A girl at Ali‘i Kula Lavender Farm Image Amanda Emmes
A girl at Ali‘i Kula Lavender Farm. Image: Amanda Emmes

Maui family travel

It may be one of the world’s top honeymoon destinations, but Maui has an abundance of experiences and resorts to entice families as well

Best things to do on Maui

While the historic town of Lāhainā has been closed to the public since 2023’s devastating wildfires, the rest of Maui is open. The island offers a diverse range of experiences for families – from swimming at beautiful beaches to exploring dormant volcanic landscapes and feeding farm animals in the Upcountry.

Kā‘anapali Beach
Kā‘anapali Beach

Beautiful beaches

Just north of Lāhainā in West Maui, the 6.5-kilometre-long Kā‘anapali Beach is one of the island’s most beautiful. Several operators offer water sports including surfing, stand-up paddleboarding and jet skiing, and each night a sunset torch lighting is held at the northern-most cliffs, known as Pu‘u Keka‘a (Black Rock). It’s also a popular place for snorkelling, along with Honolua Bay, ‘Ahihi Kinau Bay, and Wailea’s Ulua Beach. Boat tours that include snorkelling depart from Kā‘anapali, Mā‘alaea Harbor and Kīhei.

Whale watching

From December to May, whale watching cruises also offer the chance to spot migrating humpback whales, or look for the gentle giants from the shore at McGregor Point west of Mā‘alaea or the beaches of Kā‘anapali, Kīhei and Wailea. You can also visit the Whale Center of The Pacific at Whalers Village in the Kā‘anapali resort area to find out more about these fascinating creatures.

A family at Maui Ocean Center
A family at Maui Ocean Center

Maui Ocean Center at Wailuku

Maui Ocean Center at Wailuku is a great place to learn more about marine life. It boasts the world’s largest collection of live Pacific corals, with more than 60 exhibits, a 16-metre long walkthrough tunnel, a turtle lagoon and a tide pool with sea stars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers.

Helicopter flight over Haleakalā Crater

To find out why Maui is called the ‘Valley Isle’, splash out on a scenic helicopter flight. You’ll soar over the dormant Haleakalā Crater, the hidden waterfalls of West Maui and former sugar and pineapple plantations. It’s also worth getting up early to watch the sunrise over Haleakalā, which towers more than 3,000 metres above sea level. You can also hike into the crater and go horse-riding or mountain biking in the national park, while kids can take part in its Junior Ranger program. A reservation is required for each vehicle entering the park from 3am to 7am and can be made online up to 60 days in advance and two days in advance of the start date.

Visit recreation.gov

Ali‘i Kula Lavender Farm

In Upcountry Maui, children can frolic among the perfumed purple flowers at Ali‘i Kula Lavender Farm, which also has a small shop selling lavender-inspired skincare products, aromatherapy and essential oils, tea, coffee and chocolate. Take a tour of nearby Surfing Goat Dairy to meet the farm animals and learn how cheese is made before a tasting. There’s also a petting zoo about 10 minutes’ drive south of the town of Lāhainā, Maui Animal Farm, with goats, pigs, miniature horses, bunnies, chickens and even a tortoise. 

Best hotels and resorts on Maui

Accommodation on Maui is concentrated in three regions. On the north-western side of the island, you can stay at Kā‘anapali — a family-friendly resort area along Kā‘anapali Beach. A little further north you’ll find Kapalua, a resort community with luxury resorts including The Ritz Carlton and Montage brands, and championship golf courses. In the south, Kīhei, Mākena and Wailea offer more high-end hotels and resorts, and a quieter vibe. In the east, you can stay at the Hyatt property Hāna-Maui Resort.

Montage Kapalua Bay

Perched atop picturesque Namalu Bay, Montage Kapalua Bay is on a 10ha property between three white sand beaches, offering luxurious residential-style accommodation amidst tropical gardens with an on-site Spa Montage. Along with several restaurants featuring locally inspired cuisine, the resort also offers access to two nearby championship golf courses, cultural activities, and a twice-weekly lū’au.

montage.com

The whale shaped pool at OUTRIGGER Kā‘anapali Beach Resort
The whale shaped pool at OUTRIGGER Kā‘anapali Beach Resort

OUTRIGGER Kā‘anapali Beach Resort

With a whale-shaped pool, open-air bar and family-friendly activities, OUTRIGGER Kā‘anapali Beach Hotel (previously known as Kā‘anapali Beach Hotel) is another great option. Set among more than four hectares of tropical gardens, the hotel’s refurbished beachfront rooms appeal to everyone, from solo travellers to couples to families. The Resort also offers free daily cultural classes and the opportunity to participate in water sports and beach activities, with world-class golfing, dining and shopping all within walking distance.

kbhmaui.com

Honua Kai Resort & Spa

Also at Kā‘anapali, Honua Kai Resort & Spa has a network of pools with waterfalls, waterslides, caves and fountains. Its restaurant, Duke’s Beach House, has a large outdoor dining area with thatched umbrellas and tiki torches.

hawaiivacationcondos.outrigger.com

Best restaurants and cafes on Maui

Al fresco dining at Huihui at OUTRIGGER Kā‘anapali Beach Resort on Maui
Al fresco dining at Huihui at OUTRIGGER Kā‘anapali Beach Resort on Maui

Huihui at OUTRIGGER Kā‘anapali Beach Resort

With a large al fresco area and a firepit, Maui Brewing Co. at OUTRIGGER Kā‘anapali Beach Resort is ideal for families. It serves craft beers on tap with a menu of locally sourced, island-inspired cuisine. Cane & Canoe, at Montage Kapalua Bay, also has a farm-to-table philosophy, with interiors inspired by a traditional Hawaiian canoe house.

huihuirestaurant.com

A family dining at Duke's Maui
A family dining at Duke's Maui

Whalers Village

Whalers Village, on Kā‘anapali Beach, also has some excellent offerings, including seafood restaurant Leilani’s On the Beach, Hula Grill and Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman, which was founded by Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine co-founder, Peter Merriman. Duke’s Beach House also has a great vibe, with live music adding to the atmosphere.

whalersvillage.com

Cheeseburger In Paradise

In the nearby town of Lāhainā, Cheeseburger In Paradise is a relaxed oceanfront eatery with tiki décor serving burgers, local favourites like loco moco, fish tacos and a range of salads. Also in Lāhainā, Kimo’s seafood restaurant is known for its hula pie dessert, and has a dedicated kids’ menu. The Old Lāhainā Lū‘au is the place to go for a feast of traditional dishes, including kālua pork roasted in an imu (underground oven), lau lau (bundles of pork and taro leaves), ‘ahi poke and lomilomi salmon.

cheeseburgernation.com

Pā‘ia Fish Market

In the old plantation town of Pā‘ia on Maui’s North Shore, grab a fish burger from Pā‘ia Fish Market before dessert at Pā‘ia Gelato, which offers flavours like Maui Pineapple, Big Island Macadamia Crunch and Sandy Beach (peanut butter, coconut candy and lava sea salt).

paiafishmarket.com

Read More