Hawai’i seems to have a reputation for two things: It’s incredibly beautiful and expensive. While it’s still on the top of most avid traveler’s lists, and for good reason, there are a few ways to enjoy an affordable day in paradise with the family.
A few savvy tips and tricks to avoid falling for the tourist traps and overspending during your trip can help your family enjoy all the free activities Honolulu, Oahu, has to offer. Stretch your dollars a bit further, filling up with affordable family fun, free destinations wherever possible and some local eats.
Luckily, Hawai’i is a treasure trove for incredible natural beauty. Honolulu, specifically, boasts some of the most sought-after sites, including Diamond Head volcano, Hanauma Bay, Koko Head along Maunalua Bay, Nu‘uanu Pali and Manoa Falls hiking trails and waterfalls — just to name a few. While active families head to the islands partially to head out on hikes, scenic overlooks and take in the view after a challenging trek, there are easy trails and scenic walks for the less athletically inclined members on the trip. Either way, the view is breathtaking.
Each state park and hiking trail ranges $5–7.50 per guest and carload, adding an additional $1–3 for parking. These self-guided hikes offer an affordable workout and destination immersion you can’t get just anywhere.
Speak with your hotel or resort about tour options or rent a Jeep before your arrival and make your own way, enjoying the rugged beauty. Head off-roading on thrilling trails or stick to the incredible vistas of the coastline.
For those renting a 4×4 vehicle and taking in the scenery from the road, make a point to head to North Oahu and visit the world-famous Dole Plantation. Take a guided tour of the gardens and fresh pineapples before getting lost with the kids in the Pineapple Garden Maze. Kids and adults ride the vintage Pineapple Express Train, touring the plantation for $9–11, while kids 4 years old and younger ride free with an adult. Don’t leave before trying the frozen pineapple Dole Whip, $5.75.
Get back out sightseeing and enjoying the local culture by walking along the streets in town, window shopping and taking in the vibrant, but surfer-style décor, or opt for some history at the Pearl Harbor Historic sites; some entrance fees are as low as $1.50 if you book online.
One of Arizona’s premier resorts, JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa puts the fun back in winter, especially for families looking to escape snow and cold. Guests enjoy daily hikes, swimming, a kids’ club, teen fun and plenty of sunshine.
While urban wine country might sound like an oxymoron, it’s actually a reality at the stunning City Vineyard in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood. The water-side venue is the perfect host for your next event — whatever that may be, from 20 to 200 guests and from cocktail party to plated dinner.
Don’t expect Turin to fit your image of Italy. It’s Italian, all right — the evening passeggiata and a love of good food and wine are alive and well. But you’ll look in vain for medieval cobbled streets, crumbling castles and works by Michelangelo (who never set foot here). Instead, although you’ll find some Roman ruins, you’ll also find a faux medieval village, a world-class film museum and a café life that rivals Vienna’s. You and your family will have fun here.
Time is running out if you’re gift gathering for the travelers on your holiday shopping list. If you still have stockings to fill, here are some fun picks:
Choosing a multigenerational family vacation destination is rarely a last-minute endeavor. Depending on your kids’ schedules, your career or schooling, summer is typically the perfect time to let loose, but we have a list of destinations that boast family fun, year-round.