To keep with our summer family vacation theme we're taking a look at some of the best family activities on each island. If you're only planning on doing a few activities, these should be high on your list.
Maui - Maui Zipline at the Tropical Plantation
Have you ever wondered what it feels like to fly? Soaring over valleys and through the mountains of Maui suspended on a wire is as close as you may ever get. Some of the zipline courses are on the more extreme end of things (like the Flyin Hawaiian course), but the Maui Zipline at the Tropical Plantation is the most family-friendly zipline course on Maui. Five side-by-side ziplines ranging from 300 to 900 feet in length offer the perfect opportunity to experience this exciting activity in a family-friendly way. In fact, this is one of the few courses on Maui that can accommodate children as young as five and who weigh as little as 50 pounds. It's also one of the few courses around where observers can watch just about all of the action for free from the ground.
Oahu - Polynesian Cultural Center
The North Shore of Oahu is the only place in the state where you can visit the islands of Hawaii, Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa, Maori New Zealand, Tonga and Marquesas all in the same day! The Polynesian Cultural Center will delight your senses with its sights, sounds and smells. As you wander from island to island you will meet people dressed in the traditional, colorful garb of each island. They'll show you their musical instruments, crafts, traditional dances and ceremonies. Try your hand at spear throwing, challenge your family members to a canoe race, learn how to make fire by rubbing two sticks together or see if you can climb a coconut tree like the young natives. In the evening be sure to check out their Ali'I Luau, which was awarded the Kahili Award for "Most Authentic Luau". Gentle waterfalls, hibiscus blossoms, palms and a meandering lagoon form the backdrop to a royal feast with options for prime rib, jumbo shrimp cocktail, chicken, mahi mahi and more as performers dazzle with live music and traditional Hawaiian song and dance.
Kauai - Helicopter Tour
Kauai, known as the Garden Isle, is the most lush and tropical of the Hawaiian Islands. There's no better way to witness the island's beauty than by soaring above it in a helicopter. There are tours for all types of people and all comfort levels, whether you'd rather have the doors on or off and whether you'd like to land and get up close and personal to a waterfall or just have a straight aerial tour. You'll take in the majestic Napali Coast, breathtaking Waimea Canyon and more waterfalls than you can count. Some tours will bring you by Manawaiopuna Falls made famous in the movie Jurassic Park (and also known as Jurassic Park Falls). If you're going to do a helicopter tour in Hawaii, this is the island to do it.
Hawaii - Swim with Dolphins at the Hilton Waikoloa Village
This is one of the activities we get asked most about at Great Hawaii Vacations, and with good reason; not often are you given the opportunity to touch, swim with and even kiss a dolphin! Dolphin Quest offers this experience at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island. The dolphin encounters range from 30 minutes to an hour and 45 minutes. Their dolphins come to you for a close-up look and hands-on greeting as you wade into their ocean lagoon. Get to know their individual personalities, unique behaviors and playfulness.