The Latest Hawaii Family Travel Ideas, Island by Island

Hawaii

Whether it's camping at an active volcano or swooping over Maui in a helicopter, Travel Agent breaks down the Hawaiian Islands' latest offerings for families.

Oahu

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa’s New On-Site Family Offerings 

With a focus on sustainability, a new buffet at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach will be available at SHOR from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. daily. Menu highlights include a made-to-order poke station, fresh sushi, Kalua pig, Kauai shrimp, prime rib, crab legs, kiawe smoked dishes, Ulu hummus, chia shots and more, with gluten free and vegetarian options throughout and an expanded seafood selection on weekends.

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In partnership with the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa recently debuted the Hawaiian Music & Dance Hall of Fame Historical Exhibit, a collection of five large-scale displays with eight panels located throughout the resort, featuring images and documents illustrating the history of Hawaiian music and honoring some of Hawaii’s most notable composers and entertainers.

The resort has also launched a special walking tour centered around the panels, “E hoʻāla e” (Revive, Renew, Restore), which is led by Kumukahi every Wednesday at 10 a.m. for one hour. Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach has also launched a new Waikiki by Moonlight event series this year, which will take place once a month at the nearby Kuhio Beach Hula Mound to honor inductees to the Hawaii Music Hall and Walk of Fame through a music and dance performance.

Head for the Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head

For families visiting Oahu, the Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head provides an assortment of goodies for children of all age groups. Infants receive a new Infant Amenity Package complete with infant-safe sunscreen, fragrance-free, all-natural baby bath products and a squeezable baby whale. 

Children ages 12 and under receive a complimentary box of crayons and cultural activity book of fun and educational activities celebrating all things Hawaii. Once the book is completed, children can exchange it for a souvenir gift. The property also offers complimentary souvenir boxes decorated with the child’s choice of anthurium flowers or Hawaiian fish. 

Onsite or at the beach, kids can choose from a selection of grab-and-go inflatable fish toys, beach balls and slippers for water play, and complimentary beach bags with a pair of children’s sunglasses. 

Meet the Revamped Sheraton Princess Kaiulani

As part of a nearly $5 million enhancement completed in 2016, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani now offers two new room categories on the top 10 floors of its newly renovated Ainahau Tower. Offering Waikiki skyline views, rooms have all-new furniture, artwork, and decorative accents. Adding to the resort’s now-total of 1,140 rooms is the newly renovated Kaiulani category with a limited view and private balcony plus upgraded bathrooms. A prior property makeover included additional room renovations as well as updates to the Sheraton Fitness Center, Sheraton Link and lobby area.

Hawaii Island

Summer Camping on Hawaii's Active Volcano

Hidden within a fragrant eucalyptus grove, Volcano House’s Namakanipaio Campground on Hawaii Island offers summer visitors three ways to “glamp” or camp (at three levels of cushiness), all inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the state’s number-one attraction. 

Whether a cozy, one-room camper cabin that sleeps four; a fully equipped (and pre-setup) rent-a-tent with an 8-inch memory foam mattress, hotel linens, cooler, lantern, and camping chairs; or a simple camp site lot for you to BYOT (bring you own tent) – Volcano House’s Namakanipaio Campground makes camping accessible to most markets.

Maui

Andaz Maui Partners With Maverick Helicopters

Guests can take part in an exclusive Maui culinary experience in partnership with Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort and Maverick Helicopters.

A group of six passengers will soar over Maui’s North Shore with Executive Chef Isaac Bancaco, taking in sea cliffs and waterfalls with aerial shoreline perspectives above Paia, Hookipa, Haiku and beyond, before landing in the Hana rainforest.

Once in Hana, the group will learn about the culture, history, land, native vegetation and plants of the area before returning back to the 15-acre beachfront Andaz Maui for a cooking class in the resort’s signature restaurant, Ka’ana Kitchen.

Aqua-Aston Hospitality’s Kaanapali Properties Offer Whale Watching From Every Angle

Each year, from November to May, humpback whales can be seen off Maui’s Kaanapali Coast, making them one of West Maui’s most popular attractions. Guests are encouraged to travel with binoculars when staying at Aqua-Aston’s three-and four-star Kaanapali properties: Aston at The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach, Aston Kaanapali Shores, Aston Mahana at Kaanapali, Aston Paki Maui, Aston at Papakea Resort and Maui Kaanapali Villas. 

Offering multiple beachfront, ocean view, and garden view condo-style living, guests can experience whale watching from every angle. Aqua-Aston’s Kaanapali properties are also conveniently located near other whale watching attractions, such as The Whaler Center of Hawaii, slated to open later this year, and the Pacific Whale Foundation, which offers a roster of eco-friendly activities. 

Aston Kaanapali Shores’ “Moments of Fun” Are Designed For Travelers of All Ages

Enjoy “Moments of Fun” every Tuesday and Thursday this fall at Aston Kaanapali Shores. On Tuesdays, guests can join Jason Jerome of Lahaina Music in the property’s South Lobby for complimentary ukulele classes. 

Participants may join others in the property’s ongoing complimentary hula lessons program for combined musical performances on Tuesdays. Every Thursday, painting professionals from Island Art Party host a new Cocktails & Canvas pau hana (happy hour) between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. following the property’s weekly craft fair. 

Here guests will learn step-by-step instructions on how to paint their own Maui memory, with special themes from seascapes to sunsets. The painting pau hana includes the choice of a complimentary cocktail or the option to ship the final piece for free in the $59 admission price for Aston guests (including guests staying at Aston’s Kaanapali properties and Hawaii residents with valid state identification) and $69 for non-guests. 

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua Completes Massive Renovation

A solid fit for families, the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, a luxury resort located on Maui, has announced the completion of massive renovation that practically transformed the resort. The resort now offers upgraded guest rooms, suites and residences, an enhanced lobby and pool experience, and the new Kai Cafe. 

Celebrating its milestone 25th anniversary, these new enhancements aim to honor the last quarter of a century while ushering in what the hotel is billing as a new wave of natural Aloha.

The new guest rooms, suites, and residences feature floor-to-ceiling windows and the resort’s elevated lobby experience is inspired by the Hawaiian word, Mana, meaning the power of the elemental forces in nature embodied in an object or person. Lighting and elements of fire aim to meld with organic lines and textures to create an indoor-outdoor feeling.

The 10,000-square foot, three-level pool and 20,000-square-foot sun deck are now accompanied by upgraded Cabana Suites complete with butler service, flat screen televisions and a private refrigerator. Also new is refreshed landscaping, including the addition of puakenikeni trees, hibiscus and lauhala.

Located on the lobby level of the resort, the new Kai Cafe offers an array of house-made pastries, organic smoothies, fresh local coffee and deli selections, tropical fruits, sandwiches, wraps and salads.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is part of Marriott International, Inc. and currently operates more than 90 hotels and 40 residential properties in more than 30 countries and territories.

Lanai

Four Seasons Resort Lanai’s Hottest Family Amenities

Families staying at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai have a chance to explore Lanai by sea on the resort’s 50 foot catamaran, The Lanai.  

Families can enjoy morning snorkel sails, evening sunset sails or, from December through April, set sail on a whale watching experience. Lanai is home to one of Hawaii's largest schools of spinner dolphins and offers a haven to North Pacific humpback whales. All excursions include a selection of food, snacks and beverages; snorkel sails include SUP boards.   

Also, families staying here can escape on horseback into the hills surrounding Koele, once the center of ranching operations on the island, and enjoy an alternative way to explore the wooded valleys and trails of the extraordinary upland terrain. Custom tours and private lessons are also available, as well as pony rides for keiki.   

Guests can also venture upcountry and spend time with the Ranch's 12 miniature horses and donkeys, where they can pet or groom the minis and hear the resort's wranglers tell stories about Koele and the paniolo (cowboy) culture on Lanai. Guests can also book a complimentary ride to the Ranch at Koele on the Resort Shuttle with the Lanai Ambassadors or arrive via Jeep, as well as arrange a picnic with In-Room Dining for an unforgettable lunchtime experience. 

Or guests at the Four Seasons Lanai can tour a charming plantation town in a beautiful carriage drawn by Shire ‘draught’ horses, similar to Clydesdales and recognized as a family-friendly and laid-back breed. The ride begins in Lanai City, where guests will circle Dole Park, and ends at Lanai Ranch at Koele. 

The grass-covered land was deemed perfect for ranching sheep, supplying Honolulu and other islands with mutton, and later cattle, from around 1850 to 1951, and is now home to the resort's stables of horses, miniature horses and donkeys and Spur, the ranch dog. Rides are one hour, $350 per carriage, which seats a maximum of four passengers (including children). Available Thursday-Sundays, at 4 pm. Hot cocoa and bottled water provided. 

The hotel can also arrange for a trip to the 14-station Lanai Archery and Shooting Range in the wooded uplands, which challenges shooters of all skill levels. Stations offer sporting clays launched to simulate flight patterns of duck, quail, dove, pheasant and even running rabbit patterns. 

For families wanting to channel their inner “Hunger Games" characters, guests can set their sight on 3D animal targets such as turkey, deer, T-Rex, ram or boar or take aim at traditional archery targets, from five to 25 yards away at the archery course. Children as young as eight can enjoy these activities, with appropriate supervision – child-sized equipment is available. 

In case rains ruins a sunny day, the Lanai Theater, Hale Keaka, is an iconic Lanai landmark providing family-friendly entertainment. Hale Keaka’s duplex design contains two 91-seat theaters and a green room. Architectural features from the original building, including arched entryways and dormer windows, evoke Lanai Theater’s storied past.

Kauai

Maverick Helicopters Set to Expand Operations to Kauai

Maverick Helicopters, a division of Maverick Aviation Group, will expand operations to Hawaii’s northernmost and oldest island, Kauai, later this year. 

The expansion, which will become official in the second quarter of 2018, comes after nearly three years of successful operations on Maui, and will be the company's the sixth permanent location.

The flights will depart daily from the company’s facility at Port Allen Airport, located one mile southwest of Hanapepe, Kauai.

“Maverick Helicopters is thrilled to offer our customers an unforgettable experience on the Garden Isle,” said Bryan Kroten, vice president of marketing at Maverick Helicopters, in a written release. "With most of Kauai’s striking geographic marvels inaccessible by foot or road, helicopter travel provides the best way to see the island’s natural beauty.”

Maverick Helicopters’ new excursions will showcase Kauai’s spectacular landscapes including Waimea Canyon, known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” stretching 14 miles long, one mile wide and more than 3,600 feet deep; and Napali Coast, Kauai’s 17-mile coastline, displaying panoramic views of velvet green cliffs, cascading waterfalls and the vast Pacific Ocean.

Maverick Helicopters offers VIP-level service from various departure locations, including Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and Maui. The company’s airline division, Maverick Airlines, departs from Henderson Executive Airport. 

Visit www.gohawaii.com and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for all your latest travel news. Be sure to follow Travel Agent’s Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260

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