Summer is a great time for family travel to Maui. Consistent sunny weather and loads of fun things to do are a recipe for happy lifelong Hawaiian memories. From toddlers to teens, there is something for every interest. Following are a few of our favorite suggestions for fun family activities on Maui.
First, check out the amenities at your condominium resort! Many of Destination Maui Vacations units have beach gear and beach towels. Each has a pool area and most are right on the beach. So, your Maui home base is where you will want to plan some of your family activities.
Also check out our Beach and Baby Gear Rental page. It is so much easier to rent affordable gear on island than to lug it to Hawaii or worry about buying it when you get here.
If you are a first-time visitor, it is helpful to learn about the different areas of Maui in our island overview page. Here you will learn about the popular tourist areas of Lahaina in West Maui and Kihei in South Maui. But there are also quaint towns and villages throughout the island, each with their own flavor. Our favorite flavor? Rainbow Maui-style shave ice! A scoop of ice creamed topped with shaved ice, finished with tropical flavorings like mango, coconut and passion fruit. You can’t go wrong!
Plan Your Adventures
- Maui Ocean Center- Topping the list of fun family activities is Maui Ocean Center. Much more than an aquarium, this centrally located activity features extensive indoor displays taking you on a journey from the shoreline to the tropical reef and into the deep ocean. Lovely outdoor features of the park overlook the ocean and small boat harbor. You can check in on the aquarium’s turtle hatchling program progress, before they are returned to the ocean. Or, listen to an interpretive talk at the touch pool. The highlight of the open ocean exhibit area is a walk-through acrylic tunnel where you can see sharks, rays and other pelagic species swim overhead or even under your feet! The crown jewel is Maui Ocean Center’s new 3D Sphere Theater (opened in 2019) with incredible visuals and sound, it is as if you’re swimming with whales! We recommend a visit to Maui Ocean Centerearly in your vacation for a primer on the ocean, unique marine life and Hawaiian culture. *Note: advance reservations currently required.
• Boat trips. After visiting Maui Ocean Center, how about going on a snorkeling tour to see marine life in the water? There are many companies to choose from, but the Four Winds II is the most family friendly. This comfortable 65’ catamaran has plenty of shade, a super fun water slide, see-through floatation devices and a hot grilled BBQ lunch. Kids too young to snorkel? Kids under 3 years old go free, and there is a glass bottom boat room so they can see fish and maybe some divers under the boat, and even get a kid tattoo like a real pirate. Arrrg! Families will want to pack some reef-safe sunscreen and motion sickness remedies for boating adventures just in case. Anyone prone to sea sickness should take remedies an hour before departure.
- Explore some beaches. There are endless opportunities for family beach and ocean activities, from searching for shells and beach glass to more active endeavors. Kids and teens might like to take a surf or stand-up paddle board lesson. Surfing is woven deep in Hawaiian history and culture, as ancient Polynesian voyagers brought the sport to the islands. If you look close you may see Hawaiian sea turtles that have come up on the beach to rest or nest. They are slow moving and look like big rocks unless you look closely. Turtles are protected by law, so don’t approach, touch or disturb them in any way. Just appreciate them from a distance.
Of course Maui is all about its beautiful beaches, but some are a bit more child friendly than others. Check out our beach guide and map and you will see a listing for Baby Beach in Lahaina. There is also a reef protected area at one end of Baldwin beach on the Northshore near Paia, and near the Whale Sanctuary in Kihei. No matter which beach you choose, please be mindful of safety whenever you are in or near the ocean, even if it looks calm. Stay alert. A rouge wave could knock down a little one, so use caution. Here is an ocean safety guide from our friends at Lahaina Divers. FYI- youth as young as 10 years old can do a Discover Scuba dive with Lahaina Divers—no certification necessary!
• Submarine ride. Dive down 100 feet without getting wet on Atlantis Submarine. An easy and comfortable way for the whole family to explore the underwater world. Spot marine life and even a sunken ship. Children must be at least 36 inches tall.
- Feast at a luau. A luau is great introduction to Hawaiian and Polynesian culture, music and dance. Plus, these are heaps of delicious dishes to try—some familiar and some adventurous. Depending on the luau you choose, there may be games or crafts for children to participate in before the program begins. In our opinion, everyone should do a Maui luau at least once in their lifetime. This list shows you the top rated ones.
- Haleakala National Park. Traveling to Haleakala National Park is like going to another world. Not only does the landscape change dramatically as you climb through different microclimates, the drive holds the world’s record for climbing to the highest elevation in the shortest distance- 38 miles. The red, desert like crater resembles the surface of a distant planet. National parks offer activities for kids and families, including a fun Junior Ranger program, making this a great adventure for littles.
- Maui Tropical Plantation. This unique attraction has something for everyone- nice park-like grounds include a family-friendly zip line operation that is available to children as young as 5 years old, with a minimum weight requirement of 45 pounds. There is also an entertaining 45-minute tram tour of the plantation with a stop along the way to see a coconut husking demonstration, an extra large souvenir shop, ice cream and amazing fresh brewed Hawaiian coffee as well as a full-service restaurant.
Save some money on activities
We have partnered with Maui Sights and Treasures to bring value to our guests when booking activities. A very long-standing activity company on Maui, you can save money booking, especially when you bundle a few must-do activities together. Click this link to find special deals. Just our way of saying mahalo for staying with us.
Destination Maui Vacations has well over 100 nicely appointed vacation rental condominiums, on the beach or in close proximity. Two units at Koa Resort are particularly popular with larger groups- each has 3 bedrooms and 2 baths! Our newest unit is Koa Resort 4I– with a top to bottom beachy remodel. The other, Koa Resort 1J is designed for family gatherings inside and out.
No matter where you choose to stay with us, our goal is for you to have a memorable Maui vacation!