Magical Maui, A Great Spot for a Family Vacation

I love to travel and especially enjoy exotic destinations but now, I have a child to consider when making travel plans and at 17 months, that child is very curious,  running and walking everwhere and probably not capable of long haul flights just yet.  So, for our first post baby vacation,  my husband and I decided to travel to Maui and we are so glad we did!

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Maui was the perfect way for us to give travel as a family a try.   Only 5 hours from San Francisco, the travel time is not too bad, the time change is only 3 hours and since Maui is located in the US it did not require much adaptation for our young son.  In fact he loved the ocean and the sand, the beautiful views and all of the beautiful flowers and trees and birds.  He was even able to see green sea turtles from the rocks on the beach across from where we stayed.

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When one thinks of travel to Hawaii, one often thinks that it has to be expensive but that is not really true.  While there are many luxury resorts with top notch accommodations and fancy restaurants where all of your needs can be catered to and where you can obtain child care and nannies, there are also many other more economical options available.

We decided to rent a condo for our time on Maui and could not have been happier.  We used VRBO and found #51602.  This condo is in the Maui Banyan complex in Kihei and is owned by the Leoni’s from Auburn, California who were very easy to communicate and deal with.   The condo was well equipped with a fully stocked kitchen so we could cook meals and also included nice extras such as beach chairs, sand toys, a beach umbrella and boggie board.  The condo complex has 2 pools and 2 hot tubs and  is in a perefect location just across from a very child friendly beach Kamole II  where we saw beautiful fish when we went snorkling right off from shore and we also saw sea turtles swiming next to the rocks.  The waves were also not too rough and there are even lifeguards so we could swim with our little guy with no worries.  There is a big beach area so our little one could play in the sand away from the water.  This allowed us to sit on the beach and relax until he got too antsy and then there was lots of space for him to run around

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Maui has a Costco right by the airport so if you rent a condo like we did you can stock up on food and supplies and not have to spend a great deal on food.  There also is a Target which unfortunately we ended up needing after someone took one of our our carry on bags off our flight instead of their own.  The flight attendants made us put our carry on bag at the front of the plane instead of above our seats and when we went to  get off the plane it was gone.  Sadly, it was never returned to us.  Even with the hiccup of having no clothes for myself or our son until we bought replacements, we were able to enjoy our vacation and the magical island of Maui.

I would highly recommend that you rent a car while on Maui as there is a lot to see on the Island.   A trip to Lahaina is fun to see the huge banyan tree, to shop on Main Street and enjoy a meal or snack.  The Maui Swap, meet held every Saturday on the University of Hawaii campus gives you the chance to buy locally grown fruits and locally made products to enjoy during your visit or bring home as gifts.  It also has local specialties such as Maui Shaved Ice, fruit butters, jams and other delicacies and costs only 50 cents a person for admission.

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The Road to Hana is a worthwhile daytrip offering beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean and the rainforest, the opportunity to see spectacular waterfalls and flora and fauna, a lovely black sand beach and the chance to buy local grown fruit from roadside stands.  It has many stops along the way so if your child does ok on car rides you should be fine taking them.

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If you want to splurge, consider attending a luau.  While a luau is not inexpensive the cost  includes, drinks, dinner and entertainment.  On our trip, we attended the Te Au Moana at the Wailea Marriott.  This luau over looks the Pacific Ocean and allows you to watch the sunset and get some amazing pictures before dinner and the show.   You are welcomed to the luau with a flower lei and are able to enjoy an open bar with Mai Tais and Rum Punch, beer wine & soda thru out the evening.  There is a a buffet of Hawaii specialities for dinner including baked Kalua Pig, Poi, Lomi Lomi, Teriayki Steak, Coconut glazed  Purple Sweet Potatoes and many other delicious foods followed by an amazing and entertaining show describing the history of Maui thru dance and beautiful costumes.  The show includes coconut husking, hula and fire dancing and will really help to get you into the island spirit.

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Another fun activity to consider is a snorkling cruise.  There are many companies offering snorkling cruises, but I highly recommend booking with Pacific Whale Foundation as they are a nonprofit founded to save whales from extinction and the money from your snorkling trip goes to help their efforts.   All of their trips are staffed by naturalists working at the Foundation so the trips are not only fun but also educational as the people working the trips are very knowledgable.  We took the Molokini & Turtle Arches Snorkel which allowed us to see Molokini crater up close and see many beautiful fish and also see sea turtles in the ocean and swim very close to them.  The boat for this trip is large with a top deck and an enlcosed desk and it is child and toddler friendly.

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Ahihi Kinau at the end of the Road to Wailea is also worth a visit.  The road is surrounded by fields of lava and has lovely mountain views.  If you walk down to the cove you can snorkel and see beautiful tropical fish in their natural habitat which is now protected.  The beach is pebbles so it’s not super kid friendly but if you take turns snorkling and one person stays to watch your kids then it can be done.  You can also snorkel off of most beaches in Kihei and see fish, and if you’re very lucky sea turtles

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In fact, there are gorgeous beaches all over Maui and all of them, even those next to high end resorts are open to the public. Many of them have restrooms, parks with lawns, BBQs and other facilities including playgrounds.   The shoreline of Maui is breathtaking and fortunately it is well maintained and the water is very clear and very warm.  Because the beaches are all open to the public and free if you want to enjoy the island without spending a lot you can.  Makena State Beach just down the road from Ahihi Kinau is gorgeous and worth a visit but the waves are very rough so I would not bring kids into the water there.

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Where ever you stay and whatever you do on Maui, you are sure to enjoy yourself as are your kids.  It really is magical and the perfect family vacation spot.

Please Feel free to share your favorite family spots on Maui in the comments section

For more information on the amazing condo we stayed at  goto: https://www.vrbo.com/51602

To learn more about Pacific Whale Foundation & the trips they offer goto:  http://www.pacificwhale.org

To get more details on Te Au Moana Luau goto:  http://www.teaumoana.com/

Mahalo!

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