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.
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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 great places to eat with kids on Maui, which also makes it ideal for a family vacation. In fact, some accommodations can support a multi-generational family vacation.
It is a destination where you can get both fun in the sun, and have cultural experiences. Manageable in size, Maui offers the perfect balance of things to do, with opportunities for quiet relaxation, making it our favorite of the main Hawaiian islands.
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.
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.
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.
The Road to Hana is one of the most spectacular experiences to do on Maui. 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. 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 to experience Maui's lush and breathtaking landscapes, this experience is simply breathtaking.
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 an 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.
For additional ideas of activities on Maui, check out this unique list of unusual things to do on Maui.
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!”
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