One Week in Hawaii with Kids
Which Hawaiian Island to Visit
When you sit down to plan your first trip to Hawaii, the burning question is likely which Hawaiian island to visit. I know for certain the first thing I did was Google “best island to visit in Hawaii”. Hawaii is comprised of numerous islands, but according to my research and discussions with people, it seemed like if it is one of your first trips to Hawaii people tend to start with one of the main islands: Hawaii, Oahu, Maui, or Kauai. Asking people or researching what is the best island in Hawaii is sort of like asking someone the best flavor of ice cream, everyone is going to have their own opinion. So we really needed to focus on the best island in Hawaii to visit for our first time, and that would be good for kids! One could honestly argue that you really can’t go wrong, and any island is the best Hawaiian island to visit. We decided for this first opportunity to visit Hawaii we would spend half the time in Maui, and the other half in Kauai. We got the impression that Maui was a good representation of Hawaii overall. And Kauai would give us that adventure like feel on a smaller island. An additional factor that helped my decisions, was that we wanted to use World of Hyatt points for our Hawaii resorts and both Maui and Kauai had awesome Hyatt properties. Check out this post to find out how we saved money on our trip to Hawaii: Hawaii Trip Cost.
Where to Stay in Hawaii with a Family
For this Hawaii vacation, we chose to stay at the Hyatt Regency in Maui for two reasons: we used our World of Hyatt points, and the location could not be beaten! Not only these two reasons really, but also the resort was absolutely beautiful and is known to be one of the best hotels in Hawaii. We didn’t have a fancy room at all but still managed to get upgraded to a partial ocean view which was beyond amazing. From the hotel, we were able to walk to the restaurants in Kaanapali at Whaler’s Village, and also we were also not a far drive from some of the best things to do in Hawaii. The Hyatt Regency in Maui also has one of the best luaus in Maui, Drums of the Pacific Luau which is convenient if staying on property. However, Maui has many options to choose from when it comes to luaus: Best Luaus in Maui.
The hotel has great pools, that are kid-friendly, with a whole section that is especially for kids. In addition, from the pool, you are directly on the beach, so it is easy to hop between the two. The beaches in Kaanapali are one of the top Hawaii destinations and are great for kids with soft andy beaches and smaller waves. In addition to using points for our room, we also spent extra points to have access to the Hyatt Regency Club, where we were able to get meals throughout the day. Spending these extra points definitely helped us cut down on our Hawaii vacation cost so we ate out less!
The Grand Hyatt in Kauai is considered one of the best places to stay in Hawaii. And we also learned that it was one of the best family resorts in Hawaii. We thought for our Hawaii family vacation this would be a wonderful use of our World of Hyatt points. This Hyatt property cost a bit more than the Hyatt Regency in Maui, but in our opinions, it was worth every single point. Just when we thought the Hyatt Regency pool was our favorite, we then decided the Grand Hyatt’s pool was even better. We got a great room that we were able to walk out right to the pool area. The kids absolutely loved the lagoon pool here, and we had to drag them out of it!
The Grand Hyatt is one of the best places to stay in Hawaii and was clearly popular for honeymooners, and families as well! We didn’t explore much of the hotel since most of our time was spent at the pool and the lagoon. The restaurant on site is supposedly superb as well. The Grand Hyatt in Kauai is also in a great location and centrally located in the southern part of the island. While it is not easy to walk to places in Kauai, Hawaii, it offers free parking and is an easy drive to get around to restaurants and other Kauai attractions.
One Week in Hawaii Itinerary
Depending on where you are coming from, the flight to Hawaii is not a super quick one. We flew from Seattle directly to Maui, and it was about a 5.5-hour flight, with a 3-hour time zone change. So our day zero consisted of landing in Maui after 9 pm GMT, which felt like after midnight to us coming from the west coast. We rented a car from Sixt, which was, fortunately, a quick shuttle ride from the airport and were on our way to the Hyatt Regency. Given the time zone change and the late-night we checked into the hotel quickly, shut the blackout curtains and hoped the kids would get as much sleep as they possibly could.
If you are traveling with kids you will likely want the first day to have some lower expectations as everyone adjusts to Hawaii time. We spent our first day in Maui exploring the immediate area and our hotel. We took full advantage of upgrading to the Hyatt Regency Club at the Hyatt Regency in Maui and made sure to fill up with a hearty breakfast each morning. The breakfast consisted of fresh fruit, cereal, a few hot dishes, and pastries. Also coffee and tea and other drinks were available. The staff in the club was extremely friendly and helpful to us and our kids. We fueled up for the day and even took some fruit to go as well as drinks before we left the hotel for a few hours.
The first thing we wanted to do was to get out and see the island in daylight since we landed when it was dark. We took a quick drive from the Hyatt Regency to Wailuku to see the Nakalele Blowhole. The drive alone to this location was out of this world as we winded along the coast to the northern side of Maui. This is when we learned that Hawaii was full of wild chickens and that this may be one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen. The blowhole was only about a 30-minute drive from our hotel, and we spent about an hour here. When you arrive at the blowhole there is a small parking area right off the road. It is a short, but steep hike down to see the blowhole a bit closer. You would be smart to wear something with more support than flipflops for the short walk – I made that mistake for you lol. You can get fairly close to the blowhole, and even feel the spray, but you need to be very careful, as it is not safe to get close. There will be signs all over warning you of the dangers of a blowhole.
After heading back from the blowhole, we got lunch in Whalers Village (Leilani’s On the Beach) and spent the remainder of the day checking out Kaanapali Beach, and the hotel pools. I know many people who visit Maui and spend their entire time at the hotel pools, and beach and I could totally see why!
For dinner, we headed off the hotel property to get dinner. We drove less than 15 minutes to Merriman’s to check out their happy hour and had appetizers for dinner. This was perfect for the kids because we got to sit outside on the water, enjoy some tasty mai tais and got some excellent plates to share. This is a great place to get food if you go during happy hour it is even better. The views are out of this world, and the drinks and food are great! Also, we loved it because it was a low key atmosphere outside where we felt comfortable hanging out with the kids! After happy hour, be sure to get shave ice at the Hyatt Regency in Maui at Ululani’s right by the pool.
One thing you have to do in Maui with kids, or even without kids is driving the Road to Hana. We blocked out this entire day for this epic road trip and you can read all about it here: The Road to Hana with Kids.
Another must-do in Maui, Hawaii with kids is to somehow get in the water and go snorkeling! We chose to do this with a charter boat company, but there are other ways to make it happen as well! Check out all about one of our favorite Things to do in Maui with Kids: Molokini Snorkeling for more info.
For more options on how to snorkel in Maui, check out this guide: Maui Snorkeling Guide.
If there is one restaurant you must eat at when you visit Maui, Hawaii, you have to go to Mama’s Fish House. It is nowhere near the hotel we stayed in Kaanapali, rather it is located close to the airport. We chose to visit the best restaurant in Maui for lunch before we caught our flight to Kauai. The meal is not cheap, but I do think it is worth it! The atmosphere is simply perfect as it sits right on the beach with all of the windows open to the outside. We loved it because it was a casual environment, but with a killer location and top-notch food!
After lunch, we headed to the airport to fly to Kauai. We did cut it a bit close with timing to fill up the gas tank, drop our car at Sixt, and then shuttle to the airport. But we luckily made it with just enough time before boarding! So make sure to plan on plenty of time – as the traffic can be unexpectedly heavy. The flight was so short and smooth and before we knew it we were in Kauai!
When we arrived in Kauai we picked up our rental car and drove straight to the hotel. Our first (half day) in Kauai we spent checking out the pools, beach and a nearby trail. You could easily spend an entire day just hanging out at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai because the pools are that amazing! Read more on our 3 day Kauai itinerary here.
A must-see in Kauai is Waimea Canyon State Park. Kauai is a small island, so no matter where you stay, it won’t be a long drive to visit this park. I would block out at least a half-day to visit, or if you plan to do more hiking than we did a full day would be better.
After the morning at Waimea Canyon State Park, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our very first luau in Kauai. We spent the evening at the Smith Family Garden Luau, which was a great experience for the whole family. There is also a luau at the Grand Hyatt which is supposed to be great as well. For more information on Waimea Canyon State Park, and the Smith Family Garden Luau check out my post: 3 Days in Kauai with Kids.
If you stay at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai, you will want to keep some time open for strictly hanging out at the hotel. Our last full day in Kauai we did just that and spent the entire morning in the lagoon pool.
After a morning full of pool time, we grabbed lunch at The Beach House in Kauai. This was a super quick drive from the Grand Hyatt in Kauai. Another great choice for dining with the kids with a great view. In this area, there are also a number of beaches with smaller waves that are good for the kids.
The last thing we did in Kauai is a must-do for anybody visiting the island! We got to see the Napali Coast by boat when we took a sunset boat cruise with Capt Andy’s Kauai Boat Tours. Check out my blog post just on Kauai to get more details on this epic experience on the water!
Day 7 in Hawaii was our last, and we just had a few hours in the morning before our flight departed. We spent a little more time walking around the beach near the Grand Hyatt in Kauai, got some lunch near the airport, and then we were off back to Seattle right from Kauai.
Check out my other post on Kauai for more details on our time on the island. I also included a list of things we didn’t get to do, but I would love to when we return one day! Hawaii with Kids: 3 Days in Kauai
We really loved our time in Hawaii, and the only thing we regret is not spending longer on each island. We really can not wait to return to this state to explore even longer!