A domestic vacation is often the best choice when there are children in tow. There is also the security of remaining in the US with familiar food, customs, currency, and stores. Children get to venture away from home and try new things. It isn’t too strange and daunting for them. At the same time, it is sometimes difficult choosing the best vacation spot. There are obvious family friendly destinations in sunnier states. One that is perhaps a little less obvious is Hawaii.
So why should families turn to this state for their summer trip and what does it have to offer?
A State That Mixes Exotic Adventure With Familiar Details
Hawaii is a great choice for a summer vacation destination for families with young children because it provides the best of both worlds. The climate and locations of these tropical islands give the impression of an adventure on foreign soil. Some landmarks and features just aren’t possible at home. There is the convenience of remaining on the US soil. This makes the trip much easier logistically when it comes to passports and travel restrictions. There is still a long flight in order, depending on your point of departure. The whole process from gate to gate is much easier.
There is also the option of enjoying a resort with daily activities in the kids center and staying at a trusted well-known hotel brands while looking out on exotic landscapes. Then there are the different activities in store, which offer a great insight into the culture and natural history of the area, with that American attitude to family entertainment.
Here we will look at some of the many qualities, locations, and attractions that make Hawaii a must-visit destination for families over the summer. We will start with the natural landscape and sense of adventure found in national parks and volcanoes. Then we will look at the wildlife, particularly marine life, and different means of discovering different species. Then we will look at other key family friendly tourist attractions around the different islands.
Natural breathtaking attractions around the islands for exploration. There are wonderful panoramas and landscapes to enjoy on a summer trip to Hawaii, whichever island you choose to visit when taking a vacation here with the kids. Some families will benefit from the adventure of exploring the terrains to see what they stumble across. This adds to the sense of an expedition for children on their first trip away from the mainland. Others will prefer to head to the popular tourist locations. Some of these sites will get a little busy in peak season, so prepare to share the view and fight for parking spaces. However, these tried and tested options are a hit with families because they have manageable trails, clear routes, and other helpful facilities.
There are plenty of places for a good hike in the natural landscape. Haleakala National Park is one of the best regarding accessibility and scope. There are plenty of trails on the 10,023-foot mountain that visitors can handle at their own pace. A hike of Diamond Head is worth it for the view of this unique crater and the scenery beyond.
Kids will be in awe at sight and feel a great sense of accomplishment for making it all the way. This is a dormant volcanic crater, so there is no risk, but there is that added sense of excitement and interest for children that may have studied the subject recently.
There Are Also Plenty Of Beaches For Relaxation And Fun
The alternative way to enjoy the landscape of these islands is to spend a more relaxing day on the beach. This is perfect for all those kids that don’t feel up to the big hike, or even those that managed to get all the way to the summit and deserve a treat. There are plenty of beaches and coastal regions that are perfect for lazing on the sand, playing in the waves and building sandcastles. There are also countless opportunities for light refreshments and ice creams. This is also a great idea for families that have finished checking into the hotel. Many of the best resorts are close to the beach, so this is the perfect way to relax until dinner.
Waikiki is one of the most famous areas of sand, sea, and sun in Hawaii – and for a good reason. The combination of the landscape, accessible location and facilities make sure it is a hit with families. Again, there is the chance that you will come to Waikiki on a summer trip to find that it packed with people. There are quieter beaches for those that want the peace. However, this region has all the facilities and safety considerations that families require.
Kids can have the time of their lives playing on these beaches, and there are also many hire shops in the area to take advantage of. These shops provide equipment for snorkeling, jet skis and other gear for water sports. This means that this could be much more than your ordinary trip to the beach.
At This Point, It Is Important To Emphasize The Importance Of The Rental Car
Travel arrangements are an important aspect of a trip to Hawaii. First of all, you need to make sure you get a good flight to Honolulu and, if you are island hopping, between the islands. Then you need to consider how you are getting around the island. Boat trips are ideal for the best views of the coast, but there is also a lot of land to cover. A rental car gives you the freedom to pack up plenty of belonging and explore. You can park up near any of the natural wonders and trails, and all your energy goes into the hike. Reserve your car ahead of time for day trips. Hotels charge for parking so if you pick a rental agency in or near the hotel you can return the car each evening and not pay hotel parking charges.
Then there is an option to discover more about the life beneath the waves and waters of these beautiful locations. The marine ecology of Hawaii is impressive, with hundreds of incredible fish, crustaceans, turtles dolphin, sharks and so much more. Snorkeling is the best approach for close-up interactions, and there are many locations to choose from.
Family Friendly Snorkeling In Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay lies within an old volcanic crater on the east side of Oahu. It is a busy place with thousands of tourists a day, but still a great choice for families looking for an underwater snorkeling adventure. The first reason for this is the wildlife you can see. Kids that want to learn more about tropical creatures and aquatic ecology will love the diverse range of animals that live in these waters. There are butterfly, parrot and trigger fish, wrasse, eels, crustaceans and also the former Hawaii State Fish Humuhumunukunukuapuaa. The fish are pretty used to human activity, which allows for some great views.
Be aware that because this is a nature preserve area, there are some restrictions. Only 3000 people may visit per day to reduce the impact on the environment and none on a Tuesday. There is also an instructional and educational video on safe and respectful practice before you enter. Kids that cannot abide by the rules and respect the wildlife and landscape is not welcome
Then there is the fact that the shore tapers out slowly at increasing depths so there are areas for different users and experience levels. Some waist deep shallow areas are perfect for kids learning the ropes. More experienced families can go out as far as they see fit. It is also calm in this part of the bay, with no risk or rough waves in good weather. It is recommended to wear water shoes since the bottom can be rocky.
Even so, trained lifeguards are on duty for additional peace of mind. There are also plenty of facilities on offer to add to the family-friendly experience. There is a tram ride to the shore, a picnic area with places to eat and drink, showers, lockers and other secure facilities. Now, if the park is at capacity drive a little further down the main road and visit the Sea Life Park.
Other Options For Marine Safaris
Kids that love ocean wildlife, but don’t have the skill or experience for snorkeling have a couple of alternative options around the islands. There are plenty of boat trips in glass bottomed boats for a more leisurely look at the coastal waters. Braver kids can go on submarine trips under the water and earn a certificate to prove they completed the dive.
Don’t forget that there is also the Maui Ocean Center. This impressive aquarium contains The Living Reef, Turtle Lagoon, Hammerhead Harbor, and Tide Pool. This option is preferable to the Sea Life Park in Honolulu. Sea Life Park has dolphins to feed and pet and is more of an attraction than an educational facility. It is much more rewarding to look for the dolphins in the wild and enjoy them in their natural surroundings than in captivity.
What Are Other Family-Friendly Attractions There To Enjoy Across These Islands?
The Ocean Center is not the only place for an interesting kid-friendly day out during a summer trip to Maui. The island is rich with history, culture, and locations that make for interesting days out. Many tourist attractions embrace this with a great blend of education, photo opportunities and fun activities for different age groups.
The first option to consider here is the Maui Tropical Plantation or Dole Plantation(Oahu) Tours. This may not sound like the perfect, kid-friendly facility at first, but there is so much to see and do. Families take the Tropical Express Tram Tour to learn about the crops of sugarcane and coffee, as well as fruits like mango, guava, and bananas. Kids can also participate in demonstrations on how to husk a coconut and lei-making activities.
Then there is the Polynesian Cultural Center, back on Oahu. This educational facility teaches families about the cultures of people from islands such as Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, and Tahiti. Native student guides interact with visitors through games, music, and language.
There Are Also Craft-Making Activities
(Source: PatMax Adventures)
Over on Oahu Island, there are two attractions that both offer another educational, unique experience, just with very different subjects. The first is the Science Adventure Center. This is great, interactive experience for all families, especially those with children that get a little geeky over science. This center is a great idea for all those that spent a day hiking Diamond Head. This is because it provides further insight into the science behind the formation of volcanoes. Kids can enjoy a simple presentation of the geology and geography of the land beneath their feet.
Another Must-See Tourist Spots Are Pearl Harbor And USS Arizona
Memorial. Some will argue that this is one for the adults rather than the children. However, those that are old enough should take the time to visit the site and learn about the significance of the memorial. Older children with some knowledge of the war, or interest in the military, may appreciate the Pearl Harbor Pass. This provides entry into the USS Arizona, USS Missouri, USS Bowfin submarine and the Pacific Aviation Museum. Travellers advise families to reserve tickets online in advance to be sure of entry on the day they choose.
Finally, if you have some time to spend in Honolulu, try Honolulu Zoo. This is a great idea before a late flight back to the mainland or to check into a hotel because of the accessibility. Honolulu Zoo is an impressive attraction for a small island, as there are more 42 acres and nearly 1000 different species of animals. Many are tropical animals at home in the climate, but there are also familiar African species that kids are familiar with. There is also a petting zoo area for younger children. There is even a guided Twilight Tour on Saturdays for a unique insight.
A Summer Trip To Hawaii Is More Interesting, Exciting And Diverse Than You Might Expect
Some parents may be a little wary of the idea of Hawaii. It is often the getaway for couples looking for a relaxing beach break or a romantic honeymoon. The diversity of activities highlighted here showcases the family-friendly nature of the state.
Kids are more than welcome to enjoy a vacation here, and there is no shortage of things to do. Find a welcoming resort and rent a car for long drives and explorations of coasts and craters. Take the time to embrace different cultural delights and educational experiences. Take countless photos and make unforgettable memories of a summer vacation with a difference.