Visiting Maui with the kids? Whether you’re bringing a baby, toddler, or an older child along for the adventure, a little strategic planning will go a long way.
Things to Do in Maui with Kids
Be realistic about your capacity and your kids’ interests when planning your trip. Not every top Maui activity is going to be right up a kid’s alley, and that’s okay–it might just mean you’ll need to prepare before you go. The Road to Hana, for instance, might sound like a dream–and it is!–but the reality of traffic can make the hours in a car tough for kids. Intersperse those activities with ones that will light up their wildest dreams and, particularly in the case of babies and toddlers, schedule in plenty of quiet time to rest and regroup.
These activities are some of our favorite kid-friendly options you’ll find on the island:
Take a Molokini Snorkeling Tour
Molokini is the little half-moon-shaped island just off the coast of Maui, and it’s a snorkeler’s dream. Many snorkeling tours here are great for kids, even offering kid-friendly “snorkel” options for kids who aren’t comfortable with a face mask and snorkel.
Visit the Maui Ocean Center
America’s largest tropical aquarium, the Maui Ocean Center will give you a fish’s eye view of the world among the reefs. The youngest toddlers will be enchanted, and so will the adults in your group!
Go to a Kid-friendly Luau
Not all luaus cater to the younger set, but many do–and the kids will love to watch the hula dancing, fire spinning, and live music in a lovely outdoor environment where no one cares if you drop food on the floor.
Take a Surfing Lesson
If the kids in your group love the water, they might adore a surfing lesson or two. Instructors here tend to be world-class, keeping kids safe and helping them to stand up for a wave or two before the session is over.
Go for a hike
There’s just something about spending unstructured time outdoors. Maui is full of great hiking trails at a variety of difficulty levels. Iao Valley State Park is a great place to spend half a day exploring.
Take a Tour of Maui Tropical Plantation
The “train” ride is the highlight here. Kids love the open-air ride. Additionally, kids and adults of all ages love seeing tropical fruit and plants growing in their natural setting.
Spend the Day at a Kid-friendly Beach
Maui is home to some big-wave beaches that aren’t great for the littles, but there are also some lovely beaches with calmer waters that kids will love. A couple of favorites are Baby Beach in Baldwin Park and Secret Beach in Wailea. Choose your beach wisely and buy or rent a beach umbrella or canopy to bring along.
Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Maui
Picky eaters have met their match! These restaurants know how to bring the spirit of aloha to the youngest of visitors. These are some of the best restaurants for younger kids in Maui, but there are countless more.
Located in Lahaina, Kimo’s is an iconic Maui eatery for plate lunches and classic Hawaiian food. They also have an accessible kid’s menu full of their favorites (like fried chicken and mac and cheese). The atmosphere is casual and fun, and this is a favorite stop for families among locals and visitors.
This Wailea restaurant features live music and a great atmosphere. The little kids will get free noodles and cheese just for showing up! You’ll also find a well-rounded kid’s menu here. Monkeypod Kitchen truly has something for everyone.
Kihei Caffe is a welcoming breakfast joint that offers outdoor seating, a full range of coffee drinks, breakfast pastries and sandwiches, and loads of fresh-air, shoes-optional aloha atmosphere.
Have pizza lovers along for the ride? Flatbread Company in Paia has got the goods.
Insider Tips for Stress-Tree Travel With Kids on Maui
Of course, the generic travel advice for kids holds true here: bring snacks always, allow more time than you think you’ll need between activities, and schedule plenty of downtime.
But there are some Hawaii-specific tips you should keep in mind when traveling with the younger set:
Don’t Underestimate the Sun
Even when the temperature is mild, many visitors from further north find the sun to be particularly bright on the Hawaiian islands. That’s not touristy imagination at work; it’s a real thing. Infants, toddlers, and young children in particular benefit from hats, sleeves, and sunscreen (choose a reef-friendly variety without oxybenzone). If you’re planning to spend a day outside at the beach, on a hiking trail, or otherwise exploring, make sure to stay well-hydrated and pack along shade. Nothing can ruin your vacation (or your kids’) like overexposure to the sun.
Don’t Stress! Kids are Welcome Here
When traveling to Maui with a host of kids, it’s easy to worry about how loud they’re being, what a mess they’re making, and whether or not they’re bothering the people around them. The good news? Hawaii locals value their keiki (children) very highly, and they have a realistic view of what kids are like: adventurous, curious, and noisy! Of course, it’s important to practice respect for the culture, land, and people around you, but you’re not likely to get the side-eye in Maui just because your kids act like kids.
Consider Ditching the Stroller
There are places where it’s really handy to have a stroller (like in the airport or walking the streets of Lahaina)–and places where you’ll be glad you left it in the rental car. If you’re comfortable babywearing, bring along a lightweight baby carrier or ring sling and rely on that; you’ll thank yourself when you see other visitors trying to navigate stairs and tight spaces in shops and restaurants with a stroller.
Traveling to Maui with kids means going with the flow and expecting the unexpected. Not always easy, but well worth it! Take the pressure off yourself and your kids to have the perfect vacation and just relax and enjoy the activities as well as the downtime you have together. You’ll never forget those memories.