Carli Hester is a Hawaiii travel expert. As an agent with Travel With Kids she knows all the fun things to do with kids in Hawaii. And she’s got one secret tip that she’s willing to share with more adventurous families.
For a short holiday, Carli recommends staying in Waikiki. This island offers plenty to do and the kids won’t get bored.
“Accommodation in Hawaii isn’t cheap but you can be smart, look for accommodation that has the resort fee and breakfast included such as Embassy Suites or Hyatt Place,” Carli says.
The resort fee can be a shock to families who haven’t booked through a travel agent.
“There is nothing worse than having to pay another $50 per night when you’re there.”
Some (mostly Waikiki) properties have small pools. If a decent-size pool is important to you, tell your travel agent so you can make sure you’re getting exactly what you want from your holiday.
Hawaii offers plenty to do with kids. Carli says families should tick of the basics – surf lessons, a luau and a visit to the Polynesian cultural centre.
“The Lauau brings in all the different cultures of Hawaii you have local dances and a hawaiian buffet meal,” Carli says. “Every family should do it once.”
At the Polynesian Cultural Center the kids can learn about Hawaii’s history and culture.
“It tells the history of Hawaii and the people and explains how it has all changed,” Carli says.
“Every Friday they have students from the schools come and do dancing and show their art work.”
You can’t go past a day on the beach in Hawaii and Carli recommends Waikiki for surfing lessons.
“It’s a great place to learn because the waves aren’t that big, it’s a pretty safe place,” she says.
More active families should try hiking to the top of Diamond Head – a non active volcano with a spectacular view over Waikiki.
Carli also recommends snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. After a lesson on ecology, kids can dive in and explore the underwater world.
Teenagers will love the shops. Head to the outlets and you will find sneakers and premium brands at much lower prices than Australia.
“They’ll also love the Cheesecake Factory – you don’t get that in Australia,” Carli says.
Carli has been to Hawaii twice with her three children. She says the place her kids all loved twas Pearl Harbour.
“My son really got into it, he bought a book about it and everything,” she says.
Book Pearl Harbour tours early as spaces are limited. Carli suggests doing the audio tour with kids: “It keeps them going and keeps them busy”.
“A combined tour with USS Battleship Missouri is a great option,” Carli says. “This battleship secured its place in history as the site of Japan’s unconditional surrender to the United States, thus ending to World War II.”
Or hire a car and tour the beaches, stopping off at the famous shrimp trucks for lunch along the way. For something super sweet head to Dole Plantation – a working pineapple plantation with a train tour the kids will love.
Just make sure you book your hire the car before you leave Australia. Carli says Oahu, in particular, can run out of hire cars.
And her secret? If you love something different, and have the time, Carli suggests taking a short trip to Kauai. Parts of Jurassic Park were filmed here and it is the home of Lilo and Stitch.
“It’s probably the least known of the Hawaiian Islands but in my opinion the most beautiful and still quite authentic,” Carli says.
“You could spend three or four days exploring the islands waterfalls and the incredible Waimea Canyon which is absolutely breathtaking.
Great tours for the family including horse riding trail rides and movie tours, see where parts of Jurassic park was filmed and the home of the cartoon Lilo and Stitch.