Hawaii is paradise for children: beaches to run on, water to splash in, and unusual sights to see.
The larger hotels and resorts offer supervised programs for children and can refer you to qualified babysitters. By state law, hotels can accept only children ages 5 to 12 in supervised activities programs, but they often accommodate younger kids by simply hiring babysitters to watch over them. You can also contact People Attentive to Children (PATCH), which can refer you to babysitters who have taken a training course on child care. On Oahu, call tel. 808/839-1988; on the Big Island, call tel. 808/325-3864 in Kona or tel. 808/961-3169 in Hilo; on Maui, call tel. 808/242-9232; on Kauai, call tel. 808/246-0622; on Molokai and Lanai, call tel. 800/498-4145; or visit www.patchhawaii.org.
Baby's Away (www.babysaway.com) rents cribs, strollers, highchairs, playpens, infant seats, and the like on Oahu (tel. 800/496-6386 or 808/640-6734), the Big Island (tel. 800/996-9030 or 808/322-5158), and Maui (tel. 800/942-9030 or 808344-2219). The staff will deliver whatever you need to wherever you're staying and pick it up when you're done.
The best of Hawaii for Kids
* Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawaii (Oahu;http://resorts.disney.go.com/aulani-hawaii-resort; tel. 714/520-7001):Disney built this high-rise hotel and spa (with timeshare condos) on 21 acres on the beach, about an hour’s drive from Waikiki. It’s a great destination for families, with a full children’s program, plus areas and activities for teens and tweens. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and other Disney characters walk the resort and stop to take photos with kids.
* Dole Pineapple Plantation (Oahu;www.dole-plantation.com; tel. 808/621-8408):Get the kids (and yourself!) a Dole Whip and fresh pineapple, and then take them through the main attraction: part maze, part scavenger hunt. They’ll also enjoy the Pineapple Express, a short train ride on a single-engine diesel locomotive around the plantation’s grounds.
* Build Sandcastles on Kailua Beach (Oahu): This gorgeous beach is kid-friendly, with sand that slopes gently into the water. The waves vary in spots—perfect for the young ones to splash around and older kids to boogie board. The broad stretch of sand is also great for building castles.
* Slumber Party at the Aquarium (Maui): Kids can book a sleepover in the Maui Ocean Center, staying up into the wee hours to watch glowing jellyfish and other nocturnal animals.
* Snorkel in Kealakekua Bay (Big Island): Everyone can enjoy the dazzling display of marine life here on a Fair Wind cruise (www.fair-wind.com; tel. 800/677-9461 or 808/322-2788), which offers inner tubes and underwater viewing boxes for little ones (or older ones) who don’t want to get their faces wet. Two water slides and a spacious boat with a friendly crew also make this a treat.
* Play at Lydgate Park (Kauai): If kids tire of snorkeling in the protected swimming area of Lydgate Beach, a giant wooden fantasy play structure and bridge to the dunes await, along with grassy fields and several miles of biking trails.
* Ride a Sugarcane Train (Kauai): At Kilohana Plantation, families can enjoy an inexpensive, narrated train ride through fields, forest, and orchards, with a stop to feed sheep, goats, and wild pigs.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.