Visiting Maui

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Babysitter in Maui?

June 2014

We are staying in Maui, specifically near Lahaina, in August. We would like to hire a babysitter to watch our children for at least one evening while we are there. We are renting a house. Do any of you happen to have any recommendations for a specific babysitter or a service that you have used while in that area? I am going to call local hotels for referrals but would love to have a personal recommendation. Thanks very much in advance! Looking forward to the beach

We recently came back from 7 days in Maui and I had the same question before we left. I was referred to the Nanny Connection by a coworker. It's a nanny referral service and they were great. You call, tell them when you need someone and where, and they send you the name/contact information/other information about your nanny. They've been around forever. The nanny comes straight to you (hotel, condo, etc.) They are $19/hr. for one child (which is right around what we pay at home). We used them twice on our trip. We had the same nanny both times; she was always right on time (even at 5:15 a.m.) and great with my toddler. Highly recommended. Sara

We are going to Maui at the end of this month and are going to be using The Nanny Connection, as recommended by our travel consultant. I checked them out on Yelp and they got great reviews. However, they are somewhat pricey ($18/hr for one child, with $4/hr more for each addtl child), with a 3 hour minimum). It's My Vacation Too

We have had great experiences with the Nanny Connection in Maui. All the sitters we used were experienced, engaging, polite and reliable. Kid free (for at least a night) in HI

Maui was too windy - did we go in the wrong month?

March 2013

We went to Maui in early May last year, and while it was very beautiful, it was very very windy and the ocean was somewhat cold. We were in Wailea, in South Maui, which is supposed to be the least windy. Did we go in the wrong month or is it always that windy there? What island would you recommend for going for a family vacation in April/May (we have a preschooler)? Ideally, we'd want to stay somewhere with a nice sandy beach, warm ocean without big waves and where it's not windy. Thanks for any suggestions! Albany mom

Hawaii in general is not windy, so I think you just hit some bad luck there--unless you mean trade winds--which are really breezes. Anyway, if you want nice calm beaches, you should go to O'ahu or Kauai. Each of those islands have beaches with break waters that are good for kids. O'ahu is much more crowded than Kauai. Check out the Ihilani or Ko'olina or Aulani if you want less crowded O'ahu. For Kauai, I'd recommend somewhere on the south side of the island. Oh, and waters are warmest in July and August, but airfares are also highest! Hawaiian

I've been to Maui in early April and the Big Island in early August. I can't speak to Oahu or Kauai, though I've had friends with children older than yours who liked them. We didn't have problems with the wind either time, though Mauna Kea on the Big Island was very windy near the base when we took the Saddle Road. Of the two islands, I found Maui MUCH more child-friendly. There is a lot to do, there are a lot of other babies and children, and the restaurants are much easier for family-friendly dining. The Big Island has almost no child-friendly beaches, way fewer good restaurant choices, and is much more impoverished (I saw a lot of cars in parking lots with smashed windows when I was there). The good thing about the Big Island is that it's nice for seeing volcanic action, but your child is young enough that that won't hold his or her attention very long. If you do go, you'd probably like the Botanical Gardens, Volcano National Park, and maybe the observatory on Mauna Kea (depending on your child). The weather in Maui was sunny and pretty, with only one afternoon of rain. The weather on the Big Island was all rain almost all day on the East side (we stayed in Pahoa), and then only very hot mugginess on the West side (we stayed in Holualoa near Kailua- Kona). Whether you are in Maui or the Big Island, to follow these suggestions, you'll need to rent a car. On Maui, I recommend staying in Kaanapali, Napili, or Kapalua. The beaches are beautiful (especially Napili, which also has nice snorkeling), you're still close enough for basic things like easy dining or going to CVS within five or ten minutes (depending on where you stay), and Lahaina is only 20-30 minutes away. I'm not sure what you did the first time there, but we were glad we went to Haleakala (even though it was a two-hour drive), but if you decide to go to Hana, it's really beautiful but basically you're in the car the entire day, on little twisty roads. If your child likes car rides, it might be fun for him or her, but it's a long day with fairly low reward otherwise. Our favorite day was having lunch at Mama's Fish House in Paia (a very nice restaurant, but fine for children at lunch time; I don't think I'd bring a child to dinner) and then travelling West up and over the top of the western bump. We stopped like literally at least 12 times, but it was wonderful and very appropriate for a pre-schooler. Finally, I recommend the guide book Maui Revealed ( The-Ultimate-Guidebook/dp/0971727937). It told us where to stop on our special road trip, gave us lists of activities we could do, and included eating suggestions that led us to the right types of restaurants. I'd go as far to say that it's what made our trip special. - Only Maui from now on

For what it's worth, I have been to Maui twice and it was super-windy both times. We were slightly north of Kaanapali. It really impacted my enjoyment. I have also been to the big island and Kauai and was much happier there. anon

I had to respond after seeing the previous poster's response regarding the Big Island. Perhaps it was the area that they stayed in but there are plenty of things to do with kids on the Big Island and it is no more impoverished than the rest of Hawaii. We have been going with our kids who are now 7 and 11 since they were babies. We stay on the Kohala Coast. There are lots of great condo complexes that have areas for your kids to run around and pools. There are lots of great beaches for both older kids (Hapuna Beach) and younger kids (the Mauna Kea beach or the Mauna Lani beach). There are also plenty of kid activies including the great astronomy museum in Hilo, a trip to Mauna Kea to see the stars (you might not be able to go all the way up with young kids but you can go most of the way for their star shows).

If you can stand it you can also take your kids to the Hilton Waikaloa Village. It is a little like Disneyland with a monorail, boats and dolphins. My kids love it still and we go once every trip. There are also plenty of good restaurants (both high end and inexpensive). We love the Big Island since it has much less traffic than Maui and is generally less congested. As for the wind, you can get it anywhere in Hawaii depending on the weather pattern. Last time we were on the Big Island it was very windy but we drove about 10 miles south and there was no wind at all. Loves the Big Island

Reasonably priced place to stay in Maui

Jan 2013

We are a family with a 14 year old and are looking for an island vacation. We don't want to break the bank, but also want a comfortable place. We are leaning toward maui, but are considering other beach destinations as well. Thoughts? Stephanie

Try some of the condo places in Kehei like the Kamoale Sands. Kihei is less of a resort town that Wailea, Lahaina, Kaanapali etc. Its got 3 great beaches and plenty of nontouristy restaurants. You can also find condo rentals directly with condo owners through These places will usually have kitchens also so you dont have to eat every meal in a restaurant. Kihei is a nice mix of locals and tourists which I prefer rather than being in a resort where everyone is from the mainland and the only locals you see are your service people. mpdrip

Babysitting Services in Maui?

Oct 2012

We are headed to the Kaanapali area of Maui in November with our 1 year old and 3 year old. We are looking for a friendly, safe and reliable babysitter for an evening and would love to hear about any great experiences people may have had with a specific babysitter or babysitting service while visiting Maui. Our hotel has babysitting services but I am more interested in personal referrals. Thanks! anon

You will likely hear this tip from many a past Maui-goer but we had STUPENDOUS results using The Nanny Connection. They sent us a terrific sitter with superb credentials and references whom our son fell in love with right away. Their sitters all bring a 'bag of tricks' - games and books - in case your stuff is getting old after a few days on planes and in condos, and are VERY willing to follow your rules about staying in the condo versus going for a walk versus whatever you want. We used them three times on a recent trip. Sarah

Maui in December with 6 and 8 year olds

Oct 2011

We are planning a vacation to Maui in December with a 6 and an 8 year old. Is that a good time to go? Should we stay on Lahaina side or Wailea side? Which side has more sun and things to do? Any recommendation on things to do with the children? Thank you Hawaii experts

can't wait

Actually both Lahaina and Wailea are on the same 'side' of Maui, but one (Lahaina) is a good deal farther north than the other (Wailea). After years of visting Maui at various times of the year we've found that the beaches are nicer and the weather is consistently better (i.e., sunnier) the further south. So the last 4 or 5 visits we have stayed in Wailea. The resort hotels are plentiful in Wailea and they all have tons of kids' activities. There are good condo rentals as well. You can always drive up to Lahaina for the day -- the town is mainly shopping, restaurants and tourist activities, including access to surfing lessons and departures for boat excursions. Aloha

All-Inclusive trip to Hawaii?

July 2010

My husband and I went to Hawaii for the first time a couple of years ago, sans kids. We had to go to Maui for a friend's wedding, so I don't know anything about Kauai, except that I'd like to go there someday. Anyhow, I accidentally found Maui treehouses when I was looking up places for us to go before our trip. It's in the remote area of the Hana side of the island. We stopped at a grocery store in the town of Paia and bought food (fresh fish, veggies, fruit, etc.). I can't remember if we bought a cheapy cooler to take with us or if they wrapped the fish in ice for us. It's a long drive from there to the treehouses, but totally worth it! There's two propane burners and a barbeque on the lanai, along with a hammock and tiki torches. We actually stayed in the Tree Pavillion. It was gorgeous and so romantic! The Ritz Carlton it is not, but if you're looking for a secluded place to relax and unwind and enjoy paradise in a natural setting, then you will not be sorry. I noticed on the website it says they're not renting due to the permit process, but if you're interested, I would call David the owner anyway to inquire about whether or not you can stay there. (808) 248-7241

There's tons of places to go exploring on the Hana side of the island if you like beaches and mountains and hiking. Just make sure you bring plenty of food. When we went there was a Thai woman who set up shop until she ran out of food around lunch time. We were able to eat there twice and it was fabulous! We even saw Weird Al there. If you're familiar with him, you'll know that he is totally recognizable, there's no hiding the fact that he's Weird Al. Once he started making Wookie noises to his daughter, I had no doubt it was him. Since he was with his wife and daughter, and we were in a remote part of paradise, and not a red carpet event in LA, I didn't feel it appropriate to approach him, even though I wanted to snap a picture of him for my brother who is a huge fan. Anyway besides the Thai food tent, there is a tiny grocery store with slim pickins. There a couple of hotel-ish type places that serve food, but the hours didn't fit in with our schedule. We cringed when it was time to go. It was a lovely experience. We look forward to going again someday. Feel free to email me if you want to know more or see any of our pictures. Marjie marji

Place to stay in Maui

Jan 2010

Hi everybody, my husband, our (then) 13 months old son and I are planning our trip to Maui this june and were wondering if anybody can suggest a nice place to stay. Here is my wishlist :-) - apartment or condo - kitchen with dishwasher - one bedroom with large livingroom or 2 bedrooms - washer/dryer - pool, a baby pool would be perfect - close to beaches, shops and restaurants - 150$-200$ per night I know I'm asking for a lot, but we desperatly need this vacation and we want it to be just perfect! Thanks so much!

Try Vacation Rentals By Owner - We have had great luck with them for family vacations. They have many listings in Maui, and I'll bet you'll find just what you're looking for! Also look at the BPN archives - sometimes BPN members will respond with websites for their condos/homes in Hawaii. Have a great trip! Kim

Vacation Rental by Owner,, is a great way to connect with a homeowner who could rent you exactly what you're looking for. Their listings are searchable. I've used them to arrange a place for my relatives to stay during my wedding, and am considering using them to find a place for our Hawaii honeymoon. Enjoy your trip! Megumi -- click on ''view slideshow''. Mana Kai Maui fits your description, except for the lack of a separate baby pool. It's centrally located in South Kihei, on one of the best beaches in Hawaii (town has shops, restaurants, etc). It's a calm, sandy beach with a coral reef right next to it, so the kids can play in the sand; the adults can snorkel with tons of fantastic fish, all steps from the condo. It's a large (8 story?) condo (separate bedroom areas, full kitchens) but is run like a hotel - daily maid service, nice lobby setting, and has a fantastic (kid-friendly) oceanfront restaurant downstairs, along with a few shops, including a convenience store with everything from ice cream to groceries to flip flops and towels and sand toys. Every unit is privately owned, so the decor varies but it's all decently maintained and all typical tropical style. We like to request carpet so the kids don't slip on wet tiles after a day at the pool or beach. There is a very nice pool too - not huge but well-maintained, with a little water feature-waterfall. We've stayed there several times over the last 15 years, before kids, and with kids, and had a great time every time. Close to Wailea--very fancy houses, more great beaches, golf, shopping, etc. heidi

2008 - 2009 Recommendations

Maui for Under 150 night?

May 2009

Hello. I am thinking of going to Maui with my husband and baby in August. I am looking for a preferably beachfront (or anyway walkable to beach) condo rental. I don't care too much about resort-y stuff, though access to a pool would be nice. I am looking on eBay and stuff, but am a bit overwhelmed. Can under $150/night be done? I checked the archives but was hoping that in this economy, maybe there are some good deals to be had.

Try . I've gotten a couple places through there that worked out very well. I definitely think you can do some bargaining in this economy. j

Check out It is a site where you can rent houses, apartments and condos directly from the owner. They have several listings that might fit your needs. Good luck-Maui is a beautiful island. Patty

West Maui with small children

April 2009

My family would like to visit West Maui with our 6y/o and infant. We are looking for a less touristy place, and would like to stay in a condo on or relatively close to the beach with a full size kitchen. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Check out Napili. The town law prohibits buildings taller than a palm tree. Heaven. Condos and resorts are available. Napili fan

West Maui rains more than South Maui, but it's also cheaper. Kaanapali area rains a little less than Napili, but Napili is cheaper. (though Kaanapali can be more expensive than South Maui). With little kids, I'd probably go to Kaanapali rather than Napili, although the resorts in Napili usually have a good pool and lots of kids running around too. The beach in Napili is a little steeper (therefore less kid-friendly) than Kaanapali, which is flat and very kid friendly. South Maui has plenty of good kid-friendly beaches. You can also drive around, of course. Janet

Maui in December

April 2009

We would like to go to Maui in December. Our ideal situation would be a condo or house either on the beach or a across the street from the beach with good outdoor space for kids (3 of mine and 3 of my sisters ranging in age from 3 to 10) to run around. A pool would be super too! We don't need anything too fancy though. Any suggestions? Rachel

Kahana Village in Kahana (just north of Kaanapali). We are staying here now! Each unit is either 2 or 3 bedrooms, there is a big round 3 foot deep pool, and it is on the water. Nice landscaped grounds/grass for running around. Best yet, the pricing is exceptional for what you get. Tell them I sent you! Ellen

Marriott in Hawaii with 2 kids

Jan 2009

We have points to use at a Marriott, one kid age 4, one 10 mths. I want warm air and a direct (not too long) flight. Any Marriott's stand out in particular? We love the beach and the pool but kid friendly a must. Arizona? Southern California? Mexico? Hawaii? Anyone been to Ko Olina on Hawaii? Feb or March travel. want to be warm!

Hi, We just came back from Maui, HI and stayed at the Wailea Marriott Beach Resort & Spa. We brought our 1 yr old daughter and she had a great time. There were many other kids there as well. They have a kid's pool with slides and lots of water hoses. You will also enjoy this really nice hotel, which is right off the beach. I highly recommend this place and going to Maui with your kids. Mary

Maui Condo recommendation?

August 2008

We're hoping to head to Maui this September with our 2 year old before the arrival of #2 (and the inevitable chaos) in the new year. The archives are quite dated, so we are looking for some recent recommendations for a great condo. We rarely manage a vacation that isn't in a tent (!) so we're hoping for something a little special. We don't want to spend a heap of cash and come away disappointed, but are happy to spend what is necessary to be sure of a pleasant place to stay! Generally we are happier away from the crowds, but not so far that we have to get in a car to do everything...... Anyone have a glowing recommendation for a condo or vacation rental that might suit us? Excited for a REAL vacation!

We've stayed at the maui eldorado 2x. it's just up from lahaina. I think the town is kaanapali. it is on a golf course. there are pools adjacent to most buildings. we had a one bedroom condo with a bedroom that had an accordian divider, effectively making a 2 br condo--and a pool out the back and front doors. they will carry you to the beach on golf carts or it's a short walk (long for little legs). at the beach they are the only beach front with cabana with showers, towels, restrooms, and a KITCHEN witha FRIDGE. the beach is pretty gentle and you can do some okay snorkeling against the rocks. you can walk to the sheraton where they do the evening torch light ceremony. it is expensive, but you are comfortable. Jessica

My daughter and I stayed at the Two Mermaids bed and breakfast a few years ago and had a great time. I believe there were 2 or 3 rooms so it worked for a couple or for a large family. Very nice swimming pool and a short drive from the southern beaches and Kihei. heidi

Planning trip to Maui

April 2008

I've checked the archives but didn't find anything that really helped. We're thinking about a trip to Maui in September and would love some recommendations. It will be my husband and I, our 2 kids (ages 1.5 and 4.5) and 2 or 3 active grandparents. A 2-3 bedroom condo with a full kitchen and very close to a (preferably calm) beach are a must. We would also love to avoid renting a car (is this even possible?) so somewhere within walking distance of a grocery store and a couple of restaurants would be great. Oh yeah, and my dad doesn't really like crowds, so if he decides to join us, somewhere more secluded and less touristy would be ideal (although if there were a golf course nearby, we could just send him there). However, if we don't have a car, how limited will we be in our excursions? I'm guessing we would like to go to a luau and maybe on a snorkeling tour. Anything else a must and doable with kids?

We took our boys (ages 2 and 4 1/2 at time of travel) to Maui a couple of years ago for a two week stay and loved it. We rented a condo advertised in the SF Chron and it worked well for us, although it would be too small for your group. If you are looking for quiet and no crowds I recommend the Wailea area. It's a bit more expensive, but absolutely beautiful. There is a great beach just past Wailea called Makena which was incredible. We went almost everyday! Most of the resorts and condo complexes have their own private beaches and there are a couple of golf courses nearby. Kanaapali is a very popular area, however it's very crowded.

You really do need a car just about anywhere in Hawaii (except maybe Waikiki!). Maui has great beaches and some nice small towns to go exploring. It also has a terrific Acquarium that is right on the coast. In the same location there is a very good whale watching company called the Pacific Whale Foundation that was very family friendly. I purchased a Maui guidebook at Amazon and found it very helpful. When we arrived in Maui, we drove right to Safeway and bought them cheap beach toys and towels that we could leave behind. The food at the grocery stores can be pricey, so we bbq'd a lot and kept it simple. Just about every restaurant is family friendly and we had no problem having meals out. We thought Maui was wonderful for our family. I hope you enjoy it too! Angela

We've always stayed at Mana Kai Maui, before kids and with our kids--wonderful sandy beach with a reef for snorkeling. We've always rented the hotel room or the kitchen suite, but you can rent them all together and that would give you a separate bedroom with a queen bed + bathroom, and a suite with bedroom (queen bed--separated by living area by a folding curtain-thing), bathroom, full kitchen, and living area with fold-out bed. That would be perfect for your family plus 2 grandparents, and you could add one more hotel room or a rollaway bed for the 3rd grandparent. These condos all come with a car. I wouldn't go to Maui and not get a car unless you're staying at a full-service resort and don't want to explore. There are famous golf courses just south of the Mana Kai, in Wailea. I'd stay in this area for its calm beaches, as opposed to up north, but in September it should be nice no matter where you are. The Mana Kai is about 7 stories high, and is a condo complex (each unit is privately owned), but it's run just like a hotel, with a front office and daily maid service. The kitchens have silverware, pots, pans, dishes, etc. There is a very good restaurant on the first floor, right next to the beach. There are also a few little shops, including a sundry shop where you can get groceries, beach toys, ice cream, etc. Here's a link-- Have fun! heidi

Napili would be perfect for you. Away from the bustle of Lahaina and Kaanapali. We stayed in the Napili Shores condos. I don't know if they have anything bigger than a 1 bedroom though (with sleeper sofas in the living room for kids). Napili Point is another condo complex right there as well. Erin

Maui Ocean Center is great for kids (AAA discount for one-time ticket, or you can buy a one-week ticket). Pricey but lots of things for kids to see/do, and it's great for a rainy day or if you need a break from sun. Good beaches for little kids are Kaanapali (probably the flattest), Wailea, Kihei. Napili is not a great beach: small, steep, and if it rains anywhere, it rains in Napili. Kaanapali rains a bit more than Kihei/Wailea.

All the ''regular'' shops can be found in Kihei, but you still need a car, and Kihei can be a bit crowded. Wailea is very nice but pricey, and one of the best things about it is the pathway that goes about 2 miles along the beaches. Keawakapu beach so. end has some nice tidepools too. You can google ''rentals'' and Kihei, Wailea, Kaanapali and you'll come up with lots of options. (I'd advise not staying north of the Kam I-III beaches-those beaches aren't lovely! And don't stay in Maalea or North Shore, unless you like wind, and are dying to windsu! rf.) You might want to try to be on the ocean side of so. Kihei road if you end up in Kihei though it's not a huge deal to cross the street (it's a little noisier too w/ 20-somethings).

Plenty of people seem to like Lahaina, but I don't understand what the appeal is. Kaanapali is also pricey kind of like Wailea. You really don't need to ''do'' much with kids other than go to the beach or pool (with lots of sunscreen, and possibly with a bucket and shovel). And bring some games, books, videos for rainy days. If you go to a place with a pool or flat beach you'll probably find other kids to play with too. There's a guidebook called ''Maui Revealed'' that you can buy at Costco in Maui (near the airport) or order online - and they have some online recommendations too. With little kids you might want to skip things like going to Haleakala, which, in my cranky opinion, is not so special, and is a long drive, and it's COLD up top. (also means you have to pack warm clothes). (though if you have $ to burn, you could do a helicopter ride).

The ''road to Hana'' might not be so interesting to kids, and it's a bloody long drive, though the pools on the east side are interesting. Kids enjoy going to a place like Longs, which has all the Hawaiian gifts you could possibly want (coloring book? tote bags? purses? magnets?), and you could also check out the ABC stores, and the Maui Ocean Center gift store (there's a discount coupon for it in the local phone book). Call the concierges at the various big hotels in Wailea and Kaanapali for things like hula shows, hula lessons, music, lei making, etc. And the luau can be fun if expensive, if you think you can keep your kid awake until 7 or 8 pm (they are 3 hrs behind us during the DST period, otherwise 2 hrs). Oh, and one thing my daughter liked was the submarine, which goes out of Lahaina (also pricey). She liked it even though on that trip we didn't see much. There also was a ''turtle project'' out of Lahaina that we didn't do but which sounded interesting. They'll take kids (and grownups) out on a snorkel--and various ways to help kids who don't swim, like a boogie board and snorkel mask--and go look at the turtles and learn about them. But it was $150 min and $50 for each snorkeler. Did I mention ''pricey''? Even expect to pay a LOT at the grocery store. But it's a great place for kids! janet

Things to do in Maui

March 2008

We will be visiting Maui for the first time in May this year with a 2 year old and 3.5 year old. Do you have suggestions on things to do in Maui? We will be hiring a car so are open to places that are a reasonable drive away from our condo in Lahaina. Heading to Maui

In December we went to Maui with our 2 year. He spent most of his time at the beach and at the hotel pool, but a couple outings that he really enjoyed were:

-The Sugar Cane Train. The train goes through Lahaina and then a bit north. Open-air train with friendly conductors. We rode it for a round-trip and he loved it. It's been several months and he still talks about this!

-The Maui Ocean Center. A great aquarium. Just a short drive from Lahaina. have fun! Can I Come Too?

My seven year old has this advice: ''My grandma lives in Maui. When I go to visit her I like to go to the Aquarium. The Sugar Cane Train is good but very long. There are trains to climb on at the station.''

My two cents from travelling to Maui a total of ten times with my kids: The Sugar Cane Train is in Lahaina. I believe the Aquarium is in Ma'alea Harbor on the way to Kihei. it's a small one with indoor (air conditioning)/outdoors. If you happen over to the other side of the island, say for the drive over to Hana, the best(read only)park on Maui is in Haiku at Giggle Hill. Ask your hotel or a local for directions. It's designed by the Frog Park designers. Worth a stop on a long day's drive to let toddlers run off some steam. In general you'll find most of the restaurants and local places are incredibly kid friendly. My Mama's in Maui

I'm sure you'll hear about the Marine Center from others, but I want to tell you about a fantastic beach. It's in South Kihei (you'll go through Kihei--pronounced 'KEE-Hay'-- as you drive down from Lahaina to Wailea on the west side of the island). Turn into the condo complex called Mana Kai Maui on the beach side of the road, and look for the public parking lot on your left. Walk through the lawn and trees to the beach. It's a public beach, and has both a fantastic, smooth sandy area for the kids, as well as a great reef with tons of fish (and sometimes turtles) for snorkeling. Very mellow and easy to get to. Inside the Mana Kai Maui resort, there are a couple of stores--a clothing shop, as well as a ''5 & 10'' that sells a little bit of everything--food & drinks, ice cream, sunscreen, toys, etc. heidi

Family resorts for a vacation in Maui?

Jan 2008

We are considering a last-minute trip to Maui in Feb. and would appreciate recommendations for places to stay w/ kids -- we have a 2 yr old and a 2 month old. We are not familiar w/ the island so we're open to location suggestions. The high-end resorts in areas like Weilea look great, but they're $5-600/night during the peak season and that's not exactly in our budget. We're mostly interested in resorts or condos on a nice beach, with a pool and a casual restaurant, that are extremely family-friendly. Thanks for any suggestions or advice you may have. pamela

Try The Mauian, at Napili Beach (up the road from the more pricey Kaanapali). The Mauian is an old-fashioned motel-style place on its own lovely beach (right next to several fancy resorts which share the same coast and have excellent restaurants). We first stayed at The Mauian in 1970 when our kids were very young, and stopped by again last year to find that it is still there and is still as lovely (and reasonable) as it was. The place has a kids-oriented library and a TV/game area but no restaurant of its own. You will appreciate a rental car, since it is a little ''out of the tourist area''. It is listed in the AAA book. Robert

Maui crib rental

Jan 2008

We are taking our two year old to Maui soon. He's just about outgrown his pak'n'play and we'd prefer to rent a crib for our Maui condo. Any recommendations? Dad with big kid

We've used for all of our baby stuff in Maui. The man on the phone can be a little gruff but the stuff is good and clean and delivered and picked up on time. aloha

2006 - 2007 Recommendations

Maui - Napili or Wailea?

Oct 2007

We are planning a trip to Maui with our then 2 year old in mid January or early February 2008. We are trying to decide between Napili and Wailea (we picked these two because they have been recommended and to narrow down our research scope). Any preferences? And any specific lodging recommendations? We prefer a condo so that we can have a kitchen, but access to a nice pool would be great too. Thanks! Maui Bound

I'd strongly recommend Wailea over Napili in ''winter'' simply because the water is much calmer down south than up north. We were there over Christmas with our 1 year old, 6 years ago, and we ended up driving down to Kihei (just north of Wailea) every day to use the beaches--they were too choppy in Napili for the baby. We LOVE Kihei. It's cheaper than Wailea (though not as beautiful), but Kihei does have some of the best beaches in Hawaii-known as Kam 1, 2 and 3. Our favorite place to stay is Mana Kai Maui, right on the beach (Kam 2, I think)--it's condos, but with daily maid service, amenities (small shops, a restaurant, pool...), and is on a GREAT beach--sandy, clean and calm for the kiddies, but with a reef for snorkeling, for the parents. Have fun! heidi

We've stayed in both Napili and Wailea several times and love both. However, I do find that the weather is better in Wailea -much more consistently dry. We like the Elua condo complex which is on the ocean and has a nice pool near the beach. We have also stayed (and enjoyed) the Grand Champions condos which are a short drive from the beach. We were just in Wailea this summer and stayed at the Grand Champions for 4 nights and the Fairmont Kea Lani for the last 5 nights. The Fairmont is an ''all suites'' hotel and it's beautiful. A pretty good set up if you have kids as it has a good sized fridge, microwave, and wetbar. It was great to be pampered the last half of the trip! Have fun! Laurie

We stayed in Lahaina with our 16 month old at the end of August and had a great experience at the Outrigger Aina Nalu. I normally wouldn't think of staying in Lahaina (since it's more of a tourist spot), but the Aina Nalu is in a quiet and residential area, walking distance to Foodland (grocery store), the wharf. The rooms are spacious (I recommend the 2 BR for the additional space for kids), very clean and have all the amenities you need for your family. The accomodations in Napili/Wailea are more of the resort-style. Lahaina is also an easy drive to either Napili/Wailea and is also a short drive to the Maui Ocean Center. gemma

Day Activities in Hawaii

July 2007

My husband and I are going on a Hawaiian cruise in a few weeks, generously paid for by my grandparents, and are looking for things to do on the islands. We'll spend the nights on the ship, but have time during the day to go out and explore. I'll be pretty far along in my pregnancy, so will probably be interested in more low-key things (like gentle walks or staying on the beach with my family), while my husband is active and would like to snorkel and hike and whatever else is available! It's also kind of a ''babymoon'' for us since this will be the last trip before the baby (our first) comes. We'll be docking in and out of at these places and have at least a day in each one: Honolulu, O'ahu Nawiliwili, Kaua'i Hilo, Hawai'i Kona, Hawai'i Kahului, Maui

I've never been to Hawaii and have no idea how to best spend our time there. We've love any recommendations and details you can share! Thank you!

Hello, Our family has vacationed in Maui every winter since I can remember. We typically focus on the beaches, mai-tais, and incredible restaurants, but one 'activity' that was really fun was ''biking the volcano''. Sounds intense, but there are several companies that will drive you up to the top of Haleakala, and you ride many miles from the cold (sometimes snowy) mountaintop through various forests and fields, see incredible views, and witness the repidly changing microclimates and you decend to the hot, sunny beach. Best of all- it's ALL downhill! No need for pedals, only brakes! Super easy, gorgeous, and fun. Enjoy! dreaming of maui

we also go to Maui a lot -- once or twice a year, and have found a bunch of fun stuff for times when the beach is not happening (because of wind, weather, over-exposure, whatever). the absolute best thing -- tho expensive -- is the Maui Ocean Center in Ma'alea, a port that is situated right in the middle of the leeward (or ''kona'') side of the island, between Lahaina and Kihei. it is an aquarium, sort of on the model of the Monterey Bay place, but smaller ... and full of the most amazing (local) tropical fishes, turtles, sharks and other sea life, all wonderfully displayed. another nice thing to do is to visit the I'ao Needle, up in Wailuku (not too far from where the airport is) ... its a short (2 miles?) walk through a rain forest, with incredible vegetation and bridges over canyons, etc. nearby is a park with structures in the style of each of the waves of immigrants (polynesian, filipino, chinese, amer-euopean, japanese, etc). aloha jim

Going to Maui without kids!

March 2007

I'm surprising my husband for his 40th bday with a trip to Maui (or maybe the Big Island)for 4 days without the kids. Any suggestions on where to stay and what to do? I'd prefer a rental so we can cook but other than that I'm open to all ideas since I've never been to either island. He's also mentioned he used to love snorkeling as a kid. Thanks! anon

I've been to Maui twice - once on our honeymoon and the other, very recently, with our two very young kids. Both times, my husband and I stayed at the Napili Kai (on the northwest side of Maui - near Kapalua. Their website: ) The place was perfect for us - both as a young married couple and then again as a family. We, too, like to cook - and enjoyed the convenience of having a kitchen. We also used one of the many bbq grills scattered about the resort to cook fresh fish from the local fish market. The Napili Kai has an unbelievable beach - fabulous for bodysurfing, boogeyboarding and swimming - and snorkeling. It's an hour's drive from the airport - but once you're there, you'll not want to leave the resort. wish i were there right now

I can highly recommend the Bamboo Inn in Hana, Maui. Hana is a tiny town without nightlife, shopping, or anything really besides hiking and beach going. It's in the lush rainforest so the weather is a bit unpredictable, but the rainy days there can be wonderful, too. It is a long, windy (but beautiful) drive to get there, so you want to spend more than just one night there (maybe all 4 if this sounds like your kind of vacation). The Bamboo Inn has kitchens in all the units, It's a real honeymoon kind of place without services so bring a good book and plan to relax. daughter of the innkeeper

Family of three in Maui - suites that have it all?

Feb 2007

Hi- We (hubby, self and 3.5 year old son) are thinking about heading to Maui for a vacation. I have been there several times before, but this will be our first Maui trip with our son. We have always been keen to large resorts with amentities galore like room service, pools, restaurants, etc. -- we usually stay at the Hyatt in Kaanapali. This time though, we need more space than a standard room since we don't want to have to tip toe around at 8pm when our son heads to bed. But the thought of paying for a suite at the Hyatt has me seeing stars. Are there any other family friendly resorts that have it all, including suites, but that won't cause us to have sticker shock? I remember seeing info about the Kaanapali Alii, but it was very mixed reviews and also expensive. We tend to like Kaanapali more than the Wailea side. I checked the archives but it had more info on condos and I think we want a little more pampering than a condo generally provides. But I am open to ideas. Thanks for any help! This will be our first substantial trip and we want to make sure we all have fun. d

We just booked a trip to Maui for Easter week. We were also looking for condos w/ more room for our family of 5. We ended up booking ResortQuest at Kaanapali Shores. These are condos that have all the ammenities of a hotel room including a full kitchen, washer and dryer, housekeeping and room service. We booked through AAA and used a package deal which I thought was very affordable but from pricing things out, you could also book direct and get a very good price. They have a few different suite types to choose from. Go directly to their web site for info. Aloha!

Try the condos at Outrigger Napili Shores! Perfect place for a family: right on the beach, quiet side of the island, reasonable prices. Love it! Can't say enough good things. Been there 3 times with our little one and can't wait to go back :) Aloha

Travel to Maui with a 6 year old

Aug 2006

We are traveling to Maui in September and I would love any suggestions of places to visit and things to do with a six year old.

We've been to Maui a number of times. The last time our son was 6 or 7. We took him on a submarine ride where you could look out the glass windows at the ocean life. We took him to the Ocean center and on a train ride through a sugar plantation. He loved them all. Check out the website

But nothing was better than a kick/boogie board and playing on the beach. We never bothered to go up to the crater. We felt the ride was too long and there wasn't enough to interest him. We did drive to Hana once, but it is long and windy. IF you plan to stop along the way, it might be okay, but I don't think I would do it again. If you are staying near Kihea or Wailea, there is a nice playground right at the beach in Kihea. The tree is great for climbing. You can then have the best fish and chips ever at Alexander's (across the street from the park) and get Azeka Korean ribs at the take out place in Kihei's Azeka Plaza to grill at your condo (if you can). I don't remember the babysitting services we used, but we used them for many trips and evenings out or mornings when we went scuba diving. They were quite wonderful. Have fun linda

Oh, there are so many wonderful things to do in Maui with a six- year-old! Of course, the beaches are wonderful, but bear in mind that the currents become stronger as the day wears on, so we always go first thing in the morning, which is also before the sun gets very strong. You can rent a boogie board with a window in it and tow your son over the reefs to see the fish. Or put a mask on him, tow him out on a regular board and let him stick his head in the water to see. We had pretty good success doing that with our six-year-old. The last time we went to Maui we bought a week-long pass for the Maui Ocean Center and spent many of the hot hours of the day there out of the sun. In Lahaina you can see the largest banyan tree in the U.S. and take a trip on the Reef Dancer, one of those boats with a glass bottom. Both my toddler and my older son really enjoyed that. You can also check out the sugar plantation. Have fun! Maui Lover

Place to stay with babies in Kihei, on Maui

March 2006

In early May our family (me, my husband, our 10-month-old twins, and my in-laws) will be traveling to Hawaii for a wedding in Kihei, just north of Wailea, on the south side of Maui, and we're looking for a place to stay. We have heard that there aren't really any hotels there, just condos for rent, and we've also heard that some of them are pretty yucky - bugs, non- working AC, etc. We'll have our 10-month-old twins with us, and have discovered that at least one of the nicer places to stay won't allow kids! Any suggestions? Also, has anyone rented baby equipment from any of the companies that will deliver it to your hotel, etc.? Thanks! Lisa

We just got back from a trip to Maui with our 17 month old son a few weeks ago. We stayed at the Kamaole Sands and rented a one bedroom condo that was very nice. It had two bathrooms, a nicely stocked kitchen with new appliances and a granite counter, and a washer/dryer. We couldn't have asked for a nicer home-base for our trip. Most of the condos in the complex are privately owned, so I understand that it's partly the luck of the draw on which unit you get. I called ahead and asked for an updated unit and my request was accomodated although they told me they couldn't promise anything. The condo is right across from the Kamaole III beach and the easiest access to the beach let's out in a semi-protected inlet. This made for smaller waves and a good place for my son to play in the sand and wade.

We rented a crib and a backpack from Baby's Away and found their service to be excellent and very convenient. I highly recommend going with them -- it will make your trip much easier. Have fun! We didn't want to leave Maui... Wendy

Yes, most of the places are called condos, but they're rented out daily or weekly, like hotel rooms. Usually the owners live on the mainland, and stay at the condo only a few weeks a year, and the rooms are rented out and managed by a separate company. I highly recommend Mana Kai Maui, in South Kihei. From Fodor's a few years back: ''This lodging is a real find in Kihei, partly because of the property itself and partly because of its location on the end of one of the nicest beaches in the state, just down the strip from the Renaissance Wailea. Here you can get a studio without a kitchen (air conditioned), or a one or two bedroom unit (with ceiling fans) with a kitchen. The decor is modest--what people in the Islands might call typical tropical--but the view of the ocean right beyond the lanai steals your attention anyway. The Mana Kai has a very good beachfront restaurant, open for all meals. There's daily maid service and no minimum stay requirement.'' It's well run, clean, and right on the beach--every room has an ocean view. We stayed there several years ago (before kids), and again in 2003 (with a 3 yr. old and 1 yr. old). It has a mellow atmosphere and terrific, calm, kid-friendly beach (with a reef and some of the best snorkeling on the island, right there at your feet). Note: the picture of the pool on the website is a bit dated; it now has a very nice safety fence around it, to keep kids from wandering in or out.) Aloha! Heidi

We've been taking our daughter to Kihei every February for the past 4 years. For the past 3 years, we stayed at a condo called Menehune Shores. We got nice, clean units and we were very happy with them. You have to remember that units in condos are individually owned and you never really know what you are going to get. (The first year we took our daughter to Maui, we stayed at Sugar Beach which came highly recommended from Hawaii-4-less. We got a unit that was very old and not very clean. We were so disappointed that we did not go back to Sugar Beach again, even though we know people who had stayed in great units at Sugar Beach.) For Menehune Shores, we reserve our unit through Menehune Reservations which offer a reasonable price. We talked to Sam who is a fantastic person. (We already booked our Feb 07 stay with Sam!!) If you are interested, you can go to their website and call Sam at the phone number on the website. Good luck! Anonymous

It's not true that there are no good condos in Kihei and no one will allow children (though SOME places won't allow kids). However, I'd probably focus on south Kihei and Wailea, where the beaches are nicer. And ask for pictures of the condos (which will be really helpful with kids, as opposed to a hotel where you have to go out for every meal). There are also plenty of places in Wailea with pools and easy beach access that will allow kids. You can start out by googling Kihei Wailea condo rental etc. and just start checking them out. Get ''Maui Revealed'' from a travel store and you can get a good sense of where to start also. It may take you a while if you have specific needs, but there really is no shortage of places to stay. Start right away, though, as places start to book up.

We stayed in the Kamaole Sands (condo) in Kihei which was walking distance to the Kamaole beach with a 3month old baby last July. Our 2 nieces+nephew ages 2-5 stayed there as well and there seemed to be lots of kids around the pool, etc. We found the condos to be well stocked, well cared for, clean and we fealt very welcome with all the children. Our only complaint was that the unit on the upper floor was quite warm even with the airconditioning running day and night. Have a great trip! Sandra

Some years ago, my girlfriend was married in Kihei. We stayed with a bunch of close friends at Kai's Bed and Breakfast, 80 E. Welakahao Road, Kihei, HI 96753 (800) 905-8424 x 24 or direct 808-874-6431, It's not terribly fancy but inexpensive, very clean, the people are nice, and would be relaxing for a group of you especially with children. Have fun! Erika

Looking for a babysitter in Maui

Jan 2006

We are traveling to Maui in March with our toddler and would like to know how to go about finding a babysitter there. We'd rather not go with a total stranger via Craigslist. Can anyone recommend a babysitting service or group that is trustworthy and established? Are there other families that have hired babysitters on Maui before? Thank you in advance! lynn

We went to Maui last September with our then-11-month old daughter and used Nanny Connection. We stayed in a condo in Napili but I think they are all over the island. I was very comfortable with the babysitter they sent (we used her twice) but unfortunately I can't remember her name. I should mention, however, that both times my daughter had already been put to bed, so they never actually met each other! However, I would have had no problems with leaving her awake with the babysitter we used. I had received a couple of positive recommendations for Nanny Connection from members in this network, which I can forward to you if you want (don't know if they're archived - if you save old newsletters, they were in the August 28 edition of Recommendations Given (P-Z)). I think that some of the major hotels (Kapalua Bay for one) use them as their babysitting service, too.

We found a great babysitter on Maui through our hotel. We were staying at the Fairmont, but all the nice hotels use the same service, The Nanny Connection (808) 875-4777 or Our sitter (Julia) was sweet and a lot of fun for my then-2 year old... she ate lunch with him and then sat in the room while he napped in the afternoons. My husband and I were so happy to get some time together and our little guy really loved his new friend. Have a great trip! Jen

My friend who lives on Maui recommends the Nanny Connection and the number is 808-875-4777. MDW

2004 - 2005 Recommendations

Maui Babysitters

Aug 2005

We will be taking a vacation in September in Maui with our daughter, who will then be 11 months old. We are planning to rent a condo on the west coast (Napili or Kapalua) and I was wondering if anybody has any experience with babysitting services in the area? I believe that the Kapalua Bay Hotel uses a company called the Maui Nanny Connection for their babysitting.. has anybody used them? We were thinking it would be nice to be able to get away for a few hours for some snorkeling or maybe a dinner one night without the baby, but I'm a little nervous about leaving her. Linda

We were just in Maui and used the Nanny Connection. We were staying in a condo, so I arranged the babysitting directly with the company and found them to be very accommodating and proactive about any concerns I had about leaving my two kids with a stranger. For example, they gave me the name of the sitter well in advance with lots of information on her background. I had to change our plans a couple of days before and they handled that perfectly. The sitter was very professional and had forms to fill out on how to reach us, medical care direction, etc. She played with the kids for a couple of hours and put them to bed just fine. She was young (about 23) and my kids felt really comfortable with her right away. It is always a little scary leaving your kids but I felt this experience was great and I would do it again. If you have any other questions feel free to email me. jac

I checked with one of my best friends who's worked as both a nanny and a Maui concierge for some advice. She said, ''Tell them Nanny Connection is the way to go. They screen all the girls and my landlord's daughter is the office administrator. All the hotels use them and even hire them away for their own hotel kids camps.'' Hope that helps! Dari

When I went in March we used Happy Kids Maui ( and loved the services. They were recommended by the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua and the sitter we had, Julie, was great with our daughter. I think it was a 3 hr. minimum and was $14/hour. They can hang out in your room, take them for walks around the hotel or condo properties, etc. Wendy

Maui with a 2 1/2 year old

Feb 2005

We would like to go to Maui this spring with our 2 1/2 year old and are looking for some family friendly hotel recommendations. We would like something on the beach that has a very kid friendly pool with a kid's beach, water slides etc... We read the recommendations for the Grand Wailia (sp?) but was wondering if there is anything else cheaper but just as kid friendly. Thanks in advance! Maui Bound Family

Do NOT go to the ''grand wailea''!!!!!! It is more crowded than manhattan and WAY too much for a 2.5 yr old in terms of the giant pool...

Try Four seasons...just next door but surprise!!! FREE childcare program, as well as free this and that...where as at GWR you will be charged DAILY for parking, pool use, childcare, towels, fridge, this and that....ALL this AND fighting for a chair near the pool. Hmm....WAY overrated.

Also, just south of there, the Fairmont Kea Lani is Beautiful, near the end of the road kind of thing...nice slide and pool, kids stuff also... Just STAY AWAY from GWR unless you are from jersey and love that sort of thing.

Just my opinion, of course. love maui, hate crowds.....

Re; Maui with a 2 1/2 year old We stayed and HIGHLY recommend the Fairmont Kea Lani on the Wailea side of Maui, a few hotels down from the Grand Wailea. We've been there both as a couple and with our then 11-month-old last year. The advantages to this hotel over the Grand Wailea are many. First of all, the rooms are ALL suites, so you have the option to put your child to sleep in one room and then hang out in the other. Second, its very family friendly for little kids - and I've heard mixed reviews on this about the Grand Wailea, which seems better for older kids. The very shallow kiddie pool is great for the little ones and they rent out nice cabanas to minimize sun exposure. There's a nice beach and lawn area, and the staff is friendly and accomodating to the whole family. We've had family and friends stay at the Grand Wailea and they've complained about the size of the rooms, the snobbiness of the staff, and the many extra charges added to ! your bill (like for the daily cleaning service!). We found the Kea Lani to be a really great place in about the same price range.

Also, they are building a new resort directly next door to the Grand Wailea and it was creating a ton of construction noise last year for guests there. I doubt they're done with it now, given the huge scope of the project, so if you do decide to go to the Grand Wailea, be sure to check out that situation.

We'd be going back to the Kea Lani this spring if I weren't on bedrest with our second baby! Have Fun! Sharon

Last year we took our 3yr old to Maui. We stayed at the Maui Westin in Kaanapali with our friends who had a 4 yr & 18mos old. The hotel is very kid friendly, waterfalls, waterslides. There is a beach right next to the hotel. Resturants and shops a short walking distance away. We used their ''nanny'' service and had a wonderful woman watch the kids one night and we had an adult dinner out and wine on the beach. We would go back again. Aloha A

Well, it isn't much cheaper than the Grand Wailea, but with a 2 1/2 yr old I would highly recommend the Fairmont Kea Lani. All the rooms are suites, so you can stay up past the little one's bedtime if you want. The water slides, etc. at the Grand Wailea are too big for a toddler to go on. I much preferred the low-key toddler pool and larger pool at the Kea Lani. There were quite a few other toddlers to play with each day as well.

The prices on the website are pretty outrageous, we got our best price through at about $300 per night. We really spent too much, but ended up having a fabulous time and stayed at the resort most of the time and it was mostly worth it. If we can afford it, we will definitely stay there again. Want to go back to Maui!

Maui is a wonderful place, but if you really want kid friendly, you'll probably have to drop the bucks and stay at the Grand Wailea or any of the other Lahaina resorts. Otherwise, you're not going to find the waterslides and other kiddie stuff you're looking for. The ocean is very rough on Maui (although calmer in Spring), but the ocean is really too rough for small kids, except on the calmest days. Unfortunately, if you limit yourself to Lahaina, you're going to miss out on the much more interesting and beautiful parts of Maui. On the upside, your kids will have a great time. I personally dislike resorts, but if I had a small child and wanted to entertain them, I'd probably opt for one, too. Anon

I highly recommend Mana Kai Maui, in South Kihei. From Fodor's a few years back: ''This lodging is a real find in Kihei, partly because of the property itself and partly because of its location on the end of one of the nicest beaches in the state, just down the strip from the Renaissance Wailea. Here you can get a studio (air conditioned) without a kitchen, or a one or two bedroom unit (with fans) with a kitchen. The decor is modest--what people in the Islands might call typical tropical--but the view of the ocean right beyond the lanai steals your attention anyway. The Mana Kai has a very good beachfront restaurant, open for all meals. There's daily maid service and no minimum stay requirement.''

We stayed there several years ago, and in 2003, and MUCH preferred the mellow atmosphere and terrific, calm, kid-friendly beach (with a reef and some of the best snorkeling on the island, right there at your feet) to the north shore, where we stayed in 2000.

The pool isn't huge and doesn't have waterslides, but it's well-kept, clean, and there is a pretty rock waterfall (only to look at), with a shallow step the length of one side, where the waterfall water flows into the pool. 2 years ago, my then-18-month-old LOVED sitting on that step, splashing in the ''waterfall''. I highly recommend those swimming suits with the floatation foam sewn in--my 2 & 4 year olds were all over the pool in theirs last summer. The kids are now 5, 3, & 2 months, and we're planning a trip back to the Mana Kai this fall. Have fun...Aloha! Heidi

We took our two-year old son to Maui last year and very much enjoyed staying at the Castle Kamaole Sands in Kihei. Before this trip I was a confirmed hotel traveler and looked down on the condo experience, but travelling with a young child changed my mind! The condo is across the street from a family-friendly beach and a big grassy area for kids to run around & where locals gathered to watch the sunset.

The convenience of having a washer/dryer, a sep. bedroom, and a full kitchen made the trip so much easier for us. We could make dinner or eat out, have breakfast in our jammies and relax before heading out for the day, and enjoy our balcony. There is a big pool and kiddie pool, places to BBQ and other great amenities.

Don't forget to visit the Maui Ocean Aquarium and Sugar Cane Train!

Have a great trip!! Constance

I saw the previous recommendations and thought I'd add my thoughts. If you want an ''in-between'' resort, I would go with the Sheraton Kaanapali. We stayed there several years ago. The Sheraton is on the best stretch of beach in Kaanapali. Snorkeling is great near Black Rock, right in front of the resort. It also has a great pool for little ones. There is a kiddie wading pool attached to a larger 3' deep pool. (Kind of like how some hot tubs are ''attached'' to pools). It meant I could sit with my younger one in the wading pool, and my husband and older one could swim around in the larger pool. And it was easy to go back and forth between the two pools. The Sheraton is a ''sister'' resort with the Westin so you can use their pools also (you show your room key to the attendants at the Westin to get a wristband). The Westin has the waterfalls and slides. We tried out the Westin, and although my kids preferred the Sheraton, older kids and adults might prefer the Westin. The two resorts are a short walking distance apart. And both are within walking distance of the Whaler's Village for fast food and shopping. Holly

Family-friendly condos/hotels in Maui

Nov 2004

Hi. We are thinking of a vacation in Maui for Feb. when my kids' daycare closes for a week. My boys are 3 1/2 years and 18 months old. Would a hotel/resort or a condo be better for this age group? Can anyone recommend places you've stayed that worked with younger kids. Thanks so much; it's the first vacation we're all going on together (besides visiting family out of state). Has anyone used Costco Travel?

Hello, My husband and I went to Maui many times when there were just the two of us and we would stay around the Lahaina/Kanapali area. Now that we have our daughter, the waves around the Kanapali area no longer look attractive to us... We are paranoid parents and we prefer calmer waves for her. We like the Kamaole Beach in Kihei since the water is pretty calm and there is always a lifeguard there. (Having lifeguards at the beach is very important to me now because we ended up in the Maui Hospital Emergency Room last year when my husband had an accident on the beach. I'd rather not repeat this experience without lifeguards!!) Because of the Kamaole Beach location, we decided to stay around the Kihei area when we took our daughter along. We stayed at the Sugar Beach the first year and found the beach to be pretty nice for walking and playing on the beach. The condo wasn't that great -- it was old and not as clean as I'd like. (I'm sure that there are great unit; our unit just wasn't great.) We drove to Kamaole Beach for playing in the water. The following year, we tried Menehune Shores which is a condo kinda between Sugar Beach and Kamaole Beach. It was cheaper for us to stay at Menehune Shores than Sugar Beach and we were working with a very nice agent who sent us pictures of the condo via e-mail. We decided to try Menehune mainly for the financial reason. It turned out to be great -- nice, clean unit that is very convenient to shopping. The beach, however, was not great. There were a lot of seaweeds and they were pretty smelly in the morning. We solved this problem by driving to Sugar Beach for our morning walk. We continued to drive to Kamaole Beach for swimming and playing in the water. It worked out well for us.

Next year, we will be staying at Menehune Shores again. By the way, we have been going in February when the school closes for one week.

One last point, we booked a condo at Menehune for February 2005 during May 2004 through Menehune Reservations and all one bed- room oceanfront units were already taken. We chose to book a two-bedroom oceanfront unit at Menehune instead of looking someplace else for 2005. There are a few oceanfront condos actualy on Kamaole Beach that I'd love to stay at. However, the price is over our budget and so we never try them.

Hope this helps you some. Anonymous

We just stayed in a condo at the Kamaole Sands. It's across the street from the Kamaole Beach 3, which is a relatively calm beach with lifeguards (though I still felt the need to watch my 5 year old carefully as the waves were still more than capable of knocking him down). There was a kiddie pool as well as a big pool, and a ''kid-friendly'' hot tub (not so hot) as well as an adult-only one. It was definitely nice staying in a condo so we could have some meals ''at home'', on the lanai. The unit we stayed in was a 2-bedroom and was very nice--nicely decorated, spotless, newish kitchen--though I don't know if we just got lucky. (We went through a travel agent, who went through Hawaii World; before we booked we expressed concern about the quality of the unit--this trip included my mother-in-law and I wanted her to feel like we were in a nice place--and he more or less said that Hawaii World makes sure that the individual condos they book are ''good ones''. Would we have gotten a good unit going through Expedia--where I saw rates of $130ish per night, with the 5th night free? I don't know. ) Other benefits of staying in the condo included beach toys we could use, a washer and dryer right in the unit, and daily maid service. Judy

Timeshares in Maui

Oct 2004

We are planning to use our timeshare this year in Maui. Any recommendations on timeshares you have enjoyed in Maui? We are looking for kid friendly places (1 and 3 year old), ideally close to the beach. Or general info on the best area to stay in Maui is helpful too. Thanks! Marjorie

We own a brand new timeshare at the Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas. It's north of the main hotel strip area, so a little removed from all the crowds. We stayed there in April and really enjoyed it. It's definitely VERY family oriented (we have a 1 year old). They have lots of things that they'll loan you free of charge such as cribs and hi-chairs. All the rooms have the most comfortable hotel beds you will ever sleep in, whirlpool tubs and lanais. It's nice that the beach is right there (the resort is beach front) with great calm swimming and snorkeling. Of course the pools are terrific too. For those such as myself who are addicted to the internet, they have a computer room with free internet access. And if you feel like a change of scenery they have a free shuttle van (with built-in child seats) that will take you to the near-by Sheraton or Westin hotels where you can use their resort facilities as if you were a hotel guest (they're all Starwood owned). Valerie

Airline ticket to Maui

June 2004

For our very first trip to the islands are looking for one discounted airline ticket S.F. to Maui (8/4 to 8/11) for up to $450. Does anyone out there have or know a source to obtain such a ticket. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. leeor

We just purchased our roundtrip tickets non stop from SF to Maui thru Pleasant Holidays for $399, plus tax. I believe you have to leave on a Mon, Tues or Thurs. It was the best deal we could find. I saw their ad in the Travel Section of the SF Chronicle. Aloha Ali

Try Suntrips @ Enjoy! EP

B-day party for 7 yr. old on Maui

May 2004

My son's 7th birthday falls during our vacation to Maui . I'd like to get some ideas on places to take him to celebrate. I'm not looking for a Chuck E. Cheese type experience, just a kid-friendly place that's fun and interesting. jim

We just did a trip to Maui and went the Aquarium there. It was great. We saw lots of cool fish, rays, tons of sharks, and two special tanks outside with hammerhead sharks and turtles. Have fun!

In addition to the aquarium, just across the parking lot from there is a miniature golf facility. It's new and is really cute and best of all has bumper boats with squirt cannons. My son had a blast when we stopped there on a lark. It's kind of hidden so you have to look for it. Fun for the whole family. woodbury

April 2004

Re: Hawaii rental
Doesn't Kapalua Bay on Maui have condo rentals or something similar to what you're looking for? You can't beat the site in terms of beauty and calm.

From: Toby

Maui - I used to live on Maui. You didn't state the ages of your kids, but the crater is an incredible place and you should check it out. Go up there for sunrise. It is an experience that will stay with you always, it's so incredible. Visit Huelo and Hanavana, Makena Beach (the smaller beach over the hill) is great for boogie boarding and swimming. And certainly, visit Hana. If you have a 4-wheel drive you might be able to visit the dry side of the island. It is quite erie, but very interesting. We're going to Maui in August as well.

From: Ed

About Maui: We just finished a week with a 20-month old there and can recommend the Hana excursion (assuming your kids can survive 2-3 hour trip each way) with a visit to the Seven Pools for some swimming and hiking. The hike up to the upper falls is worth the effort and the pools are a great place for a swim. Also in Kihei, there is a good beach for beginning surfers called Cove Park, where i took my son to explore the tide pools and notice small kids surfing as well as older beginners. The Sugar Cane Train in Lahaina was also a big hit with our son, but kinda expensive compared to the Tilden Train. The new acquarium is nice, but very expensive $17.50 for an adult and is only worth an hour or so of exploration, we wouldn't do it again. The best beach we found for kids was Baby Beach in Paia where the locals take kids on the weekends. It has a nice reef protected pool where kids can wade and swim with waves only effecting it at high tide. You'll have to ask locals how to get there, but its easy to find if you ask someone. Finally for some good relatively cheap eats, try Maui Tacos the only place we went back to.

I have taken my 2 boys, now ages 7 and 10, to Maui for several years. There are many fun things for kids to do there. If you enjoy nature, don't miss the walk down to the Nakalele Blowhole north of Kapalua, a coastline walk about a mile long in a dramatic landscape of lava fretwork and towers (fun to climb!) ending with a thirty foot high geyser-like blowhole. You'll have the place to yourself, but be sure to wear closed toe shoes because the lava can be tricky to walk on. Another great, short walk is up to Twin Falls on the road to Hana, where you can go swimming in a lovely mountain pool under a waterfall in a jungle-like setting. Water shoes are a good idea because the bottom is rocky. Look for both hikes in one of the Maui hiking books. The best, easy access snorkeling on Maui is at Honolua Bay, just past Kapalua before the Nakalele blowhole. Go in the morning when the water is calm. My kids also enjoyed the Maui Ocean Center, a small aquarium at Maalea Harbor, and the Sugar Cane Train, which takes you through the sugar cane fields between Lahaina and Kaanapali in open air cars with a guide who sings Hawaiian songs and tells stories. Have fun!


I used to live on Maui. Go to Makena Beach. There is a big beach and to the right a small hill. When you get near the hill you will see a pathyway which goes over the top. On the other side is a beautiful, smaller beach. You can hear the whales under the water. Go to the top of Haleakala (the main mountain) for sunrise. This is not to be missed! Drive to Hana. It takes about 2 hours along a very windy road, but you go through wonderful, lush jungle. It's incredible. Try to find some local waterfalls. They are everywhere, but you will probably need to ask a local where to find some. Have a great time. It's loads of fun.


Paragon sailing's catamaran snorkeling trip to Molekini - Awesome!! Look for ads in the tourist brochures. Enjoy yourselves. -- Roger

Hana, Maui - Where to stay?

March 2004

Husband, 8-month old, and I would love to stay around Hana on Maui for 2-3 days. We're not sure we can afford the Hana-Maui Ranch. Any tips for getting a lower rate? We'd also like to hear alternate suggestions in Hana. Erin

The latest issue of Via Magazine (for members of AAA) has an article on Hana and lists a few places to stay. Between friends and the library, you probably can find a copy easy enough. Bob

Grand Wailea Resort Maui

Jan 2004

We'd like to take our family on vacation to the Grand Wailea in Maui. I was wondering if anyone had been there with kids. I called the conceirge, but that was a waste of a phone call. No advice and she knew little about negotiating the resort with kids. For example, they have what appears to be a fabulous pool with multiple slides to take you from one level to another, but the web-site says there's a minimum height requirement of 46'', so my son won't make it by 4''. My questions are: is the pool still fun for kids who can't do all the slides? Can kids under 2 go to all levels of the pool with a lifevest and parent or are they stuck in the kiddie pool? Any other comments are also appreciated. Thanks! Sharon

Grand Wailea pool is great for kids of all ages. We stayed at the Fairmont but since their pool was under construction we were allowed to go to the Grand Wailea, which we ended up doing almost every day. Our toddler did not like the slides but there is a ''baby beach'' and a ''lazy river'' that are perfect for little ones, plus she loved the swim up bar. There are also rapids, a tire swing, and smaller slides that do not have the height restriction. michael

We took our 15 month old to the Grand Wailea last year and had a wonderful time. Except for the water slide, the water elevator and the rapids, which would be too rough for a little one, they can go with you everywhere else in the pool, down the gentle waterslides, and in all of the pools. The best part with a little one is the sand pool which is next to the big pool and designed to be a beach for really little kids. It's perfect. The hardest part at the hotel with a child under 3 is that you can't prepare any meals, so you have to eat out. Our best bet ended up being room service, but it gets very expensive. If you don't mind that, I would vote for the Grand Wailea, it's a very special place for adults and children.

We have stayed at the Grand Wailea and thought it was wonderful for children. The grounds are incredibly beautiful with easy access to the beach if you want to head there for the day as well as lots of space to run around. While a very elegant resort, the place was completely set up for kids and the staff was very gracious and accomodating. The pools are set up for all levels so even if your child can't go on the slides because of size, there are many other areas of the pools that are fun. They even have a pool with a sandy beach so that the kids can play in the sand at the waters edge. The resort also has a kids camp that allows you to have your kids go to an organized program if you want to head off and do something more adult for a while. Great resort, highly recommend it. Arquelle

2002 - 2003 Recommendations

Maui in March, West Vs. South

August 2003

hi, we are planning to be in Maui in March (2004) i've read the postings under the Maui section. Someone briefly mentioned that the SOuth Maui/Kihei area tends to be windy/rainy in the late morning/afternoons. Is this true throughout the year? in March/April? And is the West Shore then not as windy/rainy? Would the west shore/Kannapali area be better for staying then? Paulina

I think the south/Kihei area tends to be much calmer during ''winter'' months than the north (west) side. We stayed at the Mana Kai Maui (in S. Kihei) one October, which has an extremely calm, long beach, with both a reef for excellent snorkeling, and pristine, perfect sand for swimming/kids. (With public access & parking). When we stayed up north a couple years later in December, we ended up driving to Kihei to snorkel and let our then 1 year old play in the calm waves. The water up north was much too choppy and had large swells. Happy travels, and Aloha! Heidi

We stayed in kahana last Februaury and had a wonderful time. It was not as crowded as Kaanapali but close enough to everything. We drove to Kihei for the day and I didn't notice much difference except that it seemed drier. I also read about the wind and would recommend that you get Maui Revealed- it may help you make a decision. Then go to and you will be able to find a condo if you don't want to stay in one of the resorts. Have fun- we had a blast! Juliette

Maui beaches for kids

July 2003

Can anyone recommend good beaches, parks and activities for little ones on Maui? My kids are 3 y.o. and 9 mos. We will staying in Makena. elle

Aloha! We went to Maui in feb with our then 10 month old. We had a blast. I would recommend buying Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook, Second Edition -- by Andrew Doughty, Harriett Friedman; Paperback. It tells you all about the beaches and different activties, places to eat etc. It was our guide for our trip and was very helpful. Have a great time. Juliette

We were in Maui a few months ago with our almost-2 yr old and we stayed in Kihei. There are great family friendly beaches in Kihei called Kamaole I, II and III. We really enjoyed the grassy area betw. the beach and the road for our little guy to run around on, there is shade in various places because of the trees and grass. Lots of folks come at the end of the day to sit on the grass and watch the sunset, so that was another opportunity to let him run around. (Several nights we grabbed food at Maui Taco and had a picnic; our son was happy to have a place to roam and we could relax and eat!)

There is also a swing set on Kam II or III. You can drive along the main drag and check out the amenities. There are life guards, shower heads to rinse off, and toilets spread out along these three beaches, plus smaller coves that make it cozier with kids. We bought a beach umbrella at Long's in Kihei, which was great for beach shade. Just be aware, it gets windy in the afternoons so mornings are best for beach outings.

Some fun things on Maui (which you may already know) are the Maui Ocean Center, a very family friendly aquarium with a nice outdoor cafe, and the Sugar Cane Train, which runs from Kaanapali to Lahaina (see After the ride, we ate at Cheeseburger in Paradise on the water in Lahaina, which was great fun and inexpensive. More info that you probably want, but we had a great time! constance

Maui Restaurant for Parents' 50th Anniversary

May 2003

My parents are going to Maui for their 50th anniversary. Can someone recommend a really nice restaurant. Thanks.

A MUST is Mama's Fishhouse ( It is WONDERFUL!!! The fish is caught daily and their meal preparation is fabulous! It has a wonderful ''Hawaiian'' atmosphere. You can make the event what you want it to be. There are people dressed up and others that come in their shorts and Hawaiian shirts. We have spent alot of time in Maui and this is always a MUST for us. It is a bit of a drive,depending on where you are staying, but well worth it. Try and time your reservation so you can arrive 1/2 hour early to see the sun set. It is BEAUTIFUL and makes a nice picture. ENJOY!!!! Glenda

We really enjoyed Mama's Fish House when we visited Maui about 1.5 years ago. It was recommended as one of the best fish restaurants on the island. Susan

''Roy's'' is very good. Roy Yamaguchi is a very famous chef in the islands, and this is one of his restaurants. If I remember correctly, there are 2 Roy's restaurants right near each other. One is more casual, and one is pretty fancy.

Pacific-O in Kaanapali is fantastic. A beautiful ocean side restaurant with many original and fantastic fish dishes. We ate there our last night during our wedding-moon at sunset. It was romantic and very delicious.

Also good, Mama's Fish Shack. The name sound awful, but the restuarant is renowned for its fish entrees. Very classy place. This is a bit out of the way--on the road to Hana. Also beachside.

Also delicious: Swan Court at the Hyatt Regency in Kaanapali. Beautiful open air restaurant, dim romantic lighting, excellent service and wonderful food.

Four Seasons is great almost can't go wrong eating in Maui. Deniene

Depends on what part of Maui and what type of food, I guess. I'm only familiar with the Northwest part of the island. If they like sushi/Japanese food, I highly recommend Sansei in Kapalua. If not, then Roy's in Kahana. Tiffany

We had some great dining experiences while on our honeymoon on Maui. The best two were Roy's and David Paul's. Roy's makes a chocolate souffle that was out of this world! Your parents won't be disappointed with either restaurant. David Paul's is in downtown Lahina and Roy's was just a short drive north of Kanapali.

Top picks for me are: I'O Pacific 'O Roys Mamas Fish House
check them out on Enjoy, A Maui Gourmet

Congratulations to your parents! If they are near Kihei or Wailea, we recommend the Waterfront restaurant near Maalaea Harbor, north of Kihei maybe 5-10 miles. I would even drive down from Lahaina for it. We haven't been to Maui in 3 years, but went to it for our ''night out without the kids romantic'' dinner every year for about 4 years. It was recommended to us by a local, is off the beaten track and is definitely worth it. In an apartment complex on the bay, it serves some of the best fish we've ever had and has great service. Make a reservation for a table outside. Definitely worthy of a golden anniversary. The website is Aloha Linda

We used to live on Maui, and we revisit frequently. Our favourite restaurant for a spectacular dinner is Mama's Fish House tucked along the coast, just east of Kahului heading towards Hana, in Kaua. The setting is beautiful- in a converted beach house with gorgeous views and ambience, and the food is divine- exotic but homey. Traditional Polynesian cooking featuring very fresh seafood and incorporating local tropical fruits and vegetables. Its a Maui institution. Their website is Its expensive but worth it. fontana

We just returned from Maui and had a great dinner at Pacific'O, located at 505 Front Street, in Lahaina. It was definitely the most adult restaurant we ate at, even though we had our toddler with us. It's absolutely beautiful at sunset, and they have a patio right on the beach. The food and service were both terrific. In fact, there was wedding party there at the time, so it seems to be one of the best ''celebration'' restaurants in West Maui. Alison

Try Mama's Fish House. I've traveled extensively and have to say that my meal at Mama's ranks among my top five. Have the home made sorbet if they still serve it. Enjoy the taro root. Eat, eat, eat. Everything is wonderful. I hope your folks have a great trip! Chris

David Paul's in Lahaina is fabulous! It's a classy, little place but not uptight. They will definitely need reservations. anon

at the risk of spoiling the party, I gotta say that Mama's Fish House is overrated (though the sunset from the beach next to it certainly is not). we go to Maui at least once a year, and have for many years. we used to go to Mama's, but got tired of them overcooking perfectly lovely fresh fish and then throwing some goopy sauce on top. the ambience is sort of mid-period Trader Vic's; going there is like being a tourist at Fisherman's Wharf in SF.

on a more positive note -- the Waterfront (mentioned in a previous post) is a lovely, very adult place, right on the harbor. I spent one of those big birthdays there, and was really happy I did. they made a delicious Caeser salad from scratch at the table (a little showy, but it was good). the only downside is that it is bizarrely located in the basement of a modern, ticky-tacky apartment complex ... though you forget that once you're inside, or out on their patio ....

another delightful place -- though something of a drive from most anywhere on the island -- is the Hailemaile General Store, which indeed used to be a store in the middle of a plantation at the foot of Haleakula (the big volcano). the cuisine is more eclectic than gourmet, but everything is delish, and the atmosphere is ... fun.

please enjoy ... after all, how bad can it get in paradise? the old grouch

just wanted to put one more vote in for Mama's Fish House. I haven't been there since 10 years ago and their sumptuous food is still ingrained in my memory. Christine

For an unforgettable, delicious meal, Nick's FishMarket at the Kea Lani Resort in Wailea is fantastic. The food is superb, and the service is unbelievable. You have to try their Maui onion salad, which I still drool at the thought of. The fish is wonderfully prepared. The wait staff is unlike anything I've ever seen; each table is handled by a team, so you are always taken care of but no one hovers. Even though the restuarant is in a resort, the prices are very comparable to other nice restuarants on the island ($22 - 40 entree). We dined at several restaurants during our stay; we returned to Nick's because it was so great. The Kea Lani Resort is gorgeous, worth a trip to check out anyway. They also have a great aquarium outside the restaurant, which is fun for the younger adults in your group. Enjoy. Cindy

Condos in South Maui

May 2003

I've read through the archive recommendations on the website but am looking for recent information on south Maui condos suitable for 4 adults + 2 toddlers. We want a condo that is spacious, comfortable and light with a good pool area and walking distance to the beach.

The Royal Mauian and Kamaole Sands look great on-line but I've had bad past experiences with internet photos v. reality when dealing with vacation rentals. I would appreciate feedback from anyone who has stayed at either property recently. A friend has recommended Elua Village in Wailea but it is on the high end of our price range and I'm wondering if it is worth the added expense. Also any nanny or babysitter ideas whould be appreciated. Lauren

I highly recommend Mana Kai Maui, in South Kihei. >From Fodor's: ''This lodging is a real find in Kihei, partly because of the property itself and partly because of its location on the end of one of the nicest beaches in the state, just down the strip from the Renaissance Wailea. Here you can get a studio without a kitchen, or a one or two bedroom unit with a kitchen. The decor is modest--what people in the Islands might call typical tropical--but the view of the ocean right beyond the lanai steals your attention anyway. The Mana Kai has a very good beachfront restaurant, open for all meals. There's daily maid service and no minimum stay requirement.'' We stayed there several years ago, and MUCH preferred the mellow atmosphere and terrific, calm, kid-friendly beach (with a reef and some of the best snorkeling on the island, right there at your feet) to the north shore, where we stayed more recently. I think the condos are about $150-$175, but I'm not sure. We paid @ $100 for a hotel room, and it came with a car and continental breakfast. They have a website (type in Mana Kai Maui on Yahoo), and their phone # is 808-879-1561. Have fun! Aloha! Heidi

Maui with a Baby

October 2002

My husband and son (who will be 9 months) are going to Maui in February. We'd like to know the must sees and dos for baby and adults. We are staying in Kahana. Looking for info on:good restaurants that are family friendly; activities that won't bust our wallet; a good dive company (in case we find a babysitter); best beaches, things only the locals know about and anything else you can think of. Thanks! Juliette

Hello, we just got back from a week on Maui w/ our 15 month old daughter, so I have a few recommendations.

We stayed in a condo in Kihei and found Ulua Beach in Wailea to be calm for taking the baby in AND there's a very alive reef for snorkelling. At 9am there's a free reef tour by the Pacific Whale Foundation. We tended to go to the beach early, go home for lunch and nap, then venture out again once the sun was less strong.

A cheap (a rarity) and very good restaurant in Kihei was Alexander's for grilled or fried fish (take-out).

Another protected beach is near Paia called Baby Beach. It has a wall that the waves break against, creating a calm pool. The beach is not signposted, but is exactly 2 turns before Baldwin Beach going towards Paia from Kahului,. After you turn, follow the road to the right and park overlooking the beach after abt 1/2 a mile. If you're hungry, Mana Foods in Paia has an incredible spread of take-out foods that start coming out at about 11 am I think, including delicious vegetarian salads, hot dishes, organic salad bar. It was a good resource for baby-approved foods.

We did a lovely hike with Renate Gassmann-Duvall, PhD from Paths in Paradise. Renate is a family friend who leads bird, plant and cultural hikes on Maui (in German and English). She's lived on the island for almost 20 years and knows A LOT about all aspects of Maui. If you're interested in plant and animal life and Hawaiian culture this would be a great way to see the REAL Maui. We took our backpack carrier with us and our daughter did very well, napping twice (we supported her head on a travel neck-pillow), enjoying the sights, and running around during frequent pit-stops. Her info: phone 808-878-4030; cell 808-264-4827; email: hikes [at] website:

Fiinally, we didn't get to go, but there's supposed to be a Keiki (kid) Hula Show at Lahaina Corner Sat & Sun at 1:00. Kristine

Maui with a 4-year-old

September 2002

We are a couple with a 4 year old girl, planning a trip to Maui for the end of December 02 into the first week of January 03. We are close to booking flights w/Aloha airlines since they offer direct service from Oakland to Maui. Although the vacation includes visiting an old friend, we would like to stay someplace with easy snorkeling access and possibly kids activities that our daughter could get involved in. Any specific recommendations of places? Or about packages that include a room and car rental? (I have looked at the site and info on Maui seems not quite what I'm looking for). Many thanks! Carol.

You might try the Napili Kai Beach Club. It is a wonderful family resort and I think they have children's activities though you may have to be 5. It's family owned and has been a favorite of many people for years. I know that they have a web site kristi

Sorry, I can't address the part about hotels/places geared towards children since we didn't have children at the time, however I can tell you about a package we had to Maui. Twice we used Sun Trips, staying at the Maui Coast hotel, including car rental and airplace flight. Sun Trips is a so-so airline, and I don't really recommend them, however if you are very cost conscious, then it might work for you. We paid about $700 per person, the 2 times we visited Maui. The Maui Coast hotel is one I would recommend. It was very clean, comfortable, and the staff was nice. The car rental was convenient since it came with the package. If you by chance do signup with this kind of package, after arriving in Maui, have someone go get the rental car while the other person waits for the luggage. The line for car rentals was very long. The Maui Coast is about 2 blocks away from a very clean quiet beach that wasn't populated with a lot of tourists, at least that was how it was in 1998 and 1996. Hana

We highly recommend the Mana Kai Maui in S. Kihei. It's right on the beach (one of the best beaches in Maui--CALM, even in winter, perfectly sandy, with a reef and spectacular snorkeling.) It's a multi-story (5 or 6 I think) hotel (though it's managed by a condo company), with regular hotel rooms or one or two bedroom ''condos'' with kitchens. There's a great restaurant downstairs--delicious but casual, indoor/outdoor dining. There's also a little store with everything from clothes to sunscreen to soda & ice cream. There's a small pool, but I must admit we never used it, as the beach was steps away and so user-friendly. We stayed there 6 years ago, and a hotel room + a car was right about $100 a night. I checked the prices again last year and they're still about the same. It's in a central location--easy to get to Hana or Wailea or head north. They have a website--just type in Mana Kai Maui on Yahoo or similar... A note of warning: the surf is rough in the north during winter- -if you decide to stay up there, you can still go south for the beach! Aloha, Heidi

Visiting the Northwest Shore

September 2002

We've never been to the Hawaiian Islands, and this year I'm determined to plan a trip over spring break in April. I've decided to limit our trip to Maui, and the northwest shore around Kapalua and Napili looks most suitable for our family's interests (we have two kids, age 4 and 11). I got some good tips from the UCB Parents archives on places to stay and things to do, but I'd like to see if I can get any further recommendations on planning the trip to get a good price on airfare and accommodations. We would like to stay in a condo right on the beach (or very close), and we prefer low-rise (5 stories or less) in an area that's not densely populated with higher rise hotels and condos. I've found lots of interesting properties online and in the Chronicle. But at this point, the airfares for that time period are outrageous. Most of the ''package'' deals with airfare included seem to be offered only for the bigger hotel and high-rise condo properties, which don't interest us. Has anyone recently planned a similar trip to Maui, and can you recommend an agent who put together a package or some online service you used? Am I starting too early? When is the optimal time to get a good price for airfare if I want to book a condo on my own and make the airline reservations separately? Maria

An agent that has twice been great in assisting us in planning trips to Hawaii exactly the way we want them is Laurie Radovan at Pacific Harbor Travel (yes, it's in Santa Cruz, but a couple of long distance phone calls have ended up being VERY worth it). She's listened to what we want, found places to stay that were exactly what we asked for, and even pointed out things that we hadn't thought of but that were very important. Her email is lcr [at], and her phone numbers are: Work: (800) 435-9463 Home office: (831) 427-9100 Have a great trip! Karen

The Maui Kai condominiums are great. It is higher than five stories but is right on the beach and all have ocean views and at a more affordable rate than other nearby places. They have a webiste also but the address/tel is below; Maui Kai 106 Kaanapali Shores Place Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii 96761 808.667.3500 - phone 808.667.3660 - fax reservation [at] 1.800.367.5635 - Toll Free

The Ridge @ Kapalua is a great deal ~130/night. We have stayed twice. Townhouse on a golf course overlooking the trees and ocean. Not densely populated and a few minutes to the beach. You call the Kapalua shuttle to take you anywhere in Kapalua. You can go back and forth to any hotel or beach. My favorites are the ''Club at Kapalua'' and the ''Ritz''. Waiters bring you drinks at the beach, pool or the grassy point area. Very relaxing family setting. It reminds me I need to plan a trip. Stephen

We just planned a trip to Maui for this Thanksgiving. Found super cheap ($300) airfares on Travelocity and also had good luck with a travel agent we found on the internet -- More Hawaii for Less. We really liked the guy who helped us -- Joe. We are staying in a mid-scale condo in South Kihei and it comes with 2 rental cars. The travel agent also sells wholesale airfare but they couldn't beat our surprisingly low Travelocity fare. Good luck and have fun! - candace

I would recommend the book Maui Revealed, by Andrew Doughty and Harriet Friedman, as a great place to start planning your trip. They have a website with detailed recommendations on where to stay (accessible by password once you buy the book). It is very helpful in terms of finding the best beaches, restaurants, etc. once you're there, too. Sima

We went to Maui in June and had a fabulous time. We stayed on Kaanapali Beach. The beaches north of there are rockier and not as nice. We stayed at the Whaler Condo's. Although it is directly next to the Whaler's village it did have a nice pool and the walk way was lovely. It is easier to go to resturants because they are right there. We used AAA to help plan our trip, which included, airfare, car rental and condo. I am sure you could put it all together yourself online for a bit less money, but I didn't have the time. I would also recommend going to a Luau with your kids there are many to chose from, we went to the Old Lahania Luau. YOu need to book those reservation in advance as well. Depending on the time of year you want to go, you might look into some of the hotel offers on Kaanapali beach. The hotels offer kid camps, which would offer you some adult time. Maui is a great place to take the entire family. We would also recommend going to the Maui Ocean Center. It is as good if not better than the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Have fun! adina

Staying at resort that's not on the beach

August 2002

We will be traveling to Maui with our 15 month old son for a friend's wedding in early December. We are considering staying at the Maui Hill resort (we definitely want to stay at a condo) but are concerned because it is not on the beach. Has anyone stayed there? Any good or bad experiences you can share? Is the pool area set-up well for toddlers? Any opinions as to whether staying a 10-15 minute walk from the beach is going to be a total pain with a toddler? Any other recommendations for lodging near Wailea? Thanks in advance for your help. Monica

I've never stayed at the Maui Hill Condo Resort, however I have stayed at the Maui Coast hotel twice and liked our accomodations. I believe the Maui Coast is in the Wailea area. About 3 to 5 stories tall. A couple blocks from the beach. For us, 2 adults, we actually found it a bit difficult walking in the heat in the early morning. Too hot for us, so we would walk very slow. Sometimes we even drove the 2 blocks. The Maui Coast room we stayed in didn't include a kitchenette but it did include a little refrigerator. If you were interested in a kitchenette, you could probably call them to see if they have them. We had a couch in our room though. There is a restaurant and swimming pool and bar at the hotel. hana

This is almost next to the place we always stay which is Kamaole Sands. M Hill looks nice and is the newest development, but it is another 200 yrds from the beach and thats just a bit incovenient. Kamaole Sands condo complex is across the road from the eastern most end of the last of the Kihei public beaches and is lovely. This end of Kihei is quite nice and not junky, and you cross over the Wailea line right past it. KS has big lawns to romp on, two hot tubs including one not so hot for kids, and a real kiddie depth pool. Good, basic 80s condos, correctly priced. Units differ widely so ask about features upon arrival and look for opportunities to take something that is better after seeing the map. Most overlook central garden complex with lots of bird sounds and peace. Wailea is gorgeous - - an upscale fake town for movie stars on vacation -- but feels a bit precious and pristine for diapers and spills, though perhaps your toddlers very neat. Another vote for Kihei: sidewalks for strollering throughout, a fabulous play structure, and kihei cove beach with the old (unused) boat launch...with perfect 8 inch curls and a 25 yard ride in foot deep warm water, its the dreamy place all the local toddlers (and adult beginners) stand up on the board for the first time! Enjoy. Deebie

Sugar Beach Resort in the Kihei area

July 2002

I have read the recommendations on the web site about travelling to Hawaii with children. I wanted to know if anyone has stayed at the Sugar Beach Resort in the Kihei area of Maui and what they thought of it? My husband and I and our (will be then) 2 year old have reserved a 1 bedroom condo there for over Christmas vacation. Sherri

I've been to Maui about 5 times and we have *only* stayed at Sugar Beach since my in-laws own a condo there. I have nothing to compare it to, but I will say it's ideal for families with children.

We were there when our son was a toddler a few times up until he was 7 and had great times every time. The one bedrooms are a decent size, with a sofa bed, or plenty of room to put a portable crib. The pool is fantastic, having a kiddie pool built right in. The beach access is right there. The resort was built in the '70s meaning the zoning allowed for the building to be much closer to the water than it is today. So you literally walk right out onto the beach.

The only downside is that it does tend to get windy in the late morning afternoon. But we would go to the beach early, have lunch/nap and then hang out at the pool or go on excursions. There are grills outside so that cuts down on money and time spent in restaurants, too.

The resort is very kid friendly, and there's a little supermarket right on the premises as well as the Sand Witch restaurant. The office is very helpful in planning excursions or renting equipment.

I think you'll have a great time. Please email me directly if you have any more questions. Mollie

Earlier Recommendations

Seeking a quiet non-crowded area


Maui accomodations requested. We are traveling with our 9 month old to Maui in the 2nd week of May. We'd like to stay in a somewhat not-croweded area that feels like we're not in a city. Does anyone have any suggestions for a 2 bdrm, under $170/night house or cottage in Maui they'd recommend we stay with our baby and another couple? We like a serene environment (we'd consider a very nice condo), clean and safe for a baby. Thank you for your help! If we take anyone's suggestion, I promise we'll send you a thank you gift!


It's been several years, but we stayed at a great condo at Kihei, the narrow part of the island where the two larger halves meet. It was in a smallish building, right on the beach. I THINK this was called Kihei Beach Resort. I loved that it was right on the water and that it was away from the really big commercial developments in Lahaina, Kaanapali, etc. (of course, that could have changed in the intervening years). At any rate, the Kihei location was a good one, and a travel agent should be able to help find a place around there. Linda

I have been a fairly frequent visitor to Maui over the years and I don't believe you will find many 2 bedroom house or cottages in the $170/night price range, certainly not near a beach. There are many, many more condos available for rent on Maui than private homes. Unfortunately, I really think your price range is a bit low even for a two bedroom very nice condo. The area that I like best in Maui is called Napili Bay. It is located on west Maui about 20 minutes north of Kaanapali . Napili is pretty quiet and laid-back. There is a beautiful crescent shaped beach, excellent snorkeling and has groceries and restaurants nearby. I have stayed at several properties there. The one I like best, Napili Surf Beach Resort, does not have 2 bedroom units, but it has studios that rent for about $110/nite (I think), and you could get two. Napili Surf is a family run business, is not super luxurious, but is right on the beach! Next door to Napili Surf is a large condo property called Napili Shores. It is about 100 steps to the beach. They may have some two bedroom units, but I think they are mostly one bedroom. It's been a couple of years since I have stayed at Napili Shores, but I think it was around $150/night for a one bedroom. There are some condo properties behind the beachfront ones that are probably cheaper. My feeling, after having been to Hawaii quite a few times, is that beachfront is worth it, especially if you like to snorkel, and especially if you have to schlep a lot of baby equipment. Good luck and have a great time. Nancy

I recommend the Hale Hio Kai condos in Kihei. All of them are 2 BDR, 2 bath, very modern, clean and right on a beach. If you're going the 2nd week in May you will hit their low season so prices are more reasonable. Two years ago their low season rates went from $95 to $170/nt depending whether you had garden or ocean view. I think there is an additional charge for extra adults. I liked the location of the condo. It was away from the shopping area - a long strip of stores, restaurants and dive shops. Honestly once you were in the condo and on the beach you really felt secluded. No high rises or resorts on this beach. You are still close enough though to walk to shopping. We went when I was 6 months pregnant but we are definitely planning to return with our kids. Mostly families seemed to be staying at the condo and the kids seemed to enjoy the pool and beach. The snorkeling is pretty good by the condo. We enjoyed swimming at our beach as well as at some of the other beaches. You can contact the Hale Hui Kai condo at (800) 809-6284. Feel free to email with any questions. It's a great vacation spot! Robert

Camping on Maui?

April 1999

On Maui, it probably is illegal to camp on the beach, yes, but we noticed the same tents day after day from the highway south of Lahaina (not quite to Mile Marker 14). They were on the beach under the trees, but NOT at any official beach park with amenities -- perhaps that's how they managed to avoid arrest? At any rate, I wouldn't try that with children -- the beach is much too close to the only, and heavily trafficked, highway. Good snorkeling at mile marker 14, however! We also noticed that there are cabins at Haleakala, which is an amazing old volcano, 10,023 feet in height. The cabins are below the 10K ft line, of course. Excellent hiking around there, albeit weird in the crater itself. Not at all beachy, though. Dry forest and then rainforest farther down, arid colorful crater with silversword plants higher up. We stayed with our 6-month-old at one of the condos at Kahana, and that was a perfect solution for us. The Kahana beach was just across the street (NOT a highway), and the place also had a pool and hot tub. Our main issue right now is having a place sufficiently DARK that the baby can sleep -- he seems to be very light-sensitive, especially in his night sleeping. Heather

Hawaii with Teens

I'm a single mom who's going to Maui with my teenage girls (13 and 15) this summer. I've never been there. Any recommendations for neat stuff to do, places to go?


This is a recommendation for the woman taking her two teenagers to Maui..My 13 year old's high point was learning to dive with the Kapalua Dive Company..they do a two hour swimming pool orientation then take you for an hour or two then have certification to dive with one of their instructors for the rest of the month..The cost wasn't that high (I think about $65) and was a unique experience..he saw eels and sea turtles..hte instructor he had Naomi Fagley turned out to be a graduate of King Middle School and had had Mr. Ball, my son's current PE intructor . Their number is 808 669-3448..if you can get Naomi, she is great with teenagers..Also take a boat to Molokini for amazing snorkling and diving and go to Kapalua beach, my personal favorite for safe easy and wonderful snorkling..The Nature Conservancy leads a walk through a cloud forest on Haleakela..Call them. The rangers at the top tot Mt. Haleakela do a night time program that was awesome..the stars and galaxies visible were amazing..take binoculars and warm is about 40 dgrees there at night..Paia is the big windsurfing area..there may be lessons available..though it is pretty intense..have fun!



On Maui vacation suggestions - Our most fun was going on the road to Hana (SP?) and stopping in Paia at the Lunch Box for delicious picnic food. Stopping for a swim at the falls, called The Awakening in English ( something more complicated in Hawaiian), and finding a private black sand beach. On the tip of the Southwest side of the island, where the road turns into dirt, there is a wonderful beach called the cornmeal beach, because the sand is the consistency of cornmeal. Bring a snorkel and a mask and you are in for a treat at any quiet lagoon.