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How to Visit Hawaii with a Baby: Pro Tips from a Real Mom

How to Visit Hawaii with a Baby: Pro Tips from a Real Mom

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Are you visiting Hawaii with a baby for the first time? Check out these amazing Hawaii tips for parents that will save you stress!
This list of tips for visiting Hawaii with a baby 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.

I have personally visited Hawaii many times when my kids were babies. That’s because my mom lives on Kauai and she wanted to see her grandbabies frequently.

I’ve handled the (sometimes challenging) plane rides, figured out which activities are fun with babies (and which SUCK) and the best way to limit the stress.

Keep scrolling for my top tips about visiting Hawaii with a baby so you can plan your perfect Hawaiian vacation! If your child will be 2 years old or 3 years old, read my post about Hawaii with toddlers instead.

5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Hawaii with a Baby

You Don’t Have to Consider School Schedules

One of the best parts about traveling with a baby is that you don’t have to plan around school schedules.

This means you can visit Hawaii during off-peak times, which can be less crowded and sometimes cheaper. You have the freedom to choose the best time to visit Hawaii that works best for you without worrying about school calendars.

Lap Babies are FREE

If your little one is under 2 years old, they can fly as a lap baby for free on most airlines. This can save a lot of money, especially on longer flights like those to Hawaii.

Just remember, though, having your baby in their own seat with a child safety seat can be more comfortable for them and you during a long flight.

Many Hawaii Activities are Free for Babies

A lot of activities in Hawaii don’t charge for babies. Whether it’s visiting kid-friendly beaches, walking through lush gardens, or attending a luau, your baby can often join for free. This makes exploring the islands with your little one both fun and budget-friendly.

Hawaii is Baby-Friendly

Hawaii is known for its welcoming spirit and that extends to its youngest visitors too. You’ll find many facilities and accommodations are baby-friendly, with amenities like changing stations and high chairs readily available in most places.

Babies are Super Portable

Babies are relatively easy to travel with since they are portable. You can easily explore the islands with your little one in a baby carrier. This means you can walk along the beach, visit markets, and even go for gentle hikes with your baby snugly and safely attached to you.

Da Kine Prom backpack
I usually fly with a backpack carry on and a Tula baby carrier. Photo credit: Julie Wirtz

Tips for Flying to Hawaii with a Baby

Choose a Direct Flight When Possible

If you’re flying from the West Coast to Hawaii, try to book a direct flight. This helps avoid the extra stress of a layover in Honolulu and an additional inter-island flight.

Waiting on the plane, especially during takeoff, can be tough with a fussy baby, so a direct flight can help reduce this time.

Deciding on a Car Seat

It’s up to you whether to use a car seat on the plane. If you’ve bought a seat for your baby, placing them in a car seat can be handy. Just check that your car seat is FAA-approved and understand your rights with the airline.

How About Checking Your Car Seat?

If you’re not using the car seat on the plane, you can check it for free. Consider using a car seat bag for extra protection. You can check it either at the ticket desk or at the gate – we prefer the ticket desk to avoid carrying it around the airport.

Do You Need a Stroller in Hawaii?

Whether you need a stroller in Hawaii depends on your plans. It’s useful in places like Waikiki or resorts with nearby amenities and paved paths. However, if you’ll be at the beach most of the time or prefer babywearing, you might not need it.

Image of Marcie Cheung and her son in a stroller on Kauai.
It can be really handy to have a stroller in Hawaii. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Checking Your Stroller?

You can check your stroller as luggage for free. Gate-checking is convenient as you can use it in the airport. Just ensure no loose items are left in the stroller.

Packing Your Carry-On Bag

A backpack is ideal as a carry-on when traveling with a baby. Make sure you have anything you need for breastfeeding on the plane.

Pack essentials like bottles, a nursing cover, baby snacks, quiet toys, indestructible books, extra clothing, bibs or burp cloths, wipes and diapers, and any comfort items like a pacifier or lovey.

Keep these handy for easy access during the flight.

Renting a Car in Hawaii with a Baby

If you’re visiting Oahu, Kauai, Maui, or the Big Island and staying outside of Waikiki, renting a car is a good idea. It’s the most convenient way to travel around these islands.

In Hawaii, the law says all babies must use a car seat. You can find out more about Hawaii’s baby car seat laws online.

Bringing your own car seat is usually the best choice. Your baby is already used to their seat, and you know it fits them properly. We’ve had experiences where rented car seats in Hawaii were either dirty or didn’t fit our toddler right. So, now we always bring our own.

The only time it might make sense to rent a car seat in Hawaii is if you’re traveling alone with your baby. It can be a lot to carry by yourself, along with your baby.

Image of Marcie Cheung and her son on a beach in Hawaii. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung of Marcie in Mommyland
Hawaii is one of my favorite places to visit with babies! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Resort vs. Hotel vs. Vacation Rental

Deciding on accommodations in Hawaii with a baby can be tricky. You’ve got plenty of choices, but remember, where you stay is a big part of your Hawaii budget.

If your baby needs naps during the day or sleeps early, consider a place that’s more comfortable. Look for accommodations with a nice lanai, a separate area for your baby to sleep, and easy stroller access.

Here are my top kid-friendly places to stay on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.

Best Hawaii Resorts for a Baby

Deciding to stay at a resort with a baby under 3 years old depends on what you’re looking for. Most resort activities aren’t designed for babies. However, resorts often have great dining options, room service, amazing pools, and sometimes even luaus, which are very convenient.

Top resorts for babies in Hawaii include Oahu’s Hilton Hawaiian Village, Grand Hyatt Kauai, and Grand Wailea on Maui.

Best Hawaii Hotels for Babies

Hotels are another option. They range from budget-friendly to luxurious. The main difference between a hotel and a resort is that hotels usually just have a room a pool area, and maybe a bar, but often no full restaurant or extra amenities.

Great hotel choices for babies are Embassy Suites in Waikiki on Oahu, Maui Coast Hotel, and Aston Islander on the Beach on Kauai.

Airbnb or VRBO?

For families with kids, vacation rentals like condos or houses can be a good choice. They usually have a full kitchen for preparing baby food or storing breastmilk and separate bedrooms so you can put your baby to sleep early while you relax in the living room or lanai.

Parking is often free at vacation rentals, which is a plus. We’ve had okay experiences with both Airbnb and VRBO in Hawaii, but we tend to prefer VRBO.

Image of a baby in a stroller in Hawaii. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung of Marcie in Mommyland
If you don’t bring a stroller, you can always rent one. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Hawaii Baby Rentals for Gear

Traveling with babies sometimes feels like you’re packing up your entire house. That’s why it can be smart to rent certain items when you get to Hawaii. I mean things like strollers, cribs, high chairs, toys, etc.

Places to Rent Baby Gear in Hawaii

Oahu Baby Rentals

Maui Baby Rentals

Kauai Baby Rentals

Big Island Baby Rentals

Find out the top 25 things to do on Maui with kids by a mom who's visited more than 10 times! Image of two boys wearing Aloha shirts sitting on a beach in Maui Hawaii.
There are TONS of cool things to do in Hawaii with babies and toddlers. Photo credit: Marie with Flytographer

Fun Things to Do in Hawaii with a Baby

Wondering what to do on a Hawaii vacation with your baby? Each island in Hawaii has lots of baby-friendly activities, making any of them a great choice for families.

Oahu with a Baby

Oahu is awesome for babies! It’s full of activities and has the best shopping in Hawaii. It’s perfect for families who want to explore and see famous Hawaiian spots.

Things to do in Oahu with a Baby

  • Play at Ko Olina Lagoons: These calm coves are great for babies to play in the water.
  • Visit Dole Plantation: Enjoy a train ride, a pineapple maze, and yummy Dole Whip.
  • Baby-Friendly Hiking: There are many easy hikes in Oahu, perfect for carrying your baby in a carrier.
  • Kualoa Ranch: They offer a gentle movie tour perfect for babies.
  • Waikiki Beach: It’s calm and great for little ones.

Maui with a Baby

Maui is relaxed and perfect for beach days and pool time at a kid-friendly resort. It’s ideal for a mix of relaxation and day trips.

Things to do in Maui Hawaii with a Baby

  • Maui Ocean Center: Check out cool aquarium exhibits and cultural activities.
  • Road to Hana: Great for car-napping babies with lots of fun stops.
  • I’ao Needle: A simple hike that’s easy with a baby.
  • Sunrise at Haleakala: If your baby’s an early riser, this is a must-see.
  • Submarine Tour: A dry, underwater adventure that’s baby-friendly.

Kauai with a Baby

Kauai is super chill, perfect for beach time and half-day adventures. It’s great for families who love good food and beautiful beaches.

Things to do on Kauai Hawaii with a Baby

  • Kilohana Plantation Train Ride: Fun farm train ride where babies can feed animals.
  • Kamalani Playground: Has baby swings and a great playground for older kids.
  • Kauai Bike Path: Ideal for a stroll or bike ride with a baby trailer.
  • Poipu Beach Park: A sunny beach with calm water.
  • Kauai Food Tour: Great for trying new foods, with big portions to share.

Big Island with a Baby

The Big Island is perfect for a laid-back, slightly off-the-grid Hawaiian vacation.

Things to do in Big Island Hawaii with a Baby

  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Ask for baby-friendly hike suggestions.
  • Coffee Tasting: For the parents to enjoy famous Kona Coffee.
  • Kona Farmers Market: Taste local fruits and grab some baked goods.
  • Kamakahonu Beach: Calm beach ideal for kids.
  • Akaka Falls: Easy-to-reach, stunning waterfall perfect for families.

Is it Worth Going to a Luau with a Baby?

A big question for parents traveling to Hawaii is if it’s worth going to a luau with a baby. Luau tickets can be expensive, so it’s hard to decide if you should go.

It really depends on how your baby acts. My kids loved luaus as babies because they were so into the dancing and music. But, they usually fell asleep halfway through! We’d just put them in a carrier or a stroller for the rest of the night.

If you’re unsure, you could skip the luau and watch a free hula show at a shopping mall instead.

Check out these top luaus on Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island that are great for kids!

Easy Things to do in Hawaii with a Baby

Traveling to Hawaii with a baby is great because you don’t need special activities just for them. Babies are allowed in most places, like tours and boat rides, so you can really take them anywhere.

Plus, they’re easy to carry around, so you can go hiking or take turns snorkeling while one of you watches the baby.

It’s a good idea for parents to take short breaks without the baby, like grabbing a coffee or chilling by the pool.

Here are some cool activities to do in Hawaii with a baby:

Beach Day

Check out the best kid-friendly beaches. Anini Beach or Poipu Beach on Kauai are great picks. Or Waikiki Beach on Oahu.

Image of a baby on a beach towel on a beach in Hawaii. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung of Marcie in Mommyland
There are several calm beaches in Hawaii perfect for babies. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Bring along some sand toys or inflatables for more fun. Find out my top beach must-haves for babies.

Shave Ice

Older babies will love this sweet Hawaiian treat. Each island has its own favorite shave ice spots. We love Ululani’s Shave Ice on Maui or Wishing Well Shave Ice on Kauai.

Pool Time

Enjoy the pool at your hotel or resort. I highly recommend bringing a baby pool floatie with you.

Stroll Around

Hawaii has many paved paths perfect for stroller walks. There’s a great one in Wailea on Maui.


Hawaii has cute baby boutiques with Hawaiian clothes, toys, stuffed animals, and children’s books.

Hawaii Baby Stores

If you end up forgetting to pack some baby items (or you lose your last pacifier), there are plenty of places to get Hawaii baby gear, clothing, diapers, etc.

Whether you’re looking for baby stores in Honolulu, Kahului, Kona, or Poipu, we have you covered!

  • Oahu Baby Stores: Baby Emporium, Hopscotch, Mila’s Closet, Carter’s, Nordstrom, TJ Maxx, Ross Dress for Less, Nordstrom Rack, Marshall’s, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Target, and Walmart.
  • Maui Baby Stores: Droplets, Sea La Vie, Nuage Bleu, Maui Toy Works, Carter’s, TJ Maxx, Ross Dress for Less, Macy’s, Target, and Walmart.
  • Kauai Baby Stores: Kokonut Kids, Ivy & Co., Walmart, Ross Dress for Less, Macy’s, SoHa Living, and Target (coming soon.)
  • Big Island Baby Stores: Crib, Macy’s, Ross Dress for Less, TJ Maxx, Target, and Walmart.
Image of Marcie Cheung and her baby at a restaurant in Hawaii. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung of Marcie in Mommyland
It’s up to you if you want to eat at a restaurant with your baby. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Creating a Baby-Friendly Hawaii Itinerary

Planning a trip to Hawaii with a baby can be overwhelming because there’s so much to do. But, if you plan too much, you might end up with a fussy baby and stressed-out parents.

Here’s how to make a good Hawaii schedule that works for everyone:

Breakfast Time

If your baby isn’t eating solid foods yet, breakfast is a great time to eat out. It’s less stressful, and you can enjoy delicious Hawaiian breakfasts and coffee.

Morning Adventures

Babies are usually happier in the morning, so it’s a great time for a little outing or a half-day tour.

One Activity a Day

Only schedule one big activity each day, and do these earlier in your trip in case of weather changes.

Lunch Plans

Have a picnic on the beach or find a restaurant with outdoor seating. Lunch is often cheaper than dinner.

Nap Time

Decide if you’ll return to your room for naps or let your baby nap in the car.

Flexible Afternoon

Keep afternoons unscheduled for unexpected baby needs or relaxing pool time.

Dinner Options

Dining out is fun if your baby is in a good mood. Otherwise, takeout on the lanai is a great choice.

Bed Time

If you’re in a rental, put the baby to bed early and enjoy some kid-free time on the lanai. In a hotel, you might all go to bed at the same time.

This way, you can enjoy Hawaii without feeling rushed or stressed.

What About the Time Difference in Hawaii?

When traveling to Hawaii with a baby, many parents wonder how their little one will handle the time change.

Hawaii is a few hours behind most of the US, depending on where you’re coming from. And they don’t do Daylight Savings Time. This means it’s 2-3 hours behind the West Coast, 3-4 hours behind Mountain Time, 4-5 hours behind the Mid-West, and 5-6 hours behind the East Coast.

Surprisingly, babies often adjust to the new time zone faster than adults. But, they might wake up early, especially if they sleep a lot on the flight. They may not sleep as well on the first night in Hawaii.

One strategy is to try staying up later for the first few nights to help adjust. However, you’ll likely find yourself waking up early. That’s why going out for breakfast can be more enjoyable than dinner.

Plus, getting to the beach early means you can avoid the crowds!

Hawaii Vacation Photography

Getting professional photos taken is one of the best ways to remember your Hawaii trip. This means you don’t have to worry about snapping the perfect shots yourself while on vacation.

These photos are great for family Christmas cards, and they’re lovely to print and display at home, keeping the memories of your trip alive.

Check out the best family resorts in Maui Hawaii recommended by top family travel blog Marcie in Mommyland. Image of Marcie Cheung and her family on Maui.
Photo credit: Marie with Flytographer

Especially when traveling with a baby, professional photos are a fantastic idea. Babies grow so fast, and capturing their changes and growth during your trip can be priceless.

In Hawaii, there are many skilled photographers you can hire. We often choose Flytographer because they make it easy to find an affordable and available photographer for our trip dates. You’ll love having these beautiful photos from your Hawaii vacation!

Check out our photo shoots from Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island!

Book a Family Photo Shoot

Whenever we travel, we almost always book a family photo shoot with Flytographer. They are super easy, affordable, AND guarantee that I’ll be in some photos. You can get $25 off if you book through this link or use the code HAWAIITRAVEL.

Baby Hawaii Packing List

Getting ready for a Hawaii trip with a baby? It’s time to make your packing list. Start a few weeks ahead so you can shop for anything you’re missing. And double-check that baby clothes and shoes still fit – babies grow so fast!

This list focuses on baby essentials, not everything you’ll need for Hawaii.

What to Pack to Hawaii with Baby

  • Diapers and Wipes: Pack enough, especially if you prefer specific brands.
  • Baby Food Pouches: These are cheaper to buy at home than in Hawaii.
  • Medications/Ointments: Bring baby Tylenol, diaper rash ointment, and similar items for emergencies.
  • Swim Diapers: Essential for hotel pools. Choose between disposable or cloth.
  • SPF Rash Guards and Swimsuits: Bring a few for swimming days.
  • Sun Hat: Protect your baby’s face from the strong Hawaiian sun.
  • Reef-Safe Sunscreen: Only for babies over 6 months. Bring your preferred brand.
  • Clothes: Lightweight shorts, shirts, dresses, and lots of onesies.

Things to Buy in Hawaii

  • Sand Toys: Easy to find and inexpensive in Hawaii.
  • Pool Floaties: Available at most stores in Hawaii.
  • Hawaiian Clothing: Cute for luaus and photo shoots.
  • Board Books: Hawaiian-themed books are great for bedtime stories.

Things That Are Nice, But Not Essential

  • Sun Tent: Good for long outdoor stays.
  • Sand-Free Beach Mat: Keeps your car sand-free.
  • Travel Towels: Handy for waterfall hikes or beach trips.
  • Portable High Chair: Useful for long meal times.

Remember, if you’re staying in a place with laundry facilities, you don’t need to pack as many clothes. And always check your baby’s size before packing to avoid bringing clothes they’ve outgrown.

Hawaii with a Baby FAQs

What’s the best Hawaiian island to visit with a baby?

Oahu is great for visiting with a baby because it has lots of family-friendly activities and attractions, plus excellent shopping options. But you can visit any island in Hawaii with a baby and have an epic time.

Do you need to bring a birth certificate to fly to Hawaii with a baby?

You don’t need to bring a birth certificate to fly to Hawaii with a baby if you’re flying domestically within the United States.

What’s the best sun protection for babies?

The best sun protection for babies includes wearing SPF rash guards, sun hats, using reef-safe sunscreen (for babies over 6 months), and staying in the shade during the hottest parts of the day.

Hawaii Family Vacation with a Baby Wrap-Up

I hope my post helps you plan your dream Hawaii vacation with a baby. It’s such a unique stage and there are plenty of ways to have a relaxing vacation even while taking care of your little one.

Love this post about traveling to Hawaii with a baby? Learn how to plan a trip to Hawaii, how to book affordable Hawaii family photos, do you need Hawaii travel insurance, how to visit Hawaii with toddlers, and the best Hawaiian island for kids!

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