When I dream of a tropical dream destination, I imagine Hawaii, where the beaches are as plentiful as the palm trees and the culture tells the stories of centuries. Hawaii isn’t just one of the most popular family vacation spots in the U.S., it’s truly one of the most memorable family vacation ideas in the entire world. With rainforests, volcanoes, waterfalls, cultural historical sights, and a floral fantasy of tropical gardens, not to mention some downright incredible family resorts in Hawaii, there’s nearly endless reasons to visit the islands of Hawaii.
The Best Family Resorts in Hawaii
There’s no one-size fits all best Hawaii resort, especially for families. Resorts span the spectrum, with on- and off-beach locations, a ton of different offerings, and nightly rates that range from not-quite-budget to ultra-luxe.
In fact, while Hawaii will never be considered a cheap family vacation destination, you can find a surprisingly robust collection of budget-friendly Hawaii hotels for families along with pricier luxury spots. From Maui to Lanai, from the Big Island to Oahu’s North Shore, here are the top resorts in Hawaii that put kids and families first.
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1. Fairmont Orchid
Big Island, Hawaii
The Big Island’s Kohala Coast is known for its striking volcanic landscape where jet-black lava contrasts with vibrant greenery. On this otherworldly yet lush coast, you’ll find Fairmont Orchid, a luxury hotel surrounded by fragrant gardens, koi ponds, and waterfalls. The guest rooms are spacious and attractive, the cuisine leans local, and service is stellar.
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Something I love about this family-friendly Hawaii hotel is that its beach is situated on a protected cove of turquoise water, perfect for tiny splashers. You’ll view sea turtles at play, and if you’re lucky, dolphins and humpback whales just a bit further offshore. For a taste of the island’s rich folklore and traditions, join in on some of Fairmont Orchid’s experiential programming: hula lessons and coconut frond weaving are among the highlights.
2. Wailea Beach Resort
Maui is a dreamy mix of jungles, rainforests, and jagged mountains, but it’s the island’s sun-splashed beaches with sand that ranges in color from ivory to ebony that are the definition of coastal eye-candy. Earning a spot among the best family resorts in Hawaii with its fabulous beach location, Wailea Beach Resort offers an array of aquatic activities in its kid-friendly calm waters. Here families can paddle a traditional Hawaiian outrigger canoe, practice balance and athleticism on a stand-up paddleboard, and get the chance to see (at a respectful distance, of course) resident sea turtles.
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If the ocean isn’t enough, the resort’s adventure pool also has a splash zone with four waterslides. The Keiki Club welcomes kids ages five to 12 with Hawaiian-inspired arts and crafts and hands-on learning stations. Vintage arcade games and movie screenings are additional family perks. And if you’re looking for a little peace amid all this kid fun, the resort has you covered: An adult-only pool, fitness classes, and meditation sessions at the resort’s wellness center make it a winner for parents who crave relaxation.
3. Four Seasons Resort Lanai
Once a pineapple plantation, the tiny apostrophe-shaped island of Lanai remains blissfully less developed than its neighbors. With no traffic lights and only a few paved roads, the atmosphere here is decidedly laid back. You might consider that an unexpected setting for one of the best Hawaii family resorts, but the posh Four Seasons Resort Lanai, which overlooks Hulopoe Beach, will quickly convince you that this is a great spot for families.
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The resort makes traveling with kids a breeze, with amenities such as child-size bathrobes, in-room baby-proofing, and even babysitting. A complimentary children’s program gives guests ages five to 12 the opportunity to appreciate Hawaiian culture as they learn about petroglyphs and build volcanoes, freeing parents to enjoy some adult-only time, perhaps for some spa time, a Hawaiian cooking class, or to just chill at the beach without also playing lifeguard.
4. Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani
It may be a boutique hotel, but Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani in the heart of Waikiki is right up there with the biggest family resorts in Hawaii. Though its not right on the beach, it’s a quick walk to famed Waikiki Beach. It’s a car-ride away from sights like Diamond Head and some of Hawaii’s most respected cultural venues, including the Bishop Museum, where you can present your room key for free admission.
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Foodie families will love the onsite Halekulani Bakery, which sells delectable treats ranging from artisan bread to a locally famous coconut cake. One of the hotel’s most popular programs is “The Art of Surfing,” where guests of all ages get a full introduction to the sport of kings. It’s led by surfers with decades of experience, so you’ll be hanging ten in no time.
5. Turtle Bay Resort
The legendary waves of Oahu’s North Shore draw surfers from around the world, and the recently redone Turtle Bay Resort is a North Shore hideaway grounded in local culture and a deep commitment to sustainability. Guest rooms and bungalows at this Hawaii family resort have natural touches of wood and wicker, bringing the outdoors inside.
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There’s a myriad of family-oriented activities, including a “surf with a pup” experience that will have everyone in the family smiling. At Kariel’s Mermaid Academy, kids may join a mermaid on her life-size clamshell before they learn to move and swim like a mermaid. Take a hula class and enjoy a dinner show that pays homage to the island’s little-known cowboy culture.
6. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
Big Island, Hawaii
Situated on 1,800-acres of beach on the island of Hawaii’s Kohala Coast, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel makes for an idyllic escape for families. Ukulele lessons and Hawaiian language classes allow visitors to connect with the rich history and culture of the islands, while a resident beekeeper gives tours and honey tastings for a sweet diversion. The children’s club for guests ages five to 12 offers lei-making workshops.
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But what truly makes Mauna Kea one of the best family resorts in Hawaii, especially for older kids, is the opportunity to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime guided offshore experience called the Manta Night Swim. Once the sky turns dark, harmless manta rays, known as Hawaii’s ocean angels, swim into the bay to feed. Guests can snorkel around these graceful creatures as they nibble tiny crustaceans that are attracted to the light, enjoying an up-close view of the scene.
7. Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort
On Hawaii’s “Garden Isle,” the Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort feels like it could have been lifted straight from a Polynesian fairytale. This waterfront property has a zero-entry splash pool, fire pits for twilight s’mores, and multiple dining options. Guest rooms offer sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean from private lanais.
Oceanfront bike baths and complimentary beach cruisers make it easy to pedal away and explore other parts of the island of Kauai, too. And young guests at this delightful Hawaii hotel for families can try kite-making and coconut husking workshops and indulge in poolside shaved-ice.
8. Hana-Maui Resort (Formerly the Travaasa Hana)
Families who stay at the Hana-Maui Resort, formerly called the Travaasa Hana, can experience the raw beauty of Maui’s less-explored eastern side. One of the best family resorts in Hawaii, it overlooks the Pacific and features 74 guest rooms, suites, bungalows, and family residences, each with a private lanai for enjoying the refreshing trade winds or admiring a colorful sunset.
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With limited Wi-Fi and no in-room TVs, it’s the ideal destination to disconnect from technology and reconnect with loved ones. Saddle up and ride along historic trails, explore the black sand beach at Waiʻānapanapa State Park, and rent a Jeep Wrangler onsite to put the entire island at your fingertips.
9. Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa
Located on the leeward coast of Oahu, Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa is scenically situated between verdant mountains and the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. A private beach, multiple pools, a water zone with slides, and a lazy river combine with Disney’s special brand of customer service. Disney characters are part of the deal, so there will be lots of opportunities to say hello to Mickey, Minnie, Moana, and the rest of the crew.
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Activities such as ukulele lessons, hula classes, and an evening luau make a genuine effort to infuse Hawaiian culture into the guest experience. Aunty’s Beach House is a supervised play center for children ages four to 12, giving parents a chance to spend some time alone while the kids make new friends (just book well in advance). When hunger strikes, everything from fine dining to snack bars are onsite, with Hawaiian staples like shave ice and Spam making an appearance. Pro tip: If you’re hungry but don’t want a restaurant experience, grab a lounge chair by one of the pools. Within a few minutes someone will come and take your order for poolside snacks and drinks.
10. Royal Kona Resort
Big Island, Hawaii
A popular Hawaii family resort choice for those looking to bundle amenities into something resembling an all-inclusive vacation, the Big Island’s Royal Kona Resort runs frequent vacation package deals that typically include flights and accommodations in a single discounted rate. Additional “Added Value” packages offer discounts on everything from car rentals and parking to luau tickets and a dinner cruise.
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Amenities at this kid-friendly resort in Hawaii include a saltwater lagoon, swimming pool, and scheduled activities. Royal Kona Resort is located close to a beach rather than right on it, but because every beach in Hawaii is a public right of way at no extra cost, you get the benefits of a Hawaii beach vacation here without the cost of paying to stay directly on the beach.
The best hotels in Hawaii for families mix comfortable accommodations; fun activities like surf lessons, live music, and game rooms; and a location that puts other attractions within reach. And these family friendly hotels in Hawaii deliver that magic combination. Whether you’re looking for an affordable hotel or a luxury resort, we’ve got you covered with this list of recommendations.
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