Maui Travel Tips for Families with Kids under 5

Four fun things to do with toddlers and preschoolers in Maui

I was shocked when I found out that my potty-trained, almost four-year-old child wouldn’t be allowed into the kids’ clubs during our trip to Maui. There is a strict age limit (per a county ordinance) that says only kids 5–12 can be allowed into the kids clubs at the resorts on Maui.

Don’t even bother trying to get around it. Instead, hire a babysitter for your time off and show your kids that a good time can be had on the island, beyond just going to the pool and the beach.

Maui Ocean Center

An educational, interactive, and fun indoor-outdoor Hawaiian aquarium experience. Kids can get up close and personal with Hawaii’s marine life at the Tide Pool, learn about monk seals and dolphins in the Marine Mammal Discovery Center, or ogle and take pictures of sharks in the Open Ocean see-through tunnel.

Sugar Cane Train

Children love trains! There are two stations for arrivals and departures on the open-air coaches—Lahaina Station and Puukolii Station. Parents might even want to consider arranging for a pick-up and only going one leg of the journey. Just sit back, relax, and get ready to wind down on this narrated stroll via steam engine through Maui history.

Free activities at Whaler’s Village & resorts

Chances are you’ve already spent plenty of money just getting to Hawaii.  So, before you shell out even more money on whatever your child sees in the gift shop, take advantage of the free activities and classes at your hotel and Whaler’s Village. Ask for the Calendar of Events. You can often find hula lessons, lei making, and coconut husking demos at the Center Stage of Whaler’s Village in Ka’anapali Beach. Don’t forget to ask your hotel what time they feed the koi.  My three-year-old loved feeding the koi at both the Hyatt Maui and Westin Maui (pictured), where we stayed.

Surfing Goat Dairy

An ag-tourism tour might be the last thing your kids would ever think to ask for on an island vacation, but they’ll love the goats. And you’ll love the cheesecake.

Baby Sitters: Need some time to yourselves? Here are two babysitting resources:

Happy Kids Maui and The Nanny Connection.

-Jen Leo

Jen Leo is an award-winning travel book editor, podcaster and problogger. She writes the weekly, nationally syndicated Web Buzz column for the Los Angeles Times travel section.  You can also find her writing on,, and catch her co-hosting This Week in Travel on iTunes and YouTube. When not sampling indoor playgrounds with her preschooler, Jen can be found testing kids’ iPhone and iPad apps for



  1. says

    Maui is a brilliant vacation destination. You will find the true taste of Hawaii in the Maui islands. Everything you can dream about Hawaii is present in Maui. So get your luggage ready and go for the best vacations trip in Maui.

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