Family Fun: Your Guide to Vacationing in Hawaii with Kids

BackFamily Fun: Your Guide to Vacationing in Hawaii with Kids

You want to experience the luxury of Hawaii, but you also want a vacation the kids can enjoy.  Who says you can't have both? 

Here are a few activities that parents and kids alike will enjoy so that you can book your villa knowing you're ready to make the most of the Aloha state. 

The Islands

Before you book your villa rental, you first have to know which island you want to visit. 

There are eight islands in Hawaii

  1. Hawaii - the "Big Island"
  2. Kauai - the "Garden Isle"
  3. Maui - the "Valley Isle"
  4. Oahu - the "Gathering Place" home to Honolulu and Waikiki.
  5. Molokai - the "Friendly Isle"
  6. Lanai - the "Pineapple Isle"
  7. Niihau - the "Forbidden Isle" so called as it is privately owned by the Robinson family with very restricted access
  8. Kahoolawe - an uninhabited reserve off South Maui that is only accessible via volunteer activities held a few times per year.

The Big Island, Maui, and Oahu are the most popular destinations for tourists. If you don't visit any of the other islands, you can still get a sense of Hawaii's unique splendor. 

Big Island

The Big Island is deserving of its name--it's the largest island in the United States as well as the largest island in Hawaii. 

It's also the most dynamic of the eight islands, housing 12 of the world's 14 climate zones. With just a short drive, you could go from a rainforest dripping with orchids to balmy pastureland to the snow-tipped peak of Mauna Kea. 

And if you want something other than the deep blue sea, the Big Island has a sea of lava, miles of rippling black stone as far as you can see. 

The land itself is a thing of luxury and beauty. So if you want to appreciate the island at its best, make the most of the natural splendor around you. 

Big Island of Hawaii - John Di Rienzo

Botanical Gardens

The best place to start appreciating Mother Nature's best gifts is by taking in the botanical gardens on the island. Plus, you won't have to worry about balancing kids on hiking paths. 

There's Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, which displays more than 2,000 rare and exotic plants including orchids, heliconias, bromeliads and more. It's based in a 40-acre valley that acts as a natural greenhouse, between the climate and the rich volcanic soil. 

There's also the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden, which supports Hawaiian cultural traditions of cultivation and land use. It's a rich display, with over 200 species of plants on display. 

Akaka Falls

If you want to take the kids on a bit of a hike with a beautiful view, take them to Akaka Falls. 

The hike is just under half a mile, filled with orchids and draping ferns. You'll see the 100-foot Kahuna Falls first. If that seems huge, wait until you round the bend. Akaka Falls is 442-feet of water pouring into a gorge. 

Akaka Falls Big Island of Hawaii


If you've never had a religious experience, you might just discover one by watching the sunrise at Haleakala National Park. 

Haleakala Maui Exotic Estates

When you book a villa in Maui, you're signing up for a vacation in the playground of Hawaii. It's the home of gorgeous beaches (80, more than any other island), with a different temperament at each individual shore. 

You could visit every beach in Maui and get a different experience every time. 

Maui Beaches - Exotic Estates

Molokini Snorkeling Tour

So if you want to show your family the best that Maui has to offer, start with the beach (and the vibrant life that's just beneath the waves). 

The best place to start is the Molokini crater, a volcanic atoll just off the coast of Maui. It offers visibility up to 150 feet, with 250 species of marine life. 

Molokini Crater Exotic Estates Maui

The Road to Hana

If your family prefers adventures that are land-based and a bit less active (but no less rewarding) check out the Road to Hana, the crowning glory of "stop the car!" experiences. 

How long it takes depends on how often you stop. You'll want to stop constantly so that you can breathe in the air and take in the views up close. 

The best way to do this is to rent a car, research the stops beforehand, pack a picnic lunch, and take your sweet time through the scenic route. 

Lanai Cat Sanctuary

While this is another island, we include Lanai under Maui since it's a great day trip from Maui. Daily ferry crossing to Lanai are run out of Lahaina. If you have kids who love cats, we highly recommend a visit to the Lanai Cat Sanctuary. The Lanai Cat Sanctuary is home to more than 500 cute kitties and the staff let you wander through their domain and interact with them. They come in all colors and sizes and are friendly as they're used to visitors. They may even let you shake the treat can and have them all come running!

Lanai Cat Sanctuary - John Di Rienzo


Oahu is often the first port of call for Hawaii visitors, with a surprisingly urban appearance at first blush. But once you explore the Waikiki Beach and hotel district and venture out, you'll discover gorgeous views of the mountains and oceans. 

Waikiki Beach Oahu Exotic Estates

Take the time to be adventurous in Oahu--you'll love what you find. 

Hanauma Bay State Park

If you need somewhere to get started, try Hanauma Bay State Park

The bay offers a pristine marine habitat. If you want to get acquainted with the aquatic life around the island, this is the place to do it. 

Don't be taken aback by the crowds--Hanauma attracts more than 3,000 visitors a day. The park will keep you plenty busy, not just showing you the marine life but also teaching you how to care for it. 

Hanauma Bay Oahu - Exotic Estates

Bishop Museum

The Bishop Museum is a must-see for your budding history buff. 

It was established to showcase the heirlooms of the royal Kamehameha family, as well as a collection of over a million Hawaiian objects, photographs, and documents. 

Today, the museum is the premier cultural history institution in the Pacific, with artifacts from a range of Pacific cultures while still preserving and promoting the interests of native Hawaiians. 

Adventuring in Hawaii with Kids?

Hawaii with kids is an experience like no other. You can revel in the sunshine and the beach while the kids experience something they'll never forget. 

It all starts with the right Hawaii villa rental

Hawaii Family Vacation - Exotic Estates

We believe in doing more for our guests and visitors. Whether you're looking for a world-class villa or a charming, family-friendly hideaway, we can help you find the vacation home you need. 

If you're ready to book your stay in paradise, click here to take a look at our available villas. 

Blog Subjects: Traveling with Kids, Hawaii