Table of Contents
- The Best One Week Maui Itinerary…With a Toddler in Tow
- Preparation for traveling to Maui with a toddler
- 7-day Maui Itinerary with a toddler
- Other things to do on Maui with a toddler
- Hawaii Inter-Island Travel: Do You Need a COVID Test?
- 5 Things to Do Before You Come to Hawaii in 2021
- 11 Tips for Getting Around Maui Without a Car
The Best One Week Maui Itinerary…With a Toddler in Tow
When we moved to Maui we were eager to explore the island as much as possible. After we settled in we took a couple of weeks off work to explore and feel like we were on vacation. Well, as much as you can feel like you’re on vacation with a toddler in tow.
We prepped, planned, and had the best time. And from that, we came up with our no-fail, perfect Maui itinerary with a toddler.
- Day 1: arrival, beach walk, and a toddler-friendly meal
- Day 2: Relax on baby beach and explore Lahaina
- Day 3: Hike Twin Falls, see turtles at Kua’u Cove, shave ice in Paia
- Day 4: Kapalua coastal trail, snorkeling Kapalua bay, and Nakalele Blowhole
- Day 5: Hike Iao Valley
- Day 6: Beach and pool day, Old Lahaina Luau
- Day 7: Depart!
Preparation for traveling to Maui with a toddler
Before we jump into the itinerary, let’s lay down a few rules for travel with a toddler. These may be obvious, but as you’re excitedly planning your trip, remember that you have a little one in tow (with big opinions).
- Stay flexible: I’m a huge planner. Possibly, an over-planner. And I used to get thrown off when things didn’t go as planned. But traveling the world so far with Henry in tow has taught me that we need to stay flexible. He accidentally fell asleep in the car? Great, let’s take a longer drive. He’s jet lagged and up at the crack of dawn? Let’s go hit up that 24 hour restaurant. This itinerary is to be used loosely because toddlers have opinions that might not mesh with your plans for the day.
- Don’t force the car: We have yet to do the road to Hana or Haleakala with Henry because he’s not one of those toddlers that can sit in the car for the day. Even with breaks it would be miserable for all of us. While we were first sad about this, we’ve come to see that there is SO MUCH we can do on this island without spending hours in the car. We hope to take him on these trips soon, but for now, we’re happy doing what’s closer.
- Take it slow: This is a vacation. Let’s say that again: this is a vacation. And you want to enjoy your vacation and not head back home more exhausted than when you arrived. We’ve added in beach and hotel days, but take more if you need it. There’s something so beautiful about hanging out with your family just enjoying the scenery. And if you book a hotel with a kids club, consider taking advantage of it.
7-day Maui Itinerary with a toddler
Ready for your perfect Maui itinerary to do with your toddler? Here’s how to spend a great seven days.
Day 1: Arrival
We typically recommend that anyone staying in a vacation rental makes a stop at Costco right after they land. If you have a tired toddler with you, I suggest you reconsider. If you’re in a vacation rental, you can have your groceries delivered. And if you’re only staying a week, a trip to Costco might not be worth it.
Instead, we suggest that after you get your rental car, you head straight to your hotel or vacation rental and get out some of your (toddler’s) energy. If you’re staying in Kaanapali, Wailea, or Kihei, there are great paths along the ocean that your toddler can enjoy while you take in the scenery.
After stretching your legs, it’s time to head to dinner because your little one is likely going to get tired early thanks to jet lag. If you’re saying in Kaapanali, we love Black Rock Kitchen, Hula Grill, or Moneypod Kitchen for family-friendly dining.
If you can’t stand the idea of sitting down in a restaurant, try the Kaanapali food truck court.
Day 2: Relax on baby beach and explore Lahaina
You’re likely up and at ’em early in the morning with your jet lagged toddler. If you’re looking for a breakfast spot open early, head to Leoda’s in Olowalu or Sunrise Cafe in Lahaina. Today is all about enjoying the beach and a slower pace as everyone adjusts to the island.
Once you’re done with breakfast, head to Baby beach in Lahaina. As the name implies, it’s perfect for babies because there are no waves, the water is shallow, and the bottom is sandy. Just because it’s great for kids doesn’t mean parents won’t enjoy it. It’s a truly beautiful spot where you can relax and not worry about your toddler splashing around in the water.
After baby beach, it’s time to explore the rest of Lahaina. Cruise down Front Street and pop into souvenir stores and ice cream shops. Let your kids run underneath the Banyan Tree. If they are a little older, they may enjoy a stop at the Baldwin House Museum.
Once you’ve had enough sightseeing, head back to your hotel or vacation rental for pool time and soak up the first full day of your trip to paradise.
Day 3: The not-quite road to Hana
In our family we call this day trip the not-quite road to Hana. Henry is not a two-year-old who will sit willingly in the car for the entire day. So as much as we would like to make a trip around the island, the road to Hana just isn’t going to work for him.
This alternative is, without a doubt, the best day I’ve ever spent on Maui.
Start your day driving to the north shore of the island to the start of the road to Hana. The first road to Hana stop is Twin Falls, an easily accessible waterfall accompanied by a delicious farm stand. Buy banana bread as you make your way on the short hike to the falls. Bring swimsuits in case you want to take a dip, but be warned that the water is a little colder than the ocean.
Take some holiday-card worthy photos before you head back to your car and drive 20 minutes or so back the direction you came from to Kuau beach. This isn’t the best beach for swimming with little ones, but you’ll enjoy something else here: turtles. This is one of the best and least-crowded spots to view turtles. Remember to keep your distance and don’t disturb them as they’ll most likely be resting on the beach when you visit.
After this, head to Paia town for a little stroll through the shops and shave ice for a treat. If you’re hungry, try Paia Fish Market, a family-friendly restaurant in the center of town.
Day 4: Kapalua coastal trail, snorkeling, and Nakalele Blowhole
Today is another adventure the whole family can enjoy, without spending too much time in the car. We like to start this day up at Nakalele Blowhole. It’s only 20-30 minutes north of the resort areas but it feels like you’re in a completely different world.
If you decide to visit the blowhole, take caution. Stay on well-marked paths and away from the shoreline. People have been sucked in and killed by going too close. When we take Henry, we stay up high near the parking lot where we can get a good (though distant) view of the blowhole and we don’t need to worry about him getting too close.
After the blowhole, start heading back down south to the Kapalua Coastal Trail and Kapalua Bay. If you’re there early enough, you can find parking in Kapalua Bay’s small parking lot. The coastal trail is a great, easy and mostly paved trail along the ocean, where you can let your toddler roam. It winds past resorts, a great surfing spot, and a bird sanctuary. This is the easiest hiking option on Maui and is great for families who want to get out and stretch their legs without climbing a steep hill.
Since you’re already parked at Kapalua Bay, once you’re done with the trail, it’s time to reward yourself with a dip in the ocean. The bay is excellent for snorkeling and can also be a great place to enjoy the ocean with your toddler on days where the waves aren’t too big. Plus, the soft white sand beach is perfect for building sand castles, so don’t forget the shovel.
If you’re hungry for lunch at this point, we recommend making a stop at the Burger Shack at the Ritz Carlton. Great burgers and shakes with an ocean view. Another ideal option is the food counter at the Honolua Store. The food is great and the prices are surprisingly good for being located walking distance from the Ritz.
Day 5: ‘Iao Valley and Maui Tropical Plantation
Another day of adventure takes you to ‘Iao Valley state monument. This lush, green valley will make you feel like you’ve landed on another island. There is a short, but steep hike up the ‘Iao Valley Lookout Needle (135 steps) to a landing with beautiful views. There’s another mostly flat hike along the stream. Two options that will get the whole family moving and enjoying the beauty.
After your time at ‘Iao, if you’re still looking for more adventure, stop by the Maui Tropical Plantation on the way back to your rental or hotel. Take the tram ride to learn how sugarcane and pineapple grow, feed the ducks, and grab a quick bite to eat at the Mill House. The grounds are beautiful and sprawling and it is the perfect place to spend a couple of hours enjoying and learning with your family.
Day 6: Old Lahaina Luau
Today is your last full day on the island and while you’ve certainly seen a lot, you may also want time to relax. We love designating one day of our trip to just hang out at the pool as a family. If you’re looking for a little more excitement, consider packing a picnic and heading to a beach — Napili Bay is one of our favorite spots. Order takeout from The Gazebo and spread out on the beach.
Your afternoon of relaxing will be cut a little short as you get ready and head to the Old Lahaina Luau. This luau is perfect for families wanting to have an immersive experience. Yes, your child will be excited by the show, you’ll have space to let them roam, and they’ll be able to see the traditional pig roast in an imu. This is the perfect send off to your week on Maui.
Just a reminder: book the luau before you arrive as it tends to sell out.
Day 7: Depart!
If you have an early afternoon flight back to the mainland, you likely won’t have much time this morning. End your stay with a quick walk on the beach and if you haven’t yet, a stop at Leoda’s for breakfast and pie.
Didn’t have time to do your souvenir shopping? Head to Costco on your way to the airport for Kona coffee, macadamia nut chocolates, and more.
Other things to do on Maui with a toddler
If there was something in this itinerary that doesn’t interest you, there’s plenty of other things to fill your days on your trip to Maui. Some of our favorite activities include:
- Maui Ocean Center: We have an annual membership to Maui Ocean Center. It’s a beautiful aquarium right on the water. The underwater exhibits were a little scary for Henry at first, but he’s grown to love them.
- Whale watching: We went on a number of whale watching trips earlier this year and while some aren’t toddler friendly (like the rafting and stand up paddle trips), the big boats were just perfect for Henry. He still talks about our two-hour early morning whale watching trip and we can’t wait to take him again next year. Read all about whale watching on Maui.
- Surfing Goat Dairy: If you make a trip upcountry or to Haleakala with your toddler, a stop at Surfing Goat Dairy is an ideal activity for kids. Henry loved it and we loved the cheese shop.
And don’t miss our 65 activities on Maui for kids. We’ve sorted them all based on age-appropriate activities and this is an ideal resource for planning your dream vacation to Maui.
I'm the co-founder, with my husband Jordan, of The Hawaii Vacation Guide. We live on Maui with our toddler Henry and our sweet but quirky dog Hattie. I am a planner! I love to plan island-hopping adventures, days out on Maui, and everything in-between. I spend a lot of my time on our SUP and my favorite time of year in Hawai'i is whale season!
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