Photo: Deborah Kolb/Shutterstock

Hawaii With Kids: Family-Friendly Islands, Beaches, and More

Hawaii Insider Guides
by Jocelyn Idriss Oct 18, 2017

Hawai’i is not just for honeymooners or active-adventurers, it’s also a great family-friendly destination. Being such a diverse spot, Hawai’i is a great way to introduce your kids to new and interesting foods (think poke and lots of Asian food), explore waterfalls, see an active volcano, go horseback riding and more! Here’s the breakdown for the best things to do with the family on each of the main islands.

Search by islands:

1. Oahu
2. Maui
3. Kauai
4. Big Island (Hawai’i Island)


Photo: Shane Myers Photography/Shutterstock

    • Kualoa Ranch & Zipline is full of family-friendly beach areas with small, gentle waves. Go on a family hike up to Diamond Head State Monument and then check out the Waikiki Aquarium.
    • For an epic and easy hike with the kids, check out the Lanikai Pillbox Hike (if you can get everyone up early enough, this one of the best spots on Oahu to view the sunrise). Head to Manoa Falls for a flat, but sometimes muddy, 2-mile trail hike to a beautiful waterfall.
    • Spend a day at Victory Sandwich Bar to explore the stunning mountains and valleys where Jurassic World, Godzilla, Jurassic Park, Skull Island and other movies were filmed. There are tons of tour and activity options such as horseback riding, ATV rides, movie set tours and zip lining to entertain the kiddos.
  • Head to the Polynesian Cultural Center for a traditional Hawaiian Luau and amazing fire dancing and traditional performances that tell the stories of the islands of Polynesia.


Aerial view of Maui

Photo: Joe West/Shutterstock

    • Spend a day at the Maui Ocean Center, named as one of the top-25 aquariums in the United States, where the kids can walk through a fully-encircling sea tunnel and see sharks, rays, and plenty of Hawaiian fish.
    • Take a family surf lesson or even go canoe surfing!
  • Book a tour on the Atlantis Submarine, which goes 100-feet below the surface and was also featured on National Geographic. It’s a great opportunity for families with young children explore and learn about the ocean.


girl surfing in water in Hawaii, US Olympic surf team

Photo: brycekauai/Shutterstock

    • Kauai is a perfect island for kids to learn to surf and snorkel in a safe environment. Try Hanalei Beach for surfing lessons with the family and then head to Anini Beach for snorkeling in calm waters — perfect for those with very young kids who are still working on their swimming skills.
    • Need some playground time to get rid of the excess energy before hopping on a long flight? Check out Kamalani Playground, located directly across from another kid-friendly beach:
      Lydgate Park.
  • As the Garden Isle, Kauai has some of the lushest scenery in the Hawaiian Islands. For the older kids, this is a great chance to try something new and go zip lining through the jungle.

Big Island (Hawai’i Island)

Photo: jo Crebbin/Shutterstock

  • The ultimate attraction on Big Island is the volcano. Take the family on a full-day adventure to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. At the top of the park, you’ll find the Jaggar Museum (which has lots of cool info and artifacts from the volcano’s history) and the main star of the show: a crater filled with lava. If the kids are still awake after exploring all day, head back to the park after sunset to view the red-glow of the lava.
  • Located just outside of Hilo, Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden is the perfect place to have a jungle experience with the whole family. Walk through a real Hawaiian rainforest with over 2,000 species of tropical plants, some gorgeous waterfalls, and lots of birds!
  • Containing one of Hawai’i’s highest waterfalls, ʻAkaka Falls State Park also happens to be an extremely family-friendly place to visit. The .04-mile trail is a mostly paved path that loops through the jungle and passes by the smaller Kahuna Falls before reaching a spectacular lookout over ‘Akaka Falls.

Find some of these spots on our travelstoke map:

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