Are you thinking of taking a family trip to Maui sometime soon? Not sure if you should bring the kids? Here’s our list of kid friendly activities in Maui. Even in paradise there are loads of fun things for vacationing families to do!
A few weeks ago we returned from an awesome trip to Maui. E and I took R for 10 days during his winter break so we could get out of the Canadian winter and experience a sunny and warm change of scenery. Maui is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and there are loads of fun kid friendly activities in Maui to explore.
We stayed in the Kaanapali Beach area, which is on the west side of the island. We rented a car, which we would definitely recommend, so we could venture out for dinner and day trips.
If you’re heading to Maui with the family, don’t miss these 7 fun and kid friendly activities:
Kid Friendly Activities in Maui
Visit Haleakala Crater
In my opinion, this is a must see kid friendly activity in Maui. Haleakala is a volcanic crater located in east Maui. It is a National Park where you can drive to the top, go for a hike, watch the sunrise or sunset and check out what a non-active volcano looks like.
Some of the plant life and animals are only found at the crater and just visiting the area is a very special experience.
The drive up to the summit is a winding adventure all on its own. You’ll find yourself driving through the clouds to get to the top and watching the outside temperature drop as you get closer.
If you go to Haleakala, here are a couple of helpful pointers:
- It is super cold and windy up there especially in comparison to the weather down by the beach. Remember to bring sweatshirts, long pants, close toed shoes, hats and mitts. I forgot to bring my jacket and I was not a happy camper.
- If you’re traveling with a baby, it’s probably easier to use a baby carrier rather than a stroller. It’s rocky and steep at the top.
- The crater is about 10,000 feet. If you get car sick or bothered by change in elevation just take it easy when you get there. The air is a bit thinner and it can be more difficult to move around up there.
- Try to go at either sunrise or sunset. There was no way we were going to make it for sunrise so we decided to go for sunset and it was breathtaking!
Visit the Penguins at the Hyatt
I know, penguins in Hawaii – what? The Hyatt hotel on Kaanapali Beach is the only Hawaiian hotel to host a penguin habitat on site. I have to tell you, these guys are cute. You can get up close to them and spend a fair bit of time watching their antics.
If you can’t get enough of them, stop by in the morning when the penguin keepers host a feeding that guests can watch.
Hawaii is known for shave ice and no trip would be complete without having some. Shave ice is an icy treat made of ice flakes and flavoured syrup in various colours. It’s full of sugar but an excellent treat on a hot day.
You can find shave ice all over the island – on the beach, in the towns and at the various hotels. Once your kid finishes his you have to take the obligatory purple/blue/green tongue picture!
The Road to Hana
We didn’t drive the road to Hana with R this year because he’s a bit small to sit in the car for the duration of the trip since it can take the full day from start to finish. I do think we’ll attempt it when R is a bit older, perhaps the next time we’re on the island.
As you drive on routes 36 and 360 through the various twists and turns, you’ll come across cute Hawaiian towns, beautiful waterfalls and overall fantastic scenery.
I did this trip many years ago with my parents when we visited Maui and I still remember swimming in the waterfall pools and watching the ocean as we drove past.
For more information on the Road to Hana you should check out this post from National Geographic.
Visit the Maui Ocean Centre
If the weather is windy or rainy one day, take a short drive to the Maui Ocean Centre for a fun day learning about the ocean and the fish and animals who inhabit it.
The MOC has a beautiful ocean front spot at Maalaea Harbour near Wailuku and hosts several unique exhibits. It’s not a huge aquarium but the beautiful surroundings and plentiful fish make up for the small size.
When you visit, be sure to check out the baby sea turtles (my favourite) and the underwater tunnel.
Go Snorkeling at the Black Rock
The Black Rock is a famous small cliff at the north end of Kaanapali Beach where you’ll find beautiful sea life including colourful fish, eels and the occasional sea turtle.
When I was a kid I would snorkel with my dad all around the black rock. We’d see the most fantastic fish and come face to face with massive sea turtles.
Since R’s swimming ability isn’t quite at the point where he can swim in the open ocean we didn’t take him snorkeling this time. Once he becomes a stronger swimmer, I’ll be sure to take him out to see the beautiful fish and coral formations.
The Black Rock is perfect for beginner snorkelers because there’s so much to see yet it’s quite close to the shore. If you get tired, it’s very quick and easy to go back to the beach.
Just Relax and Chill out at the Pool
Sigh… what would a family beach vacation be without lots of relaxing at the pool! Our hotel had an amazing pool with a water slide and pirate ship play area for the kids. It was perfect!
Maui is one of my favourite places to visit. Not only is Maui beautiful, relaxing and warm but there are a ton of kid friendly activities in Maui waiting to be explored.
If you’re looking for more travel tips, check out these posts:
- Secrets to Travelling with Kids
- What to Pack for a Family Beach Vacation
- Stress Free Travel without Kids
- Tips for Taking a 4 Year Old to Disneyland
I’ll be sharing this post at some of my favourite link parties and linkups.