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Hawaii is often thought of as the perfect romantic getaway, ideal for honeymoons and anniversary celebrations. However, there’s much more to the Aloha State than couples holding hands on the beach. As a matter of fact, it also happens to be the perfect place for a fun-filled family vacation. Family members of all ages enjoy snorkeling, swimming, checking out the wildlife, learning about the state’s history and, of course, playing on the gorgeous sandy beaches. The main islands just happen to be home to some of the best Hawaii beaches for kids and families.

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Where to have a family-friendly Hawaii vacation

  1. Maui

    Without a doubt, Maui is one of the most family-friendly islands in Hawaii. Not only are there plenty of kid-friendly rentals in Maui, but there’s so much to do that it’ll keep your family busy day and night. Visit the town of Lahaina for shopping, dining and plenty of history and culture. Haleakala National Park is a dormant volcano that sits over 10,000 feet above sea level and offers an exciting view of the land. If someone in your family is interested in the local marine life, the Maui Ocean Center is home to thousands of fish and other fascinating creatures, including sharks, turtles and sting rays. It’s an excellent spot for whale-watching, and your group can stay in one of the many available house rentals or choose a hotel with kid-friendly activities, such as learning to hula. The most kid-friendly beaches on Maui include:

    • Baldwin Beach Park: This area is home to one of the state’s popular “Baby Beaches,” which boast shallow, gentle waters that are easy for little ones to wade in. Baldwin Beach Park doesn’t see strong waves, thanks to a nearby reef. The water is warm, and there are plenty of picnic spaces along with a lifeguard on duty.
    • Launiupoko Beach Park: Speaking of Baby Beaches, there’s another one at Launiupoko Beach Park. However, there’s no lifeguard on duty.
    • Kamaole Beach Park: The beach is a popular spot at Kamaole Beach Park, but the nearby shopping, dining and playground make it a family-friendly destination.

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  2. Big Island

    Big Island, otherwise known as Hawaii Island, is a place where your family can fully enjoy the tropical vacation experience. There’s plenty of history and even more beauty, like sights at Liliuokalani Gardens. Visit plantations, waterfalls, volcanoes and, of course, the beaches. These include:

    • Kamakahonu Beach: Kamakahonu Beach in Kona has earned the nickname “Kids’ Beach” because it’s safe and surrounded by kid-friendly restaurants and barbecue areas.
    • Kahaluu Beach Park: The water at Kahaluu Beach Park is calm and shallow, and this is a favorite beach for those who want to go snorkeling.

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  3. Oahu

    For the Hawaiian experience that feels like it was pulled from a Hollywood movie, take your family to Oahu. There’s plenty of beach, nature and island beauty to enjoy, but there’s also an exciting nightlife, plenty of shopping and luaus galore. Visit Pearl Harbor or Sea Life Park where kids can pet or swim with dolphins, sharks, rays and sea lions. Oahu is also home to the state’s largest city, Honolulu. Don’t forget the beaches:

    • Ala Moana Beach Park: Not only is the water at this beach calm enough for little ones, but there’s a mall across the street for lunch or some post-swimming shopping. The beach is also near Waikiki.
    • Halona Beach Cove: This beach is known for being private, as well as a favorite hangout for wildlife like turtles.
    • Hanauma Bay: Here the water is calm and the beach is fairly quiet. It’s another popular spot for spotting marine life, and a favorite for snorkeling.

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  4. Kauai

    If your family is filled with nature lovers, Kauai is a top place to visit — without a doubt. Covered by rain forests, canyons and beaches, it’s a lovely place for hiking and spotting wildlife. It’s also the state’s oldest island. Of all the islands in Hawaii, Kauai is often considered the one with the most family-friendly beaches. Some of them include:

    • Kalapaki Beach: Kalapaki Beach is ideal for older children who want to practice surfing or body-boarding.
    • Poipu Beach Park: One of the most popular beaches in all of Hawaii and even the United States, this one has a Baby Beach and a playground. Throughout the year, vendors set up along the shore.
    • Lydgate Beach Park: There’s a wall of rock that keeps waves at bay and creates small tidal pools, making this a great spot for little swimmers.
  5. Lanai

    Last but not least, Lanai is a small, quiet island where you won’t find too many crowds. While there are several resorts on the island, it’s really the perfect spot for nature lovers who want to go horseback riding, snorkeling or sunbathing. It’s also home to some fine shopping and dining. The beaches aren’t as plentiful on Lanai, but there’s still plenty to choose from, including:

    • Hulopoe Beach Park: The most popular beach on Lanai, Hulopoe is known for its calm and clear waters, tidal pools with plenty of marine life to explore and easily accessed picnic facilities.
    • Polihua Beach: If your family is looking for an adventure, you may enjoy taking a drive to Polihua Beach. While it’s not a safe place to swim, it’s a fun place for a scavenger hunt and a beach hike in a remote location.