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  • donnamcgougan


Updated: Mar 24, 2022

With a laid back atmosphere, a mild climate year round and a variety of family friendly accommodations, the islands of Hawai'i are a popular vacation destination for Canadian families.

The state of Hawaii consists of a chain of submerged volcanic mountains which have created 132 islands. The six main islands of Kaua’i, O’ahu, Maui, Moloka’i, Lana’i and Hawai’i Island are the most well known and full of safe and exciting adventures. You can visit and explore live volcanoes, rain forests, coral reefs and see indigenous animals. The temperature in Hawai’i ranges from 26ºC - 30ºC with the ocean temperature ranging from 22ºC - 27ºC year round. Each island has its own unique style and vibe making the Hawaiian islands a destination full of endless family adventures.

OAHU: The Heart of Hawai'i

Home to the majority of Hawai’i’s population, the Island of Oahu is the most visited of the Hawaiian islands with numerous urban centres for those that like to shop as well as fantastic beaches for relaxing and enjoying the sun or to hone your surfing skills.

Fantastic Family Activities:

-Waikiki beach: take surf lessons, enjoy high tea under the banyan tree at the Moana Surfrider, buy a lei from “Big Momma’s” – a Hawaiian tradition for over 50 years.

-Hike Diamond Head crater: lighted walkway, restrooms and water fountains make this a kid friendly hike with a breath taking view

-Hanauma Bay: a protected bay makes this a great place to introduce your kids to snorkelling. Ample parking and food vendors on site

-Polynesian Cultural Center: Performances from BYU students as well as documentary IMAX films, hula lessons, wood carving sessions and a luau dinner make this a fantastic place to learn about the 7 Polynesian Cultures. Shuttle bus is available from Waikiki

-Keana Farms: O’ahu’s first zipline tour consisting of seven ziplines, sky bridges and boardwalks as well as a fun ATV adventure at the top. Located on the North Shore

– Hale’iwa Town: great surf town for getting away from the urban centres and visiting charming art galleries and delicious local restaurants. Be sure to try the local favourite treat “shaved ice” which comes in just about any flavour you can imagine.

-Honolulu Zoo: home to 905 different animals from the tropics; open every day except Christmas

-Fireworks show: Every Friday night on the beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

O’ahu has more festivals than any other island state so you're sure to find something unique happening during your visit.

KAUA'I: Hawai’i’s Island of Discovery

The northernmost and oldest of the Hawaiian islands, it’s gorgeous beaches, countless waterfalls, tropical breezes and lush landscapes attracts anyone who loves to explore nature. Home to three of the United States National Tropical Botanical Gardens and the only navigable rivers in Hawai’i. Over 100 major motion pictures and TV shows have used Kaua’i as their backdrop. Six days a week you can find a local market featuring fresh produce, local crafts and even cooking demonstrations. The road side stands are great places to buy fresh fruit, vegetables and fish for your meals.

Fantastic Family Activities:

-Whale watching: December – May humpback whales come to the warm waters of Hawai’i to breed and give birth. Organized tours with various charter boats are offered from each coast.

-Po’ipu Beach Park – generally calm and sunny, a great destination for a family day at the beach; lifeguard on duty seven days a week. Monk seals are often seen sunbathing at this beach!

-Waimea Canyon & Fern Grotto Tour: visit the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” on the first part of this tour, followed by a cruise up Wailua River for lunch at the Fern Grotto, a natural amphitheatre in a tropical jungle

-Take a Helicopter tour: see the Waimea Canyon, the Napali Coast and Mount Waialeale by air; only 20% of Kaua’i is accessible by car

-Film locations: visit the sites where South Pacific, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blue Hawaii, Jurassic Park, and other movies were filmed.

Kaua’i is an idyllic island where your family can go to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect with nature.

MAUI – The Valley Isle

Repeatedly winning “Best Island in the World”, the diversity of Maui has something for everyone. World-class resorts to cozy B&B’s; championship golf courses to hiking through rainforests; snorkelling or sailing; shaved ice to award-winning cuisine, you'll find it all on Maui. And with over 67 kilometers of golden beaches, you’re sure to find a beautiful spot to relax!

Fantastic Family Activities:

-Maui Ocean Center: More than 60 exhibits and hands on activities, where you can see sharks, stingrays, turtles and other marine life up close. Throughout the year, sleepovers for kids Grade 3-8 give them a chance to observe the nocturnal habits of marine life. If you're SCUBA certified you may want to try diving in their shark tank!

-Camp in the crater of Haleakala National Park: Spend the night in a tent at one of two wilderness campgrounds or reserve one of three cabins.

-Hawaii Nature Center: Explore 30 exciting hands-on exhibits and experiences. Discover the science behind the beauty of ‘Iao Valley. This is a private, non-profit environmental education organization with all proceeds generated supporting outdoor experiences for Hawaii’s children. Daily guided nature walks are offered.

-Molokini Snorkel Cruise: Snorkel in one of only three volcano calderas in the world. This sheltered sanctuary is home to over 250 species of fish!

-Road to Hana: Spend the day experiencing lush rainforests, magnificent waterfalls and breathtaking views. Tours available or you may choose to do a self-guided drive.

-Mountain bike on a volcano: Descend from the summit of Haleakala for a 32 km ride with stunning scenery. Be sure to stop for lunch in the eclectic surf town of Pa’ia.

-Humpback whale watching excursion: If you are visiting Maui between December – May you’ll want to get up close to these gentle giants. Maalaea harbour and Lahaina harbour both offer a wide range of whale watching tours.

The second largest Hawaiian island has a smaller population than you’d expect, making Maui popular with visitors who are looking for sophisticated diversions and amenities in the small towns and airy resorts spread throughout the island.

HAWAI'I ISLAND – The Big Island

Hawai’i Island is home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea, and the world’s tallest mountain, Maunakea. All but two of the world’s climate zones are present; rainforest to desert, snow- capped mountains to warm sunny beaches. This island is also home to the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in October.

Fantastic Family Activities:

-Mauna Kea Observatory: The entire Northern Hemisphere as well as 90% of the Southern Hemisphere can be seen. Guided tours with transportation and dinner are available.

-Hike ‘Akaka Falls: Enjoy two spectacular waterfalls in one hike through a lush rainforest. A paved footpath less than 1 km long makes it a great day trip from Hilo.

-Pu’u O’o Vent: witness the awe-inspiring phenomenon of erupting lava. Visit the Kalapana viewing site just outside the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

-Swim with Manta Rays: The Kona Coast is the best place to spot Manta Rays. Night swim tours use spot lights to attract the feeding manta rays.

-Become a Hawaiian cowboy: Visit Waimea and take a guided tour on horseback for spectacular views of the coastline and mountain peaks. Be sure to visit the area’s roadside produce stands and farmer’s markets.

The Island of Hawai’i offers a unique experience for families that love an active vacation.


Moloka’i is protected by 48 kilometres of reef on the south and has 5 kilometres of white sand on it’s western shore. Heritage and tradition have been preserved, letting visitors experience the “old-style” Hawai’i.

Fantastic Family Activity:

-Take a mule ride: Cross 26 different switchbacks to visit Kalaupapa National Historic Park.


Only 14 km from Maui yet a world away, Lanai can feel like two places. The first is found in luxurious resorts where visitors can indulge in world-class amenitis, the other is found bouncing along the island’s rugged back-roads in a 4-wheel drive exploring off the beaten path treasures. Only 48 kilometres of the island's roads are paved.

Fantastic Family Activity:

-Garden of the Gods: Visit Keahiakawelo for an unusual and unique experience. Accessible only by four-wheel drive or hiking in, this site is absent of vegetation and wildlife with only boulders and rock piles present.

With an island to match any family’s ideal vacation, the Hawaiian Islands are a Serafina Travel favourite. Which Hawaiian island will you explore first?

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