How To Prepare For Hiking In Hawaii With Your Kids

We're sharing some tips and tricks for hiking the Hawaiian Islands with your keiki! From picking family-friendly hikes to determining what to pack, we make sure you have the advice you need for a memorable day with your 'ohana.

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We’re continuing the Earth Day celebrations by sharing some tips and tricks for hiking with your keiki! Continue reading to find out what it will take to have a memorable day exploring the beautiful Hawaiian Islands with the ones you love most.

Thanks to our volcanic mountain ranges, luscious greenery, and abundance of water, our islands offer some of the best hikes in the world. And whether you were born and raised here or you’re vacationing here with your family, taking advantage of the nature around you is something you won’t want to pass up. 

Preparing For Your Family Hike

While the thought of hiking with kids may sound like a high-stress situation, it doesn’t have to be. Hiking is a great way to get the whole family outside and active, and we’re here to offer some advice on how to make the most out of hiking in Hawaii with your keiki. 

We’ve compiled a list of some advice, tips, and tricks for making your hiking experience with your kids easy and safe. And at the end of the blog, you can find a list of some family friendly hikes throughout the Hawaiian islands! You know your children best, so make sure you only do hikes that you are comfortable with, and other than that, plan ahead, bring some snacks, and get excited! 

Bonus Tip: When hiking with kids try to choose a hike with a reward at the end, such as a waterfall or a blowhole. This will give them something to get excited about and that motivation if they start to get tired along the way. 

How To Prepare For Hiking In Hawaii With Your Kids

Image by: @tezbatacan

1.Be prepared 

There is nothing worse than arriving somewhere and feeling totally unprepared. This stresses you out and it can stress the kids out, too. So especially when it comes to hiking, make sure you plan out everything in advance. This includes ensuring a good night’s sleep, preparing the backpacks, and making sure all socks, shoes, and clothing are accounted for and laid out the night before! 

You might even want to bring your child’s security blanketjust in case they need some comfort along their journey. And keep in mind, because it rains so often in Hawaii, trails can often be muddy, which means you and your keiki will likely end up muddy, too. To save your car from tough dirt stains, and bring some rinse water and a change of clothes!

2. Hiking with Babies or Toddlers

If you’re hiking with babies or toddlers, it comes with a different set of challenges. Depending on the length of your hike, you’ll need to make sure you plan for diaper changes, LOTS of snacks, sunscreen, and more. If you plan on wearing your baby or toddler while you hike, make sure you are using a comfortable baby carrier. We like the Deuter Kid Comfort because of how comfortable it is for both parent and baby, and you can even drape over a swaddle blanket to provide some shade. You can also clip on some toys to the carrier and have some snacks accessible to keep your keiki calm and content while in the carrier. 

3. Keep them fed and hydrated!

Taking your kids on adventures is one of the best parts about being a parent, but adventures can be tiring! Make sure to bring plenty of snacks and water that will last throughout your hike (and maybe even after). Keeping your kids fed and hydrated will help them maintain their energy levels and their fun. Do not underestimate the importance of snacks!

4. Layers, bug spray, and sunscreen, oh my! 

Hiking in Hawaii can conjure up some unique weather. It might start off a little chilly in the morning, but by the end your kids might be wanting to run around in their underwear! Be prepared for all scenarios, and consider dressing your keiki in our coveralls, as they are lightweight but long sleeved and can protect them from bugs. Remember to dress in layers, bring bug spray for when you’re hiking in those damp, forested areas, and always, always apply sunscreen! 

How To Prepare For Hiking In Hawaii With Your Kids

5. Safety first 

Even if you choose the most kid-friendly, accessible hike you can find, hiking still poses possible dangers. When hiking in Hawaii, you may encounter loose rocks, slippery mud, and heights. Remember to keep in mind the weather forecast, especially if you’re hiking areas where you have to cross streams or encounter waterfalls. Some areas are prone to heavy rain, or even flash flooding, so make sure you always take these extra precautions and are mindful of the weather. While this may sound scary, if you ensure that you keep your kids close by and that they understand the possible dangers, you can still have a great experience! 

6. So, you’re more prepared than ever and ready to start your adventure, now what?

You and your ‘ohana are ready to begin their hike! You’ve prepared all you’ve needed to and everyone feels good and ready to go. To maximize your kids’ experience, let them go at their own pace. Oftentimes as adults, we’re focused on getting to the end of the hike and ploughing ahead. But for kids, they often want to look under rocks, climb trees, and generally meander about. Allowing them to enjoy the nature around them and explore a little bit is one of the best parts about hiking. 

We hope you found these tips helpful. Hiking is an activity that you and your family can enjoy together and create fun memories for years to come. The Hawaiian islands are a unique and special place, so always remember to respect the ‘aina when you’re exploring. Keep in mind that many trailheads are through neighborhoods and near homes, so make sure you are respectful, quiet, and park only where allowed. Never go onto private property, and whatever you bring on your hike, bring it home with you, too. And always remember that when you are parked at your hike, don’t leave any valuables in the car and always make sure you lock it before you begin your adventure! If you have any other tips and tricks you find helpful when hiking in Hawaii with your keiki, let us know in the comments! 

How To Prepare For Hiking In Hawaii With Your Kids

Image by: @janalam

Some family-friendly trails on the islands: 

Oahu Trails:

  • Manoa Falls: The manoa falls trail is a great way to surround yourself with Oahu’s gorgeous greenery without needing to venture off to a more intense trail. And aside from the easy 1.6 mile round trip hike, you’ll get to see a beautiful waterfall at the end! 
  • Diamond Head: Diamond head is a popular hike that provides great views of the Waikiki coastline and downtown area. This winding trail will deliver some great photo ops and a few moments of shade for the kids to cool down! A reminder that the entrance fee for non-hawaii residents is $5, for kama’aina, free! 
  • Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail: This uphill trail offers beautiful views of Oahu’s southeastern shore. We recommend going early in the morning or later in the evening as this trial is not shaded, and if you’re able to, try completing it during whale season for the opportunity to see these majestic creatures! 

Maui Trails: 

  • Iao Needle Trail: This short, paved trail is less than a mile long but will offer some great and unique scenery. You can even take a short walk through the botanical garden to learn about some of the ʻIao Valley’s plants! 
  • Seven Sacred Pools Trail ('Ohe'o Gulch): This beautiful array of natural waterfalls and pools located in East Maui is only a 0.6 mile hike that will take your breath away. It is often closed during the wet season, so plan accordingly if this is one of your must-sees! 
  • Nakalele Blowhole Trail - This short hike offers a view of one of nature’s wonders. We want to emphasize that it is incredibly important to not allow your keiki too close to the blowhole or in areas where large waves could sweep them off. If you keep your distance and observe from a safe vantage point, this is something the whole family will enjoy and remember forever! 

Kauai Trails: 

  • Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail - Shipwreck Beach to Punahoa Point: A coastal hike on Kauai’s south shore that will take you through a variety of different terrain. Keep your eyes peeled while on this hike, as you may get to see some marine life! 
  • Kuilau Ridge Trail: If you’re looking for a trail with lots of greenery and plant life as well as beautiful mountain views, the Kuilau Ridge Trail is just what you need. And the best part, about halfway through there’s an open field with some space to take a break and refuel!
  • Makauwahi Cave: As Hawaii’s largest limestone cave, this is a unique trail with a one-of-a-kind view at the end. Once you’re through the cave you’ll be in a space that is like something you’ve never seen before — there’s even an education station so you’re keiki can learn about these sacred spaces! 

Big Island Trails:

  • Makalawena Beach: When adventuring to the beautiful beach of Makalawena, you’ll want to take trailhead #2 to ensure the shortest and safest route for you and your family. Once you’ve finished this short hike, you’ll arrive at one of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii. 

  • Kiholo Bay and Wainanalii Lagoon: An easy hike in one of Hawaii’s most beautiful areas. Along this trail you’ll encounter two ancient fish ponds that are filled with native fish species and you’re likely to see some sea turtles enjoying the blue waters!

  • Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail: This trail hike is part of a 175-mile long trail that has connected Hawaiian communities for years. This one will take you along the coast with some beautiful ocean views — but there’s no shade here, so be prepared with lots of water and sunscreen!


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