The island has two large airports on opposite sides of the island. A shuttle flight on a discount carrier, such as go! (www.iflygo.com), will cost about $77 each way to either Hilo or Kona. Fly into Hilo, which is close to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (www.nps.gov/havo). Rent a car that can be dropped off at Kona airport (weekly rental will run about $440) and stay at a lodge located close to the park, such as Crater Rim Cabin (www.craterrimcabin.com), with rates of about $180 a night.
The national park has hiking trails ranging from easy to expert. Having a 14-month-old along, even if he’s in a backpack, will probably limit the family to day hikes. The Kilauea Iki Trail is a likely candidate: The four-mile loop starts in the rain forest on the crater’s rim and descends into the still-steaming crater floor. Trails and roads frequently close for eruptions, so stop at the Kilauea Visitors Center for information. The drive to the 14,000-foot summit of Mauna Kea is a top attraction, but children under age 16 are not advised to go past the visitors center at 9,300 feet (www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/vis).
After two or three days of staying near the park, head to the beach. Along the way to the Kona area, take a couple of hours to detour to South Point (Ka Lae), the southernmost point in the United States, and its green sand beach.
On the Kona-Kohala Coast, upscale resorts dominate many of the best beaches. The Luana Inn (www.luanainn.com) in Captain Cook, with rates ranging from $155 to $195 a night, offers ocean views and is within walking distance of Kealakekua Bay, which is rocky but offers great snorkeling. The family-friendly inn (the owners have a toddler and an infant) is also a short drive from two small sandy beaches. Nearby attractions include Hula Daddy Coffee Plantation (www.hula
daddy.com), which offers free tours, and Pu’uhonua o Honaunau (www.nps.gov/puho), a national historic park (a portion of the park remained closed after the tsunami, so check before visiting).
Take the shuttle flight from Kona back to Honolulu. Before heading home, spend a day and night exploring this more populated island’s beaches and historic attractions; for ideas, contact Hawaii Tourism (www.gohawaii.
com). Take the airport shuttle (www.robertshawaii.com) to Hotel Renew (www.hotelrenew.
com), a boutique hotel with rates of about $200 a night located just off Waikiki Beach near the Honolulu Zoo. The Bus (www.thebus.
org), Honolulu’s public bus system, has a stop two blocks from the hotel.
Total cost: Transport, including intra-Hawaii flights, car, gas and public transport, will cost about $860 and lodging will run about $1,600, leaving about $190 per day for food, sightseeing and incidentals.
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