A trip to the Hawaiian Islands is an ideal reward for the whole family after a tiresome year. Honolulu, Hawaii is one of the most popular tourist spots in the state. Moreover, if you want a tropical vacation in the country, Honolulu makes a perfect choice.
However, you must conduct research before visiting a place like Honolulu, so you do not miss any of its prime allures. Intricate planning, like setting an itinerary or sticking to the budget, can often kill the mood.
So, we have created the top family holiday travel guide to save you from any trouble.
- 5 Reasons Why Honolulu Is the Perfect Family Vacation Destination
- When’s the Best Time to Visit Honolulu With Kids?
- What’s the Weather in Honolulu Across the Year?
- What’s the Perfect Length of Time to Spend in Honolulu?
- The Best Things to Do With Kids in Honolulu
- The Best Family Hotels & Resorts in Honolulu
- What’s the Average Cost of a Hotel in Honolulu?
- The Best Places to Eat With Kids in Honolulu
- The Best Day Trips From Honolulu That the Whole Family Will Love
- How to Get Around Honolulu During Your Vacation
- The Best Ways to Get to Honolulu for Your Vacation
- 5 Top Tips for Staying Safe in Honolulu When Visiting With Kids
- Final Thoughts
5 Reasons Why Honolulu Is the Perfect Family Vacation Destination
A trip to the Hawaiian Islands should take no convincing. It is a part of the American dream to unwind by the splendid beaches in Honolulu.
However, if you are unsure about how Honolulu would be ideal for a family vacation, here are some solid reasons for it.
Something for Everyone
There is never a dull day in the city. Honolulu has multiple ways to keep your entire family engaged.
You can go hiking or snorkeling for some adventure. If you would rather relax, you can get a spa day by the pool. You can also give your kids the chance to learn about various Hawaiian flora and fauna species from botanical gardens and zoos.
Honolulu malls and public spaces have many activities, especially for kids. Whether taking ukulele lessons or splashing in shallow water, your children will have plenty of fun things to do.
Explore-Worthy Polynesian Culture
If you want to learn more about the Polynesian culture, Hawaii is the best place to visit. Even though the island group is a part of the United States, it is vastly different in every way. Whether it is the climate or the people, Honolulu feels like a different world.
You will learn much about the customs of Polynesia and taste the mouth-watering native delicacies of the land. One of the best things about these islands is their people. The Polynesian culture offers extreme hospitality and will make you feel at home during your stay.
Exotic Beaches and Fascinating Sea Life
One of the top reasons to visit Honolulu with kids is to capture the glory of Hawaiian beaches. This island group is the best place in America if you want to be near the sea.
The Pacific Ocean surrounds Oahu, allowing you to perform various water activities. You can participate in Oahu boat rides or go snorkeling.
Thankfully, there is a beach for every mood. You can either visit Waikiki beach to unwind in its glorious white sand or interact with sea life in Laniakea. Your kids will especially enjoy watching and feeding the various animals and fishes underwater.
People often refer to Laniakea beach as the “Turtle Beach” due to the various Hawaiian green sea turtles living there. Also, you can find several tropical fish, jellyfish, rays, and coral reef creatures.
Lively and Energetic Tourist Central
Some people refer to Honolulu as the tourist center of Hawaii, and the description is accurate. Honolulu connects some of the most significant Hawaiian landmarks. From the Diamond Head cone to Waikiki beach, everything is a small drive from the city.
If you are a people person, you will love the time you spend in the city. There is life and vibrancy all around. Whether it is the tourists’ chatter or locals hosting events, you will find a new activity at every corner.
Spend Some Time With Nature
If you like beaches and oceans, there is no better holiday spot in the United States. There are countless beaches in Oahu, where you can be around natural beauty all day. You can also take a trip to waterfalls and tropical forests on the island. However, be careful if you go exploring on your own; avoid unfamiliar and sketchy areas.
When’s the Best Time to Visit Honolulu With Kids?
Hawaii remains beautiful in all 12 months. Since the island chain is tropical, the weather is pleasant year-round. So, you can simply choose to visit based on your budget and scheduled activities.
Normally, December to February marks the prime tourist season. During this time, events and attractions will fully bloom, with loads of crowds going around the place.
If you prefer quieter months with fewer people around, visit between May and July. People usually call this period the “off-season” as it does not see many tourists. Gladly, the flight and hotel charges are also much lower than usual.
You need not worry about missing out on Hawaiian fun. While there are no major tourist events during the off-season, festivities are still active. You will view the Hawaiian culture in its daily routine up close.
What’s the Weather in Honolulu Across the Year?
Since the city is on an island, the sea vastly affects the climate. So, the weather in Honolulu remains pretty mild year-round. Hence, there are mainly two seasons here, summer and winter.
Summers are usually dry and hot, lasting from May to October. August is the hottest month of the year, so if visiting in August, ensure you keep hydrated.
Winters in Honolulu begin around mid-November and last till the end of April. The average daytime temperature in winter remains around 78° Fahrenheit, usually six degrees cooler than in summer.
An amusing factor about the Hawaiian weather is that it works in micro-environments. So, if it is raining where you are, you can go to the coast, and it will likely be clear.
To be honest, it is tough to encompass the weather in the city in one explanation. In high-pressure zones, Honolulu expects some light rains. However, the rain is rarely heavy enough to disrupt your activities.
What’s the Perfect Length of Time to Spend in Honolulu?
The length of any vacation is crucial to the quality of time you spend there. If you plan a very long trip, things might get mundane in the same place.
However, you may not fully explore the destination if your holiday is not long enough. If Honolulu is a small stop in transit while touring the Hawaiian Island chain, make the most of it.
You would need at least three days in the city to explore all of it. There are various activities to perform, like hiking or visiting beaches. If you try to cram it all in a short time, it will get tiring. Further, a week in Honolulu for peak season is ideal. You will get the chance to indulge in all festivities and events.
The Best Things to Do With Kids in Honolulu
With so many activities and events, it can be difficult to pick the best ones for the whole family. So, here’s a list of the best places to visit and things to do when in Honolulu, Oahu, with kids.
Visit the Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor is one of the most popular historic landmarks in the country. It is a must-see site on any Hawaiian tour pack. Pearl Harbor is west of Honolulu, less than ten miles from the prime city.
This lagoon harbor is currently an active military base with several intriguing museums and memorials in the area. The USS Missouri Battleship and the World War II exhibits are some of the most famous tourist spots here.
A visit to Pearl Harbor could be a great learning chance for your kids. They can know about the attack on Pearl Harbor from the actual place instead of their school books while also enjoying the exhibits.
Take a Hike at Diamond Head
The Diamond Head State Monument is perhaps Hawaii’s most famous tourist site. This place was once an active volcano. However, it has been dormant for many years now.
The area only rose to fame recently when some British sailors mistook the calcite crystals on its surface for diamonds.
This volcanic cone offers many activities to keep you busy when in Honolulu. You can go down its hiking trail and take in the majestic view of the land. Also, you can stop for some fresh produce along the way at Oahu’s farmer’s market.
Explore the Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center is a tourist spot that allows you to uncover the rich diversity of Polynesia. You can easily spend an entire day walking around this place and learning about the beauty of the Pacific Islands.
This place explores the heritage and culture of six distinct island groups: Hawaii, Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, and Aotearoa. To make it more interesting, the staff displays various dances and events to portray all six cultures. You can also learn about the markings and tattoos that are vital to many of these cultures.
The Polynesian Cultural Center is over 42 acres wide and can keep you busy with many activities. First, you can enjoy several traditional Hawaiian food items with the land’s world-class dining.
The cultural center uses ground ovens and hot rocks for cooking authentic Polynesian dishes. These means of cooking have been a part of the land’s culture for a very long time.
Take a Look at the Iolani Palace
Hawaii’s last reigning King built this palace in 1882. The place served as the official royal house to the monarchs for over a decade before their reign ended. You can book a tour around the palace and learn about the interesting royal life that once existed at your current holiday spot.
The palace tour will feel like a tour of the past as you see the living style of the King. A palace historian will guide you through the place, letting you explore the means of conduct in old Hawaii.
Also, you can look at the garments the palace staff and royal bodies wore during the late 1800s. Other integral palace exhibits include furniture, historic items, dining items, and silverware.
Relax at the Ala Moana Beach Park
The Ala Moana Beach Park, or the Ala Moana Regional Park, is a public space in Oahu near Waikiki. The park is over 100 acres wide, with gold sand all around. Whether you want to go around exploring the park’s history or have a quiet picnic, the park is perfect.
You can also visit the Ala Moana Center, a huge mall at the park, to shop for souvenirs. This center in the Ala Moana area is the eighth-largest shopping mall in the U.S. It is also the largest shopping mall in an open space worldwide.
At the east end of the park, you will find Magic Island, a synthetic peninsula. This artificial beach has large seawalls with shallow waters and picnic tables under the trees. It is the best spot for a quiet lunch in Oahu with kids.
Go to the Manoa Falls
Sparing only three to four hours from your day, you can hike up to this 150-foot tall waterfall in Manoa. These gushing falls are a sight to behold amidst the luscious green setting.
You can either hike up the trail on foot or ride a bike. While some prefer following the gravel up the Manoa trail, it is much safer to go with a hiking guide.
You can get various family discounts on Manoa hiking packs, with extra price deductions for kids. Many tour packs also involve a walk from Waikiki with lunch and other refreshments along the way.
Do Not Miss Oahu’s North Shore
Oahu’s north shore is popular due to the high tides it receives in winter which make it the perfect spot for surfing. In summer, the calm water allows for snorkeling among colorful fishes and coral. The best spot to ride a wave in the area is Sunset Beach.
Stroll Around the Royal Hawaiian Center
The central shopping attraction in Honolulu, the Royal Hawaiian Center is a grand shopper’s paradise. This place has over 90 renowned vendors, brands, and luxury stores to ensure the best shopping experience for you.
If you are tired after walking around and shopping all day, dine at one of the many eateries there. From international cuisine to local specialties, the Royal Hawaiian Center has it all. A small kiosk named, Island Vintage Shave Ice, is famous for its desserts – make sure not to miss it out.
Also, you can partake in several cultural activities at the mall. Whether it is ukulele lessons for your kids or live entertainment for adults, there is something for everyone. You can find the details and timings of all displays on the official website of the center.
The Best Family Hotels & Resorts in Honolulu
Here are some of the top family resorts and hotels for a peaceful stay in the town. You will find a hotel for every need in this list.
Prince Waikiki is a top luxury hotel in the city. It perfectly captures the urban essence of the land. The sleek interiors of the hotel rooms complement the outside coastal view. You can spend a lazy day inside your hotel room and admire the sea from afar.
Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki Beach Walk
The Embassy Suites by Hilton is a well-known hotel chain worldwide. The Embassy Suites offer their standard luxury living and room services in Waikiki. Moreover, the hotel is close to Waikiki, allowing you to walk to the beach whenever you want.
Kahala Hotel and Resort
On Kahala Avenue, this hotel and resort is the prime spot for relaxation. Every hotel room offers a unique view of the ocean. You can even view the Dolphin lagoon from some rooms, enabling you to appreciate sea life. The lavish rooms and interior of the hotel offer an intimate experience for all.
Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa
The Aulani Disney Resort and Spa is a four-star hotel with special activities for kids. Also, the hotel offers villas with up to three bedrooms. You can even get a private resort in your backyard. The resort has much higher prices than most places on our list. However, Aulani will help you create memories you will never forget.
The final hotel on our list is also a four-star hotel. Moana Surfrider is the best place to stay if you want to remain in the center of the action. The hotel is just a few steps away from the Waikiki beach shore.
What’s the Average Cost of a Hotel in Honolulu?
Hawaii is the most expensive state in the United States. So, the trip might be heavy on your wallet. If you fly to the state in peak season, the flight charges will be very high. Similarly, the accommodation costs will also not be cheap. However, you can find hotels fitting your budget if you search hard enough.
The average cost of a hotel in Honolulu depends on various factors. Most hotel rooms cost around $250 per night. Since you are visiting with family, you might need more rooms or utilities which may cost you a few more bucks. Further, if you want a high-end hotel with spas, room service, and exclusive clubs, the price could rise to $400.
The Best Places to Eat With Kids in Honolulu
A good dining experience makes a good trip. If you want to experience authentic Hawaiian culture, you must start with its food. Here are some of the top places to eat in Honolulu.
The Pig and the Lady
While the restaurant has a whimsical name, it is the opposite of its food. The Pig and the Lady is a Vietnamese restaurant with an extremely elegant dining culture. In Downtown Honolulu, this place also serves street food in various locations around town.
This fancy American restaurant serves the top American delights. This place is your top choice if you get nostalgic for the food back home. Further, the restaurant’s interior is sleek and stylish, with a brick wall surrounding the area.
Also, this place has a global outlook, using recipes and cooking methods from worldwide. Besides your comfort dishes, you can try various delicacies under one roof.
One of the fanciest restaurants on our list, StripSteak Waikiki offers perfectly seasoned steak. You can pair the juicy steak with one of the restaurant’s flavorful cocktails for the best combo.
The restaurant offers an exclusive happy hour deal between 4 pm and 6 pm every day. It comes with a mouth-watering menu, including tacos, sprouts, burgers, fries, and a lot more.
Azure is one of Honolulu’s top seafood places. The place has an oceanfront dining area, where you can have a peaceful dinner with your family.
The restaurant is famous for its fresh ingredients, flavorful dishes, and extremely friendly staff. Also, Azure’s Spanish interior offers a comfortable environment for all visitors.
The Best Day Trips From Honolulu That the Whole Family Will Love
Once you finish exploring Honolulu, there are various other spots worth visiting in Hawaii. You can uncover Oahu Island and its hidden sites or explore other islands. Here is what’s on our list.
The Island of Hawaii
The Big Island or the Island of Hawaii is a must-visit site. It is the largest island in the United States and has plenty of tourist sites to visit.
The Big Island is an apt title as it is almost twice the size of the other islands. Therefore, be well prepared when visiting the place – meaning carry water bottles, some snacks, and other essentials.
Moreover, you can change climate zones within the island and select the weather you like. Most people prefer sticking with the usual tropical Hawaiian weather.
Maui Ocean Center
After you have seen Oahu and the Big Island, explore another scenic Hawaiian island, Maui. While Honolulu offers a touch of metro city life, Maui is as close to nature as one can get.
You can take a day trip to the island and visit the Maui Ocean center. This aquarium center is highly informative, with tons of amazing facts about marine life.
Moreover, this place is the largest tropical reef aquarium in the west. It will take you two to three hours to get around the complete facility.
Napali Coast State Wilderness Park
In the northwest land of Kauai Island, the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park is the most popular coastline in Hawaii. The towering cliffs provide perfectly descending valleys. Also, several narrow waterfalls and thin water bodies cascade down these valleys in beautiful unison.
The quiet, peaceful town of Hana lies along the eastern coastline of Maui. People call this place one of the few spots in Hawaii untouched by mankind. The pride of Maui offers breathtaking views of the sea and coasts on the drive.
You can find Lanikai Beach on the windward coast of Oahu island. It is a short drive away from Honolulu. You can take some heavy snacks down to the beach and have a quiet picnic with your family.
We suggest visiting Lanikai beach early in the morning or late in the evening for a breathtaking view of the coastal sunrise or moonrise.
How to Get Around Honolulu During Your Vacation
You can get around the city in several ways. Your needs depend on what you have planned for your trip. If you do not need to leave the city, you can use a rental scooter, bike, or trolley to roam around.
However, if you plan on leaving Honolulu to visit other sites in Oahu, renting a car would be ideal. You can also select a tour package for the same purpose. The package will involve all commute costs, making your work easier.
The Best Ways to Get to Honolulu for Your Vacation
You can travel to Honolulu by boat, train, and plane. The best way of all three is a plane from anywhere around the world. Although the jet lag may take some time to go away if you are traveling internationally, it will still be better than the other two options.
5 Top Tips for Staying Safe in Honolulu When Visiting With Kids
Honolulu is a very safe place with low crime rates. However, you must take certain precautions when in an unfamiliar area. Moreover, since the city is on an island, you must also be ready to defend yourself from natural calamities. Take note of these general tips for a safe Hawaiian family vacation.
Beware of the Water
Before you go near the water, take a quick scan of the weather. Move away from the coast if you see any signs of unrest in the sea. The Hawaiian seas are usually very calm, but pressure changes in the Pacific might cause high tides.
Even if the weather is clean, be careful in the water. If you can not swim, stay in the shallow end of the water. Also, keep an eye on your kids, and do not let them wander far.
If you are with a tour guide, consult them before interacting with sea life. Certain species of eels in these waters can be harmful.
Follow the Local Guidelines Everywhere You Go
During an Oahu vacation, you will come across many historic and cultural landmarks. When visiting any of these sites, ensure not to cause any disruption. For example, in any Pearl Harbor museum or Iolani Palace, refrain from touching any artifacts.
It would also be helpful if you followed your tour guide at all times. If they leave some area out of the tour, you should not wander off or attempt to get in. Further, if you do not have a guide, carefully read all instructions in the place. The staff will inform you about all the rules before you enter, so listen well.
Respect the Local Culture
As we mentioned earlier, one of the core values of the land is its culture. Hawaiian culture is vibrant and appealing. The locals take morals and values very seriously. Hence, you must respect the sentiments of your hosts. While you are in the city, be careful to abide by the norms of the Polynesian culture.
If you are doubtful about anything, like what to wear or where to go, you can consult a local. Also, avoid littering on beaches or collecting rocks and souvenirs from places you are not permitted to take from.
Do Not Throw Away a Lei
When speaking of Hawaii, a lei is perhaps the first thing that comes to mind. These flower garlands are mainly symbolic of the local culture and conduct. Further, a lei is a sign of love, friendship, and honor.
The locals welcome all tourists with flower garlands as a sign of accepting them into the community. So, when someone offers you a lei upon arrival, accept it.
The locals also consider it very rude when someone refuses a lei. Moreover, once you no longer need the lei, refrain from throwing it in the trash. You can remove the flowers from the lei and release them back into the sea. You can also hang it on a tree or burn it. This way, the flowers from the lei can return to where they came from.
Do Not Explore the Unknown
It is best to put a buddy system in place when you are exploring unfamiliar areas. Further, if there is no trail or path in any area, it has a reason. Do not try to enter into places that lack entrances.
Honolulu is the central attraction in the Hawaii Island group. You can experience the best of the islands in this city. It offers the traditional touch of Hawaiian culture in a metropolitan environment. You can appreciate the natural beaches or hiking trails in the area. Follow our travel guide to make the most out of your experience in Hawaii.