Best Hawaii Islands For Families

When the poet Laura Loo visited Hawaii during her teenage days, she found it the most phenomenal place on the planet. She wrote these lines about the island’s aesthetic beauty-

Palm trees in the pineapple breeze,

calm chameleon ocean up to my knees-

Beach sands with pebbles in my hands,

oh, to not return to the Michigan's freeze.

Such is the beauty of Hawaii that many fabulous epithets are written on it. Located amid the magnificence of North Pacific Ocean, Hawaii Islands are world famous for their pearl white seashores and emerald valleys glittering in golden sunlight. Just a few months back, I was totally baffled as my family had given me the responsibility of searching the best destination for our ‘Annual Family Tour’. After an intense search, the glorious islands of Hawaii grabbed my attention. Now, as I’m back from the most memorable family vacation in Hawaii, I can talk anything and anytime about it (‘all the time’ would be more suitable :-)). So, here I have come up with the list of the best Hawaii Islands for families. Wouldn’t you like to explore?

Oahu: Gather at the 'Gathering Place'

Image Source: Ken Lund/Flickr

Oahu, an amalgamation of various ethnicities, has acquired the nickname ‘gathering place’ due to the fact that most of the Hawaii’s population resides here. The kinetic energy of this bustling island is perfect for an outing with family. Although you will find the natives rubbing elbows on the buses and sidewalks, the mouthwatering restaurants, exciting adventures, and unique home rentals of Oahu offer the most cherishing experience of the island on a family vacation. The warm weather of Oahu helps the fragrant crop of rambutan fruit, sweet potato, and banana (your kids are surely gonna love them). Just remember that you have to make yourself little comfortable with the crowd. 

What’s cool: 

  • Feel the gastronomic delight while exploring the best Asian cuisine at the Farmer’s Market and plenty of Food Trucks. 
  • Don’t forget to buy some local taste as a souvenir (especially the delicious jams).

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Kauai: Stroll through the ‘Garden Island’

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Be it the Tunnels Beach or the Polihale State Park, the enchanting beauty of Kauai Island is unmatched. I have got enough reasons to call it ‘enchanting’. Step onto Kauai, and you will feel like being on a magical island. The moment our boat-rider took a turn towards the sea caves along the Na Pali Coast, we felt as if Aphrodite herself abodes here. With plenty of kid-friendly playground and surfing options, this island is all-time-favorite with the kids. I and my cousins enjoyed hiking the famous Kalalau Trail offering the breathtaking vistas of the surroundings. The Queen’s Bath is another magical addition. All this makes me consider Kuai as the best city in Hawaii for vacation. A word of conscious: Although, it’s sunny most of the time, the rains in Kauai are unpredictable. So, do keep your raincoats while here.

What’s cool: 

  • Head to the dramatic coastal cliffs and let your kids play with the sand in the background of divine sunset. 

Check out: Best Family Resorts in Hawaii

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Maui: Experience the Warmth of Aloha

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Wanna explore the wealth of marine life? Come to Maui- the island where at each corner you will find love (Aloha in local language) mixed with the cuisine, culture, and the canvass of nature camouflaged in gushing waterfalls. I found Maui the best Hawaiian island to visit and the best thing I enjoyed here was swimming under the waterfalls. Here you will witness the best surfing waves on the planet. The Honokohau Falls would remind you of the waterfall in the Disney movie ‘Up’. Do your family members have different tastes? Maui has something for everyone! But, I would advise you not to go on the Pipiwai Trail when you see any chances of storm, especially when you are with kids. Check what things to do in Maui on your Hawaiian vacation.

What’s cool: 

  • Maui Ocean Center is a must-visit both for kids and adults. 
  • Try sipping Mai Tai (a local drink) and smell the freshness at bountiful organic gardens. 

Searching for good places to stay? See here.

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Molokai: Make friends on the ‘Friendly Isle’

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

All the islands of Hawaii bustle with the feeling of ‘Aloha’ and Molokai isn’t different. For me, this is a ‘friendly isle’ in true sense as I met my Hawaiian friend Akoni here (the name means worthy of admiration in Hawaii; isn’t it beautiful?). Only from him, I came to know different local beliefs including that of the Phallic Rock that is said to have fertility powers. The Kalaupapa peninsula is a mixture pan of azure seawater and lush green valleys. Akoni’s family is into the business of Awapuhi flower (known as one of the best ingredients for making shampoo). If you want to get into the local feeling, do meet the local fishermen and learn their art of ‘throw-net-’ fishing. Yes, I didn’t find many gas stations on Molokai, so plan accordingly

What’s cool: 

  • Taste the locally produced fruits and vegetables (potatoes, avocados, grapefruit, apples, taro, and lettuce are found in abundance). 
  • Order the freshly baked loaf filled with strawberry jam in the Kanemitsu Bakery. 

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Lanai: Eat the fresh Pineapples at the ‘Pineapple Island’

Image Source: Kiran Foster/Flickr

The pristine beaches of Lanai make it suitable for spending quality time with family. The beautiful seafront and the cozy atmosphere of Lanai make it a great place to visit with family. On my visit, I came to know that 97% of this island is owned by the CEO of Oracle Larry Ellison. On Monday morning, we visited the Lanai Elementary School to meet the cute Hawaiian kids. The most memorable thing we enjoyed here was having the juice of freshly picked pineapples amid the pineapple gardens. Take care that you have kept a good pair of shoes as hiking here is challenging

What’s cool: 

  • Get into the Hawaiian history by visiting the wreck of WWII tanker at the Shipwreck Beach.
  • Let your feet get pedicured by the green turtles of Polihua Beach.

Here are the accommodation options!

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Big Island: Watch the wedding of fire with ice

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

As the name suggests, Big Island is magnificent! Magnificent with two of the world’s greatest mountains, the waves going high, and two of the world’s most active volcanoes (Kilauea and Mauna Loa). Big Island the emperor that stands unmatched and unique for its glamour and grandeur. Well, the Big Island is big because of its 1,500-mile-long archipelago. If you have a family of nature enthusiasts, the lush rainforest and ecological diversity of the island will fill your heart with immense pleasure. The best thing is that you can book a luxurious stay for your family at an affordable price. This makes Big Island the cheapest island to visit in Hawaii

What’s cool: 

  • Hiking to the volcanoes is one of the great dream escape. 
  • Snorkeling at the Kahalu'u Beach Park is the best thing to do. 

Check out these great places for a comfortable stay!

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Waikiki: Experience the Hawaiian Royalty

Image Source: Carissa Rogers/Flickr

Waikiki is, indeed, the best Hawaiian Island for kids as there is a lot that they can do here. If you are on a family vacation and you want to experience the best of Hawaii, you can plan a stay in the Moana Surfrider - the oldest hotel on the shores of Waikiki. The best thing is that the water of the sea is so calm here that it becomes ideal for a surfing lesson for kids. It is also the cheapest Hawaii Island to visit with teens as they will get a lot to know about the marine life at a very low price, especially in the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium.

What’s cool: 

  • Go on Waikiki Historical Trail to know the rich history of Waikiki.
  • Shop like a royal in Ala Moana Center. 

Check out: Best Spots for Snorkeling in Honolulu

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Necker Island: Explore the Archeological sites

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Named after Jacques Necker, the finance minister under Louis XVI, Necker Island is best known as an archaeological site. It is also known as Mokumanamana in local language. The ruins of many religious sites are found here. Another important feature of this island is its wonderful marine life. The rocky shores of Necker Island have an abundance of Hawaiian Monk Seals. The marine life also boasts a plethora of sea cucumber, sea urchins, and lobsters. Although we had a very small visit to Necker Island, it blessed us with its unique environment.

What’s cool: 

  • Explore the stone structures that are said to be built by the mythical Menehunes. 

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Nihoa: Meet the Millerbird on the ‘Bird Island’

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

With over 25 animal and bird species, Nihoa Island is one of the most diverse Hawaii Islands. As my Dad is an avid bird watcher, he loved the sights of Nihoa Millerbird and the Nihoa Finch playing hide and seek with the branches of endemic trees. The seabird species like petrels, shearwaters, and terns could also be seen. On our tour of Nihoa, we also met some American students who were here for scientific and cultural research. For me, watching the valleys of basalt rock on our returning boat ride was the most stunning sight!

What’s cool: 

  • Head to Dog’s Head Peak (famous for its resemblance with dog’s head). 

These are some nice options for accommodation!

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Niihau: Roam around the ‘Forbidden Island’

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Ok, let me be honest! If I experienced the real beauty of a Hawaiian heritage anywhere, Niihau was it. I think that is the reason the locals (who hardly comprise 200 of the population) call it "forbidden". Located in the southwest of the island of Kauai, this island is the place where you will find a traditional way of life. The island is also home to many wild animals such as Polynesian Boar, Hybrid Sheep, Eland and Oryx. My cousin (who is 13 years old) felt like ‘Robin Hood’ on the hunting safari. 

What’s cool:

  • Go fishing with the locals. Aren’t satisfied? Taste the seafood. 

Searching for a hotel? Check here. 

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Kure Atoll: Step onto the World's Northernmost 

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Consider a short visit to Kure Atoll on your Hawaiian tour as the place doesn’t have any permanent human population. Travel enthusiasts, who love exploring the remotest islands often come here for bird watching and taking a tour of ship wrecks. It is also referred as the Ocean Island or the Kure Island. The shallow lagoons of this island are home to the Hawaiian Monk Seals, over 200 spinner dolphins, and green sea turtles. On our visit to the ‘uncorrupted’ beaches of Kure Atoll, we indulged in making small houses of white sand. 

What’s cool: 

  • One of the best places for wildlife photography. 
  • Enjoy walking on the flat terrain. 

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Pearl and Hermes Atoll: Fall in love with the Dolphins 

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Trust me, the island actually looks like a pearl on the precious ring of Pacific Ocean. This island was explored by the Captain Anderson in 1927 who found the pearl beds within the lagoon. Soon after this, the island became an important destination for commercial activities. Today, the place is better known as a bird sanctuary. What makes this island unique is the fact that it is ‘ever-changing’. Many islets emerge and the subside in the ocean. I found some veteran divers enjoying the underwater activities and as they said, "E Komo Mai! (Welcome) This is the land of joy".

What’s cool: 

  • Wanna find some pearls? Go scuba diving!

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Whichever Island you choose to go in Hawaii, it’s sure to give you an overwhelming experience. Admire the beauty of turquoise waters, explore the treasures of the ocean, taste the best of fresh fruits in rich plantations, or marvel at the gigantic waterfalls; the pristine beauty of Hawaiian Islands are never to be forgotten. Aloha ‘oe!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SHRADDHANVITA TIWARI SHRADDHANVITA TIWARI

After five years of her teaching career, Shraddhanvita decided to make 'travel' her passion. For her 'a rolling stone does gather moss'. She is a wanderlust driven soul, a poet, a pluviophile, and a humanist. Fascinated by nature's bounty, she finds solace in the lap of magnificent hills and her books. Travelling made her learn much and love much more with one thing that remained constant is her desire to keep moving.

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