- Boating & Sailing
- Dolphin Encounters
- Scuba Diving
- Water Sports
- Whale Watching
Family Activities on the Big Island
People come to the Big Island to slow down — to disconnect from the day-to-day madness that is life and reconnect with family and the beauty of nature.
The Big Island has more than its fair share of the latter, in fact, that you will need more than a few days to make it from one side of the island to the other. And there are things to do with your family here that you won’t get to do on any other island.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Tops the List of Family Activities
At the top of that list is a visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park where you can go under the Earth to explore a dark, damp lava tube, stand at the edge of a massive volcanic crater, marvel at the mysterious plumes of steam that billow from cracks in the ground, and explore the largest petroglyph field in the Pacific.
After hiking or biking to your heart’s content, make an educational stop at the Jaggar Museum or the visitors center to learn all about volcanoes, Hawaiian rainforests, Hawaiian culture, and the fire goddess Pele.
Beachin’ It with the Family
The beaches on the Big Island are also different from other islands in the Hawaiian island chain. The west side has its beautiful white sand beaches, but on the east and south side of the island you’ll find glistening black sand shores like Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach on the Ka‘u coast. This stretch of beach is easily accessible and a favorite sunbathing spot for Hawaiian green sea turtles.
The Big Island also has all the fun beach activities you think of when you imagine spending your days in the salty sea: boogie boarding, snorkeling, and kayaking as well as stand up paddle boarding (SUP).
Another unique family-friendly Big Island experience is a trip to Mauna Kea. At the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy visitor information station at 9,200 feet you will find the best amateur observation site on the globe with free evening stargazing programs. (Children under 16 are not allowed past the visitor station.)
Horseback Riding and ATV Adventures
Paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) culture still thrives on the Big Island. Families looking to explore this part of Hawaiʻi’s heritage can saddle up for a horseback tour of pastureland in Waimea or the historic waterfall trails of Waipiʻo Valley. Or, for the older kids, you can hop on the back on an ATV and try some off-roading.
Family Activities in Hilo
The east side of the island is the opposite of the dense resort areas of Kona and Waikoloa. It’s also far wetter. In Hilo, you’ll want to visit botanical gardens, Rainbow Falls and Akaka Falls (both easy hikes for families).
Head to the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, a 40,00 square foot exhibition and planetarium complex, where adults and children alike can learn about the universe and how ancient Hawaiians navigated over vast oceans with the stars as their guide.
Then there’s the Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens, the only naturally occurring rainforest zoo in the U.S. They offer free admission, interesting rainforest animal exhibits, and the best playground in town.
Family Activities Directory
Atlantis Submarine – Kona
Atlantis Submarines has been sharing the magnificence of Hawaii’s undersea…
Visit Pearl Harbor and tour Oahu on a self-guided day trip. Flight/car rental included.
Visit Pearl Harbor and take a city tour of Honolulu. Flight/transport included.
Stroll Through Hilo’s Panaewa Zoo, the Only Rainforest Zoo in the US
Located on 12 acres of rainforest land, the Pana‘ewa Rainforest…
- Visiting Hawaii is easy in a rental car from Alamo®. Minivans, economy cars, SUV's and more, Alamo has the rental car for your visit to Hawaii.
- Annie’s Island Fresh Burgers - Open daily for lunch and dinner from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm, and happy hour daily from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
- Best of Hawaii 4 Island Tour - 13-day guided tour now from only $1,999! SAVE $700 per couple on select departures! Inter-island flights included.
- SAVE 10% on Kohala Canopy Zipline tours Friday-Saturday and experience Hawaii Island’s only tree-to-tree adventure! Promo Code WEEKENDER
- Enjoy a family adventure at Dolphin Quest Hawaii
- Plant. Harvest. Smile. Repeat. @ Waiahole Nursery & Garden
- Oahu's #1 tour on Hawaiian history & culture. Monarchs Tour: $129
- Kaanapali Ocean Inn Standard Special from $139/nt
- Taste love in a bottle: Visit the Ko Hana Hawaiian Agricole Rum Distillery - $25
- Text "BeachAlerts" to 43766 now for current beach conditions
- From $1,389 - Oahu, Kauai, Maui & Big Island 8-Nts. w/Air
- 8 World-class, dual ziplines at CLIMB Works Keana Farms
- Discover amazing views from the air with Mokulele Air Tours, starting at $169pp
- Get low prices everyday with Alamo® in Hawaii.
- Save 20%! Pre-purchase breakfast at Royal Kona Resort