The Valley Isle of Maui offers adventures for the entire family—from diving and snorkeling to language and hula lessons.
A visit to the island of Maui can be a peaceful, relaxing vacation, where you can park yourself at a resort and never leave the property. Or it can be an adventure for the whole family. Here are some highlights of possible activities for all ages:
The Westin Maui, in Ka’anapali, has the best kids activities of any resort on the west side of the island. Its “keiki club” features several different activities per day, including Hawaiian Bingo, in which children can learn basic Hawaiian words, net fishing and fruit-tasting, and Hukilau (hula to the Hukilau song) lessons. (Read our Maui Kids Clubs article for information on additional resort kids clubs.)
While the kids are otherwise engaged, parents can take half-day lessons in scuba diving, arranged at the hotel. The classes are provided by Ka’anapali Dive Co., and prices start at $89 for a pool diving lesson, followed by a guided ocean dive.
When you’re all done, take the whole family and hop on a catamaran to Honolua Bay, West Maui’s marine preserve, where everyone can snorkel. The Westin can arrange this through Gemini Catamaran, or you can make your own reservations. Tickets are $105 for adults, $85 for ages 13 to 19, and $65 for ages 2 to 12. www.westinmaui.com
Other fun stuff in West Maui includes a visit to ‘Iao Valley State Park to see the famous (and stunning) ‘Iao Needle, a natural rock formation jutting up over the ‘Iao Stream and enclosed by the walls of Pu’u Kukui Crater. It’s a short uphill walk to the top, where you’ll have the best view of the needle and surrounding valley.
The Maui Arts and Cultural Center, near the airport in Kahului, is the place where diverse communities gather for music, dance, and theater performances, as well as for films. Visitors can—and should—take advantage of their ever-changing calendar of classes and events. Kids cooking classes, lei-making workshops and hula lessons are among the most interesting activities for non-residents. www.mauiarts.org
Don’t miss the Feast at Lele, the island’s best lua’u, with fabulous food, dance and music that represents the traditions of greater Polynesia, including Hawaii, the Cook Islands, Tahiti and Samoa. www.feastatlele.com
The Fairmont Kea Lani Resort, right on Polo Beach in Wailea, has a drop-in children’s center for ages 5 to 13, perfect for last-minute planners. While you’re off playing a round of golf or getting a massage, kids can learn coconut-painting and lei-making. And they get a cool Keiki Lani T-shirt! www.fairmont.com/kealani
The Grand Wailea has a full-blown kids camp, Camp Grande, for ages 5 to 12. Choose from morning, afternoon, full-day or evening-only programs, and opt for a weekly package or a one-time visit (24 hours advance notice required). Puka shell jewelry-making, tile-painting and the art of tie-dyeing are just a few of the featured classes. www.grandwailea.com
Another don’t-miss South Shore activity is a snorkeling expedition to Molokini, the tiny crescent-shaped island you can see from the South Shore. Maui Dive Shop takes a 32-ft. boat out for a three-hour cruise, with snorkeling. (The island is only four miles out.) www.mauidiveshop.com
When you’re in Kula after a visit to Haleakala, check out Surfing Goat Dairy. On 42 acres, two-thirds of which is devoted to pasture, Thomas and Eva Kafsack make several varieties of goat cheese, as well as soaps. The cheeses have no hormones, antibiotics or preservatives, and kids can pet and feed the goats—a great photo op!
North Shore: See the related Hana article for activities along the Hana Highway.