Is it worth going to Maui, Hawaii for just a few days? Absolutely! Below, I’ll share a fun and relaxing 3-day Maui itinerary with kids. Keep scrolling for all the info!
This 3-day Maui itinerary was originally published on Hawaii Travel With Kids and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
Visiting the Hawaiian Islands has been on my personal bucket list since I was a kid. So, when the opportunity came up to create my dream Maui itinerary for our family, jumped on the chance!
If you’re looking for a Maui vacation itinerary from a first-timers perspective, you’ll want to keep reading.
As a newbie, I did tons of research. We also received countless tips and advice from fellow travel friends.
Everyone agreed that Maui was a great island to visit for our family’s first trip to Hawaii!
They waxed poetic on Maui’s sandy beaches, the vibrant tropical fish, amazing hiking trails, whale watching, and so much more.
Below, I’ll share the ultimate Maui itinerary that my family actually used. You’ll also get lots of helpful tips from the perspective of a family of first-time visitors to Maui.
Guest post by Amanda Patsey
Want a Hawaii travel guide? I’ve got detailed guides and 7-day itineraries!
Where to Stay on Maui with Kids
Maui is full of gorgeous areas all around the island with hotels, resorts, B&Bs, vacation rentals, and more. I’m positive you can absolutely not go wrong no matter where you choose to stay.
So, you get an idea of the lay out, West Maui and South Maui are the most tourist-friendly areas. This is where the most tourist attractions are, as well as family-friendly resorts and hotels.
North Shore is more rural with stunning vacation rentals and waterfalls. And Central Maui is where the Kahului Airport is and where Maui locals live and work.
We chose to stay in Kaanapali in West Maui for a few different reasons.
It’s located directly on the beach in Kaanapali and had some great features for both kids and parents.
Not only is the hotel mere feet from the beach, but it also has a great pool right on the beach.
There were also birds and penguins on the property which our kids loved. We would stop to see them every time we passed by!
The Hyatt Regency in Maui also has a luau on-site. Though we didn’t attend, we heard it was pretty amazing.
The town of Kaanapali in West Maui is home to many other beautiful beaches and excellent resorts. There’s a great area within walking distance with restaurants, shopping, and more.
But I have to say, the highlight of Kaanapali is hands down the beach! It’s the ultimate family-friendly beach in Maui, with gentle waves and warm water.
It was also not crowded in the least, which we always appreciate.
Renting a Car in Maui
Personally, we think it is 100% necessary to rent a car if you plan to visit Maui with kids. This is unless you plan on never leaving the resort.
When the company Sixt is available at our location, we almost always choose them for our car rentals. Lucky for us, Maui has a Sixt rental car location right near the airport!
We arrived late at night but got a quick shuttle ride to Sixt, where we ended up renting a VW Atlas for a great price for our short Maui trip.
We definitely wanted to have an SUV or van for this trip because we were spending at least one full day in the car to drive the Road to Hana.
If you can’t get Sixt when you visit Maui, or prefer a different company, don’t worry. At the Kahului Airport rental, you’ll find all the well-known rental companies.
Kid-Friendly Maui Itinerary: Day 1
Our first morning in Maui, we woke up bright and early, thanks to that time zone change! We were ready to get out an explore.
As big fans of saving money when traveling, we almost never eat breakfast out when we are on a trip.
So, we ventured out to find a grocery store and stock up on breakfast foods and snacks for our 3 days in Maui.
Less than 10 minutes south of our hotel was a Safeway, which was perfect for us!
Book a Family Photo Shoot
Whenever we travel, we almost always book a family photo shoot with Flytographer. They are super easy, affordable, AND guarantee that I’ll be in some photos. You can get $25 off if you book through this link or use the code HAWAIITRAVEL.
Hike to Nakalele Blowhole
We made it a plan to keep our first day relatively low-key, which is never exactly easy for our family!
The goal was to get out and see the island in the daylight since we had arrived after dark the night before.
And we found out that the Nakalele Blowhole was located about 30 minutes north of the Hyatt Regency in West Maui.
It was close enough that we could get out and explore but still close to the hotel so we could have our chill day!
The road up to the blowhole was an adventure in itself! It hugged the rocky coastline the entire time. We were so excited to see the amazing ocean views from the road.
We really weren’t sure what to expect with something called a “blowhole.” So we simply put the location into Google maps and drove there.
There is a small area for parking. And when we arrived at around 9 AM, there were only 2 other cars.
While there wasn’t an official trail leading down to the blowhole, lot of people choose to hike the coastline. You’ll have to decide if your kids can handle this.
There are, however, warning signs all over to not get too close. The surf on this side of West Maui can be dangerous if you aren’t careful.
If you do climb the rocky cliffs, plan on wearing good hiking shoes that you aren’t afraid of getting wet.
Our family spent some time climbing around the rocks at the Nakalele Blowhole and taking in the amazing views. Then we decided to head back and spend a few hours of beach time at Ka’anapali Beach.
Relax on Kaanapali Beach
At Ka’anapali Beach, there are places you can rent gear for the beach. They even have snorkeling gear and SUP boards!
We mostly just brought towels and got right in the ocean. The beaches in Kaanapali are simply beautiful. And they’re perfect for a family visiting Maui with kids.
Keep in mind when beach hopping in Maui to bring some reef-safe sunscreen! Keep everyone from burning and look out for marine life.
Walk to Whaler’s Village and Eat Lunch
Once we were beached out, or just really hungry, we walked to Whaler’s Village. This is a great shopping center in an old historic building.
Plus, it was only a 15-minute beachside walk along the Kaanapali Beach Walk from our hotel.
At Whaler’s Village, there were food kiosks, beachside restaurants, and food trucks. We chose to eat at Leilani’s, because they had outdoor seating with wonderful views.
The food was great, as well as the drinks. And this was where we had our first-ever Mai Tais!
Leilani’s also offers a great children’s menu which is always key when traveling with picky eaters!
Hang Out Poolside at the Resort
The rest of the afternoon was spent at the hotel pools at the Hyatt Regency.
I’ll be honest, we rarely hang out at hotel pools. But this one could not be skipped! We spent the entire afternoon swimming and lounging poolside.
On this trip, I realized how important (and valuable) it is to work in some relaxing pool days. Even if it’s on the first day of the trip, you all need a pool day!
Have Dinner with Hawaiian Sunset Views!
For dinner, we decided to eat at Merriman’s on Kapalua Bay Beach.
We picked Merriman’s for their happy hour and amazing views. We know you could sit outside right on the water!
Remember how I told you at lunch I had my first Mai Tai ever? At Merriman’s, I had my second. This one was also the best Mai Tai I had our entire time in Hawaii.
If you have kids, this restaurant is perfect. There was a casual atmosphere and the kids loved sitting outside. Plus, the menu had some amazing food that was also kid friendly.
Maui Itinerary with Kids: Day 2
Grab Snacks for a Big Hana Tour
After our relaxing first day, we felt rested and ready to go! This was the plan, since we had a big day ahead of us.
Today it was crucial to be up early because we were off on an epic road trip!
Remember those snacks we bought the first day? We made sure they were easy things to eat in the car with minimal mess and fuss.
Think bananas, yogurt tubes, cereal, and muffins! You could also grab similar items at the Hyatt Regency if need be.
Take the Road to Hana!
This was it! The day we finally got to check off a massive bucket list item: we were driving the Road to Hana!
This was one of the things I did extensive research on before going. The Road to Hana, or the Hana Highway, is a road that runs from Paia on North Shore all the way to Hana in East Maui.
The road runs about 60 miles one-way with all kinds of different places to stop along the way.
Like I mentioned earlier, we made sure to rent a nice comfortable SUV for our trip. We did this so our Hana Tour was pleasant as possible.
Our VW Atlas car rental from Sixt was perfect for the drive.
The Road to Hana is by far an all-day event. If you wanted to, you could take 2 days and stay in Hana overnight.
However, we chose to drive the Hana Highway there and back all in one day. It was totally realistic and worth it for us!
If you don’t feel like driving the Road to Hana yourself, there are tons of companies that offer a variety of group tours like this one.
We wanted to do it on our own terms and have the flexibility. But we did use an app called The Shaka Guide!
It takes you on a self-guided tour and it points out attractions you might be interested in along the Road to Hana. I highly recommend even if you know exactly where you plan to stop.
Start the Road to Hana in Paia
The Hana Highway starts in a town called Paia, which is about 45 minutes north of Kaanapali, Maui.
This is where the Shaka Guide app starts its guidance, and where the mile markers for the Road to Hana begin.
The different sights to see are referenced based on what mile marker they are at.
For the majority of the highlights along this route, there are no signs. So, you have to know where to stop in advance. This is where Shaka Guide is really helpful!
We left Kaanapali at 7:00 AM and weren’t back for a good 12 hours.
Please note that it’s important to get on the road early in order to maximize your time on the journey. This is one of the most popular attractions on Maui.
Plus, if you’re too late, you’ll miss out on parking spots at some crucial stops!
Overall, we made 12 stops on the Road to Hana, and here are some of our favorites:
- Twin Falls
- Ka Huka Smoke Shack
- Ke’anae Penisula
- Wailua Iki Falls
- Lava Tube Caves
- Nahiku Marketplace
- The Black Sand Beach at Wai’anapanapa State Park
Also, you’ll definitely need reservations in advance if you want to visit the famous Maui black sand beach!
By 6 PM we were back in Paia, which has many different options for dinner before heading back to Kaanapali. Paia Fish Market is an excellent choice.
Kid-Friendly Maui Itinerary: Day 3
Take an Early Morning Snorkeling Tour
For the last full day on our Maui itinerary, we decided we wanted to do something totally new and out of our comfort zone.
After some research and suggestions from friends, we chose to book our very first snorkeling tour with a company in Maui called Four Winds II.
This boating company had incredible reviews for snorkeling at Molokini Crater off South Maui. They were also known to be family-friendly, which was important to us!
We weren’t sure if we could take a 4- and 7-year-old snorkeling, but Four Winds Maui was prepared for kids and beginner level snorkelers!
We had to be at the dock by 7:00 AM and the boat was scheduled to disembark at 7:30 AM.
From Kaanapali, it was only about a 30-minute drive to get there. And honestly, these early mornings weren’t that hard as we still were adjusting to the time zone change!
We still had plenty of breakfast snacks and brought those. But Four Winds Maui also offered a light breakfast on the boat.
Once the boat set off to Molokini Crater, the crew came around and handed out snorkeling gear. Then they walked us through the process on how to snorkel.
When I tell you Four Winds II is perfect for beginners, I mean it! We honestly had no idea what we were doing or what to expect, but the crew made it all seem totally do-able!
By the time we got to the crater, we were all excited to get in the water and explore!
We had such a blast and spent the entire time in the water snorkeling at Molokini Crater Then they told us to come back on board the boat to head back to Maui.
Lunch was also served on Four Winds and consisted of a few options that were all kid friendly.
The boat ride to and from Molokini was just as exciting as snorkeling itself. It was whale season and we got to see tons of whales!
Enjoy More Beach Time
Following the snorkeling excursion, you can check out some more beaches in the area. This is ideal since you’re already in bathing suits!
On Maui’s south shore, not far from the Four Winds II docks, you’ll find a ton of incredible beaches in Maui:
- Maalaea Beach
- Mai Poina Beach Park
- Kalepolepo Beach Park
- Waipuilani Park
- Kamaole Beach Park
Many of these beach areas offer snorkeling gear for rent if you wanted to continue using your new snorkeling skills.
Try Shave Ice
There are countless restaurants and food trucks in the area. It’s also where you’ll find the best place for shave ice in Maui: Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice.
This specific shave ice place was our favorite in Maui. They have multiple locations, including one at the Hyatt Regency!
Clean Up and Have Dinner at Mama’s Fish House
We spent the majority of the day in the water, so we wanted to get back to the resort and clean up before dinner.
If you are visiting Maui, there’s one place you MUST make sure you visit for a meal. Mama’s Fish House is one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to!
This was definitely my favorite for a memorable meal in Maui. Whether you go for lunch or for dinner you will not be disappointed.
The location is not the most convenient when staying in Kaanapali (it’s actually back in Paia), but I am telling you it is worth the drive!
Visiting Maui with Kids
Our family only had 3 full days in Maui, and I think we totally made the best of our short time there.
I will say that if you can stretch your Maui itinerary even longer, do it! This Hawaiian Island has so many more amazing things to offer visitors that we just couldn’t get to this time.
If you’re fortunate enough to spend longer on the island, here are some ideas of other fun things to add to your Maui itinerary.
- Visiting Maui Ocean Center
- Helicopter tours
- Attending a Luau
- Visiting Haleakala National Park
- Spending more time exploring the Road to Hana
- Hiking all over Maui
- Trying a Maui Gold Pineapple
- Seeing the rainbow eucalyptus trees
- Looking for sea turtles
- Eating banana Bread
I know we will be doing many of these things and more when we visit Maui again!
Amanda Patsey is a family travel blogger who lives in the Northeast United States. She writes with the goal of helping other families get inspired and plan outdoor adventures with kids in tow.
You’ll often find her and her family hitting the road exploring within the United States. The Patsey family mostly enjoys hiking, visiting National Parks, finding all the best restaurants and breweries.