If you are looking for the ultimate destination for family adventure you must visit Maui! Well it’s true the aloha spirit is alive and well in Maui. Hawaii is a beautiful land filled with beautiful people, and the perfect place for a family adventure vacation. One spring we received a call from John’s best friend inviting us to spend some time with him and his family in Maui. Our friends were temporarily living in Maui and had space for all 5 of us in their Ohana. We had a moment to make a quick decision…Wait, who am I kidding? There was no decision to make, we were headed to Maui at the end of July!!!
After several weeks of our family being fragmented, we reunited on the island of Maui where we stayed in the smaller, less touristy town of Paia. We were able to walk to coffee shops and restaurants with unbelievable poke, acai bowls and ice cream as well as boutique shopping. There was a selection of local beaches like Trevaris and Sugar Cove where we could swim until dinnertime, and watch families teach their little ones how to surf. We often had the beach to ourselves, so don’t be afraid to seek out a smaller beach for a more chill vibe. The resorts don’t always have the best beaches.
Find the Family Adventure in Maui!
Paia is the jumping off point for the road to Hana. This is the perfect day for any family wanting to really adventure. First: download the gypsy guide app on your phone, which will give you tips for where to stop along with interesting facts as you drive. Second: pack your water bottles, snacks, swimsuits, quick drying towels, and your camera. Third: set your alarm so you can get on the road fairly early. You will have a full day of activity with a lot of driving in between. Two small tips as you make the trek: Auntie Sandy’s banana bread stand only takes cash but it totally worth the stop, and Red Sand Beach is awesome and CLOTHING OPTIONAL. We failed to remember this fact and really gave our kids something to remember-HA!
Do the vacation things, but adventure like a local family!
Hands down our favorite “excursion” was to drive up to the top of Haleakala for a sunset picnic. You do not need to hire an outfitter to do this unless you want to do high level star-gazing. We simply loaded up our chairs, warm clothes, picnic food and wine, paid the entrance fee (or use your National Parks Annual Parks pass), and got ourselves a nice spot above the clouds to take it all in. The evening we were up there, a local couple was getting married. Can you imagine getting married in such a beautiful setting?!?!
Maui Beaches & Activities
I know people think Maui is just for honeymoons or relaxing, but I’m here to tell you we made the most of our time on the island. We did SO MUCH adventuring. Depending on the time and energy you have, consider any of the following activities: a drive in the Upcountry, Lahaina with the grand banyan tree, a short hike to the blowhole, cliff jumping at Black Rock Beach, snorkeling at Molokini Crater & Turtletown. Fight the urge to park your bottom in a chair at the same beach every day. Eat at Maui pie and Coconuts; get a refreshing drink at Aloha Lemonade. And surely not to miss are the gorgeous beaches of Wailea-Big Beach and Polo Beach. Be advised that the ocean currents around the island are strong and not every beach is a swimming beach.
One last note on the epic beaches in Maui. ALL beaches on the island are public. You do not need to be staying at a specific resort or hotel to enjoy their beach front. It may take some creative parking, but the resorts all have walking paths to get to the beach without having to trounce through their hotel. For example if you want to cliff jump off Black Rock, it’s located at the Sheraton. Park in the parking garage for day guests and use the paved paths to walk down to the beach. We also did this at Polo Beach and spent an entire day in our own little spot away from the crowds and right next to Oprah’s house! That’s right-even her beachfront is public. If you have small children, staying at a resort might make the most sense, but if your kids are teenagers like ours consider renting a place and adventuring out on your own.