Hawaii is made up of 6 unique islands*. Each island has a unique feel and different offerings. Each island is very different and even within each island, there are lots of different things to experience and explore.
The islands are not far from one another, making island hopping a breeze! Flights between islands range from 20-50 minutes and some be reached by ferry. A hawaiian cruise allows you to see many of the islands in one trip.
80% of Hawaii is inaccessible by car. Consider a helicopter, boat, or hike to really experience the authentic and cultural aspects of the islands.
Here are some descriptions of each island to help determine which island is right for you:
Kauai is known as the "Garden Island" due to it's lush greenery. As the oldest island in the chain, the Kauai landscape includes tropical rainforests, sprawling rivers, and gorgeous, accessible waterfalls. Although it is not possible to drive completely around Kauai due to the beautiful Na Pali Coast, it is easy to drive from the north shore to the south shore in about 50 minutes. If seeing a Hawaiian waterfall is on your bucket list but you don't want to hike, Kauai is the island for you! Wailua Falls offers a waterfall accessible by car! Additional activities include kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, ziplining, and laying on a beautiful beach. Regulations only permit buildings to be built as high as coconut palm, giving Kauai a relaxing, small town feel.
Oahu is known for its energy, art and surf culture. Oahu's different regions provide various options of activities. In the south shore, you will find the vibrant capital, Honolulu. Famous Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach are also located in the south where museums, restaurants, and water activities are in abundance. Contrastly, the north shore, has gorgeous beaches with restaurants and activities more spread out. If you are short on time and want to experience culture, beaches, activities and quite time; Oahu is right for you!
The "Valley Isle" . Maui offers something for everyone! The most popular attraction is Mt. Haleakala where visitors can watch a spectacular sunrise from above the clouds - a truly magnificent experience. Whale watching is also popular in Maui with the season running from November – May (Jan-March being peak season). The famous road to Hana is an adventurous experience combining the thrill of the journey with the laid back enjoyment of entertainment once you have arrived. Amazing hiking trails, watersports, local farms, and recreation all make Maui an amazing destination for a honeymoon!
Hawaii - The Big Island
You have probably heard about this island in the news recently... Kilauea volcano erupted in May 2018, leading to destruction of homes and landscape. But don't rule out this island so fast, the volcano is on the east coast of the island, while the tourism is on the west coast (in and around Kona) which was, generally speaking, unaffected by the volcano. If you love geology and nature, this island is a perfect fit! You can experience climates ranging from Wet Tropical to Polar Tundra in this unique setting! Of course, you won't miss out on shops, restaurants, entertainment, taro farms, black sand beaches, and splendid waterfalls!
Lanai and Molokai
You can access Lanai from Maui via ferry or plane. Generally a day trip but you could opt to stay at one of the 2 hotels on the island. Snorkeling, and golf are popular activities while visiting Lanai.
Molokai is accessible from Maui by plane but mostly geared towards natives with not much tourism.
*There are actually 8 Hawaiian islands. Niihau is privately owned and Kahoolawe is uninhabited.
1. Sand Jar
Place a few small toys or household objects such as a button, paperclip, lego, golf pencil, rubber band, etc. in a jar (spice jars work nicely) then fill the jar with sand. The child needs to spin the jar to find all the objects – a stationary scavenger hunt!
Put aside some small toys that your child will not notice are missing or go to the dollar store and buy some inexpensive toys/books/activities. Wrap them up like presents. You can even wrap a present inside multiple boxes so they have to open lots of wrapping and boxes and anticipate the gift even more! (careful, this one can get messy!) Every so often during the trip, give your child a new present to unwrap and enjoy!
3. Don't help!
Make everything last longer. I know this sounds simple, but it really helps. When putting away a toy to take out something new, let your child help. Let them peel the banana themselves – it takes longer – that’s the point! If you are giving your child a wrapped present, don’t help them open it. Let them take time undoing the tape or finding the edge. That extra 5 minutes they are busy, happy and occupied is less time you have to be playing activity director.
I know, you are thinking this is not unique – here’s what is – make the stickers yourself! Use photographs of your family, place you are visiting or anything else your child loves. Sticker paper can be found at office supply stores, amazon or big chains. Print out a page with small pictures and cut them into fun shapes. You can bring a coloring book and use the stickers to create a story with your family in the scene.
5. Play with your food
Use your best judgement on this one but here’s what I mean… I used to eat slices of cheese. My mom would break it into pieces and we would make letters of the alphabet. So maybe we would make a B using 6 pieces – then eat the bottom piece and you have an R, see if your child can get from an R to an F, etc. You can come up with words that begin with that letter or objects you see around you with that letter. Of course there’s always the stringing of cheerios game too!
6. Water in a Ziploc
Most moms carry plastic bags just in case. Bring a few extra – you can get water on the plane. Put some in a baggie and let your child shake, rub, pat and play! Add some ice to make it interesting! Note: you may want to double bag it to make sure it doesn’t rip or leak or if you are really feeling ambitious, you could bring some duct tape to seal the ends. Plus, water is a magnifier, put it up to your eyes and see what happens!
Hi! My name is Buffy and I am the owner of Sunlit Travel! I love to plan special occasions like GROUP VACATIONS and MULTI-GENERATIONAL FAMILY VACATIONS! My favorite part is adding special touches to make the trip especially memorable!