Family-Friendly Adventure Tourism in Hawai’i

Adventure tourism in Hawai’i is basically the only kind of tourism there is, aside from rest and relaxation. Surrounded by natural beauty, wonders and a slew of ways to connect with the region’s incredible landscape, adventure tourism is a mainstay on the islands.

Air

Load up the family and take in all the Hawa’iian Islands by helicopter. It’s all the majestic wonder of the region without all the vigorous activity — perfect for the little ones and less athletic members of the family. Look down over the lush forests, rushing waterfalls, flowing hot lava and incredible cliffs lining Oahu, Kauai, Maui and Big Island. Enjoy the birds-eye view with a Blue Hawaiian Helicopter tour, boasting quiet rides over all four major islands. Search by island and point of interest to narrow down your tour options.

For a bit of land and air, zipline through Maui’s scenic rainforests or head to the Kualoa Private Reserve on Oahu for a treetop view of the coast. Your kids, teens and older children will love the thrill of zipping through the jungle and truly unbeatable natural beauty.

Sea

Snorkeling is an easy way to explore the incredible shores of each Hawai’ian Island, but Maui is one of the few where you can swim inside a crater. Strap on your gear and swim through the crystal-blue waters of the Molokini Crater. Sail with Trilogy Excursions searching for sea turtles and the clear, shallow waters of the Maui crater — it’s both an adventurous and educational experience for all ages.

Lava boat tour Kilauea

Lava boat tour Kilauea © Bennymarty | Dreamstime.com

Kayaking excursions and rentals are found nearly anywhere you visit in Hawai’i. Add a little history to your day out on the water with a kayak excursion to the site of Captain James Cook’s last days in 1779. Just south of Kailua Village on Big Island, hike Captain Cook Monument Trail toward the beach to rent kayaks and hit the water or book a guide with the help of your resort and paddle from Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park.

Windsurfing is another great way to explore the ruggedly beautiful coastline of Maui. Head to the North Shore of Kanaha Beach Park with a windsurfing company, enjoying a day excursion or multiday tour. Leaning a bit more for the older kids, windsurfing is a fun way to get out on the water and take time to learn a new skill.

Land

Hiking is a mainstay for Hawai’ian tourists. Kick it up a notch exploring the many incredible volcanoes of Big Island. Head to Halema’uma’u Crater on a hike or enjoy a tour through Hawaii Forest and Trail. Between the expert-level Kilauea lava tour and lower-impact Hawaii Volcanoes National Park hike, there is something for all levels.

Horseback riding may not be your first thought for Hawai’ian adventure activities, but it is a great way to explore the land with the animal-loving kids. Check out Ponoholo Ranch on Kohala Mountain and visit ancient ruins on horseback, enjoying Maui’s ocean views alongside grazing livestock.