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Hawaii Family Vacations

Hawaii family vacation

Courtesy, Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson.

Panda Travel ® specializes in offering all-inclusive vacation packages, including family vacation options that are affordable, and more importantly, enjoyable. Our all-inclusive Hawaii vacation packages can be dynamically generated and can combine air, hotel, car and a wide range of activities and tours into a simple to understand, and easy to afford, travel package. We offer flights not only on all the major airlines, but also one of the largest selections of Hawaii hotels to choose from, including Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, Starwood as well as prominent local chains such as Aqua, Ohana, Aston and Outrigger. Panda ® also allows families the flexibility and convenience of adding activities and tours to their packages, including transportation and admission to the world famous Polynesian Cultural Center, the historic Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and the exciting Atlantis submarine ride off of Waikiki Beach. Combined with car rental options from companies such as Hertz, Alamo and Dollar, Panda Travel ® can offer some of the most competitive package rates from the budget minded family traveler to those seeking the utmost in luxury for their family travel to the Aloha State.

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Family-Friendly Activities and Destinations In Hawaii

Hiking

Hawaii is generally known and desired for its beaches and blue waters; however, for the adventurous, it also offers some of the most magnificent hiking opportunities anywhere in the world. Hiking opportunities range from short scenic hikes through historic sites and areas, to challenging treks through mountains and lava fields.

A popular starting point for hikes is the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It offers a vast network of trails spanning thousands of miles, which can takes hikers through lava tubes, volcanic fields, coastal trails, fishponds as well as leads to other destinations outside the park, such as the Pololu Valley Lookout in North Kohala and the lush Waipio Valley.

There is a variety of guided hiking tours available, but visitors can also plan their own hikes. Whether self-guided or part of a tour, hikes can be a great way to spend quality time with the family when visiting Hawaii.

Dole Cannery Maze

When people think about a maze, Hawaii isn’t the first place that comes to mind; however, you’ll be surprised to know that the world’s largest maze is located in Oahu. The Dole Plantation’s Pineapple Garden Maze covers an area of 137,194 square feet or more than two acres. The maze is comprised of various Hawaiian plants including hibiscus, heliconia, croton, panax and, of course, pineapple.

So if you find yourself on the island of Oahu, make sure to make a family trip to the Dole Cannery Maze and try your hand at beating the record of getting through the world’s largest maze.

Snorkeling

There is no arguing that Hawaii has some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world, but that is only part of Hawaii’s beauty.  To see its full breadth of awe-inspiring sights, you have to look below the surface, of the water that is. You can stand on the beautiful sandy beaches of Hawaii and gaze past the surface of the ocean waves, but why not take the plunge and go snorkeling?

Snorkeling is one of Hawaii’s most sought-after activities for visitors and the islands offers a wide range of options for those who want to look below the surface. One of the most popular snorkeling destinations in Hawaii is the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve on the island of Oahu. Sheltered from strong currents and waves, Hanauma Bay, situated on the Oahu’s southeast coast, offers the ideal snorkeling spot. The bay attracts about 3,000 visitors on a daily basis, so if you are looking for a secluded experience, this may not be the best option. For those who want to avoid the crowds, Makena Beach on Maui may be the better option as it offers a more secluded experience and has an amazing underwater ecosystem with an unusual mixture of coral and lava.

Submarine Tours and Back Country Adventures

So you are not a big fan of strapping on snorkeling gear and getting wet, but would still like to experience Hawaii’s wonders that await below the ocean surface. Well, you are in luck, because Atlantis Adventures offers submarine tours at three separate locations in Waikiki, Maui and Kona. One of their submarines will take you and your family on an underwater adventure where you’ll experience the beauty of the reefs and the large variety of sea life that calls them home.

Hawaii visitors who have experienced underwater adventures can take in the majestic beauty of Hawaii by the means of Kauai Backcountry Adventures. Experience Hawaii by zip line or by river tubing. There are multiple daily opportunities to glide through tree canopies or to experience the rush of tubing through Hawaii’s rivers and streams.

Luaus

Since experiencing local food is on any adventurous traveler’s to-do list, attending a luau is a must for those who are visiting Hawaii for the first time or those who have not experienced this traditional Hawaiian feast. Luaus attended by visitors are generally accompanied with shows and entertainment and teach about Hawaiian and Polynesian culture. The traditional foods served at a luau include kalua pig (pork cooked in a traditional fire pit), laulau (fish, chicken, pork or beef wrapped in taro leaves) and poi (a starch made of taro). A luau will usually include hula dancers and fire dancers.

Zoos and Aquariums

Hawaii has a variety of options when it comes to enjoying wildlife, both in their natural habitats as well as in zoos and aquariums. You’ll be able to enjoy the flora and fauna in their natural setting on hikes and tours, but if you would like to spend your time in a more intimate setting, then a zoo or aquarium could be the perfect choice.

The Honolulu Zoo is a 42-acre facility located next to Kapiolani Park in Honolulu. The zoo features over 1,200 animals that are housed in specially designed and created habitats. The zoo is a very popular destination, receiving over 600,000 visitors annually. Aside from experiencing animals, the zoo offers a variety of gardens and educational programs which are great for children.

Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo located in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii, though not as large as the Honolulu Zoo, is beloved by many for its intimate atmosphere. The 12-acre zoo is the only zoo in the United States which is located in a rainforest. The admission is free so it can be a bit easier on the pocketbook and it is also a fantastic option for younger children who enjoy its petting zoo.

Maui Ocean Center, the Waikiki Aquarium and Sea Life Park are three distinct options when it comes to enjoying and experiencing marine life. They have the mission of bringing Hawaiian sea life close-up to locals and visitors alike. The Maui Ocean Center has been around since 1998, while the Waikiki Aquarium has thrived for over 100 years and is the third oldest aquarium in the United States. Last but not least, is Sea Life Park which offers animal shows and encounters with marine life and is another great option for families with young children.

Beaches

This should probably go without saying, but the Hawaii’s beaches are so beautiful that we couldn’t resist including them in this list. Hawaii offers some of the world’s most desirable beaches, including ones that are full of crowds as well as ones that are not. Some of the most famous Hawaiian beaches include: Hanalei Bay in Kauai, Lanikai and Kailua beaches in Oahu and Hapuna Beach on the Big Island.

There are few better ways to relax and enjoy Hawaii’s magnificent shorelines while sipping on a drink. The beaches are, of course, fantastic destinations for children as they can enjoy the sun and take a dip in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Botanical Gardens

The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden on the Big Island and Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens on Kauai are two of the most beautiful destinations, not only in Hawaii, but in the world. They offer a wide variety of local flora and fauna for visitors to enjoy and learn about. These botanical gardens are a great choice for families who want to spend time enjoying nature in a controlled environment, but want to have a full experience of Hawaii’s greenery.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is unlike any national park in the United States, offering visitors a chance to walk on was once flowing lava as well as to examine active volcanic activity up-close. The park is located on the southeastern edge of Hawaii’s largest island, and stretches from sea level to the top of Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet high.

Whether you take a walking tour of the volcanic activity or enjoy the vistas from a helicopter tour, these will be some of the most breathtaking sceneries you will ever witness. It is a great adventure for children and adults alike.

Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii and Star Gazing at Mauna Kea

Hawaii is world-famous for housing some of the world’s most powerful and important space observatories. The Hawaii’s distance away from major ambient light sources and its high mountain peaks provide the perfect location for scientists to gaze at the stars through powerful telescopes. The Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii has been in operation since 2006. Its exhibit and planetarium complex occupy nine acres of the University of Hawaii’s Science and Technology Park. The planetarium is one of the most popular attractions at the center and offers an immersive 3-D experience of the cosmos for visitors.

The Mauna Kea star gazing program is a free nightly public event and takes place at 9,300 feet. Often visitors are able to gaze at the sky from above the clouds and enjoy the pristine view that the high altitude, clean air and lack of competing light provide. But that’s not all, there are several telescopes that allow visitors to get a closer look at the stars, planets and beyond. So if you find yourself on the Big Island, be sure to plan a trip to the Mauna Kea star gazing event.

Awards and Affiliations

  • Hawaii's Best 2011
  • Hawaii's Visitors and Convention Bureau
  • American Society of Travel Agents
  • Authorized Disney Vacation Planner
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