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Are you ready to teach your kids what Aloha means? Hawaii is a top destination for families. It’s a chance to dive right into a fascinating culture without worrying about passports and visas. The kids can have fun on the beach and mom and dad can enjoy some chill time. If you are thinking of booking a family vacation to Hawaii this year, read on for some useful tips.
Decide on a Travel Budget
Family vacations can be expensive. The more kids you have, the more the trip will eat into your budget. There are ways to save money, including booking Hawaiian rentals instead of multiple rooms in a resort hotel, but before you make any bookings, decide in advance how much you can afford to spend on the trip.
Choosing the Optimum Time to Visit Hawaii
Hawaii is blessed with good weather all year round, but like any vacation destination, it has a high and a low season. During the high season (June – August), prices are higher, and the tourist attractions can get crowded. The low season is late spring and fall. If you want to visit Hawaii over Christmas, Easter, and any major holidays, prices go up and availability falls.
Summer is dry season in Hawaii, but it can still be very humid. Winter is the wet season. It’s still hot though.
Keep in mind any activities you want to do, such as surfing, or festivals you would like to attend. With surfing, the optimum time to travel is November – December. If you have young kids, consider traveling to Hawaii late spring or early fall, when the beaches are quieter, and the surf crowd has moved on.
Travel to Hawaii
Hawaii has its own airline – Hawaiian Airlines. They offer the best choice in terms of flights, but plenty of other US airlines also fly to Hawaii via codeshare agreements. It is also easy to island hop, with regular low-cost flights operating between the islands. You can book these when you arrive.
Hawaii is quite a distance from continental United States, so it makes sense to visit more than one island if you have enough time.
• Big Island is a bit of everything. It combines a varied mix of landscapes and climates, so if you only have time to visit one island, make it Big Island.
• Oahu is very popular with families. It has everything you need, from kids’ attractions to wonderful beaches.
• Kauai and Maui both have plenty of outdoor adventure activities, which is perfect if you have older kids and teenagers. Go whale watching, hiking, and surfing.
• Molokai is one of the smaller islands. It offers a more authentic experience, where you can mix with the locals and get a better sense of what the Hawaiian culture is all about.
• Lanai is the quieter island. Come here to escape the crowds and enjoy a simple vacation. It is a good choice for families with very young kids or a baby.
All the main big brand hotel chains are represented on Hawaii. If you prefer a resort hotel experience, your needs will be well taken care of. But if you prefer more bespoke accommodation, look for a luxury vacation rental. It is often cheaper to book a rental villa or apartment when you travel with kids. You have more space to utilize and you are not restricted by hotel meal times. Many villas and apartments come with a pool and are situated in prime locations. Search for accommodation to suit your budget and destination choice.
Whilst there is public transport on Hawaii, by far the easiest way to get around is in a rental car. Book a rental car when you book your flights, then you can collect it from the airport when you land. It’s a lot easier driving between your accommodation and the beaches, attractions, and main tourist areas. Expect to spend some time driving around but the roads are scenic and the views are awesome!
Food and Drink
All culinary tastes are represented in Hawaii. If you are staying in a resort hotel, some meals will be included, but if you have booked a villa, try shopping at the local farmer’s markets for fresh fish, locally grown fruit and vegetables, and freshly baked goods.
There is no shortage of family-friendly restaurants on the islands. Look out for local dishes such as Kalua pig, pork lau lau, and all the fresh fish you can eat. The kids will love haupia, a delicious coconut milk dessert.
What to Do with the Kids
Some activities, like hiking and beach days, are free. Mix and match the free stuff with paid excursions, tours, and visits to local attractions. That way, you can make your budget stretch a bit further. Other recommended activities include:
• Honolulu Zoo near Waikiki is wonderful for kids. There are more than 900 animals living on the site, so you can easily spend a full day there. The Sea Life Park nearby is also good for families, especially if you visit at dolphin feeding time.
• Take the kids to a traditional Luau. This is an evening of Hawaiian dancing and Polynesian culture, delicious food, and wonderful entertainment. Look for packages that combine tickets to popular family attractions during the day with a Luau in the evening.
• Visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Big Island. The Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes are two of the most active craters in the world. There are lava trails spewing out of each crater virtually all the time. Older kids will enjoy learning more about volcanology and if you visit in the evening, the pyrotechnics are spectacular.
• Take a trip out to the Dole Pineapple Plantation. It’s a fun and family-friendly ‘pineapple experience’, which will appeal to younger children. Fresh – and free – fruit is available! There is also a maze to explore in the gardens.
Hawaii is a top destination for families. Book your Hawaiian vacation this year and create some memories to last a lifetime.