Dreaming of cerulean waves, picturesque beaches, tropical foliage, breathtaking waterfalls, rugged landscapes and a destination your entire family can enjoy? Look no further than Hawaii. Each island offers adventures and escapades that are unmatched by any other place in the world. So, pack your bags, grab your flip flops and get ready for the vacation of a lifetime.
Known as the “Heart of Hawaii,” Oahu is always booming with excitement. Once the stomping ground of Hawaiian royalty, Waikiki Beach is perhaps the most popular attraction of the entire island. The beach is a 2-mile tract of beautiful white sand and calm waters – and one of the best places for learning how to surf. While here, you can enjoy world-class shopping and dining, especially along Kalakaua Avenue. Opportunities to hear Hawaiian music and enjoy Hula abound, giving you the ideal Hawaii vacation you’ve always dreamed of.
History lovers won’t want to miss an opportunity to visit Pearl Harbor. Although the USS Arizona Memorial is closed this year for repairs, visitors can take a 30-minute narrated harbor tour of Battleship Row and the area around the USS Arizona Memorial. You and your family can also explore more about the history of Hawaii at Bishop Museum and see the home of the last reigning monarchs at Iolani Palace.
The Polynesian Cultural Center is a great place for families to visit and provides a journey through the history and traditions of Polynesia, plus food and entertainment. In addition to daily exhibits, the center provides an opportunity for visitors to enjoy a canoe ride, explore villages, and experience thrilling fire knife and dancing events.
If marveling at the natural beauty of the island is on your to-do list during your vacation, there is no shortage of options here. Hike the trail up a 300,000-year-old volcano crater at Diamond Head State Monument, where you can soak up views while overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu. Don’t forget to try snorkeling at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, take a swim at Waimea Falls and relax on the North Shore. With hundreds of incredible attractions all over the island, Oahu offers plenty of options for everyone.
If lazy days on the beach sound like your dream vacation, Maui is the perfect place for you and your family. This island offers the ideal blend of incredible natural beauty and culture, yet also has all the amenities you’d want for a relaxing vacation. Maui features more swimmable beaches than any other island in Hawaii, and there is no shortage of activities for everyone in your traveling party to enjoy.
Providing close proximity to several upscale resorts, Kaʻanapali Beach acts as both a relaxing retreat and action-packed destination. Sunbathe while reading a book, nap under an umbrella or test your water skills with parasailing, surfing, snorkeling and sailing. Close to Kaanapali, the Old Lahaina Luau is a must-see. Plus, you’ll want to stroll bustling Lahaina Town, which is full of historical and cultural significance – something you don’t want to miss while you’re on the island.
Kapalua Beach is lined with palm trees and scattered with lava rock. It’s truly a sight to behold, and the calm waters make it an ideal beach for families with young children. The swimming is easy and fun here. Plus, there are natural tide pools all along the beach, giving kids a chance to view sea creatures up close. And, if you and the family are interested in snorkeling, Kapalua and nearby Napili Bay are perfect spots.
For the experience of a lifetime, plan a visit to Haleakala, literally the “House of the Sun”. This special place offers breathtaking views of landscapes unlike any other. The majestic volcanic and sub-tropical rain forest vistas are home to many protected rare species and resonate ancient and modern Hawaiian culture.
With tons of shops, restaurants, resorts, golf courses and an endless amount of outdoor activities, Maui is a great option for any family.
Arguably the prettiest island in Hawaii, Kauai is known for its breathtaking natural beauty. Magnificent green hills and tropical rainforests, massive waterfalls and jagged cliffs will greet you upon your arrival and beg you to come take a closer look. You and your family can take kayaks out on the calm waters of Wailua River and catch glimpses of waterfalls hidden within the lush jungle walls. For even more adventure, try out the very popular mountain tubing or snorkel at Tunnels Beach.
When you’re ready for a break from all the excitement, your family can relax on Ke’e Beach. It’s not your typical beach and can be a bit rocky, but you can swim and soak up the sun - all while drinking in the views of the Na Pali Cliffs. Plan to spend a day (or at least a few long hours) in Hanalei, a charming town nestled between Hanalei Bay and the North Shore. Explore the many shops, restaurants and historic buildings. Plus, you can rent surf, body and paddleboards, so you can also hit up the waves while you’re visiting. The whole family will experience plenty of adventure, fun and relaxation during your stay on Kauai.
The Big Island is awe-inspiring. Twice the size of all the other islands, Hawaii Island has several different climate zones due to its size and elevation. You can experience balmy, wet tropical temperatures and frigid polar tundra air during your trip. For a truly rare excursion that your family will never forget, visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to see the unique geological landscape that is Hawaii. The park itself encompasses two of the most active volcanoes in the world: Kilauea and Mauna Loa, so you’ll need to plan your trip in advance just in case there are some park closures. If visiting active volcanoes sounds a little too intense for you and your family, try a sunset and stargazing tour on the dormant Mauna Kea Summit for an experience you’ll be telling everyone about the second you get back home.
If you’ve never heard of, let alone seen, black sand beaches, you should probably plan on visiting the Hamakua Coast. That black sand blends in perfectly with the deep green rainforests, which serve as the perfect backdrop for the waterfalls that are scattered around the island. Here, you can also check out the Akaka Falls, standing 442 feet high.
Venturing back to the ocean, your family would definitely love a chance to snorkel and watch the sea turtles at Punaluu Beach. There’s also horseback riding, hiking and zip lining available at several areas throughout the island. Whether you and your family want to shop, relax or seek thrills, Hawaii Island will make for a memorable and amazing vacation no one will want to end.
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