Plan an Epic Family Vacation in Maui

December 27, 2017

Maui is highly regarded for it’s family fun activities and accommodations. There are thousands of choices from surfing in Kihei, to submarine tours, to biking down Haleakala. How do you decide what to do on a week-long spring break? How can you tell what’s good for your three year old son versus your eighteen year old daughter? 

We’ve compiled a list of our top choices that will definitely make your kids excited about family time. We’ve included what age range the activity is best for, a general price range (from $-$$$), and the companies we recommend.

Road to Hana

The Road to Hana is one of those bucket list items that you just have to do! The road is lined with a tropical rainforest filled with waterfalls and stunning views. Kids will always remember cliff jumping into waterfalls and swimming in the seven sacred pools!

  • Best for: Older kids. Young kids (especially 7 and under) will get tired and bored before you even reach the first stop. It’s a long drive but worth it for the scenery and hiking, so older kids tend to appreciate it more.
  • Price: $ on your own, $$$ with tour company
  • Company Recommendations: Going with a company will be much easier and less frightening as you don’t have to worry about driving, but will definitely cost you. Maui Pacific Tours and Hike Maui are great options with friendly, knowledgeable guides who will likely take you to a few secret local spots.
  • Insider Tip: If you’re going on your own, go early. Try to leave your hotel or condo by 7:30 AM to beat the crowds. It’s a two lane road most of the way, so it’s not fun to get stuck behind a slow driver. Some must see stops which are mainly in Hana town or past it: Bamboo Forest, Venus Pools, Red Sand Beach, Pipiwai Trail


South Maui is the absolute best place to go if you’ve never surfed before. If you or your kids are a little afraid of the idea of being plummeted by a wave, the Cove Beach Park is a great place for tiny waves and warm, shallow water.

  • Best for: Kids 7+ that are strong swimmers.
  • Price: $$$
  • Company Recommendations: Maui Waveriders or Hawaiian Paddle Sports. Maui Waveriders is conveniently located directly across the street from the Cove. Although it’s typically very busy and littered with tourists also getting lessons, it’s for a good reason. The cove has some of the calmest, smallest waves for even the most timid. Hawaiian Paddle Sportswill take you to a much less densely populated surf area with fewer people to dodge.
  • Insider Tip: Book your surf lessons for as early as possible in the day. There is a late morning wind that comes in almost every day that will make surfing more challenging and less enjoyable. Bonus: there may be less crowds since most tourists want to be lazy in the early morning.

Maui Ocean Center

Maui Ocean Center is a great rainy day option and has been rated at the top of the list for U.S. based aquariums. It’s located in the Ma’alaea harbor which is centrally located between Lahaina and Kihei. It’s open at 9 AM, so you can explore the aquarium for hours and still have beach or pool time in the afternoon.

  • Best for: Young kids. Fun for the whole family, but little kids are always entranced by all the fish and sea life
  • Price: $
  • Insider Tip: Book online beforehand to save on ticket prices.

Mermaid Adventure

This activity is a little lesser known as it was just recently established and made popular. 

Kids love it because they get the opportunity to swim around with a mermaid tail for a few hours and get underwater photos. It’s something totally unique and something they will be proud to tell their friends about!
  • Best for: Kids 7–15 that are strong swimmers.
  • Price: $$
  • Company Recommendation: Hawiian Mermaid Adventures. You’ll get two hours of swim time with a guide and free underwater photos. They are the pioneer company of the mermaid tours.
  • Insider Tip: Go early. The water is much calmer in the morning as trade winds and waves typically make their way in by 10 or 11 AM.

Snorkeling Molokini

Don't forget the sunscreen!

The diverse marine life and calm waters make Molokini Crater perfect for a fun day of snorkeling and relaxing on a catamaran. Hundreds of marine species call Molokini home, so your kids will be easily entertained all day.

  • Best for: Kids 7+ that are strong swimmers. Tours are typically 4+ hours long and include a lot of water time, so familiarity with the ocean is important.
  • Price: $$
  • Company RecommendationsKai Kanani has both friendly staff and an ideal launch location. While most boats dock at the Ma’alaea harbor, the Kai Kanani has an exclusive permit to tie up and launch out of Maluaka beach in Makena, just a 10 minute drive from Wailea hotels.
  • Insider Tip: If you don’t want to spend the cash on a pricey tour or if you don’t want to be stuck on a boat, head to Snorkel Bob’s to rent all the gear you need then make your way to Maluaka Beach, nicknamed “Turtle Town” for a good reason. There’s a great reef on the left hand side of the beach and if you hang around long enough, you’ll surely see a turtle or two!

Boogie Boarding

Boogie boarding is a fun, affordable option that is equally as fun for parents as it is for kids. South and some parts of west Maui are known for having pristine, calm beaches with nice boogie boarding waves. 

As soon as your kids catch their first wave, they’ll be hooked and getting them out of the water for dinner each night will be a struggle.
  • Best for: Kids 7+ that are strong swimmers.
  • Price: $
  • Company Recommendation: Many condo rentals and hotels in Maui offer free boogie boards to borrow. However, there are other options as well if your accommodations don’t include them. The Snorkel Store and Boss Frog’s offers boogie board rentals for cheap, or you can head to the Costco if you’re planning on boogie boarding most days of your vacation.
  • Insider Tip: The waves vary from season to season and day to day, but a popular small wave beach is Polo Beach in front of the Fairmont Kea Lani. Avoid the north shore if you have young kids as the waves tend to be larger.

Inspired? Check out some of our amazing rentals we already have listed in Maui. We don't charge guest booking fees, so you'll have more to spend on those who matter!

Pris Lee

Aloha! I'm Pris and I am the head of marketing at Hawaii Chee. I'm quite partial to a good cup of coffee, hiking and horse back riding along the beach. And chocolate. Always chocolate...

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