Maui, with its stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and rich culture, is a paradise for families seeking adventure and relaxation. Whether you’re exploring the ocean’s wonders or taking in the breathtaking scenery, Maui offers an array of activities that promise to make your family vacation unforgettable. Here’s your ultimate guide to the top 12 things to do in Maui with kids:

1. Snorkel at Molokini Crater

Of all the things to do in Maui with kids, embarking on a Molokini Snorkel and Slide Tour with Maui Snorkeling could be one of the most cherished vacation experiences ever. Molokini Crater, a crescent-shaped, partially submerged volcanic crater is a marine sanctuary with an abundance of vibrant marine life. The crystal-clear waters make for an exceptional snorkeling experience that kids and adults alike will cherish.

Maui Snorkeling

The Maui Snorkeling Morning Tour visits two snorkeling locations. This trip runs from 7 AM to 12 PM, Monday through Sunday.

Our 1st stop is the world-famous Molokini Crater and our 2nd stop takes us to Turtle Town or Coral Gardens. Along the way to these fantastic Maui Snorkeling destinations, you will have the chance to see the amazing Humpback Whales (December through April) as they move through the Hawaiian waters.

The Maui Afternoon Tour is ideal for those who seek a less congested snorkeling experience. If the weather cooperates, you could snorkel & slide at Molokini Crater without the usual crowds. If the weather is too rough for safe and comfortable snorkeling, you will have the same less congested snorkel & slide experience at Coral Gardens or Turtle Town.


Molokini Snorkeling: Things to do in Maui with kids

2. Visit the Maui Ocean Center

This aquarium offers up-close views of Hawaiian marine life, including sharks, rays, and tropical fish. This is one of the top things to do in Maui with kids because of the aquarium’s interactive exhibits and the glass tunnel through the shark tank are particularly fascinating for children.

At the Maui Ocean Center, you can discover the rich history, culture, and distinctive traditions that flourished in early Hawaiian villages. Along with the interactive exhibits, the aquarium also offers educational programs that allow children to bond with the Hawaiian culture and traditions. The aquarium hours are 9 AM – 5 PM. For more information visit Maui Ocean Center.

Maui Ocean Center

Photo Courtesy of Maui Ocean Center

3. Explore Haleakalā National Park

Among the top things to do in Maui with kids is witnessing the sunrise from the summit of Haleakalā is a breathtaking experience. The park also offers numerous hiking trails with varying difficulty levels, suitable for families wanting to explore the unique volcanic landscape. It’s not just a hike; it’s an encounter with the heart of Maui.

The park also serves as a sanctuary for endangered species, some found exclusively here. This unique destination resonates with tales of both ancient and contemporary Hawaiian culture, safeguarding the deep connection between the land and its inhabitants.

Haleakala National Park

Photo Courtesy of National Park Service

4. Attend a Luau

Experience Hawaiian culture with a traditional luau. Enjoy live music, hula dancing, and a feast of local cuisine. It’s not only entertaining but also educational for children, making it one of the top things to do in Maui with kids.

There are many luaus to choose from on the island of Maui; however, the Te Au Moana (the ocean tide) Luau, is a wonderful experience for both adults and children. Located on the grounds of Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui, this luau is a tribute to Polynesian culture. Experience their expert skills of fishing, gathering, gift giving, romance, and tapa making demonstrated at the luau.

Te Au Moana Luau
Te Au Moana Luau
Te Au Moana Luau

Photos courtesy of Te Au Moana

5. Drive the Scenic Road to Hana

Prepare for an unforgettable journey and pack the car for an adventure on the legendary Road to Hana, a highlight among the top things to do in Maui with kids. This iconic route is filled with countless curves and one-lane bridges, making the journey as thrilling as the destination.

Stop along the way to explore hidden waterfalls nestled within tropical forests, pristine beaches with soft sand – perfect for relaxation or play, and panoramic viewpoints—a perfect adventure for the whole family.

Every stop and detour on the Road to Hana offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature and experience the island’s diverse ecosystems up close. It’s an adventure that encourages curiosity, discovery, and a sense of wonder, making it a perfect expedition for families seeking to create lasting memories together.

For families planning this journey and looking for a comprehensive guide to all the must-see sights along the Road to Hana, visiting Road to Hana Sights is an excellent source! Here, you can find a mile-by-mile list of sights, enabling you to create a personalized checklist of places to stop and explore. Additionally, the website offers a map of the route!

The Road to Hana

6. Hike at Iao Valley State Park

Exploring the Iao Valley State Park is a serene and educational highlight among the things to do in Maui with kids. This lush valley offers easy walking trails, making it perfect for all ages, which leads to views of the iconic Iao Needle.

The Iao Needle is a towering, emerald-green pinnacle that rises majestically from the valley floor. This natural landmark, shaped by centuries of erosion, stands as a silent guardian over the valley and is a sight to behold.

Iao Valley State Park is a great place for a family picnic and to learn about the island’s natural history. It was here that a pivotal battle took place, changing the course of Hawaiian history. As you explore the valley, informational signs along the trails offer insights into the island’s natural history, providing a valuable educational experience for the whole family.

Iao Valley State Park

7. Go Whale Watching (Seasonal)

If you visit between December and April, don’t miss the chance to go on a whale-watching tour with Maui Snorkeling. During these months, the waters around Maui become a prime viewing spot for one of nature’s most awe-inspiring migrations—the annual journey of humpback whales from the cold Alaskan seas to the warm Hawaiian waters for breeding and birthing.

Seeing these magnificent creatures up close is an experience children won’t forget, making it one of the best things to do in Maui with kids!

Whale watching in Maui is not just an activity; it’s an unforgettable experience that offers a rare opportunity to witness the majestic beauty of humpback whales in their natural habitat. These gentle giants, known for their impressive size, playful breaches, and complex songs, provide a spectacle that captivates the hearts of adults and children alike.

The thrill of seeing a whale breach the surface or hearing the sound of its powerful blowhole is a moment of pure wonder and excitement.

The Maui Snorkeling Whale Watching Tour departs from Ma’alaea Harbor and is offered twice a week during the peak season from January to March from 1-3 pm. Kids under 4 are FREE and enjoy a deli lunch while watching the Humpback Whales. Our whale observation decks are higher off the water than most zodiac boats and catamarans.

  • First deck: 7 feet off the water and has nearly 100 feet of wrap-around handrail to lean in and take photos.
  • Bow: Stadium seating for up to 15 passengers
  • Upper deck: 16 feet off the water with a whopping 360° view
Whale Watching Tour
Maui Snorkeling Whale Watching Tour

8. Take Surfing Lessons

Maui is an excellent place for kids to learn how to surf, thanks to its warm waters, gentle waves, and professional surf schools catering to all ages and skill levels which makes it among the top things to do in Maui with kids.

Surfing lessons for kids in Maui are designed to be fun, safe, and educational, providing a fantastic opportunity for young surfers to get started or improve their skills under the guidance of experienced instructors.

Safety is a top priority. Lessons typically begin with a safety briefing, including ocean awareness, understanding surf conditions, and learning how to manage the surfboard. Instructors ensure that kids are in a safe, controlled environment, usually starting in shallow areas where they can stand. Instructors often hold certifications in CPR, first aid, and lifeguard skills.

Surf schools usually provide all the necessary equipment, including soft-top surfboards that are ideal for beginners. The soft-top boards are safer and easier for kids to handle, helping them to quickly gain confidence.

Instructors make learning to surf fun, incorporating games and challenges that engage kids while teaching them the fundamentals of surfing. This approach helps to build a strong foundation of skills and a love for the sport.

Surfing in Maui

9. Enjoy Maui’s Shaved Ice

Kids love an ice-cold treat so try out Maui’s shaved ice! It’s not just a dessert; it’s an experience that embodies the spirit of Hawaiian island life. This icy treat is a must-try for anyone visiting Maui, offering a refreshing respite from the tropical heat.

What makes Maui’s shaved ice particularly special are the local flavors and the option to customize your treat with a wide selection of syrups made from local ingredients. Traditional flavors include tropical favorites like mango, pineapple, coconut, and passion fruit, as well as more unique options like guava, lychee, and lilikoi (Hawaiian passion fruit).

For an even more decadent experience, you can add a scoop of vanilla ice cream at the bottom of your shaved ice or a topping of sweetened condensed milk, known locally as a “snow cap.”

Enjoying a cup of Maui’s shaved ice is more than just indulging in a sweet treat; it’s a way to participate in a cherished island tradition. With its fluffy ice, rich flavors, and the option for endless customization, shaved ice offers a delightful experience that captures the essence of Maui’s tropical charm. Whether you’re cooling off after a day at the beach or simply treating yourself to a taste of Hawaiian sweetness, Maui’s shaved ice is an essential part of the island experience.

One of the best stops is Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice with locations all over Maui! You won’t be disappointed! Children love dessert, making this one of the top things to do in Maui with kids!

Maui Shaved Ice

10. Explore the Maui Butterfly Farm

Another delightful experience among the things to do in Maui with kids is visiting the Maui Butterfly Farm. This enchanting attraction provides a close-up look at various species of butterflies in a lush, garden setting. Children can learn about the life cycle of butterflies, from egg to caterpillar to butterfly, making it a fantastic educational experience.

As you step into the butterfly farm, the air fills with the soft fluttering of wings in a kaleidoscope of colors. The farm is home to a wide variety of butterfly species, each with its unique patterns and hues, from the bright blues and deep oranges to the subtle greens and yellows. This diversity not only mesmerizes visitors but also serves as an excellent introduction to the rich biodiversity of Maui and the importance of conservation efforts to protect these fragile insects and their habitats.

Maui Butterfly Tour

Photo Courtesy of Maui
Butterfly Farm

One of the most enriching aspects of the visit is the opportunity to learn about the entire life cycle of butterflies. Educational displays and knowledgeable staff guide visitors through the fascinating journey from egg to caterpillar, caterpillar to chrysalis, and chrysalis to butterfly.

This hands-on learning experience is particularly impactful for children, who can witness some stages of the life cycle in real-time, such as caterpillars munching on leaves or the moment a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis.

The Maui Butterfly Farm Tour is Hawaii’s only walk-in butterfly flight house. This tour is 45 minutes long and is perfect for all ages! Kids 2 and under are free!

11. Spend a Day at Kaanapali Beach

Among the variety of engaging things to do in Maui with kids, spending a day at the renowned Kaanapali Beach is a standout experience that combines natural beauty, cultural richness, and fun activities. This beach is celebrated for its crystal-clear waters and stretches of golden sand, making it an ideal spot for families to swim, relax under the sun, and sandcastle building.

The gentle waves lapping the shore offer a safe and inviting environment for children of all ages to splash around and enjoy the warmth of the Pacific Ocean. Don’t miss the daily cliff diving ceremony at Black Rock – a tradition that combines culture with thrilling action.

The daily cliff diving ceremony at Black Rock, located on the northernmost point of the beach is steeped in Hawaiian culture and history, originating from a ritual performed by Maui’s revered King Kahekili. As the sun begins to set, a skilled cliff diver lights the torches along the cliff and then gracefully leaps off Black Rock into the water below, reenacting a feat that showcases bravery and respect for the island’s ancestors.

Kaanapali Beach

12. Go Ziplining

A ziplining adventure in Maui is an exhilarating item on the list of things to do in Maui with kids, offering families a unique way to soak in the island’s breathtaking landscapes. This activity has captured the hearts of adventure enthusiasts and nature admirers alike, blending thrilling speeds with spectacular heights and views.

With its lush valleys, dramatic coastlines, and sweeping panoramas, Maui serves as the perfect backdrop for one of the most scenic ziplining experiences globally. It’s an ideal adventure for families seeking to combine excitement with the natural beauty of the island, making it a must-do for those exploring Maui with children.

Maui boasts several ziplining locations, each offering a different experience based on the area’s unique topography and vistas. Some of the most popular sites include:

Haleakalā: Ziplining near the slopes of the Haleakalā volcano offers dramatic views of the crater and the surrounding National Park.

West Maui Mountains: Here, zipliners can enjoy lush scenery and waterfalls, making it a perfect combination of adventure and natural beauty.

Ka’anapali: Located near the famous Ka’anapali Beach, this zipline adventure offers ocean views and a chance to explore West Maui’s landscapes.

Safety is a top priority for zipline operators in Maui. All guests are equipped with helmets, gloves, and harnesses, and guides ensure everyone is properly briefed on safety protocols before starting the adventure.

Maui Ziplining

In Conclusion: Top 12 Things to Do in Maui with Kids

These activities offer a mix of adventure, culture, and natural beauty, making Maui a destination that captivates the hearts of all who visit, especially families. With so many things to do in Maui with kids, your family vacation will be filled with moments of joy, wonder, and adventure. Whether it’s your first visit or a return trip, Maui always has something new and exciting to offer, making every vacation here as magical as the island itself.

From the thrill of ziplining through lush tropical forests to the cultural immersion of attending a traditional Hawaiian luau, each experience allows families to create lasting memories together. The island’s diverse landscapes—from its pristine beaches and underwater wonders to its volcanic craters and lush rainforests—offer endless opportunities for exploration and discovery.

Whether snorkeling with vibrant marine life, hiking through scenic trails, or simply enjoying the warmth of the sun on a golden beach, Maui provides a natural playground for children and adults alike to connect with nature and each other. This makes the island a treasure of experiences, ensuring that the list of things to do in Maui with kids is as rich and varied as the island’s own landscape, promising an adventure that every family member will love.

Maui Snorkeling