Maui with Kids

With dozens of adventures to take, discoveries to make, and loads of kid-friendly beaches, Maui is a blast for families.

Choosing a Place to Stay

Resorts. On the South Shore, your best bet is the all-suites Fairmont Kea Lani; the Grand Wailea Resort and Marriott’s Wailea Beach Resort have spectacular water complexes. In West Maui, all of the Westin resorts have fun water features and excellent full- and half-day programs for keiki (children).

Condos. You’ll be able to cook your own meals with condos and vacation rentals, and prime beaches are usually a short walk away. Plus, you'll get twice the space of a hotel room for about a quarter of the price.

Ocean Activities

Hawaii is all about getting your kids outside—away from video games. And who could resist the turquoise water, the promise of spotting dolphins or whales, and the fun of body boarding or surfing?

On the Beach. Maui’s leeward South Shore has many calm beaches. Keawakapu, Ulua/Mokapu, Wailea, and the Kamaole parks are some of the island's best for swimming, snorkeling, body boarding, and building sand castles. In West Maui, Napili Bay and D.T. Fleming are your best bets.

On the Waves. Launiupoko outside Lahaina town and Cove Park in Kihei are best for beginners. For lessons, contact Royal Hawaiian Surf Academy or Maui Surfer Girls on the west side, and Big Kahuna Adventures on the south side.

The Underwater World. Rent snorkeling gear and head to Olowalu or Black Rock (Puu Kekaa) in front of the Sheraton Maui in West Maui, or any of the beaches in Kihei or Wailea. Trilogy Excursions offers full- and half-day snorkeling cruises to Molokini and other prime spots, leaving from Maalaea and Lahaina.

Whales Ahoy. A close encounter with a humpback whale could be the experience your kids remember most about their Maui vacation. Pacific Whale Foundation’s two-hour whale-watch trips out of Maalaea and Lahaina provide on-board naturalists and are just long enough to be out on the water.

Land Activities

Maui Tropical Plantation in Central Maui hosts Maui Zipline’s introductory course, which is ideal for older kids. Flyin Hawaiian Zipline's mountainside tours will satisfy thrill-seeking teens with the state’s longest, highest, and fastest zips.

See reef fish, sea turtles, manta rays, and sharks swim behind glass at the excellent Maui Ocean Center in Maalaea. It's expensive, but kids (and adults) will learn a lot from the exhibits.

When exploring the Upcountry farm region, stop by Surfing Goat Dairy, where kids can milk a goat and learn how cheese is made. or treasure hunt at Ali‘i Kula Lavender farm.

After Dark

A luau’s heart-stopping Samoan fire-knife dances and gyrating Tahitian numbers will impress even the most jaded teens. One of the best is the nightly Old Lahaina Luau, which needs to be booked in advance. For something different, ‘Ulalena at Maui Theatre uses contemporary dance and a driving rhythm section to tell the story of Hawaii, from the earliest Polynesians to Captain Cook’s arrival and the waves of immigrants. Everyone will be transfixed by the music, costumes, and staging.

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Fodor's Maui: with Molokai & Lanai

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