Printable Activities Make Travel Fun


Kohala Coast, photo by Tammy Yee.

White sand beaches, sunshine and unique culture...Hawaii has everything to offer on your next family vacation, including downtime for parents. Each of the main islands has its own personality, where you can explore a wide array of activities in diverse settings, from sandy shores, to tropical rain forests, to snow-capped volcanoes.

The Hawaiian Islands:

From the gentle waves of Waikiki to the winter behemoths crashing along the famous North Shore, Oahu sports a third of the state's best surfing beaches.

North Shore Day Trip
Wintering on Oahu would be incomplete without visiting the North rent a car and pack the kids. The waves at Sunset Beach and Waimea Bay can reach 30 to 40 feet; conditions in which only the best and bravest big-wave riders can compete. The roar of waves pounding the shore is an experience you won't forget.

Remember, as a safety precaution, always watch your children and never turn your back to the ocean. During high surf season, rogue waves can sometimes wash up on the beach, so keep children away from the shoreline.

While you're on the North Shore, stop by the Waimea Valley Audubon Center. Allow a couple of hours to explore 1,800 acres of tropical paradise, one of only two places where you can find Hawaii's elusive and endangered bat, the state's only endemic land mammal.

Waimea Falls Park, Oahu, Hawaii
Torch Ginger, one of 5,000 species of tropical plants you'll find at Waimea Valley Audubon Center.

A leisurely 3.5 mi. hike or a ride aboard one of the free trams will take you to the 40-foot Waihi Falls (Waimea Falls). Call ahead to check on park conditions...the last time I visited, drought conditions had dried up the falls. But you'll still have a lot to see, and it's a great, inexpensive place where children can run free, and there are many small, safe side trails for kids to explore, as well as regular hula shows. Cost: Adults $8; seniors, military discount, local residents and children 12 and under $5; children under 3 free. Closed on New Year's Day and Christmas. Phone: (808) 638-9199.

On the way back to the hotel, be sure to take the kids to the old-time plantation-style Matsumoto Store in quaint Haleiwa town, for an island favorite, shaved ice. Li Hing Mui, lychee, guava, lilikoi, mango and coconut are just a few of the exotic flavors to experience--only in Hawaii!

One of your few opportunities to get up close to Hawaiian wildlife is also in Haleiwa. To the side of Haleiwa Beach Park is Ali'i Beach, where large pacific green sea turtles regularly come ashore to bask in the sun. The high tide water line at the beach is often strewn with debris, great for beach combers.

Pacific Green Sea Turtle (honu), Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii
A sea turtle basks at Ali'i Beach, Haleiwa. Photo by Tammy Yee.

Before leaving Haleiwa, stop by Macky's Shrimp Truck, near the Haleiwa roundabout, to savor the best garlic shrimp in the islands (app. $12). Then topping off your trip, stop by Dole Plantation, where the kids can ride a sugar train (Adults - $7.75, Children 4-12- $5.75 9:30 am to 4:30 pm) or wander through Pineapple Garden Maze, which held the 2001 Guinness World Record as the world's largest maze (Adults - $6.00, Children 4-12- $4.00 9:30 am to 4:30 pm) while you kick back with a waffle cone of pineapple sherbert.

Fun Facts:

On August 21, 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state of the union.

The Hawaiian flag was commissioned by Kamehameha the Great in 1816 while Hawaii was still a kingdom. The eight stripes represent the eight major Hawaiian islands (Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Oahu, Kauai and Niihau) and the Union Jack in the upper left corner symbolizes the kingdom's friendship with Britain.

  • Nickname: The Aloha State
  • Motto: Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka 'Aina I Ka Pono (The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness)
  • Song: Hawai'i Pono'i (written by King David Kalakaua)
  • Capital: Honolulu (on Oahu)
  • Geography: the Hawaiian Archipelago consists of 132 islands stretching over 1500 miles, and is one of the most remote places on Earth.
  • Population: 1.3 million
  • Demographics: Hawaii is known for its diversity. There are no ethnic majorities.

    Native Hawaiian3.6%
    African American1.6%
  • Flower: Ma'o hau hele (yellow Hawaiian hibiscus, or Hibiscus brackenridgei)
  • Bird: nene (Hawaiian goose)
  • Gemstone: black coral

"The USS Arizona is the final resting place for many of the ship's 1,177 crewmen who lost their lives on December 7, 1941..." read more
Color the USS Arizona Memorial:

  • Pacific Green Sea Turtle (Honu)
    Did you know that all the hatchlings in the nest of the Pacific green sea turtle are either male or female? The sex of the turtles is determined by the temperature of the nest. Cooler nests produce a clutch of males, while warmer nests produce more

    Color a Baby Sea Turtle

Fun Stuff:

Count and Color Creatures of the Reef
Hawaii State Flag
Under the Sea with Baby Honu


Dollar Bill Folding: Aloha Shirt
Green Sea Turtle (Honu)
Hawaiian Butterfly (Pulelehua)

Hawaiian Limpet ('Opihi)

Hawaiian Owl (Pueo)
Humpback Whale

Hawaiian Owl and Turtle

Kamehameha the Great Crossword

Coloring and Activity Books for long trips

Hawaiian Books Your Child Might Like:

A is for Aloha
From the meaning of the word aloha to the plight of the state bird author U'ilani Goldsberry answers questions that most Malihinis have about this lush multi-island paradise.

Completes Sleeping Bear Press's acclaimed Discover America State by State series.

From Hawai'i with Aloha, Grandma and Grandpa
Did you know...

That Kilauea has spewed enough lava to fill more than a million Olympic-sized swimming pools? That a newborn humpack whale calf drinks one hundred gallons of milk a day? Or that twenty-seven Waimea Canyons stretched end to end can fit into the Grand Canyon? 

Children learn about the wonders of Hawai'i as they join Grandma and Grandpa on a trip through the Hawaiian Islands.

Baby Honu's Incredible Journey
Baby Honu has just hatched from his egg. Will he find the courage to face sand crabs and sea birds on his perilous journey to the sea? And what wondrous creatures will he encounter in the ocean?

A best-selling island classic, with a helpful glossary to educate children about Hawaiian marine life.
©2010 Tammy Yee
All rights reserved.

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