8 Things to Do With Kids in Hawaii on the Big Island

The Hawaiian Islands offer a huge variety of activities for families.

If you are interested in seeing the best diversity of Hawaii, visit the Big Island.

We drove around the entire island to explore and discovered fun activities to do with our four kids.

8 Things to Do With Kids in Hawaii

Rainbow Falls

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii with kids, you have to read this post. We will share our favorite 8 things to do with kids in Hawaii during your family vacation. This includes easy hikes in Hawaii, volcanoes in Hawaii, seeing Hawaii from the air, and much more. Come check out these fun things to do in Hawaii with kids and save it to your travel board so you can find it later.

The number one favorite Big Island activity for our entire family was Rainbow Falls.

The rainbows in the falls are mostly visible early on sunny mornings. However, that was only a small part of the draw for us (especially since we visited on a cloudy afternoon).

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii with kids, you have to read this post. We will share our favorite 8 things to do with kids in Hawaii during your family vacation. This includes easy hikes in Hawaii, volcanoes in Hawaii, seeing Hawaii from the air, and much more. Come check out these fun things to do in Hawaii with kids and save it to your travel board so you can find it later.

At the top of the falls are the Boiling Pots – basins collecting the river water as it rushes toward the falls. You can wade and climb on the rocks and enjoy the cool water. Wear water shoes, if you can – the rocks are slippery.

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii with kids, you have to read this post. We will share our favorite 8 things to do with kids in Hawaii during your family vacation. This includes easy hikes in Hawaii, volcanoes in Hawaii, seeing Hawaii from the air, and much more. Come check out these fun things to do in Hawaii with kids and save it to your travel board so you can find it later.

Along the five minute hike to Rainbow Falls are some enormous Banyan trees that are irresistible to climb. My kids played in these trees for an hour, and could have stayed much longer.

Helicopter Tour

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii with kids, you have to read this post. We will share our favorite 8 things to do with kids in Hawaii during your family vacation. This includes easy hikes in Hawaii, volcanoes in Hawaii, seeing Hawaii from the air, and much more. Come check out these fun things to do in Hawaii with kids and save it to your travel board so you can find it later.

Many helicopter tour companies do have an age requirement, and you probably don’t want to take a baby on a helicopter anyway, so this wasn’t for everyone.

But dad took the older kids (7 and 10) on an amazing helicopter tour. They departed from Hilo airport and soared over the active volcano, watching lava and steam rising from the crater.

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii with kids, you have to read this post. We will share our favorite 8 things to do with kids in Hawaii during your family vacation. This includes easy hikes in Hawaii, volcanoes in Hawaii, seeing Hawaii from the air, and much more. Come check out these fun things to do in Hawaii with kids and save it to your travel board so you can find it later.

They also got to see lava and waves crashing into each other along the coast! It was unforgettable.

Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo in Hilo

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii with kids, you have to read this post. We will share our favorite 8 things to do with kids in Hawaii during your family vacation. This includes easy hikes in Hawaii, volcanoes in Hawaii, seeing Hawaii from the air, and much more. Come check out these fun things to do in Hawaii with kids and save it to your travel board so you can find it later.

During the two hour helicopter tour, I took the two younger kids (1 and 4) just south of town to the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo.

Admission is free, and it was amazing.

There were tigers, anteaters, alligators, lemurs, monkeys, and all kinds of incredible tropical birds and plants.

It also has a few really nice playgrounds. The zoo was the highlight of the trip for my four year old.

Hawaiian Shaved Ice

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii with kids, you have to read this post. We will share our favorite 8 things to do with kids in Hawaii during your family vacation. This includes easy hikes in Hawaii, volcanoes in Hawaii, seeing Hawaii from the air, and much more. Come check out these fun things to do in Hawaii with kids and save it to your travel board so you can find it later.

Hilo is a good place to find shaved ice. There are many places around, just search for one nearby and walk over.

There is nothing as refreshing as real Hawaiian shave ice!

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii with kids, you have to read this post. We will share our favorite 8 things to do with kids in Hawaii during your family vacation. This includes easy hikes in Hawaii, volcanoes in Hawaii, seeing Hawaii from the air, and much more. Come check out these fun things to do in Hawaii with kids and save it to your travel board so you can find it later.

When you visit Hawaii, you must explore a volcano!

From the viewpoints along the main road you can see the volcanic crater, with steam rising up from the exposed lava. Within a five minute walk you can walk right up to natural steam vents in the ground.

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii with kids, you have to read this post. We will share our favorite 8 things to do with kids in Hawaii during your family vacation. This includes easy hikes in Hawaii, volcanoes in Hawaii, seeing Hawaii from the air, and much more. Come check out these fun things to do in Hawaii with kids and save it to your travel board so you can find it later.

We also went through the Thurston lava tube – a short 20 minute round trip walk that takes you through an actual (extinct) lava tube. Bring a headlamp for this!

Although we love hiking with kids, we have two very young children and were aiming for a more relaxing vacation, so none of our hikes were longer than 20-30 minutes.

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii with kids, you have to read this post. We will share our favorite 8 things to do with kids in Hawaii during your family vacation. This includes easy hikes in Hawaii, volcanoes in Hawaii, seeing Hawaii from the air, and much more. Come check out these fun things to do in Hawaii with kids and save it to your travel board so you can find it later.

However, the adults were pining to explore some of the longer trails in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Highly recommended.

Note: Be sure to pack your National Parks Pass. And remember, fourth graders get in free to all National Parks. Just make sure you print and bring an Every Kid in a Park pass.

Punalu’U Black Sand Beach

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii with kids, you have to read this post. We will share our favorite 8 things to do with kids in Hawaii during your family vacation. This includes easy hikes in Hawaii, volcanoes in Hawaii, seeing Hawaii from the air, and much more. Come check out these fun things to do in Hawaii with kids and save it to your travel board so you can find it later.

Punalu’U Beach has two main draws. First, the sand is black!

Many of Hawaii’s colored sand beaches are difficult to access, but you can drive right up to this one.

Stepping on the black sand of the beach was incredible. Second, this is a popular stop for sea turtles!

You can also swim and snorkel, but stay out of the water at high surf.

Punalu’U Bake Shop

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii with kids, you have to read this post. We will share our favorite 8 things to do with kids in Hawaii during your family vacation. This includes easy hikes in Hawaii, volcanoes in Hawaii, seeing Hawaii from the air, and much more. Come check out these fun things to do in Hawaii with kids and save it to your travel board so you can find it later.

This bakery is famous for their Hawaiian sweetbread, or Portuguese malasadas – donuts.

They were delicious and the prices weren’t bad. It’s definitely a must-stop.

Big Island Travel Tips

Mauna Kea Observatory – Children under 16 (and rental cars) are discouraged from going higher than the Visitor Information Center.

Climate Zones We drove entirely around the Big Island, which contains most of the world’s climate types! Keep an eye out for the sudden changes of landscape every half an hour.

Plan for Downtime – Hawaii is very exciting and there is a lot to do. But it’s also a great place to relax and the beaches in Hawaii are amazing.

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii with kids, you have to read this post. We will share our favorite 8 things to do with kids in Hawaii during your family vacation. This includes easy hikes in Hawaii, volcanoes in Hawaii, seeing Hawaii from the air, and much more. Come check out these fun things to do in Hawaii with kids and save it to your travel board so you can find it later.

We alternated days with big activities or lots of driving, with days where we scoped out a nearby beach and relaxed. Using public access at resort beaches will give you access to rental gear for snorkeling, kayaking etc. You can also buy day passes to a resort to use their pools.

Get a Kitchen – We HIGHLY recommend booking an Airbnb or a hotel suite with a kitchen. Kids are such picky eaters, and food is very expensive on the Big Island. We made a trip to Costco on our arrival day, and visited Walmart halfway through our trip, and fed our kids meals at our condo most days. For cultural experience, we sometimes got take out for the adults and fed the kids familiar food at home.

Get a Pool – As I mentioned above, we did several lounging days where we visited nearby beaches, or used a resort pass. But we also had a pool at our condo that was convenient for some winding down time after a long day of driving.

Get a Washer – We travel lightly, and our trip to Hawaii was no exception. We brought one checked bag, one carryon, and a few back packs for our family of six – including rain gear, swim gear, water shoes, and hiking shoes for everyone. We were able to accomplish this by doing laundry in our condo each evening.

Bring Car Seats – As fun as it is to haul car seats and boosters around the airport, they are free to check, and quite expensive to rent with your rental car. Traveling lightly allowed us to handle carrying the car seats with ease. There are simple tips to help you travel with car seats and not lose your cool! 

TRAVEL TIPS

Reference these articles to further help you plan the perfect trip with kids:

We use Airbnb (here’s a $40 coupon) or Hotels.com to rent accommodations that have a kitchen. Cooking our meals saves us quite a bit of money compared to eating out, and it’s much healthier! If we can’t find somewhere to stay with a kitchen, we find places that have a microwave and fridge at the minimum. You would be surprised the meals you can prepare in a microwave.

We utilize Pinterest to organize the information when researching travel locations. Photo Jeepers has a USA Travel board, Hawaii Travel board and Family Travel board where we only pin things we have read and find worthwhile. Use our board to help you plan a trip to Hawaii. Save this to your travel and family travel boards and share with your friends!

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii with kids, you have to read this post. We will share our favorite 8 things to do with kids in Hawaii during your family vacation. This includes easy hikes in Hawaii, volcanoes in Hawaii, seeing Hawaii from the air, and much more. Come check out these fun things to do in Hawaii with kids and save it to your travel board so you can find it later.    If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii with kids, you have to read this post. We will share our favorite 8 things to do with kids in Hawaii during your family vacation. This includes easy hikes in Hawaii, volcanoes in Hawaii, seeing Hawaii from the air, and much more. Come check out these fun things to do in Hawaii with kids and save it to your travel board so you can find it later.

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6 comments

I don’t have kids, but I loved some of these suggestions! I would love to climb those trees and eat shaved ice! Hawaii looks like a dream!

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Although I dont have kids these things were pretty helpful, great list. I am going there soon and cant wait to finally see the big island. I am surely gonna do the helicopter tour!

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SO beautiful! I want to go to Hawaii so bad!

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It makes me realise how similar topographically Hawaii is to my new country Indonesia. I’m always looking for new stuff to do with my family, and you have inspired me to take my kids to a volcano. Thank you!

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Thank you for sharing! I am headed to Hawaii with my little one next year and this is really going to come in handy.

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Looks like you guys had a really good time! Those banyan trees are so amazing looking! I imagine they did play in there for an hour! It kinda reminds me of the tree from Fern Gully.

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