08/09/2011 11:37 am ET | Updated Oct 09, 2011

Family Vacations In Hawaii: A Huffington Post Travel Guide

Family vacations in Hawaii can be rewarding experiences or absolute disasters -- it all depends on the pretrip homework. To make planning easier, we've done all the preparation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on traveling with children, here are recommended attractions for those planning Hawaii family vacations.

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach is a half-mile long, white sandy beach that offers excellent snorkeling and paddle boarding when the ocean is calm. When the surf is up, you can try boogie boarding or bodysurfing in the crystal clear water. Lifeguards are often on duty at this sunny beach, and you will find showers, restrooms and picnic tables conveniently located next to the beach.

Address: Hapuna Beach Rd., Kamuela, HI 96743
Phone: 808-587-0300
Hours: Open daily
Price: Free admission

Maui Ocean Center

The Maui Ocean Center features over 60 indoor and outdoor exhibits that will teach you all about the unique ocean environment found around the Hawaiian islands. The ocean center also has a special Hawaiian history exhibit where you can learn more about the Native Hawaiian's relationship with the ocean, navigation information and fishing techniques.

Address: 192 Ma‘alaea Rd., Wailuku, HI 96793
Phone: 808-270-7000
Hours: Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and open until 6 p.m. during July and August
Price: Adults, $22.95; children, $16.65; seniors, $20.25

Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor Center

After driving several miles through the scenic Mauna Loa macadamia nut farm, you will have the opportunity to take a self-guided walking tour of the Mauna Loa factory. You will see workers carefully sorting macadamia nuts, machines dipping the nuts in chocolate and nuts being sprayed with honey or Maui onion. After the factory tour, you can visit the Mauna Loa gift shop and eat freshly baked macadamia nut cookies.

Address: 16-701 Macadamia Rd., Keaau, HI 96749
Phone: 808-966-8618
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday
Price: Free admission

Whale Watching at McGregor Point

The whale watching season in Hawaii spans only from December to April each year. Whales come all the way from Alaska to give birth in Hawaii's warm, shallow waters. You can frequently spot them from McGregor Point without bothering mother or calf during the breeding season.

Address: Honoapiilani Hwy., Kihei, 96761
Phone: N/A
Hours: Whale watching is December through April daily
Price: Free admission

Bishop Museum

The Bishop Museum has many revolving exhibits, but they are known for their extensive collection of Native Hawaiian artifacts, information about Hawaiian lore and daily life. The museum also features the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame and a science center that has displays on volcanology and oceanography.

Address: 1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI, 96817
Phone: 808-847-3511
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Monday
Price: Adults, $17.95; children over 4, $14.95; children under 3, free; seniors, $14.95

Imiloa Astronomy Center

The Imiloa Astronomy Center features a planetarium with multiple shows and guided tours through the entire astronomy center. With a number of interactive displays that blend modern astronomy with Native Hawaiian history and lore, the planetarium is a must-see attraction for all family vacations in Hawaii.

Address: 600 Imiloa Pl.. Hilo, HI 96720
Phone: 808-969-9700
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday
Price: Adults, $17.50; children under 4, Free; children 12 and under, $9.50; Seniors, $15.50

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the only place in Hawaii where you can visit an active erupting volcano. You can hike on the Kilauea Iki trail that takes you through a lush rainforest at the summit of the Kilauea Volcano. Just a short walk from the trail, you can visit the Thurston lava tube, tour the Jaggar Museum and visit the park rangers at the visitor's center.

Address: Hawaii Belt Rd., Volcano, HI 96778
Phone: 808-985-6000 ‎
Hours: Open all year
Price: Car, $10; pedestrians $5