Maui, Hawaii Attractions for Families
Maui Zip Lining Adventure
Whale Off Maui
Haleakala, a Dormant Volcano on Maui
Iao Needle, Maui
Iao Needle, Maui
Surfing in Maui
Surfing in Maui
Driving the Road to Hana, Maui
Driving the Road to Hana, Maui

Hawaii’s second most-visited island, Maui is an excellent choice for a family getaway, with 120 miles of shoreline, more than eighty sun-dappled beaches and thousands of waterfalls and pools spread throughout its 727.3 square-mile surface. The variety of activities makes this island an especially good choice for a multi-generational journey.

For general information visit the Maui Visitors Bureau (808/244-3530). Active families should consider the GoMaui Card, which enables you to choose your 3 favorite atttractions (from a choice of 13) and save 15% on regular admission prices.

Great Fun for the Kids

(Toddler to Age 8)

Atlantis Submarine Adventures
La’haina Harbor
658 Front Street
La’haina, Maui, HI 96761
800/381-0237
On Atlantis Adventures, you can explore beneath the surface of the ocean off the coast of La’haina in a real submarine. Atlantis Adventures sank a replica of the Carthaginian, a 19th Century supply vessel creating an artifical reef (with environmental benefits) – and among the shallow coastal waters you’ll see multitudes of fish and occasionally even a shark!

Maui Ocean Center
Ma’alaea Harbor Village
192 Ma’alaea Road
Wailuku, HI 96793
808/270-7000
This $20 million, state-of-the-art aquarium and marine park should fascinate most young children with more than 60 indoor and outdoor exhibits of the beauty and delicacy of Hawaii’s marine life. Exhibits include fish, marine mammals, reptiles and invertebrates. The center is open 365 days a year.

The Sugar Cane Train
La’haina Ka’anapali Railroad
17 Kaka’alaneo Drive 
Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761
808/661-0080[Editor’s Note: The Sugar Cane Train is currently closed but is expected to re-open late in 2015]
Small kids and train lovers of all ages will be smiling aboard this ride. Passengers embark on a 30-minute, 12-mile round-trip between La’haina, Ka’anapali and Puukolii through fields of sugar cane, and over a 325-foot curved wooden trestle, while the conductor points out landmarks and, if you’re lucky, he may favor you with a song.

Surfing Goat Dairy
3651 Omaopio Road
Kula, HI 96790
808/878-2870
Thomas and Eva Kafsack run this agri-tourism venue located on the slopes of a volcanic crater. Adults will enjoy the selection of award-winning goat cheeses, while kids can feed and pet the goats that helped make that cheese possible. Special scheduled tours allow for herding and milking as well.

Fun for Older Children

(Up to Age 18)

Goofy Foot Surf School
505 Front Street Shops, Suite 123
Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761
808/244-WAVE
Tim Sherer claims he can teach you to ride the waves, even if you’ve never laid eyes on a surfboard. Any family member daring enough to try can learn — he and his staff have taken students as young as 3 and as old as 77.

Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park
Makawao, HI 96768
808/572-4400
The world’s largest dormant volcano, Haleakala makes up nearly 2/3 of the island and rises thousands of feet above the level of the ocean. The crater at the top is also the largest in the world and was used to train astronauts for flights to the moon. The elevated view of the island chain is spectacular, but leave early in the day to avoid the clouds that frequently fill the crater in the afternoon and obstruct the view.

The Hawaii Nature Center
Iao Valley
875 Iao Valley Road
Wailuku, HI 96793
888/244-6500
The Hawaii Nature Center offers guided tours of Iao Valley’s distinctly beautiful rain forest environment with some of the most spectacular hiking on the island. Visitors can explore the island’s natural history both in the Interactive Nature Museum and on a Rainforest Walk.

Piiholo Ranch
Zipline and Tango Tower:
799 Piiholo Road
Makawao, Maui, HI 96768
Canopy Tour:
1156 Makawao Avenue
Makawao, Maui, HI  96768
800/374-7050
It’s all in the family at this 800-acre ranch operated by the seventh generation of the Baldwin family. The ranch offers horseback riding as well as the eco-adventure Piiholo Ranch Zipline and Tango Tower, which is sure to entertain your kids and thrill you as well. Choose between a 4 line (two-hour) and 5 line (three-hour) excursion and travel Hawaii’s longest zipline.

Riders travel side-by-side on lengths from 420 feet to 1,000 feet, and heights from 42 feet to almost 200 feet. The 5-line tour adds an additional line of 1/2 mile long at 600 feet high. All riders must be at least 8 years of age and should weigh between 75-275 lbs. Daily tours are available every hour from 8am-3pm. For those less adventurous, there are 3 different options of Canopy Tours where you zip along the at the canopy level. There’s also an option to be a walk along companion and enjoy the fun, take photos and hang-out with the zip liners.

The Road to Hana
Hana Highway
Possibly the most famous drive on the island is out to this small town on the far eastern end. A curvy, narrow road carries you on a three- or four-hour drive through a rain forest with hundreds of waterfalls and beautiful views. Obviously, the time needed for a round trip can add up, so it often works out better if you have a spot to stay over for the night in Hana.

The Wailea Golf Club
100 Wailea Golf Club Drive
Wailea, Maui, HI 96753
888/328-MAUI
If you enjoy a game of golf with your children, the Wailea Golf Club offers a 50% or more discount to children 17 years old or less when accompanied by a paying adult.

Fun for the Whole Family

Iao Valley State Park
End of Iao Valley Road (Hawaii 32)
Wailuku, HI 96793
In this beautiful valley, behind the island capital of Wailuku, the whole family will enjoy strolling, swimming or just observing the lovely tropical plant life native to Hawaii. Iao Valley is most noted for the 1,200-ft lao Needle, a natural stone tower several hundred feet high, and the area is sacred and rich with historical significance. There is a small botanical garden just at the foot of the Needle, and nearby is the Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens, a popular spot with locals and an absolutely gorgeous setting for a family picnic.

Ka’anapali Beach
Off of Kaanapali Parkway
Lahaina, HI 96761
Perhaps the island’s best known sandy strip with a bustling fishing village, four-mile-long Ka’anapali is one of Maui’s best locations for swimming and snorkeling. A paved walk runs along the beach, connecting it to the Whalers Village shopping center, various hotels and condos, and restaurants.

La’haina Visitor Center
648 Wharf Street
Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761
888/310-1117 or 808/667-9175
Located in the busy town of La’haina, on the first floor of its historic court house along the Lahaina Wharf and near Ka’anapali Beach. Open daily from 9am to 5pm, the Visitor Center houses the main office of the Lahaina Town Action Committee and a gift shop. The committee provides information on current and special events held in town throughout the year. After a $1.5 million renovation, the courthouse’s first major restoration since 1925, came the return of the Lahaina Arts Society, showcasing the works of Maui’s local artists to the complex. Kids will enjoy the Old Jail Gallery in the building’s basement where the original cells of the courthouse are still located. 

Native Intelligence
1980 Main Street, #2
Wailuku, Maui, HI  96793
808/249-2421
Native Intelligence is a shop, a gallery and a cultural resource center celebrating traditional and contemporary Hawaiian craftsmanship and design, and is “dedicated to the preservation and evolution of Hawaiian culture.” To that end, there is a gallery and retail component, and fun workshops on traditonal hula implements and feather kahili are available.

Whale Watching Cruises
Both the Pacific Whale Foundation (808/942-5311, ext. 1) and Whales Alive International (808/874-6855) are non-profit organizations offering cruises that seek out whales in order to observe their natural beauty. Fulfill your child’s fascination with these enormous animals, and all profits go towards further research and preservation of whales.

 

 

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This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.