Few places deliver a resort experience like Hawaii — with the Big Island serving up a long list of choice beachfront properties with massive pools and ample amenities that the whole family will enjoy.
Beyond the mega-resorts, Hawaii’s Big Island also offers you and your crew condo hotels, lodges and more — letting you choose just the right fit for your family vacation to Hawaii. Here are the ten best Big Island hotels and resorts for families.
Hilton Waikoloa Village
The Hilton Waikoloa Village impresses from the moment of arrival at the grand, open-air lobby. Set on the Kohala Coast 40 minutes north of Kailua-Kona, this resort sprawls across 62 acres, including its own private beach. We love that this Hilton caters to water lovers, with a shallow, protected 4-acre lagoon that makes for easier swimming and paddle boarding when the ocean is rough. And, yes, water sports are included.
Onsite, you’ll also find three pools and a 175-foot waterslide. Kids ages 5 to 12 can take part in Club Keiki, which includes games as well as exploring the island’s ecosystems. Children will get a kick out of taking the tram and canal boats around the property, and seeing the dolphins at the onsite sanctuary — even if you don’t spring for the experience of feeding or swimming with them, you can still watch.
Moreover, this Hilton knows how to add value, giving families the option of discounted packages that let you add breakfast for four each morning, or get credits for extra entertainment, such as a luau night.
The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort
The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort is exactly what you picture when you imagine a tropical Hawaii getaway. The main hotel opens to two winding pools with ample seating, leading to a wide, white-sand beach.
For families who crave beach and pool time, this is heaven — you’ll stop only to refuel poolside at the Naupaka Beach Grill. The resort also offers half- and full-day kids’ club programming for younger guests ages 5 to 12, allowing parents to take advantage of the Arnold-Palmer-designed Hapuna Golf Course as well as the Hapuna Spa.
The Fairmont Orchid expertly blends the resort experience while the culture of Hawaii. The 540-room beach resort is set on 32 acres fronting Pauoa Bay. Six restaurants, a spa, and 24-hour fitness center are all found onsite.
As one of the best Big Island hotels for families, the Fairmont offers a kids program — the Keiki Aloha Adventure — offered by the half and full day for youths ages 5 to 12. Children of all ages will enjoy the resort’s hula and ukulele lessons, hikes to local petroglyphs and turtle talks, offered at no additional charge. Plus, a complimentary photo session with Pacific Dream Photography means you can take home a new family portrait as a souvenir.
Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay
Guests who choose the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay, 20 minutes south of Kailua, prefer it for its more authentic-Hawaii vibe. This 508-room property is still one of the most affordable for families, in large part because the Sheraton isn’t trying to compete with mega-resorts. The hotel pool faces the ocean, and offers a waterslide and kids’ zone with a splash deck. Best of all, we love that the pool is open 24 hours a day — a nice option for jet-lagged kiddos (and parents) waking up at 4 a.m.
Steps from the pool you’ll find ocean swimming, but with a lava-rock entry. The Sheraton also offers Club Le’ale’a, a zone for younger kids with games and activities; however, parent supervision is required. Adults aren’t required at the Keiki Cave, a hangout for tweens and teens with foosball, ping-pong, air hockey, shuffleboard and Nintendo Wii. And although the property sits 20 minutes south of the town of Kailua, but the hotel offers free shuttles to connect you with the action.
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
One of the most upscale properties on the Big Island, the Four Seasons Hualalai delivers the service, privacy and five-star experience you’d expect from the only AAA Five Diamond-rated property in all of Hawaii. We love that the resort offers seven pools, with more than enough seating and shaded canopy tents for all families staying at the hotel.
The white-sand beach is the stuff of postcards. Snorkeling and tide-pool experiences are found on site, giving you more entertainment options without leaving the property. Should you want it, the property offers a Kids for All Seasons program, with games and experiences planned all day for kids ages 5 to 12; programs for tweens are also available.
As for dining, choose from five restaurants, including ‘Ulu Ocean Grill, ranked as the best on the island for its fresh, fusion fare, such as lemongrass barbecue chicken and the roasted mahi-mahi with brown butter kabayaki, sourced with local ingredients.
Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel
Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel is one of the best deals in Kailua-Kona. This 452-room property is located in the heart of town, just next to the Kailua Pier. If you’ve planned on any things to do out on the water, including parasailing, snorkeling day trips, glass-bottom boat tours or a trip inside the Atlantis Submarine, then this location couldn’t be more convenient.
The hotel itself is right on the water, but note that the caramel-color sand beach is on the small side. Snorkeling, kayaking and luau shows three nights a week are all available at an added charge. What is free is the massive collection of games, including ping-pong, bocce ball, giant Jenga, shuffleboard and corn hole.
Note that overall, this property is better suited to older children or families not needing daycare as there is no kids club available or babysitting available through the hotel.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
Not only is Mauna Kea Beach Hotel one of the best Big Island hotels for families, but the property’s beachfront location is hard to beat. Found 40 minutes north of Kailua-Kona, the resort sits on one of the best beaches on the Big Island, opening to flat, turquoise water. Families will appreciate the soft-sand entry and the width of the beach, which allows groups to spread out with ample space.
Daily activities on the beach, including shell art, lei-making and hula, are all included. Mauna Kea Keiki Club is also available, with half- and full-day programs available for kids ages 5 to 12. Onsite, you’ll also find tennis, golf, a spa, plus watersports such as paddle boarding and sailing. As a bonus, we love that room service is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner for those times when rounding up the troops for a sit-down is too much.
Hilo Hawaiian Beach Hotel
For families looking for a base in Hilo, the Hilo Hawaiian Beach Hotel offers great value. This 286-room, eight-story hotel is sandwiched between the ocean and the Lili’uokalani Park and Gardens, a 24-acre grounds with Japanese gardens, fishponds and a teahouse.
The hotel is on the water, but its location is a rocky stretch of coast — which makes for a tougher entry for small children, but offers a much more enjoyable snorkeling experience. Overall, we like this property for its quiet feel, as well as its quick access to waterfalls and other natural attractions.
Aston Kona by the Sea
We chose Aston Kona by the Sea as one of the best Big Island resorts for families for its one- and two-bedroom condos. In addition to the extra room to spread out (and have some privacy), families can save money by staying in and cooking a dinner or two — or every night of the trip. The resort also offers barbecue grills for dining alfresco near the pool that overlooks the ocean.
This resort sits oceanside on a rocky beach, but the property has added a man-made sand beach held in place with a retaining wall. While the Aston does not have an onsite restaurant or a kids club, it is located on a cove that’s ideal for snorkeling and surfing — so some entertainment is included.
Kilauea Lodge, located in Volcano Village near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, packs a ton of charm thanks to its former life as a YMCA camp. The whole property has been overhauled since then, with the 12 rooms and four cottages entirely revamps and updated. (All the fireplaces, wood walls and personality remain.)
We like this property for families as the grounds allow for ample exploration, and the rooms are spacious, with couches that pull out into beds. Onsite, you’ll also find a restaurant, where breakfast is included, as well as a hot tub.