My family has traveled all over and taken in the most popular vacation spots in the United States including the two Disney resorts. When I ask them, where they would like to do for our next family vacation, they always want to return to Hawaii. Hawaii has proven to me time and time again that it is the best destination for that memorable family vacation; and here is why
- The ocean and its accompanying beaches: There is a magic about being next to the ocean. You can be in awe and at peace simultaneously. The sound of the ocean can lull you to sleep. The tropical sunsets are nothing short of spectacular. And the ocean provides so much opportunity for recreation: swimming, surfing, boogies boarding, and on and on. The beaches are world class. And the ocean brings so many creatures that are so fun to watch: the majestic humpback whales, the curious sea turtles, and the fun-loving dolphins–all unique experiences that you don’t enjoy back home.
- The strong family orientation: The Hawaiian culture is all about family (ohana). And the meaning of the word, ohana, expands out beyond just brothers and sisters to cousins, uncles, and aunts. You see this in barbecues on the beach and at county parks. Also, because a Hawaiian vacation is a little more expensive than a typical trip to Mexico or Daytona beach, it naturally filters out the Spring break crowds and its focus on alcohol and sex. You just don’t see that much stuff in Hawaii. If you have young impressionable minds in your family, you can let your parental guard down a little more in Hawaii.
- Ideal climate all year round: The temperature in Hawaii is from the high 70s to mid-80s year around with just a touch of humidity to put some curl in your hair. It is very mild and pleasant. One summer, I took the family to Disneyworld (it wasn’t my idea) and experienced a very unpleasant week. It was so hot and so humid that our kids just melted every time we left our air-conditioned hotel room. We had to cycle our days: a few hours outside, an hour back in our room. We spent so much time going back and forth from hotel room to the wide spread resort that the bulk of our time was spent travelling. Hawaii’s temperatures are just right all day long. If it does happen to rain on you, the showers are usually short-lived. If rain really bothers you, make plans on what to do on a rainy day. On Kauai, go over to the dry side of Waimea. On Maui, go hit the Maui Ocean Center or take a submarine ride. There is plenty to do both in the rain and out of its path.
- Laid back vibe: This is one of those things that is best experienced and hard to describe. Everything on Hawaii is a little slower (especially the traffic) and it usually takes a few days to adjust. But, once you do adjust, all your stresses melt away. That transition happens even faster while laying on the beach with absolutely no itinerary. On Hawaii, you will often see the shaka sign, a fist held out with the thumb and pinky extended. This means “hang loose” and is used to convey the Aloha spirit. If you travel to Hawaii when your kids are old enough to trust next to the ocean (something I would strongly emphasize), you can have a slightly different agenda than your kids when you hit the beach. You can lounge on the beach under an umbrella while the kids tear it up on their boogie boards. Its a win/win.
- Great food: A few years ago, my wife and I celebrated our wedding anniversary in a popular tourist town in Colorado. After 3 days of expensive meals, we only found one restaurant that we could recommend with a good conscience to our friends. That is not the case in Hawaii. There is so much good food and so many good places to eat it that you just can’t take it all in. The fresh pineapple, guava, and mango are so sweet and so juicy. If you love to eat seafood, you will be in heaven. If you don’t love seafood, there is plenty of other things to try: Hawaiian sweet bread, shave ice, and a million different ways to eat spam.
- Everyone is happy: Because of the great food, great atmosphere, and stress-free zone, it seems like everyone is happy. You aren’t burning your vacation time standing in lines or driving around looking for a parking place. Everyone is smiling and it is so easy to strike up a conversation with about anyone anywhere. I can make a very strong argument against Disneyland being the happiest place on earth.
- Hawaii’s tropical paradise mystique: There is something about just mentioning the name “Hawaii” that will make someone’s eyes light up. The name represents the white sand beaches, the deep blue ocean, and the palm trees swaying in the breeze. There is nothing like waking to the sound of the ocean. When my family boards the plane for a Hawaiian vacation, they couldn’t be more excited if they were boarding a rocket ship headed for Pluto.
Enough talk. Get moving. Pack your bags. Get to Hawaii for your best family vacation ever.