Wailea Beach, one of our favorite in all of Hawaii, is located on the southwest side of Maui
I could share the usual popular restaurants and activities in Maui like experiencing a meal at Mama’s Fish House, snorkeling, swimming with sea turtles, boat tours and luaus. But since I’ve had TONS of questions about the recent month my family and I spent in Maui, I decided to turn our vacation into a guide of places the whole family can visit, including sights to see for both kids and adults and food that’s great, no matter what your age. Here are some of my favorite ways my family and I spent our days while in Maui.
1. Hike and Meditation at the Kapalua Labyrinth and Dragon Teeth, followed by lunch at The Burger Shack at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua
Our view of the beaches from the Burger Shack at the Ritz Carlton while we enjoyed our meal
Located in Kapalua, on the northwest side of Maui, we stayed at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua Maui for a few nights. This was our second time staying at this property and I highly recommend it! We spent time exploring and learning about the area around the Ritz Carlton and were pleasantly surprised to discover the “Labyrinth,” which was just a short hike away from the hotel. The Labyrinth is known as a highly respected place of prayer and contemplation used by the locals. The hike to get there was absolutely beautiful. Slightly rocky, but a relatively easy hike (we did it with our toddler and in our flip flops but sturdy shoes are suggested), it has incredible scenic views. On this hike, we passed the “Dragon’s Teeth” rock formation and Makaluapuna, a beautifully wild and windy spot right on the West Maui Coastline. This was a treat to experience; my husband and son loved it, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Magical Maui.
After working up an appetite from exploring and meditating, we treated ourselves to lunch at the Burger Shack at the Ritz Carlton. The restaurant has delicious food, decadent milkshakes, friendly service, incredible views of the ocean, and resident chickens that wander the grounds while you dine! It provided such a fun experience; my son got a kick out of the chickens while my husband and I basked in the ocean breeze and sipped on boozy milkshakes. Our time at Burger Shack was more than pleasant, so much so that we ate here twice even after we checked out of the Ritz Carlton.
Olowalu Juice Truck has the most refreshing smoothies in all of Maui
Located roadside in Olowalu, next to the Olowalu Juice Truck and Farmers Market, is the remarkable and beautiful “Maui Butterfly Farm”. The butterfly farm was a great activity to do with our family and fun for everyone. We had a 45-minute tour of the farm which was interesting the whole way through, refreshingly educational, and a different experience from everything we ever did during previous visits to Hawaii. We were shown the entire evolution process of the butterfly (which only takes 6-8 weeks in its entirety!) and were able to interact with them and feed them. Each of our experiences with the butterflies felt unique and refreshing, and it was a little emotional when I saw the awe in my son’s eyes as butterflies fluttered around him.
On a side note: butterflies are incredibly spiritual and are perceived as a sign from the afterlife, especially close loved ones who left us along the way. Pay attention when they visit you! I truly loved this day and would recommend it to anyone, especially if you are traveling with little ones. You can grab some goodies from the nearby farmers market, order a yummy juice or smoothie from the truck and top it off with a stop at Leodas for their famous chocolate macadamia nut pie. Don’t forget to reserve a spot at the farm beforehand so you don’t miss out on a truly uplifting experience.
3. Afternoon at Wailea Beach: The sunset, live music, hula dancing, and delicious sushi followed by a special Tiki Torch lighting at The Four Seasons Wailea lobby lounge
View from the Wailea Beach of the Kaho’olawe island
Wailea Beach is one of my favorite beaches in Maui and is located in front of the Four Seasons Wailea. We had the pleasure of staying at the Four Seasons Wailea which made travel for the day easy. To kick off our day, we grabbed a light lunch and then were sure to stop at the Beach Walk Cafe for gelato and libations. We were also sure to bring plenty of snacks as this will be a whole day event. The beachfront is magnificent – the waves are mellow, the sand is soft and the views are breathtaking. It makes for a picturesque place to spend the entire day with your family.
After surfing the waves, building sandcastles and enjoying the beach, we went to our room and washed the sand away (there are public showers at the beach if you aren’t staying close), and prepped for the evening. After our day at the Wailea Beach, we were excited to head back to the Four Seasons lobby lounge for a special treat. Every night, the Four Seasons Wailea treats its guests and dining visitors to a tiki torch lighting ceremony.
I cannot overstate how much fun the tiki torch lighting was for the kiddos and even the adults. A torchbearer races around the resort in their nightly ritual, lighting 50 torches, while children try to keep up with them. While waiting for the torching ceremony to begin, we enjoyed live music, hula dancing, a perfect sunset and scrumptious food at the Four Seasons Lobby lounge. The couches are so comfortable that I literally sank into them and could not get up. My son loved watching the torch lighting and hula dancers. The experience was even a bit romantic; while sitting next to my husband and seeing the glow of the torches dance across his tanned, smiling face, I was so moved that I had to reach for his hand. Our day at Wailea Beach was unforgettable.
4. Exploring the Historic Lahaina Town on Front Street featuring art galleries, specialty shops and restaurants galore
Lahaina sits right on the ocean on the picturesque northwest shores of Maui
Lahaina is a Hawaiian walk-able “downtown” area with over 40 different art galleries featuring local artists. We followed the art walk and were excited to see all of the genre-specific and funky galleries along the way. Restaurants like Fleetwoods on Front Street are great for a sunset happy hour with live music. Fleetwoods on Front Street is particularly fun to enjoy an oceanside dinner at because it is owned by Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac! There are tons of other great restaurants to choose from, most with gorgeous oceanfront views. The shops we visited ranged from touristy stores with locally made souvenirs to corporate stores like Hurley and more local spots like Pakahola (swimsuits & surf gear). My son, husband and I ended the night in Lahaina with sweet delicious shaved ice from the famous Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice. Though the line was long, it was worth the wait. Don’t forget to visit the famous Banyan tree planted in 1873 – located in the Lahaina Downtown Square. The parking is super easy if you don’t mind paying a little bit. It was well worth it and very convenient; all you need to do is follow the “Paid Parking” signs. Lahaina Town is a wonderful step away from the beaches and it was a great place for the whole family to scratch their shopping itch and tour art galleries.
5. Watching the sunset and listening to live music at the Lehua Lounge at The Andaz
Our view of the sunset from The Andaz infinity pool of the Pacific sunset
We stumbled upon happy hour at the Lehua Lounge when heading out to watch the sunset while staying at The Andaz, and I’m so glad we did. They have live music almost every night, except for Sundays and Tuesdays, with endless priceless views. Indulge in yummy apps and drinks while enjoying awesome entertainment which is often a 1-man show featuring local talent. Depending on how you roll, you can treat yourself to the nearby Morimoto Maui, one of our favorite sushi restaurants in Maui, independently owned at the Andaz. The Andaz lobby has sandboxes that were super cool for the kids and 3 infinite pools situated right next to the ocean. The atmosphere the infinity pools next to the ocean delivers is a remarkable sight at sunset. I highly recommend spending some relaxing time at the Andaz as there is no better place on Maui to unwind and enjoy the beauty of Hawaii with your family.
6. An Awe-Inspiring, Deep-Sea Excursion at the Maui Ocean Center
Spanning three acres, the Maui Ocean Center is the largest living tropical reef aquarium in the Western Hemisphere
Talk about a wondrous adventure! My family’s visit to the Maui Ocean Center was an astonishing trip, and the center proved to be one of the best aquariums I have ever been to. We got up close and personal with a variety of Hawaii’s marine life, like octopi, sea turtles, sharks and seals, and saw so many colorful fish swirl around us as we plunged through the center’s dark corridors. My son was enchanted by the graceful jellyfish as we walked through the glass tunnels, surrounded by the majesty of Hawaii’s waters. Our trip to the Maui Ocean Center was a nice departure from all the outdoorsy activities we’d done in the first portion of our trip, and it offered an educational experience to boot. Be sure to book your Maui Ocean Center adventure ahead of time since an attraction this beloved will be sold out.