Last updated on September 13th, 2018 at 10:12 pm
Complete Guide to Maui with Kids
While Maui has the reputation of being a hot spot for honeymoons and babymoons, most of my trips to Maui have included a baby, toddler, or preschooler. I figured I’d gather up my knowledge for this complete guide to Maui with kids! May contain affiliate links.
Maui with a Baby
So many people go to Maui when they are pregnant for their babymoon. But, it can also be the perfect place to go after your baby is born. Babies are pretty portable and you can still have a fun Hawaiian vacation.
WHERE TO STAY ON MAUI WITH A BABY
You can really stay anywhere on Maui with a baby. Lahaina, Kaanapali and Wailea are great areas if you want to spend most of your time relaxing at a resort.
My biggest tip for visiting Maui with a baby is to splurge a bit on your accommodations, especially if this is your first baby.
You will probably be spending more time in your room that you think. Between naps, early bedtimes, nursing or bottle feeding, etc it can eat up a chunk of your vacation.
So, I suggest finding a place where you can put your baby in a separate area to sleep. That could mean an extra bedroom or living room. Or, you can put your baby to sleep in your room and then enjoy the living space in the evenings.
Another option is to get a hotel room that has a lanai that overlooks something beautiful or where you can walk out to the pool. Then, you can enjoy dinner or drinks on the lanai while your baby sleeps inside.
WHAT TO DO ON MAUI WITH A BABY
If your baby will sleep in the car, use their nap time to drive to other parts of the island. If you are staying in Lahaina, the drive to Iao Needle, Haleakala, or Upcountry is perfect!
I’d also suggest buying a baby pool float. A lot of babies don’t like sand, which can make beach time stressful. If your baby is one of those (like mine) they might prefer the pool. Or, you can carry them to the water at calm beaches to let them float around in the ocean.
And for older babies, look into renting an exersaucer or jumparoo. It’s nice to have a safe place to set your baby while you get ready for the day.
Maui with Toddlers
In my experience, Maui with toddlers is very different than with a baby! They are more energetic and have very strong opinions on everything!
WHERE TO STAY ON MAUI WITH TODDLERS
My favorite area to stay on Maui with a toddler is Kihei. It’s centrally located while still being on the beach. You won’t have to spend too long in the car to get around.
There are a ton of food options, kid-friendly beaches, and it’s just a family-friendly town.
If your toddler won’t nap in the car, you’ll want to follow the advice above about splurging on a nice room. You will be spending a lot of time there.
If you think your toddler can do car naps, then focus on a place with a nice pool area. Buy some fun pool floats and plan on spending a lot of time swimming. And check to see what kid-friendly restaurants are nearby.
WHAT TO DO ON MAUI WITH TODDLERS
Stock up on snacks! I usually hit up Costco right by the airport to pick up pouches, crackers, and Hawaiian snacks. I also stop at Long’s to get Hawaiian cookies and Asian snacks.
Find out if where you’re staying has sand toys you can use during your trip. If they don’t, they sell them at almost every store, including grocery stores. Or, bring plastic cups/bottles so your toddler can fill them up with water at the beach and then dump them out.
When planning your Maui itinerary for kids, don’t over-schedule your family. I like to plan an activity for the morning and then check moods in the afternoon and play it by ear.
Best Maui Resorts for Families
Maui family resorts are becoming quite the thing lately! We’ve primarily stayed at the Honua Kai in Kaanapali, but we’ve been researching the best Maui hotels for kids for future trips.
Here’s what I came up with:
While there aren’t resorts in Kihei, I really want to include some condo options because it’s such a convenient (and affordable) place for families on Maui.
This is my pick for a condo in Kihei. With 1, 2 & 3 bedroom condos, it will easy accommodate your whole family. Plus, it’s right across the street from a kid-friendly beach with a large park area.
They have a swimming pool, wading pool (for kids), a jacuzzi, and on-site gym. And the units feature kitchens and washer/dryers.
It’s super close to Da Kitchen, one of my favorite Hawaiian restaurants. Get their kalbi and their deep fried musubi. Trust me!
This condo right across the street from an amazing kid-friendly beach, within walking distance to shops and restaurants, plus it has 2 swimming pools.
Their units have a kitchen and an in-room washer/dryer, which makes it an ideal place to stay in Maui for families with young kids.
This is another condo option that’s pretty affordable. It’s a little further from the beach, but only a 5 minute walk away. With the kitchen, you can save money by cooking or heading outside to BBQ.
While the washer/dryer aren’t in the room, you can do laundry on the premises.
If you think you might not rent a car, Lahaina is a really convenient place to stay if you’d like to do a boat trip or luau.
This is one of the best family resorts on Maui. They have 1, 2, and 3 bedroom villas that feature full kitchens, washers/dryers. And their guest rooms have kitchenettes.
Kids will love their “super pool” complex with waterfalls, water slides, and a grotto.
Parents will appreciate their bathtubs (for kids who refuse showers.) Plus they have a nice spa! And STARBUCKS.
This is one of the most distinct hotels in Lahaina. It’s a historic hotel right in the middle of town! It’s a small hotel with 34 rooms, but they have a pool.
If you aren’t renting a car, this is in an ideal location for walking to lots of attractions.
This hotel has a nostalgic 1950s vibe. There’s a pool, large grassy lawn, and it’s just steps away from Napili Beach.
Families will enjoy the daily complimentary breakfast. And all studios feature a fully equipped kitchen.
There’s also weekly entertainment by the pool.
This is a recently renovated condominium. They have 2 swimming pools. Napili Shores also has black out curtains, which is nice if you need to put kids to bed while it’s still light out.
They have studio and one bedroom rooms, which is great for families with little kids. And there’s an on-site restaurant that features macadamia nut pancakes!
Kaanapali has the biggest selection of the best Maui hotels for kids. It’s kind of a trek from the airport, but it’s perfect for families who want to spend a lot of time relaxing.
We’ve stayed here twice with kids and the pool area is amazing! They have 5 pools, including one with a little water slide! And the beach is just a few steps away from the pool area.
There’s a coffee stand, market with ice cream, and Duke’s restaurant (with a kids menu) on site.
Kids will love the adorable complimentary shuttle trolley that can take families to Whaler’s Village, luaus, golf, and other destinations.
There are 2 pools (including a children’s wading pool, bridges, and water features.) And families can borrow pool noodles and sand toys from the Beach Activities Center.
They also have free coffee available every morning near the lobby.
They have spacious hotel rooms as well as 1-2 bedroom suites with full kitchens.
The Aston Kaanapali Shores has a full kids program called Camp Kaanapali. Here’s where your kids can learn hula dancing, string a fresh flower lei, learn to play the ukulele, and construct their own kite.
They also just debuted their new garden pool, that looks very relaxing. And they have another pool. Both are heated.
This is a really nice resort on Maui for families. Gorgeous rooms and suites and several on-site restaurants.
Kids age 5-12 can participate in Camp Hyatt. And younger kids will love watching the penguin feedings and help feed koi fish!
They also have an on-site luau, which is convenient for families who want to bring kids straight to their rooms for bedtime.
Plus, Ululani Shave Ice is here! It’s my favorite shave ice spot on Maui!
This is another fabulous Maui resort for families. It’s right by Whaler’s Village, which has lots of shops and events.
They have an 87,000-square-foot aquatic playground with five pools, water slides, tropical gardens, waterfalls plus a cave with a hidden jacuzzi.
They also have an on-site luau.
Wailea is probably the most luxurious area you can stay in. It’s pretty pricey, but features great amenities for families.
I am a HUGE fan of the Fairmont brand and this hotel is on my bucket list. There are simply too many family perks to list, so I’m just including some of my favorites.
The Fairmont Kea Lani launched their Keiki Dining Program (kids under 5 eat FREE) and kid friendly cuisine at Kea Lani Restaurant, AMA Bar & Grill, and Kō.
While every child receives a gift when they check in, the Fairmont Kea Lani also offers complimentary amenity kits for baby and tots which include: no-tears hair wash, cleansing soap, gentle lotion, bubble bath, toothbrush and toothpaste.
This resort has 2 family activity pools connected by a 140-foot water slide. Plus, they have a Kids Club (for kids 5-12), a canoe experience and a Hawaiian Cultural Program. There’s also restaurants and shops on site.
And parents will love Willow Stream Spa!
This is another kid-friendly resort on Maui. While they have Camp Grande (for kids 5-12,) they also have an area just for teens.
They have lots of cultural programs, ocean activities, and an on-site luau. And kids ages 5 and under can enjoy FREE breakfast.
The pool area is insane! Wailea Canyon includes four jungle pools, five intertwining slides, a whitewater rapids slide, a Tarzan pool with rope swing, a sand beach, six waterfalls, caves, three Jacuzzis, an infant pool, the world’s first water elevator, and a swim-up bar. And they just opened their new Lava Tube Slide in their pool area.
This looks like an incredible resort with gorgeous views. And they have a restaurant featuring famous Chef Morimoto.
They also have fabulous cultural activities like coconut leaf weaving, coconut husking, hula lessons, ukulele lessons, and an outrigger canoe experience.
They have an on-site luau that features a farm to table menu and an eco-friendly spa.
It’s also a pet-friendly hotel, if you’re considering bringing one with you.
This is a more budget-friendly place to stay in Maui for families. It’s the first Residence Inn in Maui and it’s brand new!
Best Maui Luaus for Families
I highly recommend families experience a luau on their Hawaiian vacation. My kids have been HUGE luau fans, even as babies. The colorful costumes, dancing, singing, etc is completely mesmerizing!
If you are looking for a kid-friendly luau on Maui, the award-winning Old Lahaina Luau is my top pick. There’s an option where families can sit on mats on the ground. This is perfect for snuggling with babies, toddlers and preschoolers!
Plus they have lots of food options and great entertainment.
If you are worried that your kids won’t eat Hawaiian food, check out Myths of Maui. They have a kids menu that includes chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, hot dogs and chips.
Instead of fresh flower leis, they give out shell leis. This makes it a great souvenir for kids to take home!
And this luau is right on the ocean!
Things to do on Maui with Kids
There are so many Maui kids activities! We try to do a few new thing each trip and we never run out of ideas. Here are my top activities in Maui for families:
For younger kids, the Maui Tropical Plantation is a fun excursion. Get tickets for The Tropical Express, an open-air tram that takes you through fields of fruits and flowers. There’s a little demonstration about coconut that my kids enjoyed!
The gardens are really pretty and you can walk around them at your leisure. They also have a large gift shop with Made in Hawaii products.
For older kids, they can ride the Maui Zipline!
If you think you might want to do the Maui Tropical Plantation, Maui Ocean Center, Maui Atlantis Submarine Adventure, and the Bailey House Museum, it’s cheapest to buy this Maui Value Pass.
SURFING GOAT DAIRY
This is a really fun activity to do in conjunction with Haleakala or as a stop when driving around Upcountry Maui. The drive is absolutely beautiful and it’s a completely different part of Maui than the resort areas.
Families have an opportunity to feed the goats or sign up for an Evening Chores & Milking tour.
They sell goat cheese chocolate truffles, award-winning cheeses, goat milk soap, and more!
Even though my kids aren’t super into animals, they liked meeting the goats! When we were there last, there was a nice sandbox area for kids to play in
Instead of boarding a big boat for a Maui snorkeling tour, you get to paddle kayaks! The main goal is to get to Turtle Town to see lots of sea turtles, but you never know what other sea life you might spot!
This excursion is 3 hours long and geared for kids ages 5 and older.
On one of our trips to Maui, we went with extended family who wanted to do a snorkel cruise. Since I had a toddler with me, I did a ton of research to see which ones we could do.
I found the Four Winds Maui and it was awesome for toddlers! They had floats with windows, so my toddler could lay on the board and “snorkel” without getting his face in the water. He LOVED it! And they had a water slide for the older kids!
For families with kids ages 4+, this Molokini and Kealewai Snorkel Cruise looks amazing! Molokini is that little crescent-shaped island off the coast of Maui.
We haven’t done this one yet since our kids are younger, but that’s the plan in a few years. They focus on finding sea turtles!
I’m also interested in this snorkeling cruise to Lanai. They have a little water slide on board. So, when kids are done snorkeling, they have another cool activity. Plus, kids ages 6 and younger are free!
For kids ages 7 and older, this Maui horseback ride takes you to a waterfall and will show you stunning ocean views. And they guides are happy to take your photo during this 2 hour experience.
Plus, you’ll ride through a petting zoo where you can meet all kinds of interesting animals.
Probably the top activity in Maui for families is the Maui Ocean Center. Here’s where they have one of those tunnel aquariums where it looks like the fish are swimming all around you!
They also have tidepools, traditional aquariums, and both indoor and outdoor exhibit areas.
What’s really cool about the Maui Ocean Center is that they offer a lot of Hawaiian cultural programs throughout the day. We participated in one all about hula implements (instruments used while dancing) and it was very interesting!
I’ve been twice with my kids, but it’s not their favorite thing to do. They’d rather see sea life while floating in the water.
Maui sunsets are truly magical! This makes a great date night with (or without) your kids. It’s a plated dinner followed by dancing, if you choose to partake.
A lot of boat rides don’t allow little kids, but this one does. That’s why I included it in this list.
Depending on when you go, you might even get to see some whales!
MAUI TREASURE HUNT
I’ve been hearing about this Maui Treasure Hunt this year. Families will get wet and muddy as they trek around the Maui forests looking for a treasure.
It sounds like a creative way to get your kids excited about hiking on Maui.
MAUI HELICOPTER TOUR
One of the top activities in Hawaii is doing a helicopter tour. It’s a great way to see the islands from a whole new perspective.
With this Maui helicopter tour, you’ll see both Molokai and Maui, which is pretty cool! This tour accommodates kids of all ages. Children under 2 are free.
Another option is the Maui Circle-Island Helicopter Tour, that focuses solely on Maui. You’ll get to see Haleakala Crater, Iao Valley, and even Hana! Children under 2 are also free.
I’ve never done a helicopter tour (I’m slowly building the courage) but it’s a question I get asked, which is why I included it on this list.
Have you done the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage attraction at Disneyland? This is like the real-life version of that ride!
Your family will head inside a submarine for a couple of hours. During this time, divers will carefully hold up sea life to each window.
It’s kind of like snorkeling without getting wet!
We did this when my oldest was 2 years old and he was a little scared of the divers.
SURF LESSONS ON MAUI
If you’re looking for a Maui surf lesson for kids (especially ages 8 and younger,) this private surf lesson looks perfect! The instructors really set kids up for success by doing a lot of the work for them.
Parents can feel good that their child gets one-on-one attention. Plus, if you are traveling with multiple kids, they can surf together while each having their own instructor.
But, if you would like semi-private surf lessons for your family, that’s also an option. They recommend them for kids age 6-10.
For kids ages 6 and older who are serious about surfing, this beginner surf lesson is a great place to learn the basics. But, you must also enroll an adult.
FREE HULA SHOWS
As a hula dancer myself, I INSIST you take advantage of some of the free hula shows on Maui! I suggest picking up a visitors brochure like This Week Maui or Maui Gold at the airport. It will list a lot of free hula shows. Here’s the ones I found:
- Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
- Kaanapali Beach Hotel
- Lahaina Cannery Mall
- Maui Mall
- Whalers Village
- Queen Ka’ahumanu Center
- The Outlets of Maui
- Napili Kai Beach Resort
IF you are visiting Maui during the holidays (Thanksgiving thru New Years,) climb aboard The Holiday Express! It’s a Hawaiian version of a Santa train and it would be super fun for toddlers and preschoolers!
They are trying to raise money to open the train year-round, so please buy a ticket and support them!
Road to Hana
A lot of families ask me, “Should I do the Road to Hana with kids?”
It depends so much on your family. If your kids hate their car seat, don’t like being in a car, are sick or teething, or get motion sickness, DO NOT GO! It will be miserable for everyone!
Otherwise, it’s an emphatic YES! It’s one of the most awe-inspiring things to do on Maui with kids.
I went with my toddler and we had a great time! We explored some gardens, ate yummy banana bread, and played at the beach. He even fell asleep for the whole drive back!
ROAD TO HANA TIPS FOR FAMILIES
- Check the weather. Avoid rainy days, if possible.
- Start early. You won’t want to feel rushed.
- Make frequent stops. My top Road to Hana stops for kids include: Garden of Eden, Lava Tube, Kahanu Garden, Wai’anapanapa State Park, Hana Town, and Seven Sacred Pools.
- Buy banana bread. They sell it a few places, but I like the Halfway to Hana Stand for the photo op!
- Don’t forget bathroom breaks. You can find restrooms at many of the previously mentioned stops, plus others like Pua’a Kaa State Wayside Park.
- Pack snacks and drinks. While there are some cute places to stop along the way, you might want to bring food and drinks as a back up.
ROAD TO HANA TOURS
If you aren’t renting a car, look into Road to Hana tours. This Heavenly Hana Tour provides breakfast and lunch. They can accommodate infants, toddlers, and kids of all ages.
Plus, they stop at several points along the way to get out and admire the amazing sites!
This Road to Hana tour is another option. They emphasize frequent restroom stops, which we all know is vital when traveling with kids!
I also found this Maui Hana Coast Day Trip. It looks like they give you enough time to swim, depending on time and weather.
Taking Kids to Haleakala
I know some families are hesitant to take their kids to Haleakala. It can be a long, windy drive and there’s an altitude change. If your kids are prone to motion sickness, I wouldn’t do this.
However, I took my toddler here and it was amazing! They have a visitors center where you can learn more about Haleakala. And there are lots of walking trails.
Since it’s so high up, wear jackets or bring blankets to keep you warm. It can get quite chilly!
This is a state park, so you’ll need to pay for parking if you drive a rental car.
If you don’t rent a car, you’ll probably want to look into Haleakala tours. There’s a Haleakala Sunrise Tour with Breakfast which accommodates kids of all ages.
Kids ages 14 and older can participate in a Haleakala Downhill Bike Tour where families get dropped at the summit of the mountain and race down the switchbacks.
One thing you’ll notice when you get to Haleakala is that it looks like you’re on Mars. It’s crazy! So, if your family is interested, I found a Craters of Mars Mission to Haleakala tour experience that sounds amazing!
While sunrise at Haleakala is the busiest time to visit (mostly for the unbelievable experience!), Haleakala at sunset is also a nice time to go. This is perfect for families who don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night to drive up to Haleakala in time for sunrise. Plus, you still get an amazing view!
Exploring Iao Needle in Maui
I’m not a fan of hiking, but I LOVE Iao Needle State Park! It’s not super far from the Kahului Airport, so it makes a great first stop in Maui.
It’s the most kid-friendly hike on Maui. The trail is paved and my 2 year old was able to climb all the way to the top without help (including a ton of stairs.)
Since it’s a state park, it costs $5 to park, but it’s well worth it.
My biggest tip is to wear bug spray! The first time I went with my toddler, his little legs got so many bug bites.
Best Maui Beaches for Kids
If you are planning on spending time at the beach with your kids, you probably want to know which Maui beaches for kids are the best.
My top kid-friendly beaches on Maui for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers include:
BABY BEACH IN PAIA
I brought my oldest here when he was 9 months old and it was perfect! The water is super calm so you can dip your babies feet in the water without getting splashed.
It does involve a bit of walking to get to the beach from your car, but I think it’s worth it!
BABY BEACH IN LAHAINA
This beach is ideal for families staying in Lahaina and Kaanapali. The sand is soft and there are barely any waves. It’s awesome for toddlers who want to play in the sand and water.
KAMAOLE BEACHES IN KIHEI
When we stayed in Kihei, I loved that we could walk to these 3 beaches and they were awesome for toddlers! We built a lot of sand castles here. Plus, you can pick up food nearby and have a picnic.
There is lots of parking and they have restrooms.
If you are looking for a picture perfect beach on Maui, Kapalua Bay is it. The beach is adorable and the water is (usually) calm enough for kids to play in. It’s convenient if you are staying between Lahaina and Kapalua.
We did a family photoshoot here on our last day in Maui and I wished we would have come earlier in the trip to have more time to play!
Maui Family Photography
If you’ve read any of my other travel guides to Hawaii, you know I always encourage families to hire a professional photographer to capture family photos during their vacation.
Last time we were on Maui, we used Flytographer and we loved it! They work with several Maui photographers and you can find one that fits your style.
Marie was our photographer at Kapalua Bay. She was bubbly and put our whole extended family at ease for some memorable shots!
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More Posts about Maui
How to Choose the Best Luau in Maui
7 Reasons Why the Feast at Lele is the Ultimate Maui Date Night
Bring Old Hawaii to Life With Hands-On Activities at Maui Nei Native Expeditions
A Week in Maui: Itinerary for Families with Toddlers
Four Winds Maui Family Snorkel Trip