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Hawaii vs Caribbean: Which Is the Best Choice for Your Next Family Vacation?

Hawaii vs Caribbean: Which Is the Best Choice for Your Next Family Vacation?

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Are you debating between a Hawaii or Caribbean vacation? Keep scrolling to find out everything you need to know about choosing a trip to Hawaii vs Caribbean with kids.
This comparison of Hawaii vs Caribbean was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

My family LOVES a good beach vacation. My kids are all about splashing around in a fantastic pool and sipping mocktails. Plus, we love to do kid-friendly adventures.

Both Hawaii and the Caribbean are popular family travel destinations. We’ve done both several times and I figured I’d try to help other families figure out which one might work best for them in this comparison post. Enjoy!

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    Exploring the Beauty of Hawaii

    When you visit Hawaii for a family vacation, you’re heading to one of the most amazing vacation destinations in the world!

    Each island in Hawaii has its own special features. Like, Oahu has the famous Waikiki Beach where you can surf, build sandcastles, and enjoy the sun. It’s also home to Pearl Harbor, a historic site where families can learn about American history.

    Image of Marcie Cheung of Marcie in Mommyland and her son at Waikiki Beach.
    Waikiki Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Hawaii. Photo credit: Natalie with Flytographer

    Hawaii isn’t just about beaches, though. There are active volcanoes you can visit on the Big Island. It’s super cool to see a real volcano at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park!

    Hawaiian culture is another big part of the trip. You can go to a luau, where you’ll see traditional Hawaiian dancing and try yummy local foods.

    Each island offers something special, from adventures in nature to relaxing beach days, making Hawaii a fantastic choice for families looking for a mix of fun and learning.

    The Caribbean’s Island Paradise

    Choosing between Hawaii and the Caribbean for your family vacation? Let’s talk about the Caribbean islands! These islands are like a paradise with their sunny, tropical climate.

    Each of the major islands, like the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, has its own unique vibe.

    The Caribbean is great for families who love beaches and water sports. You can go snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, try out fun water activities, and even go island hopping to explore different islands in one trip!

    Puerto-Rico-Travel-Tips-Featured-Image-960x720.jpg
    The beaches in the Caribbean have amazingly soft sand! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

    The beaches here are super beautiful with soft sand and warm water, perfect for building sandcastles or just chilling.

    What’s really cool about the Caribbean is the mix of different cultures and yummy foods. Each island has its own history and traditions, which means you can try all kinds of new dishes and learn about different ways of life.

    So, if your family loves exploring new places and trying new things, the Caribbean could be an awesome choice!

    Where to Stay in Hawaii and the Caribbean Islands

    When planning a tropical vacation, choosing where to stay is a big part of the fun, especially when deciding between Hawaii and the Caribbean for your family vacations. Both places have amazing options, but they’re a bit different.

    Hawaii Accommodations

    In Hawaii, you’ll find lots of resorts and vacation rentals. Resorts in Hawaii often have pools, restaurants, and sometimes even kids’ clubs with fun activities.

    We love resorts like the Fairmont Orchid where you can eat shave ice by the pool! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

    Vacation rentals, like houses or condos, are great if you want a home-like feel. You can cook your meals and have more space, which is nice for families.

    Some of our favorite kid-friendly Hawaii resorts include the Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island, Andaz Maui, Disney Aulani Resort on Oahu, and Koloa Landing Resort on Kauai.

    Caribbean Accommodations

    Now, over in the Caribbean, they’re famous for their family-friendly resorts. This means your stay includes food, drinks, and sometimes even certain activities. It’s super convenient because you don’t have to worry about planning meals or finding places to eat.

    Find out the best kid-friendly Caribbean resorts for families recommended by top family travel blog Marcie in Mommyland. Image of a boy in a cabana in the Caribbean.
    My kids love that cabana life! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

    The Caribbean also has villas, which are like fancy houses you can rent. They’re great if you want privacy and luxury.

    Some awesome kid-friendly Caribbean resorts include the Caribe Hilton, Beaches Turks & Caicos, and The Reef at Atlantis.

    So, whether you pick Hawaii or the Caribbean, you have choices like fun resorts with lots of activities or cozy places where you can relax and feel at home. Both are awesome in their own way for a family tropical vacation!

    Ease of Travel

    When picking your next family vacation, whether to go to Hawaii or the Caribbean, think about where you’re traveling from.

    If you’re on the West Coast, Hawaii might be easier to get to since it’s in the Pacific Ocean. Lots of places there have direct flights to the Hawaiian Islands. Traveling within Hawaii is pretty easy too, with flights that take you between the islands.

    But if you’re on the East Coast, the Caribbean could be more convenient. The Caribbean Sea is closer, and there are often direct flights to different Caribbean islands.

    Puerto-Rico-Island-Hopping-Featured-Image-960x720.jpeg
    It’s pretty easy to island hop in the Caribbean. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

    Once you’re in the Caribbean, getting around can vary. Some islands are easy to explore with buses and taxis, and on some, you can hop on a short flight or a boat to visit other nearby islands.

    So, your choice might depend on where you live. Direct flights make travel a lot simpler, and being closer to either Hawaii or the Caribbean can make your vacation start faster!

    Budget Considerations

    When thinking about Hawaii vs the Caribbean for your family’s dream vacation, one of the key differences to consider is the cost.

    Both places have many islands to explore, but how much you’ll spend can vary a lot. I suggest not island hopping if you’re trying to save money.

    Hawaii offers stunning views and lots of fun activities, but it’s often a bit more expensive. Things like food, places to stay, and activities can add up. But you can save money by staying in vacation rentals and cooking some meals.

    We love taking the Waikiki Trolley on Oahu. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

    Rental cars can be pricey, so using public transport or walking can help save bucks. You don’t even need to rent a car if you’re staying in Waikiki.

    In the Caribbean, you might find it’s a bit cheaper, especially with all-inclusive resorts where your stay includes food and some activities. This can be a really good deal for families.

    Also, in some Caribbean places, you can choose smaller, local hotels which can be less costly.

    So, whether you pick Hawaii or the Caribbean, there are ways to save money. Look for deals, think about what kind of place you want to stay in, and plan ahead. Both destinations can be amazing for a family vacation without breaking the bank!

    Seasonal Considerations

    When you’re choosing between Hawaii and the Caribbean for your family vacation, it’s important to think about the seasons. Both places have their own weather patterns and tourist seasons.

    In Hawaii, there isn’t really a hurricane season, but they do have a rainy season from November to March. Don’t worry, though, it’s usually just short showers and you can still see cool things like sea turtles!

    The high season, when lots of tourists visit, is during the winter and summer. But the shoulder season, which is April to June and September to mid-December, can be a great time to go because there are fewer tourists and the weather is still nice.

    Image of two boys with a Christmas display at a Caribbean resort
    Winter Break is a great time to visit the Caribbean. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

    The Caribbean has a hurricane season from June to November. So, the best time to visit is usually from December to April, which is the high season.

    But, like Hawaii, the shoulder season can be a good choice. You’ll find fewer tourists and lower prices. The low season is during the hurricane season, but some people still visit because it’s much cheaper.

    So, whether you pick Hawaii or the Caribbean, think about what time of year works best for your family. You can have a fantastic time in both places, just remember to check the seasons!

    Safety and Health Considerations

    When thinking about Caribbean vs Hawaii for your family vacation, it’s important to consider safety and health. Both places are generally safe for families, but like any vacation spot, it’s good to be careful, especially if you’re going scuba diving or exploring.

    In Hawaii, the main thing is to respect the ocean and nature. Always follow signs and warnings, especially near the water.

    For the Caribbean, besides being careful like in Hawaii, there are a couple of extra health things to think about. Before going to some other Caribbean islands, you might need certain vaccinations, so it’s a good idea to check with a doctor before your trip.

    Remember, a little planning and being aware can help make sure your vacation is fun and safe!

    Hawaii vs Caribbean FAQs

    How long does it take to get to Hawaii vs Caribbean from the West Coast?

    From the West Coast, like California, it usually takes about 5-6 hours to fly to Hawaii. But to get to the Caribbean, it takes longer, around 8-10 hours, because it’s farther away.

    How long does it take to get to Hawaii vs Caribbean from the East Coast?

    From the East Coast, like New York, it’s the opposite. Flying to the Caribbean takes about 3-5 hours, which is shorter. But to get to Hawaii, it’s a longer trip, usually around 10-12 hours.

    What’s the difference between the U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands?

    The U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands are neighbors in the Caribbean, but they’re different. The U.S. Virgin Islands are a part of the United States, so they use the U.S. dollar and English is the main language. The British Virgin Islands are a British territory, so they’re more influenced by British culture.

    What are the most popular Caribbean islands?

    Some of the most popular Caribbean islands are the Bahamas, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. They’re known for beautiful beaches and fun vacation spots.

    What are the main islands in Hawaii?

    The main islands in Hawaii are Oahu, Maui, the Big Island (which is actually called Hawaii), Kauai, Molokai, and Lanai. Each one has its own unique things to see and do.

    Which has more lush rainforests: Hawaii or the Caribbean?

    Both Hawaii and the Caribbean have lush rainforests, but Hawaii is known for having more diverse and extensive rainforests. Hawaii’s islands have lots of different climates, so the rainforests there are really special and full of unique plants and wildlife.

    Making the Decision Between the Hawaiian Islands and the Caribbean Islands

    Deciding between Hawaii and the Caribbean for your family’s Spring Break vacation? Both have their own cool things to offer!

    Hawaii is known for its vibrant marine life, which is awesome for snorkeling and seeing colorful fish. The beaches in Hawaii are beautiful, but some people think the Caribbean has better beaches because they’re often wider and have super soft sand.

    Hawaii is great for families who love nature and adventure. You can hike, explore volcanoes, and learn about Hawaiian culture. On the other hand, the Caribbean is perfect if you’re looking for relaxing beach time and maybe some scuba diving.

    Both places are fantastic, so it really depends on what your family likes to do.

    Do you want more adventure and nature? Then Hawaii might be the best choice. If you’re dreaming of chilling on amazing beaches and swimming in crystal clear water, then the Caribbean could be better.

    Think about what kind of vacation your family will enjoy the most. That’s the best way to decide between these two awesome places!

    Looking for more Hawaii or Caribbean content? Check out 11 Best Family Resorts in the Caribbean Worth Booking, 10 Best Puerto Rico Resorts for Families, and Hawaii vs Puerto Rico: Which is Right for Your Next Family Vacation?

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