With crystal clear waters splashing up on the soft sandy beaches, Maui’s most popular family travel destination is a small slice of paradise for kids and adults alike. Swimming in the gentle waters along Lahaina’s coast will delight your youngsters, but it is the spirit of the town that will make it a trip to remember.
On Top of the Waves
One way to take in the beauty of Lahaina’s coastline is to enroll the whole family in surf lessons. Goofy Foot Surf School is located in the southern part of the city along the well-known Front Street. Employees will give you surf shoes and a rash guard to protect your arms and chest. Children under 9 must take private lessons, but if your kids are older, it is fun to do a group lesson and make some new friends. Head down to the sand, where you will learn the stances and rules for balance. After that, your instructor will take you into shallow waters to practice balancing on the board before you head out to slightly deeper waters. Instructors help ensure that students of all ages (including parents!) get up on their boards to get the experience of a lifetime riding Hawaiian waves into the shore.
Dinner by the Sea
Sunsets in Lahaina are beautiful — the wispy clouds are lit up by a pink and purple sky that reflects onto the water below. Your children will be amazed at the sight. Wander down Front Street to dine at Kimo’s. If you arrive around sunset, ask to sit on the deck and you will have a gorgeous view of the open ocean while you eat.
They have a kid’s menu that features smaller versions of bigger platters—fish, shrimp or pork ribs. For dessert, you can try some hula pie—a Hawaiian favorite featuring a chocolate cookie crust topped with macadamia nut ice cream, chocolate fudge and whipped cream.
Banyan Tree Park lies in the center of town. Kids will be in awe of the giant, 140-year-old tree that covers the entire park. The growth of this type of Indian tree is so vast that it sends branches down toward the ground as it spreads. Maui’s park contains 16 trunks that cover more than half an acre of land. Kids will love climbing on the low-hanging limbs, swinging on the branches and listening to the music of local musicians that come to the park to entertain tourists.
On Saturday and Sunday mornings, the Arts and Crafts Fair takes over the park bringing many unique homemade gifts for tourists to buy, including personalized candles, soaps, jewelry and toys. When you leave the park, you can head across the street to Local Boys Shave Ice and treat your kids to a Hawaiian treat. There are tons of flavors to pour over the finely ground ice and it is then topped with their secret Kauai cream.
An Ethnic Experience
A trip to Hawaii wouldn’t be the same without attending a luau. Perhaps the most interesting in Lahaina is the Feast at Lele Luau, which will take you and your kids on a tour through Polynesian culture with both the food and the performance. The feast has four courses, presenting guests with cultural dishes from Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti and Samoa, including kalua pork, sea bean duck salad, steamed chicken with taro leaf in coconut milk and grilled steak with baked breadfruit. The entertainment follows the same path, beginning with the Hawaiian hula dance and culminating with the Samoan fire knife dance. This is the perfect opportunity for your youngsters to experience new foods and learn more about some of the world’s cultures.
After the excitement of the luau, you can travel a few miles north along Kaanapali Highway to Whaler’s Village, where your kids will be able to take a hula lesson themselves as well as learn the history behind the cultural dance. Whaler’s Village also provides lei making lessons, a fantastic way to end your vacation and create your very own Hawaiian souvenir.