Island Hop for a Family-Friendly Staycation

School breaks and all the holiday hoopla might be the perfect excuse to take a quick interisland trip to hit the reset button.

 

 

T he entire ‘ohana can soak up the sunshine, splash around in some less familiar waters and even learn a thing or two. Here are some of our favorite family-friendly hotels across the state that really drive home the sentiment, “lucky we live Hawai‘i.”

 

Keiki Staycations Mauna Lani

Photo: Courtesy of Mauna Lani, Surfpls

 

Holoholo to Mauna Lani

 

Hop on over to the Kohala Coast of Hawai‘i Island for a luxurious stay at the Mauna Lani. Parents and keiki alike are sure to come back from the holidays relaxed, rejuvenated and ready for the year ahead. The sun-kissed land that Mauna Lani inhabits was once cherished by Hawaiian royalty, and the area is full of history and culture.

 

Holoholo Kids Crew programs honor its sense of place with an amazing array of hands-on activities for kids 5 to 12 years old to feed their curiosity and sense of discovery, as well as connect with the ‘āina and Hawaiian culture. Think cooking classes, moonlight storytelling, athletic activities and coastal hikes through lava fields. They can even talk story with Uncle Danny Akaka, who shares Hawaiian legends with guests. Resort services include babysitting, special family dining options, welcome gifts and turndown amenities.

 

And a Keiki Hale pop-up can be found at the keiki pool through Jan. 3. Stop by to purchase special pool toys and beach gear and indulge in a halo-halo dessert.

 

Rooms start at $350 a night for kama‘āina, aubergeresorts.com/maunalani, @maunalaniauberge 

 

Keiki Staycations Aulani

Photo: Courtesy of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko ‘Olina

 

Get Your Dose of Disney at Aulani

 

Meeting your favorite Disney characters is just one perk of staying at the Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko ‘Olina. (And it’s a good one, especially considering you can only see Moana at the Hawai‘i resort.) But what has made Aulani one of the most popular vacation destinations for families—both local and from around the world—isn’t limited to a lei-wearing Mickey Mouse.

 

The 21-acre oceanfront grounds boast three pools, a saltwater snorkel lagoon filled with Hawai‘i reef fish, a 2,200-square-foot interactive water play area for kids, and the Waikolohe Stream with its lazy river, water slide and tube rides. Parents can also drop of their kids (ages 3 to 12) at Aunty’s Beach House—for free!—for games and crafts, while they indulge in a massage at Laniwai Spa or sip a mai tai on the beach. Kids love the character breakfast at the open-air Makahiki restaurant, where they can feast on Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles in the company of Goofy, Pluto and Max.

 

Even walking around the resort is fun; find dozens of wooden statues hidden all over the grounds, part of Aulani’s Menehune Adventure Trail, a high-tech scavenger hunt you play on a special tablet borrowed from the Pau Hana community center. The resort also has a useful app (Aulani Resort) with a daily schedule of events, an interactive map and the exact locations of your favorite Disney characters in real time.

 


Kama‘āina can save up to 30% off select rooms Sunday through Thursday nights from Jan. 5 through March 30, 2023, disneyaulani.com, @disneyaulani

 

 

Keiki Staycations Opener Koloa Landing

Photo: Courtesy of Kōloa Landing Resort

 

Keiki Scavenger Hunts at Kōloa Landing Resort

 

As if you need an excuse to hop over to the Garden Isle, Kōloa Landing Resort recently launched its Kaua‘i is For Kids program. Little travelers ages 3 to 11 are encouraged to adventure around the spectacular resort on the South Shore of Kaua‘i, while learning fun facts about sugar cane’s long history in Kōloa.

 

Upon arrival, families receive a complimentary adventure pack—stocked with a sun hat, sunglasses, binoculars and a compass—an activity booklet with directions and a map for the sugar cane scavenger hunt. Keiki can spend as much or as little time as they need to cross the 25-acre property in search of seven signs, each marked with a code word. In the end, the codes reveal a secret message leading to a prize.

 

Serving as the main hub for the whole family is the resort’s 350,000-gallon main pool—touted as one of the best in the country. Gaze off into the sunset from its infinity edge, while keiki burn off energy on the waterslides, swim through a grotto, and meander through the lagoons. Shop till you drop at The Shops at Kukui‘ula and bask in the sunshine at Po‘ipū Beach, both of them nearby. And if you’re there on a Thursday, even better: You can top off a magical evening with s’mores around the fire pits.

 

Kama‘āina can book a deluxe studio, 1-, 2-, or 3-bedroom villa and receive 20% off and waived resort fees with promo code 33F, koloalandingresort.com, @koloalandingresort

 

 

Keiki Staycations Grand Wailea

Photo: Courtesy of Grand Wailea

Stamp Your Passport at Grand Wailea

 

Upon arrival at Grand Wailea, keiki will receive their Grand Passport to immediately embark on an adventure. As they explore each educational activity throughout the property—hula classes, bracelet making and more—they’ll receive a sticker to indicate its completion.

 

For thrill-seekers, the resort’s popular pool area features a 262-foot lava tube slide, four jungle pools, a whitewater rapids slide, a Tarzan pool with rope swing, waterfalls and caves. Caregivers can delight in the adults-only Hibiscus Pool or grab a drink at the swim-up bar. If you stay during whale season (mid-December through March), you can even book a whale watching tour. The tours are from an outrigger canoe, one of the most important symbols of Hawaiian culture.

 

After viewing the awe-inspiring animals, you can splash around in the ocean, and perhaps catch a glimpse of sea turtles or reef fish. On top of depositing all of that into their memory banks, kids can take home their passports to look back at their accomplishments.

 

Kama‘āina rates are available throughout the year, grandwailea.com, @grandwailea