On our visit to the Big Island of Hawaii we stayed at Halii Kai at Waikaloa which is more of a vacation rental with separate bedrooms, living space, and kitchen. Kitchen of course is convenient for cooking and families. Their Ocean club area has a pool and hot tub that overlooks the ocean.
Of course the top most visited location on the Island is Volcanoes National Park with one of the largest active volcanoes on the planet named Kilauea. We ate at the Volcano House which provided quality food and an amazing view of the active volcano. We then proceeded to explore the park and got a closer look at the outlook and then walked through a lava tube
The best beach that we found was at Waialea bay. Less crowded and tons of shade. The water is aqua marine on both ends for swimming while the middle of the beach has shallow rocks and a natural breaker great for snorkeling.
The best location for snorkeling for families has to be at the Hilton Waikaloa village where they have a natural salt water lagoon. Safe from rough waves and life jackets available, turtles and a variety of marine life frequent here all day including jumping fish that will jump right into you. The lagoon is free to use if you stay at the Hilton hotel or sister locations, however you can purchase a day use pass for $100 per person.
Over the summer took my kids to SeaWorld in San Diego and it was a blast. So many interactive shows and exhibits, my kids really enjoyed feeding the batrays, seals, and flamingos. There is an additional cost to purchase the food. The shows were great as well including the Orca Encounters show and Dolphin Days show that will get you soaked if you are sitting in the soak zone.
Other shows include the Sealion and Otter comedy show which was funny and entertaining, but this past summer they had the Cirque Electrique show that was amazing. Only showing at night, these acts performed in the amphitheater that faced the bay and the performers had incredible circus stunts over the water.
Tips: We purchased the weekday ticket to save money and avoid the crowds. We also got the All You Can Eat dining pass, which allows you to get an entree, dessert, and drink once every hour.
We went to the La Jolla Cave beach and was surprised by sea lions so nearby on the beach. They swim just off the shore and relax on nearby rocks. Be careful as the waves and rocks can be dangerous for swimming so if you want to go snorkeling you will need to move just a little bit off to the side where the rocks are less of a concern. Sea lions appear playful and cute but keep your distance as they are wild animals and are not meant to be touched or petted.
Had a chance to take the kids on a boat tour at the Redondo Beach pier with a windows on the bottom level that gives an underwater view. The tour costs $15/adult and $10/children and last about 40 minutes in the harbor.
First they will feed the fish from above and draw the fish to the viewing area which you can watch from below the deck. The tour continues through the harbor to an up-close look at the sea lion dock and you can watch them play/fight and bark at each other. Overall a good experience and would recommend this as a quick tour that doesn’t require too much planning or time commitment.
Check out the Looking Glass Semi-Submarine