʻahu. The miles of white sands of Pāpōhaku Beach on Molokaʻi. The dolphin-friendly waters of Hulopoʻe Bay on Lānaʻi.

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    Hawaii is a clear destination choice for families in the market to take a tropical beach vacation in the U.S. Each Hawaiian island is unique, as are the family-friendly beachfront resorts on those ...

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    Hawaii News Now reported last month that Japanese visitors are returning in their best numbers since the start of the pandemic. Nearly 63,000 Japanese tourists went to Hawaii in November 2023, a ...

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    ELISSA NADWORNY, HOST: Partying on Lake Havasu, crowding into a hotel room at Panama City Beach, Cancun or Cabo - the spring break trip, a so-called rite of passage.

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  29. Women's Basketball Opens Road Trip at UC San Diego

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