Family Travel—With beaches to build castles on, water to splash in, and amazing sights to see, Hawaii is paradise for children. Take a look at “The Best of Hawaii for Kids”.
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 can often accommodate younger kids by hiring babysitters to watch over them. Contact People Attentive to Children (PATCH) for referrals to babysitters who have taken a training course in childcare. On Oahu, call 808/839-1988; on the Big Island, call 808/322-3500 in Kona or 808/961-3169 in Hilo; on Maui, call 808/242-9232; on Kauai, call 808/246-0622; on Molokai and Lanai, call 800/498-4145; or visit www.patchhawaii.org. The Nanny Connection (www.thenannyconnection.com; 808/875-4777) on Maui is a reputable business that sends Mary Poppins–esque nannies to resorts and beaches to watch children ($15 per hour and up, with a 3-hour minimum and a $25 booking fee). Tutoring services are also available.
Baby’s Away (www.babysaway.com) rents cribs, strollers, highchairs, playpens, infant seats, and the like on Oahu (800/496-6386 or 808/729-4214), Maui (800/942-9030 or 808/269-4939 and Hawaii Island (800/996-9030 or 808/747-9667). 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): 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, and other Disney characters walk the resort and stop to take photos with kids.
* Polynesian Cultural Center (Oahu): Experience the songs, dance, and costumes of six Pacific islands and archipelagos at the Disneyland version of Polynesia. There are plenty of activities to engage kids, such as spear-throwing competitions and Maori games that test hand-eye coordination.
* 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; 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 add to the fun.
* 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 goats and wild pigs.
* Frolic in a Playful Garden (Kauai): The “Under the Rainbow” children’s garden at Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens & Sculpture Park offers a hedge maze, treehouse, mini railroad and wading pool, among other delights.
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.