If you’re planning a trip to Maui, you probably already know that there is a LOT to do here. Maui is a dream come true for kids and adults alike, with stunning beaches, crystal clear water, luaus, and sweet, refreshing shaved ice available all over the Island. It’s easy to find fun activities to do with your kids in Maui. But it’s also important to keep in mind that even in paradise, accidents can – and do – happen. The best way to protect your kids is to be proactive, and take steps to ensure their safety when they are engaging in some of the most heart-stopping recreational activities around.
Below, we’ll suggest some of the top activities that you can do with your kids while visiting Maui. For each, we’ll share our best tips on how you can keep your kids safe so you can enjoy your vacation to the fullest.
Is there anything cooler than ziplines? This activity offers epic views plus the fun of racing through the sky. There are a number of companies that offer zipline tours in Maui, including for kids as young as five.
Going on a zipline tour is an unforgettable experience, but it can be dangerous if it isn’t done correctly. To help your kids stay safe while ziplining, follow these steps:
- Research the operator before committing. Is the company legitimate? Do they have a track record of safety? Be sure to ask questions about their safety procedures, including the types of safety checks they perform before each ride. Check online for positive reviews or ask a concierge for recommendations.
- Check to make sure that the operator has the appropriate safety equipment, and that it is in good condition. If you notice something, like a cracked helmet, don’t take the risk – find another company.
- Dress appropriately, with closed-toe shoes and long pants. If your kids have long hair, tie it back.
- Remove or secure loose items. This may mean holding onto your kid’s sunglasses or buying a strap to make sure that they don’t fall off while riding.
One of the most popular activities in Maui might not be what you expect: bike riding. The epic volcanic landscapes of Haleakala are a perfect place to explore with bikes. On a tour, your kids will be thrilled to race down the mountainside – and awed by the amazing sights of Maui’s majestic Haleakala volcano.
Biking Haleakala is usually restricted to kids 12 and older, although there are some operators that allow kids aged 7 to 11 to ride. Taking a downhill tour of Haleakala means riding down a pretty steep mountain. It is also a fairly lengthy ride of up to 23 miles.
If you decide to sign your kids up for a bike tour, these tips can help keep them safe:
- Think about your kid’s skill level on a bike. Even if they meet the minimum age, height, and weight requirements, are they capable of handling mountainous terrain? If they aren’t that great on a bike, it’s probably a good idea to skip this tour.
- Helmets are a must. Make sure that whatever helmet your kid wears is sized correctly and is in good condition. If you know ahead of time that you’ll be doing a bike tour, consider bringing their helmet with you.
- Make sure that your kids are wearing appropriate clothes, including closed-toe shoes and clothes that aren’t so big that they risk getting caught in the gears.
Talk to your kids about basic bike safety rules, if they don’t already know them – like riding single file, using a bike lane when available, and yielding to downhill traffic.
Hawaii is a haven for surfers for a reason – it has some of the best waves in the world. There is no better time to learn how to surf than on a trip to Maui. Many resorts on the island offer Maui surf lessons for kids, as do many companies throughout Maui.
Kids often pick up surfing more easily than adults, given their relatively low center of gravity. Yet that doesn’t mean that surfing is a risk-free activity. Before you sign your kids up for surf school, do the following:
- Take lessons from an experienced professional. It may be tempting to sign up with the closest or cheapest surf school, but it’s important that whoever is teaching your child knows what they are doing. Do a bit of research to find a surf school run by a well-known professional. Stay away from AirBnB experiences or any lessons offered by someone not accredited and permitted to take people to safe spots.
- Make sure that the surfing instructor that you choose focuses on safety. Knowledge of rip currents, drifts, winds, tides, swells, and even surfing etiquette is all critical to not getting hurt while surfing.
- Wear sunblock (ideally a formulation that is safe for the reefs and ocean).
- Consider how strong of a swimmer your child is before signing them up for surf school. Even a beginner surf class may be too much for a kid who isn’t that great in the water. Life jackets generally aren’t recommended for learning to surf, and if your child needs one, surf lessons probably aren’t right for them. If you have questions about whether your child could handle themselves out in the ocean, think about another activity.
There is so much to see and do in Maui that some people overlook one of the best places for exploration: the ocean! Snorkeling is a great way to see undersea life, including reefs, sea turtles, fish, and more.
Several companies run snorkel tours at Molokini Crater. One of the best options for families with kids is the Pacific Whale Foundation, which offers great food, educational programming, and a boat ride out to the crater. The gentle waves in this protected area are ideal for younger swimmers.
While snorkeling is a relatively safe activity, it does present certain hazards, such as sunburn, cuts, and scrapes. If your child is not a strong swimmer, there is also a risk related to drowning. To keep your kid safe during a snorkel tour, consider taking the following steps:
- Apply a reef-safe sunblock lotion to reduce the risk of sunburn.
- Consider buying or renting dive booties and gloves to protect from cuts and scrapes.
- If you are worried about your child’s swimming ability in the ocean, make sure that they have a flotation device and only snorkel while closely supervised. You may also want to find another activity.
- Ask about a dry snorkel, which has a float on top of the tube that clamps shut when water goes over the top, preventing water from entering the tube.
Maui is home to many amazing places to hike like Haleakala National Park, ʻOheʻo Gulch, and the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge. If you want to have an outdoor adventure with your kids while in Maui, hiking can be a great choice.
As with any activity in the great outdoors, there are certain dangers involved with hiking. You can reduce the risk of your kids getting hurt by:
- Consider doing a Maui hiking tour with professional guides. They’ll take you to safe spots often with exclusive access.
- Choosing a hike that fits their abilities. There are a lot of challenging hikes on Maui, but there are also relatively easy trails, like the 1-mile round trip hike to Twin Falls. Make sure there’s no chance of a flash flood.
- Wear the right clothes and sturdy footwear. Try to dress in brightly colored clothes, and bring a poncho or jacket in case of rain.
- Pack insect repellent and sunscreen.
- Bring a fully charged phone, plus food and water for the hike.
- Start your hike early so that you can get back before the sun sets.
- Never dive or jump into ponds or pools before checking for dangers like submerged rocks.
- Be aware of sudden changes in weather, and never cross or swim in water when there are dark clouds over the mountains.
- Let someone else know where you are going, even if it is just the staff at the hotel or resort.
Don’t sweat it if the above activities are outside your or your child’s comfort zone. Many great Maui activities involve little to no risk— from wandering the Maui Ocean Center to exploring a farm.
Nestled on the slopes of Haleakala, Maui Alpaca is an 8-acre farm home to a herd of easygoing alpacas and lovable angora bunnies. The alpacas here are sheared once a year, and their fibers are used to make yarn— then later clothing. The rest of the year, the alpaca’s funny personalities are on display. Maui Alpaca hosts farm tours and private picnics, allowing guests to meet and feed the alpacas, cuddle with the bunnies, and learn more about processing both animals’ fur into highly-valued yarn. The alpacas and bunnies have a mellow temperament, making a farm visit a great, safe activity for families— no flash floods or strong currents insight here, only friendly animals.
By following these tips, you can have fun and stay safe while on vacation in Maui. While you may not be able to prevent all injuries, taking precautions can help to minimize the risk of your kids getting hurt. If you or your kids are hurt in an accident, a Maui personal injury attorney can help you determine if you can file a claim for your injuries and losses, starting with a free initial consultation.
For more than 30 years, personal injury attorney Matt Menzer has represented injury victims who have been hurt in all types of accidents – including while on vacation in Maui. For each client, he works hard to help them get maximum compensation for their losses. His track record of success makes the Menzer Law Firm an ideal choice for anyone who is injured while visiting Maui.