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Guide to the Island of Hawaii for Families

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The Big Island, or the Island of Hawaii, is a family favorite, where you'll find tons of family-friendly beaches, cultural attractions, and outdoor adventures for all ages. As a local of the Big Island, here are the places I'd recommend for families visiting this beautiful destination.

Good for
  • Family
  • Nature Lover
  • Beach Goer
  • Like a Local

10 Places

3 City Tips

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Map

10 Places

Akaka Falls State Park

State Parks, Waterfalls

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes

Rainbow Falls

Waterfalls

Thomas A. Jaggar Museum

Speciality Museums

Liliuokalani Gardens

Gardens

Lava Tree State Park

State Parks

Magic Sands

Beaches

Coconut Island

Islands

Richardson Beach Park

Beaches

Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area

Beaches, State Parks

ClareceT1's City Tips

  • Pack extra layers of clothing, as the temperature changes often during the day.
  • Bring sunscreen and umbrellas so that you're prepared for sudden changes in weather.
  • Be sure to talk with your kids about behaving sensitively while visiting the heritage and historic sites. It is important to remain respectful in sensitive cultural areas.
  • Akaka Falls State Park
    State Parks, Waterfalls
    See more photos
    ClareceT1 Says:

    At this national park, you can see two beautiful, easily accessible waterfalls within a short, one-hour hike. Both the 442-foot Akaka Falls and the 100-foot Kahuna Falls are hidden within a lush forest filled with wild orchids and native ferns.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The trail is well-paved, so you won't get muddy even when it drizzles.
    • Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
    • There is an admission fee per car or per walk-in.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 74 things to do in Hilo
    • Nice Water Fall Easy Walk 04/06/2021
    • Nice but unique state park 04/06/2021
    • Akaka Falls State Park
    Address:
    End of Akaka Falls Road
    Off Hwy 220
    Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96728
    Phone:
    +1 808-961-9540
    Other:
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
    Volcanoes
    See more photos
    ClareceT1 Says:

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park offers unparalleled access to the island's two most active volcanoes: Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Your family can learn about volcanoes, hike through a solidified — yet still steaming — lava lake, and explore underground lava tubes.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Stay on the trails marked with rock piles. These are official trails marked by the park to ensure you stay on safe ground.
    • If you plan to spend an entire day at the park, consider staying overnight at the Volcano House.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 25 things to do in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
    • Great… but… 11/06/2021
    • It's like another (amazing) world 04/06/2021
    • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
    Address:
    Volcano National Park
    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, HI
    Phone:
    +1 808-964-1000
    Other:
  • Rainbow Falls
    Waterfalls
    See more photos
    ClareceT1 Says:

    Rainbow Falls flows over a lava cave into a deep pond. As to be expected given the name, rainbows often form in the waterfall's mist.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There is no admission fee to access this waterfall.
    • Since there is no hike required to reach it, this waterfall is a good spot for children and seniors.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 74 things to do in Hilo
    • Pretty waterfall 11/06/2021
    • pretty 08/06/2021
    • Rainbow Falls
    Address:
    Waianuenue Avenue
    Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720
    Phone:
    +1 808-961-9540
    Other:
  • Thomas A. Jaggar Museum
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    ClareceT1 Says:

    After the 1908 earthquake killed 125,000 people near Mt. Etna in Italy, Thomas A. Jaggar joined forces with Lorrin A. Thurston to found the Hawai'i Volcano Observatory, of which Jaggar was the director until 1940. Today, the overlook still provides impressive views of Kīlauea Caldera, and the Jaggar Museum is a fun and informative place, where the whole family can learn about the geology of volcanoes, the history of Hawaiian volcanoes, and how geologists monitor volcanic activity.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The museum is located within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which charges an entry fee per car.
    • The museum is easily accessible and offers a great view of Halema'uma'u crater.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 things to do in Volcano
    • Permanently Closed 27/01/2020
    • Rest in peace 19/07/2019
    • Thomas A. Jaggar Museum
    Address:
    Crater Rim Drive
    Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park
    Volcano, Island of Hawaii, HI 96718
    Phone:
    +1 808-985-6000
    Other:
  • Liliuokalani Gardens
    Gardens
    See more photos
    ClareceT1 Says:

    Liliuokalani Gardens is a quiet, peaceful Japanese garden with bridges, koi ponds, a pagoda, and a tea house. Kids can run around this picturesque playground, while their parents enjoy its cultural and natural offerings.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Keep an eye on small children, as there are no rails on bridges and around ponds.
    • The ponds rise with the tide, so some of the paths and bridges may be submerged during your visit.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 74 things to do in Hilo
    • Really pleasant city park 04/06/2021
    • Lovely Gardens 29/05/2021
    • Liliuokalani Gardens
    Address:
    Banyan Drive
    Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-4680
    Phone:
    +1 808-522-7060
    Other:
  • Lava Tree State Park
    State Parks
    See more photos
    ClareceT1 Says:

    The 17-acre Lava Tree State Park is a geological wonder that will fascinate visitors of all ages. In the 1700s, lava flow came through this area and coated the trunks of the Ohia trees. Today, hollow molds of the trees remain frozen in time, surrounded by lush vegetation.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Bring mosquito repellent to ward off the pesky insects that abound in this area.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 20 things to do in Pahoa
    • Such a different place 05/05/2021
    • Hawaii’s version of the petrified forest. 06/02/2021
    • Lava Tree State Park
    Address:
    Pahoa-Kapoho Road
    Puna district
    Pahoa, Island of Hawaii, HI
    Phone:
    +1 808-974-6200
    Other:
  • Magic Sands
    Beaches
    See more photos
    ClareceT1 Says:

    Also known as Laalao Beach, Magic Sands is one of the best beaches near Kailua-Kona. Children and adults alike can play on the white sands or frolic in the surf. The 'migratory' beach is also sometimes called 'Disappearing Sands' because of its tendency to disappear during tidal shifts (usually in winter) and then reappear.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Be careful of the surf; it can be rough at times, so is not great for beginner swimmers.
    • You can often spot sea turtles!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #20 of 102 things to do in Kailua-Kona
    • Wonderful beach and amazing sunsets! 06/03/2021
    • Family vacation 10/02/2021
    • Magic Sands
    Address:
    Ali'i Drive
    by Kona Magic Sands Resort; at La'aloa Bay
    Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HI 96740
  • Coconut Island
    Islands
    See more photos
    ClareceT1 Says:

    Jutting out of Hilo Bay, Coconut Island is a perfect spot to relax and enjoy beautiful views of Hilo town and the mountains. Kids will love walking over the footbridge and can look for the remains of the old caretakers house.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Picnic tables and a pavilion make this a perfect place for a snack break.
    • Look for a tree with metal markings that show past tsunami water levels.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #11 of 74 things to do in Hilo
    • Great Liitle Place 29/05/2021
    • Lovely spot among lovely spots nearby 01/05/2021
    • Coconut Island
    Address:
    Off-shoot from Banyan Drive
    Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720
    Other:
  • Richardson Beach Park
    Beaches
    See more photos
    ClareceT1 Says:

    An easily accessible black sand beach next to the Hilo airport, Richardson offers two sandy stretches with gentle waves.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The second beach is larger than the first, so keep walking!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 74 things to do in Hilo
    • Cold Pond 13/05/2021
    • black sand beach 30/03/2021
    • Richardson Beach Park
    Address:
    2279 Kalanianaole Ave
    Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720
  • Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area
    Beaches, State Parks
    See more photos
    ClareceT1 Says:

    One of the best beaches near Kailua-Kona, Hapuna Beach is a soft, white-sand beach with gentle surf perfect for snorkeling and boogieboarding.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Come in the morning to avoid crowds.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 13 things to do in Puako
    • Perfect for families 11/06/2021
    • Boogie Board 01/06/2021
    • Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area
    Address:
    Old Puako Rd
    Puako, Island of Hawaii, HI 96743
    Phone:
    +1 808-961-9540
    Other:
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