Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Fri November 13 2015

Opinion Home | Are We There Yet: Tips For Family Trips

  • Janeen Christoff | November 13, 2015 9:00 PM ET

    5 Family-Friendly Hotels on Hawaii's Big Island

    5 Family-Friendly Hotels on Hawaii's Big Island

    PHOTO: Hilton Waikoloa Village. (Courtesy Hilton Hotels & Resorts)

    Hawaii is, by nature, a family-friendly place, but just because the destination has lots to keep clans busy doesn’t mean that all accommodation was created with equal family-friendly features. Just as the terrain of the Big Island is varied, from rainforests to lava rocks, the options for families are equally numerous. Here are a few hotels that have unique amenities for every member of the family. 

    Hilton Waikoloa Village

    The Hilton Waikoloa Village is probably the Big Island’s most family-friendly property, if when you think of “family-friendly” you are thinking about numerous activities, giant pools, water slides and options galore. It is large and sprawling, requiring visitors to ride a tram between each wing of the hotel because of the sheer enormity of the resort. But there is so much to do on the property, you could use the Hilton Waikoloa as a one-stop destination for your Hawaiian vacation.

    To start, there is a four-acre ocean-fed lagoon where guests can snorkel and swim or sit on its sandy beach. There are three pools, with waterfalls and a water slide, as well as an adults-only pool. There are 14 restaurants and bars, a luau, two golf courses, an award-winning spa, resort shopping and more.

    To make your experience truly memorable, there is the Dolphin Quest experience where guests can touch, feed, play and swim with dolphins in the resort’s tropical lagoon.

    Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa

    The Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa is located in the heart of the action on the Big Island, just off Alii Drive in Kailua-Kona. It is a great jumping-off point for Big Island activities as well as being a family-friendly property. The hotel provides free rides on the Keauhou Resort Trolley, there is an on-site luau on Mondays, a sand volleyball court, tennis, basketball, manta ray talks and children’s activities with parental supervision. There is also a great kid-friendly pool with two waterslides, a sandy bottom kids area and secret grottos and waterfalls.

    One of the highlights of the resort is watching the manta rays from the hotel in the evenings. The manta ray night dives take place right in front of the property and Ray’s on the Bay restaurant is a prime viewing location for guests and locals alike.

    Fairmont Orchid

    The Fairmont Orchid welcomes children with its Keiki Aloha Adventure program. It is perfect for parents who want to enhance their children’s vacation time with learning and cultural experiences and who would like to have some alone time.

    Each day at the Keiki Aloha Adventure program has a theme and activities include hiking to the ancient Hawaiian petroglyph field to see mysterious drawings carved in lava rock centuries ago; exploration of a lava tube cave, where children and counselors will go inside to see where ancient Hawaiians once settled; going on a fish and shark tour; tide pool explorations to explore the reef and sea life; or a gecko hunt. The program is either a half-day or a full-day experience that includes meals. Adults looking for something to do while their children are being enriched with Hawaiian culture can sneak off to the award-winning Spa Without Walls.

    Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

    One of the great things about being a kid and staying with the Four Seasons is that you get treated like royalty. Four Seasons provides children with an array of amenities upon arrival. Parents who provide resort staff with their children’s names and ages receive a personalized welcome amenity, milk and cookies on the evening of their arrival, kid-size bathrobes and children’s toiletries.

    The hotel also has kid-friendly pools, family day beds, complimentary on-site activities such as marine life demonstrations, beach games, snorkeling, tennis, treasure hunts, a teen program and the supervised Kids for All Seasons kids club, offering fun educational programs.

    Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows

    Mauna Lani’s luxury bungalows and keiki (children’s) golf course make it a highlight for families. Bungalows feature ocean views, private pools and full kitchens, ideal for larger groups. The Keiki Golf Course is designed for the whole family and is one of the only ones of its kind in the islands. There are children’s lessons and family packages for those who want to enjoy golfing together.

    Other highlights of the property include the long white-sand beach, free cultural activities such as lei-making and hula lessons, free fish- and turtle-feeding programs, complimentary bicycles, lap pools, a children’s hot tub and snorkeling equipment at no additional cost – making the Mauna Lani as close to an all-inclusive experience as you can get in Hawaii.

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Janeen Christoff Are We There Yet: Tips For Family Trips

Janeen Christoff Janeen Christoff caught the travel bug while living in London, England. After two years on the road, she settled in Los Angeles and focused her writing on what she loved best — exploring the world. Today, she’s a well-traveled mother of two, the managing editor of Agent@Home and Vacation Agent magazines, an adventurer and a world wanderer. Want to know where she is headed next? Check out her blog at
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