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Norwegian's Official Travel Blog

Many people think of Hawaii as a romantic retreat for honeymooners, but it's also the ultimate family vacation destination. When it comes to traveling with kids, the easier the better, and Hawaii is as convenient as it is beautiful. There's no need to cross international borders or exchange money. With endless sun, lush forests, charming towns, and rich history, Hawaii offers loads of exciting opportunities for your entire family. Each of the four major islands — Maui, Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island — boasts breathtaking landscapes, beautiful beaches, and unique cultural experiences, and Norwegian makes it simple to sample them all. 

As the only cruise line with a home port in Hawaii, Norwegian offers year-round sailings from Honolulu. Norwegian's award-winning itinerary features seven days in paradise, with two overnight stays and nearly 100 hours in port. Wondering how to make the most of your time on your family-friendly Norwegian cruise to paradise? Check out these fun things to do in Hawaii with kids as a starting point for your cruise vacation planning.

Dive Into the Island Culture

Hawaii's unique culture blends the customs and traditions of the early Polynesians who first settled the islands about 1,500 years ago with the many other diverse cultures that call the islands home. Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center on the island of Oahu for a glimpse into the unique traditional ways of life of six different island nations. The 42-acre theme park showcases authentic villages and takes you on a trip back in time to experience what life was like for early Hawaiians. Play ancient games, learn to fish without a net, dance the hula, and so much more.

On the island of Kauai, take a tour of the Kilohana Plantation for a look at how the sugarcane industry influenced the local culture. Ride on an authentic, narrow-gauge railway while hearing about the history of the area. Then, dine on local delicacies at the restored manor house, and after, watch the world-famous Kalamaku luau show to learn the story of the arrival of early Polynesians on the Hawaiian Islands through song and dance. 

Hawaii Cruise Family Activities
Experience Hawaii's rich traditions with the whole family.


Interact With Nature

Each of the four islands features plenty of outdoor family fun for nature lovers of all ages. In Oahu, hike the Manoa Falls Trail to view a 150-foot waterfall or hike to the top of the Diamond Head Crater for panoramic views. On the Big Island, visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for the chance to see an active volcano or crawl through a lava tube. Take a leisurely drive through the Hilo Walk of Fame to see the tall banyan trees planted by celebrities or visit Liliuokalani Gardens, the largest ornamental Japanese garden outside of Japan.

Another must-see stop is Maui's Haleakala National Park. Enjoy the journey from sea level to the summit of the Haleakala volcano at 10,000 feet. The massive, dormant volcano offers magnificent views of the island and unique volcanic landscapes. On Kauai, visit the 3,000-foot-deep Waimea Canyon on the western side of the island for a glimpse of the volcanic rock and lush tropical landscapes. Then, take a cruise up the Wailua River to the famed Fern Grotto.

Have Fun in the Sand and Water

For most people, sun and sand come to mind first when you think of Hawaii. Each of the Hawaiian Islands features miles of soft sand beach perfect for building castles in the sand and wading in the water. Norwegian offers a host of fun, beach-based shore excursions. Kids will love getting an up-close look at the reefs on a glass-bottom boat or taking an Atlantis submarine tour through the waters around the Big Island and Maui. 

Feeling a little more adventurous? Sign the family up for surfing lessons in Maui or a kayaking trip through Huleia National Wildlife Refuge in Kauai. Whale watching, snorkeling, sailing, and stingray encounters are just a few of the other fun activities for your family to enjoy during their time cruising around the Hawaiian Islands.

Hawaii Cruise family activities
Talk about an opportunity for family bonding!

Discover the Local History

On the Big Island, discover the historic city of Kona. Explore ancient temples, coffee and macadamia nut fields, and coastal scenery as you make your way to Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park. Here, pay a visit to some of the most significant and sacred traditional sites on the Hawaiian Islands. During your journey, be sure to also stop at St. Benedict's Painted Church overlooking Kealakekua Bay to view the hand-painted Bible scenes inside the church. 

While in port on Oahu, take a tour of Pearl Harbor and USS Missouri to learn about their important role in World War II. Enjoy the stunning scenery on a plantation tour in Maui and ride a tram through farming towns, macadamia nut orchards, sugarcane fields, and flower gardens. Another great way to learn about the arrival of Polynesians on the Hawaiian Islands is aboard a double-hulled outrigger canoe in Maui. Paddle to the spot where King Kamehameha I landed his war canoes in 1790 and enjoy spectacular views of Haleakala as you sail around the island.

If you're looking for a kid-friendly tropical getaway, find it in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Hawaii is the perfect place to spend quality time frolicking on the beach, hiking through jungles, and soaking up the local culture with your loved ones. With family-friendly ships and convenient Hawaii itineraries, Norwegian takes the stress out of traveling with kids. Sign up for the Norwegian newsletter to learn about the latest Hawaii cruise deals and itineraries, and check out Norwegian's shore excursions for even more ideas about things to do in Hawaii with kids.