Tips on Planning a Family Diving Vacation To Hawaii and the Top Dive Sites
By Tom Beck
When choosing a diving vacation destination, it is important to find a location that has dive sites to suit every member of your family, whether they are beginner or advanced level divers.
Additionally, it is important to find a location, which is as epic on land as it is under the water.
So, why wouldn’t you choose Hawaii?
My family includes my wife Kat, my daughter Maja and son Carl. We all took a spectacular diving holiday to Hawaii recently and it was so amazing that it would be sacrilege not to share our incredible experiences.
All of us are advanced divers, with my wife and I have a lot more experience than Maja and Carl, however, we have thrill-seeking kids (unsurprisingly) so there are no limits for us.
Low Season Visit
We went to Hawaii throughout the low season that falls from April through to mid-June and September through to mid-December. We were there in April and can say that this really is the best time to visit Hawaii.
From a cost point of view, as it is the low season all prices are lower than in peak season.
From a scuba diver’s perspective, the water is calmer than any other time of the year, the weather is fantastic and finally, visibility in the water is excellent. An important thing to remember if you’re traveling to Hawaii around this time is that throughout Easter week and Thanksgiving Week, prices soar, hotels and dive sites are often crowded, so avoiding this time is worthwhile.
Hawaii really is a dream destination for most families. With its phenomenal white sandy beaches, thick jungles, snow-topped mountains, and volcanoes, all waiting to be explored; it really is a perfect family destination.
As soon as we landed, we knew we couldn’t dive at least for 24 hours, so decided to leave our luggage at the hotel and find the perfect dive center that we could use to travel to all the top dive sites around the islands.
Top Dive Sites To Visit Include:
This dive site is around the Big Island and features lava arches with a short swim through and a huge variety of marine life. Maja really wanted to see Dolphins and swim with them, and this dive site definitely did not disappoint.
This dive site is about 40 mins by boat from the island of Maui. It is a protected crater and consists of a world-class wall dive. It was such a magical dive that goes down to around 85m. Our insurance would only allow us as a family to travel down to 30m but the views are just spectacular, creating memories that we will never forget.
Black Rock Point is in Maui and is another top dive site, however, we visited this site on our last day, so couldn’t scuba dive as we were flying later on in the evening, however, we did snorkel and it was epic.
The colors and sheer face is just awe-inspiring, so I’m pleased we didn’t miss it before flying back home.
Black Rock is also considered one of the best shore dives found throughout the United States, so make sure you don’t miss the chance to visit it.
Kailua-Kona is one of the reasons why we went to Hawaii, as I had read online that this was the place where the magic happens. In fact, this was my very first-night dive. Located three miles offshore, is the ‘Black Water’ dive site. This is a thrill seekers paradise.
You’re tethered to the boat to prevent yourself from floating away in the dark water, however, it is not dark at all. Marine life with bioluminescence gathers around you and creates this spectacular light show.
The only word to describe this experience is ‘WOW’ and you can imagine the look on Carl’s face for the rest of the trip–priceless!
Originally, we were planning to set sail on a liveaboard trip around Hawaii, which seems like the most obvious way of visiting these fascinating islands and dive sites, but our timing, unfortunately, didn’t match.
There is one great liveaboard option available, the Kona Aggressor II. However, there is so much to see on and around each island that staying on land is usually the better option.
Where To Stay In Hawaii
There are so many incredible resorts found on the islands of Hawaii, but we stayed on the Big Island. If you’re hoping to island hop, this is possible using boats that ferry from one island to the next.
It’s really easy and they go at regular intervals. If you’re looking for more budget accommodation, it is definitely worth looking into Airbnb options as well as apartment rentals, bed and breakfasts, hostels and budget hotels.
Best Times To Visit
You can pretty much visit Hawaii all year round. However, Peak Season is from December to March.
During Christmas and New Years this place becomes ‘bank account breakingly expensive’ so watch out for this.
Surf is usually at its highest meaning that some dive sites become unavailable. However, this is usually the best time to get up close and personal with whales.
Low Season is when we visited Hawaii and is (in my opinion) the best time to visit. Summer Season is mid-June to August and is the time schools break up in the US, so the islands are usually inundated with families and prices increase as well.
Hawaii really is the perfect location for a family scuba diving vacation. Anyone who has kids will know that planning a family trip (let alone a diving vacation) is not an easy feat, but due to the sheer variety of activities that Hawaii has to offer, you’ll never fall short of things to do and places to see.
There is always something for every member of your family.
Find very useful Hawaii diving maps at Franco’s site, Dive Hawaii.
Tom Beck is a family man, traveler and a diver from Michigan. He and his family are in constant search for new great destinations and adventures. With a special interest in family and water destinations, he’s traveled around the world a few times, all from Europe, New Zealand & Australia, Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
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