Ultimate guide to things to do in Hawaii with kids

Breathtaking volcanic islands, colourful coral reefs and unforgettable sunsets over the ocean – welcome to Hawaii! Hawaii’s distinctly island lifestyle and idyllic natural attractions make for an ideal family holiday. Relaxed and diverse, the Hawaiian Islands have so much to offer for family-friendly activities. An abundance of water-sports and sea exploration, tours of unique natural phenomenon (volcanic lava flowing into the open ocean among them!), a beach culture the whole family can participate in and traditional cultural attractions – Hawaii offers a unique experience for every family.

Multi-gen Hawaii
Snorkelling on the North Shore, Oahu. Picture: Hawaii Tourism Authority / Tor Johnson

The kids will love

Hawai‘i (Big Island)

Visit Hawai‘i’s Volcanoes National Park for an unforgettable experience! Hike through ancient rainforests and across solid volcanic fields where molten lava boils underground. With older kids, take a twilight hike across the lava deserts to the ocean where you will witness the breathtaking phenomenon of molten lava pouring into the sea. Other adventure experiences include forest zip lining and horse-back riding.


Snorkel at Hanauma Bay, take a surfing lesson at Waikiki Beach, experience the popular open shopping strips, hike around Diamond Head, spend a night at House Without a Key – a welcoming beachfront live music venue and watch the beauty of a Waikiki sunset over the open ocean.

non-beach Hawaii family activities
Wild, wild horses couldn't drag me away from Hawaii. Picture: Supplied.


Visit Haleakala National Park and witness an unforgettable sunrise from upon the impressive Haleakala volcano (with width the size of Manhattan) and experience traditional Hawaiian culture at The Old Lahaina Luau Maui.


Perfect for young children, Kaua‘i’s ‘baby beaches’ are the perfect environment for toddlers to explore and enjoy the water safely; experience the majestic Na Pali Coast in any way you’d like – hike, kayak, take a boat tour or exhilarating helicopter ride – the rugged coastline, pristine beaches and cascading waterfalls are unparalleled.

Hawaiian islands

Best time to travel

Colourful and cultural Aloha Festivals fill the streets throughout September. With mild temperatures and cloudless skies, September and May are the two most ideal seasons to visit Hawaii – perfect for all hiking, adventure and beach activities, you can’t go wrong at these times of the year. 

The low season is October to November, when airfares and accommodation rates are lowest, often down by 50% and tourist crowds are minimal. The weather is hot and dry so not ideal for hiking, but perfect weather for all beach activities.

High seasons are December thorough April and June to August. Flights and accommodation hike in this period from 50% – 100%, peaking during the Christmas and New Year period. Winter temperatures remain mild, though experiences some more rain – ideal for hiking and adventuring. Summer is reasonably hotter with high humidity levels – perfect beach weather.

Things to do in Hawaii with...

Zip lining in Kauai. Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority

Getting around Hawaii

Air: Flights are the best way to travel between the islands. Hawaiian Airlines, reliable and frequent, have nearly 200 daily flights between the main islands (O‘ahu, Maui, Hawai‘i and Kaua‘i) as well as to more regional airports on the smaller islands. Prices vary from $50 to $250.

Car: Rentals are the recommended option if you want to explore, especially on the smaller islands. 4WDs are a good option, available from most resorts and hotels for around $10 – $40. 

Bus: travel on the main islands is reliable, cheap and rather easy. The main company is TheBus has routes to many tourist sites and areas, however not everywhere is accessible via bus routes. Travelling via bus on smaller islands is aimed toward residents and commuters – it is not recommended as routes often bypass most tourist destinations.

You can expect to spend a lot of time in this hotel's pool with kids. Picture: supplied

More about Hawaii for families


  • Most hotels and resorts are family-friendly and often offer ‘kids stay for free’ promotions if they can use existing bedding – rollaway and fold-out beds are available in most hotel rooms. Always ask before booking. 
  • Always mention you are travelling with children upon booking accommodation – kids are welcomed at most hotels, resorts and even B&Bs, but some do have adult-only policies.
  • Vacation rental homes are a convenient option for families with the added advantage of a fully furnished kitchen and laundry. They are often reasonably priced and can be rather cheaper than hotel and resort accommodations during the peak tourist seasons.

What to pack

  • The atmosphere on all islands is very casual; beach wear and casual clothing are standard. Sun hats and sunscreen are essential items as the sun in Hawaii is particularly strong, especially at the significant heights reached on some islands.
  • Rain gear and warm layers are recommended. There is usually always rain on at least one island in Hawaii at a time, on the windward sides and warm clothing will be needed when visiting higher elevations and when hiking – layers are recommended as the temperature difference between sea level and mountains varies greatly.
  • Mainland stores sell and rent most tourist, beach and kid’s items for reasonable prices, so these are not necessarily essential items to bring from home.


What’s on?

The best annual events for families in Adelaide

Feb/March – Adelaide Fringe

You’ll find family and kid friendly shows at Adelaide’s wild and wonderful Fringe festival.

March - Adelaide Festival

Australia’s premier Arts festival showcases theatre, world-class musicians, dance, writers and visual art.

March – Adelaide 500

This motorsport spectacular is packed with action and entertainment for families. The 2021 Superloop Adelaide 500 will occur on revised dates in 2021.

March – South Australia History Festival

Enjoy hundreds of events such as talks to workshops exploring the local history.

March – WOMADelaide

Enjoy family friendly performances and workshops by the world’s best traditional and contemporary musicians, dancers and DJs.

May – DreamBig Children’s Festival

This arts festival for schools and families is the largest of its kind in the world.

September – Royal Adelaide Show

Experience animals, rides, food and entertainment as the country comes to the city.

October – OzAsia Festival

Australia’s biggest Asian arts festival.

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