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03 May 2019

Hawaii is home to a very family, or ‘Ohana’ oriented culture, which is why so many families travel from around the world to spend some quality time here. As one of Hawaii’s top vacation destinations, Maui is no exception when it comes to a wide array of family-friendly activities. Whether your tribe are total beach bums, adventure enthusiasts, or prefer indoor activities, there’s plenty of kid-friendly things to do around Maui. Read on for a list of our favorites.

 

Photo Courtesy of Ululani's Shave Ice

 

1. Eat Dessert First

Shave ice is Hawaii’s favorite cold treat, and a ‘must sample’ sweet while on island. Ululani’s Shave Ice, voted Maui’s best shave ice multiple years in a row, is an excellent place to start. They have several locations around the island, including in Lahaina and Kahului - in case you want to grab some straight from the airport! Another spot to keep the whole family happy is Breakwall Shave Ice and Down the Hatch bar and restaurant. This combination shave ice spot and gastro pub which serves up mean fresh fish and happy hour specials was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.

 

2. Explore ‘Iao Valley

Lush 'Iao Valley (pronounced EE-OW) is a memorable place for a day trip. Its breathtaking landscape includes Kuka‘emoku, the ‘Iao Needle, which rises 1200 feet from the valley floor. The valley has a rich cultural and spiritual history and was the site of the battle of Kepaniwai where the forces of Kamehameha I conquered the Maui army in 1790. There is a paved 0.6-mile walk that takes you to the ‘Iao Needle lookout. Also in the valley is the Kepaniwai Park and Heritage Gardens, established in 1952 to recognize the multicultural history of Maui. You can walk through the park and observe different structures that celebrate the contributions of Hawaiian, American missionary, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Korean, and Filipino cultures.

Another spot to stop at in the area is the Maui Tropical Plantation, which offers a 45-minute tram tour on the ‘Tropical Express’ through their gardens with fruit tastings.

 

Bird's Eye View of Iao Valley

 

3. Hit the Beach

Maui has many beautiful and kid friendly beaches. Two of our favorites are Napili Beach and  Launiupoko Beach Park. Napili Beach is wonderful for snorkeling, with turtles often making a celebrity appearance. When there’s swell, it can be good for boogie boarding and playing in the waves. Plenty of golden sand is ideal for making sand castles. Just south of Lahaina, Launiupoko Beach has ample parking and space for picnicking with shade trees. There is a nice sandy section of beach for entering the water, with a protected bay. On the outside, you can watch surfers catching waves that break farther offshore.

 

4. Get In Touch with Your Inner Cowboy (or Girl)

Just mauka of Launiupoko beach is Lahaina Stables, which offers 2-hour scenic trail rides through the Launiupoko Valley. Founded by a Kentucky native, this tour gives you historical insight into the area and gorgeous panoramic views of the coast and mountains. Children ages 8 and up are able to take the tour, which includes snacks and water. Tour cost is $135 per person.

 

5. Visit The Maui Ocean Center

The Maui Ocean Center in Maalaea is one of the top aquariums in the world! In addition to their aquarium, they have wonderful educational exhibits on the coral reefs of the Pacific, Hawaiian culture and history, whales, and more. They offer a behind the scenes tour where you can meet with a real marine scientist, learn about the animals they care for and help them with feeding. They are open 9 am - 5 pm every day, 356 days a year. General Admission price is $24.95 for kids, $34.95 for adults, and $31.95 for seniors. The ‘behind the scenes’ tour is $15 extra per person.

Photo Courtesy of the Maui Ocean Center

 

 

6. Catch Some Air

If you’re looking for some high energy indoor fun, or simply a way to wear out the kids, head to Ultimate Air indoor trampoline park in Kahului. They have all kinds of trampolines and a foam pit. All ages are welcome, and jumpers are separated by age and size for safety. A one-hour pass is $22. If you have a large group, reservations are recommended.

 

7. Spend A Saturday In Up Country Maui

Take a weekend drive to the Upcountry Farmers Market. This market is the best on the island, with tons of vendors selling fresh produce, crafts and value-added products, plus delicious prepared foods. This market is a favorite for island residents and is a super family-friendly environment with room for the kids to run around. It’s best to get there early, as it runs from 7 am - 11 am, and the good stuff goes fast. After the market, check out the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm for a tour. Admission is $3 for adults and children 12 and under are free. Their beautiful property is set on the slopes of Haleakala with stunning ocean and mountain views, plus photo worthy lavender fields that smell amazing.

 

Photo Courtesy of Maui Animal Farm

 

8. Visit Maui Animal Farm

Located just south of Lahaina, Maui Animal Farm offers hours of entertainment for younger kids in a fun, educational environment. They offer public and private petting zoo tours and birthday parties. They have an awesome collection of critters, including miniature ponies and donkeys, goats, sheep, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, tortoises, and a pig. Visitors can pet, feed, and learn about each animal with guidance from the staff.

 

9. Go On A Cruise

The Reefdancer glass bottom boat is an entertaining time, especially for younger kids. Departing from the Lahaina Harbor, it’s a great way to see ocean life up close, without getting wet. Scuba divers put on a show and bring sea life up to the windows so you can get a good look. Children 3 years and under ride free. Adult tickets are $39.95 and children 4-12 are $19.95. The Pacific Whale Foundation offers day trip snorkel cruises and more out of Lahaina and Wailuku. They have reduced rates for children 12 and under. Cruises start at $105 for adults and $65 for children 12 and under.

 

Photo Courtesy of Slappy Cakes Maui

 

10. Play With Your Food  

Slappy Cakes in Kaanapali is a fun family oriented breakfast place to make your own pancakes. Enjoy creating and eating the pancakes of your dreams with your very own griddle at your table. They offer a variety of pancake batters to choose from, including chocolate, buttermilk, gluten-free/vegan, plus rotating seasonal flavors. Another fun time for dining with kids is at the Cool Cat Cafe in Lahaina. Voted Maui’s best burger, this 1950’s style diner has a laid back atmosphere and big comfortable booths. They have shakes, cocktails, and even delicious taro burgers if you don’t eat meat. They even have an air hockey table.

 

Did we miss your favorite kid-friendly activity on Maui? Share it with us.

 

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