Win “cool parent” points and plan a getaway to Maui with your family. Hawaii’s second largest island has two dormant volcanoes, tropical sunshine, coral reefs, and an interesting culture that will make any vacation memorable. Check out this guide to see why this island was named one of the best in the world by Travel + Leisure. Grab your flowered shirts and flip-flops and get ready to munch on handfuls of macadamia nuts under beautiful blue skies. Oh, and don’t forget your shades!
View from the Volcano
Wake the whole family early — even the teenagers — to enjoy the drive to Haleakala volcano in Haleakala National Park for sunrise. This 10,000-foot dormant peak is on many bucket lists because of the famous way the sun rises from the clouds. If you plan to go for sunrise, reserve a parking pass well in advance. Not the early riser? Even mid-day, this sacred place offers a beautiful view. Don’t forget an extra layer of clothing; it’s up to 20 degrees cooler at the summit.
Plan to spend lots of time on the beach in Maui and be sure to pack a picnic (maybe with some Spam, a favorite on the island). Head over to Baldwin Beach Park in Paia on the north-central shore. This long strip of clean, white sand has lots of places for building castles, and the lagoon and cove have gentler waters than the famous breaks that attract surfers. You may even spot a sea turtle or two.
One Cool Coconut
Learn the story of how that pineapple made it all the way to your grocery store at Maui Tropical Plantation, a 60-acre working farm that provides a 45-minute, narrated tram tour through its lush gardens. Purchase tickets in advance to ensure a spot on the tram, and learn all about sugarcane, coffee, jackfruit, mangos, and other fruits grown onsite. You can even learn how to crack and remove the delicious meat from a coconut. For added adventure, take a swing on one of the family-friendly ziplines.
Trips to volcanoes and plantations are sure to work up an appetite. If you’re on the plantation, have lunch at Mill House Restaurant, known for its fresh, tasty food. With a full tummy, wander over to the nearby Bailey House Museum, a National Register of Historic Places site. One of the first “Western-style” homes in Wailuku, this museum dates back to 1833 and is filled with rare religious artifacts, paintings, and historic housewares. Take the rest of the afternoon to stroll the gardens, and browse the local crafts in the gift shop.
Paddle Along in Wailea Beach
Wailea Beach in Kihei is another spectacular beach to enjoy. Rent chairs and let the kids play in the lapping waves. It’s also an ideal spot for snorkeling as well as trying out Hawaii’s newest sport, stand-up paddleboarding. With slightly less wind in this area, it’s a perfect place to learn. Master this activity, and even your kids will think you’re cool.
Looking for more inspiration for planning your Maui vacation itinerary? Check out our guide on how to Spend a Day on Maui Like a Local.