Our top family friendly tips and things to do in Maui.

Maui family vacation with young children


I promised part II of our 2013 Hawaii trip and here it is – Maui. If you missed it, you can read part I: Kauai here. This was our third trip to Maui as a family, and my fifth visit to this beautiful island paradise. Clearly, it’s won us over. The air is warm and breezy and plumeria scented. The ocean is like bathwater, and the sand is pristine. I can’t think of a better family vacation.

Our time on Maui was very different than our time on Kauai. South Maui is drier than Kauai and has more going on. You could say it’s more “touristy” with more shops, restaurants, and resorts, but it doesn’t feel crowded like say, Honolulu. There are lots kid friendly beaches with calm shallow water where you’ll want to spend the day.

A beautiful sunset view of the pool at the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui

Another huge change from our Kauai stay was that on Maui we stayed at one of our favorite places, the Fairmont Kea Lani. While we loved the Kauai vacation rental, we also loved getting completely spoiled and pampered at the Kea Lani. We love this resort for families because all of the rooms are huge suites, even the most basic ones. This means little ones can be put to bed in a crib or on the sofa bed in the living room and the doors to the master bedroom shut so that parents can stay up a bit later and watch the sun set from the balcony. In the picture above you see the upper pool with a swim-up bar and to the very left is the top of the water slide. There’s also a spectacular adults-only pool I sneaked away to while hubby stayed with the girls for naptime once or twice. While this resort is very kid friendly, it’s not kid centric. At check-in, guests are greeted with orchid leis, fresh juice, and the kids get sand pails and shovels. There really is no reason to ever leave this place.

Kids playing at the pool and waterslide at the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui in Wailea.

The pools are another reason we adore the Kea Lani. There’s a shallow baby pool, which is a huge relief for any mamas who don’t want to swim around actually holding their non-swimmer, but would rather splash around while sitting in the little pool. Bigger kiddos love the water slide that connects the upper and lower pools. “Let’s go down again Daddy, again!” If you are after water slides, check out the Grand Wailea’s incredible pools and slides, but honesty, it’s a bit overwhelming to me.

A little girl looks at the fish in the Maui Ocean Center

Every time we have visited Maui I’ve come with a list of to-dos. And every time we have only actually done a few of them.  We spend most of the time at the beach and pools, but one place we always visit with the kids is the Maui Ocean Center.

A sea turtle swims at the Maui Ocean Center

Before we had kids I loved snorkeling with sea turtles in Hawaii. Now that we have a family we visit with these beautiful turtles at the ocean center. As well as sharks, rays, and other fish. The center uses a hatch and release program, where they eventually release the turtles into the wild.
Little girl at a Wailea Maui luau

We have been to two luaus on Maui and really enjoyed both. The Old Lahaina Luau is a traditional luau in a fun bustling little town. The Grand Luau at Honua’ula was my favorite and right next door to where we were staying.

Wailea Maui walking path

There’s a path that runs along the water here that goes right in front of the Wailea waterfront resorts (the Fairmont Kea Lani, the Four Seasons, Wailea Beach Marriott, and the Grand Wailea) and the shopping center. I love jogging this path in the mornings and walking with our family in the afternoons. It has to be the most beautiful walking path in the world. Put it on your bucket list to walk along this path, okay?

Sunset view from a suite at the Fairmont Kea Lani

We often pick up dinner from the deli/cafe at the resort, Cafe Ciao, or fish tacos to go from a nearby restaurant and enjoy it on the balcony. Though Ko and Nick’s Fishmarket are not to be missed.

If you asked my husband his favorite thing about Maui, the Fairmont buffet breakfast would surely be on his top 5 list. I love that I can stick to eating healthy here, but don’t think for a minute I turned down the macadamia nut sticky buns. They are worth every gooey calorie.

Fairmont Kea Lani Villa

If you really want to splurge or are staying with extended family or friends, check out the villas at the Fairmont Kea Lani. It’s like having your own multi-bedroom cottage right on the beach. With your own private pool. And top notch hotel amenities.

Fun things to do on Maui with kids:

  • Visit the fish, sharks, turtles, and rays at the Maui Ocean Center
  • Dinner and dancing at a luau
  • Get tacos to go for a picnic dinner in Kehei
  • Train lover in the family? Take a ride on the Sugar Cane Train
  • Take a break from the beach and visit a goat farm
  • Eat sushi at Sansei
  • Run around at the Shops at Wailea. Try the ice cream at Lappert’s.
  • Take a drive to the upcountry and hike to waterfalls (the hiking and the car ride can be difficult with little kids)
  • Wander around the shops in Lahaina
  • Without kids: take a sunrise bike ride to Haleakala crater 
  • Try pineapple wine at Tedeschi Vineyards (it’s okay to bring the kids, they’ll love running around the property)
  • But the best thing to do? Just be. Breathe in the fresh air and soak up the sun.


Oh, and have a tropical drink with people you love.

Our Maui babe at 6 months old on Polo Beach. One good thing about being woken every few hours is you never miss a sunrise 🙂