Awe inspiring sites and activities await your ‘ohana (family) across the Pacific. From tubing down a historic plantation irrigation system, to discovering Hawai‘i’s paniolo (cowboy) legacy, and snorkeling in a sunken volcano, fun and wonders never cease in the islands of aloha.
Take part in a major reforestation effort while enjoying spectacular North Shore scenery and adventure with Hawaiian Legacy Tours at Gunstock Ranch. Planting a tree is a meaningful way to honor a family member or loved one while giving back to Oahu. Select, plant, and dedicate your own Legacy Tree and then track the location and growth of your tree via radio-frequency identification once you’re home. Tree planting tours include the Planter’s Experience, the Horseback Planter’s Experience, the Off-Road Planter’s Experience, and the Helicopter Experience. Learn to surf away from the Waikīkī crowds on the North Shore with former life guard and expert surfer Suzy Stewart of Sunset Suzy. Choose the two-hour family lessons which start on the beach with 15 to 20 minutes of instruction dedicated to safety and surf techniques. The rest of the lesson is spent in the water where Suzy always has several instructors for families. While the North Shore surf is rough in winter, Suzy knows the special places with calm surf such as Pua‘ena Point where families are always delighted to see the local Hawaiian sea turtles.
Opening in the midst of prime whale watching season (Dec-May), Maui Ocean Center’s exciting new exhibit Humpbacks of Hawaii enables visitors to experience the mystery and majesty of the earth’s largest mammals like never before. The exhibit breaks the barrier of the ocean and brings museum guests eye-to-eye with humpback whales beneath the waves. Visitors will be able to experience the whale’s nomadic lifestyle and immerse themselves in their songs, signals, and social bonds through interactive exhibits, displays, and a virtual whale encounter in the 3D Sphere. Elsewhere, experience two of Maui’s most memorable underwater dive sites on the Discover Molokini snorkeling adventure aboard Trilogy’s sailing catamaran. Your first stop is Molokini, a sunken volcanic crater 2.5 miles off the Maui coastline that’s home to tropical fish, coral reefs, and nesting seabirds. Next, you’ll snorkel in the shallows of the Maui coastline where you are likely to encounter Hawaiian sea turtles.
Up in the Kohala Mountains, experience Hawai‘i’s rich paniolo (cowboy) heritage during the Wednesday Evening Sunset Dinner at iconic Kahua Ranch. Legend has it that King Kamehameha I trained his warriors on these lands in the 18th century. Enjoy a hearty buffet dinner and family friendly activities like line dancing, roping, horseshoe pitching, s’mores, and a campire sing along. Your keiki (kids) will love meeting Piggly Wiggly, the pet pig who thinks she’s a dog. Leaving out of Kona, few experiences compare with the Manta Night Snorkel with Jack’s Diving Locker. Your boat heads to the manta viewing site where you’ll slip into the water with your snorkeling gear and guide. Floating above, watch in amazement as the enormous gentle manta rays glide, turn, and somersault illuminated in the lights while feeding on plankton.
Enjoy mountain tubing with Kaua‘i Backcountry Adventures at the former Līhu‘e Plantation. The tubing adventure down the sugar plantation’s ingeniously engineered irrigation system takes you through open canals and tunnels that were dug around 1870. You’ll experience some of Kaua‘i’s most breathtaking and remote scenery including spectacular views of the mountains and Wai‘ale‘ale Crater as you tube on the gently flowing waters. At historic Kilohana Plantation, hop aboard the open-sided Kaua‘i Plantation Railway. The 40-minute narrated Signature Train Tour showcases the plantation’s 50-plus varieties of fruit tree orchards, vegetable gardens, rare and exotic tropical flowers, forests, hardwood trees, and animal pastures with donkeys, goats, sheep, horses, cattle, ducks, geese, and the fun-loving herd of wild pigs. Children love hopping off the train to feed the animals.