Traveling with Children


Visual Aid

To get an idea about some things families can do before and during their vacation on The Big Island, consider purchasing the video: “Travel with Kids: Hawaii, The Big Island”.

Packing Tips

Depending on the age of your children, you may need to pack some of these items:

  1. BulletiPod or iPad loaded with games and movies (plus headset and charger)

  2. Plug-in night lights

  3. Click here to purchase vintage Hawaiian postersLycra beach and pool shirt

  4. shapeimage_3_link_0Car seat (if needed)

  5. Stroller or backpack baby carrier

  6. BulletOne pair sneakers and socks

  7. BulletSandals or flip-flops

  8. BulletSnorkeling safety vest

  9. BulletKid’s snorkeling gear or snorkel raft

  10. BulletChildren’s rolling tote or rolling backpack

  11. BulletInsulated drink container

  12. BulletColoring books and crayons

  13. BulletSticker books

Hawaii Booster Seat Law

As in many other states, children between the ages of 4 and 8 (or less than 4’9” tall) traveling in a motor vehicle are required to sit in a booster seat (Click here to view the rules). Contact your car rental company to reserve a booster seat for your child.

TSA Tips: Traveling with Children

This site has some tips from the TSA for what to expect when you arrive with your kids at airport security.

Adventures in Travel...

Click here to purchase vintage Hawaiian posters
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Family-Oriented Things to Do

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Ohana is the Hawaiian word for family. Here are some things your entire ohana will enjoy. (See more family-friendly places on this map)

  1.   The Hilton Waikoloa Village is the most family-friendly resort on the Kohala Coast. You can visit for free (pay-parking in the hotel lot, but free parking is often available in the beach access parking lot across the street). Wander the resort, ride the boats and tram, play mini-golf, and watch dolphins play. Ask about purchasing a 4 person day pass which is often available when the hotel is not fully booked. You can enjoy all the resort amenities at a low cost (808-886-1234).

  1.   Spend the day on Pau`oa Beach at the Fairmont Orchid Hotel. The protected shallow cove is perfect for kid’s water play and the resort amenities will please parents. (Fee for parking, but the beach is free to all. Bring your own shade).

  1.   The ocean at Spencer Beach Park is usually calm enough for the entire family to enjoy swimming there. It is also a great place to whale watch (November - March). Lifeguards are usually on duty.

  1.   Picnic in the park in Waimea. The huge play structure will entertain kids and the cool climate in Waimea is a restful break from the hot coast. Buy your picnic fixins’ at one of the grocery stores in town.

  1.   Snorkel at Kahalu`u Beach Park in Kailua-Kona. The shallow lagoon features tons of turtles. Lifeguards are on duty most of the year.

  1.   Pack a picnic lunch and spend the day at Kamehameha Park in Kapa`a. Just a stone's throw from the Kamehameha Statue (worth a visit), the park features play equipment and a public pool (Schedule - choose the date of your visit then scroll down to ‘Kohala Swimming Pool’).

  1.   Stop at a shave ice stand and treat the family to the coolest refreshment on the island. Be sure to get real shave ice, not crushed ice. Click here for a map of our favorite locations.

  1.   If you are in the Hilo area, go to  The Panaʻewa Rainforest Zoo. It is home to more than 80 animal species including the endangered nene (Hawaii state bird). Admission is free.

  1.   While you are in Hilo, visit the Imiloa Astronomy Center. The center has over 100 interactive displays about journeying on land, by sea, and through space. Inexpensive.


Traveling with children is always a challenge, especially on the long flight from the mainland to The Big Island. And finding family-oriented things to do while you are here can be a challenge. Here are some suggestion from locals and frequent visitors:

  1. If the distance is great, consider booking a flight with a stop or two along the way. That allows you and your kids to stretch your legs, burn off some energy, recharge batteries (literally and figuratively), and get refreshed and fed before starting the next leg.

  2. When you purchase your child’s ticket (required if the the child is 2+) ask about the airline requirements for child restraining seat (CRS). Ask your airline if they can provide a CRS for your child. If so, you may not be permitted to bring your own CRS on board and may need to check it as baggage.  If you bring your own car seat (less than 16 inches wide) arrange for your airline to assist you if you need help making a connecting flight.

  3. If your child will be sitting in your lap, consider buying and using an infant flight vest. Although it cannot be used during takeoff and landing, it will keep your infant securely in your lap for the remainder of the flight.

  4. Pack all your child's essentials - diapers, food, toys, wet wipes, medication, a change of clothes, as well as photos of your kids - in your carry-on bag. Pack enough to account for flight delays and misplaced luggage.

  5. A flight from the west coast of the U.S to Hawaii takes at least five hours. Pack plenty of snacks for yourself and your kids. Put a few insulated bottle sleeves in your carry-on bag. After you pass through security, purchase a few bottles of chilled water or soft drinks to take onboard.

  1. Bring plenty of entertainment. An iPod or iPad loaded with games, tunes, and movies can be a parent’s best friend on long trips. Also, pack a Dry-Bag in case you later want to take the device to the beach.

  1. Have your young children suck on either a pacifier, Jello cubes, or a lollipop during descents before landing. The action of sucking or chewing helps them to equalize pressure. If that is not an option, consider buying Earplanes - ear plugs that regulate pressure giving your ears time to adjust.

  1. If your kids are able, let them roll their own backpack or tote through the airport and onboard the flight. Put some surprises inside the carrier such as Hawaiian themed coloring books and crayons, a toy, blanket, Playdoh, sticker book, favorite stuffed animal, ginger snaps (to quell motion sickness), and a read- aloud book.

  1. Take your time disembarking (trust me, your luggage will never beat you to the terminal). While waiting at the baggage carousel, take time to slather your kids with sunscreen. The tropical sun can be brutal to young skin and you wouldn’t want to ruin your vacation on the first day.