Life doesn’t get much better for kids than a holiday on ‘The Valley Isle’, the second-largest Hawaiian island. Here, we reveal exactly why you need to grab the family and head to one of the many family resorts in Maui.
When it comes to family holidays, there are certain boxes parents need to tick to get the little ones on board – and Hawaii, with its tropical climate, sparkling pools, waterslides, wildlife, and adventure, can’t seem to do any wrong.
There are a plethora of family resorts in Maui
Is there anything more satisfying on holiday with kids than watching their little legs paddling furiously in a pool, hair plastered to small heads, as their smiling goggled faces emerge from hours of swimming? Oh, yes there is – it’s sitting poolside with a cocktail in hand while you watch them.
Maui excels when it comes to family-friendly resorts. Our top picks: The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali with its six stunning pools (one with an 82-metre waterslide), overlooking Ka‘anapali Beach; and, just down the road, Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, offering six pools, a lava tube waterslide, whirlpool, rope bridge and an interactive children’s pool.
Choose from a myriad of restaurants along Ka’anapali Beach, serving up fresh Hawaiian fare for all manner of picky eaters, and then take the kids back to your palatial room, where they will sleep like babies – literally.
Ready to escape? Check out our collection of escapes to Hawaii
It’s a nature lover’s paradise
Is there a better way to get the kids off screens than telling them they are going to see a volcano? Parents need not worry – it’s dormant. At Haleakala Crater (where on a clear day you can see Hawaii’s other islands), the dizzying heights alone are reason to make the just under two-hour trip from Ka’anapali Beach. If you need an added incentive for the kids, you can hit the trails on horseback or take a guided ranger tour of the 30,000 acres of Haleakala National Park.
When in doubt, there are always waterfalls. Let the kids wade around the dramatic thundering Wailua Falls while you take in the most photographed waterfall on Maui. The Pool of Oheo in Oheo Gulch is also a must-see natural phenomenon, and less than 10 minutes south of Wailua Falls. Here, you’ll find tranquil tiered natural pools, also referred to as the Seven Sacred Pools, fed by inland streams.
If you have a need for speed, Maui has you covered
With cliffs, canyons and jungle canopies, Maui is made for ziplining. Take the kids (eight years and older) flying over canyons near Haleakala National Park. Or, for the over-10s, speed above the Ka’anapali resorts, 150 feet above the ground, and marvel at the ocean views and outer islands in the distance.
If you love a bit of adventure but prefer your feet on terra firma (kind of), try rappelling with Rappel Maui who will take you to secret tropical waterfalls and jungle cliffs in a 30-acre rainforest reserve halfway to Hana on the eastern end of the island.
There’s no shortage of wildlife encounters
Every year, from December through May, thousands of Kohola humpback whales migrate to the warm waters of Hawaii. The best place to see them is just off Lahaina Harbor, home to a range of whale watching tours. You can also catch a glimpse from the beaches of Kaanapali, Kihei and Wailea.
Take a deep dive into the stunning waters of the Coral Gardens (south of Lahaina) among volcanic ‘fingers’ – formed when lava flows extended across the ocean floor half a million years ago. Here, you’re likely to see Hawaiian green sea turtles and an array of rainbow-coloured fish, including butterflyfish, angelfish, parrotfish and triggerfish.
You can ’hang ten’ like a local
Does anything say ‘Hawaii holiday’ like heading out for a surf? For little ones, there’s no better place to learn than Maui – known for its beginner’s surf spots. Head to the beaches of Kaanapali, Lahaina and Kihei and get lessons from a pro, then go and watch them in action at Honolua Bay and Ho’okipa Beach. Don’t worry about not having a board or wetsuit; there’s no shortage of places to hire everything you need to hit the waves, and it’s guaranteed to be an experience the kids will never forget.
Read more: Where to Eat, Drink, Stay and Play in Hawaii