The Best Family-Friendly Experiences in Hawaii

Hawaii is a location on almost everyone’s bucket list. Hiking volcanoes, snorkeling, and relaxing all day by the beach sounds like a dream!

For families, traveling can feel overwhelming and stressful, but the memories you will form are well worth it. Plus, it can help bring you out of your comfort zone and find the kid inyou.

Thankfully, there are tons of family-friendly activities on Hawaii’s islands that are perfect for kids and adults. From soaring through the air with ziplines to life under the sea, there’s a little something for everyone.

Travel and Leisure put together the perfect list of family-friendly experiences in Hawaii. Here are our favorites!

Underwater adventures

Atlantis Adventuresoffers submarine rides where you can dive 100 feet under the ocean in Wakiki and see where sharks, eels, and sea turtles call home. You can also see sunken ships, remnants of hurricane-swept airliners, pyramid structures, and other objects hiding under your nose!

Go back in history

Ever wondered why Hawaii was like in the early 20th century? You can experience the life of the island’s coffee growers at the Kona Coffee Living History Museum. You can stroll through coffee trees, visit original 1920s farmhouses, and sip some delicious coffee.

Learn about sea life

The Maui Ocean Center has five different species of sharks turtles. You can learn about Humpback whales inside their virtual whale encounter and the history and culture of early Hawaiian villages. They also have a new exhibit called Kaho‘olawe: A Story of History and Healing to raise further awareness of the culture, geography, history, and restoration of the island.

Go to a luau

Head to Old Lahaina Luau to feast on Pua’a Kalua, tuna poke, and chicken long rice at this celebration that has nearly 500 guests per week. Indulge in delicious desserts like guava cake and Hawaiian chocolate brownies, then learn about the area’s history through their performance.

Get going

Head to the 105-acre Kilohana Plantation on this 40-minute train ride. Relax inside one of their mahogany passenger cars and listen to the history of the plantation as you see more than 50 varieties of fruit trees and vegetable gardens, then hop off the train in time to feed the wild pigs, goats, and sheep.

 Admire the views

Take in the scenery of Hawaii’s coastline from Diamond Head, one of Hawaii’s most recognized landmarks, known for it’s hiking trails, coastal views, and history. Diamond Head was formed 300,000 years ago during an explosive volcanic eruption. If you go in the winter, you might even spot humpback whales below!

Ride the Pineapple Express Train

Love pineapple? Then head to the Dole Plantation, which started as a fruit stand and has since grown into the experience it is today! Dole Plantation provides enjoyable activities for the entire family, including the Pineapple Express Train Tour, the Plantation Garden Tour, and the Pineapple Garden Maze. Board the Pineapple Express Train for a 20-minute tour that discusses everything pineapple from Hawaii.

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The Best Places To Travel To In 2020

A new year is quickly approaching and with that comes new year’s resolutions. Whether your resolution is to travel more, stress less, or spend quality time with friends and family, this list is for you! Travel + Leisure released its top places to travel in 2020 and they included a little something for everyone. Here are our favorites!

Austria

Now a favorite spot for the younger crowd, Austria is in the midst of reinventing itself. Enjoy their cutting-edge arts institutions and then head to the Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere, a $240 million development project that surrounds the city’s central train station. You can also tour other venues like Belvedere 21, the Freud Museum, Musikverein, and end up at the Salzburg Festival. – John Wray

Travel to Barbados

Visitors to Barbados in 2020 will be able to participate in a 52-week festival called “We Gatherin”, which will launch in January and travel to all 11 parishes before ending in a country-wide bash in December. You can expect lively street parades, traditional dishes, live soca music, and plenty of festivals within the festival. If you want to miss out on the action but still vacation on the island, head to Cobblers Cove.– Nora Walsh

Big Island, Hawaii

The island’s biggest resort opening in years is set to debut in January 2020 — a reimagining of Mauna Lani by Auberge Resorts, the first Hawaiian venture by the Bay Area-based luxury hotel brand. The resort will have a redesigned spa that incorporates Hawaiian botanicals and Canoe House, a beachfront restaurant.  – John Wogan

Botswana

Take your pick from a slew of new safari lodges. The Okavango Delta just saw the opening of Natural Selection’s Tuludi, a treehouse-inspired camp with seven tented suites connected by elevated boardwalks, and come June, the solar-powered Xigera Safari Lodge will debut in the delta’s Moremi Game Reserve. You can also check out a six-tent mobile camp called Linyanti Expeditions or the Great Plains Selinda Camp.– Madeline Bilis

Brisbane, Australia

Family-friendly Waterline Park courts outdoor enthusiasts with a climbing wall and other sporting equipment; Mangrove Walk focuses on indigenous culture and local wildlife, with educational signposts stationed throughout the quarter-mile path; and the initial section of a rehabilitated Bicentennial Bikeway features wider lanes, better sight lines, and improved traffic flow. Choose from your choice of high-profile hotels like the Calile, Ovili Inchcolm, the Fantauzzo, or the Ritz-Carlton or Rosewood in Queen’s Wharf. – Sarah Bruning

Travel to Costa Rica

Several just-opened eco-retreats are offering more ways to unwind in Costa Rica. Perhaps the most-anticipated is Nayara Tented Camp, a safari-style retreat inside a sloth sanctuary. Then there’s Kasiiya Papagayo, which opened as an adventure-focused getaway; walkie-talkies and headlamps are distributed at check-in. Farther south isKinkára Luxury Retreat, built on the slopes of the Talamanca mountain range. – Madeline Bilis

Dominica

This 290-square-mile teardrop is an outdoorsy traveler’s oasis, claiming 365 rivers, 300 miles of hiking trails, a dozen waterfalls, and the world’s second-largest hot spring. You’ll have your pick from the Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinksi, wellness resort Jungle Bay,Secret Bay, and Anichi Resort & Spa. – Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon

Dubai

Expo 2020 Dubai, the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, is set to change the face of a city whose face is always, already, constantly in flux. About halfway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the 1,000-acre “District 2020” will eventually have multiple parks, a dedicated metro station, and more than 200 restaurants and food venues. —Hannah Walhout

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Scuba Diving Trips Worth Planning

What a better way to kick off summer than to take a deep dive in our deep seas? Scuba diving gives you one of the most personal encounters with ocean life. Scuba gear has given us the opportunity to see how one of our largest ecosystems on the planet functions. When you dive below the surface you are diving into a whole different world. Not only are you able to explore marine life, but shipwrecks and lost treasure could possibly be found. EscapeHere has an article with The 10 Best Scuba Diving Locations in the World, we are here to share five.

Cozumel, Mexico

Up to 100 feet of visibility, the opportunity for scuba diving in Cozumel is endless. The Maya Reef that runs for 600 miles, reaches from Central America to Cozumel. This gives its visitors multiple opportunities to see what lies beyond the surface. Maybe the sun isn’t really your thing; try looking into night dives. Summer is the best time to visit because the cheaper hotel prices and the water is a lot warmer.

Hawaii, USA

Due to the location, Hawaii’s marine life is not as plentiful as those in the Caribbean. However, this also means that their marine life is unique to its location. The manta ray night dive is one of the more popular scuba dives, located off the island of Kona. Diving into complete darkness, the rays swim overhead. Diving off of Moloka’i gives its visitors the opportunity of getting to see hammerhead sharks and more importantly, the Hawaiian monk seal (pretty rare). Summer isn’t the only time visitors can enjoy diving, humpback whales migrate during the months of December to April. This means divers might have the chance to hear them.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

1,430 miles, the Great Barrier Reef is visible from space because of its size. This size also enables the unique marine life. The coral reef itself is breathtaking, but the large sea turtles can really turn some heads. This is one of the most recognizable scuba diving spots around the world, and there are obvious reasons why.

The French Polynesian Islands

There are over 100 islands and 11 of them offer scuba diving centers. The French Polynesian Islands are known for their beautiful beaches, but what about the water and below? This can be overwhelming, but on the bright side this means there are more options. Starting at the beginner level and then working your way up to advance, the French Polynesian Islands offers its visitors literally endless options.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Due to the choppy conditions and strong currents, the Galapagos Islands can be a better choice for more experienced scuba divers. The waters are not only full of fish and hammerhead sharks; sea lions and fur seals also fill the water surrounding the islands. Most famously known for where Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution, the Galapagos Islands offers a whole different perspective to diving. July to November is prime time, but remember this isn’t just a short trip. These areas take days to explore.

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Best Places to Watch Flowers Bloom

Have you ever thought about taking a vacation just to Watch Flowers Bloom? Well, you should. We go to see the mountains and the sand so why not the flowers? There are places all over the world, but some are right in our backyard. Travel+ Leisure recently posted an article showcasing the top places to visit to see the flowers bloom, here are 8 of those spots.

Crested Butte, Colorado

Have you ever heard of a Wildflower Festival? Crested Butte, Colorado offers its visitors many different activities to enjoy; hikes/walks, garden tours, art workshops and more! It is the 33rd year that the festival is held. July 5tht o the 14th trails open for an unbelievable sight of wildflowers. Not only will you experience the flowers but because it is up in the West Elk mountains the view itself will be quite stunning.  

Kauai, Hawaii

The best part about Kauai, Hawaii is the McBryde Garden Biodiversity Trail. The trail offers guided and unguided tours. Endangered and rare plants are conserved here and you can even see how movies like Jurassic Park were made.  Make sure to visit their visitor information before making the trip so you have everything you need.

And the best part? Because the area is so wet all of the time, there is always something blooming.

Arizona-Sonora Desert, Arizona

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is over 90 acres of multiple attractions including; a botanical garden, natural history museum, zoo, art gallery, aquarium, and a zoo! On top of that the Museum’s mission is to help conserve the Sonoran Desert region. The Museum is also often named on the top ten zoological parks in the world. The unique thing about this Museum is that 85% of it is outside.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Every year in Chiang Mai (also known as the “rose of the north) there is a Flower Festival that is three days long. It is in February when the season is being to warm up. There are flower floats and Thai women, younger women, carry baskets around while wearing floor length gowns, and usually a band after. Much like our own parades. You can pick your own bundle of lilies.

Furano, Japan

Have you ever seen a lavender field? Furano, Japan’s mild summers make it one of the best places to grow lavender. Farm Tomita offers an unbelievable views, creating a rainbow that appears to look fake. July is the perfect time to go, they even have a lavender themed gift shop. They even have soft-serve that is lavender flavored.

Mainau Island, Germany

Mainau Island, Germany, also known as “Flower Island”. This island has over 110 acres of paths, flower beds, and sweeping lawns. There are two waves a blooming, one in late March and then the next one starting in late May. The island also offers places to eat and of course places to shop.

Bowral, New South Wales, Australia

Because Australia’s season are flopped from ours, it’s a perfect getaway during the colder months here in the states. There is an annual Tulip Time Festival.Corbett Gardens has been having the festival since 1911. It is also the center of the Spring Garden Festival, over 30,000 people visit the festival. The garden is usually free unless you are going during the Tulip Time Festival, so make sure you check so you don’t show up empty handed.

Giverny, France

Giverny, France  is known as the village where the painter Claude Monet lived for over 40 years. Giverny is home to his house as well as his garden, which reopened on March 22nd. You can even book a private tour to be guided thru Monet’s beautiful garden. Visit their website for all of your booking information.

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