Seven Tips to a Maui Vacation with Kids: Activities and Hotel Choice Makes the Difference
Planning family vacations typically involved a similar strategy for the past ten years. It started with a choice between Disneyland and Disney World, but somehow the concept of hanging out with princesses and large mice always figured into the plan.
This year I decided that we were going somewhere mom wanted to go. I had a feeling that my girls might enjoy themselves, but regardless I decided we were heading to Maui. It has been 25 years since had been there and I was only too ready to return.
The change in destination became apparent as soon as we started to pack. I still took way too much, however the idea that we would be living in bathing suites for 9 days did make the packing much easier. My first suggestion is to truly unpack half of what you pack. You just do not need much in a place like Maui.
Since we live in California it was fun to head West on an airplane, once again confirming we were actually heading somewhere very different. The excitement began to grow as we finally saw the islands peak through the clouds. We couldn't wait to begin the fun.
Once we left the plane we hit our first real stumbling block. In our excitement we booked a jeep wrangler. Now anyone with half a brain should have known that we were never going to get five pieces of luggage and 4 people in that! Thankfully we were given a Jeep Commander that was the perfect vehicle and we were now on our way.
We checked into our room at the Hyatt Regency, an absolutely gorgeous paradise with some of the best hotel staff I have ever seen. There are a few tips I would recommend when checking into your hotel:
1. Check your supply of towels and pillows, etc. It is much easier to order more during the day then it is late at night.
2. Check your water pressure. Not all rooms have the best pressure and it can make a difference based on where in the hotel you are located.
3. Find out the hotel's policy on letting kids roam the hotel. According to John Hernstat, Jr., Director of Sales & Marketing for the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, kids should be supervised at all times especially around the wildlife and pool areas. If we see kids on their own, we will ask them if they are with family members. This is a very large resort and we want kids to be escorted around the property at all times. I was greatly saddened to see a ten year old boy and his younger sisters wandering around the hotel. Apparently their parents had left them there for the day. Most hotels do not have an actual day care, though the Hyatt does offer Camps for Kids to help entertain them.
4. Find out what special amenities and activities might be available. Our resort had a beautiful 55 foot catamaran, Kiele V. This boat is owned by Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and operates twice daily with a snorkel sail including continental breakfast and lunch. In the afternoon we have a trade wind sail or whale watching (seasonal) which includes appetizers and an open bar. We took the catamaran trip to Lanai and saw some of the most exciting whale sightings on record with the resort.
5. Consider the timing of your trip. The islands are busiest during the Christmas holidays and summer months. We found February to be a great time to go. The crowds were light and the weather was superb.
6. Keep the time change in mind when planning your days. Coming from California our kids were up early, which was perfect given the activities available at that hour, but by 8:00 at night they were out. We spent the first few nights eating dinner at 7:30 with two kids practically asleep in the restaurant.
7. This tip is redundant, but the sun really is powerful and deceptive. Keep kids covered in sunscreen. I managed to get a great tan, but only after a couple of days of a painful burn. The kids managed to avoid the whole process, so make that a priority.
No one really needs advice on how to have fun in Maui. If you are staying at a resort the Hyatt can't be beat for its overall ratio of affordability and enjoyment. Our only disappointment was the slide at the pool. It is a high, steep slide which would have been really fun for them except that it is completely enclosed like a tunnel. It was too intense and scary for both my kids. The Grand Weilea does have a day rate to use their pools, and next time I might make that a stop in our plan.
Soft, warm evenings walking along and dining on Kaanapali Beach in Maui just can't be beat. It is relaxing for parents and wonderful and educational for kids. Take a trip on the Atlantis Submarine and make sure you have boogie boards for body surfing. Bringing an ice chest for the room can help cut costs on sodas, drinks and snacks and while the hotel provides towels we still had a few of our own. The only question I can't answer is when do we go again?
Anne Leedom is the Editor-in-Chief of Parentingbookmark.com.