The Ultimate List of Things to do in Maui with Kids

WEST MAUI


Atlantis Submarine – This tour takes about 1 hour 45 min.  This was our boys favorite activity the entire trip.  First you take a boat ride out to the submarine site.  We saw a pod of 150 dolphins on this boat ride already making the trip well worth it.  Then when we submerged down to 120 feet below sea level we saw a whole new world of sea creatures.  We were lucky to see a shark, eagle rays, lots of fish and coral, eels, a shipwreck and more.  The tour guides tell lots of jokes and they play music.

Banyan Tree Park-The tree is massive in size and pretty impressive.  Its limbs grow into tree trunks! This park is located near the shops on Front Street so you can head there right after. It’s free and a great shady place for a picnic lunch.

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Lahaina Cannery Mall- Another great place to go shopping at higher end shops.

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Old Lahaina Luau – You can’t go to Hawaii without attending a luau.  This one was situated right on the beach as the sun set.  They had fun activities to do before the show started such as coconut husking and tasting, hula dance instruction, a chance for the kids to play with some Hawaiian instruments, and the digging up of their beachside imu (underground oven) to reveal the fabulous roasted pork that was for dinner.  The food and entertainment was amazing.  Lots of options to choose from as well as unlimited drinks.  They greeted us with lei’s when we arrived and gave us a loaf of banana bread as a parting gift.  The show was narrated and they had a variety of dances, chants, and musical numbers.  Our kids were captivated and our 4 year old said this was the coolest thing ever.

Maui Ocean Center-We ended up not having time to head to this aquarium.  It looks like it is a decent size.  You can enjoy looking at the fish, sea turtles and sharks.  The center has small tide pool where they can touch starfish as well as the tunnel they can walk through while sharks stingrays swim overhead.  Again there was so much to do we didn’t have time for this one but I hear it a great thing to do on a rainy day.

Pride of Maui Whale Watch & Snorkel Adventure- This was a fabulous tour.  We spent three hours on the ocean.  The first hour we headed to the Coral Gardens and spent an hour snorkeling.  They gave instruction and then set us free.  They had special boogie boards for the kids to look through the open window to see some fish as well as a glass bottom part of the boat for the kids to view.  The boat had a slide off the back that people could go down as well.  My kids were not brave enough to do it, but they had fun watching others slide into the ocean.  After we finished up snorkeling we enjoyed a BBQ lunch and then spent the rest of the time whale watching.  Whale season in Maui is from November to May but the peak of the season is January to March.  We saw more whales then we could count.  They were breaching and tail slapping and blowing water all over the place.  It was amazing!  Even if you don’t do this tour make sure you go whale watching while in Maui.

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Sugar Cane TrainThis train travels 6 miles from Lahaina to Ka’anapali in West Maui. The train tour offers amazing views of the ocean. It currently only runs in the winter months.

Whalers Village and Museum –Located by the Kaanapali beach.  There is a modest admission fee for the museum but they do validate parking.  When we were there the museum was under construction but lots of reviews says it is very well done.  There are also lots of shops and a free trolley that will take you from one end to the other every 30 min.

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Ka’anapali Beach-There’s a 3-mile long beach walk that begins in front of the Sheraton and goes to the Hyatt at the other end of the beach. Near the middle of the beach is the Whaler’s Village Mall with plenty of great shops and restaurants. The Westin has an exhibit with parrots and flamingos while the Hyatt is home to Maui’s only penguins.  You also might like watching the cliff divers at Black Rock.  Don’t forget to get a snow cone at Ululani’s right on the beach as well.

Drive the West Maui Loop. The Kahekili Highway is not for the faint of heart but if you brave the one lane Cliffside roads, you’ll be rewarded with views of Maui not often seen and glimpses of native Hawaiians living all but “off the grid.” The Nakalele Blowhole and the Olivine Pools are found along this route but if you approach them from the Kapalua side, you can see these sights and turn around and drive back towards Lahaiana without attempting the “scary” part of the drive.

NORTH MAUI


Kahului Airport-You will most likely fly into this airport and start your vacation here.  There is another small airport in Hana but not many people fly here.  There are lots of great restaurants around this area as well as Costco, Walmart and Target.  You can stock up on a few things here before you start your trip to save some money.

Mama’s Fish House- This is a must on Maui.  You need to make a reservation in advance.  It is a fancier place.  The menu is pricey, but the food is so worth it.  Everything on the menu is printed daily.  The items state who caught them in the morning and where. You get a great loaf of honey bread and some mushroom soup along with coconut towels to wash off your face and some hawaiian desserts before you go with every meal. It’s also located right on ocean for great views and ambiance.

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Paia Town– A really small town with a few shops and restaurants.  Fun to walk around and grab something to eat for an afternoon.

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Ho’okipa Beach Park-Every afternoon green sea turtles will swim up onto the beach (the far East end) to sun themselves while they nap. It was a perfect spot to see a whole herd of turtles both in and out of the water.  Plenty of free parking and restrooms here.

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Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum-We never made it inside the museum but you can’t miss this big factory while driving around Maui.

Maui Swap Meet– Every Saturday lots of vendors set up and offer everything from fruits and veggies to clothes, flowers, and souvenirs.

MAUI UPCOUNTRY


Haleakala National Park-Beautiful view of the sunrise at the top of the volcano where the crater is.  The road is very windy and takes an 1 1/2 hours or more depending on what time you leave.  We didn’t make the trek up because we had already done too much driving but we heard this was one of the coolest things to do.  Our friends said the view from the top is breathtaking as you are usually above clouds.

Maui Tropical Plantation-This 60-acre working plantation Coconut, banana and plumeria trees and rows of taro patch were everywhere.While a tram tour is offered for a fee ($15 adults/$5 kids), we preferred to walk around the grounds and enjoy this beautiful setting for free.

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Ali’i Lavender Farm.- Located in a picturesque spot of the island overlooking the farms and ocean.  Just the view is worth the $3 entrance fee.  Our kids also had fun with the scavenger hunt through gardens and the prize and ice cream samples at the end.  There are other beautiful gardens and hang gliders all around.

Surfing Goat Dairy-Our kids love animals so we had to take a tour of the dairy.  It is only about a 20 minute tour but they tell you about all the history and let you play with and feed the goats (the baby goats are the cutest) plus try your hand at milking them.  You also get to sample some of their cheeses.  Cost: $12.50 for adults and $8 for kids. Tours are every half hour Mon.- Sat. from 9am-5pm.  They also have a great sandbox for your toddlers to play in while you wait or eat your picnic lunch.

Komodo’s Bakery in Makawao– A great place to stop for some of their famous stick donuts.  We went early in the morning because we heard they typically sell out before lunch.

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Leilani Farm Sanctuary-Another fun animal experience is the Leilani Farm Sanctuary- an 8 acre farm in Haiku that is home to: chickens, cats, goats, rabbits, donkeys, peahens, pigs, deer and ducks. Cost: $20 per person, $10 for kids Times: Wednesdays at 4pm and Saturdays at 10am.

Lahaina Animal Farm & Guest Ranch-Home to horses, mini horses, goats, rams, sheep, donkeys, chickens, turtles, fish and pigs.  They let you feed and pet their animals Cost: $25 per person Times: Mon.- Sat. 9:30-11am *you need to make a reservation before visiting.

 

Iao Valley Hike-An easy and short hike that allows you to escape and explore the jungle.  The short path takes you to a view point where you can take pics of Kuka‘emoku or most commonly known as “the needle”.  After the hike you can also travel through the lower area near the stream.  $5 parking fee.

EAST MAUI


Drive the Road to Hana. This activity will take an entire day.  It is one of the things Maui is known for.  Don’t miss it!  Start your journey early so you can have plenty of time to explore all the beauty of Ke’anae Peninsula with it’s rainbow eucalyptus trees and bamboo forrests.  Then head to Wanapanapa State Park for the black sand beaches and sea caves.  Last make it Oheo Gulch and the 7 sacred pools where there are gorgeous waterfalls and views.  For more stops on the road to Hana check out my post The Road to Hana with Kids.

SOUTH MAUI


Big Beach in Makena State Park- A nice long beach with parking.  The water was a little rougher here but if you keep driving South past Big Beach you will pass a nice shore side drive past some million dollar homes that ends in a lava field.

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Visit Historic Keawalai Church–  This is located just across the street from the parking lot that goes to the beach.  It is a beautiful church and graveyard located right along the waterfront.

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Turtle Town at Maluaka Beach-We went here to search for green sea turtles because we heard this cove was a favorite hang out.  We must have gone the wrong time of day because we didn’t see any but you can see Molokini out in the distance and the beach is really nice with small waves perfect for kids.

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The Shops at Wailea-Some more high end shops around the resorts.  We never stopped here because your hotel was close and we went home for lunch.

Kamaole Beach Park I, II, &  III- Located one after another in Kihei.  There is a great playground, lots of restaurants, and the wonderful beach for kids to play with gentle waves.  There was also a boat dock that we caught some great glimpses of the sunset in the evenings.

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Snorkel at Molokini. Molokini Crater is Maui’s famed snorkeling spot and a short boat ride away from South Maui. This crescent shaped crater creates a protected refuge and ideal spot for snorkeling with countless species of fish and some of the most impressive coral formations in Hawaii. Boat trips out of South or West Maui will usually include stops at a couple of other great snorkeling spots and going with a guided excursion will give you the best chance at swimming with turtles and maybe even getting to see an octopus or two.  We chose to do a different snorkeling tour because the boat ride was several hours and we didn’t think our kids would appreciate it as much, but if you have snorkelers on your hands go here for sure!

Take a day trip to Lanai. The “Pineapple Isle” is just a short ferry ride away from Lahaina but it feels like another world. An island ATV tour is a popular option if you’re looking for something organized but there’s also an island shuttle system that runs between the two Four Seasons resorts and Lanai City.

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