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Hawaii’s Top 10 Family Attractions

Here's what you need to know...

In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state. However, the history of the Aloha State dates back much further beginning when the Polynesians first came to the state about 1500 years before its statehood began. They traveled over 2000 miles in canoes guided by the stars to find the new islands.

About 500 years after the Polynesians arrived, Tahitian settlers came and introduced their beliefs in gods and demi-gods.

Hawaii grew a social hierarchy and hula and surfing became popular. Fast forward to 1778 when Captain James Cook landed a boat at Waimea Bay on the island of Kauai. This helped open the doors to the west.

In 1810, the Hawaiian Islands were unified into a single royal kingdom and nearly a decade later the ancient social hierarchy was abolished. Over the next decade, Hawaii became filled with protestant missionaries, seaman, traders, and whalers.

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However, many of the native Hawaiians could not handle the western diseases and perished. Hawaii became a United States territory in 1898.

What makes Hawaii great for families?


Hawaii is a top destination spot for people of all ages and backgrounds. Whether you are single or married, young or old, this state offers plenty to do. In fact, Hawaii is a preferred vacation place for families. This is because it has many activities for kids of all ages.

Its family-friendly hotels and resorts make it easier for families to stay here and enjoy all there is to see and do. When it comes to where to stay and what to do, there are many options for families. In fact, family-friendly activities attractions can be found all throughout the islands and not in just one single area.

Top 10 Family Attractions in Hawaii

#1 –Sea Life Park

Whether you are young or just young at heart, you will enjoy a visit to Sea Life Park Hawaii. Here families can experience sharks, sea lions, stingrays, and dolphins up close and personal in an intimate and educational setting.

If you want to do more than just see the animals, there are several different encounters to choose from depending on if you want to get wet or not and your budget. General admission is $40.00 for an adult and $25.00 for kids 13 and under.

#2 –Molokini Snorkeling Tour

No trip to Hawaii is complete without a snorkeling tour to Molokini. Even if you have family members who will not be able to snorkel or swim, they can still enjoy the underwater 180-degree view of the glass bottom boat.

You will be served a tropical breakfast and a barbecue lunch during your trip. Adults will pay $95 while children between the ages of 3-12 are $65 and infants are free.

#3 –Kailua Beach Park

Located on the island of Oahu, Kailua Beach Park is a popular half-mile beach perfect for water sports. Rated one of the best beaches in America, this beach is family-friendly with restrooms, picnic facilities, showers, and ample parking in nearby lots.

If you forgot your swimsuit or are simply in the mood to shop, local shops nearby are not to be missed nor are the local restaurants.

#4 –Atlantis Submarine

With three locations, Atlantis Submarines allows you to explore Hawaii like no other company can. Since 1988, they have been using environmentally safe submarines to create sustainable tourism.

Their air-conditioned, Coast Guard approved submarines take you down more than 100 feet in the ocean surrounding this beautiful state. Here you can see many species of underwater marine life such as sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, eels, and yellow tangs.

For this experience, adults will pay about $105, children, only $38. For an adult and child together the cost is $115.

#5 –Iao Valley State Park

Iao Valley State Park is a history park located in Central Maui, west of Wailuku. It is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is on $1 if you enter on foot or $5 for a car.

This 4,000-acre park is described as peaceful and offers natural tropical beauty. It was here that the 1790 Battle of Kepaniwai was fought.

This park houses one of Hawaii’s most recognizable landmarks; the Iao Needle. Towering 1,200 feet in the air, this green mantled-rock is a perfect spot for sight-seeing and hiking. Going early will hep you avoid the clouds and give you the best view. Easy walking paths are available for people of any age.

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#6 –Uncle Bryan’s Sunset Suratt Surf Academy

Uncle Bryan’s Sunset Suratt Surf Academy has been rated the #1 best attraction of any kind on the North Shore by TripAdvisor. The staff here teach kids and adults of all different ages how to surf like the pros.

Whether you have just a few hours in your schedule or can come back for several lessons during your stay in Hawaii, lessons here are worth it. They also provide stand up paddle tours which allow you to see the natural scenery, no matter your skill level.

Both surfing and stand up paddleboarding start at $80 for a group lesson or tour.

#7 –Camp Erdman


Camp Erdman can be found on the North Shore of O’ahu. Its beautiful surroundings make it an ideal venue for family and church camps as well as retreats and school field trips.

This perfect camp setting will allow your family to experience the natural outdoors of Hawaii like no other place can. They offer teen camps, horse camps, swimming camps, and even surfing camps. Prices will vary depending on trip length and activities.

#8 –Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park

Hawaiian Adventure Water Park awaits your family with 25 watery acres of fun. Located on the less crowded side of Oahu, this water park is only 35 miles from Waikiki.

Whether you are seeking the thrill of swirling rapids and raging water slides or simply want to relax in a wave pool, this water park has all your family needs to have fun together.

The park is closed most Tuesdays and Wednesdays except during the summer months. A trip here will set you back about $51 for an adult and $40 for a child.

#9 –Honolulu Zoo


The Honolulu Zoo can be found between the slopes of Diamond Head and Waikiki. It is open daily from 8 am to 4:30 pm. General admission for those 13 and over is $14, while children are $6. Military discounts are available. At this zoo, you will see thousands of birds, mammals, and reptiles.

#10 –Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

The Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is part of a plan initiated by the City and County of Honolulu to restore this area to a clean and healthy state.

Hanauma’s focus is on education for natives and visitors alike. Admission is $7.50 per person per day. Those ages 12 and under are free. If you are a resident of Hawaii over the age of 13, your admission fee is waived with proof of residency such as a government issued form of identification.

Safety for Families while Traveling

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While you want everyone in your family to have fun, safety should also be a top priority when traveling. These important safety tips can help protect you and your family as well as make your trip less stressful and more enjoyable.

  • Bring water – No matter where you are going or how far you plan to travel, it is always a good idea to bring along extra water. You never know when or how you might need it.
  • Get a tune-up  – Having your tires, battery, belts, fluids, and your air conditioning system examined by a qualified mechanic before going on a trip is the recommendation of The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This can decrease the chances of running into car trouble along the way.
  • Check all car seats and booster seats – As many as 80 percent of all car seats and booster seats are installed incorrectly. Before hitting the road with young kids, have your car and booster seats checked by a certified professional to ensure safety while in your vehicle.
  • Carry an emergency kit – A car emergency kit should generally include bottled water, a flashlight, warm blankets, jumper cables, flares, a charged cell phone, first aid kit, and the necessary equipment to change a tire. Having a roadside assistance on your auto insurance or through another provider is also a good idea.
  • Remember sunscreen – Sunscreen is a staple of any Hawaiian adventure. Be sure to pack enough for each member of your family in the appropriate SPF.
  • Check the backseat – Since your children will most likely be spending a lot of time in the backseat during your road trip, you should do a safety check before your trip begins. Make sure the child locks are activated on both the doors and windows. Any potentially poisonous substances or choking hazards should be removed from the backseat.
  • Have the right coverage – The best way to make sure you are getting a good deal is to do some comparison shopping. Check with several different companies.
    • You can use an online price comparison tool to easily view and compare different policies and rates.
    • Additionally, consider more than just the cost. Look at their reviews, their financial stability, their customer service, and even how they treat your inquiries.

Hawaii is a place of gathering for people all over the world. It is rich in culture, history, and opportunities for enjoyment. Enjoy your trip but do so responsibly!

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