Hawaiian culture holds a special place for ohana (family), and kids of all ages will find plenty to do on the islands. From snorkeling and canoe surfing to volcanoes and sacred cultural sites, Hawaii’s wealth of family-centric activities and attractions make it a favorite for travelers with children in tow. Our readers voted, and these are the 10 best family attractions in Hawaii for 2023.
Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson
No. 10: Pearl Harbor National Memorial - Honolulu, Hawaii
Oahu's Pearl Harbor National Memorial is most famously home to the USS Arizona Memorial. But the harbor houses other notable historic attractions as well, including the Battleship Missouri Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.
Photo courtesy of None needed
No. 9: Old Lahaina Luau - Lahaina, Hawaii
No family trip to the Hawaiian Islands would be complete without attending a luau, and this one on Maui features traditional Hawaiian food, an open bar, hula dancing and flower leis – all in a recreated Hawaiian village right on the oceanfront.
Photo courtesy of @islandwatersportshi
No. 8: Island Water Sports Hawaii (submarine scooters) - Honolulu, Hawaii
You don’t need any diving experience to explore Hawaii’s underwater world in a submarine scooter. This family-friendly adventure from Island Water Sports takes visitors under the surface of Oahu’s Maunalua Bay aboard self-propelled, eco-friendly scooters.
Photo courtesy of Pacific Whale Foundation
No. 7: PacWhale Eco-Adventures - Wailuku, Hawaii
Every PacWhale Eco-Adventure cruise promises their passengers a remarkable and educational experience. Guests can watch wildlife in their natural habitat; snorkel Molokini, Lanaʻi or Honolua Bay; or choose to enjoy a relaxing sunset dinner, cocktail or stargazing cruise.
Photo courtesy of Tommy Pierucki
No. 6: Waikiki Beach Services (outrigger canoe surfing)
Waikiki Beach Services has been outfitting water sports on Honolulu’s iconic stretch of sand since 1955. Here, families are welcome to try out one of Hawaii’s signature sports, once reserved for Hawaiian royalty, the outrigger canoe.
Photo courtesy of Natalia Mastra
No. 5: The Umauma Experience - Hakalau, Hawaii
Families looking for an adrenaline rush will find it at The Umauma Experience. This Big Island aerial adventure park features a 9-line zip line course extending for nearly 2 miles. Zip past 14 waterfalls while soaking up the ocean and rainforest views.
Photo courtesy of mariusz_prusaczyk // Getty Images
No. 4: Botanical World Adventures - Hakalau, Hawai
See Hawaii from a new perspective at Zip Isle Zipline Adventures. Their eight ziplines run above and through the Botanical World Adventure’s rainforest canopy, zooming between the trees almost close enough to touch them. Fly over waterfalls, pools and flowering trees, and view exotic plants in the gardens. The zip lines get faster and longer as you fly through the jungle, and the ride finishes with two side-by-side ziplines, so you can race your family or friends to the finish! This experience is perfect for both young and old and all expertise levels of “zipping.”
Photo courtesy of iStock / Jorge Villalba
No. 3: Ahi Lele Fire show - Kilauea, Hawaii
The rich history and folklore of the Hawaiian Islands are on full display during this dazzling performance, with grand tales and epic journeys spelled out to the tune of pounding Polynesian drumbeats and glowing flames. This performance is sure to captivate audience members both young and old, while global cuisine like kalua pork, Thai-style red curry, and Buffalo wings are all up for grabs throughout the show.
Photo courtesy of Maui Ocean Center
No. 2: Maui Ocean Center - Wailuku, Hawaii
The Maui Ocean Center is home to one of the largest displays of live Pacific corals in the world. Kids can come face-to-face with a variety of Hawaiian marine life, including sharks, stingrays, sea turtles and colorful tropical fish.
Photo courtesy of Polynesian Cultural Center
No. 1: Polynesian Cultural Center - Laie, Hawaii
One of Oahu's top attractions provides glimpses into the cultures of Polynesia (Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, Fiji, Aotearoa and Tonga). Each one maintains a separate village, where visitors are regaled with information about celebration and survival in ancient days. Demonstrations, performances, narratives and even a luau are presented, allowing guests to immerse themselves in tradition.