Now as you might expect, since the arrival of our little darlin’, that care free and fancy lifestyle has taken hefty leap into no mans land and we’ve had to start spending our money more wisely on grown up things like a mortgage and the weekly shop! To put it into context our main holiday last year was a camping trip to Dorset rather than a Hawaii house rental! Yey to adulthood!!
Obviously we wouldn’t change it for the world, being a parent has been our greatest adventure yet, but just because we’ve entered the realm of ‘adulthood’, our zest for wanderlust hasn’t gone away and I often find myself falling down a Google rabbit hole imagining ourselves in a foreign land and sipping coconuts on a beach! With that in mind I’ve decided to start a Travel Bucket List of places we’d love to go to if we had the funds available! That way, once the house is finished and we finally have some money in our pockets again, all we have to do is dust off one of these blog posts and away we go! Happy Days! I’m sharing my finds with all of you, because lets face it some of you might not be up to your armpits in DIY and might just be able to jump on that plane to paradise – so here you have it, Ive made a little start in the research for you…
First up on my hypothetical travel wish list is HAWAII (and I mean why not!! If you’re going to dream up a hypothetical holiday, you may as well get the big guns out of the way first!!)
Getting to know Hawaii
Hawaii is an archipelago of islands spread over 1,500 miles located way out into the Pacific Ocean. The best way to get there from England is to take a connecting flight via the west coast of the USA (so Seattle, LA or San Francisco) and it takes about 17 -18 hours.
The best time to visit is between May and June, (known as the sleepy dry season) when the days are still hot and long but the pace of life is a little slower following peak season (between December and April) when most people descend on the islands ready for their summer vacation.
One thing I’ve learned from this hypothetical travelling experience, is that Hawaii literally has something for EVERYONE! There is sooo much to do and see that I couldn’t possibly cover it all in one blog post, so I’ve focused my efforts on the best things to do with children as if we ever do get there, we will definitely have the little one in tow. So with that in mind I will begin…
Best Islands for Children?
There are eight main islands of Hawaii, Ni’ihau, Kaua’i, O’ahu, Moloka’i, Lana’i, Kaho’olawi, Maui and the largest island known as the ‘Island of the Hawaii’ or often just ‘Big Island’. Of these eight main islands, four are very family friendly and I’ve summarised what each of these islands has to offer below.
O’ahu is the main tourist island with many of the most recognised sites such as Waikiki Beach, Honolulu and Pearl Habour. It is stuffed full of family friendly accommodation and everything is less than half a days drive away, so it’s really compact. O’ahu offers some fantastic hiking trails, luau dinners and snorkeling opportunities at Hanauma Bay and there are some brilliant guided tours including the Haunted Island tours in Waikiki and Honolulu.
Owing to its small size, Kauai is a favourite amongst those who want the chance to explore an island in its. Kauai is home to beautiful caves and breathtaking white sand beaches. Waimea Canyon is the largest canyon in the pacific and is surrounded by stunning sea cliffs on the Na Pali coast. Children can learn to surf and there are some amazing hikes available.
A beach lover’s paradise, Maui island is extremely family friendly with lots of apartments available for rent on the leeward shores. Families can enjoy winter whale watching cruises, snorkling with turtles and fantastic sunrises and sunsets atop of the dormant Haleakalā volcano. There are also waterfalls galore along the Road to Hana and farms to visit selling local produce such as wine, goats cheese and even vodka.
- Hawaiʻi, the Big Island
There are five active volcanoes in Hawii and four of them are on the Big Island. Kilauea is the worlds most active volcano has been erupting continuously since 1983, Hawaii Island is a nature lovers paradise. Not only is it home to some of the most epic snorkelling ever, children can enjoy the red lot lava flows at Hilo to the south of the island or horseback riding like a paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) in one of the many horse ranches towards the north of the island. There’s also stargazing from one of the many dormant volcanoes or zip-lining through the forest and a Macadamia Nut factory for anyone who’s interested.
Activities (& Age Restrictions)
Whilst there is lots to see and do for children of all ages across the Hawaiian islands, you might find there are certain age, height or weight restrictions for some of the more adventurous activities, so I’ve popped a little guide below for advice on what to expect so as to avoid any tears when you get there! (it is of course always worth double checking at the time of booking).
Surfing: As a general rule, children who can swim comfortably in open water will be accepted for lessons. Teens can generally join in group lessons whilst younger kids may have to have private lessons to start.
Horseriding: For trail rides the minimum age ranges from seven to 10 years, depending on the company. It helps if your child already has some riding experience. Short pony rides may be available for younger children.
Snorkelling: Tours sometimes set minimum ages, usually from five to eight years but some larger boats with more staff may allow youngsters to join in the fun.
Heicopter Rides: Most tour companies set minimum ages for example 12 years, but some also set minimum body weights such as 2.5 stone. Toddlers must be strapped into their own seat and pay the full fare.
Ziplining: Minimum age requirements range from five to 12 years, depending on the company. Participants must also meet weight minimums (usually 3.5- 8 stone)
Photograph: Oahu Zipline.com
Hawaii is a friendly family oriented destination with children welcome in most restaurants except perhaps some high-end dining rooms. Children’s menus and high chairs are available in most places and super-markets are stocked with all traditional branded products, so even if you have the fussiest eater on your hands, chances are they wont go hungry! The local cuisine is awash with brightly coloured fruit and fantastic fish so there should be something to tempt their taste buds and its lovely and healthy too.
Perhaps one of the best things about eating out on Hawaii is that beach picnics and outside dining are seen as the norm so it’s not unusual to bundle some finger foods together and head down to a local beach park to dine out as a family under the stars.
Finally there are many luau dinner experiences to choose from, which might feel a bit like cheesy resort like shows to adults, but children will love the fancy costumes, dances and fire tricks. Typically children get discounted tickets (and sometimes free admission when accompanied by a paying adult).
So have I tempted you yet? Better yet have you been? Do you have a favourite island or any tips on travelling to Hawaii with children, it would be great to hear your experiences.
* This is a collaborative post