Between its dazzling beaches and gorgeous waterfalls, Maui naturally creates a fabulous place to bring your children. You can amp up the fun with this guide featuring 12 awesome things to do in Maui with kids. Here are our top picks and why you should add them to your trip to Hawaii:
What is there to do in Maui for families?
1. Take a waterfall hike
“Magical” may come to mind within minutes of setting out with the team at Hike Maui. This company leads visitors and kama’aina into some of Maui’s most remarkable settings.
On their Waterfall & Rainforest Hiking Adventure, you and your family will hike to cascades from 10 to 40 feet high and have a chance to swim in large natural pools under the falls.
Kids love the opportunity to leap safely from rock ledges and will be hypnotized by the surrounding rainforests. During the tour you will learn riveting facts about the island from Hike Maui’s naturalists.
2. Learn about Hawaii’s history at the Royal Lahaina Luau
Immerse your children in the history of Polynesia and Hawaiian culture with this enchanting luau. The festivities take place on Kaanapali Beach, a long strip of white sand that attracts visitors from around the world.
Everyone receives a shell lei before witnessing a Pua’a Kalua ceremony, in which a roasted pig is pulled from an imu (or underground oven).
Mesmerizing music will play as dancers presenting performances from Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, and New Zealand take the stage. The views are striking, the atmosphere is lively, and all of it concludes with a breathtaking fire dance. Best part yet? The Royal Lahaina Luau has Maui’s only kids’ buffet.
3. Play under one of the most fascinating trees in Hawaii
Sprawling nearly two miles, climbing more than 60 feet in the air, and made up of 16 trunks, the crown jewel of Lahaina town is the mammoth banyan tree at its center.
Lahaina’s Banyan Tree, which was planted in 1873, is a sight to behold no matter your age but has a special appeal for children. What’s more, the park in which it grows holds a number of sightseeing wonders, including an ancient courthouse, an art gallery, and the Old Lahaina Fort. This was built in 1831 to shield Lahaina’s people from the rowdy sailors who came to port.
4. Experience a Maui whale watching tour
Northern Pacific Humpback Whales bring new meaning to the idea of a behemoth, weighing between 25 and 30 tons and ranging in length from 39 to 52 feet. The effect? Stunning.
While you’re bound to spot a whale tail from Maui’s shores during Hawaii’s Whale Season (December through April), your kids will undoubtedly deem seeing them up close an unforgettable experience.
Redline Rafting Co. is just your ticket for Maui whale watching. The energetic, knowledgeable crew will take you into the Pacific on one of their speedy crafts so you can observe these beauties as they leap and breach in their natural habitat.
Along the way, your children will be provided with information about whales from one of the on-board naturalists.
Bonus: Parties are limited to 8 people, creating a more intimate setting. This also gives kids more of an opportunity to have their whale questions answered. (And there may be plenty.)
5. Enjoy a sunset cruise during Maui’s Golden Hour
In the hour before one of Maui’s epic sunsets, the island is submerged in a luminous glow known as the Golden Hour. The Kai Kanani, a luxury catamaran that calls the waters in front of Makena’s Maluaka Beach home, will take you and your kids into the heart of the action on their Adventure Sunset Sail.
The two-hour-long trip is enhanced by the smooth music of Dwight Quenga. Dinner is catered by The Market-Maui, a Wailea café that’s renowned for its organic, tasty fare. Kids will have the pleasure of feeling the wind in their hair and the chance to ask the crew any questions they might have.
6. Watch a sunrise at Haleakala National Park
Land at OGG (Kahului Airport) and kids are sure to be hypnotized by the sight of Haleakala, the enormous shield volcano that stretches over 10,000 feet into the sky.
A place legendary for its myths, it’s also one of the finest places in the world to watch the sunrise. You will have to be an early riser to make it to the crater, but we promise it will be worth it. Be sure to book your Haleakala sunrise tour in advance because they tend to be very popular.
7. Witness Maui’s “Needle” at Iao Valley State Park
It’s impossible to not feel captivated amidst all of the lushness at Iao Valley State Park. Situated in Central Maui and accessible by car, the verdant park was named a National Natural Landmark in 1972 and for good reason.
The primary attraction of this pretty place is a plant-covered lava remnant that rises 1,200 feet. A short paved path will bring you and your kids closer to the spire, while the park itself, packed with a stream you can splash in, dense rainforests, and intriguing information about the valley’s cultural importance renders Iao the perfect place to spend a nature-filled day.
8. Attend a Hawaiian art class
Kids 8 and up will relish the opportunity to paint their own souvenir at the uber-fun event that is Island Art Party. Located in sun-splashed Kihei, this venue places an art teacher at the helm, who will lead you and your children through painting a Hawaiian-themed image.
The vibe is happy and encouraging, the music buzzy and entertaining, and parents can savor a glass of wine while their kids dive into colors and shapes.
9. Check out the sea life at the Maui Ocean Center
Whether it’s a rare rainy day or your family is looking for educational fun, Maui Ocean Center is your place. Voted one of the top 10 aquariums in the world, the facility features countless wonders.
Among them? A 750,000-gallon “Open Ocean” tank, where broad stingrays glide through the water, schools of fish part for giant trevally, and sharks slither around it all. Meanwhile, a turtle lagoon showcases Maui’s cherished honu, one of the largest hard-shelled turtles on Earth.
Kaho’olawe, a deserted, sacred island off the coast of Maui, comes to life in the center’s Kaho’olawe: A Story of History and Healing Exhibit, where your children can learn about the island’s geography and history. In sum? There are heaps to see and do at this leading Maui attraction.
10. Learn how to surf in Maui
Surfing got its start in the Hawaiian Islands and remains one of the state’s most popular activities. For a solid reason, too: There’s nothing like slipping down the face of a wave.
Kids will love a chance to take surfing lessons at Cove Park, a South Side break that offers small, gentle waves (ideal for novices).
You can kick back on the beach as surfing instructors provide safe but exciting lessons for your kids, or you can jump in and partake in the fun.
11. Hike with kids in Maui
For those new to the island, Maui may not necessarily bring to mind woods teeming with greenery. And yet, that’s precisely what you’ll find at Makawao Forest Reserve.
Sitting 2,500 feet above sea level, the 2,093-acre reserve boasts aromatic eucalyptus, melodic birds, and flowering ginger. Kids will enjoy exploring its trails, whether it’s done on their feet or on the seat of a bike.
Not to miss: The Kahakapao Loop Trail, a moderate, 5.4-mile ring that will take you past tropical ash trees, Cook pines, and Hala Pepe. Sound too long for your keiki? Just spending an hour in the forest will satisfy their “I-want-to-get-outside” cravings.
12. View Maui from above
Want to give your children an indelible, exhilarating experience? Consider booking Fly Maui’s Discovery Flight. This 50-60 minute odyssey into the Maui sky, led by an FAA-Certified Flight Instructor, lets aspiring pilots take the flight controls.
After an introduction to the aircraft, you and your keiki will be taken into the air to find (and feel) the freedom of flying. The views are astonishing, and the lesson will linger for a lifetime.
Want additional info on traveling to Maui? Tune into The Aloha 360 Podcast. This charming and compelling show delivers inside tips on all things Maui—from how to curate your island experience to the best restaurants on each side of the isle. Listen in for great info—and cherish your Maui vacation with your ohana.~
Author bio: Chris Norberg has been sharing his home with the world for close to 2 decades. You can read more Maui reviews and favorites at his blog: Maui Guide.