Family or “ohana,” is extremely important in Hawaii. Children are welcomed to the islands to experience all they have to offer – especially in Oahu and Kauai – two islands best known for being very child-friendly. Each has something special to offer for cherished family moments. Oahu has a good blend of action (Honolulu/Waikiki) and quiet (North Shore/ Kailua). Oahu, or "The Gathering Place," is indeed a busy, cosmopolitan area around Waikiki and Honolulu. Kauai is more peaceful and has a huge variety of natural sites: rivers, canyons, cliffs. It is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands so its topography is the most dramatic – the Napali coastline is world famous, as is Waimea Canyon.
We give you a little inkling here about what is available in each of these breathtaking locations. You could even choose to make your vacation roots in one area and island hop to the others!
Oahu is the most-visited island in Hawaii. Historical sites from Pearl Harbor and the Aviation Museum will keep your cultural itinerary full, while exquisite coastlines and beaches will have you and your family sunning days away. Please read on to get a glimpse of some of the great things to do as a family in this slice of paradise:
Hiking to Diamond Head Crater
Diamond Head Trail is one of the most rewarding Oahu hikes, offering amazing 360-degree views at the zenith. Hiking Diamond Head might first appear to be a challenging all day climb, but the trail can look deceiving since it really only takes seasoned hikers about 40 to 60 minutes to reach the 760-foot summit. The hike itself is 1.5 miles round trip. There are some steep sections including narrow stairs, and the number of hikers ahead might make the going slower, but just imagine the panoramic views once at the top.
Located on the windward side of Oahu, Kualoa Ranch is a private nature reserve and cattle ranch. On the ranch's northern half is Ka'a'awa Valley, a popular TV and movie location where Jurassic Park, Lost and Hawaii Five-0 were filmed. The southern half of the ranch is home to Hakipuu Valley, the 800-year-old Moli'i fishpond and the serene Secret Island beach. You can explore the Ranch by ATV or horseback or zipline across their Treetop Canopy, surrounded by the beautiful landscape of Kualoa.
Pearl Harbor Visit
A visit to Pearl Harbor would not be complete without stopping at the Pearl Harbor Memorial built where the USS Arizona sank. In fact, you can peer into the shallow harbor where the sunken hulk rests, still leaking oil that pools on the water’s surface like black tears, as they’ve been described. There are many popular on-site tours from which to choose. You can also visit the Battleship Missouri Memorial and the Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum.
Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum
The mission of the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is to steward America’s first aviation battlefield of World War II by sharing artifacts, personal stories, the impact and response to the Dec. 7, 1941 attack, and the Pacific region battles that followed. Experience the attack where bombs first fell on that fateful day. Hangars 37 and 79 allows visitors to see planes and artifacts from WWII, along with the Korean and Vietnam wars. There are also outdoor exhibits.
Polynesian Cultural Center
Spend the day exploring the rich heritage of the Pacific Islands. Wander through 42 acres of tropical splendor and enjoy the adventure of traditional hands-on activities. Dine like royalty at an authentic Polynesian luau and top it off with the most spectacular evening show and authentic Polynesian dinner in the islands at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Private Surfing Lessons at Waikiki or North Shore
Learn how to paddle and pop up a longboard, first on the sand, and then in the Pacific. Already know the basics? No problem, you’ll receive tailored instructions based on your skill level. Want to introduce your children to the sport? Surfing lessons are great for them too! There are a number of companies that teach would-be wave riders how to surf either in Waikiki or North Shore. No need to haul a longboard since these outfits will provide them.
Climb aboard the 48-passenger Atlantis submarine and adventure through the underwater passages of famous Waikiki beach. Through its portal windows, see fish, coral, turtles, sunken ships, airplanes and more! It’s truly an amazing experience to be a part of this otherworldly landscape.
Kauai is the oldest and most northern of the Hawaiian islands. It is affectionately referred to as the “Garden Island” and with good reason. Kauai is beautifully draped in emerald green valleys, jagged cliffs aged by the elements and time and sharp mountain spires. It is otherworldly with tropical rainforests, meandering rivers and cascading waterfalls. Some parts of the island are accessible only by sea or air. With this incredible natural beauty, it’s no wonder many luxury travelers have Kauai on their must-visit lists. Please read on to see some of what Kauai has to offer:
Helicopter Tour over Kauai
Take a private breathtaking helicopter tour of Kauai. Be brave and fly with the doors off! Either way, those who take off can expect to see the majesty of Manawaiopuna Falls, also known as “Jurassic Park” falls. See other sights in this jaw-dropping flight like the 2,000-foot Waipo’o falls and Napali coast with its 3,500-foot sea cliffs plummeting into the vast Pacific. The chopper will head to other locations, but the piece de resistance is flying into the Mt. Waialeale crater, a dormant shield volcano. Since it’s one of the wettest places on the planet, guests will see magical emerald green vegetation draped over the mist-covered mountain, with 3,000-foot cascading waterfalls filling each crevice. It’s truly an awe-inspiring finish to a chopper ride of a lifetime.
Sail the Napali Coast – Napali Coast State Wilderness Park
Sailing the Napali Coast in a private vessel is an unforgettable experience – for children, too. This coast is one the most spectacular in the world and a private boat tour allows guests to enjoy its unparalleled beauty without the maddening crowds. See the Kauai sea caves in the summer and watch Humpback whales in winter.
Wailua Falls, with its three spectacular segments, is one of the few falls you can drive to, making it accessible for all. You may see people at the bottom of the falls where the water drops into a 30 foot deep pool. The best time for this Kauai drive is early in the day when crowds will be non-existent. Wailua Falls is just four miles inland from Lihue. The road is scenic past former sugar-cane fields with beautiful mountain views.
Waimea Canyon State Park
Kauai Hawaii is full of parks that are beyond stunning. Waimea Canyon State Park is one of them. Waimea Canyon is described as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” It’s not as big or as old as its Arizona cousin, but you won’t encounter anything else like this geological wonder in Hawaii. Waimea Canyon Lookout provides panoramic views of crested buttes, rugged crags and deep valley gorges. The main road leads to a lower lookout point and the main Waimea Canyon Overlook, offering views of Kauai's dramatic interior. The road continues into the mountains and ends at Kokee State Park. There are numerous trails to traverse for both beginner and seasoned hikers.
Lydgate Farms Chocolate And Island Fruit Tour
Cocoa plants thrive in the Hawaiian tropics and they are abundant at Lydgate Farms. Twice recognized as producing the best cacao beans in the world by Cocoa of Excellence in Paris, France – the Lydgate family are pioneers of cacao farming on Kauai. The famous chocolate farm tour – the first of its kind on Kauai, is one of the island’s most enjoyable and educational activities. Your three-hour guided tour begins with a stroll through the botanical gardens, where you’ll sample award-winning palm-blossom honey, experience vanilla beans, and do an extensive tropical fruit tasting. At Lydgate Farms, you’ll learn all about Theobroma Cacao – the chocolate tree – and taste its ripe fruit, learn the secrets of turning raw cacao seeds into finished chocolate, and discover the amazing health benefits of chocolate before getting to the best part – tasting it!
Enchanting and Exotic
Hawaii luxury travel entails only securing the best accommodations possible and idyllic Villa Miranda is at the top of the list. This stunning contemporary residence offers the finest spaces bathed in light and bohemian style. Amenities include a games rooms with a pool table, well-equipped gym, an outdoor pool, outdoor hot tub and a terrific area for al fresco dining. There are footpaths leading you through serene areas ideal for reflection – especially with the fragrant foliage and reflective koi ponds. Eight beautifully-appointed bedrooms can accommodate up to 16 guests.
When you are looking for a sun-drenched, elite holiday destination where you and your family can enjoy the outdoors and beaches unrivaled for their beauty, LVH can help you choose a location – perhaps Hawaii? – befitting of your desires, accommodations that are the height of luxury and itinerary planning that is next to none. Our goal is simple: Your absolute happiness. Please reach out to one of one client relations team members who will start the planning process for your ultimate family-themed holiday. We are always prepared to arrange the most engaging and exclusive vacations for you. If you are set on a Hawaii family getaway, let us know what type of experiences would fill you and your family members’ hearts with precious memories and let us work our magic!