Hawaii Vacation for Kids

Finding the best vacation package for your family

Hawaii is one of the most dreamed about vacation spots in the world. With white sandy beaches and clear blue surf, it almost seems like paradise. Most of us have only seen Hawaii in pictures and on television, and think the trip is only a dream because we could never afford to vacation there. But, there are ways to plan an affordable trip to Hawaii for the whole family.

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Depending on which island you choose, there are dozens of budget-friendly activities to please everyone. On the main island, visit the Parker Ranch, where kids can learn about cowboys and take a wagon ride, or visit the Astronomy Center of Hawaii for the planetarium and science center. The Kilauea Visitor Center gives the family a chance to explore an active volcano, while Mauna Kea has telescopes available to watch the stars.

The main island is the center of most family vacations to Hawaii, but you can save money without sacrificing any of the fun by looking at one of the other islands. On Kauai, families can enjoy a traditional luau and visit working vanilla and cocoa farms. Kids love to see where chocolate actually comes from and what it looks like. Lanai is perfect for the golfers in the family, and others might enjoy horseback riding on the beach. On Maui, visit the Paper Airplane Center and the Hawaii Nature Center, or visit the island of Molokai to see what Hawaii used to look like. Some travelers might prefer Oahu and Honolulu for dolphin watching, but be aware that the island can be pricey given all the tourist-themed attractions.

A trip to Hawaii will require that you choose either a package deal or making arrangements on your own. For families, I would suggest making your own arrangements if only to keep things easy. With package deals or all-inclusive plans, you are at the mercy of the scheduled activities, which do not leave room for small problems. If your child wakes up in the morning feeling cranky, they aren't going to enjoy visiting a local volcano with several other families. Families need flexibility, and you can't get that in a package deal. Think about calling your hotel directly to ask about deals and discounts they have with local attractions. You can still save money, but without the restrictions imposed by a package deal.

Hawaii can be a fun-filled, budget-friendly vacation for the whole family, as long as you know what to look for and where to go.

By Jennifer Eblin