8 Best Things to Do in Maui With Kids: Make Family Memories That Last a Lifetime!
Are you planning a family vacation to the beautiful island of Maui and looking for the ultimate list of kid-friendly activities?
Look no further! We’ve got you covered with the best things to do on Maui with kids. From thrilling water adventures to educational excursions, there’s something all the family will love on this tropical paradise.
Get ready to create lasting memories and explore the wonders of Maui as a family. Dive into our top recommendations and start planning the vacation of a lifetime!
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This post offers general information only and should not be considered legal, authoritative advice. It aims to provide travelers with knowledge for safe and enjoyable outdoor activities but cannot replace individual swimming abilities, physical fitness, experience, or local up-to-date knowledge. Be aware that marine activities carry risks, and participants must assess weather, sea conditions, and hazards beforehand. Adhere to local laws and regulations.
Best Things to Do in Maui With Kids
Maui, the second-largest island in Hawaii, is a great place to take your kids. It is a treasure trove of adventures for families with kids. From building sandcastles on one of Maui’s 80 beaches, swimming like a mermaid, and exploring the famed Road to Hana, the Valley Isle is perfect for exploring with kids of any age.
Even though Hawaii is quite a distance from the US Mainland, it’s a journey worth it! When planning a Maui vacation, we suggest setting aside at least a week to fully experience the island’s vast array of unique activities for younger and older kids.
Regardless of the duration of your Hawaii vacation, be it just a few days or a couple of weeks, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to explore the breathtaking island through a multitude of amazing family activities on Maui.
With so many of the best things to do with kids in Maui, you’ll find exciting adventures that cater to all age groups, ensuring the whole family creates cherished memories that last a lifetime!
1. Maui Ocean Center
For a fun and educational family activity in Maui that the kids will love, one of the best things to do is the Maui Ocean Center! This incredible marine park is an excellent way to spend a day with your kids. It offers a unique opportunity to learn about the fascinating marine life that inhabits Hawaii’s surrounding waters.
As you wander the aquarium, you’ll be mesmerized by the exhibits’ vibrant colors and captivating creatures. From playful sea turtles to mysterious sharks, a world of wonder is waiting to explore.
The park’s centerpiece, the 750,000-gallon Open Ocean exhibit, will leave you in awe as you walk through the 54-foot-long tunnel surrounded by stunning marine life. It’s one of the best family Maui activities!
To make the most out of your family visit to the Maui Ocean Center, here are some handy tips:
1. Arrive early: Beat the crowds and enjoy a more relaxed experience by arriving early in the morning, preferably right when they open.
2. Plan your visit: Check the daily schedule for feeding times, presentations, and special events, so you don’t miss exciting opportunities to learn more about marine life.
3. Take a guided tour: To get more out of your visit, consider booking a guided tour with one of the knowledgeable marine naturalists on staff. They’ll share fascinating facts and stories about the creatures you encounter, making the experience even more memorable.
4. Pack a picnic: While dining options are available at the Maui Ocean Center, you can bring your own lunch and enjoy a family picnic in the designated outdoor eating area.
5. Don’t forget sunscreen and hats: Although much of the center is indoors, there are some outdoor exhibits and areas. Make sure to protect yourself and your kids from the sun.
2. Atlantis Submarine Tour
If you’re feeling a little adventurous while visiting Maui with kids, climb aboard the Atlantis and dive 100ft below the surface for a fascinating tour beneath the waves. The adventure begins with a boat ride to the dive site, which gives you great views of the West Maui Mountains.
Once reaching the submarine, descend the ladder into the Atlantis and sit near one of the large port windows. Narrated by the vessel’s tour guide, the Atlantis will take you through the wreckage of the Carthaginian. This 19th-century whaling ship now hosts a spectacular reef teeming with stingrays, eel, bluefins, and many other species.
Per Coast Guard regulations, children must be at least 36″ tall to board.
3. The Road to Hana
One of the top things to do for a lot of families is to visit East Maui. The Road to Hana winds around Maui and leads you to some of the best spots on the island.
Walk on the Black Sand Beach of Wai’anapanapa State Park. Watch the sea turtles and surfers at Ho’okipa Beach. Share a fresh loaf of Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread. Follow the trails to waterfalls you can swim in.
The Road to Hana is a full-day adventure. So, you’ll want to plan at least a full for this family fun experience.
You can check out our blog post and podcast episode about whether you should drive Hana Highway yourself or book a certified tour. Go here.
Expert Advice: To explore Hana responsibly while doing all the fun things, we HIGHLY recommend booking a tour with a certified tour company.
1. Start early and plan your route: To make the most of your Road to Hana adventure, start your journey early in the morning to avoid heavy traffic and ensure ample time for stops. Plan your route ahead of time, identify the key spots and viewpoints you’d like to visit and try to stick to your schedule.
2. Be respectful of private property: While there are many beautiful sights along the way, some areas may be privately owned. Always be mindful of signage indicating private property, and do not trespass or disturb local residents. Seek out public access points to beaches and other places to ensure a respectful and responsible visit.
3. Drive carefully and be courteous to other drivers: The Road to Hana is known for its winding turns and narrow stretches. Be cautious while driving, and be prepared to pull over in designated areas to let faster or local drivers pass. This ensures your safety and helps maintain a positive experience for everyone on the road.
4. Practice “Leave No Trace” principles: As with any natural environment, leaving the Road to Han as pristine as you found it is essential. Dispose of trash properly, avoid picking plants or flowers, and minimize your impact on the environment by staying on designated trails and pathways.
5. Support local businesses: One of the best ways to visit the Road to Hana responsibly is by supporting local businesses. Stop at roadside stands, cafes, or shops to purchase snacks, souvenirs, or local crafts. This enhances your experience, contributes to the local economy, and helps preserve the unique charm of the Hana community.
4. Hoaloha Jeep Adventures
There’s so much of Maui to see off the beaten path, and you can do just that on a private Jeep tour! Pile into one (or more) Jeeps to fit your family as your driver/guide shares insights on the island during one of several tours that range from 6-12 hours.
Choose from multiple routes that include the famed Road to Hana, the volcanoes of the West Maui Mountains, historic towns, breathtaking lookout spots, and spots to swim (life jackets for young kids are included). A customized tour lets your guide show you the stops you want to see – and what you shouldn’t miss.
1. Book in advance: These tours are popular, so reserve your spot early to secure your preferred date and route.
2. Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes for walking or hiking. Don’t forget to bring hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen for sun protection.
3. Pack snacks and drinks: While some tours may include refreshments, bringing extra snacks and drinks for your family is a good idea, especially if you have picky eaters or dietary restrictions.
4. Bring a waterproof camera: With so many picturesque locations and breathtaking views, you’ll want to capture these unforgettable moments. A waterproof camera is perfect for snapping photos while swimming or exploring waterfalls.
5. Discuss your preferences: Talk to your guide about your family’s interests and any specific stops you want to include in your customized tour. They’ll be more than happy to tailor the experience to your desires.
6. Prepare for changing weather: Maui’s weather can be unpredictable, so bring along light layers or rain gear in case of a surprise shower during your adventure.
7. Car seats and boosters: If you have younger kids, inquire about car seat and booster seat availability, or consider bringing your own for maximum safety and comfort.
5. Old Lahaina Luau
The best luaus generously share Hawaii’s culture and spirit, and the Old Lahaina Luau – located on the beach of Lahaina, the former capital of Hawaii – does just that.
When you arrive, you’ll be greeted with fresh orchid leis as your family is led to a private table to sample servings of every dish available.
Start with sweet potato chips and hummus, and leave room for salmon, steak, chicken, and roast pig, topped off with pineapple upside-down cake.
And as you dine, watch the story of Hawaii unfold as performers dance and chant in homage to the gods and kings of the past through the shared celebration of the islands’ present. Older kids and teens are sure to love this experience as well. Attending a luau is one of our favorite things to do.
Come ready to eat, learn, and take photos of a night that is unforgettably aloha. Book Here
Idea: The luau is a great occasion to use common Hawaiian words – here are a few to get you started!
1. Book early: This popular luau can sell out quickly, so secure your reservation well in advance to guarantee your spot on your preferred date.
2. Dress comfortably: While there’s no strict dress code, it’s a good idea to wear comfortable, semi-casual clothing that will allow you to enjoy the experience fully. Don’t forget to bring a light jacket or shawl, as evenings can get cooler.
3. Arrive early: To fully appreciate the warm, aloha welcome, stunning beachfront location, and pre-show activities, plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start time.
4. Engage with the performers: The friendly and knowledgeable performers are happy to share their passion for Hawaiian culture. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or strike up a conversation.
5. Capture the memories: The picturesque setting, captivating performances, and beautiful costumes make for fantastic photo opportunities. Be sure to bring a camera or smartphone to capture these precious memories.
6. Encourage kids to participate: The Old Lahaina Luau is an interactive experience with opportunities for kids to learn traditional dances, play Hawaiian games, and even get up on stage! Encourage your little ones to get involved and embrace the spirit of aloha. Awesome place for a family!
7. Allergies and dietary restrictions: If any of your family members have food allergies or dietary restrictions, inform the staff in advance. They’ll be more than happy to accommodate your needs and ensure a delightful dining experience for everyone.
6. Hawaii Mermaid Adventures
Photo credit: Hawaii Mermaid Adventures
Shake a fin for some underwater fun! Treat the kids of all ages at Hawaii Mermaid Adventures. Those between 50-210 pounds can take swimming lessons to explore the ocean as a mermaid or merman. With three fin sizes and multiple colors, these early morning sessions also include social media-ready digital photos.
And if you have children too young for lessons, you can book a mermaid meet and greet, where they’ll learn of forgotten tales and faraway seas! Book Here.
Tip: During your session, ask your mermaid guide about protecting Hawaii’s oceans and ecosystems – and gain a greater sense of kuleana (responsibility) for the islands during your stay.
7. Maui Treasure Hunt
Photo credit: Maui Treasure Hunt
Hike through land and water to unearth hidden plunder during this treasure hunt adventure. You’ll meet in Central Maui, where you’re given a backpack, snacks, bottled water, and a treasure map for the 2-mile hike ahead.
With your guide, traverse through lush jungle forests, cross a river, and swim in the nearby lagoon (if weather permits) as you fulfill tasks and discover points of interest on your map. The treasure hunt suits kids age 3 and up, while younger kids get to tag along for free!
Open rain or shine, pack mosquito repellent, and wear shoes/clothes you don’t mind swimming in or getting muddy. Book Here
Tip: Bring a resealable ziplock bag to protect your cameras or phones from mud and rain!
8. Tour of the Stars at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort
The Hyatt Maui Resort & Spa, renowned as the world’s top hotel for stargazing by CNN Travel, offers a unique experience for family travelers.
Their one-hour “Tour of the Stars” takes place on the ninth-floor rooftop, where you’ll find high-tech telescopes and astronomy binoculars.
Guided by Eddie Mahoney, the in-house Director of Astronomy, the tour provides an engaging and educational experience for kids and adults alike. With his contagious enthusiasm, Eddie ensures that even complex topics are accessible to younger participants.
The tour, which runs nightly at 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., costs $25 per adult, $15 per child, and $30 for non-guests. Only fourteen people are allowed on each tour, ensuring an intimate experience.
Remember to wear flat shoes and bring a windbreaker jacket, as weather conditions on the rooftop can be unpredictable. This unforgettable stargazing adventure is sure to be a highlight of your family’s trip to Maui, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
More Things to Do With Kids in Maui on Your Family Vacation
I realize that there are many activities on this list we could have added. Maui is an excellent destination for the best family travel, offering a plethora of fun family activities that cater to kids of all ages.
From exploring the lush Maui Tropical Plantation to embarking on thrilling adventures with Rappel Maui, there’s no shortage of unforgettable experiences for kids on Maui.
Whether you’re visiting Maui with toddlers or seeking adventures tailored for families with older kids, this beautiful island has something for everyone. Engage the kids with unique experiences, such as stargazing at the Hyatt Maui Resort & Spa or attending the captivating Old Lahaina Luau.
The South Coast of Maui also offers some of the best hikes that the whole family can enjoy together.
So, when planning your vacation to Hawaii, don’t hesitate to choose Maui as your family’s destination. With so many incredible Maui family activities, it’s no wonder that this island is regarded as one of the best places for families. Treat your kids and yourself to an unforgettable family adventure on Maui, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
1. What is the best time to visit Maui?
The best time to visit Maui is during the shoulder seasons, from April to May and September to November. When the weather is pleasant, the crowds are smaller, and accommodation prices are generally lower.
2. Are there any must-try local foods in Maui?
Some must-try local foods in Maui include poke bowls, kalua pork, loco moco, shave ice, and malasadas. Don’t forget to try some fresh tropical fruits at local markets, too!
3. What are the top beaches to visit in Maui?
Some top beaches to visit in Maui are Ka’anapali Beach, Wailea Beach, Makena Beach (Big Beach), Napili Bay, and Kapalua Bay. Each beach offers its unique charm and activities.
4. Is the Road to Hana worth the trip?
Yes, the Road to Hana is a must-do for visitors to Maui. This scenic drive takes you through lush rainforests, past cascading waterfalls, and along dramatic coastlines. Be prepared for a full day of adventure, and don’t forget to stop at some of the iconic spots along the way.
5. Are there any unique cultural experiences to enjoy in Maui?
Maui offers a variety of cultural experiences, such as attending a traditional Hawaiian luau, visiting the historic town of Lahaina, exploring the ancient ruins of the Haleakalā National Park, or taking a tour of a working plantation. These experiences provide valuable insight into the island’s rich history and traditions.
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Bryan Murphy is the owner of Hawaii’s Best Travel and is a recognized authority on responsible travel to Hawaii. Combining years of on-ground experience with insights from the top-rated podcast, Hawaii’s Best, he connects with a broad online community, offering a richer, more responsible way to experience Hawaii.