With its spirit of Aloha, Hawai‘i ranks as the #1 desired Family Vacation Destination in the United States!
An escape to Hawai‘i's six main tropical islands immerses you in the exotic culture, language, food, and people of the Hawaiian and South Pacific…and you don't need a passport – as it is part of the United States.
As the world's vacation playground, your family can experience it all in Hawaii. Enjoy warm ocean waters, sandy beaches, majestic volcanoes, two National Parks, boating, surfing and windsurfing, diving, golf, hiking, scuba, and snorkeling. Not to mention the amazing cultural experiences and delicious cuisine (make sure to enjoy an authentic Luau).
Each island offers you land, sea, and air adventures, yet each island has its own distinct highlights.
Let's take a look at the six main Hawaiian Islands.
ISLAND OF HAWAI‘I
Known as the Big Island, the island of Hawai‘i is the largest, nearly twice as big as all other Hawaiian Islands combined, hence the nickname.
The Big Island is great for active and adventurous holidays. You can swim with manta rays, horseback ride, and whale watch, all on the same visit.
Are you looking for volcanoes? Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is one of the planet's most geologically active areas and is home to two of the five volcanoes that comprise the island of Hawai'i, Kīlauea (KEE-low-eh-ah), and Mauna Loa. Mauna Loa is the world's most massive active volcano (thankfully, it hasn't erupted since 1984).
Explore the jet-black volcanic sands of Punalu‘u (Poo-na-LOO-oo) Beach and the green pastures of Waimea (Wai-MEH-(y)ah), home to ranches and paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) since the early 1800s.
You can even visit the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory and one of the hundreds of Kona coffee farms growing the rare 100% pure Kona coffee.
With so much ground to cover, you'll see why it is known as "Hawaii's Island of Adventure."
Known as "The Valley Isle," Maui is the second-largest island and the laid-back, leisurely island.
Maui is famous for some of the most beautiful beaches in all of the islands, friendly small towns, migrating humpback whales in the winter months, rainforests and waterfalls, and the Haleakalā (HA-leh-ah-ka-LA) volcano.
Haleakalā National Park is called "the House of the Sun." The magnificent sunrises over Haleakalā's dormant, moonlike surface are legendary. Then you can bike down the mountain for an exciting adventure. The older kids will also love the volcano ziplining.
There are plenty of areas to explore all across Maui, from Wailea's (Wai-LEH-(y)ah) high-end luxury to Lahaina's (La-HAI-na) restaurants and shopping to the adventurous Road to Hāna on the East Coast.
Nicknamed "The Gathering Place" and called the "Heart of Hawai‘i," O‘ahu (OH-ah-hoo) is the third-largest island and where you’ll find Hawai‘i's capital, Honolulu (HO-no-LOO-loo). The energetic, vibrant, and contemporary island is home to the majority of Hawai‘i's diverse population.
O‘ahu is known for the world-famous Waikīkī (wai-KEE-KEE) Beach and the North Shore surfing mecca.
A must-visit destination is Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. This national monument is one of the most recognized icons of World War II. Reservations are recommended, so be sure to book online before your vacation.
Travel Mom Jacquie visited with her sons, ages 13 and 15. She loved taking them to Pearl Harbor, a place where they could visualize history. The whole family loved the UTV (utility terrain vehicle) Tour of Kualoa Ranch, where Jurassic Park was filmed. With its rugged landscape, UTV adventures through the mud were fun for everyone.
You can also visit the Dole Plantation to learn the history of the pineapple and Iolani Palace, the only official state residence of royalty in the United States.
Kaua‘i (Ka-WA-ee) is called "The Garden Isle" for its lush landscapes and greenery. It’s the fourth-largest island and the northernmost. It's believed to be the first populated island and was the first to be free of volcanic activity.
The peaceful immersive environment is perfect for connecting with nature, from tropical rainforests to flowing rivers to spectacular waterfalls. Some parts of Kaua‘i are only accessible by sea or air, like Nāpali Coast's soaring cliffs on the North Shore.
On the island's west side, Waimea Canyon is described as the "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific."
The primary resort areas are Princeville to the north, Wailua (Wai-LOO-ah) coconut coast in the east, and Po‘ipū (Po-ee-poo) on the south coast (with the most popular safe beaches).
Travel Mom Vanessa loves taking her family to Kauai. For her 9-year-old and 6-year-old twins, the beach is the central attraction. Po‘ipū Beach is their favorite, with four protected reefs where the kids can snorkel and see amazing fish. She also recommends Fern Grotto riverboat tour and Mountain Tubing in the old sugar cane fields.
MOLOKA‘I & LĀNA‘I
Hawaii’s smallest islands are just off Maui. Known for their rugged beauty and luxurious resorts, they are very popular among couples.
For more Hawaiian adventures, don't miss the fun Hawaiian language lesson in the KeeKee Kid's Corner.
Mahalo! Adventure Awaits!