My husband and I have both traveled around the world, and have lived abroad. But few places fill our hearts like the Hawaiian islands, especially the island of Maui. Though it is often thought of as a destination for honeymooners, there are quite a lot of things to do in Maui with kids.
This post contains affiliate links for which I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you, should you make a purchase using this link. Please see my disclaimer.
Why You Should Experience Family Adventures On Maui
The spirit of Aloha and Hawaiian culture is very present on all of the islands, but we especially feel it on Maui. As the saying goes, “Maui Nō Ka ʻOi,” which means “Maui is the best” and we couldn't agree more.
From the incredible views, the scuba diving and snorkeling, and the many opportunities for family adventures on Maui, it is a wonderful place for a family vacation. It is why we keep returning year after year.
There are many family-friendly resorts and Air B n Bs in idyllic locations that make it easy to get to access beaches and family-friendly activities. In fact, some accommodations can support a multi-generational family vacation.
And, with great places to eat with kids on Maui, it is perfect for a family vacation.
It is a destination where you can get both fun in the sun and have cultural experiences. Manageable in size, Maui blends the perfect balance of things to do with opportunities for quiet relaxation, making it our favorite of the main Hawaiian islands. With many ways to enjoy the island
And, with some planning, you can make your dream Hawaii trip come true in Maui.
The 11 Best Things To Do In Maui With Kids
Hawaii is far from the Mainland of the United States, but boy is it ever worth it. If you are coming to Maui, I recommend at least seven days to really experience a variety of the best things to do with kids in Maui.
But, whether you have one or several days, there are many ways to discover this incredible island. Here are some of our family's favorites.
The Hawaiians have great respect for the “Kai”, the Hawaiian word for the sea. Not only does it serve as a source for food, with a variety of ocean life.
But, they very much appreciate and honor the habitats of the ocean. One of the best way to see some of these special residents is by snorkeling.
For a simple day trip or morning snorkel, our favorite spot on Maui is Kapalua Bay Beach. You will need to bring your own snorkel gear, but there is a stand on site that rents floaties if you need them.
Because you are in the open ocean, I recommend kids have a good, snorkeling set made for kids. This ensures that they will be able to enjoy the experience because it will fit properly and make it safer for them.
The protected bay offers a shallow reef there, with a variety of wildlife, including the famous humuhumunukunukuapua'a (or just humu humu for short), a triggerfish known as Hawaii’s state fish. There is also a resident turtle who lives there, but take note that it is against Hawaiian law to go within 10 feet of sea turtles.
If you are traveling to Maui with toddlers, visiting Kapalua is a good thing to do with toddlers. They can easily splash in the water and play in the sand, as there isn't typically rough surf.
Another great way to snorkel on Maui is during an Eco Adventure snorkel trip to Molokini Crater. We loved the experience with the Pacific Whale Foundation, and in my opinion, it is definitely one of the very best things to do with kids on Maui.
The Molokini Crater is an iconic site off of Maui, known for its vibrant sea life. It is a fantastic place to see the incredible underwater world in crystal clear waters that mimic an aquarium.
What is so fantastic about the Eco-Adventure tour with the Pacific Whale Foundation is that it is very family-friendly. Not only does this amazing tour include two snorkel stops at some of the best snorkel sites on Maui, it also includes lunch.
The boat staff also invites children to talks about conservation during the 45-minute boat ride to and from the snorkel sites. They also serve as lifeguards while you snorkel. It is one of the best family snorkel experiences we have ever done, due to its thoughtful approach to experiencing and learning about the ocean.
This past year, we visited Camp Maui for a family-friendly zipline adventure. Now, I am afraid of heights, so this was an …. interesting….experience for me.
But, I have to say Camp Maui did an amazing job. They worked with my fear of heights and the staff was fantastic.
Camp Maui offers a family-friendly, seven-line zipline experience on its private property. It is also the site of the Pacific World War II's training base. The site hosts a small museum with vehicles and planes from World War II to look at before or after your zipline adventure.
4. Road To Hana
The Road to Hana is one of the most spectacular experiences to do on Maui and absolutely should be on your travel bucket list. If you are on the island for two days or more, this experience is a must.
This all-day drive, which can take around eight to ten hours to complete, takes you all around the area to explore some of the most awe-inspiring spots on the island.
Full disclosure – the roads are windy, so if you are prone to motion sickness, take precautions. In fact, you should definitely consult a Road To Hana guide so you know what to expect.
You can either take the drive yourself (though some rental car companies prefer that you don't) or you can go on a guided tour.
Keep in mind that while there are spectacular things to see along the way, driving the Road to Hana is about the journey, not the destination. Picturesque waterfalls cascading into pools, overlooks of the rugged coast, black rock beaches, rain forest, and of course, Hana town, are some of the many things to experience along the way on this coastal drive.
If you see any road stands on the journey, be sure to stop for a treat. Nothing is quite as delicious as homemade banana bread during your drive.
Part of what makes Maui so spectacular is seeing it from the land, the sea, and from above. At 10,000 feet above sea level, you will certainly do so by visiting Haleakalā National Park.
This dormant volcano offers a variety of landscapes and is home to the rare plant, Haleakalā Silverswords. The views alone make it worth the visit, but for a very special experience, visit it to watch the sunrise or sunset.
You can either visit the volcano yourself or on a guided tour. Many types are offered.
If you are traveling with older kids (teens), you can book an early sunrise bike tour. After the tour brings you to the top of Haleakalā, you will watch the sunrise and then bicycle down the volcano. It is a great way to experience yet another of Maui's magical treasures, and one of my favorite things to do with kids in Maui with kids.
Another one of my favorite things to do with kids on Maui is to go hiking in the Iao Valley. This beautiful location is ideal to experience Maui's lush and breathtaking landscapes. It is simply a breathtaking experience.
The Iao Valley is also a fantastic way to experience Hawaiian culture. This location is significant to Hawaiian history and is also considered sacred for housing ancient Hawaiian demigods.
I love learning about Hawaiian culture, as it is very much alive and present on the island. This mystical place is a great place to experience it first hand.
The Iao Valley is a great place to enjoy a special family day hiking the trails, visiting the waterfalls and swimming in pools, and enjoying a picnic. Hands down, this is one of the best experiences to do with kids in Maui.
If you don't want a full day hike but you still want to experience nature on Maui, you can do so in a unique way with a family Maui Treasure Hunt. This three-hour family-friendly experience will take you on a family tour, a hike, and a swim in the ocean or a private lagoon.
And, it also includes a hunt for treasure with a family map designed for families. It is a great way to engage the kids while enjoying the lush nature Maui has to offer and experience an awesome family adventure on Maui.
A perfect experience for kids ages five on up, it is definitely a fun and unique thing for kids to do in Maui.
One of the best things to do with kids in Maui is to attend an authentic, family-friendly luau. The traditional Hawaiian party/feast popular with tourists is a great way to enjoy a Hawaiian tradition and learn about the island's culture.
Our favorite Luau in Maui is the Old Lahaina Luau, which is close to the Kaanapali resort area. While many hotels often have their own luaus, Old Lahaina Luau is said to be one of the best on Maui.
After an initial welcome and usually a refreshing beverage and greeting with a flower or shell lei, guests at Old Lahaina Luau can spend some time enjoying traditional games and activities, and check out handicrafts available for purchase. This is usually followed by a buffet or family-style meal of fish and pork, sides, and traditional desserts.
Once dinner is mostly over, the dinner show with singers and musicians performing traditional Hawaiian songs, hula dancers, and sometimes fire throwers. The songs and dances often tell the story of Hawaiian culture.
Luaus are a wonderful way to experience and learn about Hawaiian culture, which is very strong and present on all of the islands of Hawaii and the Luau is a great way to learn about it. It is one of the best things to do with kids in Maui.
Surfing and Hawaii go hand in hand. Some of the most famous Hawaiians were surfers and even heroes, like Duke Kahanamoku, who made the ancient sport of surfing popular and Eddie Aikau, the first lifeguard at Waimea Bay on Ohau.
It is one of the most iconic things to do when visiting the islands. You can't drive past a beach on Maui without seeing surfers waiting for the next wave.
So, when in Hawaii, why not do what the Hawaiians do and learn to surf?
For kids ages 10 and up, group lessons are available from a variety of vendors depending on your resort area. Kids ages nine and under can also learn but are encouraged to take a private or semi-private lesson.
Our 10-year-old son took his first lesson last year with my husband and loved every minute of it. In his two-hour lesson, he was able to get up on the board and ride a few waves. It was definitely a highlight of our trip, and one of the coolest things to do with kids in Maui.
10. Take A Lei Making Class, Hula Lesson, or Learn To Play Ukulele
Another one of the best things to do in Maui with kids is to experience something cultural and unique. Oftentimes, family-friendly hotels on Maui will offer classes for lei-making, hula lessons, or even ukelele lessons.
You can also take Hawaiian culture lessons, lei-making classes, and hula lessons – and even learn some Hawaiian words – at Aloha Hula.
It is a great way for kids to experience Hawaiian culture. And, it is definitely one of the best things to do with kids in Maui.
My daughter and I loved learning to make a beautiful fresh flower lei at our hotel. It was a wonderful experience to see how these beautiful and delicate pieces of art are made, and a great thing to do to experience Hawaiian culture.
11. Whale Watching On Maui
Whale season is during the winter months on Maui. But, if you happen to visit during the winter months, a whale watching tour is one of the best things to do with kids in Maui.
Kids will love seeing the gentle giants breaching the waters. It is quite a sight to behold and kids will be mesmerized. It is a very special experience and one of the best things to do in Maui with kids.
For additional ideas of activities on Maui, check out this unique list of unusual things to do on Maui.
Things To Do In Maui With Toddlers
If you are traveling to Maui with a toddler, there are a few activities you can swap on this list. We first visited Maui when our son was 18 months old and then again when our twins were 12 months old.
While some of the above activities are things to do with toddlers in Maui, some will be too much.
Toddlers can't do some of the more active activities on this list, but, never fear! There are still amazing things to do in Maui with toddlers. I recommend these activities.
Toddlers love watching fish. And the Maui Ocean Center is a great place to do that. Getting a glimpse of some of Maui's favorite underwater residents is one of the best things to do in Maui with toddlers.
Visit this charming goat dairy farm in Kula, pet some goats, and enjoy goat milk treats. You may even get to milk a baby goat! This is definitely a unique experience on Maui and one of the best things to do in Maui with toddlers.
While you are upcountry, you can also stop at the Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm. It is a lovely spot where you can walk around to see a variety of lavender plants, purchase lavender products and foods, and pick up some beautiful artwork to take home.
It is also a great place for a gorgeous photo as you see the Maui landscape in the distance.
Penguin Feeding and Bird Chatting at Hyatt Regency
When my kids were toddlers, we would often take a walk to the Hyatt Regency to watch and feed the resident penguins. There are also several talking birds hanging in large cages. It is a great thing to do with toddlers in Maui when they need a break from the sun.
For kids who need a change of scenery from sun and sand, a visit to the Maui animal farm is a great thing to do with toddlers in Maui. Tots can have a chance to meet and pet a variety of sweet animal friends, like goats, pigs, a tortoise, and more!
Several of the hotels on Maui have amazing toddler-friendly splash areas at their pool. When choosing the most family-friendly resorts on Maui, look for one that has one of these special areas. Our favorite kid-friendly resorts are the Marriott's Maui Ocean Club and the Hyatt Regency Maui, both on Kaanapali.
Enjoy A Special Hawaiian Treat
Toddlers love a special treat. And there is no better one in Hawaii than flavored shave ice from Ululani. You will find them in various spots on Maui, but it is definitely not one to miss.
Another one of our kids' favorites is the delicious Honolulu Cookie Company cookies. These delectable biscuit cookies come in a variety of flavors, from macademia nut dipped in chocolate with coconut to Kona coffee to everything in between.
The yummy biscuits can be found at one of the Honolulu Cookie Company locations around the island and make great souvenirs to take home. But our favorite shop is in Lahania, so you can enjoy it while discovering the Lahaina Banyan Tree.
Final Thought About What To Do In Maui With Kids
Maui is an amazing place for a family vacation. There are so many things to do with kids in Maui that will teach them about Hawaiian culture and enjoy a relaxing family vacation full of unique experiences together. You will leave Maui knowing why the Hawaiians often say, “Maui Nō Ka ʻOi!”