Dreaming about a family trip to Maui? You're sure to have the time of your life, but before you say "aloha," you've actually got to plan your adventure. Each family has its own set of needs, and traveling with children can be overwhelming. What do you want out of the trip? Here are a few points to consider as you plan your family trip to Maui:
- Consider the age of your children. You can take an infant or toddler just about anywhere, but as they get older, you might want to explore an island with a range of activities and prospects. Maui is a family favorite due to its breathtaking natural beauty, diverse ecosystems, limitless excursions, and activities catering to kids of all ages. You'll find misty rainforests, picturesque beaches, and spectacular hiking tours where you can dive in secluded tropical waterfalls. There's enough on this island to satisfy everyone, from the most seasoned adult traveler to the child with the shortest attention span.
- Assess your family's activity level. Will you be surfing or couch surfing? Maui resident Bob Perlman, owner of Bob's Tiki Suite and Aximize vacation property calendars, lives with his family on the island and was brimming with activity suggestions. His favorites range from ziplining on the north shore to windsurfing lessons for kids (available in Kanaha Beach Park, email@example.com). There are surf, windsurf, and kiteboard schools aplenty, and tide pools and good snorkeling spots abound.
Catamaran adventure tours can also be a blast for kids. A day tour will allow your family to swim with the fish, spot whales and cruise along the beautiful coastline. And if your children aren't too young, they'll love the "Pony Express Tours" along the Haleakala Crater, where they'll horseback along beautiful and otherworldly trails. As far as specific locations in Maui go, "The Lahaina area would appeal to the young adults and younger children traveling with parents", says Bob. "There is a big new Aquarium in Maalaea Harbor with a lot of great exhibits and cool programs. My son was cleaning out tiger shark tanks a few weeks ago."
- Choose accommodations that fit your needs. Maui offers a full range of accommodations--from condos to hotels and resorts--and it's essential to decide on which type works best for you. Visualize your trip for a minute. Would you prefer to lounge poolside with a cool drink in hand (one that you don't have to fetch from the kitchen) and watch your child play on the waterslide with their new friends from 20B? You could meander back up to your room a few hours later, clean towel in hand, and find the place spotless. When your family is hungry from the sun and the swimming, you can sample the cuisine at one of the fine hotel restaurants. No cleanup, no hassle. If what you want is luxury and service, a hotel or resort might be the best option.
On the other hand, if value is a key consideration, a lavish trip may not be what you're after. How about spending time on a quiet beach or hiking trail during the day, then picking up some local ingredients and fresh fruit at a shop and preparing a meal in your own kitchen? Does your family want to chill out and soak up the pleasure of having a private space, complete with a washer/dryer, a living room, kitchen, and bedrooms? If so, then renting a condo may be your best bet. It's true, you won't get the hotel amenities and you will have to clean up after yourself, but condos are incredibly kid-friendly, and you get more space and privacy for your buck.
Here's to a breezy planning process and limitless fun under the Hawaiian sun.
Lucia Stoller is a writer for CiaoBambino, a global guide to child-friendly properties. This free service provides accommodation recommendations that have been tried and tested by traveling families.