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Which Hawaii island is best for kids?
Which Hawaii island is best for families? Which Hawaii island is best for kids? As a Hawaii Travel Agent, I get these questions a lot! The truth is, Hawaii is overall very family-friendly.
However, I’ve read a few reviews by families who weren’t happy with their treatment or lack of amenities for children. Problems like this can be avoided with a little bit of pre-planning, or working with a Hawaii Travel Advisor to customize your vacation!
I already have a post going over which Hawaii island is best, but I wanted to write another one specifically for families. So, now that we know that Hawaii is very family-friendly, let’s talk about the pros and cons of a family vacation of the four major islands.
Oahu has the largest population and the most to do as far as human-made activities. I always remind clients that there is so much more to Oahu than just Waikiki, so if you choose to visit Oahu, make sure to venture outside of Waikiki and Honolulu.
- Disney’s Aulani Resort is located on Oahu. Aulani is a fantastic choice for Disney-loving families who want to experience Disney in Hawaii. Even though it’s a Disney resort, Aulani has done an incredible job infusing Hawaiian culture with Disney magic.
- Oahu has a lot of “human-made” things to do. Oahu has shopping, including high-end shopping, a zoo, a waterpark, and more.
- You don’t necessarily need a car on Oahu (but you should read why you need a rental car in Hawaii anyway.)
- International flights are often cheaper to Oahu, although domestic flights tend to be less expensive to Kauai and the Big Island.
- Oahu has plenty of historical significance, cultural activities, and historical sites.
- Some things in Oahu are competitively priced because there is a lot of competition. However, some things, like parking, are at a premium.
- Spaces are often smaller, at least in the Waikiki area. Of course, you can get a larger space, but that will come at a cost.
- Oahu is the most popular island for vacations, and the most populated, so it’s PACKED with people and cars. You’ll have to plan activities carefully and give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go.
Maui is the second most popular island for tourism and the one that is often thought of for honeymoons. However, Maui is very family-friendly if you know where to stay! Maui does have one adults-only resort, as well as several resorts that (although not adults-only) do cater to adults rather than families.
Check out the 7 best things to do on Maui to see if Maui is a good option for you.
- Maui may not have some of the “big city” activities that Oahu does, but there are still plenty of things to do!
- Maui can be the best of both worlds because it offers something for everyone.
- Some of the most beautiful beaches are located on Maui. You’ll find beautiful beaches of all colors.
- The famous “Road to Hana” and Haleakala are located on Maui and a favorite activity for most families.
- If your family loves snorkeling and boat activities, Molokini Crater is one of the top tours of all of the Hawaiian islands. You can check out the other top tours in Hawaii here.
- Maui can be honeymoon oriented (individual resorts in particular.)
- There is no “big city” on Maui. (This might be a pro!)
- Maui is generally more expensive when it comes to flights, resorts, and some other things.
Welcome to Jurassic Park! 🦖The oldest of the Hawaii islands, when you see a movie that was “filmed in Hawaii,” it was most likely filmed on Kauai. Kauai is relatively untouched compared to some of the other islands, and no building is taller than a palm tree. Even though Kauai is more “remote,” the island still offers upscale accommodations.
- Kauai is great for families who love outdoor activities
- The Garden Isle is less expensive and generally quieter than the other islands.
- Kauai is arguably the most beautiful island, and the Na Pali coast is particularly spectacular.
- From most mainland destinations, Kauai offers the cheapest flights.
- Kauai has fewer activities and restaurants than the other islands, particularly Oahu or Maui.
- Kauai is the one island that does get a lot of rain in one of the more populated/tourist areas. It does rain a lot in the popular Hanalei/Princeville area, and many of the high-end resorts are located here.
- There is only one main road going around Kauai (most of the way around), and it does get congested.
The Big Island is the youngest of the Hawaiian islands, and also the biggest. Thanks to the active volcano, it continues to grow every day. The Big Island has many different climate zones; you never have to drive far to be somewhere completely different.
- The active volcano is on the Big Island, and most families want to see Kilauea.
- Accommodation on the Big Island can be less expensive than the other islands.
- Hawaii Island offers a lot of diversity, from beautiful waterfalls to the active volcano, to Mauna Kea.
- Although I love Molokini Crater on Maui, the Big Island has some fantastic snorkeling too!
- You’ll spend more time in the car on the Big Island. This could be a pro as Hawaii island is beautiful, but kids might be restless after the long flight and not eager to spend time in the car.
- Many visitors aren’t as impressed by the volcano as they think they will be. If you’re expecting a cartoon-style eruption, you’ll be disappointed. You also can’t always find active lava flow, and many people do not know that.
- While the Big Island offers a plethora of natural activities, fewer human-made activities are available.
Which Hawaii island is best for families?
So, which Hawaii island is best for kids and families? The answer depends on your family! Here are some very general recommendations.
- If a big city atmosphere, nightlife, or high-end shopping are essential to your family, Oahu is the choice for you!
- Kauai is an excellent choice if your family loves hiking, kayaking, biking, water activities, or anything outdoors.
- If seeing Kilauea is a must, or you’d like to experience a lot of different things while on one island, visit Hawaii Island!
- Maybe your family needs something that’s a bit in between the hustle and bustle of Oahu, but still offers some shopping, lots of restaurant options, and more? Maui might be an excellent choice for your family.
Can we visit all of the Hawaii islands in one trip?
It’s easy to want to visit all of the islands, but I don’t recommend doing that unless you have at least three weeks for your vacation. Every Hawaii island is terrific, and you’ll want to take time to explore them fully.
I hope that this post answered your question about which Hawaii island is best for kids. I know that planning a Hawaii vacation can be stressful. Why not make it a little easier on yourself and work with a Hawaii Travel Agent? Make sure to contact me or go ahead and fill out a custom travel request, and I’ll get back to you to start planning ASAP!
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