10 reasons to book a family holiday to Big Island, Hawaii

This post, 10 reasons to book a family holiday to Big Island, Hawaii has been created in collaboration with Luxury Retreats.

When you think of Hawaii what scenes flash into your mind?  Do you picture loved up couples walking hand in hand along spectacular beaches with swaying palms?  Romantic meals for two whilst watching the sun set?  These are the scenes I fondly remember when I daydream about my honeymoon seven years ago in Hawaii.  There is no doubt that the six islands that make up Hawaii are perfect for honeymooners. However the islands, and particularly the largest of the islands, aka ‘the Big Island’ has lots to offer for families too.

activities for a family holiday to Big Island, Hawaii

If we were to visit Hawaii as a family my priority when booking accommodation would be VERY different to last time.  When booking our honeymoon, our number one priority was a hotel with the best bars and restaurants.  Fast forward seven years, two kids (and a distinct lack of babysitters!) the priority for our accommodation search would be for the most spacious Big Island house rentals we could afford.  A private luxury home would provide us with space to enjoy spending quality family time together and equally as importantly, space to spread out and avoid getting on each others nerves!

I personally love the look of this one, aptly called the Waterfalling Estate.  I can just picture my boys excitedly riding down this slide and splashing into the pool…

accommodation family holiday to Big Island, Hawaii

Although I could be seriously tempted by this luxury ocean front property.   Located within arms reach of coral reefs which are often visited by seasonal whales it makes the perfect base for an active family holiday on Big Island.

So what are my 10 reasons to book a family holiday to Big Island, Hawaii?

No. 1 – Sunbathe on unique beaches

Big Island offers almost every sort of beach from green sand at Papakolea Beach to black sand at Punaluu Beach. You can sink your feet into some of the world’s most interesting sand due to the volcanic activity on the island.

beaches - family holiday to Big Island, Hawaii

what to do with kids Big Island, Hawaii

The beach most recommended for families is the Hapuna Beach State Park equipped with everything you need for a day at the beach with kids – lifeguards, facilities, calm water and soft sands.

No. 2 – Get up close to one of the world’s most active volcanoes

Unknown to many is that Big Island is entirely formed by volcanic activity. It’s made up of five separate volcanoes which, over the past million or so years, have joined together.

What’s particularly great about Big Island is that visitors can actually see volcanoes in action at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. (An experience that surely would be pretty hard to beat during classroom show and tell sessions!)  The park is home to two volcanoes including Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes on earth which still produces 250,000–650,000 cubic yards of lava per day.

For active families there are 155 miles of hiking trails to explore. Whilst families with young kids like mine, (who are not so keen on walking!) can still get up close to a volcano by booking on a crater rim drive to experience scenes of glowing lava streams as they glide into the ocean.

No. 3 – Go in search of a rainbow

As a rule I don’t like to set my alarm clock on holiday, however this view of the aptly named Rainbow Falls in the Wailuku River State Park would be worth an early morning start…

No. 4 – Take a scenic drive along the Hamakua Coast Waipio Valley

Whilst on honeymoon in Maui we drove along the road to Hana which was truly spectacular.  On Big Island the ‘must do’ drive is known as the Hamakua Heritage Corridor from Hilo to the Waipio Valley. Along the way there are lots of places to stop including the botanical gardens and two of the islands most famous waterfalls Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls. The grand finale is a stop at the Waipio Valley Lookout to take in this truly stunning panoramic view…

scenic drives - family holiday to Big Island, Hawaii

No. 5 – Soak in geothermal baths

On Big Islands easternmost tip lies the free-spirited Puna with its black sandy beaches and coastal geothermal baths, heated below the earth by volcanic steam.

things to do with kids in Big Island, Hawaii

No. 6 – Party Hawaiian style at a luau

The highlight of our honeymoon, and one I strongly recommend that all visitors experience during a visit to Hawaii, was attending a luau – a Hawaiian feast accompanied by lively music and traditional cultural performances.  It’s the perfect opportunity to dig into local delicacies including poi (pounded taro plant root), shredded roast pig (known as Kalua pig) and haupia (the most amazing coconut pudding).

things to do with kids Big Island Hawaii

No. 7 – Experience unforgettable family adventures 

There is a very good reason that the Big Island is known as the adventure island.  Some of the activities on offer include horseback riding, swimming with sting rays, whale watching, hiking, biking… I particularly love the idea of swimming with green sea turtles, how magical does this look?

#Snorkeling is always better with a friend. Where is your favorite spot to snorkel? Photo courtesy of @trimbleezy 🐢

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No. 8 – No language barriers 

Travelling long haul with kids can be rather daunting especially when you don’t speak the local lingo.  Fortunately this isn’t an issue in Hawaii which is the 50th US state.

Hawaii has three official languages, English and two Polynesian languages, Hawaiian and (since 2015) Pidgin English.  English is everywhere and hospitality workers speak English although a friendly greeting – aloha (hello) or mahalo (thank you) will be much appreciated and will improve your chances of getting to know the locals and learn about their Hawaiian culture.

No. 9 – Perfect for a multi destination holiday 

I’m a big fan of multi destination family holidays.  I love mixing up a beach holiday with a short city break to maximise our precious annual leave.  For our honeymoon we stopped en-route to Hawaii for a few nights in Las Vegas.  With my kids I would be seriously tempted by a stop over in L.A to visit Disney,  Or a few days of city sightseeing in San Francisco before hopping on a flight with Hawaiian Airlines to head over to the Big Island.

Beautiful #sunset over #DisneyCaliforniaAdventure! 😍(Photo: @photomarvin)

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No. 10 – Soak up the sunset (with a cocktail of course!)

It would be criminal not to include the islands legendary sunsets in this list.  Whether you visit Big Island, Hawaii for a honeymoon or a family holiday you’ll be mesmerised by the sunset at the end of every day.

And that’s it folks!  My 10 reasons why you should book a family holiday to Big Island, Hawaii.  I would love to hear from you if you have more to add.

Further reading –  21 Amazing Things to Do in Hawaii by Off with the kids

Copyright – All images copyright Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).

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what to do Family holiday Big Island, Hawaii


15 thoughts on “10 reasons to book a family holiday to Big Island, Hawaii

  1. Mini Travellers

    It has been sooo long since I was in Hawaii – almost 20 years now and when I visited I had literally no money as we were backacking and on our way home totally skint! Would love to do properly!

    1. Lisa Post author

      Ha ha don’t they just Claire! Hawaii is truly stunning, you would absolutely adore all of the outdoor activities you can enjoy as a family

  2. Celine

    We are planning to visit Hawaii next year. I was originally thinking Maui, but now you have me rethinking that! The Big Island looks amazing!

    1. Lisa Post author

      Ha thats funny Celine because we considered Maui first for our honeymoon and then changed our mind when we started researching Hawaii. You won’t regret it I promise! 😉

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