Which Hawaiian Island Has The Best Beaches
Hawaii is renowned worldwide for its beautiful beaches, and this is very likely to be the main motivation for your trip to the islands.
The clean white sands and sparkling turquoise water are the stuff of dreams for most working families, so a vacation to Hawaii is a spectacular treat. This is a popular vacation spot and one that has a lot to offer, based on where you choose to go.
This is why to make the most of your trip, you need to know where you want to go and what to expect. Each island, and therefore the beaches, offers a unique experience, and this is something to consider before making any concrete plans.
While beautiful beaches are a pillar of all Hawaiin islands, some may be better suited to your needs than others which is why we have created this guide.
Before booking your dream vacation, consider which Hawaiian island has the best beaches so you can experience the ultimate trip in paradise.
Fun Things To Do On Maui With Kids
Are you ready to find out what makes Maui the best island in Hawaii for families with young kids? We dedicated an entire post to the best things to do in Maui with kids with detailed information and plenty of pictures. Here are some of our favorite family-friendly activities on the island:
- Explore the islands east coast while driving the Road to Hana. Do note that, in our experience, the Road to Hana is worth visiting only when your kids are somewhat older and when the weather is not too bad.
Free Things To Do On Oahu
Best Oahu Beaches for Kids
Because of its popularity, it can be a bit crowded but the beachfront is ideal for young children and there are several restaurants nearby to grab lunch and relax.
Kailua Beach is a small beach that is protected from harsh waves, so it works well for younger children that prefer to wade in shallow water or play in the sand onshore.
If youre interested in adding an educational component to your beach trip, the tide pools are a wealth of discovery with sea life waiting to be explored by curious little hands.
Another great beach for kids is Hanauma Bay. Much like Kailua Beach, there are very few waves making it great for young children.
While not free, it is a great beach for beginning snorkelers and parents looking to relax on the beach without worrying about kids being knocked down by crashing waves.
And if you just want to enjoy beach views, head to North Shore Oahu to watch surfers do their thing!
Visit Pearl Harbor with Kids
If youre looking for free things to do on Oahu with kids, consider an educational visit to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.
Here youll be able to check out several exhibit galleries that pay tribute to men women and children killed during the Attack on Pearl Harbor.
Hike the Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail
Check Out the Dole Plantation
Read my full North Shore Oahu guide
Breakfast with Mickey Mouse
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Downsides Of This Hawaii Island For Families
- Depending on the seasons , the weather can be somewhat of a dealbreaker. Kauai is so tropically lush thanks to the rainfall. This Hawaiian island is even home to the wettest place on earth: Mount Waialeale. May to September are usually the driest months and Poipu and Lihue the drier areas.
- Driving times add up on Kauai, even for short distances, because the lay-out of the land only allows a limited number of roads. Parking space is limited for most attractions around the island and parking spots are notoriously small. Wed strongly recommend renting a smaller car in Kauai. Youll find plenty of options on Discount Hawaii Car Rental.
- Only a handful of beaches are suited for swimming. dangerous currents, rip tides, and hammering surf.
Is Oahu Or Maui Better For Kids Is Maui Or Kauai Better For Kids
I am often asked if it is better to go to Maui or Honolulu with kids. First, Maui is the island, and Honolulu is the main city on the island of Oahu. We have taken our toddlers to both Maui and Oahu, and honestly, both are two of the best Hawaiian islands for kids. When asking is Maui or Oahu better for families I always remind folks that Oahu, the best Hawaiian island for Disney fans, hosts Disney’s Aulani in Ko Olina.
And, if you were only going to go to Hawaii once and only choose one island, I would say Oahu is the best Hawaiian island for kids.
But, even if you don’t head to Ko Olina, there are plenty of family-friendly and toddler friendly activities, and great beaches on Oahu. It is also home to Pearl Harbor and the famous North Shore so it is certainly worth visiting. It is just the busiest of the islands.
That said, if you have the chance to visit more than one island, Maui is great for toddlers and kids of all ages because it has plenty of activities, great beaches, and family-friendly hotels and restuarants. It is less busy than Oahu. But it is more expensive that Oahu.
If you wonder if Maui or Kauai is better for kids, I would suggest that Kauai is great for kids ages five and older. Most Napili Coast boat tours require kids be at least this age, and this is one of the very special family friendly activities to do on this island. There are a lot of things to do on Maui with kids under age five.
Thinking Of A Sunny Family Holiday To An Idyllic Island Paradise If So Here Are The Top Ten Best Hawaiian Islands For Families
Known for beautiful beaches, turquoise waters, abundant natural wonders, and plenty of fun outdoor activities, Hawaii is the perfect holiday destination for all types of travellers.
If youre planning a family vacation, then this beautiful state needs to be on your radar. With hundreds of family-friendly resorts to choose from, you are sure to be spoilt for choice.
However, the hardest decision youll make will be deciding which destination is right for you and your family. To narrow down your choices, we are giving you the best Hawaiian islands for families.
How To Be A Good Tourist In Hawaii
Even before the pandemic, Hawaiis identity as idyllic tourist spot was a tricky one for locals yes, tourism means jobs, cash flow, and business opportunities for local entrepreneurs, but it also means congestion, higher prices, and most importantly, a seeming sense of disregard for the the aina and Hawaiian tradition and culture. Covid led to a significant increase in mainland transplants from the continental United States, and with it came a more deep disconnect between mainlanders and locals.
CONNECT DEEPER:Hawaii Invites Visitors to Volunteer on Vacation
That said, as a tourist to any island in Hawaii, you can demonstrate your humanity by showing respect and deference to local ways. Be sure to treat the land as if it is one giant national park, abiding by the principle of LNT and local guidelines this means giving marine life wide berth , applying reef safe sunscreen long before you go in the water, and appreciating lava rock and plant life but leaving them in their place.
Also, ask questions about local practices, read about local activism, visit historic sites and museums, and even seek out service opportunities. Imagine Hawaii as another countrythe cultural norms, language, arts, and landscape are unique to this rich and beautiful land and people.
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Best Hawaii Island For Hotels
aerial view of honolulu, oahu
Oahu is home to two-thirds of all the hotels that are found in the state of Hawaii.
Its safe to say that theres plenty of options here!
Heres a complete guide on picking the best area to stay in Oahu for your first visit.
However, if you love 5-star resorts, being pampered and the whole nine yards, Maui would be the island for you.
Being home to some of the best high-end hotels in Hawaii, Maui is the top island to book your stay if romance is in the air or youre celebrating your honeymoon.
Nothing says romance more than booking a hotel on Mauis beaches.
If youre picking your island based on budget, Kauai or the Big Island are going to be the cheapest islands to stay on.
Hotel choices are more limited, youll find most of the accommodations here are 3 or 4-star resorts. Homestays and condo rentals are a popular budget-friendly option here.
On a side note, are you hoping to snag a deal on an all-inclusive stay? Heres what you need to know about booking an all-inclusive resort in Hawaii.
Which Island in Hawaii Has the Best Accommodations?
Hands down, Oahu has the most choices when it comes to picking a hotel to stay in.
No matter if you’re looking for a budget-friendly hotel or a resort that’s borderline 6-star, you’ll find it here.
Which Hawaiian Island Is Most Kid
So, you are wondering which island is the best to go with kids. Well, all of the Hawaii islands are kid-friendly, but once again it depends on the ages of your kids and the activities you like to do on your family vacation. Deciding which Hawaiian Island is best for kids is somewhat a personal decision.
When it comes to activities for all ages, Oahu or Maui would be my picks for which of the Hawaiian Islands are best for kids. Both have lots of great activities for a family vacation, suitable from toddlers to teens.
And, Oahu has Aulani, where you can visit for a day, have breakfast with Mickey and the gang, as well as wonderful activities like Pearl Harbor, the Polynesian Cultural Center, and more. Both have great beaches for families.
But Kauai may be the best Hawaiian island for families who love outdoor adventures and a bit more laid back atmosphere, so if you have kids ages five and up, this is a great island to try for a family vacation. Visiting unique places like Waimea Canyon , boat rides and snorekling on the Napili Coast, watching the unique phenomenon of Sprouting Horn on the way to Poipu Beach make Kauai a great Hawaiian Island for kids older than five.
And for school-aged kids and older, we love the Big Island. It is so unique and different and full of educational opportunities with Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, snorkeling, and hiking, so it would be the best Hawaii island with kids if you are looking for a really unique island experience.
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The Big Island: Volcanoes Waterfalls And Cultural Sites
Which is the best Hawaiian island for diverse outdoor adventures? Hawaii Island, also called the Big Island of Hawaii. It has 10 of the worlds 14 climate zones and many fun family activities to explore the varied terrain.
Active volcanoes, beaches, waterfalls, cultural sites and coffee farms are on my familys list of favorite things to do on the Big Island.
There are two active volcanoes Klauea and Mauna Loa in Hilo. For information and lava viewing, visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Stop by the visitor center for park news and activities. This unique park has hiking trails, steam vents, a rainforest and guided tours. Plan to spend a full day exploring this natural wonder.
The sunny Kona side is great for beach activities such as snorkeling and stand-up paddling. The nighttime manta ray snorkel tour is unique to this island. Its a magical experience floating on top of the water in a calm bay, with bright lights drawing the rays who swirl below.
SheBuysTravel Tip: The nighttime tour in the dark ocean waters can be a little overwhelming for younger kids, as SheBuysTravel Editor Cindy Richards learned when she took her pool-raised 10-year-old daughter. Fortunately, the skipper on the boat was happy to keep the tween occupied while her mom enjoyed watching the rays dance in the waters below.
The Beaches On The Island Of Oahu Are Magnificent
Hanuama Bay is a popular, kid friendly beach on Oahu.
Lets face it, you likely didnt come to Hawaii to spend your time bouncing around zoos and taking in the city views. You came to Hawaii to see the beaches, and Oahu is home to some of the most beautiful stretches of sand around.
Be sure to take in all the lying around and hitting the waves that the kids can handle. Use the city when you are bored with the beach, or need a break from sand and the lobster tan .
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Best Island For Adventure Seeking Families
Kauai is one of the best Hawaiian islands for adventurous families with kids who want to explore the great outdoors beyond the shoreline. Kauai is one of the oldest islands in the Hawaiian chain and is nicknamed the Garden Isle. Their lush and tropical rainforests feature endless amounts of trails, waterfalls, and outdoor activities.
You and your family can glide through the treetops on the best zipline course , get dirty with an ATV offroad tour through the wild, or explore the island by foot on one of the many amazing hiking trails. We highly recommend the Kalalau Trail! This 11-mile path runs from Kee Beach to Kalalau beach through the wild Na Pali Coast, a place where the only land access is by foot. There are a few different trails to take too, perfect for both seasoned and beginner hikers!
Kauai also has an abundance of untamed greenery, glimmering waterfalls, and a vast number of beaches, all of which come together to create a beautiful island hideaway. This makes it one of the best islands to capture some incredible views. Hanalei Valley Lookout is a great place to catch a panoramic view of Hanalei Valley with the river winding back up into the mountains.
We also recommend catching the sunset at St. Regis Princeville if you can. Plus, you can indulge in their one-of-a-kind happy hour! Check out 18 Secret Off the Beaten Path to do in Kauai from 2 Travel Dads
Which Hawaiin Island Has The Best Beaches
The best Hawaiian island for your trip will vary based on what you are looking for.
While all the islands are renowned for their warm beaches and clear waters, each one offers something slightly different, which may influence your decision. There truly is something for everyone in Hawaii, which is why it is one of the most popular vacation spots in the world.
Before planning your trip, consider what you want to do and the sights you want to experience as this will influence the beaches you choose to visit.
For example, some beaches give you the chance to meet sea turtles, whereas others are best for those who are looking for seclusion and privacy. There are options for snorkeling among the coral reefs or seeing volcanic green sand, which is a once in a lifetime experience for many.
Before planning your trip to Hawaii and considering the islands you want to visit, you should first determine what you are looking to get out of the vacation. If you are looking for a truly relaxing experience where you can shut off from the world, then you will want to check out a different island to those looking for adventure and play.
In this guide, we have tried to appeal to the desires of everyone in our recommendations as there is something for all kinds of families out there.
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Oahu: The Best Hawaiian Island For Families On A Budget
Oahu is one of the best places to visit in Hawaii for two reasons. One, it boasts a huge variety of things to do. And two, Oahu is the most affordable island to visit, mostly because its better connected to the outside world than the other islands.
Our beginners guide to exploring Oahu covers a lot of the basics, but heres what makes Oahu one of the best Hawaiian islands for kids and adults alike.
Explore Hawaiian Culture On The Big Island
The islands cultural sites include the sacred Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. The grounds were once the place of refuge for ancient Hawaiian lawbreakers.
Many of the large Hawaii Island resorts, such as the Fairmont Orchid, include lessons on Hawaiian culture for their guests. You can take ukulele lessons, paddle a traditional Hawaiian canoe and learn about taro, the root vegetable that is an important part of Hawaiian cuisine.
More island attractions include Mauna Kea and Akaka State Falls. Splurge on a Hawaii helicopter tour with the kids. Yes, its expensive. But it just might be the Hawaii memory your family carries forever.
SheBuysTravel Tip: The Big Island has two airports: Hilo International Airport and Kona International Airport. Consider flying into one and out of the other so you can drive across and explore the entire island.
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Fun Things To Do In Maui
Expect to have a blast while spending time in Maui. Because many people travel here to have the time of their lives, plenty of attractions and amenities are provided to guests.
Experience one of the best beaches on the island when you stop by Kaanapali Beach. The beach is three miles long with clean sand and beautiful, clean water. You might want to rest on the sand while soaking up the sun or get in the water with loved ones. Enjoy swimming in the water throughout the day before stopping at one of the local eateries by the beach.
Molokini Snorkeling Tour
Have you always wanted to go snorkeling? If so, try the Molokini Snorkeling Tour with your family. It is excellent for beginners and people of all ages who would like to see underneath the oceans surface. Choose from various snorkeling adventures provided, such as the Pacific Whale, Reef Adventures, Calypso, and Aqua Adventure.
Take the time to learn how to surf with the rest of the family while hanging out in Maui. Experienced and kind instructors are there to provide tourists with the best guidance and support on surfing. Lessons are available for guests of all ages. You can rent a board to ride on in the water to have hours of fun learning something new.