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Maui With Kids

Great Maui Vacations for Families

Maui is a great destination for families as well as honeymooners.

The Hawaiian word for family is "ohana". Like many Hawaiian words, it evokes a feeling, an emotion, more than a literal "blood relation" meaning. It means belonging, to a group of relatives or a wider community, whose members support and nurture each other - like any family. Family is one of the touchstones of Hawaiian culture.

Family members of all ages will have a great time in Maui. There are so many things to see and do, and a wide variety of accommodations to appeal to families of any size or age.

The main resort areas are Ka'anapali, Kapalua, and Wailea. Each is a planned community, with accommodations and ammenities designed with visitors in mind. The resort communities of Maui have an abundance of condominium complexes, unlike Mexico or the Caribbean.


More Family-Friendly Maui


For families, condominiums provide the most comfortable, home-like atmosphere. There are condos available with up to 3 bedrooms, plus sofa beds, and can accommodate up to 8 people. There is no need for multiple hotel rooms or eating out at every meal. While no one wants to spend their vacation cooking for the family, having breakfast, snacks or quick meals in the condo save the family time and money - and it's much more convenient than getting dressed and getting into the car to go to a restaurant for breakfast or a light lunch after a swim.

Condos also generally have laundry facilities in the unit - you can toss some clothes in the washer before you leave for the day and into the dryer when you get home - and pack half as many clothes! This is especially good for young children, who often require several changes of clothes during the day.

Resorts also have activity desks to help you plan your stay. Kayaks and snorkle gear are generally available, and in some areas, you can snorkle right from the beach in front of your resort. The activity desk can also help you arrange a tour or guided activity, if you prefer.

Instead of staying at a Maui beachfront hotel, stay at a reasonably priced Maui beach condo.

Here are some of the family-friendly activities you can choose from:

- Swimming. Check with the activity desk for the best beaches for small children - it may not be the beach in front of your resort. Children, like everyone else, need to be careful in the ocean, but they don't need to avoid it. Just find out which beach to go to, and ask the lifeguard on duty for tips on enjoying the water.

- Snorkling. Even relatively young children can snorkle if they are so inclined. Seeing the colorful fish is a great activity for kids! Just be sure to check with the desk for a calm, shallow bay - and have the child wear a life vest for safety. Resorts often offer lessons and gear, or they can direct you to a local shop.

- Surfing. Older children can learn to surf at one of the many surf school or camps on the island. Some of them (such as Goofy Foot) guarantee you will be standing on the board and riding a wave at the end of a 2-hour lesson.

- Scuba diving. There are even more diving schools, and older children can take a lesson with you. Exploring the varied marine life deep under the ocean surface is a wonderful family activity.

- Building sand castles and lounging in the sun. Need I say more?

- Horseback riding. You may not think of horses in Hawaii, but the islands have a rich agricultural heritage, and paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys) use horses just as they were used in the Old West. Seeing Maui on horseback allows you to see areas that are inaccessible any other way. And kids love horses!

- Drive the Hana highway (or take a tour). The scenery along the Hana highway is breathtaking - which is why it's a good idea to let someone else do the driving. The driver, unfortunately, needs to focus on the road and will miss the beauty of the lush foliage and waterfalls, so very different than the western side of the island. A tour also travels the rough roads circling the island, where rental cars are prohibited. This is a great way to see the whole perimiter of the southern island, and a treat for the whole family.

- Take a whale watching excursion. From December to April, humpback whales make their home on the western shores of Maui. There are thousands of them, and while you can often see them from shore, a boat trip gets you up close to the action. The whales are accustomed to the tour boats (and the boats are very respectful of the whales), so they often will swim right along side the boat for several minutes. You might see a mother and calf, or watch them breach the surface and dive below. A sunset cruise is a special treat.

- Take a hike. There are trails throughout the island, from easy walks to more strenous hikes past waterfalls, through lava tubes, and up hills. Some are guided, but you can pick up maps at tourist offices. A guided tour offers more information about your surroundings and its history.

- Take a ride on the Sugar Cane Train. This historic steam locomotive runs from Ka'anapali to Lahaina, and has open-air coaches to view the spectacular scenery along the way. There is also Hawaiian entertainment and stories of the railroad's role in the history of the island.

- Take a helicopter or small plane tour. There is no better way to see the island than from above. Maui has 5 distinct ecological zones, and the striking contrast between the dry western side and the lush, green eastern coast is best viewed from the air.

In addition to these activities, you can check with your resort's activity desk for age-appropriate activities offered at the resort itself. Many have hula or lei-making lessons, or art classes. You can let the kids enjoy themselves while you catch some rays on the beach!

Don't dismiss Maui as a honeymoon destination only. If you spent your honeymoon there, re-visit it with the kids - you'll experience a whole new island!

Written by Judy Christensen

I love to travel and always share my vacations with my sisters.

As a former travel agent, I focused on vacations of particular interest to women - girlfriend getaways, mother-daughter or sister vacations, reconnecting with friends.

You can visit me at Great Women's Vacations:

Maui Banyan Condo Rental  |  1215 South Kihei Rd. #O-432  |  Kihei, Hawaii 96753

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