Going to Maui is often a once in a lifetime trip. The beaches, unique sights, different food and culture – but all on American soil – make Maui an extremely popular family destination. If you are thinking of taking kids to Maui, the following tips, from parents who have made the journey, will help ensure the trip of a lifetime.
Planning a family vacation to Hawaii? Taking the kids to Maui is a great idea! I’ve collected the following tips for a Maui trip, which will help ensure a great and memorable family vacation.
When to Go
Maui is blessed with pretty amazing weather year round. If you want to go whale watching, the season runs from December to mid April. Some whale tours won’t allow infants, so check in advance.
Traveling Mom tip: Don’t promise your kids they will see humpback whales. Sell this as a boat ride, so seeing the whale comes as a surprise (and NOT seeing one isn’t a disappointment).
Where to Stay
Booking in Maui is pretty easy. Because of the time change, finding a place to stay is best done online. If you choose a resort residence, you have the convenience of a hotel with the space of a home; you can bring the big stroller, pool toys, extra clothes and snacks and not trip over everything.
What to Eat
When Pokemon Go was all the rage, I was in Charleston, and I saw a restaurant that said it was ‘poke friendly.’ I assumed it was referring to Hawaiian poke, the chopped raw fish dish that bears some similarity to ceviche. But no, it meant Pokémon!
However, I would use that to an advantage when trying to get a child to taste an unfamiliar food. Look, it’s poke, like Pokemon Go. Hey, they might buy it.
And if your kid is a sushi lover, getting him to sample poke should be pretty easy.
Traveling Mom tip: Active Traveling Mom Kimberly Tate took her oldest child to Maui when her daughter was one. Kim says, “Food is high priced, so pack some of your own snacks if able.”
Family Friendly Beaches
Kapalua Bay Beach has gentle waves and, important for families, bathrooms, water fountains and showers.Which, of course, means that it can get crowded. But this is the beach you came to Maui for.
Kahekili Beach Park has lots of parking, bathrooms, and even facilities to BBQ your lunch or dinner. It gets crowded at sunset, so stake your clam early if you want to catch the sun going down.
Wailea Beach is in front of the Grand Wailea and the Four Seasons, but you don’t have to stay at either resort to use the beach; there is public parking, along with bathrooms. If your kids are old enough to snorkel (at least three, and a competent swimmer), head here.
Traveling Mom tips: Nasreen Stump, Road Warrior Traveling Mom, says that if you are taking a baby to Maui, “invest in a water ring sling so you can wear baby on the beach and in the water.”
The black sand beaches of Pa’iloa can be very hot (the sand is actually volcanic ash). Be sure your kids have beach shoes.
Learn to Surf
Kids as young as four can take surfing lessons. A key to remember is the shorter a child, the lower the center of gravity. Kind of like skiing, but on water. One of my kids took surfing lessons at age five and was competently standing on a surfboard and riding waves by the end of her first lesson.
Traveling Mom tip: My youngest daughter has severe allergies and extremely sensitive skin. She has had horrible reactions to wetsuits, which are typically rinsed in bleach after use. If you have a child with skin sensitivity or allergies, it may pay to invest in a wetsuit.
Road to Hana
This drive passes waterfalls and hikes. Basically you hop out when you see a crowd and jump in a waterfall. Bring hiking shoes so you can go on some of the trails.
Traveling Mom tip: The road to Hana includes plenty of hairpin turns. Don’t take a kid prone to car sickness on this.
Sunrise at Mt. Haleakala
Your kids get up too early or they are jet lagged? Take advantage of this and drive to the top of Mt. Haleakala. The ride can take up to three hours, and you want to make sure you get there before the sun rises, so count on a mostly sleepless night. But then, isn’t much of parenting sleepless?
Traveling Mom tip: The sunrise is amazing and even in summer, it can be quite chilly in the early dawn hours. Bring plenty of warm clothes – easy if you are traveling in winter from the midwest or east coast.
Take in a Luau
The intro to Polynesian culture typically includes Hawaiian music and dancing and dinner.
Traveling Mom tip: Kimberly Tate says, “If your baby sleeps well on the go, head to an evening luau and she can sleep on you or in a stroller while you take in the show.”
Maui Atlantis Submarine Adventure
If you have a child who is over three feet tall, you can take an undersea adventure on a submarine. You go 100 feet down and get to see unique marine life. When my tween daughter did this, she was beyond jazzed at the trip.
Traveling Mom tip: this is not for anyone even remotely claustrophobic.