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10 Jaw-Dropping Maui Secrets Every Parent Needs to Know Before Booking!

Alert for Visitors: Maui has experienced significant wildfires in August 2023, causing major disruption for both locals and tourists. For your safety and up-to-date information, please visit the Maui County website before planning any activities or travels. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated. Stay safe!

Are you planning your first trip to Hawaii and want some helpful Hawaii travel tips? Find out things no one tells you about planning a trip to Maui with kids!
This post about planning a trip to Maui was written by Hawaii travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Ah, family vacations.

They’re supposed to be these idyllic getaways where memories are made and everyone gets along perfectly, right?

Well, if you’ve ever attempted to wrangle a toddler through airport security or heard the dreaded “I’m bored” from your teenager while exploring a new city, you know the truth.

Family vacations can be… let’s just say “challenging.”

But fear not, dear parents, because I’ve been in the trenches of family travel, particularly to the beautiful island of Maui, and I’ve emerged with wisdom, tips, and tricks that will make your next trip not only bearable but downright enjoyable.

Yes, you read that right.

Buckle up, because we’re about to dive into the ultimate guide to stress-free family travel to Maui.

The Not-So-Secret Weapon: Preparation

“Did We Just Find the Best Deal Ever?” – Discovering Maui Vacation Packages

Before you even start packing those suitcases, let’s talk planning.

I stumbled upon some jaw-dropping deals through Costco that made our Maui vacation feel like we were living the high life without breaking the bank.

Free car rentals, luxurious condos, and more perks were all part of the package.

The lesson here? Shop around before you book anything and don’t overlook Costco Travel for some serious gems.

The Whirlwind Tour: Day Tripping to Maui

Yes, you can technically visit Maui on a day trip from another Hawaiian island. Crazy, right?

Image of a boy throwing a peace sign in an airplane
Interisland flights are the best! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

If you’re up for an adventure, catch the first flight in and the last flight out. Just make sure to prioritize your must-do activities because, believe me, the island is brimming with too much fun to fit into one day.

I’ve got a bunch of Hawaii island hopping tips that will explain everything.

The Magical Maui Moments: Making Memories

The Enchanting Road to Hana: A Journey, Not a Destination

The Road to Hana isn’t just a drive; it’s an experience.

Image of wrapped banana bread in front of the Halfway to Hana sign
We always stop for banana bread! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

With its winding roads, breathtaking waterfalls, and adorable fruit stands (hello, best banana bread ever!), it’s a full-day adventure that will leave you mesmerized. And I’ve got all the best kid-friendly Road to Hana stops.

Consider staying overnight in Hana to embrace the journey fully.

Capturing the Sunrise at Haleakala: A Chilly, Celestial Wonder

Experiencing sunrise at Haleakala is a must. It’s cold, it’s early, but it’s absolutely magical.

Can you believe I was STILL cold? Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

The kids might grumble about the early wake-up call, but the memories of watching the sun rise above the clouds will last a lifetime. Just remember to bundle up!

The Nitty-Gritty: Logistics and Tips

On the Move: The Ins and Outs of Renting a Car in Maui

Maui is a place of exploration, and renting a car is essential.

The best place I’ve found to rent a car in Maui is through Hawaii Discount Car Rental. They get awesome deals from top national brands like Avis, Alamo, Budget, Thrifty, Dollar, Enterprise, and Payless. Check out the latest prices and more details.

One of my top tips? Bring your own car seat to ensure your little one’s comfort and safety.

Also, downloading the Maui Shaka App can turn your drives into interactive tours, making every trip an adventure.

Where to Stay: The Great Debate

While Ka’anapali boasts stunning resorts, it’s quite a trek from the airport.

For those looking to dive deep into island exploration, Kihei offers a more central location with affordable accommodations.

It’s all about what your family values more: convenience or seclusion. I’ve got a cheat sheet of the best kid-friendly Maui resorts to help you out!

The Unforgettable: Experiences Not to Miss

Whale Watching: An Encounter with Giants

If your trip falls between December and May, don’t miss the chance to go whale watching.

Humpback Whale Jumping Out Of The Water
You’ll be in awe of all the whales you can see in Maui during the winter.

These gentle giants make their way past Maui during these months, and witnessing them in their natural habitat is something truly special.

Luau Love: Finding the Perfect Hawaiian Feast

Not all luaus are created equal, and as a professional hula dancer, I’ve seen my fair share.

I really like the Feast at Mokapu for a small luau experience. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

For first-timers, the Old Lahaina Luau offers an authentic experience. But for those seeking something different, the Feast at Lele or Feast at Mokapu offer unique takes on this Hawaiian tradition.

I’ve got a full post highlighting my favorite Maui luaus for families.

Parting Words of Wisdom: The Little Things

  • National parks passes work in Hawaii too! If you’re visiting Haleakala, bring your pass for savings.
  • Layers, layers, layers. Maui’s weather can be a tad unpredictable, especially if you’re venturing to higher elevations.
  • Respect the reef. Choose reef-safe sunscreen to protect Hawaii’s delicate marine ecosystems.
  • Book reservations early for popular attractions, like the Black Sand Beach at Waianapanapa State Park.

The Final Takeaway: Embrace the Adventure

Family vacations can test your patience, but they’re also filled with moments of joy, discovery, and bonding.

Maui, with its blend of adventure and relaxation, offers a backdrop for experiences that your family will cherish for years to come.

So take a deep breath, embrace the chaos, and dive into the adventure. Maui awaits!

And remember, the real secret to a successful family vacation is not just in the planning but in the willingness to embrace the unexpected. Adventures, after all, are found in the journey, not just the destination.

Happy travels!

Looking for more Maui travel tips? Check out 27 Awesome Things to do in Kihei, Maui, Christmas on Maui, 12 Incredible Maui Boat Tours Worth Booking, and 14 Best Maui Adventures to Book Before Your Trip!