• Cassie Valley, Big Island Realtor

Top 5 Things to Do In Hamakua with Kids

If you're traveling to the Big Island or looking to beat 'island-fever" and see a different part of the island, well the Hamakua Coast is a great place to live and visit with kids. Here are my top 5 "must do's" with kids on the Hamakua Coast.


1. Waipio Valley is the second-most visited area on the Big Island, and for good reason. The scenery and magnitude of the Valley will take your breath away, however, to access this stunning and historical gem, can take some work. Waipio is about a ten-minute drive outside of Honokaa town. It is the last of seven valleys on the Big Island and was once one home to thousands of native Hawaiians. Upon parking at Waipio, there is a viewing area, which alone can be worth the trip. However, for the more adventurous, you can drive or walk down to the valley. Driving requires 4-wheel drive and some confidence, as the road to the valley is not for the faint of heart. You can also book a tour into the valley on ATVs, a van, or horseback, however, my preferred way to access the valley is hiking down. This also can be a challenge, as it is not an easy walk. Depending on your children's age and gumption, it takes about 40 minutes to walk down and about 50+ to walk back up. Once in the valley, you will find yourself immersed in "Old Hawaii". There are wild horses that still make appearances in the valley and the sheer grandiose of the place is truly breathtaking.

2. Kukuihaele Park: This park is just outside of Waipio Valley. There is a large shaded pavilion with picnic tables, a vast grassy area for playing sports, a play-set, a basketball court, and paved walkways that are great for roller-skating or biking. This park is a favorite of mine as there are clean bathrooms, it is never too busy, and the incredible view of Waipio Valley serves as your backdrop.

3. Honokaa Movie Theater. The Honokaa's People Theater was constructed in 1930 as Honokaa was the recreational and commercial area for all of the plantation workers. Today the theater holds all of its original charms. The majority of the movies are 3 months or so outdated from their premier, however, it only costs $6 for adults and $3 for kids and the concessions won't cost you an arm and a leg. The theater also is a venue for concerts, dances, and is home to a variety of events. Make sure to check the website for the schedule, as it can vary. http://honokaapeople.com/

4. Kalopa State Park. Kalopa State Park and Recreation Area is a true gem, just 6 miles up mauka (up the mountain) from Honokaa town. It is a 100- acre park established in the 1960s to preserve the native forest lands. If you and your children have some extra energy to burn, Kalopa has an extensive trail system ranging from .7 natural trail miles to a 6-mile loop of the forest reserve. If you are interested in learning about the native plant culture in Hawaii, the majority of the trees, shrubs, and ferns in the park are native, either endemic or indigenous. As for the bird lover in you, native birds are abundant, such as the 'elepaio and 'io (native Hawaiian hawk) There are cabins and campgrounds you can rent, and it is a fantastic place for a picnic. For more information, https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/hawaii/kalopa-state-recreation-area/

5. Hamakua Farmer's Market: If you happen to be in Hamakua on a Sunday, you should visit the Hamakua Farmer's Market. Located just outside of Honokaaa town, the market is always a good time. From local produce vendors to food trucks, to educational workshops and farming demonstrations, and live music, it is a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon.

For more information on living on the Hamakua Coast, reference my neighborhood guide here.

Still have questions about family-fun things to do in the Hamakua area?

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