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Our Family Guide to the Big Island

Our Family Guide to the Big Island

Every Hawaiian island is unique in its own way, but there’s just something about the Big Island. Maybe it’s the active volcanoes, the black sand beaches, jungles and snowy peaks. Or maybe it’s the fact that our family had the time of its life on the island back on our visit in November. Whatever the reason, the Big Island is what vacation dreams are made of and we were lucky to have many memorable experiences. Check out below for some highlights of this unforgettable destination.


Luxury Retreats
With a family of five, renting a house was a must. Enter Luxury Retreats, which made planning and booking a breeze and offers customizable vacation experiences.

Mauna Kea Residences
Spacious accommodations and white sand beaches? Mauna Kea has everything you could ever want from a family-friendly Hawaiian resort. Tennis courts and golf course? Check! Luaus and beachside dining? Check! Kids club? Check! Water sports and rentals? You guessed it, check! You’ll never run out of things to do even if your only plan consists of sipping Mai Tais by the pool.

Mauna Lani
Opening in January 2020, we can’t wait to book this latest spot part of the Auberge Resorts Collection for our next visit. With luxurious oceanfront bungalows, horseback riding on the beach, catamaran sailings, and more, Mauna Lanai has us daydreaming of our next Hawaiian adventure.


When traveling with family, breakfast buffets are a definite bonus. The open-air restaurant at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is famous for their spread, which includes made-to-order waffles, papaya by the forkful and the most amazing sticky buns you’ve ever tasted. Buffets not your thing? Order specialties off their regular breakfast menu, like the Japanese breakfast bento or the Hawaiian malasadas.

Lava Lava Beach Club
For fun in the sun dining, look no further than Lava Lava! Wear your sandals, as favorites like ahi poke and coconut shrimp are served right to your outdoor table on the sand. Activities such as putt-putt golf and cornhole will keep your family happily busy while you wait for a table not to mention the beautiful beach right under your feet.

Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar
Shopping and dining? Yes please! After squeezing in some much-needed retail therapy, reserve a table out on the lanai and try menu standouts like the Kona coffee crusted ribeye or Thai shrimp and scallops.


Sunset and Stargazing Tour
A Hawaiian sunset should be on everyone’s bucket list. Part of Mauna Kea Summit Adventures, the tour not only includes this spectacular twilight view, but plenty of learning opportunities about the area’s natural history plus hot cocoa under a dazzling panorama of stars. 


Zip Lining
Every single person in our family agreed that the Umauma Falls Zipline Tour was a winner. Get ready! You’ll be crossing a suspension bridge and soaring 30 MPH over breathtaking waterfalls. But, once it’s done, you’ll wish you could do it all over again.

Helicopter Tour
See it all from above with Sunshine Helicopters. There’s nothing like having a bird’s eye view of the unique geography of Big Island. We definitely oohed and aahed at the natural beauty of the rainforest along Hamakua coast, the impressive Kohala Mountains, and, of course, over the lava flows of legendary volcano Kilauea.   

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