Discover the top spots for a family vacation in Hawaii

If you're looking for the ultimate family vacation in Hawaii, you won't have to look far. You'll find family-friendly fun throughout the islands that covers a wide variety of different interests. Feel free to indulge in the tropical paradises near the coast or venture inland to see natural splendor with vibrant green fields and towering volcanoes. The cities themselves also have plenty to offer with shops and restaurants you can't find anywhere else in the country. Discover the top attractions you'll want to include in your Hawaii family vacation.

Find fun on the island of Hawaii

Hawaii is home to numerous islands, with the biggest also being called Hawaii. The diversity of attractions here often leads to it being the singular destination for a trip to the island chain. You'll find fun and charming towns right alongside vibrant countryside with mango groves, mountain paths, and surf spots. The beaches in particular are among the top spots, and plenty of them have the calm waters and lifeguards your kids need to stay safe.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

While a volcano may sound a bit intimidating, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has much to offer the whole family while ensuring that everyone stays safe. The volcano here is called Kilauea, and it's technically active. You can appreciate it from the viewing deck at the visitor center. Consider visiting closer to sundown, as seeing the orange glow of the lava is quite the spectacle. Additionally, you'll find smoking vents and a rainforest to explore throughout the park.

Hapuna Beach

If your family is looking to take a trip to the beach, Hapuna Beach has plenty to offer. This beach offers the classic Hawaiian experience with soft sands, sunny shores, and opportunities for surfing and waterboarding. You'll find sections along this beach with relatively calm waves that are useful for teaching kids and beginners how to surf. Keep in mind that this beach is notably popular, so visit early if you want to avoid the crowds.

Akaka Falls State Park

For a relaxing outdoor adventuring experience, you and your family can visit Akaka Falls State Park. Here, you'll find a variety of offerings with several paths that can take you to the majestic Kahuna Falls and Akaka Falls. Many hikes to waterfalls throughout the Hawaiian Islands can be quite difficult, but this park is notably easy and kid-friendly. When you reach Akaka Falls, you'll find it towering 442 feet as the water crashes down into the pond below. Kahuna Falls isn't as large, reaching heights of 100 feet, but it's certainly worth a visit as well.

Kohala Ditch

The Kohala Ditch is a fascinating and thrilling network of irrigation flumes and tunnels on the north side of Hawaii. When you visit, you can book a tour and ride through these waterways on a raft that's safe enough for kids as young as 5 to take part. You'll see a wide variety of impressive natural features around these waterways, but be wary of the dark tunnels during the experience. While you'll have plenty of room to make your way through, they can feel quite narrow, which may not be the best for those with claustrophobia.

Explore the island of Oahu

Oahu is one of the most iconic of the Hawaiian Islands and is home to the state's capital of Honolulu. If you're looking for a diverse experience, this is the place to go, as you can enjoy shopping, eating, and relaxing just steps away from the beach. Plus, Oahu is home to numerous attractions that let your family immerse themselves in the local culture and traditions. Take a look at some of the best offerings you'll find on this stunning island.

Honolulu

Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii and is home to a wide variety of attractions that kids will enjoy. When you're traveling to Oahu, Honolulu is an essential stop. You can see a variety of animals at the Honolulu Zoo, and you can head to the Waikiki Aquarium for even more natural splendor. The Waikiki area in particular offers pristine beaches that the whole family can enjoy, whether you're looking to relax or play with your kids in the water. Plus, eateries and shops are located conveniently right next to the beach.

Kualoa Ranch

If you're looking for outdoor fun, you won't have to look past Kualoa Ranch. This destination features vibrant natural features that are easy to explore. Your family can add some thrills to its adventure by trying out the zip line here, which will have you soaring through towering trees. You can also take a tour of the area from an ATV that may even take you to an old movie filming location. Additionally, you'll find crystal-clear waters perfect for snorkeling if you and the kids want to see fascinating marine life.

Hanauma Bay State Park

Hanauma Bay State Park is a favored destination of families who are interested in the local marine life. You can see a wide variety of colorful fish here if you go snorkeling, and you can venture out on a tour to see dolphins and sea turtles. Additionally, you'll find walking trails along the coast that are relaxing while still offering impressive views and serene surroundings that everyone can enjoy. Plus, this park lets you reach a position from which you can gaze into the cone of an ancient volcano.

See the splendor of Maui

Maui is consistently heralded as one of the most beautiful islands in Hawaii. Consider Maui for your family vacation in Hawaii if you and your kids are interested in the natural world of these islands. Water sports off the shore and through the island's various waterways are certainly popular, but you can also take a keen interest in the island's wildlife and forest. Check out unforgettable experiences available in Maui.

Makawao Forest Reserve

Families who love nature will want to visit the legendary Makawao Forest Reserve. At this stunning destination, you'll find numerous trails cut through the vibrant green trees that are easily traversable and suitable for kids. There are 7 trails in total, but keep in mind that the biking trails and walking trails are separate. During your visit, you'll probably note that this forest is a bit cooler than the rest of Maui, so you'll probably enjoy it if you're looking for a change from the hot sun.

Maui Ocean Center

The Maui Ocean Center is one of the best destinations in the islands to get immersed in the local wildlife. You can see a wide variety of native marine life and unique plants at a variety of different exhibits. Your kids will especially enjoy the underwater tunnel portion of this attraction that takes visitors to a turtle lagoon and a live coral reef. In addition to the natural world, this center also features exhibits highlighting the customs and traditions of native Hawaiians.

Kapalua Bay Beach

Kapalua Bay Beach is a relatively relaxing and calm beach compared to other options in Maui, and it's a pristine destination for families. The waves aren't intense, and there aren't any rip currents to worry about. Instead, you and your little ones can enjoy snorkeling and paddleboarding. You don't even need to bring your own gear, as you'll find rentals well within walking distance of the beach. Plus, the cliffs here are perfect for cliff jumping if you're feeling a bit more daring.

Rappel Maui

If your family is looking for more of a thrill on your Hawaii family vacation, Rappel Maui is the answer. At this thrilling attraction, you can try your hand at rappelling down a rope on a waterfall. All the equipment you need is provided on-site, and you'll be given detailed instructions from professionals. Just keep in mind that your little ones will need to be at least 10 years old to enjoy this activity. Plus, it helps to be relatively physically fit, as rappelling takes some serious effort to do properly.

Find adventure in Kauai

Kauai is the island for more adventurous families to explore. Whether you're simply looking to traverse breathtaking landscapes or you want activities that will get the blood pumping, this is the ideal destination for a family vacation in Hawaii. Mountains, rainforests, and waterfalls are all prevalent throughout this island, and you can enjoy it all on foot, but that's just the beginning. You'll find zip-line tours, ATV rides, and boating excursions that can show off Kauai from entirely new perspectives. Discover the best Kauai has to offer.

Kilohana Plantation

The Kilohana Plantation was once just a sugar cane plantation but now serves as a thrilling destination for a diverse adventure. You can take a tour in passenger cars and take a 40-minute train ride through the area. Additionally, this plantation features animals like goats and donkeys that your kids will love to interact with and feed. There's even a restaurant on-site that uses fresh ingredients grown right on the plantation.

Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon is an absolutely stunning geological marvel on Kauai that's commonly referred to as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. This legendary canyon is more than a full mile wide with a depth exceeding 3,600 feet. It stretches 14 miles and is packed full of scenic trails to explore. One of the top destinations is the Waimea Canyon Lookout that offers panoramic views of the entire canyon. The Kalalau Lookout is located a bit farther down the canyon after a descending hike where you'll find picturesque views of the Na Pali Coast.

Kauai Backcountry Adventures

If you're looking for thrills, there's nothing quite like Kauai Backcountry Adventures. At this destination, you and your family can sit in tubes and ride down the mountain waterways past vibrant greenery throughout old plantations. You'll even find yourself passing through tunnels and canals. You can also opt for the zip-line course with several tracks available, one of which takes you through a bamboo grove. Most of the attractions here are kid-friendly as well, with beginner-level zip-line courses and smaller tubes for kids that you can connect to your own.

Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens

You may not think of Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens when looking for activities to do with kids in Hawaii, but you'll find no shortage of fun here that all ages can enjoy. In addition to the vibrant flora here, you'll find several kid-friendly activities including a hedge maze and a children's garden with a treehouse. Additionally, you'll find rope bridges, slides, and tunnels throughout the gardens that kids will love. Don't forget to take time to feed the fish in Ka'ula Lagoon as well.