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5 Myths About Traveling to Hawaii—Debunked!

Are you worried about going on a Hawaii family vacation? Find out the top myths about traveling to Hawaii and what’s actually true!
This list of myths about traveling to Hawaii was written by Hawaii travel expert Marcie Cheung and may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Thinking about a family vacation to Hawaii but keep hearing a few things that make you second guess?

It’s easy to stumble across myths about this tropical paradise that might make you hesitate.

As a mom who has ventured to Hawaii over 40 times with my two boys, I’ve heard all the myths you can imagine—and I’m here to set the record straight.

Let’s jump into the top five myths about traveling to Hawaii and reveal the truth, so you can plan your family vacation with confidence!

Image of Marcie Cheung sitting on a beach in Maui
Photo credit: Rojeena with Flytographer

Myth 1: Hawaii is Too Expensive for Families

The Reality

While Hawaii can be pricey, there are plenty of ways to make a Hawaiian vacation affordable for families.

Yes, things like airfare and accommodations can be major expenses, but with some savvy planning, you can manage the costs effectively.

Budget Tips

Travel Off-Peak

Flight and hotel costs drop during the shoulder seasons—late spring and early fall—making these times ideal for visiting.

Use Points and Miles

Like we often do, take advantage of airline miles and hotel points to cut down on travel and lodging expenses.

Eat Like a Local

Dining out at popular tourist spots can be costly. Instead, try local eateries or food trucks, which offer delicious meals at a fraction of the price.

Myth 2: Hawaii is Overly Commercialized

The Reality

Sure, areas like Waikiki are commercialized with their array of hotels, shops, and restaurants catering to tourists.

Image of taro fields with mountains in the background in Hanalei Kauai
Hanalei Valley in North Shore Kauai.

However, Hawaii still boasts countless places that are unspoiled and rich with natural beauty.

Each island offers unique landscapes and authentic cultural experiences far from the commercial hustle and bustle.

Authentic Experiences

Explore Smaller Towns

Visit places like Hilo on the Big Island, Hanalei on Kauai, or Paia on Maui, where the pace of life is slower and the local culture shines.

Enjoy Nature

Spend time exploring Hawaii’s national parks, like Haleakalā National Park on Maui or the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where the natural landscapes are breathtaking and largely untouched by commercial influence.

Myth 3: Hawaii Isn’t Suitable for Young Children

The Reality

Hawaii is a playground for kids of all ages! With its beaches, nature trails, and family-friendly activities, there’s no shortage of adventures that are suitable for children, even toddlers.

Kid-Friendly Activities


Many beaches, such as Waikiki Beach on Oahu and Poipu Beach on Kauai, have gentle waves and lifeguards on duty, perfect for young swimmers.

Top 25 Things to do in Poipu, Kauai featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids
Poipu Beach on Kauai is great for families.

Educational Centers

Places like the Maui Ocean Center offer interactive displays and activities that engage children while educating them about marine life.

Cultural Activities

Learn to hula or make lei at various cultural centers and resorts which often host family-oriented workshops.

Myth 4: It’s Hard to Get Around Without Renting a Car

The Reality

While having a car offers flexibility and is handy, especially when traveling with family, it’s not always necessary.

Public transportation, especially on Oahu, is quite reliable. TheBus, Honolulu’s bus system, offers extensive routes that cover major tourist spots. And the Waikiki Trolley is also a great way to get around.

Read this honest Waikiki Trolley review by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel with Kids. Image of a red trolley in Waikiki.
The Waikiki Trolley is a great way to get around Waikiki.

Many resorts also offer shuttle services to popular attractions. Here are some options for getting around Oahu or Maui without a car.

Alternative Transportation

Bikes and Scooters

In more urban areas like Honolulu, renting bikes or scooters can be a fun and practical way to get around.

Tour Groups

Joining organized tours can alleviate the stress of driving and navigating through unfamiliar territory.


If you just occasionally want to leave your resort or need a ride from the airport, Uber is a good option.

Myth 5: You Need to Spend a Lot of Money on Activities

The Reality

While there are many pricy guided tours and activities, some of Hawaii’s best experiences cost little to nothing.

Exploring the islands’ natural beauty often comes free of charge, and many historical sites have minimal fees.

Here are some free and cheap things to do on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.

Cost-Effective Activities


Trails like the Diamond Head State Monument offer small entrance fees and provide panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.

We love hiking Diamond Head.

Historical Sites

Visit the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, where entry is free but it’s wise to reserve a spot ahead of time.

Beach Days

Simply spending a day at the beach provides endless fun without touching your wallet.

Here are some kid-friendly beaches on Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island.

Biggest Hawaii Myths Wrap-Up

Don’t let myths and misconceptions hold you back from experiencing the wonders of Hawaii.

With the right knowledge and preparation, a Hawaiian vacation can be both enjoyable and affordable for families.

From the rich culture and stunning natural environments to the kid-friendly activities and diverse dining options, Hawaii remains a top travel destination that offers something for everyone.

So pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready to debunk these myths firsthand as you discover the true beauty of the Hawaiian Islands with your family!

Looking for more Hawaii tips? Check out Just Booked Your Hawaiian Flight? Here’s What Every Mom Needs to Do Next, The Hawaii Planning Guide Every Mom Needs, Top Hawaii Questions Tourists Have Before Their First Trip to Hawaii, and The Truth About Renting a Car in Hawaii!