The Hawaiian islands are often thought of as the perfect destination for honeymoons but these days the islands are a great option for families as they have so much to offer for everyone, from young kids to grandparents. From shopping and attractions on Oahu to the natural, untouched beauty of the Big Island, there are many reason why Hawaii has become the perfect destination for family vacations. No matter what age your children, you and your family can plan a fabulous vacation to this tropical getaway. Here are some tips to help you decide if you should make the big island of Hawaii, Kauai, Maui or one of the other gorgeous tropical islands your families next vacation destination.
Oahu - Best for families who want the "classic" Hawaii experience.
Oahu is perfect for a family who is looking for a vacation that will keep them busy both day and night, taking part in all the activities that "say" Hawaii when you think about them. During the day there is more to do than lie on the beach; consider scuba, snorkeling or some of the best surfing in the world. Even if you aren't a history buff, a visit to Pearl Harbor is a must do. At night, enjoy a Luau that will get the whole family involved or dance the night away at many of the hotspots in either Honolulu or Waikiki.
While Honolulu is the biggest city and the most active, Kaneohe and the North Shore are are also popular for visitors.
Maui - Best for families who want to get off the beaten path.
Maui is great if your family wants touristy fund yet has many off the beaten path getaways. Many people say that Maui has some of the best beaches in the world, so if your family is looking for beautiful azure-blue waters and spectacular sunsets is the island for you. If you grow tired of the beach, hop in your car and drive along the coast, the southern and western shores are the most popular for whale watching. If you are looking for a bit of Hawaiian history and culture, you won't want to miss exploring Lahaina Town, a small town filled with historic sites, cultural activities, shops, cafe's and restaurants.
Kauai - Best for families who know there is more to the great outdoors than the beach.
Kauai is the oldest and most historic island of the Hawaiian chain. Nicknamed, the "Garden Isle" for good reason as much of the island is covered by lush tropical rainforest. The many cliffs, canyons and trails are ideal for the family who prefers hiking boots to flip-flops. Ready to explore by car? Your entire family will enjoy a drive along Kalalau Trail, a coastal trail that leads into Wailua Falls, one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the Hawaiian Islands. And if you still want to relax on the beach, Kauai has that too. Poipu Beach is often voted one the best beaches in America.
Molokai - Best for families who want to see what it's like to live like a local.
Molokai doesn't get nearly as many tourists as the bigger Hawaiian islands which is why some people call it their favorite. Almost half the population of Molokai is Native Hawaiian, so it has an unspoiled feel to it. To get a sense of how the indigenous people have worked to preserve their connection to their Hawaiian routes, visit the Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove, Kumu Farms and the Molokai Plumeria where you can make your own lei. Be sure to visit Kaunakakai to give you a glimpse into what real Hawaiian life is like on a day to day basis. While here, enjoy authentic Hawaiian fare, browse boutique shops and walk along the Kaunakakai Harbor.
Lanai - Best for families who don't want their vacations to feel too crowded.
Lanai is the island to head to for the family that's in the mood for a vacation away from civilization. Lanai is a small island that packs in plenty of things to do and see but less tourist traffic allows for all activities to feel more intimate. On this island you will want to rent a 4-wheel drive vehicle and head up the Munro Trail to take in the natural beauty of the island and its beaches. Lanai is the tale of two lands as the shopping, dining and golfing in Lanai City is quite a juxtaposition to the bare landscape of Keahiakawelo on the outskirts of town.
Big Island - Best for families who want to experience a range of landscapes and climates in one place.
The Big Island, or the island of Hawaii is perfect for families who want to get a taste of the full range of what Hawaii has to offer. From the white sand beaches to the frosted tips of the mountains, your family can explore 11 different climactic zones all with a short drive of each other. Have you ever seen a black sand beach? If not, be sure to visit Punaluu Beach, one of the most famous black sand beaches on Hawaii. The island features delicious coffee plantations where mom, dad, grandma and grandpa can fuel up with a cup of locally-grown brew, before taking the family down the Hamakua Coast to see the islands spectacular waterfalls and check out one the world's most active volcanoes in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. While the park is still recovering, many area's are still open for visitors.
A vacation in Hawaii is like visiting no other place, it's no wonder why people visit time and time again. The islands have plenty of different activities to offer visitors, but the one thing you'll find everywhere is the beautiful Aloha spirit of the locals, whose happy and optimistic attitude make it one of the most memorable places in the world to spend a family vacation.
Which Hawaiian island is perfect for your family?