Hawaii's Best All-Around Family Resort
Best Family Activities on Hawaii's Big Island
The Hilton Waikoloa Village
Just twenty minutes north of Kona International Airport, on the island of Hawaii, you will find the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Situated on the beautiful Kohala Coast, the title "village" is an accurate description for this totally self-contained resort. My family and I have vacationed here four times in the past ten years, during which time my children have ranged in age from 7 to 19. The kids love this resort as much now that they are teens, as they did when they were tikes.
The Hilton Waikoloa Village spans 62, ocean-front acres, and offers more amenities than you can imagine. There are three gorgeous hotel towers, all with beautiful views. The complex centers around a four-acre lagoon where guests can; swim, snorkel, aqua bike, paddle board, and kayak. (Note...purchase the weekly family package at the lagoon hut when you arrive. This will save you a great deal of money over renting each item by the half hour.) Three gorgeous, freshwater swimming pools feature; water slides, waterfalls, and hot tubs. There is also a beach style, sand-bottomed pool for the younger kids. Just a short, ten minute walk will bring you to A Bay, and it's unique salt and pepper beach. The trail of petroglyphs is just a ten minute walk from the property as well, and is definitely a must see.
The two, championship golf courses, and the tennis courts will appeal to the adults. The kids will love the giant, outdoor checkerboard, the pool, ping-pong, and soccer tables, as well as a round of miniature "glow" golf after it gets dark.
The Hilton Waikola Village is also home to Dolphin Quest. Guests ten and older can interact with, and learn about the dolphins in their natural habitat. The dolphins also put on a show for guests every Tuesday at 4:00pm (date and time accurate at the time of publication.)
Camp Menehune offers a supervised, on-site environment for kids from ages 5 to 12. Parents can relax, browse the resort shops, or even visit the world renowned Kohala Spa, while their kids participate in games, crafting, and water activities with other children.
Beautiful walking paths outline the property. If you prefer not to walk, you can ride the hotel tram, which stops at various locations along the property, or take a leisurley ride along the canal in one of the hotel's classic wooden boats.
I recommend that you eat breakfast at least once during your visit at the large breakfast buffet at the Water's Edge. The food is delicious and plentiful, and the view is amazing. The remainder of the week, hit the Lagoon Spoon cereal bar located right next to the lagoon. Such a fun place, with a little something for everyone, including; cereals, toppings, egg sandwiches, bagels, donuts, yogurts and juices.
Lunch is effortless, and can be purchased fairly inexpensively at the Boat Landing Grill, the Lagoon Grill, or the Orchid Marketplace. No need to even change out of your swimsuit or bring your wallet, as each place offers outdoor tables, a casual atmosphere, and the ability to charge your meal to your room.
For an afternoon treat, visit the Orchid Marketplace's soft-serve ice cream bar, and self-service wall of candy. Most importantly, do not leave the Hilton Waikoloa Village without ordering a Kona Mocha Freeze. This non-alchoholic drink can be purchased at the Lagoon Bar, and is best described as the most amazing chocolate/mocha milkshake you have ever tasted!
The hotel has restaurants offering several different cuisines such as, Chinese, Japanese teppanyaki, traditional American, etc. Dinner reservations should be made prior to your vacation. An absolute must is the Legends of the Pacific luau. The luau takes place only two days per week, so plan ahead. The buffet and the show are both worth the price. Consider purchasing the VIP tickets for this event, which will allow you; early entry, no waiting in line, seating at a table right next to the stage, and your own server. The other must is the Kamuela Provision Company, which serves creative, island cuisine. Be sure to make your reservation for half an hour prior to sunset. Also, ask for a table outside. This will ensure that you don't miss the breathtaking sunset views. You will also be able to catch a glimpse of the torch runner as he hurries by, enroute to lighting all of the torches along the hotel property.
Since dinners can be on the more expensive side at the hotel, a less pricey option is the restaurants at the King's Shops, and the food court at Queen's Landing. Both small, outdoor malls can be accessed by a five minute ride on the hotel trolley. The trolley makes frequent trips back and forth between both malls and the hotel. After dinner, stop by the Boat Landing or the Malolo Lounge and listen to live music.
Before you leave this island paradise, make sure you stop at the lobby and say hello to Butterscotch the bird. You'll be surprised at the things he can tell you! If you are brave, ask the trainer if you can hold one of Butterscotch's colorful, feathered friends. When you leave, Butterscotch will send you off with an, "aloha," which means both goodbye (for now) and hello (for the next time you will return to this island paradise.)
Please see my blog entitled, "Best Family Activities on Hawaii's Big Island" for recommendations on family activities on the big island, outside of the Hilton Waikoloa Village resort. The link to this article is attached at the top right hand side of this story.