Families looking to push the easy button for a hot getaway best not discount Hawaii’s most popular island! Maui is green, full of amazing beaches & luscious scenery, and it boasts some of the best weather on any of the Hawaiian islands. This tropical paradise keeps visitors coming back time and time again for more fun, relaxation and EASE! With no worries about drinking water, travel sickness or safety, Maui truly is a sure-thing for a families in search of an unforgettable holiday experience. With a world of choices on the island and only a precious bit of time to enjoy it, we thought we’d help you along your way with our top picks for entertainment and sightseeing on this amazing Hawaiian island.
Must-See Maui for Families
You can reassure the kids that this impressive volcano, which rises over 10 000 feet from sea level, is in fact dormant. The last time this beast saw any lava action is estimated between 4- and 5-hundred years ago. The remnants of that activity are still impressive today. As you ascend the up-swelling, you’ll notice the gradual, ever-changing and dramatic shift in scenery from the lush greenery nearer 3000 feet to the stark moon-like appearance of the crater at the volcano’s summit. Newly-arrived travellers with jet lag might find it useful to book a popular sunrise tour of Haleakala on their first morning, but the summit may be accessed other times quite easily by bus tour or rental car.
In the spirit of ease, Ioa Valley State Park is just a short 15 minute car ride for Kahului, but it’ll feel much further on account of the extraordinary change in scenery! Towering emerald needles rise from the forested valley floor in an unearthly show of grandeur, and a river runs through it! Of particular note is the famed 1200 foot Iao needle which served as a lookout point during one of the most crucial moments in Hawaiian history. It was here in 1790 that King Kamehameha triumphed over Maui’s army in a bloody battle that was catalytic in the unification of the islands.
Tales of the relentlessly winding Road to Hana have a way of putting families off of embarking on this incredible journey, but, you heard it here, the drive is definitely doable. The magic of this stretch of road, often worthily hailed as one of the most scenic on the entire planet, is that there are plenty of stops along the way. One gem that will appeal to families is the Twin Falls pit stop. From the parking along the road, it’s an easy five minute hike to a stunning duo of powerful cascading falls. Braver folks even wade in to enjoy a refreshing dip in the receiving pool.
Beach. Pool. Hike. Beach. Pool. Hike. Not too shabby for an everyday routine on holiday, but those looking to mix things up a little might relish spending some time at the Maui Ocean Centre. Dubbed one of the most impressive in the world, this indoor-outdoor aquarium is chock-full of incredible creatures and information on Hawaii’s unique marine life. Particularly impressive is the newly opened ‘Humpbacks of Hawaii’ dome. Easily spotted from anywhere on the premise, this globe-shaped theatre provides a one-of-a-kind 3-D viewing experience of actual footage of humpbacks.
The reasons your family will want to make at least one stop at Hookipa Beach during your visit to Maui are threefold. This gem on the northern coast, near the quaint town of Paia, is great for a family frolic in the surf, and it is also a popular spot to get eyes on a few dozen Hawaiian Green Sea turtles that can be found beaching near the lookout cliff! At first glance, these slow-moving gentle giants are difficult to differentiate from nearby black rocks, but rest assured keen eyes at close proximity will not soon get enough of observing the quiet grandeur of these animals. But without a doubt, the main attraction at Hookipa Beach Park is the opportunity to view some of the most impressive wind and board surfing in the world. Some of the top athletes in the business come to Hookipa to catch waves and, for an onlooker, the spectacle is well worth the trip.
Powerful waves are a Hawaiian trademark, and no doubt your family will enjoy plenty of opportunities to play, surf, dive and frolic in some gorgeous crashers, but occasionally it can be nice to take a break from wild waters especially if you have little ones in tow. Baby Beach in Lahaina town is the perfect place to do just that. This sheltered section of white sand offers a calm shoreline any day of the year, shallow waters and plenty of opportunity to explore reef life.
Choosing which Luau will best suit your interests can be tricky as there are plenty to choose from. For families, though, none can top the Legends of the Ka’anapali! Running on Monday nights, this show offers all the traditional trimmings of Luau experience from the roasted pig prepared by local chefs to the trumpeting of the conch shell to stunning hula dancing. In addition, the Legends of the Kaanapali Luau offers demonstrations (and delicious samples) of traditional poi preparations. Kids will love the opportunity to be the star of show for a portion of the evening during the on-stage hula lessons.
You’ll be saying, ‘Thar’ she blows’ at Nakalele Blow hole! In Maui’s Poelua Bay, you will find a truly unique masterpiece of nature. Nakalele Blowhole was formed by ancient lava which hardened into a natural tube on the island’s rugged northwestern coast. What remains is a natural geyser that is keen to blow its contents (seawater) straight up in the air in a magnificent display of ocean spray! The geyser can be seen a short distance from the parking lot, but the more adventurous in the family may be keen to take a hike to get a closer look (while being mindful to keep their distance from this powerful force of nature!). Nakalele is particularly impressive when the seas are rough and might be something to keep in mind for a day when swimming is not an option.
No winter trip to Maui is complete without setting eyes on a humpback whale or two. Huge populations of these majestic giants come to Maui between December and March to breed and give birth to their young. It is commonplace to spot moms & babies frolicking or males breaching from shore, but spending out to get a closer look on a whale-watching tour is well worth the money. Many families consider getting up close and personal with these not-so-distantly related mammals the highlight of their trip.