Best Things to do in Maui with Kids
Maui is the perfect vacation spot for families. With plenty of things to do that adults and kids will love, beautiful views, and awesome beaches, there really is something for everyone. Maui is a Hawaiian Island that has both sandy beaches and also forest/hiking opportunities so you can both relax and have some adventures as a family. I went to Maui for 2 weeks with my 2, 5, and 8 year old and found out all the best beaches, places to eat, and top things to do in Maui with Kids!
Maui will become your favorite place. My kids still beg to go back years later!
Click here for the ultimate Maui guide of places to stay, how much to budget, and more.
Top Things to do in Maui With Kids
It is safe to say that most people come to Hawaii for the beaches. Maui has so many options for beaches but some are better for kids than others. Always look online for tide and wave information because the ocean is powerful and always changing. Some of the beaches that had mild waves when we went to Maui as a couple, had giant waves when we went with our family. So always use your best judgement and respect the ocean.
On each beach they also have flags so be sure to understand what the different colored flags mean. Red means severe hazards and I would stay out of the ocean if there is a red flag! Yellow flags mean the ocean conditions are rough, but not (usually) life-threatening. Use caution and common sense with yellow flags. Green means mild or calm but remember that the ocean is unpredictable so again use caution, always.
Top Beaches in Maui for Kids
1. Baby Beach in Lahaina- I recommend this be your first beach experience with kids. It is almost always mild because of the reefs. It is shallow so you can wade pretty far out. This is also a great place for snorkeling for the first time for both kids and adult. We were able to see many colorful fish and a couple of sea turtles!
This beach is a great place to let your kids build up their confidence in the water before moving on to anything else. We came back to this beach a total of 3 times on our trip because it was one all three kids were able to enjoy.
Baby beach is also the perfect beach for you guessed it babies and toddlers! My toddler spent most of his time playing in the sand with
tiny little wave hitting his feet.
2. Sugar Beach AKA Kealia Beach- This was my 8 year old’s favorite beach. It is calm and shallow but also had big enough waves for them to boogie/body board. I think it was thrilling enough for them without being too intimidating like some of the other beaches.
There is also a lot of trees so this is a beach you can get some shade in. There is reefs so be aware when walking out in the water. The water wasn’t quite as clear here when we went than some of the other beaches.
3. Kamaole Beaches- Kamaole beaches are 3 different beaches next to each other in Kihei. These are great as they have lifeguards, nearby bathrooms and showers.
Kamaole ll and lll are our favorite. Usually they have very mild waves although one day there was a red flag and the waves were pretty crazy. But overall these are very fun and family-friendly beaches. We also saw a lot of sea turtles at this beach!
4. Makena Surf- Not to confuse this beach with Makena or Big Beach which is NOT a family-friendly in my opinion. The waves are huge and people often get injured or even killed at that beach.
Makena Surf is not usually as crowded as some of the other beaches. It is great for snorkeling and soft sand. Every beach has to have access to the public.
Every hotel or condo has a public parking to access beach. So for this beach you’ll park in the public access parking at the Makena Surf Condos and follow the walkway to the beach.
This was one of my personal favorites. It is beautiful and has very blue and clear water. This beach is one of the ones that had different
wave conditions on different days. One day they were extremely big and rough and on another day they were calm and gentle.
For the brave or tween/teen age you can try Black Rock or Kaanapali. There is cliff diving and awesome snorkeling around black rock. I found on the numerous times we went that the waves were huge and a super strong rip current that pulls you out which I did not feel safe with my kids.
Sugar Beach Lahaina
Makena Surf Wailea
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One of the fun things about Maui with kids is there is so much more to do than just beaches even though beaches are super fun!
Top Things to do With Kids in Maui Besides Beaches
1. Haleakala Sunset- Haleakala is the a volcano that gets up to 10,000 feet. Most people go to the top to watch the sunrise but you must leave at like 2-3 am to get there in time and if you are like me and my kids, that would be 1000% torture. So save yourself the hassle but still be able to see this amazing and breathtaking experience by going for the sunset. Don’t skip it, really it’s that amazing. You will feel like you are on the top of the world.
A couple of tips that we learned so you don’t have to. First, dress warm! I mean REALLY warm. It is 10,000 feet so it is much much colder than the rest of the island. It said it was going to be 50 degrees which for where we come from is not that cold but it FELT much colder at the top and our kids complained a lot. So, I am talking layers AND a warm coat. Gloves. Beanie. All of it and maybe even a towel or blanket from your hotel. Trust me, dress warmly.
This will make or break the experience with kids. Next give yourself plenty of time. Depending on where you are staying it can take hours to reach the top BUT do it, you won’t be sorry!!!
2.Road to Hana- Some people don’t recommend the Road to Hana with kids but we did it and had an amazing time. I think it’s a personal decision. The things you need to ask yourself is how does your child do in the car? The Road to Hana is not about getting to Hana. There really is not much to do in Hana. It is the experience of the drive and the journey and all the stops along the way that make this such a great experience. I think it is the ultimate adventure. So you will be in the car all day but you are stopping all the time as well. But you will have to ask how your kid will do on this type of adventure.
Renting a car is a must for this adventure! Get 10% off your car rental here.
The next is car sickness. This is winding road and I have a child who gets major car sickness but we just made sure to keep up on kids dramamine and have sea sickness bands and she was good and had a good time. There are so many fun and beautiful stops on the way that you would never get to see otherwise.
My advice if you do the Road to Hana with your kids, just go with the flow and go as far as you can go. You don’t HAVE to make it to Hana or the 7 Sacred Pools. Go until you can tell your kids are getting close to being done and then just turn back and head back to your hotel. For more info on the Road to Hana head here.
3.Whale Watching- Whale watching season in Maui is December 15th-May 15th. If you are lucky enough to be there during that time then you have to do whale watching. The humpback whales come to Maui to have their babies.
Book your whale watching adventure here!
There are many different companies that have whale watching tours. One of favorite is with the Pacific Whale Foundation. They are a non-profit whose goal is protect the ocean through science and advocacy. Their boat tours are fun and you know you are going with an ethical company who has the whales best interests at heart. We were able to see several moms, babies, and male protectors as well as several dolphins. They breach out of the water which is absolutely amazing to see and kids will be just in heaven!
4.Aquarium- Right next to Pacific Whale Foundation is the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium. This aquarium was a nice change of pace and a great activity if you happen to get some rain one day on your trip. There were fun hands on activities, plenty of sea life to touch and feel and see.
5. Luau- I took my two girls, ages 5 and 8, to a Luau while my husband stayed back with my 2 year old. You can always bring your toddlers to a Luau but I knew that wasn’t going to work for us.
The Luau was one of my girls’ highlights of their whole Maui Trip. I have been to two different Luau’s on Maui and each offers something a bit different. The one I went to with my husband is Maui’s most popular which is Old Lahaina Luau. This one is fun because it has activities before the food and performances like hula dancing instruction, games, and watching them roast a pig in the ground. It is buffet style Hawaiian food and unlimited drinks. The dancers are amazing and lovely and it being a traditional Maui Luau there are no fire dancers. I think this one is a great option for families.
Old Lahaina Luau was sold out when we went with our kids so we tried out Feast of Lele. This one is a bit different as your food is brought out in courses followed by different shows. It has performances from other islands such as Tahiti and Fiji. This one does have fire dancers and is right on the beach which my girls loved. Both options I recommend.
6. Iao Needle– Iao Needle is a lush forest with a short paved trail to a scenic look out to a needle like mountain formation. There are other short trails down to river where based on the water flow you can walk on rocks. This hike is easy and a great pit stop on the way to airport before leaving Maui.
7. Nakelele Blowhole- This takes you to the northern tip of Maui and has a pretty drive with pretty overlooks. Once you arrive, you will go down a lava rocks to an amazing blowhole by the ocean. The ocean water shoots up the blowhole really high. Kids love it! It also blow up little crabs which is cool.
Be careful and do not approach the blowhole. Stay where the rocks are dry, you never know when a big wave could come crashing over. There are tons of great photo opportunities and yet another way to see Maui with cool lava rock formations.
Black Sand Beach
Garden of Eden
Maui is full of great places to eat. Not all are perfect fits for kids though so I thought I would share our top places to eat in Maui with kids. Places my kids loved it, weren’t too expensive, and were delicious.
Top Places to eat in Maui With Kids
1.Coconut’s Fish Cafe– For adults their fish taco are the BEST but if your kids aren’t big seafood fans they have great kid option like spaghetti, quesadilla, or mac and cheese. You know the usual kid fare.
2. Slappy Cakes- This is a unique place that kids LOVE. It is a pancake place where there is a pancake grill at the center of the table where you can make your own pancakes and pick your own toppings. For adults, get the already prepared Macadamia Nut Pancakes, they are amazing.
3. 808 Deli- This place is great because the food is good but it also pretty affordable as far as the island goes. Kids can get a dog or sandwich and the adult sandwiches are super yummy.
4. Da Kitchen– This is a great one for typical Hawaiian food. The portions are really big so you can get more bang for your buck
5. Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice- This is the best shaved ice on the island in my opinion. Go there once, twice, or five times, no one will judge. They have so many unique combos but they are all delicious.
6.Aunt Sandy’s Banana Bread– There are many banana stands, this one is on the Road to Hana and my favorite. So be sure to pick some fresh warm loaves!
7.Fresh Fruit Stands– There are tons of fresh fruit stand all over the island, be sure to get some!
Top Places to Stay in Maui With Kids
There are so many different options on where to stay in Maui. You can go the Airbnb route which will save tons of money because you can cook and not have to eat out as much but there are so many amazing hotels options in Maui. It can be nice to have a hotel with a pool for some relaxation in the evenings.
There are tons of hotels to stay at as well which range from moderate priced to very expensive. I am going to share the top places to stay with kids.
(my kids LOVED the pool), rooms were clean if a little dated.
Clean with beautiful views and a fun pool
Clean, comfortable in the classy Wailea.
These are individually owned units you can book on hotels.com or Airbnb. The one we stayed was comfortbale, and clean and it is right across from the Kamaole beaches which is on my top beach list for kids.
Tips for Traveling to Maui with Kids
Save money by buying used boogie boards, sand toys, etc at thrift shops on the island or Facebook marketplace. Sometimes people just hand you their used stuff as they are leaving the beach and heading back home. Pay it forward!
Pack as little as possible when going to the beach. Maui beaches aren’t usually park and they are right there. You have to walk a bit to reach them. This can make for grumpy parents and kids especially when you have TONS of gear. So cut back where you can and make sure the kids are carrying some stuff too.
The beach takes a lot out of kids so just be patient. The time you leave the beach until you get back to your hotel can be a trying time. Along those same lines, pay attention and make sure you leave before they are too overtired. If you wait until they are exhausted getting them to car is going to be a nightmare and the drive back as well.
I like to alternate a beach day with an adventure or non beach day.
Maui with kids was so much fun, it really has been one of our family’s most favorite vacations. My kids are constantly asking when we can go back. You honestly can’t go wrong with Maui. I hope this list of all the top things to do in Maui With Kids helped!
I would love to hear of anything I missed in the comment below! Aloha!
Top Gear to Have for Traveling to Maui with Kids
- Reef Safe Sunscreen- Maui can be deceptive. It doesn’t feel overwhelmingly hot a lot of the time but man does the sunburn hit. So make sure you are applying often to prevent painful sunburns.
- Dry bags- This is a must for things like your wallet, phone, and anything else you don’t want to get wet while you’re at the beach.
- Sand Resistant Beach Blanket- This one is huge and big enough for the family and sand doesn’t cling to it. It fold up to be tiny which is so convenient for packing.
- Baby Powder- If you have kids sensitive to the feeling on sand on their skin then baby powder will be your life saver. You just put on and it makes the sand fall off the skin effortlessly.
- Umbrella or sunshade- Check Facebook Marketplace or local thrift stores for cheap gear
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