Tuesday, April 3, 2012

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Top 10 Family Things to Do on Maui, Hawaii

Who doesn't love a "Top 10" post?  Especially about one of the most beautiful places on Earth? Here is the Top 10 Family Things to Do on Maui, Hawaii.

Recently, I met this adorable new momma who is one amazing photographer who loves to travel ~ go figure we hit it off!  She has some amazing adventures to share both before her adorable little man came along and after over at The Jack Chronicles.  When she offered to do a guest post on Hawaii, I jumped on it!  One place this momma has not been yet friends!!! I hope you enjoy this delightful article as much as I did! Thanks Devon!

Maui is consistently ranked as one of the word's best islands according to numerous travel publications and it's not hard to see why! It's a sparkling jewel of emerald hills and sapphire waters. You can feast on the freshest fish in the sea and soak up warm rays of sunshine on thick fluffy sands. The ever-changing sky (thanks to frequent short storms) is a palette of lavender, royal blue, aqua, and deep dark purple. You get the feel of an exotic paradise, far away from all the stress and chaos of the mainland, yet all the convenience of home. Maui is also heaven for kids of all ages. Children and the beach just go hand-in-hand; endless hours of entertainment for free and there are plenty of calm and tranquil beaches that are family-friendly. Although the main attractions on this island gem are the beaches, perhaps the greatest surprise about Maui is that it's truly diverse. There's something for everyone. It's not just a one-note island for beachcombers. There's a stunning and sprawling countryside, loads of marvelous hiking trails, artistic old-world shops, and impressive natural wonders. Here's my list of the top 10 best family-friendly things to do on Maui: (in no particular order)
The North Shore. The North Shore is authentic Maui at its finest. Miles of sugar cane fields and old pineapple plantations line the roads, there are amazing wind surfers defying gravity at Hookipa Beach, and the eclectic Paia town is a far cry from the glitzy 5 star resorts with perfectly manicured golf courses and posh sunbathers. I love the little community of Paia because you can find awesome treasures at fun boutiques, get a healthy dose of culture among the "unique" locals, and find cheap organic groceries for a picnic lunch at Mana Foods. Mostly home to residents and with just a handful of Inn's, The North Shore is a side of Maui perfect for exploring when you need a break from all the tourists. Check out: Kiwi Johns, Mama's Fish House, Flatbread Company, and Alice in Hulaland.
The Keanae Peninsula. About halfway to Hana in Northern Maui lies this spectacular peninsula that's one incredible stretch of shoreline. If you're traveling with small children who get carsick easily, driving all the way to Hana and navigating the winding and curving roads could end up being a challenge, so Keanae is a great halfway point. To make the trip worth it, definitely stop by the Keanae Landing Fruit Stand for their fresh pineapple and Aunt Sandy's homemade banana bread. Also of note, the old Hawaiian village with a church built in 1856! Highway 360E (Hana Highway)
The Iao Needle. Located in Central/West Maui, the Iao Valley and famous "needle" is an impressive and historic site. The needle is an old volcano remnant protruding 2,000 feet up from the ground. It's a great place to take a small hike and experience this natural wonder. For directions and additional information, visit: http://www.hawaiistateparks.org/parks/maui/index.cfm?park_id=36
The AKL Lavender Farm. Nestled high at 4,000 feet elevation in the Upcountry of Maui, this self-sustaining lavender farm is a wonderful and unexpected surprise. You can take a walking tour of this meticulously maintained farm and marvel at over 55,000 lavender plants (45 varieties), have lunch, and of course shop for all things lavender at their quaint little shop. 1100 Waipoli Road, Kula, Maui Hawai'i  (best time to visit is spring and summer, although the farm is open all year)
 The Old Lahaina Luau. This is hands-down the BEST Luau on the island of Maui, and arguably in all of Hawaii according to locals. The food, attention to detail, authenticity, and the venue all make this experience unforgettable. Heck, we even witnessed a marriage proposal when we came here in 2010! For tickets and more information, visit: http://www.oldlahainaluau.com/
Whale Watching. Although I can't guarantee you'll see the spectacular show we were dazzled with on our most recent trip, if you're traveling to Maui during the peak humpback season (December 15-April 15) then it's worth a try to get on a boat and search for these majestic creatures. Sure, you can spot whales from shore, but you can't truly experience these magnificent animals from that distance. Watching as they dive up from the deep sea below, breach, and spin in the air is a sight you'll never forget. I highly reccommend the tour company Kai Kanani: http://www.kaikanani.com/
Spinner Dolphins at Manele Bay. If you take the 30 minute ferry from Maui to Lanai, you'll arrive at one of the most incredible and exciting places to see spinner dolphins. They come so close to the shore at Manele Bay, and if you get into the ocean near them, you'll hear their beautiful calls and songs to each other. You can catch a ferry over to Lanai from Lahaina. For more information, visit here: http://www.go-lanai.com/
Ululani's Shaved Ice in Lahaina. You can't leave Maui without making a stop at this local favorite shaved ice stand in downtown Lahaina. Smooth and rich and available in any flavor under the sun, these icy treats are a Hawaiian treasure! Afterwards, cruise the streets of this harbor town and shop for local knickknacks and artworks. 790 Front Street, Lahaina, Hawaii.
Ulua Beach. This pristine white sand and calm little cove is the quintessential Maui beach. The water is tranquil enough for small children to play and there's some amazing snorkeling to be found here too!
The Road to Hana. For those brave souls traveling with a car full of kids, driving the road to Hana might be an arduous journey (very winding and steep roads), but this is an awesome destination and the drive to get there is among the most scenic in the world. Hana is a breathtaking public beach that's straight out of a movie set, or another planet even. The neon green vegetation, bright turquoise waters and jet-black sand make for quite the feast for the eyes. There are plenty of cool stops to make along the way, including trail heads and parks, and The Garden of Eden
*Honorable Mention--Kapalua Northwest Maui is home to the glorious and picturesque town of Kapalua, where rocky cliffs lined with towering pines and magical coves with cerulean waters are sights of unreal beauty. This region of Maui is much quieter and not as kid-friendly, so it didn't make my official top 10. There are world-class golf courses here, luxury hotels, and some of the beaches/bays are ideal for surfing but too rough for little ones. Nevertheless, it's a stunning area of Maui and worth the drive for a day trip. Check out: The Plantation House (for lunch/dinner), Sansei (awesome sushi),  Honolua Bay, and Slaughterhouse Beach
Just a few basics:
High-Season: mid-December through mid-April 
Low-Season: April-June, Sept-October (best deals, least number of tourists)
Rainy Season: Nov-March
Dry Season: April-October
Thanks for reading and stop by anytime on The Jack Chronicles to drop me a line!
{all photos are mine with the exception of:
 the top right on the North Shore collage, from the fabulous blog on Hawaiian life, The Grains of Paradise
the top right on the AKL Lavender Farm collage, from http://mymauiblog.com
the bottom right on the AKL Lavender Farm collage, from http://www.sfgate.com}

18 comments:

allstarme said...

We went to Oahu but this is helpful as we'd love to go back and hit Maui!

Shawn said...

Hawaii is beautiful, it's kinda like Florida on a serious dose of steroids.

We rented a car and did the road to Hana on our own. It was a magical day, lots of hiking, waterfall finding, cliff jumping, and good times! The trip home was terrifying, Babe thought he would walk on the wild side and take the shorter route home, the route clearly marked on every available map "NOT FOR TOURISTS, NATIVES ONLY" . There was also a warning in the car and on the rental agreement, boys just don't listen. Later I learned from a friend who grew up on the island that the natives in that area HATE tourist, especially white tourists from the mainland. She said we would have been in trouble had we been spotted. SUPER!

Great guest post and I love the pregnant picture on the beach in the brown bathing suite, just simply precious!

Thanks for linking up Becca!

Devon Riesenberg said...

Yippee! My post is now live :)

Ha! I love the "Florida on steroids" comment. Brilliant and so true!

Barrett Family said...

Hi there!

New follower from The Jack Chronicles. Great post on Maui. Beautiful pictures of your adventures around the island. We are always looking for cool adventures to take our kiddos on. Thanks for sharing.

Allison
http://barretts1234.blogspot.com/

femmefrugality said...

Hawaii is definitely on my bucket list! And the fact that you like Maui so much you went there TWICE is encouraging. Thanks for all the insider tips!

Nadine Hightower said...

Fabulous!! Just Fabulous!! I love Maui. I wish I hadn't been there with my inlaws. Babysittin' old peeps is too freakin' tirin'!

Stacy Uncorked said...

One of the places I would LOVE to visit is Hawaii. Now even more so. :)


Princess Nagger and the Ruptured Eardrum

Lisa said...

We spent a week on Maui and didn't get to any of the things on this great list - clearly, I have to go back! :)

MiMi said...

If I could just GET there....I would plant my butt on the beach. People would think they saw a beached whale!

Impulsive Addict said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Hawaii! I might be going back for my 10 year in November. We're still chatting about that.

Look how cute you are pregnant and in a swimsuit!! So jealous! I loved seeing all of your pictures! I'm a picture stalker!

Becca....thanks for linking up my sweet friend! I will see you in less than a MONTH! xoxo

Steve said...

Beautiful pictures! Hawaii is such a fantastic place. My daughter is still insisting that she wants to go to university there, which only leaves me a few more years to either win the lottery or change her mind. Needless to say, I won't be showing her your pictures, but I appreciated them.

Mary @ The World Is A Book said...

Great post Devon! Love the pictures and you can't go wrong with Maui. We were there last year and did a few of these things. We need to go back to do the ones we missed here =)

Bonnie Ferrell said...

always wanted to go to Hawaii, and now I know why, and when to go! Thanks

Courtney said...

Wow!!! This makes me want to get to Hawaii asap!! Great post!

Jennifer Gilbart said...

Wonderful, informative post and amazing photos. I want to go sooooooo badly!

Anonymous said...

Perfect timing as we will be on Maui later this month. Mahalo!

Anonymous said...

Perfect timing as we will be on Maui later this month. Mahalo!

Anonymous said...

Perfect timing as we will be on Maui later this month. Mahalo!