One of the pleasures of traveling solo or with a significant other is that you can just wing it and go off the beaten path. When you have kids, everything changes. The little ones may have curiosity in spades, but it evaporates quickly and is easily overwhelmed by physical discomfort. Kids are also short on patience and have no compunction about airing their grievances.
This is why, when planning family travel in Hawaii, you shouldn't stray too far from places that can take care of basic child care emergencies - bathroom breaks, benches and resting places, food and water, as well as color, noise and other stimulation.
As a parent booking a vacation at Royal Kona, there are a number of facilities that are great for kids and will keep them entertained. Many of these facilities are at our resort itself, and many others are within walking or quick driving distance.
Our private swimming and snorkeling lagoon is perfect for children who know how to swim, as well as novice snorkelers of any age. It's safe and fun, and has a sandy sunning area once you've had enough of swimming.
If you want to venture out on the Island, a perfect, family-friendly tour would be to start driving north through Waimea and into the Waipio Valley look out, where your children can practice their photography skills on one of the most spectacular landscapes in Hawaii.
Continuing the drive, you can stop at Tex's Drive-in for Malasadas - these hot, fresh tasty snacks are the Portuguese equivalent of doughnuts, and have become something of a local specialty on Hawaii.
From there, continue to Hilo, stopping at Akaka Falls where you will find a safe, easy walk around beautiful waterfalls and foliage, and you can enjoy a zip line too!
In Hilo, you can visit the Tsunami Museum and the Imiloa Astronomy center; then, you can head over to Volcanoes National Park where the visitor center will tell you everything about Hawaii's volcanoes. Once there, you can explore the Thurston Lava Tubes and view the spectacular Halemaumau Crater.
When finished, drive south to Black Sand Beach where you may catch some photos of sea turtles. Continue up north, and if you're hungry, stop by at Punaluu Bakery for sweet bread and ice cream. As you finish your day, you can make a last stop in Kealakekua City of Refuge, where you will find safe, beautiful snorkeling, and major historical sites.
Many families visit Hawaii, so almost all tourist landmarks and destinations have facilities that cater to children. Naturally, even if a destination is child-friendly once you get there, a long bus ride may not be the ideal experience for the little ones, so plan accordingly.
Our experience tells us that children really enjoy going to waterfalls and seeing volcanoes - these are truly indelible experiences for kids raised in cities or suburbs.
If you're looking for the most family-friendly restaurants in the area, check out Don's Mai Tai Bar, Humpy's, Bubba Gump, Lava Java and Outback Steakhouse.
A great souvenir shop for your kids is the outdoor Kona Farmers and Crafts Market on Alii Drive in Kailua Kona - it sells everything from produce and flowers to arts & crafts and jewelry.
These are just some of the things you can do on the Big Island with your kids. We hope you will come and experience Hawaii's hospitality and family friendly destinations for yourself!