Family Things To Do on Maui
Maui is a wonderful destination for families, and a Maui family vacation is sure to create treasured lifelong memories. Summer is the most popular family travel season on Maui, but there are plenty of fun and entertaining things to do year-round with children, from toddlers to teens. You won’t run out of options to keep everyone entertained. It’s more likely you’ll have a hard time deciding which activities to squeeze in to your limited time on the island. Following are a few of my suggestions for family activities on Maui.
• FIRST THING! Check out the family activities offered at your accommodations. You’ll find some of the best activities for children and families right where you’re staying. Most accommodations on Maui are family-friendly, and they make an effort to offer fun, creative activities and programs specifically for children or for families to enjoy together. Many also offer “day camp” programs where the kids can enjoy supervised fun while Mom and Dad have a few hours to themselves. So, as soon as you arrive at your accommodations, familiarize yourself with the family-friendly activities right there in your own backyard.
• Maui Ocean Center in Maalaea is the largest tropical aquarium in the Western hemisphere, and it’s a great place for a family outing. It features more than 60 exhibits, from a hands-on tide pool where little fingers can touch sea creatures to a walkthrough glass tunnel with sharks and stingrays gliding around you. A fun, fascinating place for kids AND adults!
• Boat trips, particularly snorkeling tours and winter whale watching excursions, are great family adventures. Just remember to keep slathering on the sunscreen throughout the day, and take something to prevent seasickness if you or the kids are prone to motion sickness.
• There are endless opportunities for family beach and ocean activities, from lolling on the beach or building sandcastles to more active endeavors like snorkeling, surfing, stand up paddling, and parasailing. Keep your eyes open for sea turtles, which occasionally come up onto the beach and can look very much like large, smooth rocks! They are protected by law, so don’t approach, touch or disturb them in any way. Just appreciate them from a distance.
• Submarine rides are available in Lahaina. An easygoing adventure for families who want to view the underwater world without getting wet! Children must be at least 36 inches tall.
• Haleakala National Park is not only a fascinating and beautiful destination but it also offers some great activities for kids and families, including a Junior Ranger program.
• Explore beautiful Upcountry Maui, on the slopes of Haleakala, and make sure you include a stop at Surfing Goat Dairy where children can pet (or feed) the goats while Mom and Dad sample gourmet goat cheese.
• Iao Valley State Park (Central Maui) provides a beautiful and easy walk for families. You can see the famous Iao Needle landmark (pictured here–a needle-like rock formation that points to the sky) and read informational signage about the historical significance of the area, which was the site of a famous battle between Hawaiian warriors in 1790. (NOTE: This park has been closed in recent months due to severe storm damage in late 2016. Please check here for updates.)
• Maui Tropical Plantation in Central Maui is home to a family-friendly zip line operation. (Most Maui zip lines are too intense for young children.) This one is available to children as young as 5 years old, with a minimum weight requirement of 45 pounds.
• Meander through Maui’s small towns, like Paia (North Shore) and Lahaina (West Maui). Great little towns with lots of shops and eateries, and you’ll find Hawaiian shave ice (similar to “snow cones”). If you’re in Paia, plan to also drive to nearby Ho’okipa Beach. It’s a great place to watch the windsurfers in action, and you might catch a glimpse of sea turtles there, too.
• Pick up a copy of one of our local newspapers (particularly the Maui News) and check the calendar of events section. (Also ask the staff at your accommodations for current event information.) There might be special festivals, town parties, fairs or other fun family events taking place when you’re here. If so, go! You’ll experience an authentic slice of Maui life.
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Candy Aluli, Publisher
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