Egged recommends Waikiki as
a family-friendly destination.
If there’s one place Rick Egged knows like the back of his hand, it’s Waikiki. As president of the Waikiki Improvement Association (WIA), Egged has the challenging task of bringing public and private sectors together on revitalizing the business environment of Hawaii’s premier resort destination.
WIA’s agenda is a lofty one from restoring Waikiki’s beach and creating a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere, to redeveloping aging hotel rooms and commercial properties. And Egged is front and center with the progress. Most recently, Egged and WIA’s efforts have been highly visible and extremely rewarding, thanks to the resort’s refreshed look and mega-dose of new retail and entertainment venues.
“It’s been exciting to be a part of Waikiki’s rebirth,” said Egged. “There’s definitely something geared to a broad range of markets, from honeymooners and seniors to families. It just keeps getting better.”
Egged feels that Hawaii is one of the most family-friendly destinations he’s found. While the father of three travels with his family to the neighbor islands and beyond, Egged actually enjoyed a mini-vacation in Waikiki before starting his WIA stint.
“We had such a great time even though we live here,” Egged said. “We went to the beach, found great places to eat and took in some of the shows. I can genuinely recommend Waikiki’s recreation and activities to anyone with a family.”
At the top of Egged’s don’t-miss list is Waikiki Beach.
“It’s great for kids,” he said. “It’s very benign. The water is shallow quite a way out. So you can take even little children and have a great time. And bigger kids love the ocean here as well.”
Especially user-friendly in the winter is Waikiki’s gentle surf.
“There are a lot of different options to learn how to surf,” Egged said. “The Hyatt Regency just opened a Dane Kealoha Surf Academy for kids as young as five.”
He also noted the assortment of catamarans and outrigger canoe rides.
“And the Atlantis Submarine ride is always a favorite with kids since they dive below the surface to see all the colorful fish on the reef,” he said.
Other favorites are the Waikiki Aquarium and Honolulu Zoo.
“For a small facility, the Waikiki Aquarium has great exhibits,” Egged said. “And there’s a brand-new keiki (children) zoo at the Honolulu Zoo. Most hotels also have kids programs that will take them to these attractions while adults enjoy their own excursions.”
Egged noted that many of Waikiki’s most enjoyable family activities are freebies sponsored by shopping centers, hotels and the destination.
“There’s a keiki hula show and lei making at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, knife dancing by the pool at the Sheraton Waikiki and the King’s Jubilee with fireworks on Friday nights at the Hilton Hawaiian Village,” he said. “And then there’s the torchlighting ceremony Tuesday through Sunday evenings at Kuhio Beach.”
When it comes to the neighbor islands, Egged is big on the diversity of places like The Big Island of Hawaii’s Hilton Waikoloa Village. With its Dolphin Quest program and mahogany boats and trams that transport visitors throughout the 62-acre fantasyland, this property is a theme park disguised as a resort.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is another big hit with families. Packed with hiking options and even a Junior Rangers Program for kids ages 7-12, this phenomena sheds light on the birth of the Hawaiian Islands through dramatic lave fields, lava tubes, Hawaiian petroglyphs, wildlife and the stark Kilauea Caldera.
And for families on Kauai, it’s all about the sand.
“This is just a great island for hitting the beach,” Egged said.