5 Family-Friendly Activities to Do While in Maui
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Submitted by Nicolle Monico
‘Tis the season for getting out of the cold and heading to warmer weather for a family vacation—especially if that destination is on the beautiful beaches of Maui. With miles of perfect coastline, scenic volcanic landscapes, entertaining luaus, and year-round great weather, Hawaii’s second-largest isle is the perfect getaway for families needing to warm their bones this winter.
Whether you’ve been many times before or are making your first trek across the Pacific, there are plenty of activities to keep your whole family entertained (and not glued to their favorite apps all day). Here are five family-friendly activities to enjoy while in Maui during your next vacation.
Snorkeling in Molokini
Known for its incredibly clear waters and hundreds of species of fish and coral, Molokini atoll, just a few miles offshore from Maui, is a snorkeler’s dream. Shaped like a moon, Molokini was formed by the remnants of a volcanic crater and because of this, has created a vast playground for underwater sea life.
Enjoy a day of snorkeling with the family via one of the many tour operators on the island. Pacific Whale Foundation, an eco-friendly tour operator, offers a five-hour tour that includes a bonus snorkel site at Turtle Arches. Included in the price is a continental breakfast, onboard BBQ lunch, and both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Lastly, during the tour, you’ll enjoy educational programming geared towards families with the Jr. Naturalist Program.
Become a Mermaid for the Day
If you’re looking for a more unique snorkeling adventure, consider becoming a mermaid for a day with the Hawaii Mermaid Adventures. This afternoon course transforms your entire family into real-life mermaids, complete with colorful tails, swimming lessons, mermaid meet-n-greets, and digital photographs to remember the day.
And, this one- to two-hour experience is not only a fun way to explore the island’s warm waters but is also a great opportunity to learn more about the issues facing our oceans. The class features mermaid instructors who are certified marine naturalists, so you’ll also get to learn about life as a mermaid—the mythology and sailors’ tales—as well as other marine animals and marine conservation.
Watch the Sea Turtles at Ho’okipa Beach
Located on the north side of the island, Ho’okipa Beach will have your kids beaming from ear-to-ear while watching sea turtles (also known as honu) in the water and sunbathing at the eastern end of the beach.
Though you can’t get too close to the turtles, you can still enjoy them bobbing along in the exposed coral reef and watch them make their way to the shore come sunset. Plus, this area has a few surf breaks to check out as well as Ho’okipa Lookout, a cliffside viewpoint that overlooks Pavilions (a popular surf spot) and offers stunning views of the island’s landscapes.
Feed Local Livestock at the Surfing Goat Dairy
Surfing goats. Need we say more? Of course, the goats don’t actually surf, but these loveable mammals are so cute that you won’t even care. Head into Kula to experience one of the Surfing Goat Dairy’s two daily tours: the 30-min Casual Tour or the one-hour Evening Chore and Milking Tour.
The former allows families to feed and milk a goat; meet working dairy goats, dogs, and cats; learn how cheese is made with modern milking machines; and finally, sample creamy cheeses produced at the dairy with names like “Purple Rain” made with Maui lavender.
The latter (which is currently on pause due to Covid-19), focuses on giving children and teens a glimpse into the everyday lives of goat farmers. They’ll learn how to hand milk a goat, help with the evening feedings, and finish the day with an “I Milked a Goat Today” ribbon to commemorate the day. There’s also a small outdoor play area for young children and picnic tables.
Explore the Deep Sea on a Submarine
Not for the faint-of-heart, Atlantis Adventures’ submarine excursion takes guests 100 feet below sea level into the depths of the ocean for an experience you’ll be sure to remember. The 48-passenger vessel has been featured on National Geographic and is located off Lahaina.
Hop aboard the submarine to explore Carthaginian, a sunken 19th-century whaling brig, which has created a playground of artificial reef and marine life of all shapes and sizes. This kid-friendly experience comes equipped with large viewing windows to catch all the marine life as it passes by and air-conditioning (so that you don’t feel too claustrophobic during the tour).
Regardless of the adventures you choose, before doing any type of travel, be sure you’re up-to-date on COVID-19 rules and restrictions for Hawaii so that you won’t run into any snags along the way. And be mindful of all activities you book; be careful to avoid travel scams and only reserve excursions through reputable companies with plenty of reviews to ensure their trustworthiness.
Nicolle Monico is a Sr. Editor for Verified.org with more than 14 years of experience in the industry. A former Travel Editor, she garnered an extensive background in travel, writing articles from city news to hotel and resort openings, wanderlust trends, and in-depth pieces on the industry. In 2014 she was voted by USA Today’s 10Best readers as the #1 Best Luxury Travel Blogger in the nation.