On our most recent family vacation to Maui we stayed mostly in West Maui, Lahaina in particular, and we really wanted to explore the areas surrounding. Here is a list of things we did and places we saw during our one-week family trip to Maui.
1. Rent a Jeep Wrangler and drive around the island with the top down
Yes, it will cost more to upgrade to a Jeep but common, you only live once and it is so worth it! We originally reserved a Camry but decided to upgrade at the car rental place because we thought how epic it would be to drive around with the top down in a jeep and we were right, it was beyond epic! The kids loved being out in the open! In terms of safety, we felt very safe! The speed limit in Hawaii is super slow anyway so we were never driving super fast or crazy ever. Another reason why I LOVE it there!
2. Penguin feeding at Hyatt Regency
Every day at 9:30am, there is a penguin and koi fish feeding at the Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa. It’s free and the kids love it.
3. Check out the Banyan Trees in Lahaina
Located close to the port in historical Lahaina town is the oldest Banyan tree in Hawaii at Lahaina Banyan Court. It’s definitely worth seeing and taking some cool photos of, but be careful not to sit on the branches as tempting as it may be. It’s a very old tree afterall. If you’re lucky, you may get the chance to hear a very talented gentleman singing and playing the guitar on one of the benches.
4. Go snorkeling in Kapalua Bay
So many turtles!! And the best part is, its free!! Just purchase some snorkel gear at the local ABC store, grab some snacks and plan to spend a couple of hours snorkeling in Kapalua Bay. Gabriel was so excited he saw so many “Dory and Nemo’s” here!
5. See dolphins with the Pacific Whale Foundation
By far one of the highlights of our trip. We took a snorkeling and dolphin watching trip with Pacific Whale Foundation and it was a great experience, especially for my 7 year old son. We saw SO MANY dolphins in the water, it was incredible! They were swimming and jumping out of the water…it was almost like they were performing for us! They are such beautiful creatures!
On the way to the snorkeling site, you’ll pass by the island of Lanai where the famous Four Seasons Resort is located. (where Bill Gates got married and air lifted all his guests!)
When you get to the snorkeling site, you’ll have about an hour to snorkel. They provide all the gear and floating devices you’ll need. The water is super clear so you’ll see a lot of fish and untouched coral that you’ll never see anywhere else!
Just to warn you though, the boat ride is long. About an hour to get to the snorkeling site and an hour back to shore so if you’re prone to motion sickness, you may want to skip this or take medication before hand. There were a few people at the back of the boat who fell ill, my husband and daughter being one of them so go prepared.
6. Check out the view from Makaluapuna Point (aka. Dragons Teeth)
The fact that this place is called Dragon’s Teeth is enough to get the kids excited, am I right? Dragon’s Teeth is easiest to access via Ritz Carlton in Kapalua. Take the Honoapiilani Highway and turn left on Office Road and you’ll see a small parking lot. From there, you’ll have to walk on the edge of the golf course (there’s a paved path and signs on the areas you are not to walk on). Continue walking until you pass the golf course and you’ll see what looks like teeth pointing towards the sky. It’s so cool!
7. Have dinner and watch the sunset at Mama’s Fish House
If you splurge on any meal in Maui, let it be at Mama’s Fish House. The experience is truly magical. I suggest making reservations way in advance as this place gets booked really fast. It’s extremely popular with tourists but with good reason. The food is incredibly good, like nothing I’ve ever had before anywhere else in the world. Order the Mama’s Stuffed Fish and the 3 Fish Panang Curry, plus a couple of mai tai’s and you’ll be set. And the view! The view is beyond words. Please whatever you do, catch the sunset from here. You will not regret it. Click here to view all the places we ate at in Maui.
8. Check out the view at Honolua Bay and have fresh coconut juice at Coconut Caboose
From 10am-5pm, Coconut Caboose is open everyday. So check out the epic view at Honolua Bay while sipping on fresh coconut juice or enjoying their famous coconut shaved ice. It doesn’t get more tropical than this!
9. Rent a beach cabana for the day
This is another splurge that we agreed would be worth it and we were right. The beach cabanas at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa sits right on the beach and you can rent it out for the whole day (9am-5pm). They provide plenty of towels, water, and a fruit platter upon arrival and a cabana boy/girl will take care of all your needs throughout the day. It was so relaxing having our own little getaway to retreat to in between playing at the beach and at the pool.
10. Check out the sea urchins at Black Rock Beach
Right outside the Gazebo Restaurant is Black Rock Beach where you can find tons of sea urchins hiding. The kids loved looking for them and hunting for seashells. Emilia even found some mussels stuck under rocks which she was super excited about!
11. See the blow hole and heart shaped rock at Nakalele Blowhole
Ok, first I want to say it is quite dangerous to climb down to see the blow hole and heart shaped rock. It’s steep and rocky and if you don’t have the right shoes and if you have small children with you, I don’t recommend it. BUT, the view from the top is amazing. And you can kind of see the blow hole from up there. As for the heart shaped rock, it’s very small and difficult to find from what I hear.
12. Stop by at Honolua Farms Kitchen food truck
On the way back from Nakalele Blowhole, you’ll see a purple food truck on the side of the road. Do not go past it! Stop and grab a smoothie, kombucha and banana muffins from Honolua Farms Kitchen and meet the friendliest ladies working there. The banana muffin was THE BEST banana muffin I’ve ever had in my life!
13. Have shaved ice
You can’t go to Hawaii and not have shaved ice. They have it everywhere on the island but there’s a couple of places worth checking out. Uulani’s Hawaiin Shave Ice located in downtown Lahaina and BreakWall Shave Ice also located in the historical downtown Lahaina right beside Down the Hatch.
14. Play in the sand
Purchase some inexpensive sand and beach toys at one of the many ABC stores in the island and spend the day building sand castles at your favorite beach. Simplicity at its finest!
15. The Road To Hana
Let me preface this by saying we did not do this on our most recent trip but did the drive 3 years ago when Emilia was only 5 months old and Gabriel just turned 5. Emilia slept the entire time and so did Gabe for the most part so it worked out in our favor that time. However, this time, we decided that since Emilia is recently potty trained and does not like to be confined to a car for a long period of time that we’d skip it. It is a very narrow and winding road with lots of twists and turns. Although beautiful, the drive is hard and if you’re prone to getting car sick, be prepared to take medication to alleviate the motion sickness or make frequent stops. This is an all day drive if you want to make a lot of stops along the way which I highly suggest you do. There are a lot of water falls, hiking trails and food trucks along the way that’s worth stopping at. Click here for a guide on what you can expect to see and do on the road to Hana.