Jungle vines, wild animals, and deep blue seas won’t just be things of nighttime fairy tales when you take the family on holiday to Hawaii. While the beaches and museums tend to get the most attention, the hiking in Hawaii is also a sure bet when it comes to bonding time with the kids. Here are some of the easiest trails all of the family members can explore.
No Needling Needed
For a hike that blends history with adventure, round up the troops to Iao Valley State Park. Full of lush greenery and cool mist from the waterfalls, this awe-inspiring park on Maui is the site of a famous battle. King Kamehameha I clashed with Maui’s army in 1790, using the Iao Needle as a lookout point to help secure his victory. Today, there is an easy paved path from the parking lot to view the Iao Needle and the various other vantage points of the valley. If the kids are up for it, there is also the Pipiwai Trail, which takes you to the 120 m Waimoku Falls. You won’t find a royal carriage hoisting you up the hill, but you can still expect majestic views of the water and moss-covered stones.
Estimated hiking time: roughly 45 minutes round trip.
If you’re always washing out grass and dirt stains from your kids’ clothes, they’ll love the slightly muddy Maunawili Falls Trail on Oahu island. Roughly 5 km in length, the path takes you past the Koolau Mountains and the low-hanging jungle vines that shade the trail. The real treat is at the end of the pathway when Waimea Falls and the swimming area below the cascading waters comes into view. Lifeguards and life jackets are present during the day in case the little ones need some help swimming through the natural pool.
Estimated hiking time: roughly 1.5 hour round trip.
Rock No Roll
The rocky island of Kauai offers several challenging trails, though there are certainly a number of easy paths for the non-marathon sorts as well. One of the most popular family-friendly hikes is along the Maha’ulepu Trail, a 2-6 km journey that takes you along the ancient coastline. The flora and fauna are closer to the ground than other islands, so remember the sunscreen. Additionally, keep your eyes peeled for the spaces near the very edges of the rocks. Ocean mist tends to shoot up from the sea, and you certainly don’t want to roll down the trail if the water pressure forces you to lose your balance. Overall though, it’s safe and easy hike for the tykes.
Estimated hiking time: roughly 1 hour round trip
Chances are, your kids have never walked through a volcano shoot before. Well not after a trip to the Big Island! Surprise them with a hike through the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The Kilauea Iki Trail runs roughly 5 km on cooled lava. Like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, the land is black, cracked, and slightly steamy in some parts. It also passes by the Thurston Lava Tube, where lava once gushed through the crevice eons ago. You and the family are free to walk through the lit tunnel and take photos for grandma back home. If you’d prefer to hike through more of a jungle setting, the park has several little paths running through the vines and trees, too.
Estimated hiking time: roughly 1.5 hours round trip.
Hawaii’s natural landscape is that of wild imaginations. With hiking trails that wind through lava rocks, jungle vines, and ocean mist spraying up against the cliffs, it’s a place that elicits wonder in every member of the family. Remember the water bottle and sunscreen during your vacation to Hawaii with kids, and prepare for some sights only a tropical paradise can conjure.
Which island are you looking forward to visiting the most?
Featured photo attribution: Flickr/Creative Commons/daveynin/Via/https://flic.kr/p/c4YnBo