Family Activities in Hawaii

Ohana (family) is very significant in Hawaiian culture, which makes our islands a welcoming destination for kids of all ages. From snorkeling and sandcastle building on sun-soaked beaches to exploring volcanoes and sacred cultural sites, the Hawaiian Islands are a natural gridiron you never relinquish. 

Hawaii is literally swimming with water-based activities. Kids can pet a sea lion at Sea Life Park, learn to surf from a pro on Waikiki Beach, and see massive humpback whales splattering around during a Whale Watching Tour on Maui, Molokai or Lanai. Snorkeling is a kid-approved activity all year long; popular spots include the lightweight, guarded tide pools of Poipu Beach on Kauai and the island of Hawaii’s Kona coast, where you can even swim with dolphins and manta rays.

Surpassing the beach, our astounding museums and natural attractions will bring you closer to Hawaii’s engaging culture – and each other. Learn to dance the hula at the Smith Family Garden Luau, Polyn Cultural Centre and many other authentic Luau on every island. Kids can watch planetarium shows and partake in lava displays at the Bishop Museum, or learn how Hawaii’s early explorers navigated to our shores by the stars at the Imiloa Astronomy Centre. Or, let the little ones burn off some energy at our national and state parks, lush gardens and green spaces – from hikes through the clouds at lao Valley State Park to zipline adventures at Kualoa Ranch, a filming location of Jurassic Park.

If you’re staying at a hotel or resort, take advantage of keiki (children’s) programs that range from lei-making to scuba lessons. Aulani Resort brings Disney magic to Oahu, with daily activities and pool parties with features by Mickey and his friends. On the island of Hawaii, Hilton Waikoloa Village boasts a lazy river and sprawling saltwater lagoon that’s home to several dolphins; kids can even shadow a dolphin trainer during their stay! More great family-friendly Hawaiian hotels include Turtle Bay on Oahu, Grand Wailea and Kaanapali Beach Hotel on Maui and Hilton Garden Inn Kauai. Best of all, many resorts offer day camps for kids that give parents some much-needed solo time. 

Check our Holiday List to see what fun events and festivals are happening during your visit. You don’t have to be a kid to love the Big Island Chocolate Festival, and daily farmers markets throughout the islands offer more exotic fruits and sweet treats than a candy store. Bust a move to hula grooves during the Slack key Guitar Festival or Ukulele Festival Hawaii. And if you’re visiting during the holidays, lighting festivals, canoeing santas and brightly coloured boat parades are just a few of the ways we carouse. 

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