If you are looking for your next family vacation destination, Hawaii should be at the top of your list. Made up of eight islands including hot spots Oahu, Maui, Hawaii (the Big Island) and Kauai, the Hawaiian Islands offer tons of opportunities for family adventure, history unlike anywhere else in the U.S., gorgeous views and sunny days galore. We’ve got 15 reasons why Hawaii should be your next family vacation spot, scroll through to check them out!

photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Vincent Lim

Feel the Island Vibes

Waikiki Beach is what you think of when you dream of a vacation in Hawaii—soft sand, breathtaking views of Diamond Head and warm water. Made up of three separate beaches with their own Hawaiian spirit, Waikiki Beach is 3 km long and offers families the opportunity to relax and play in an absolutely gorgeous setting. Within Waikiki Beach, Kuhio Beach has a sea wall that makes for calm waters for family-friendly beach days, and Kaimana Beach is where local families gather.

Waikiki Beach
Honolulu, Oahu
More info
: gohawaii.com

Experience Hawaii's Sea Life Up Close

We love Sea Life Park Hawaii because of its focus on education and conservation of Hawaii's unique marine species. From dolphins and sea lions, to sharks and Hawaiian rays, Sea Life Park provides interactive experiences like touch pools and trainer talks where you can learn how these animals live and how to protect them for the future. It is a must-visit spot for animal-loving families!

Sea Life Park
Waimanalo, Oahu
More info
: sealifeparkhawaii.com

Undeveloped Beauty, Unending Adventure

If you want to experience the undeveloped natural beauty of Hawaii, plan to spend some time at the 4,000-acre Kualoa Ranch. This private nature reserve offers both land and water activities like jungle Jeep tours, Jurassic Park movie site tours, kayak trips and horseback rides. It's the perfect spot to visit on your multi-generational vacation as there's something for every age, interest and activity level.

Kualoa Ranch
Kaneohe, Oahu
More info
: kualoa.com

photo: Sheraton Waikiki

Culture + Relaxation

The recently renovated Sheraton Waikiki knows what parents want when they visit Hawaii—enough activities to keep the kids busy and plenty of time for relaxation. Guests can immerse themselves in Polynesian culture with ukulele lessons, lei-making experiences and hula dancing. Parents looking to do some exploring on their own can send kids ages 3-12 to the full- or half-day kids program or book little ones from three months and up at Poppins Day Care. With pool and beach activities, arts and crafts, PlayStation and books to read, the kids are guaranteed to have a great time. 

Honolulu, Hawaii
More info: marriott.com

photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Learn about Hawaii's History

Families looking to learn about the area's history should plan to spend some time visiting Pearl Harbor. It was here that a surprise air attack by the Japanese plunged the United States into World War II, claiming thousands of lives. You can hear first-hand stories from survivors, peer into the shallow harbor and see the sunken hull of the USS Arizona and gain a new perspective on this period in our nation's history. 

Pearl Harbor
Oahu
More info
: gohawaii.com

See Hawaii on Two Wheels

There's no better way to experience the Hawaiian Islands than on a bike. Bike Hawaii Tours will set your crew up with road bikes, mountain bikes or e-bikes to get you going on your bike excursion. Tagalong trailers are available for little ones who want to check out the scenery and professional nature guides lead the way to some of the most picturesque viewpoints on the island. 

Bike Hawaii Tours
Honolulu, Oahu
More info
: bikehawaii.com

Watching for Whales

If your visit to Hawaii happens from November-May, you'll definitely want to book a spot on a whale watching tour. The warm waters, lack of predators and variety of ocean depths make the Hawaiian Islands a spot where humpback whales return year after year. Spotting these massive mammals in the wild is something you won't soon forget! Boat and kayak tours are available throughout the Hawaiian Islands, with Maui as one of the best whale watching locations. 

More info: hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov

Take a Hike

Hiking is an awesome way to get everyone moving and see another part of Hawaii. On Oahu, the Makapuu Point Lighthouse hike is popular with families as it starts at a large parking lot that leads to the two-mile paved trail overlooking the lighthouse. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for whales in the distance as you hike!

Makapuu Point
Oahu
More info
: gohawaii.com

photo: Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka'anapali

Convenience Is Key

Experience oceanfront luxury at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka'anapali. Here you can reserve a private beach cabana to spend your day in the sand, or grab a poolside lounge chair to watch the kids enjoy the spray area and waterfalls. Nearby Whaler's Village offers dining and shopping opportunities just a short walk away, perfect for a leisurely sunset stroll. 

Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka'anapali
Lahaina, Maui
More info
: marriott.com

Experience Polynesian Culture

A visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center will allow you to experience thousands of years worth of culture from six different island nations, each with its own flavor and appeal. Play traditional games, learn dance moves, see a young warrior climb a 40-foot palm tree in his bare feet and try local delicacies like poi. Don't miss the opportunity to enjoy a traditional luau buffet and performances. 

Polynesian Cultural Center
Laie, Oahu
More info
: polynesia.com

Island Royalty

Did you know that Hawaii is the only state in the country that was an official state residence of royalty? From 1882 to 1893, Honolulu’s Iolani Palace was the official residence of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s last two monarchs: King Kalakaua and his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani. You can tour this historic landmark and see the throne room, private living quarters and Coronation Pavilion. Kids will love seeing the ancient regalia of the Hawaiian royalty from swords and precious jewelry to the two golden crowns of the King and Queen.

Iolani Palace
Honolulu, Oahu
More info
: gohawaii.com

Sandy Beaches

When the keiki (kids) are looking for some water time, head to the Kohala Coast, where Hapuna and Mauna Kea Beaches are great spots for swimming, playing in the soft sand and snorkeling in the protected waters. Families can book a family outrigger canoe experience or swim with the manta rays at night.

Kohala Coast
More info: gohawaii.com

Adventure Awaits

If you are looking for something totally unique to do on your visit to Hawaii, Kauai Backcountry Mountain Tubing must be on your list. Adventurers aged five and up don a headlamp and sit in a tube as they float down the open canals and through several amazing tunnels and flumes that were engineered and hand-dug in the 1870s! The journey ends with a picnic lunch and dip in a naturally-formed swimming hole. 

Kauai Backcountry Mountain Tubing
Lihue, Kauai
More info
: kauaibackcountry.com

photo: Waikoloa Beach Marriott

Your Island Oasis is Here

Soak up the Big Island sun at one of the three pools that you'll find at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, or head a few steps more to the white sand beach just out front. The resort's water slide means you'll definitely have a hard time getting the kids to leave the pool and on-site activities like snorkeling and kayaking take your beach day to the next level. Choose a suite with bunk beds that has more than enough room for everyone to spread out. The resort's sunset luau is not to be missed with authentic Hawaiian food, dancing and music. The resort also has two championship golf courses with panoramic ocean views and palm trees, surrounded by lush, meticulously maintained grounds.

Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
Waikoloa Beach, Hawaii
More info
: marriott.com

Cool Off with Shave Ice

It's not a Hawaiian vacation without a visit to a local shave ice stand (or two). Ululani's is well-known for serving authentic Hawaiian shave ice with dozens of house-made flavors like coconut, watermelon, tamarind and pink bubble gum. Try the Hawaiian rainbow—strawberry, pineapple and vanilla—or sunset beach—guava, mango and passion orange. Perfect for a hot day, these iconic treats are not to be missed!

Ululani's Shave Ice
Six locations on Maui and one on Hawaii
More info: ululanishawaiianshaveice.com

With Marriott Bonvoy™, families can enjoy special rates, free in-room Wifi, mobile check in and more! Save up to 20% on your trip to Hawaii with Marriott Bonvoy.

—Kate Loweth

 

Featured photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson