As you planned your long awaited and well deserved family trip to Maui, it’s likely you pictured yourself playing for hours on end on a pristine beach with your kids happily jumping in the ocean or building sand castles. You could probably almost feel that warm glisten of the Hawaiian sun bouncing off the Pacific. There can never be enough beach days but once you get here you may feel the call of the other countless adventures offered by the island. Or maybe it’s your kids who wake you up early and demand some new adventure this day. Never fear, the beach will be there when you get back.
Here we share a few hidden gems around town for families with kids enjoying Maui.
Maui Tropical Plantation
This sprawling property at the base of West Maui Mountains has been special place to visit for visitors and locals alike for decades. In recent years it has undergone a renovation to bring this historic spot into a more modern aesthetic but there is still a great sense of agricultural history with lush acreage of native plants, tropical fruits, flowers and local coffees. Here you will find shopping for local snacks and coffees, art and other souvenirs. This spot has a little something for young and old and is an excellent place to spend a few hours with your family.
Here you can enjoy a 45-minute open air bus tour through these unique grounds of which is both informative and relaxing. Those with a wild streak can sign up for a zipline on and near this property. The little ones can enjoy hand feeding a plentiful pack of hungry and lively ducks in a pond which is also adjacent to The Mill House, featuring farm-driven dining and craft cocktails.
Just up the road from Maui Tropical Plantation is a community park rich with Native Hawaiian history. Adjacent to historical Wailuku town, you will find a road that winds deep into the lush green of this the iconic valley. You may notice a fresh coolness in the air, and a sense of ease on this short drive. A very small number of private residences make up a small community, and you may find some roadside fruit stands grown here in this special land.
I’ao Valley boasts two state parks, the first you will encounter is Kepaniwai Park, with heritage gardens. Here you and your family can freely meander through the parks many tributes to the diverse ethnic makeup of Maui; Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, Native Hawaiian, Filipino, Korean and more. This would make a unique place for family photos and there are covered picnic tables, bbq grills and restrooms. Nearby the I’ao Stream runs through.
The second park just up the road is I’ao Valley State Park and the iconic I’ao Needle. This small park is located in the heart of lush and deep mountain walls and also has a stunning view looking out of the valley, a tarot patch and a close look at the majestic I’ao stream. Here, you will learn about 1790 Battle of Kepaniwai in which King Kamehameha I defeated Maui’s army in a significant moment for Hawaii’s history. The paved walking path is perfect for families with kids of all ages and restrooms are available here as well.
Though the river is accessible at this point, absolute caution should be heeded as the river is known to swell quickly and is subject to flash flooding when rain is occurring upstream.
Shave Ice Tour
You may know it as Snow Cone, on Hawaii Island they call it Ice Shave, here on Maui, it’s referred to by locals as Shave Ice. No matter what you call it, this is the perfect island treat that makes any child’s eyes light up. No matter where you go on the Maui, a Shave Ice stand is not hard to find. These days Shave Ice is above and beyond a rainbow of flavored syrup and now comes with an array of ingredient options such as fresh coconut, ling hing mui, ice cream and more. This would be a fun twist on your adventures as you include a search for your favorite shave ice throughout the island.
We suggest UIulani’s Shave Ice in Kahului, Surfing Monkey Shave Ice in Kihei, Tobi’s Shave Ice in Paia and Breakwall Shave Ice in Lahaina.
Ultimate Air Maui
Rainy days happen. Even in paradise. When you and your kids find yourself looking out on a rainy Maui scene, you may also find yourself seeking what to do to maintain that sense of adventure and fun. And on rainy or sunny days, the perfect place to get out all that youthful energy. Trampoline, foam pit, and a dodgeball arena
Maui Animal Farm
The Maui Animal Farm petting zoo is located in warm Lahaina and is the perfect stop onto other many great places the west side has to offer. Their featured animals include miniature horses, donkeys, ram and sheep, goats, chickens, pigs and tortoises. The hours of this location is somewhat limited to morning hours before the hot Lahaina sun kicks in, so be sure to check their website.