Hawaii, with its captivating beaches, lush landscapes, and vibrant culture, offers a treasure trove of activities for families. From the serene to the adventurous, there’s something in Hawaii for every member of the family to enjoy. This guide dives into ten must-see and do experiences that promise to make your family trip to Hawaii unforgettable. Whether it’s your first visit or your fifth, these handpicked activities will leave you with cherished memories and a deeper appreciation for the Aloha State.

Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach

1. Explore the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

Visiting the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor provides a powerful historical lesson for all ages. The site pays tribute to the sailors and marines who lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor. A boat ride takes you to the memorial, where you can see the sunken battleship beneath. It’s an emotional, educational experience that offers insight into a pivotal moment in U.S. history. Reservations are recommended as the site attracts many visitors daily.

2. Take a Surfing Lesson on Waikiki Beach

No trip to Hawaii is complete without trying surfing, and Waikiki Beach is the perfect place for families to catch their first waves. The beach’s gentle, long waves provide ideal conditions for beginners. Several surf schools along the beach offer lessons for all ages, ensuring a fun and safe experience. After the lesson, enjoy relaxing on the iconic beach, watching expert surfers, or exploring nearby shops and eateries. The friendly atmosphere and picturesque setting make it a memorable experience for both kids and adults alike.

3. Discover Volcanoes National Park

Exploring Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island offers an unforgettable adventure into the heart of Hawaii’s natural wonders. Families can walk through lava tubes, witness the glow of an active lava flow at night, and learn about the geology of the islands at the visitor center. The park’s diverse landscapes, from lush rainforests to barren lunar-like craters, provide a fascinating backdrop for hiking and photography. Bring comfortable shoes and prepare for an awe-inspiring journey. Observing the natural power and beauty of the earth in such an accessible way is a humbling experience for visitors of all ages.

4. Attend a Traditional Luau

Experiencing a traditional Hawaiian luau gives families a taste of local culture through music, dance, and food. Luaus often feature a buffet of Hawaiian dishes, live performances of hula and fire dancing, and storytelling. It’s an entertaining way to immerse yourself in the islands’ heritage and enjoy a festive evening under the stars. Many resorts host luaus, so be sure to book in advance. This cultural feast delights the senses while creating lasting memories of Hawaii’s rich traditions and warm hospitality.

5. Snorkel in Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay on Oahu is a natural marine embayment formed within a tuff ring. It offers some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii, with clear waters and abundant marine life. The bay is a protected nature preserve, home to hundreds of colorful fish and coral species. Snorkeling gear can be rented on-site, and the bay’s calm waters make it an excellent spot for families. Remember to respect the marine environment and avoid touching or stepping on the coral.

6. Go on a Helicopter Tour

A helicopter tour over the Hawaiian Islands provides a bird’s-eye view of their breathtaking landscapes. From cascading waterfalls and jagged cliffs to expansive rainforests and volcanic craters, the scenery is unparalleled. Most tours offer commentary, sharing the history and geology of the sights below. This thrilling experience offers a unique perspective on Hawaii’s beauty and is sure to be a highlight of your trip. Flying above the islands, families will treasure the opportunity to see Hawaii’s natural wonders from such an extraordinary vantage point.

7. Visit the Maui Ocean Center

The Maui Ocean Center offers an up-close look at Hawaii’s diverse marine life without getting wet. The aquarium features a walk-through tunnel, interactive exhibits, and touch pools. It’s an educational experience, highlighting the importance of ocean conservation. The center is home to sharks, rays, tropical fish, and more, making it a fascinating visit for all ages. Visiting the Maui Ocean Center not only educates but also inspires a deeper respect for marine ecosystems and the vital role they play in our world.

8. Explore the Dole Plantation

The Dole Plantation on Oahu offers a fun and informative outing for families. Visitors can learn about the history of pineapple in Hawaii, navigate the world’s largest maze, and ride the Pineapple Express train through the plantation. Don’t forget to try the famous Dole Whip, a refreshing pineapple-flavored treat. The plantation’s beautiful gardens and educational displays provide a relaxed, enjoyable day out. Exploring the Dole Plantation is not only entertaining but also offers insight into the agricultural heritage of the islands, enriching your Hawaiian experience.

9. Enjoy Boating in Kauai

Boat tours in Kauai, Hawaii offer families the chance to explore the island’s stunning coastlines and hidden gems. These tours reveal the beauty of the Na Pali Coast, with its towering sea cliffs, secluded beaches, and cascading waterfalls. You might even spot dolphins, sea turtles, and whales during your journey. Boat tours in Kauai allow you to experience the island’s majestic scenery from a unique vantage point. This unforgettable adventure highlights the unparalleled beauty of Kauai, making it a must-do for families seeking to connect with nature’s splendor.

10. Hike to Diamond Head Crater

Hiking to the summit of Diamond Head Crater in Honolulu offers panoramic views of Oahu. The hike is moderately challenging but manageable for families with children. The trail leads to a historic lighthouse and military bunkers, adding an element of exploration. Along the way, informational signs detail the crater’s geological and military history, enriching the hiking experience. At the summit, you’re rewarded with breathtaking views of the coastline and city, making the effort well worth it. It’s a great way to combine exercise with spectacular sightseeing, and the sense of achievement felt by all who reach the top is unforgettable.


In conclusion, Hawaii offers an array of family-friendly activities. They combine adventure, education, and relaxation. From historical sites and cultural experiences to natural wonders and thrilling adventures, there’s something to captivate every member of the family. These ten must-see and do activities in Hawaii promise to enrich your family’s trip with memories that will last a lifetime. Whether exploring the depths of the ocean, learning to surf, or taking in the views from above, Hawaii’s spirit of Aloha welcomes you to discover its many treasures.

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