Family-Friendly Activities on Maui and the Big Island

October 10, 2018 4 min read

Family-Friendly Activities on Maui and the Big Island

October 10, 2018 4 min read

From pristine waters and stunning natural scenery to cultural and historic highlights, the Hawaiian islands have something for all members of the family to enjoy together. Here’s a look at some of our favorite family-friendly activities that await you on your next Hawaiian vacation:


Maui’s warm waters are the ideal snorkeling environment, making it a popular activity on many families’ itineraries. On our Molokini Snorkel Cruise, you’ll visit the renowned sunken volcano crater in the middle of the ocean which offers amazing water clarity and a wide variety of marine life – like turtles, dolphins, whales (in season), underwater lava arches, and many different types of fish. Even better, this tour teaches guests about Maui’s unique marine ecosystems, and young ones can even take part in the Junior Naturalist Program on board for a fun learning experience catered specifically for them. The double-decker boat has plenty of amenities to keep the whole family happy and comfortable, including spacious bathrooms and loads of water flotation devices. There’s also a snorkeling 101 lesson for those new to snorkeling, and a water slide for the kids!

Besides the Molokini cruise, we also offer two other highly-rated snorkel tours to Honolua Bay and Lanai (compare them both here). While both offer the chance to experience Hawaii’s unparalleled underwater world, the Honolua Bay catamaran has a fun water slide for jumping into the water, and the Lanai cruise allows the unique opportunity to visit one of Hawaii’s lesser known but no less beautiful island with lots of beach time and dolphin & whale watching on the boat.

The green sea turtle is one of many marine species you have the chance to see on a snorkel cruise

Two additional popular water activities on Maui are Surf Lessons and Standup Paddle Board Lessons. Located in Lahaina or Kaanapali, you can learn how to surf with the comfort of a certified lifeguard instructor in your choice of group, private group, or one-on-one options. It’s fun for all ages, but students 9 years or younger need to do a private lesson to ensure water safety. If your family prefers paddle boarding, the calm and clear waters of Lahaina offer the ideal environment to learn how to paddle board with experienced instructors.

Finally, no trip to Hawaii would be complete without a cultural activity to get to know what makes Hawaiian culture so extraordinary. What better way to do that than with a Hawaiian Luau? Depending on where your family is staying, we recommend two excellent luaus at either the Westin Ka’anapali (West Maui) or the Wailea Marriott (South Maui). Enjoy live entertainment with traditional Hawaiian and Polynesian performances while your family feasts on an all-you-can-eat buffet of Hawaiian dishes. For the adult guests, there’s also an open bar with mai tais, tropical cocktails, local beer, and wine!

Prepare to be entertained by traditional Polynesian fire dancing at our luaus

If you’re a family of nature lovers, you’re in luck – the Big Island is a nature lover’s paradise with no shortage of stunning scenery. Explore picturesque waterfalls (with the option to swim) at either our Kohala Waterfalls Adventure or Hilo Waterfalls & Farm Tour (compare them both here), both accessible hikes designed for beginner hikers and packed with tons of beauty. For thrill-seeking families with kids age 8 or older, there’s the option of a Ziplining Tour, an exhilarating course of ziplines, suspension bridges, and treetop platforms through the now-extinct volcanic slopes of Kohala – sure to be a memory your family won’t soon forget.

Fly through treetop canopy on the exhilarating Zipline Tour

Big Island, like Maui, is home to an abundance of marine life waiting to be discovered. We have two options for visiting the island’s snorkel hotspots: Off the Kohala CoastOff the Kona Coast (compare them both here). Both cruises offer spacious catamarans, on-board meals, plenty of water flotation devices and toys, and guaranteed sightings of marine life such as dolphins, a variety of fish, and whales (in season), making them excellent options for a fun half-day out on the water. In addition, the gentle waters off Kona’s Kahuluu Beach offer a great spot for Surf Lessons, while the calmness of Kailua Bay is perfect for Standup Paddle Board Lessons.

Learn how to surf in Hawaii, widely understood as the birthplace of the sport

Also like Maui, the Big Island boasts Hawaiian luaus fun for every member of your family. We offer two highly-rated luaus: the Sunset Luau at Waikoloa Marriott Resort and the Island Breeze Luau at Courtyard Marriott in Kona (compare them both here), both including dinner, an open bar, and authentic Polynesian performances. They also have traditional activities including Polynesian tattoos, lawn games, and hula lessons, and audience participation (and laughs) are encouraged. Luaus are a great way to entertain all members of the family while making a lasting connection with Hawaiian culture.


With its wide variety of family-friendly activities, Hawaii is the perfect destination for a family vacation. Whether your family is looking to explore the underwater world or zip down an extinct volcano, the Hawaiian islands have an abundance of unique activities with something fun for all ages!


TravelShack makes it easy to find and book Hawaii’s best things to do. We hold responsible tourism as a top priority and carefully select our vendors and activities. We ensure your vacation will not impact your destination in a negative way. 

With highly-rated tours & activities, you can plan highlights for your trip all in one place. Enjoy discounts and cashback, flexible cancellations, no booking fees, and verified traveler reviews. Visit our website to line up some incredible experiences for your Hawaiian vacation!

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