Best Island In Hawaii For Families

Which is the best Hawaiian island for families? Like most of these questions, it really depends on the family. But there are some general answers that can help you narrow it down.

Best Island In Hawaii For Families

If time wasn't an issue, the best way to answer this question would be island hopping. That is - spending a few weeks on each island to get a feel for how it feels after tourist mode fades. But for many families, multiple two or three-week-long trips isn't an option. To help narrow it down before the visiting stage, it helps to look at your family with a critical eye.

What kind of schooling needs do your children have? Which is the best Hawaiian island for toddlers? And which is the best Hawaiian island to visit with kids that love to explore? What about teens? Plus, what are some fun things to do in Hawaii with kids?

What To Consider When Choosing An Island

There are several factors to consider. A few not so obvious factors include special medical facilities, nature access, and social activities for wide age ranges, among others.

Best Island In Hawaii For Families

We’ll go in depth here to help narrow it down. As a general note, Oahu has roughly five times the population of the next most populated island. It tends to have more options and greater access for this reason.

Related: Check Out Communities Across Oahu!

Schools Across Hawaii

Whether they attend public or private school, which island you choose will impact your child’s education. For public schooling, Oahu comes out on top with some of the best schools in the state in terms of math and reading proficiency. There's higher education options as well, so even children transitioning into adulthood have options close to home.

If you’re looking into private schools, there are a large number throughout the state serving around 40,000 students. They’re located in four counties - Honolulu County (Oahu), Maui County, Hawaii County (Big Island), and Kauai County. The largest concentration of private schools is on Oahu, where the private schools are world renowned. One example of such is Punahao, where Barack Obama received his education.

Learn more about Oahu's Private Schools

Best Island In Hawaii For Families

If you choose to homeschool, you can find all the information you’ll need on Hawaii’s school website.

Medical Facilities

Since Hawaii is so far away from the mainland, it’s important to take note of medical needs you need now and may need in the future.

If your child has any kind of special medical needs, Oahu is most likely the best fit. There are seven hospitals within Honolulu itself, while outside of Honolulu there are six more hospitals on Oahu. This is in addition to other medical facilities. It has the largest collection of top of the line medical facilities in a variety of specialties.

Big Island is next, with five hospitals and around 400 beds available for care, followed by Maui with three hospitals and around 340 beds and Kauai with three. It’s worth noting that many of these facilities are not prepared to deal with every scenario. In these situations, they send patients to Oahu’s facilities.

Access To Nature

Any one of the islands will grant great access to nature for kids and adults. Hawaii is the paradise state and large portions of it are never going to be developed. There are accessible beaches, greenery, hiking trails, and more open access to nature wherever you go. There are a few differences between them though.

Big Island, AKA Hawaii County, is the largest island in the state. It also holds one of the most active volcanoes in the world and has a variety of landscapes with 8 different climate zones. Despite being the largest island, it has a population of only around 200,000.

Oahu is chock full of gorgeous and easily accessible nature scenery. This includes the Diamond Head volcanic tuff cone, a National Natural Landmark that was used as a strategic military lookout in the 1900s. There are a lot of developed options for green outdoors time on Oahu, such as the 300-acre Kapiolani Park in Diamond Head.

Maui is Hawaii’s second-most visited island, with large sections of the economy powered by tourism. It lies somewhere between Big Island and Oahu in most factors, and is often called the “Playground of the Wealthy.” The outdoors activities available tend to be more on the extreme side, and less oriented towards accessibility for children.

Kauai is known as the “Garden Island,” and is the least populated of all the main islands. It has some of the greatest views and exploration opportunities, with some areas only accessible by sea or air. The entire island is less oriented towards tourists and more towards a slower pace of life than the other island. There are an abundance of outdoors activities such as hiking in Kokee State Park or ziplining above Kauai’s valleys.

Social Activities For Kids And Teens

Oahu is going to offer the most opportunities for kids and teens to socialize in Hawaii, hands down. The other islands may have opportunities but in general they start to shut down around 8 PM. While that might sound great at first, it limits the opportunities for children to meet children of their own age to socialize with. Oahu has the largest selection of Malls, Movie Theaters, and other congregation points.

Of course, going out to Kahala Beach or other fabulous outdoors areas can be a fabulous social experience unto itself.

So Which Hawaiian Island Is Right For My Family?

Again - it depends entirely on your family. If you’re planning to homeschool your kids and don’t anticipate special medical needs, you can easily make your home on any of the islands. But if you DO have special needs, or are seeking world-renowned private schools - Oahu is probably your best choice.

Related: Best Hawaiian Island To Live On?

Oahu is the most well-rounded option in the paradise state. Its high population means that it has developed some of the best opportunities for schools and medical facilities. This hasn’t detracted from its natural beauty - it’s full of gorgeous natural views and great outdoor activities. Ultimately, though, you should take your time and research in depth what your family needs and make sure the island you choose fits those needs.

252 Properties
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2
Beds
1F11/2
Baths
753
Sq.Ft.
1976
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202208716
MLS
PAKALANA - secure condominium, conveniently located in the Makiki area. Enjoy sunrise over DH every morning and picturesque views from the east facing lanai. Covered parking is located in the secure...
$1,300,000
Neighborhood: Ala Moana
12
Beds
6
Baths
3,456
Sq.Ft.
1956
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202209485
MLS
Prime metro central location near Piikoi Street and Wal-Mart and across the street from Sheridan Community Park. This six-unit building is situated on a fenced corner lot and close to shops,...
2
Beds
2
Baths
909
Sq.Ft.
2016
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202209567
MLS
Stunning views of Diamond Head, ocean, mountain, coastal, Ala Moana Beach Park from every room of this beautiful unit in the highly desirable The Collection. Unit features two side by side parking...
$1,499,000
Neighborhood: Coconut Grove
3
Beds
4
Baths
2,382
Sq.Ft.
1950
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202205749
MLS
GREAT NEW LISTING! Well maintained, spacious 3 bdrm/4 bath home located in the cozy Coconut Grove neighborhood in Kailua. Relax & entertain on the covered deck overlooking a beautiful, tiled pool....
Open 5/22
94-555 Alapoai Street #152 Mililani, HI 96789
3
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
1,256
Sq.Ft.
1976
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202207385
MLS
Beautifully renovated townhome available close to Schofield and Wheeler! This home has all new floors, renovated bathrooms with custom tile work, updated kitchen with butcher block countertops, a...
Open 5/22
91-1125 Kaileonui Street Ewa Beach, HI 96706
$880,000
Neighborhood: Ocean Pointe
3
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
1,288
Sq.Ft.
2003
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202203930
MLS
Talk about amazing yard space!!! Come enjoy your own personal oasis in the heart of Ocean Pointe! In addition to the stunning yard this 3 bed 2.5 bath single family home has a highly sought after...
$718,000
Condo: Mariners Place Townhomes 2
3
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
1,050
Sq.Ft.
2002
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202209384
MLS
WELCOME HOME! This is the home you have been waiting for! Highly desirable corner unit. Conveniently located closed to entrance and alongside shopping center. Be the first to live in this...
$1,200,000
Condo: Hawaiki Tower
2
Beds
2
Baths
1,039
Sq.Ft.
1999
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202208993
MLS
Must see! Amazing location and views! This 2 bedroom/2 bath/2 covered assigned parking has been very well-maintained. The low maintenance fees covers many amenities such as a gorgeous infinity pool,...
$975,000
Neighborhood: Makakilo-Lower
6
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
2,170
Sq.Ft.
1965
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202209410
MLS
PRICED TO SELL UNDER ASSESSED VALUE!!! The astute buyer will know how to unlock the potential in this property. This single family home in Lower Makakilo is a fixer upper with 6 bedrooms and 2.5...
1
Beds
1
Baths
664
Sq.Ft.
1979
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202209521
MLS
Newly renovated spacious 1 bedroom, 1 bath unit with over 600 sq. ft. of living area, and 1 covered parking stall. Secured entry and gated parking garage. Newly installed vinyl flooring, new kitchen...
2
Beds
2
Baths
1,892
Sq.Ft.
1990
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202209415
MLS
HUGE Penthouse-level unit at the luxurious Nauru Tower (almost 2,200sf total)! Incredible ocean, mountain, and sunset views. This unit features a vestibule, a large living room, dining area and...
Open 5/22
326 Lanipo Drive Kailua, HI 96734
$5,800,000
Neighborhood: Lanikai
5
Beds
4F11/2
Baths
5,012
Sq.Ft.
1948
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202208591
MLS
Ready to live the Hawai i dream? After a day of walking, running, frolicking and fishing on our fine white sand beaches and swimming in our warm and swimmer friendly turquoise sea, kayaking,...
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