Families love Maui. My own has been visiting it for vacations, celebrations, honeymoons and healing for three generations. No matter how long the visit — a week, two weeks or a month — it’s never enough to cram in all the activities Maui has to offer. Or get enough of its startling beauty.
Top activity? The beach of course. Maui has 81 accessible beaches. They will keep tots to teens happy for days. The water provides more adventures — surfing, scuba, snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding and sailing. Some surf schools are especially good with kids. Youngsters take to stand-up paddle boarding way ahead of mom and dad. Every snorkel trip has two and even three generations along for a glimpse into this enchanted world.
And December through April, Maui’s famed visitors, the humpback whales will provide entertainment, especially on one of the whale-watch cruises. If the whales have left — probably for Alaska — the sperm whale skeleton at Whalers Village inspires its own shivers.
There are family activities beyond the beach, including horseback riding, hiking, zip lines and agriculture-themed visits. What child doesn’t love the billies and nannies at Surfing Goat Dairy? Or the taste of fresh pineapple in the field on the Pineapple tour? Teenagers may get the memory of a lifetime by biking down Haleakala.
Don’t forget the option of taking the ferry to Lana‘i or Moloka‘i. The ride can be an adventure, and something interesting is sure to present itself, a humpback whale in the winter and early spring, manta rays and porpoises near Lana‘i and a shark going to Moloka‘i.
What kid wouldn’t love Big Wind Kites on Moloka‘i? Or the spookiness of Hana Lava Tube? The weird rock shapes at Keahikawelo (Garden of the Gods) on Lana‘i? A shave ice from Ululani’s? A burger from Cheeseburger in Paradise? The romantic story of the naupaka half blossom? (It’s about separated lovers.)
A lu‘au can be the grand finale of a Maui vacation, especially as youngsters are often invited to join the dancing. You hardly need to go to the beach. You could fill a week with other family entertainments on Maui. One fine souvenir from a Maui vacation is a family photo done by a professional photographer. You’ll often see groups on the beach at sunset.
Families have many options for comfortable places to stay with young children or teens. Condos tend to be the first choice for many families since they offer the option to eat in with ease. Condos almost all have barbecues. Sometimes several families gather round these in the evening. And a condo offers more room for mom and day to stay awake after the youngsters go to sleep.
Condos usually have fine pools and shuffleboard, lawn checkers or chess and other games on the grounds. But resorts offer more organized activities. Some resort pools are elaborate and cover an acre or more with cascades, grottoes, slides, rope springs and even an elevator (at the Grand Wailea). There’s usually a beach kiosk where snorkel trips and other water activities can be booked. Resorts usually have a concierge who can book almost anything you can imagine doing on Maui.
Do remember that school holidays tend to be Maui’s busiest and most expensive periods. Should your children have school holidays at slightly different periods from others, plan your Maui vacation then.
Maui has consistently placed number one in traveler polls, such as the Conde Nast annual popularity contest. It’s family friendly appeal must help it stay on top, for this generation and the next.