The mere mention of “Hawaii” brings to mind pristine beaches, crystal clear water, and big waves. Hawaii boasts some of the best beaches in the world and a major part of a Hawaiian vacation is some serious beach time.
One of the best things about Hawaii is that all the beaches are public with the exception of a few that are strictly for the federal government, meaning the military. Developers are required to provide public parking and access to the shoreline in areas that are residential. Hotels and resorts around the island must also allow the pubic to use the beaches directly in front of their property, however access thru hotel property and use of hotel facilities can be restricted to hotel guests.
But beaches are not all Hawaii has to offer, there are many family friendly activities on the islands.
In my previous post 14 Things to Do in Hawaii with Kids
I listed some fun activities that have a fee, in this post I will list some FREE things to do with kids. You can decide to include a few activities from each category to make your Hawaiian family vacation memorable.
Most families who visit the islands generally rent a car, it makes getting around to the places I list so much easier. It is possible to get around on public transportation. Hawaii, at least Oahu has a pretty good bus system. Bus fares are $2.50 one way per adult, kids 6-17 $1.25, under 6 is free. Visitors can also purchase a 4 day pass for unlimited use for 4 consecutive days. Price of the pass is $35. For more info click here.
You can’t go to Hawaii without spending time at the beach. The islands are full of fantastic beaches.
Our favorite family beach in Honolulu is the Ala Moana Beach Park where the water is calm and the sand is fine.
Other favorites are the Ko’olina Beach lagoons on the Leeward coast of Oahu, and Kailua Beach Park on the Windward coast.
A drive around the island will take you to many more beaches, I’m sure you’ll find your favorite ones.
Turtle watch at Laniakea Beach a.k.a. Turtle Beach. Located on Oahu’s North Shore just past the town of Haleiwa this beach is consistently visited by the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. You’re almost sure to see at least one or two on the shore.
This beach is not the easiest beach to find. The best way to find it is to drive on Kamehameha Hwy. thru the historic town of Haleiwa. Pass the town, the ocean is on your left.
About 1.5 miles past Haleiwa town you will probably see cars parked on both sides of the road, in the dirt. This is the area where the beach is. If you park on the mountain side of the road you will have to cross the very busy street, or you can try to make a U-turn further up the road and double back so you can park on the ocean side. From the road you will have to walk down to the beach, be careful as it’s rather steep in some areas. You will be rewarded with the site of these gentle sea creatures basking on the beach, but don’t get too close they are endangered and are protected by conservation laws.
There are no facilities at this beach so you must bring food and drink with you. The nearest restrooms would be back in Haleiwa town or further along the coast at one of the other beach parks on the North Shore.
This beach is not really a family day out kind of beach, it’s best as a short stop-over on your way to one of the other beaches on the North Shore like Waimea Bay or Sharks Cove.
Or if you like the kids can go sand boarding down the slope that is further along the beach and less crowded. All you’ll need is a cheap kick board you can buy at any ABC Store in Waikiki or a flat cardboard box. This keeps our boys entertained for a little while.
Explore the tide pools at Pupukea Beach Park
– this beach is actually 2 “pocket” beaches along the coast – Sharks Cove and Three Tables. Both spots are a favorite for divers and snorkelers.
Located further along Oahu’s North Shore just past Waimea Bay, across the street from the Foodland Supermarket. This beach is calm and safe during the summer but has very high surf in the winter.
Low tide reveals tide pools and lava formations that are fun to explore. Keep safety in mind, the best way to explore is to start as far out as you wish to venture and work your way towards shore. You don’t want to be caught far from shore when the tide comes in, there are no lifeguards.
Go fishing! You’ll find fishermen fishing off the coast at many beaches, you may even see some spearfishing.
We usually go fishing in Haleiwa Harbor or at Kakaako Waterfront Park by downtown Honolulu.
All you need is fishing pole and some bait. Hawaii does not require a fishing license for recreational saltwater fishing.
You can cast your line from any beach on the island except Hanauma Bay which is a marine wildlife preserve.
Spend a relaxing day at Moanalua Gardens
located about 5 miles Northwest from Honolulu.
This small park is home to a variety of native plants and flowers which line the short paved trail that is suitable for strollers. It’s a wide open space that’s great for picnics, tossing a frisbee, and relaxing on benches and tables under the shade of the many banyan trees.
There’s a Koi pond where you can feed the fish with Koi food that can be purchased from the small gift shop at the entrance, you can feed the ducks bread if you have some. King Kamehameha V’s summer cottage and tea house are located within this park, as is the famous “Hitachi” monkey pod tree which has been used by the Japanese company as their corporate symbol since 1973. The company pays the park foundation an annual fee for the tree’s upkeep.
There’s also a small stream running along one end of the park. My kids used to bring small nets to catch tadpoles in the stream. I’m not sure if they still allow you to do this, you may want to check with the caretakers first.
History buffs and older children would enjoy a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial which is in Pearl Harbor.
There are displays and information about the war in the Pacific. Then there’s the boat shuttle to take visitors to the memorial which is built directly over the sunken ship.
It’s a very moving tribute to all the troops who served in the Pacific during World War II. Older children will definitely learn a lot of history, but younger ones may find it a bit boring.
Children under 5 are not allowed on the launch that goes to the memorial. Admission is free as it is part of the National Park Service. You may want to rent an audio guide for $5 to get the most of your visit. The Junior Ranger booklet is available to young visitors free of charge, just ask for one at the ranger desk.
This is the 3rd. most visited attraction on Oahu, it is busy year round. Click here
for more info.
Go fishing at Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden in Kaneohe on the windward side of Oahu.
Every weekend the garden sponsors a catch and release program. The visitor center provides free bamboo poles you can pick up and plunk in the water, casting is not allowed. You must bring your own bait, I’m told white bread is the best bait.
Hoomaluhia means ” a place of peace and serenity”, and that it is. It’s a great place for a picnic and short nature walks in the lush garden. Bring bug spray, wear good shoes, and bring snacks.
The park is located in Aiea on Oahu at the end of Aiea Heights Drive.
The trail loop is 4.8 miles and takes about 3 hours to complete. It’s billed as an easy hike suitable for families with kids. It can be strenuous specially if you’re carrying infants and toddlers. There’s a short paved portion at the beginning mistakenly leading one to believe that it’s a cake walk. It is not. The trail has narrow portions at the edge of the cliff so make sure little ones are kept close. You may have to climb over or crawl under several downed trees that block the path, and the trail has some steep sections. There are a couple of benches strategically placed along the trail where you can rest and enjoy some awesome views. There is also remnants of a plane that crashed there in 1944, it’s been slowly disappearing over the years but you can still make out a few pieces.
We’ve done this trail many times with the kids. We started taking them there as toddlers but never really completed the loop until they were about 7 years old or so. We’ve taken our old Doberman on this trail, but she had to be carried over some trees and bribed to go up the steeper slopes, not so much fun when your dog weighs 90 pounds.
Do bring plenty of water on the trail and perhaps some energy snacks for the kids. If you like you can camp at the park, but you must obtain a camping permit.
You don’t have to be a guest at The Kahala Hotel
to watch the dolphin feedings at 11:00am/2:00 & 4:00pm daily.
You can park at the hotel for a fee or park for free at the Waialae Beach Park and walk along the beach to the hotel. You can wander around the hotel grounds and enjoy their landscaping with lush tropical greenery and waterfalls. You can even enjoy the beach fronting the hotel and dine at one of their restaurants. The beach is free to all but beach and water sports equipment is limited to hotel guests. Restaurants and bars are open to the public, but they are rather pricey.
For a nice respite from Waikiki relax at the Kakaako Waterfront Park. It’s a great open space in the middle of Honolulu’s industrial area. The kids like to slide down the hill on cardboard boxes. You can walk along the paved sidewalk along the shore or even go fishing. There are picnic tables and benches throughout the park and restroom facilities.
Listen to a free concert by the Royal Hawaiian Band while enjoying a picnic lunch on the Iolani Palace
lawn. The Royal Hawaiian Band gives a free concert at the Palace most Fridays between 11:00 – 1:00 weather permitting.
Iolani Palace is the only real royal residence in the United States. It is located on King Street in Downtown Honolulu across the street from the famous King Kamehameha statue.
Tours of the Palace start at $14.95 for an audio guided self-tour. Children under 4 must be carried during the tour.
There’s also a museum in the basement that houses artifacts from the days when Hawaii was a Monarchy. They also offer Hawaiian Quilt Making Classes.
Fly a kite or ride a bike at the Blaisdell Park in Pearl City. This neighborhood park in Pearl City is a local favorite. The wide open space is a great place to fly a kite and the bike path along the water has great views of Pearl Harbor.
We’ve hosted many kid’s birthday parties at this park. There are picnic tables and benches, restrooms, and exercise equipment the kids can climb and hang from.
The park is located on Kam Hwy. a few miles west of Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial. You can pick up a picnic lunch at one of the many restaurants along the way and enjoy it under one of the many trees in the park.
Spend Saturday morning at the KCC Farmers’ Market
. Located on Diamond Head Road at the Kapiolani Community College parking lot the market is open every Saturday from 7:30 am – 11:00 am.
You’ll find the best locally grown produce and flowers here, as well as a large assortment of freshly baked goods, jams & jellies, and much more.
There are other Farmer’s Markets around the island click here
for schedule and locations.
Don’t forget the Hawaii State Public Libraries
. They offer free activities, classes, movies nights, and events year round at most of the libraries in the state.
My grandsons and I attend Children’s Story Time and Craft Time weekly and have attended various events at different libraries around the island. Click here
for more info, schedules, and locations.
Pearlridge Center located in Aiea has a free kids’ program called Connect Kids. Members can participate in events and activities at the mall throughout the year.
My grandsons enjoy performances by Chris the Clown, and interactive song and dance programs by Gymboree.
for membership application and event schedule.
Watch a free Hula Show at Ala Moana Center’s center stage. There’s a Hula show presented by Old Navy Monday – Saturday from 11:00 – 11:20 am. There are other performances and events throughout the year.
for schedule of events and other mall info[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Every Friday night the Hilton Hawaiian Village
puts on a fireworks show that can be seen on the beaches along the coast from Ala Moana to Diamond Head.
Pick a spot and enjoy the free show.
For a list of the best kids friendly hotels in Hawaii Click Here!
For more kid friendly activities in Hawaii Click Here!
Hawaii is a great family vacation destination. Hawaii has many fun family activities to keep kids entertained; nature hikes, surfing, hula, and ukulele lessons, museum exhibits, pirate ships, and Mickey too!
Our world class hotels on the shores of our world famous beaches offer luxurious accommodations, award winning cuisine, and diverse activities sure to please guests young and old.
Here is a round up of the the best kid friendly resorts in the Aloha State. Spring break is coming up, escape the cold winter for some fun in sun.
Stitch in Hawaii
“Voted No. 1 in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2014 for Top Family Hotel in the U.S.A”
The Kahala Hotel & Resort is tucked away in Honolulu’s plush Kahala district. It’s a favorite with presidents, international royalty and celebrities.
This luxurious oceanfront resort boasts a natural lagoon that is home to a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.
During your stay you can reserve an interactive encounter with these playful creatures with Dolphin Quest.
They offer several packages for different age groups.
Reserve your family vacation here!
The Hilton Waikaloa Village is situated on the Kohalo coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Stay, play, and dine in this lush 62 acre resort.
The fun begins when you board a boat or tram to take you from the hotel lobby to your room. Indulge in a couples massage at a private poolside cabana while the kids splash in the waterfall pool or play and swim with the resident dolphins.
Reserve your Dolphin Quest encounter here!
Sip a tropical drink at the grotto bar while the kids float along the lazy river or ride up the water elevator. Situated on 40 acres of lush tropical gardens on the shores of world famous Wailea Beach on the island of Maui is the Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. It will surely meet your expectations of any resort under this iconic brand.
Have you heard about Airbnb? This is a platform that allows you to rent other people’s apartment or home, especially when you are away on a trip. It enables you to save a few bucks that you would have spent renting an expensive hotel somewhere in town. An Airbnb coupon code allows you to pay further less money than other individuals who rent houses using the platform. It is, therefore, one of the perfect means of ensuring that you experience an enjoyable stay at your place of visit at a pocket-friendly price. But you wouldn’t want to feel cheated after finding that you’ve actually overspent instead of saving some funds? There’s a perfect way of ensuring that your experience with Airbnb is a blessing rather than a frustrating moment. On that note, you need to check on the following tips of renting an apartment on Airbnb.
- Negotiate the price before settling
Your primary aim of renting an Airbnb apartment is to ensure that you spend as little as possible on accommodation to free up funds for use in other activities during the trip. Therefore, you need to negotiate for the lowest possible price before making a payment. On the Airbnb website, there’s a button that indicates “Request to Book” where you need to click when making a booking. If you intend to negotiate the price, don’t click on the button first. Instead, click “Contact this host” and it will prompt you to indicate the dates that you are willing to stay in the house. Put this data in the necessary slots, and this will guarantee you of a place in the house that you are booking even though you don’t pay at first. From here, you can then negotiate with the house owner for the best price, and once you’ve agreed, you can proceed to make the payment.
2. Booking for more days than you need can be cheaper
You can save a lot of money while booking on the Airbnb platform if you are keen on the special offers they have for their users. At times, there are particular offers that enable you to save more if you book a number of days, say, one week. For instance, if you intended to stay for five days at a standard price of $ 800, you might find a similar home with a special offer of 7 days at $ 750. In such a case, it’s evident that you stand saving $50 should you pick the special offer. So, consider checking out such special offers before you select an apartment on Airbnb.
3. You can visit the place before you book
If you happen to be already at the area that you intend to stay in during your vacation, you can pay a physical visit to the place that you intend to stay in after identifying it on Airbnb. This will enable you to evaluate whether it is exactly where you would like to stay and has the facilities you need in an ideal apartment. Remember, booking first can be tricky as you may find out that the place is not as attractive as you thought. After visiting the apartment and you are satisfied that it is perfect for your stay, you should pay via Airbnb platform. This is a precautionary measure to ensure that you are not scammed which is a possibility if you pay directly to the house owner.
When you follow the tips mentioned above, you might save some bucks and will be able to choose a perfect home away from home through Airbnb.
Conde Nast has rated Maui as “The Best Island in The World” for 20 consecutive years. There’s no mystery why Maui has held this honor for two decades, Maui is truly a magical island filled with natural beauty and wonder.
If you’re looking for romance you don’t need to look far when you’re on Maui. The island’s beauty is the perfect backdrop for romance. Here is a list of romantic things to do on the Valley Isle.
Watch the sunrise over the Haleakala then bike
down the mountain at your leisure.[spacer height=”-50px”]
Get a bird’s eye view of the Valley Isle on a helicopter tour.[spacer height=”-20px”]
Go on a horseback ride on the beach.[spacer height=”-20px”]
During the Whale Watching Season set sail on a Whale Watching Cruise and be awed by these gentle giants. Humpback whales return to the relative safety of Maui’s warm waters each year to give birth to their calves. They normally arrive between October – November and the last ones leaves around June. The peak of the whale watching season is between February – March when whale sightings are abundant.[spacer height=”-20px”]
Go to a Luau on the beach. The Feast at Lele serves up a sit-down 5 course dinner and entertains you with music and dance from the Pacific Islands.[spacer height=”-20px”]
Road to Hana
One of the must do’s on Maui is the drive to Hana on the winding Hana Highway. See some of the most beautiful scenery on the island, take a dip at under a water fall, and drive over 59 historic bridges along the way.
This requires a whole day; you might consider an overnight stay in Hana to explore Hana’s beauty.[spacer height=”-20px”]
The Big Island of Hawaii is the largest of the 8 main islands that make up the 50th. State. It is best known for its volcanoes Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Kilauea is the most active volcano in the world. Its current eruption began in 1983 and has added over 500 acres of new land to its southeastern shore.
Many activities on the Big Island center around the volcanoes, both of which are easily accessible to visitors. They really are a site to behold, but are not the only things the Big Island has to offer, specially for those looking for romance. Here is a list of romantic things to do on this island.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
No trip to the Big Island would be complete without a visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Take a drive along its main roads, Crater RimDrive
and Chain of Craters Road
. Both roads have scenic stops along the way where you can pull over to see some of the park’s points of interest. Among them is the Thurston Lava Tube
, a definite must see.
Hike or bike one of the park’s many trails for an up close look at the wonders of the volcanoes.
There is some risk to visiting an active volcano area, be sure you check in at the Visitor Center for current conditions and road closures. The official National Park website
can help you plan your visit. Click here
to be directed to the NPS site.
See the lava flow into the ocean on one of the Lava Boat tours. Sunrise and Sunset tours are available.
For more info click here! [spacer height=”-20px”]
Take a dip in Champagne Pond. Nestled on the Puna Coast in a residential area the pond is heated by natural geothermal heat. The pond is always pretty calm making it an ideal place for swimming and snorkling.
Click here for more info and directions. [spacer height=”-20px”]
Green Sand Beach
Stroll on the sands of Papakolea Beach, also known as Green Sand Beach due to the greenish color of the sand. The sand is made up of olivine, a semi precious stone created by the volcano eruptions. The water is very turbulent here so don’t go swimming.
Click here for more info and directions. [spacer height=”-20px”]
Rainbow Falls State Park
Take an early morning drive out to Rainbow Falls State Park. Swimming is prohibited but you can see this scenic spot from the look out, you may be treated to rainbows in the mist of the falls.
Click here for more info and directions. [spacer height=”-20px”]
Waipio Valley, Hawaii’s version of the “Valley of the Kings”, on the northern Hamakua Coast is steeped in legend and history. The valley was the childhood home of King Kamehameha I and was an important political and religious center in Hawaii. Today it’s not only an important place for Hawaiian history and culture it is also a an awesome place filled with dramatic beauty.
You can view the valley from the lookout or walk in and hike through the forest to the beach. Click here for more hiking info.
Drive or hike to the summit of Mauna Kea the largest volcano on earth. The spectacular sunsets on the volcano is a must see.
Children are not allowed to the summit due to altitude sickness. Persons with heart and lung issues should check with their doctor before attempting to go up to the summit. Click here for more info and directions.
Stargaze at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station. The skies above the mountain are usually clear and perfect for stargazing. The VIS has a free nightly stargazing program that includes telescopes operated by knowledgeable staff and volunteers.
Click here for more info and directions.
The mere mention of “Hawaii” calls to mind, pristine beaches, crystal clear warn waters, and amazing sunsets; all the ingredients for a romantic getaway to the Aloha State.
Every island has its own charm and beauty, and you can find romance on all of them.
The 50th. State is an island archipelago made up of 8 main islands, several atolls, numerous islets, and undersea seamounts. Over all there are more than 100 islands that span 1500 miles from the the Big Island of Hawaii to Kure Atoll. The 8 main islands are Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Molokai, Lani, Kaui, Ni’ihau, and Kahoolawe; all but the last are inhabited.
The Island of Oahu, also known as The Gathering Place, is the most populated island and is the seat of the state’s government. The state capital Honolulu is on Oahu. Here is a list of romantic things to do on this island.
Rent a kayak for a day from Kailua Sailboards located a block away from Kailua Beach.
Paddle from Kailua Beach to Popoia “Flat Island”, Moku Nui (the larger of “Twin Islands” or Na Mokulua as both islets are known), and Lanikai Beach.
Na Mokulua islands are both part of Hawaii State Seabird SanctuaryMoku Iki, the smaller of the two, and the interior of Moku Nui are off limits to visitors. Popoia Island is also part of the bird sanctuary. I boasts a tranquil strip of sand that is popular among kayakers and surfers when conditions are right. The island offers magnificent views of the near by Na Mokulua island, Kailua Beach, and Lanikai Beach. Lanikai Beach is always on someone’s list of top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. It’s known for its extra fine white and and clear turquoise water.
Watch the sunset at Waikiki Beach, or any beach around the island
Drive past lush tropical foliage and stately homes on your way to the Wayside which is part of the Hawaii State Park System.
The lookout offers sweeping views of Honolulu from Diamond Head to Pearl Harbor. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it on one of the picnic tables in the park. If you’re up to it take a short easy hike on the ‘Ualaka’a Trail. The trail loops through thick forest canopy.
Enjoy a picnic and a swim at Kualoa Beach Park on Oahu’s windward coast.
You can swim, paddle, or wade across to Mokoli’i Island aka Chinaman’s Hat, during low tide.[spacer height=”-20px”]
Drive to the parking lot at the very end of Lagoon Drive behind the Honolulu Airport. Watch planes take off and land on the Reef Runway.[spacer height=”-20px”]
Ride a horse along the 12 mile oceanfront trail in the Turtle Bay Hotel [spacer height=”-20px”]
Go parasailing and get a bird’s eye view of the island.[spacer height=”-20px”]
Set sail for a romantic sunset dinner cruise aboard The Star of Honolulu.
Schedule a couples massage at the Mandara Spa at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and relax![spacer height=”-20px”]
Take a drive along Oahu’s North Shore.
Browse the shops in the seaside town of Haleiwa, drive by the world renowned surfing beaches Sunset, Pipeline, and Waimea Bay, and stop for lunch at Giovanni’s shrimp truck. End the day watching the sunset on one of the many beaches along this coast.[spacer height=”-20px”]
Oceanside dining at awarding winning La Mer in the Halekulani Hotel . Wine and dine in classic elegance in full view of Diamond Head