Family-Friendly Maui: Things to Do with Kids

Maui, renowned for its picturesque beaches, offers a plethora of options for families seeking a safe and enjoyable experience. Among these, Wailea Beach stands out as a prime destination. Known for its golden sands and calm waters, it provides a perfect setting for children to play and swim. Lifeguards are stationed for added safety, and the clear waters offer ideal conditions for snorkeling, where families can explore the vibrant marine life.

Another family-friendly beach is Kapalua Bay. This beach is characterized by its gentle waves and rock formations that create natural pools, making it an ideal spot for younger children. The bay is also sheltered, ensuring a calm environment for swimming. Nearby amenities like restrooms, showers, and picnic areas add to the convenience, making it a hassle-free choice for families.

Kid-Friendly Cultural Attractions in Maui

Maui is not just about beaches; it also offers a rich cultural experience for families. The Lahaina Historic Trail provides an educational journey through Maui's history. Key points of interest along the trail include:

  • Old Lahaina Courthouse: Here, families can learn about Maui's judicial history and view art exhibitions.
  • Baldwin Home Museum: This provides a glimpse into the life of a missionary family in the 19th century.
  • Hauola Stone: A significant cultural landmark, historically used as a place of healing by Hawaiian royalty.

Another cultural gem is the Maui Ocean Center, where families can engage in an interactive learning experience about Hawaii's marine ecosystem. Highlights include:

  • Living Reef Exhibits: These showcase the diversity of Hawaii's coral reefs.
  • Open Ocean Exhibit with a Walk-Through Tunnel: Offering a unique view of sharks, rays, and other marine species.
  • Marine Mammal Discovery Center: Focusing on Hawaii's whales and dolphins, including educational talks and displays.

Nature Trails and Parks: Outdoor Adventures for Young Explorers

Maui's landscape is a treasure trove of natural beauty, making it an ideal destination for families who love the outdoors. The Iao Valley State Park is a prime example, offering lush scenery and easy trails suitable for all ages. The park's main attraction, the Iao Needle, is a natural rock pinnacle surrounded by rich greenery. The paved paths and well-maintained facilities ensure a comfortable and safe hiking experience for families. Picnic areas are also available, making it a perfect spot for a family day out.

Another great destination for young explorers is the Haleakala National Park. While the summit of Haleakala might be challenging for smaller children, the park offers several lower-elevation trails that are more accessible. The Hosmer Grove trail, for instance, is a short hike that takes visitors through a unique forest of native and exotic trees, offering a chance to spot some of Maui's rare birds.

Nature Trails and Parks: Outdoor Adventures for Young Explorers

Maui's Wildlife: Interactive Experiences for Children

Maui presents unique opportunities for children to interact with and learn about wildlife. The Maui Butterfly Farm is one such place, where children can:

  • Observe Various Butterfly Species: Learn about their life cycle in a natural setting.
  • Participate in Guided Tours: These tours are educational and provide insights into the importance of butterflies in the ecosystem.
  • Engage in Interactive Activities: Such as feeding the butterflies, which is both fun and informative for kids.

Another notable attraction is the Maui Tropical Plantation. This plantation offers a range of activities for families, including:

  • Tram Tours: A guided tour through the plantation's fruit and flower fields.
  • Farm Animal Feeding: Children can interact with and feed farm animals, providing a hands-on experience with local agriculture.
  • Coconut Husking Demonstrations: These are not only entertaining but also educational, showcasing traditional Hawaiian practices.

Family Dining in Maui: Kid-Approved Restaurants and Cafes

When it comes to dining in Maui, there are numerous family-friendly options that cater to both adult and children's tastes. One such place is the Maui Fish Market, where families can enjoy fresh, locally-sourced seafood in a casual and welcoming atmosphere. The menu offers a variety of dishes, from fish tacos to grilled mahi-mahi, ensuring that even the pickiest eaters find something to their liking. The restaurant's beachside location also adds to the experience, allowing families to dine with a view.

Another great option for family dining is the Kihei Caffe, known for its hearty breakfasts and brunches. This bustling café offers a wide range of options, from pancakes and waffles to omelets and sandwiches. The portions are generous, perfect for hungry families after a morning of exploring. Additionally, its location near several popular beaches makes it a convenient stop for a fulfilling breakfast or brunch before or after beach activities.

Water Sports and Activities: Enjoying Maui's Seas with Kids

Maui's clear waters and abundant marine life make it a fantastic destination for water sports and activities suitable for families. Some of the popular activities include:

  • Snorkeling: Various locations like Molokini Crater and Turtle Town offer safe snorkeling experiences where children can see colorful fish, coral, and even sea turtles.
  • Surfing Lessons: Many schools offer beginner-friendly lessons for families, teaching the basics of surfing in a fun and safe environment.
  • Glass-Bottom Boat Tours: Ideal for younger children or those not comfortable with swimming, these tours provide a glimpse into the underwater world without getting wet.

For a more unique experience, families can also try:

  • Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP): This activity is suitable for older children and offers a fun way to explore Maui's calm bays.
  • Kayaking: Guided tours often include kayaking along the coastline, providing opportunities to see marine life and enjoy Maui's scenic beauty from the water.

Educational yet Exciting: Museums and Learning Centers in Maui

Maui's museums and learning centers offer a blend of education and entertainment, making learning fun for kids. The Maui Ocean Center, known as the Aquarium of Hawaii, is a standout attraction. It provides an immersive experience into the marine life of the Hawaiian islands. The center features a variety of exhibits, including a walk-through shark tunnel and touch pools, where kids can interact with sea creatures. The educational focus of the center on the local marine ecosystem makes it a valuable experience for families.

Another educational hub in Maui is the Bailey House Museum. Located in Wailuku, this museum is set in a historical house and offers a glimpse into the island's history and culture. The museum showcases Hawaiian artifacts, paintings, and furnishings, providing an interactive learning experience. The Bailey House also has beautiful gardens where families can relax and enjoy the serene environment, making it an educational yet leisurely visit.

Indoor Entertainment: Options for Rainy Days in Maui

Even on rainy days, Maui offers plenty of indoor entertainment options for families. The Maui Mall Megaplex Cinema is a popular choice, screening a variety of films, including family-friendly options. The cinema's state-of-the-art facilities and comfortable seating make it an ideal spot for families to enjoy a movie together. The mall also houses various eateries, allowing families to grab a bite before or after the movie.

Another indoor option is the Maui Hands Art Gallery. This gallery showcases works from over 300 local artists, ranging from paintings and sculptures to glasswork and jewelry. The variety of art on display makes it an interesting visit for both adults and children, sparking creativity and appreciation for local artistry. The gallery often hosts live demonstrations and workshops, providing an interactive experience for visitors.

Budget-Friendly Family Activities in Maui

Maui offers a variety of budget-friendly activities that are perfect for families looking to enjoy the island without overspending. One such activity is visiting the Maui Swap Meet. Held every Saturday in Kahului, this large open-air market offers an array of local crafts, food, and souvenirs at reasonable prices. Families can explore the stalls, sample local treats, and find unique Hawaiian items to take home. It's not only a shopping experience but also a cultural one, where visitors can interact with local artisans and learn about Hawaiian traditions.

Another cost-effective option is exploring the numerous public beaches and parks on the island. For instance, the Ho'okipa Beach Park, renowned for its excellent windsurfing and surfing conditions, is also a great place to watch experienced surfers and windsurfers in action. For families, the park's picnic areas and the chance to observe Hawaiian green sea turtles on the beach at sunset make it a memorable and affordable outing.

Accommodation Choices: Best Family Hotels and Resorts in Maui

Choosing the right accommodation is crucial for a family-friendly vacation in Maui. Some of the best family hotels and resorts offer amenities that cater specifically to children and parents alike. Key features of these accommodations often include:

  • Kids' Clubs and Activities: Resorts like the Grand Wailea and Sheraton Maui Resort offer supervised activities for children, allowing parents some downtime.
  • Family Rooms and Suites: Accommodations with spacious rooms or suites, like the Westin Maui Resort & Spa, provide comfort for the whole family.
  • On-Site Dining Options: Many family-friendly hotels offer a variety of dining options that cater to young palates, making meal times convenient and enjoyable.

Additional amenities that make these hotels and resorts appealing for families include:

  • Swimming Pools and Water Slides: Resorts like the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa boast large pool complexes with water slides and lazy rivers.
  • Close Proximity to Attractions: Staying in a hotel or resort near popular attractions can save time and transportation costs, adding to the convenience of the vacation.

Accommodation Choices: Best Family Hotels and Resorts in Maui

Tips for a Stress-Free Family Vacation in Maui

Planning a family vacation in Maui can be a delightful experience, especially with some helpful tips to ensure a stress-free journey. First and foremost, planning ahead is key. Booking accommodations and activities in advance not only often secures better rates but also ensures availability, especially during peak tourist seasons. Researching and reserving spots for popular attractions like the Maui Ocean Center or specific tours can save time and avoid disappointments due to last-minute unavailability.

Another important aspect is packing appropriately for the diverse activities and weather conditions Maui offers. Essentials include sun protection, comfortable footwear for exploring nature trails, and swimwear for beach and water activities. It's also advisable to pack some basic medical supplies and familiar snacks for kids, which can be handy during long days out exploring. Keeping a flexible itinerary that allows for relaxation and unplanned discoveries can make the trip more enjoyable and less hectic.


In conclusion, Maui presents a myriad of opportunities for families to create unforgettable memories. From its stunning beaches and nature trails to cultural experiences and child-friendly dining options, there is something to cater to every family's interests. The key to a successful trip lies in balancing planned activities with spontaneous adventures, ensuring that both parents and children have a fulfilling experience. Embracing the local culture and environment respectfully enhances the overall experience, leaving families with not just photographs, but stories to tell for years to come.