Travel. With Kids. Hawaii. Intro.

Ok, so I think the time has come to start to share info on traveling with kids since I have had people ask me about it and encouraging me to do so. You can blame them if what I have to say has no value.
We travel once a year (sometimes more if we are lucky) to what we think if a fun destination with our entire family.  I have learned a few things along the way and thought I would put it out into the giant world of the internet to see if anyone else finds it helpful. I also have found some great tips from geniuses online that have helped me a ton too! I have no idea if anyone will ever read this.... but here we go... (side note for times sake I just took whatever photos I could find from my Instagram feed and put them on here)

My first travel related post(s) will be about our most recent trip to the Big Island in Hawaii, also known as Hawaii. I think this is one of the most over looked islands that this beautiful state has to offer.

I'm just going to start with snap shots of each island and why we chose the Big Island this time around and I'll follow up with what we did each day, how we traveled, etc. tips later in future posts.

I have traveled to the islands of HI in what my mind seems like a lot; for some, the number of times may seem like nothing and to some I have been what may seem like maybe too much, to each their own. Anywho, here is my own personal glance on each of the islands I have had the pleasure of visiting.

Oahu. Visited 4 times. Various lengths of stay. Most recent in 2015 for 5 days staying the majority of the time at Aulani Resort, longest stay being 7 days. Been here too many times and most recently, wanted to try something new. So we skipped it.

Dole Plantation. Aulani Resort. A day well spent at the pool.

First and probably the most "touristy" of all the islands is Oahu.  Oahu is a great way to introduce yourself to HI and all it has to offer.  Oahu has great beaches, great hiking, fun activities, loads to do with the family or just as a couple, tons of places to eat, etc.  It isn't huge and getting around the island typically doesn't take forever.  It has things like Target (YES!!), Walmart, and Costco.  The island itself is accessible by car. There are freeways and main thoroughfares that connect all parts of the island. You can find a resort to stay at and never leave.  You can find a resort that puts you in the hustle and bustle of Honolulu/Waikiki, rent a car and explore.  The options are LIMITLESS on this island. 

Pool side. Visiting the North Shore.

Oahu has interesting history to be experienced such as Pearl Harbor, the USS Missouri and Arizona, the Polynesian Cultural Center. Fun family things like the Dole Plantation, Dolphin Encounter, Sea Life Park. You can hike Diamond Head and Waimea Valley. And of course there is the North Shore where you can catch a surf competition at Sunset Beach or Pipeline. And for my husband, lots of gorgeous golf courses. Lastly, snorkeling and lots of it!

Maui. Visited 1 time back when I was a teenager for 3 days.  Was supposed to go in 2015 but ended up on bedrest with our second child. Planned an entire trip (I'll share that trip later) and was left at home while the rest of my extended fam went without me. Hubby has visited here a lot.  Not sure how many times. Don't wanna ask because he'll ask me what I am doing. ha. Been here as well and wanted to save a little money so we skipped this one.

Had to borrow these from my sister since we didn't go.
Biking down the mountain EARLY in the morning

Ok so Maui is often known as one of the most expensive islands to visit.  And well, it kind of is.  The air fare is usually higher to fly there and so are the hotel rates.  The food is about the same as the other islands, but there are more high end restaurants there as well. Maui, I feel like is the island you go to when you just want to relax, not have a ton of hustle and bustle. Sure there are things to do and places to go, but I feel like here you just find an awesome beach, lay out your towel, and relax all day. You can snorkel or read a book; find a pool or stick it out in the sand.  Sea turtles and amazing fish can be seen right off the shore (as well as the other islands too).
Thanks for FaceTiming me so I could feel like I was there

Unlike Oahu there isn't such a huge crowd. There is shopping, both on the souvenir level and the boutique level. Fun places to eat. A Target, Walmart, Safeway, etc.  The island is mostly accessible. There are a few roads that are one lane in each directions, but there are highways as well. And of course there's the Road to Hana.  Yeah, we will save that for another time. Maui is a great place to come when you want to experience HI without, again, all the hustle and bustle, but still feel like you're in the middle of it all.

Kauai. Visited 1 in 2012. Stayed 7 days. Not sure it had enough to offer the kids at the age they are. Skipped it.

Na Pali Coast Hike towards Secret Beach

.Na Pali Coast from the look out. Shaved Ice at Kalapaki Joe's. Bubba's. 

Love this island. I love all the islands, but I love this island. It is on the smaller side. It has lots to offer if you wanna be outdoors and experience nature. There are beautiful hikes, beautiful sites as you drive the island, and of course beautiful beaches.  The food options are on the limited side, but there are good choices. Great little towns to stay in. Shopping. Fun treats. Saved Ice. Golf. Eco Tours, etc. There is a Costco on the island too! So... that's good. And Lapperts. Oh Lapperts.

Salt Pond Beach. Yummy Dessert. Chicken in a Barrel. 

Yumminess. Hula Pie at Duke's.

Kauai is Hawaii, almost untouched.  I deem the islands of Lanai and Molokai for the untouched untouched Hawaiian experience.  On Kauai there are great hikes like the Na Pali coast and Waimea Canyon. The sight of the Na Pali coast from the ocean is UNREAL.  You can kayak the rivers and hike through the lush rain forest to natural swimming holes. There is enough to do on the island as far as not feel like you're on a deserted island, but not too much where you feel like you are in Cancun on Spring Break.  Oh and if you need a guy with a metal detector because you lost your wedding ring the sand, DUTCH is your man.
Thank you Dutch for finding my ring at Salt Creek. 

Catamaran along the Na Pali Coast. Lapperts Ice Cream.  

Kee Beach, trail head for Na Pali Coast. Puka Dogs. More of Na Pali Coast. 

Big Island. Visited 1 time previous to this trip (visited Oahu and Maui on the same trip) when I was a young teenager almost two decades ago, yikes. Decided to go here and try to something new; Bry has never been.  And I really wanted to see LAVA. Yup, lava.

The Big Island is BIG.  It is huge compared to the other islands.  We drove over 750 miles over the 7 days we were there and only went on the other side of the island twice.  The Big Island offers a ton for visitors to experience.  Everything from beaches, endless lava flow fields, active volcanoes, rain forest, and almost everything in between.

I have to admit that I had done the least amount of research on this island before leaving due to the craziness of life and the fact that there really wasn't too much info out there to read.  Click the picture below to find a Pinterest board that I started to put together before we left and I will add to it as I come across anything else in the post searching and linking.  You can see there there isn't a lot there.

So back to the Big Island.  We really just chose it because Bryan had never been and I wanted to go back.... to see lava.... yup real flowing lava. Well I chose the wrong time to see it.  Having a 1.5 year old on the trip kind of put a damper on my lava dreams, but that's ok I wouldn't have wanted to experience it without him.  More on that later.  

The Big island is great if you want to be on a beach in the morning and star gazing on one of the tallest dormant island volcanoes on the earth by night, Mauna Kea.  The sky up there is AMAZING. Then the next day you can experience the largest active island volcano, Mauna Loa. Then is that wasn't enough you can visit Kilauea, one of the earth's most active volcanoes, in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  Are you sensing a theme here? Volcanoes! 

But beware, nothing on this island is close together.  Isn't not crazy far, but not exactly like driving down the street and entering a new town as you cross the intersection.  Kona and Waikoloa are about 30 miles apart, with nothing really between, and it takes a while to get there as the speed limit dips down to 35 in a lot of areas.  It takes over 2 hours to get from one side of the island to the other (Kona to Hilo, or Waikoloa to Hilo). But it's worth it if you want to experience all the different climates and sites.  As long as you know this and can plan accordingly, the Big Island is a treat.  

The Big Island has a variety of activities.  Resorts to stay at and never leave. Resort hopping if you want to cut down on driving, rare sites like black sand beaches, volcanoes, and even a green sand beach.  I'll get into more details about the island itself as I add on to our trip.  Choose the Big Island if you want to see a variety of what nature has to offer and don't mind spending some time in the car to get there. 

Lanai and Molokai. Never been, but toyed with Lanai. 

These are expensive to stay at and not exactly easy to get to. Lanai only has 1 or 2 resorts on the island and I think both maybe be owned by the 4 Seasons.  Let's just say that these islands were out of our price range. However, they look amazing if you want seclusion and don't mind paying for it. Both are limited on what is available there are far as amenities of dining and variety.  However, the beaches are gorgeous and there are adventurous things to do on each. Maybe one day my hubby and I will venture out to one without the kids.... but then I did a google search and saw this is the type of plane you would take over...

.:click on image for source and info:.

...and I'm not so sure.  I think there is a way to get to Molokai via boat from Maui though.

So that is that for me on a snap shot of each island.  If I can find a spare minute I'll be sure to dig up our old trips and expand. Let's be honest, I just hope to actually blog about our most recent trip and make it through the whole trip before my kids graduate from college. Just keepin' it real.


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