Before babies and traveling with sippy cups, I lived in Maui for two years. My best girlfriend and I decided to have a “surf bum” year after college. We surfed, golfed and enjoyed this incredible island to the fullest.
Since then, I have been back every year to visit the islands I love and see friends with my husband and children. Both of my girls have visited Maui — in my belly and out. I wanted them to enjoy Hawaii as much as I do and I came up with many interesting activities for us. During our most recent trip, local friends helped us create our most memorable trip there yet …
Visiting Maui with Kids: Family-Friendly Maui Activities
On our first day we headed straight for Napili Beach — an excellent sandy beach for kids. It has wonderful snorkeling for older children and adults as well. There is an area under the water there called turtle town, where a large group of turtles live. I took my daughter swimming and we watched two turtles popping their heads out of the water. Her look of wonder and amazement was worth the flight alone. One thing to keep in mind is that all Hawaiian beaches are public, so you can pack towels and a picnic and enjoy them! Another one of our favorites is Kapalua Beach — it is small and the water is calm.
On our second night we decided to take them to the Old Lahaina Luau, which is considered one of the best luaus on Maui. My oldest still talks about the Hawaiian man who climbed a palm tree to gather coconuts for coconut milk for them.
After a few beach days we decided to mix it up and take them on a whale watching trip; this was a mistake because they were too young to appreciate it. I’d recommend this activity for five year olds and up. Waiting for whales take more patience than either of them could muster. The one thing we discovered when we arrived back into port was the Maui Ocean Center. It’s definitely one of the best aquariums I’ve ever visited with turtles, sharks and rays. Open 365 days a year, it’s always a safe bet on a rainy day.
Kaanapali Beach has a long walkway which is perfect for strollers. I could leave my husband and Charlotte on the beach, while I walked Lily up and down till she fell asleep. This area is very entertaining for kids with boats coming in and lots of surfers, but keep in mind that the water can get choppy in the winter. We went to lunch at Hula Grill which has a great kids menu. They also have live Hawaiian music, and you sit with your toes in the sand. It was a big hit! After dancing in the sand, you can easily head back to the beach.
Family trips are fun, but it’s great if you can have a night out alone. The Maui Arts Center has great concerts with well-known performers. One night Greg Allman was playing, so we found a babysitter through a babysitting service called Happy Kids Maui. The sitter arrived with games and plenty of tricks up her sleeve to keep them entertained.
Finally, Sansei in Kapalua is our favorite restaurant with wonderful creative sushi. It rivals places like Nobu and they offer a 50 percent discount for early bird specials — perfect for kids.