Aloha! A few weeks ago my husband and I took the kids to Maui for a family vacation and boy was it magical! I can’t wait to give you a run down! Maui is such a family friendly island and we’re already planning our next trip back!
Where to Stay:
We stayed at the breathtaking Westin Kaanapali . It’s a beautiful family resort that has several different room options. We opted for a one bedroom villa that had a kitchen. The kitchen option allowed us to make breakfast and store fruits and milk in the refrigerator, since we didn’t want to eat out for every meal.
What I also love the about the Westin is it’s stunning private beach with the warmest water and whitest sand. But if you want to hang by the pool you also have several options. For kids they have a pirate’s ship pool that is very popular. My kids personally loved the main pool that had the most spectacular water slide!
What to do:
Explore the beaches:
Maui’s beaches are just pure paradise and represent a wide variety of landscapes. I absolutely loved our hotel resort beach but another beautiful option was Napili Bay. It has beautiful sunsets and it’s also good for snorkeling.
Hike in the Iao Valley State Park:
Hike among the clouds and these jagged green peaks. The hike was very easy (only half a mile) and child friendly and some of the most stunning lush greens I’ve ever seen.
Attend a luau:
Quite possibly the best luau on the island if not all of Hawaii is the Old Lahaina Luau. Spots fill up quickly so try to make reservations at least a month in advance. The food and drinks are also better than other luaus I’ve been to. They have a spectacular show but they also teach hula dancing, ukulele playing. The most magical part is the sunset view and the professional photography who can capture a family photo overlooking the breathtaking Maui sunset!
Road to Hana: This is day-long drive is top of the list for many Maui travelers. The road winds through lush green tropical forests, cloud-capped mountains, waterfalls, and some of the most beautiful and interesting beaches on the island. However the total driving time round trip is 8 hours and I just didn’t think my kids would tolerate the drive. So we’re going to wait until they’re a little older.
Maui Plantation and Farm Tours:Our friends highly recommended this tour but we had no time to go. They have small tour/kid friendly trains that drives around the property talking about the different fruits grown in Hawaii. They even teach the kids how to chop a coconut. You can visit here on your way to and from Iao Needle Trail.
Whaler’s Village: If you’re in the shopping mood Whaler’s Village is a popular shopping mall in Lahaina, with high end boutiques.
Where to Eat!
My favorite topic of all!
Here some of my favorite places and things to eat on Maui:
- Paia Fish Market : Seafood shop with fresh seafood and Hawaiian plate lunches.
- Fish Market Maui : This place has amazing poke and ahi tuna sandwiches. The kids also enjoyed their fish and chips! We picked up lunch and had a picnic at Napili Bay! You can also pick up fresh fish and grill at the resort.
- Merrimans: I absolutely loved this romantic restaurant. It’s kid friendly and we experienced the most beautiful sunset. Make reservations in advance!
- Mama’s Fish House : A local favorite and one of the nicest restaurants on the island. However, I found for the food you’re getting it was way too pricey. For example we ordered a small halibut ceviche special for $60! Make reservations in advance.
- Koiso Sushi Tiny little sushi bar with only 14 seats and two seatings a night. You need a reservation and it fills up weeks in advance. Worth the splurge.
- Paia Fish Market (100 Baldwin Ave, Paia): Seafood shop with fresh seafood and Hawaiian plate lunches.
- Ono Gelato : Local artisan gelato shop featuring home-grown tropical flavors.
- Ululani’s Shave Ice: Hawaiian shave ice voted the best on Maui.
- Cook at home: If you are staying in a vacation rental, pick up some island fresh produce at the farmers market and grocery store and eat like a local. There’s also a Costco near the Maui airport you can pick up some incredible poke.
What to pack:
There’s so much to do on the island, I really recommend picking up this guidebook: Maui Revealed, or as locals call it the “Blue Book” (7th edition, released December 2015). My friend Vee introduced me to the “Hawaii Revealed” series (they have books on Maui, Kauai, Big Island, and Oahu) when she was living in Kauai and I found it very helpful for understanding local culture and finding the islands’ hidden gems. The book is essential if you are driving the Road to Hana and want to find all the best waterfalls and sights. They also just released the Maui Revealed iPhone app ($7.99) which may be a helpful alternative.
As far as what to pack, pack light and leave the heels at home. Maui is very casual–there are no dress codes anywhere. Flip flops work in even the nicest restaurants. Staying on the beach you’ll be fine with shorts and a light sweatshirt if you tend to get cold when it’s breezy.
If you are planning to drive up to Haleakala, you may want long pants, a long-sleeve shirt, and perhaps a light jacket, especially if you are planning to get up there before sunrise. It rains more often on the North Shore and in Hana so bring a rain coat if you are planning to spend time there. Don’t forget your tennis shoes.
Sun protection: Sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. I packed a lot of sunscreen because we kept reapplying to prevent getting burned.
Looking for snorkel gear? You can buy cheap, one-size-fits-all adult and kid sets at Costco, or rent better quality equipment from a local dive shop or your resort.
What else: Have you been to Maui? What are your best Maui travel tips?