Family Fun in Hawaii: Kid-Friendly Activities on the Big Island

Discover the best kid-friendly activities on the Big Island of Hawaii! From exploring volcanic landscapes to snorkeling with colorful marine life, this article is your go-to guide for creating unforgettable family memories in paradise.

12/31/20236 min read

a family of three walking along a beach
a family of three walking along a beach

Planning a family vacation can be exciting, but finding activities that keep everyone entertained can sometimes be a challenge. Luckily, the Big Island of Hawaii offers an abundance of kid-friendly activities that will make your trip unforgettable. From exploring the natural wonders of the island to engaging in water-based adventures and experiencing the unique Hawaiian culture, there is something for every member of the family to enjoy.

Exploring the Natural Wonders of the Big Island

One of the highlights of visiting the Big Island is the opportunity to explore its breathtaking natural wonders. Start your adventure by visiting the Volcano National Park, where you and your kids can witness the power of nature up close. The park is home to one of the world's most active volcanoes, Kilauea. As you hike through the park, you'll be surrounded by lush rainforests, ancient lava flows, and stunning volcanic landscapes. Keep an eye out for the vibrant red and orange hues of molten lava as it flows into the ocean, creating new land right before your eyes. It's a truly awe-inspiring sight that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the Earth's raw power.

After exploring the volcanic wonders of the Big Island, it's time to turn your gaze towards the heavens. Head to the Mauna Kea Observatory for a night of stargazing like no other. Perched atop the island's highest peak, Mauna Kea offers unparalleled views of the night sky. The clear skies and high altitude make it one of the best places in the world for observing celestial bodies. Your kids will be amazed by the vastness of the universe as they gaze at twinkling stars and distant planets through telescopes. With the guidance of knowledgeable astronomers, you'll learn about the constellations, galaxies, and the mysteries of the cosmos. It's an experience that will ignite a sense of wonder and curiosity in both young and old alike.

While exploring the island's natural wonders, don't miss the opportunity to discover the unique Hawaiian wildlife. Take a trip to the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, where you can spot green sea turtles basking in the sun or Hawaiian monk seals resting on the beach. The park is a haven for these incredible creatures, providing them with a safe sanctuary to thrive. As you stroll along the sandy shores, you'll also encounter a variety of colorful tropical birds, such as the Hawaiian coot and the black-crowned night heron. It's a fantastic educational experience for children to learn about the importance of preserving these incredible creatures and their habitats.

Aside from the well-known natural wonders, the Big Island is also home to hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Venture off the beaten path and explore the island's hidden waterfalls. Hike through lush rainforests, following the sound of cascading water, until you stumble upon a secluded oasis. Take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear pools beneath the falls, surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature. It's a serene and tranquil experience that will rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul.

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, the Big Island offers thrilling opportunities for adventure. Embark on a helicopter tour and soar above the island's dramatic landscapes. Marvel at the vastness of the volcanic craters, the rugged coastline, and the lush valleys. As you hover above the cascading waterfalls and pristine beaches, you'll gain a whole new perspective on the island's natural beauty. If you prefer to stay on land, go on a thrilling ATV ride through the island's rugged terrain. Feel the wind in your hair as you navigate through muddy trails, crossing streams and traversing rocky slopes. It's an exhilarating way to explore the island's natural wonders while satisfying your thirst for adventure.

As you can see, the Big Island is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. From the fiery depths of the volcanoes to the vastness of the night sky, and the diverse wildlife that calls the island home, there's no shortage of natural wonders to explore. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the breathtaking landscapes of the Big Island.

Engaging in Water-Based Activities

If your family loves the water, the Big Island offers plenty of opportunities for aquatic adventures. Snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay is a must-do activity for all ages. Discover a vibrant underwater world teeming with tropical fish and colorful coral reefs. Rent snorkeling equipment from one of the nearby shops and enjoy an unforgettable day exploring the clear turquoise waters.

As you glide through the water, you might come across a graceful sea turtle gracefully swimming by, or catch a glimpse of a playful pod of dolphins leaping in the distance. The coral reefs are home to a variety of marine life, from tiny clownfish darting in and out of anemones to majestic manta rays gracefully gliding through the water. Keep your eyes peeled for the vibrant colors of the parrotfish and the elusive octopus hiding in the crevices.

For those who want to ride the waves, Kahalu'u Bay is the perfect spot for family surfing lessons. Sign up for a group lesson with experienced instructors who will teach your kids the basics of riding the waves while ensuring their safety. It's an exhilarating activity that the whole family can enjoy together.

Imagine the thrill of catching your first wave, feeling the rush of adrenaline as you ride it all the way to the shore. The warm Hawaiian sun on your face, the salty ocean spray on your skin - it's a truly unforgettable experience. And don't worry if you're a beginner, the instructors will be there every step of the way, providing guidance and support to help you master the art of surfing.

If your children have a fascination with marine life, don't miss the chance to embark on a submarine adventure in Kona. Descend below the ocean's surface and witness the wonders of the underwater world without getting wet. Your whole family will be amazed as you spot colorful fish, majestic manta rays, and even curious dolphins.

Inside the submarine, you'll be surrounded by large viewing windows, giving you a front-row seat to the mesmerizing marine life. Watch as schools of fish swim by, their scales glistening in the sunlight. Marvel at the graceful movements of the manta rays as they glide effortlessly through the water. And if you're lucky, you might even spot a playful dolphin swimming alongside the submarine, seemingly curious about its human visitors.

Throughout the journey, knowledgeable guides will provide fascinating insights into the marine ecosystem, sharing interesting facts about the different species you encounter. Learn about the delicate balance of the coral reefs, the symbiotic relationships between fish and coral, and the importance of conservation efforts to protect these fragile ecosystems.

Engaging in water-based activities on the Big Island is not just about having fun - it's about immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the ocean and gaining a deeper appreciation for the wonders that lie beneath the surface. So grab your snorkeling gear, surfboard, or embark on a submarine adventure, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Experiencing Hawaiian Culture

No trip to Hawaii would be complete without immersing yourself in the rich Hawaiian culture. Attend a traditional luau party where your kids can experience the vibrant music, hula dancing, and delicious Hawaiian cuisine. The Polynesian Cultural Center is another excellent place to learn about the island's culture and heritage, with live performances and interactive exhibits that will captivate your children.

For an unforgettable experience, sign up for hula dancing lessons for the whole family. Learn the graceful movements of this iconic Hawaiian dance and discover the stories and traditions behind it. Your children will feel like they're part of the culture as they gracefully sway to the rhythm of the music.

To delve into Hawaiian history, visit Pu'uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park. Explore the sacred grounds and ancient temples that offer a glimpse into the island's rich past. Engage in interactive exhibits and learn about the customs and beliefs of the native Hawaiians. It's a fascinating journey through time that will leave a lasting impression on your entire family.

Outdoor Family Fun

If your kids love the outdoors, the Big Island boasts an array of kid-friendly hiking trails. Head to Akaka Falls State Park, where you'll find a trail that takes you through lush rainforests to breathtaking waterfalls. The easy-to-navigate path is suitable for all ages and offers plenty of opportunities for photo ops and exploration.

When it's time for a picnic, there's no shortage of picturesque spots with breathtaking views. Visit Waipi'o Valley lookout, where you can enjoy a family picnic while taking in panoramic vistas of lush valleys and cascading waterfalls. It's a perfect way to relax and reconnect with nature while enjoying a delicious meal together.

The Big Island is also home to several kid-friendly beaches that offer safe swimming and play areas for children. Head to Hapuna Beach State Park, known for its crystal-clear waters and pristine white sand. Your kids can build sandcastles, play beach volleyball, or simply splash in the calm, warm ocean. It's a beach day that the whole family will cherish.


From exploring the natural wonders of the island to engaging in water-based adventures and experiencing the unique Hawaiian culture, the Big Island has it all when it comes to family fun. With so many kid-friendly activities, you can rest assured that your family will have an unforgettable vacation filled with adventure, learning, and quality time together. So start planning your trip to the Big Island of Hawaii and create memories that will last a lifetime!