Alamy
January 21, 2015

The golden shoreline that embraces Maui provides endless real estate for sand castles. It’s a place where spending a day at the beach is a guaranteed recipe for fun, and where boogie boarding, splashing, and playing in the surf are timeless—yet daily—pursuits. But Maui isn’t just a great place for being a kid—it’s also a great place for traveling with them. (I’ll bet that even Chevy Chase could travel here and have a good time.) Between the waves, waterfalls, and forested trails, it’s not unusual for even harried parents to feel young again when exploring this tropical playground with their families. Many of the island’s larger resorts have programs that specifically cater to children, but often the best family fun is found by exploring parts of the island together, away from the hotel property. The following places and activities are some of the best spots on Maui to keep the whole clan smiling.

Surfing Lessons

There’s nothing like watching the successes and failures of your awkward, yet lovable family members as they try their hand at this iconic Hawaiian sport. There are group classes everywhere, but the best experiences are those where you book a private instructor. A good pro can easily have the whole family surfing by the end of a two-hour lesson. Don’t forget to take photos!

Parasailing

Kids might imagine there is nothing worse than being stuck in a confined capsule with their parents, but parasailing is such a cool experience that even teenagers will agree to share it. This finely tuned combo of fun and fear is proven to bring families together; during the winter months when parasailing isn’t offered, you can get the same combination of adrenaline and excitement from the decks of a West Maui whale watch.

Maui Ocean Center

Watching young children press against the glass of an aquarium can be more entertaining than the marine life itself. Kids are mesmerized by the stingrays and fish that swim through the exhibit’s acrylic tunnel; the tiger sharks passing just inches away can excite even the most skeptical teen. To save a couple of bucks on the visit, book the family admission.

Maui Golf and Sports Park

It may not be the most traditional Hawaiian experience on Maui, but young kids simply love this sports park next to Ma‘alaea Harbor. Cap off a snorkeling tour to Molokini Crater with mini golf, rock climbing, or bumper boats; or bounce on the giant trampoline until you’ve earned a well-earned nap. 

Beach Day at Baby Beach

If you’ve never heard of “Baby Beach,” it’s probably because you can’t see it. Hidden from view in a residential neighborhood, this saltwater lagoon is protected from waves by an offshore barrier reef. Most days offer calm conditions for wading with a raft or young ones, and there’s plenty of shade for laying out a blanket and relaxing.

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