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.
We travel to Maui every August, and we have done so since our oldest was 18 months old. Not only do we know this island extremely well, we have explored so much of the island with our kids. No matter what we do each year, or which Hawaii island we visit first, we always end our summer with our trip to Maui. It is very special to us.
This is the ULTIMATE guide for the best things to do on Maui with kids. It also includes the best things to do on Maui with toddlers and with teens.
You will certainly find a complete list of ideas to make your Maui island vacation memorable with these family-friendly ideas. Let's go!
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Why You Should Experience Family Activities 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.
And, in my opinion, it is one of the best Hawaiian Islands for kids, including toddlers!
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 family things to do and opportunities for quiet relaxation, making it our favorite of the main Hawaiian islands. With many ways to enjoy the island, it is one of the best Hawaii island for families.
And, with some planning, you can make your dream Hawaii trip come true in Maui.
The 25+ Very Best Things To Do In Maui With Kids For All Ages
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 with amazing family activities on Maui. Be sure to include your snorkel and hiking shoes, along with your flip flops and swimsuits, on your Hawaii packing list because there are many adventures to be had!
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. It is one of the top spots for the best snorkeling in Maui. 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. Kapalua Bay is one of the best beaches on Maui for families.
Toddlers can easily splash in the water and play in the sand, as there isn't typically rough surf. It is one of our favorite family activities on Maui, and we make time for it each trip.
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.
This is one of the best family activities on Maui!
4. Road To Hana
The Road to Hana is one of the most spectacular experiences to do in 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. It's also a fascinating experience to have Polynesian Dances and Chants explained, which is one of the highlights of attending a luau.
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.
12. Shop For Unique Hawaiian Souvenirs
One of our favorite family things to do on Maui is visit Whaler's Village or the town of Lahaina for shopping. There are so many wonderful places to get a lasting memory of your trip to Maui.
From handmade quilted items, gorgeous jewelry from Na Hoku (my favorite) or Maui Divers Jewelry, incredible artwork, or wonderful Hawaiian shirts or dresses, ukuleles, and more, shopping is a must-do activity on Maui!
In fact, our home has a gorgeous piece of sketched art to remind us of our favorite place. And my kids have come home with many special treasures from these shopping areas.
13. Stop By Honolulu Cookie Company
One of our must-stop shops on every trip is the Honolulu Cookie Company. Located in multiple spots around the island, these special shortbread cookies are hard to put down.
They come in a variety of types, from plain to coffee to macadamia nut flavored and more. And the chocolate-dipped ones with sprinkled coconut can't be beaten.
While there are several shops around the island, our favorite shop is in Lahania, so you can enjoy it while discovering the Lahaina Banyan Tree.
In addition to a great in-room snack, they also make gorgeous souvenirs to bring home or a gift. They usually have samples areas to taste (my kids favorite part.) But this is a must-stop shop on your trip to Maui!
14. Get a Shave Ice
Kids and 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.
15. Take A Farm Tour And Taste The Islands
Maui is a beautiful island with so much nature to appreciate both on the land and on the sea. Local Hawaiians treasure their land and grow amazing food that is often sourced by local Maui restaurants.
A really fun and unique thing to do on Maui with kids is to take a farm tour and taste the islands. From a pineapple farm to a cacao farm (with chocolate tasting) to a goat farm known for its cheeses, there are many different options to learn a lot about the island, its agriculture, and what grows there. It is another way to experience Hawaiian culture with kids!
16. Dive Under The Sea
For kids who may be ready for an underwater adventure, but not quite old enough to try snuba or scuba diving, you can enjoy the Atlantis Submarine to see the world under the sea. You will dive 100 feet down and can see Maui's vibrant sea life from the comfort of your submarine window!
For additional ideas of activities on Maui, check out this unique list of unusual things to do on Maui.
17. Learn To Swim Like A Mermaid
Any mermaid-loving kid will absolutely love this unique adventure! Available to all ages (as long as they weigh at least 50 pounds), your aspiring mermaid will learn to swim like one with an instructor wearing a mermaid tail! At Hawaii Mermaid Adventures, kids will learn from the mermaid instructor how to swim like a mermaid, all the while learning about the ocean and how to protect it and observing Maui's ocean life.
For little mermaids too young for the lesson, they can meet and greet a mermaid and hear tales about her ocean adventures. This is definitely one of the top things to do in Maui with kids!
18. Take A Rainforest And Waterfall Hiking Adventure
Kids ages six and up can enjoy this magical hike through one of Maui's most gorgeous valleys nestled on the Hana Highway. Our family loved Hike Maui's guided five-hour adventure through spectacular waterfalls and the chance to jump into some of the pools. It is a spectacular way to experience Maui's beauty up close and personal and one of the best things to do with kids in Maui!
19. Take A Family Outrigger Canoe Ride
Discover Maui in a completely different way with a family outrigger canoe ride. During this unique experience, families will learn about Maui history, Polynesian culture, and the native Hawaiians' use of outriggers to travel between the islands. It is also a great opportunity to observe sea life up close. This unique experience is one of the best things to do with kids in Maui.
20. Visit Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm
If you visit Haleakalā, on the way home be sure to stop at Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm. This is a lovely place to discover something you wouldn't expect to see on Maui – fields of a variety of beautiful lavender.
You can also get a breathtaking view of Maui from this spot. It is a great place for kids to stretch their legs, explore the farm, take photos, try some lavender flavored treats, and pick up beautiful art or a special gift to take home.
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 goat! This is definitely a unique experience on Maui and one of the best things to do in Maui with toddlers.
23. Penguin Feeding and Bird Chatting at Hyatt Regency
Yes, there ARE penguins on Maui! 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.
24. Maui Animal Farm
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.
Things To Do On Maui With Teens and Tweens
If you are traveling to Maui with teens, there are a few additional activities they might like to try. While they can certainly do all of the things on the list above, here are a few things that might be fun for the older, more adventurous kids (a.k.a. tweens and teens.)
26. Parasailing To See Maui From Above
I'm gonna admit something. I am not a huge fan of this activity, because I am afraid of heights (especially when my feet dangle.) But my husband absolutely loved parasailing over Ka'anapaali!
That said, because Maui's views are so incredible, it is worth a mention of one of the popular things to do in Maui. If you are a fan of heights or views from above, this is definitely a fun thing to do in Maui with tweens or teens.
27. Horseback Riding in West Maui Mountains
Kids ages 12 and above can experience Maui via horseback on a guided tour through the West Maui mountains! It is an amazing way to see Maui's incredible views and many hidden gems. This is definitely a very special thing to do on Maui with kids ages 12 and up!
28. Golf Maui's Epic Courses
If you have a golf enthusiast in your group, getting to tee off on one of Maui's legendary golf courses is a great thing to do. Our family loves the Ka'anapali golf courses.
The views overlooking the ocean from the Ka'anapali hillside simply can't be beaten. It is one of our favorite things to do in Maui with our preteen.
While a younger child could potentially do these golf courses, I would recommend it more for older kids and teens.
29. Snuba In Maui
For teens who might want to get a taste of scuba diving or spend a bit more time underwater than just snorkeling, Snuba is a great thing to do in Maui. Snuba does not require scuba experience or certification. But it can be an introductory experience to getting to see Maui's incredible sea life a bit more up close and personal than snorkeling. It is another fun thing to do on Maui with teens.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Area of Maui Is Best For Families?
There are many places to stay on Maui for families. The majority of families tend to stay in Wailea or Kihei, where there are great vacation rentals, or near Ka'anapali and Kapalua. There are plenty of family-friendly hotels and resorts in these areas. And both are wonderful for families.
But our preference is Ka'anapali. We love the town of Lahaina and it is closer to Ka'anapali. If you stay in this resort area, there is also a wonderful ocean-front walkway, which is great for strolling or exercising, and you have easy access to the beach. You can also walk to Whaler's Village, which is a great spot for dining and shopping.
Is Maui Good For Families?
As you can see from this list, Maui is excellent for families! It is, in my opinion, one of the best Hawaii islands for kids. There are plenty of activities for the whole family, from toddlers to teens! And, there are lots of family-friendly resorts in Maui and family-friendly restaurants.
It is also a nice blend of activities with relaxation. And there is much to choose from regardless of your activity or adventure level.
Is Maui Good For Toddlers?
Yes! Maui is very good for toddlers. We took our son here for the first time when he was 18 months old. And, we took our toddlers to Maui when they were 1 year old. There are many things to do on Maui for toddlers, and many of the resorts have splash areas and playgrounds, and stroller-friendly walking paths. There is plenty for the Keiki to do on Maui.
How Do I Plan A Family Trip To Maui?
You will certainly need to think about flights, family-friendly resorts in Maui or an Air B n B, things to do with kids in Maui, and family-friendly restaurants. We like to book at the Maui Ocean Club in Ka'anapaali because it includes kitchenettes and free laundry on the property. It also has lots of family-friendly activities on site, a toddler splash area, great pools, grills, and excellent amenities. Then, book your family activities and restaurant reservations.
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!”