It’s hard to believe the chunky 10-month-old man in the photo is now seven. Now before you close this window, rest assured I’ve researched that all the information in this post is still up-to-date. Maui, Hawaii was somewhere we always wanted to visit, and it seemed like a suitable first destination to take baby number one, Cohen. Maui with a baby would allow us to dabble with a longer flight and a few adventure activities, while further testing out this “travelling with kids” concept. We had taken Cohen to places in Canada and mainland USA prior, but were ready to step it up.
If you’re worried about a crying, pooping, food-throwing banshee dampening your romantic vacation, you’re not alone. Thankfully, the good outweighs the bad. Think about the family memories you’ll make, or the pride you’ll feel when you hike to a stunning waterfall with your babe strapped to you. Travelling with a baby is work, but it’s worth it!
Maui is safe, developed, easy to travel in, and BEAUTIFUL. It was an excellent choice for a 10-day trip with a baby, and a nice condo and rental car made it easier. Cohen was a trooper, even taking his first helicopter ride, driving (most) of the Road to Hana, and checking out a luau.
Maui with a baby logistics – flight, hotel, and rental car
Maui is expensive, and for this trip (and many others), we swapped our RBC Avion points for 1.5 times British Airways (BA) points, and flew to Maui on a low amount of BA points. This required booking the trip as soon as the flights became available, but the RBC/BA swap is the best flight points deals I am aware of (I’m not the points girl though; ask the Points Guy). It has flown us for free on five or six international trips. For this one we flew with Alaska Airlines (a BA partner) from Calgary, Canada, with a stop in Seattle each way. Cohen did well and we kept him busy with food, naps, toys, aisle strolls, and Raffi. These tips for flying with an infant will help quell any worries you may have.
We stayed at the Kaanapali Maui at the Eldorado by Outrigger. It was a condo we booked through VRBO with a kitchen, living room, and space for Cohen to crawl around. The condo was slightly outdated, but the Outrigger is on a nice beach with a cabana for cooking and lounging. It’s also surrounded by a golf course and has three pools.
There is a plethora of other accommodation options in Maui. Kaanapali is nice and is close to Lahaina, another great spot to stay. Wailea is your luxury option and Kihei is also popular with a range of accommodations.
Maui’s international airport has many large-chain car rental companies (Avis, Budget, Enterprise, etc.). We went with a car from Avis, and found the deal on a website called Discount Hawaii Car Rental, which provided the best price. It’s hard to see Maui without a rental car, so bring your baby’s carseat and plunk it in any four-door rental.
Maui with a baby logistics part two: baby rentals, nanny service, and groceries
I was concerned about keeping a busy 10-month-old occupied and having a proper place for him to eat, but didn’t want to lug a bunch of toys or baby junk along. So I found Akamai Mother’s Rentals. I rented a high chair, indoor toys, and beach toys for $45 USD. They were great to work with and delivered the equipment to our hotel. It was in good shape and came in handy, especially the high chair.
I also researched the crap out of nanny services. I found the Nanny Connection Inc., which had (and still has) phenomenal reviews. They provided us with two experienced, older female nannies, so Nick and I could enjoy some island adventures. I was wary of doing this, but my communication prior to arriving in Maui, and the warm and genuine smiles on our nannies’ faces upon arrival assured us everything would be A-OK.
It was. The first day we ventured to two different spots on the island to snorkel (see my snorkelling section below). The second time, we rented stand-up paddleboards and paddled them on a nice, calm beach, then enjoyed a quiet and relaxing lunch.
For groceries or baby supplies, there is a Costco in Kahului and a Safeway in Lahaina.
What to do in Maui with a baby – for the whole family
A trick Nick and I use while travelling with kids is the “take turns method” (TTM). Otherwise known as the MSM (“maintain sanity method”), one parent gets the kid(s) for a couple of hours and the other does whatever they damn well want. It’s AWESOME.
Also, we are an adventurous couple who love water sports, so it would’ve been a shame to not do what we love. This is where the GAN method comes in (get a nanny). I’ve outlined some TTM and GAN ideas in the options below.
Pools and beaches
Most babies love playing in water, so this was a no-brainer. We enjoyed the beach at our hotel, which was also a short walk to Kaanapali beach. Cohen played in the sand and water, and we took turns snorkelling at Black Rock in front of the Sheraton Maui, where there is a good chance of seeing sea turtles.
Napili beach is a short drive north of Kaanapali and a beautiful one with a lighter shade of turquoise water. Again, we took turns snorkelling (saw turtles and an eel!) while the other entertained Cohen on the beach. We tried playing in the waves with Cohen, but as you can see in the photo above, we scared him with that one.
Wailea is another beautiful area of Maui, with high-end hotels and gorgeous beaches. We checked out the Fairmont Kea Lani (which we’d stay at if we go back, as we loved the Fairmont Orchid on Hawaii Island) and walked to Ulua beach. We set up shop there for a while and took turns – you guessed it – snorkelling (we sure do love our snorkelling). It’s a lovely public beach with colourful coral and fish.
Snorkelling and other water sports
Snorkelling and diving in Maui is brilliant. You can snorkel from a beach while one parent stays with the babe, or check out snorkelling hot spots together if a nanny comes.
Aside from the snorkelling mentioned above at Napili beach, Black Rock, and Ulua beach, we also snorkelled at Honolua Bay just north of Kapalua (20 minutes north of Lahaina). It was our favourite spot, with clear blue water teeming with peaceful sea turtles, corals, and fish.
If you’re tempted to book a snorkelling trip by boat to the Molokini Crater or other popular offshore locations, remember you won’t be able to rush back if your nanny needs you.
There are countless places to rent stand up paddleboards, kayaks, or surfboards, and multiple beaches to use them on in Maui. Rent from Lahaina and they’ll tell you exactly where to go.
The road to Hana and Paia
The road to Hana is a famous, hella-curvy 27-kilometer scenic drive. And by scenic, I mean stunning. The winding road didn’t bother Cohen, so we kept going (we promised each other we’d turn back if it did). Often when travelling with kids, the reward is much greater than the risk.
There are mile-markers along the route that help you determine where certain sights are, including beautiful waterfalls and lookout points. Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook has detailed information about the Road to Hana. We used it on our trip and found short hikes and waterfalls unmentioned in other guidebooks (like the one in the photo below, somewhere around the nine mile marker). Leave time to stop and take photos.
Paia is a laid back town with funky shops and cafes. It’s a great place to stroll around in for a few hours.
Lahaina and the Old Lahaina Luau
Lahaina is an must-see town with a high-end, yet chill vibe. It offers history, beaches, shopping, and excellent restaurants. We enjoyed pushing Cohen in his stroller, stopping for shaved ice, checking out the surf shops, and visiting the Lahaina Banyan Court Park, with the oldest living banyan tree on Maui.
If it’s your first time in Hawaii, attending a luau is a must. A luau is a traditional Hawaiian party and feast with live entertainment. Held just off the beach in a gorgeous outdoor setting, The Old Lahaina Luau is an authentic and fun cultural experience, even with a baby!
The luau is $125 USD per adult (and free for the babe), and includes an all-you-can-eat feast of tasty traditional Hawaiian foods and alcoholic beverages. This includes Pua’a Kalua – pork roasted in a beachside lmu (a Hawaiian underground oven) and fancy tropical cocktails. There were also crafts and demonstrations, like taking the pig out of the underground oven. After dinner is the traditional Hawaiian music and hula dancing. It was worth the money and I would do it again if we went back to Maui with our kids. You’ll even get leid.
If budget allows, Maui is an incredible place for a helicopter ride. We went on a tour over West Maui and Molokai with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. We knew there was potential for this expensive endeavour to be ruined by a crying baby, but if you’ve read my blogs, you’ll know I’m a calculated risk taker. And in laid-back Hawaiian fashion, Blue Hawaiian assured us Cohen would be fine and likely fall asleep. They were right. He fell asleep mere minutes after take-off, and slept the whole tour.
The blue water, lush green land, towering sea cliffs and long, perfect waterfalls are absolutely gorgeous. It was right out of a scene from Moana.
We didn’t go to the Haleakala volcano, but given it’s a top Maui attraction, it’s worth mentioning.
If you’re interested in driving to the summit and don’t plan on returning to Maui when your children are older, there are three considerations for you and your baby: altitude, weather, and windy roads. The altitude at the summit is 3000 meters (about 10,000 feet) – a big gain from sea level. The road is also very curvy, and it is much colder at the summit than sea level, so bring warm clothes.
This detailed article on hiking Haleakala with kids includes trails you can hike at the summit.
Where to eat in Maui with a baby
A couple of restaurants we loved were Duke’s Beach House (at the Honua Kai Resort, North of Lahaina) and Pacific ‘O on the beach in Lahaina. It’s worth repeating that a meal at the Old Lahaina Luau is well worth it.
Mama’s Fish House on the Hana highway just Northeast of Paia is a famous stop. We didn’t eat here, but have heard rave reviews from multiple friends.
Maui with a baby: a perfect first adventure vacation
Although our time was not completely stress-free (is any trip with any child?), we were happy with how our first adventure holiday with Cohen turned out. It helped assure us that YES, we can travel with kids. Since then, we’ve done some epic trips with our now seven and five-year-olds, and have many more to come.
If you want a beautiful, tropical, and safe destination for your first trip as a parent, Maui with a baby will certainly not disappoint.
Looking for more on Hawaii? Read my articles on 10 days in Hawaii Island (the Big Island) with kids and Big Island snorkelling: why it’s the best.
Like this post? Pin it!