While lounging on one of Hawaii's beautiful beaches may be the ideal family vacation for some, there are countless other ways to appreciate and explore the natural beauty of the Islands. In addition to the many trails, gardens and scenic lookouts found statewide, Hawaii is home to numerous national and state parks, sites and monuments appealing to all ages. All of these make the Hawaiian Islands the perfect place for families to connect with nature and each other. A few of our favorite places you can begin your exploration are listed below:
Haleakala National Park (Maui): Although this national park may be best known for its sunrise views from the summit of Haleakala volcano, its Kipahulu District section on Maui's southeast coast offers visitors an entirely different experience. Encourage clients to travel to Kipahulu, just beyond the town of Hana, to treat their families to sweeping ocean vistas, cultural areas and hiking trails revealing dense bamboo forests and awe-inspiring waterfalls.
World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument (Oahu): Clients looking for an educational experience rich with the history of Hawaii's involvement in World War II's Pacific War are encouraged to visit this collection of historic sites at Pearl Harbor. While many visitors tour the monument daily, few elect to dive deeper into educational programs offered by the sites. We recommend reserving a Passport to Pearl Harbor - an enlightening tour allowing visitors to experience the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, Battleship Missouri Memorial, and Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.
Akaka Falls State Park (island of Hawaii): If an easy adventure for the family is on your wish list, we recommend the short tropical rainforest hike through this state park to overlooks with stunning views of two of the island's most exquisite waterfalls. Akaka Falls (442 feet) and Kahuna Falls (100 feet) always offer breathtaking backdrops for fantastic family photos.
Kokee State Park (Kauai): For those with families who don't want to hike but are interested in taking in views of Kauai's famed Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, suggest a drive with stops at the roadside lookouts of Waimea Canyon Drive and Kokee Road. Waimea Canyon Lookout, Puu Hinahina Lookout and Kalalau Lookout each offer magnificent views sure to captivate the whole family. Add an educational element to the drive by encouraging a stop at Kokee Natural History Museum to explore its exhibits and shop for Kauai-made items.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (island of Hawaii): With 333,086 acres of active volcanoes, craters, lava tubes, trails and rainforests, this park will keep the entire family excited and entertained for hours (or even days). Upon entering the park, we recommend a stop at the Kilauea Visitor Center followed by a spin on Crater Rim Drive. The drive offers the best views of the active summit caldera of Kilauea volcano and access to scenic stops and trailheads. From there, the possibilities at the park are seemingly endless, with itineraries conveniently dependent on the amount of time you have to explore it all.