Kona is the gentle giant of Hawai’i, trading on its lush geography, quiet beaches, wealth of outdoor activities and, most famously, its internationally coveted coffee beans. There is no doubt it provides the perfect setting for family travel among those who want to unplug and reconnect with nature for the entirety of their visit.
While there are hotels catering to those families and a good variety of coffee plantation tours geared for older foodies, Buddha’s Sanctuary found a way to blend some of Kona’s greatest assets in a way people of all ages can savor. The family-owned plantation, which produces five coffee labels along with teas, rum cakes and chocolate confections, soars 2,400 feet above sea level and covers 50 acres nestled in the Ohia Forest. The journey to the site itself is part of the fun, requiring visitors to drive up roads that give way to spectacular views.
Tours of this cup of paradise, some free of charge, include family walking tours around the main gate as well as more extensive, nature-focused jaunts into the sanctuary where horses, goats, dogs, cats and parrots roam around as if they own the place (and they kind of do). Other on-site programs allow kids opportunities to play with the animals, pick coffee beans and learn how coffee is grown, harvested and roasted. Adults and teens, meanwhile, will enjoy coffee samples and the quiet, clutter- and tourist trap-free setting.
Buddha’s Sanctuary is also infusing a touch of 21st-century science into the coffee cultivation process thanks to Christine Coleman (granddaughter of California wine scion Julio Gallo, who purchased the estate in 2003). As an agricultural expert, Coleman discovered placing beans inside a Blu Room with UV-B brings about a cleaner, less acidic taste in brewed coffees. Guests are allowed to relax inside the estate’s Blu Room, as the effects of UV-B light have been found to benefit humans in treating or alleviating a variety of health-related issues. A Blu Gro greenhouse is now in use for growing disease-resistant coffee plants with an optimal growth rate.
For an extra fee, one-hour and half-hour driving tours offer a safari-like experience via 4×4 Jeep, covering the property’s 80 acres — like a jaunt through a real life Jurassic Park with its forest of exotic trees and plants, minus the dinosaurs. One-hour tours include five farm samplings of coffees, teas and rum cakes and run $40 for adults and $10 for kids 6–12 (free for kids under 6). Thirty-minute tours (with two coffee samples) run $20 for adults and $10 for kids. Tours of any length may also incorporate opportunities to try some of the year-round bounty of tropical fruits, including tangerines, star fruit and avocados.
Sign the family up for a volunteer project while on vacation to create new memories, help others and make the world a better place. Consider one of these organizations for your next family vacation.
When traveling with kids, a lot of factors come into play to ensure happiness and interest. The Family Vacation Guide researched Tripadvisor’s traveler reviews to determine the Top 100 Cities in the United States. Consider these cities when deciding where to vacation. From kid-friendly places to eat, hotels, attractions, ease of navigation and access to options, here are the top 10-ranked cities for kids according to real, family travelers’ reviews.
Disney Parks around the world shut down for months due to the global pandemic. Since then, most parks reopened, but with restrictions like limited capacity, no Fast Passes and more. Guests hoped they would bring back the beloved Fast Pass, allowing guests to skip long lines and head straight to the ride.
The St. Regis Punta Mita encourages guests to take a break from devices with the Disconnect to Reconnect experience. The offer promotes a digital detox, focusing instead on physical and mental wellness.
Before Disney Parks around the world shut down due to the global pandemic, guests were allowed to purchase and enter the parks with an Annual Pass. This ticket let visitors enter the parks multiple times a year, get discounts on food and merchandise, and more. Since reopening, Disney dropped the Annual Pass due to lower capacity and the reservation system. Recently, Disneyland Resort announced a new pass system for frequent visitors: the Magic Key Holder. There are a couple different levels for the passes, so make sure you do your research before purchasing.