My Maui Recap Part 1: Kaanapali

This past April I was fortunate to spend 4 weeks in Maui (yay for maternity leave!)  I have had a ton of people ask me what my recommendations are for traveling to Maui with children (we took our two boys then 2 1/2 years & 7 months.)  I am going to break this post into 2 parts as we stayed the first 2 weeks in Kaanapali and spent the last 2 weeks in Kihei.  Firstly, Maui is one of my favourite places to vacation and it is an awesome place to holiday with kids… it is so family friendly!  As we were staying for an extended period of time, we decided to go the condo route versus staying in a hotel.  I booked both condos off of HomeAway and our car rental through the Costco Travel site (both had great deals as April is classified as low season to travel there!)  There are literally SO MANY beautiful beaches, delicious restaurants and fun activities to do, it can almost be overwhelming.  I am going to tell you from my personal experience of what we got up to during this trip. These are recommendations for the Kaanapali/ Lahaina side of the island.

Part of the reason we stayed in a condo was so that we could do a lot of cooking ourselves.  There is a Costco on the island and we shopped at the Safeway in Lahaina as well.  That being said I love to go out for breakfast and Aloha hour.  These were a few of our main stops:

The view from our giant lanai at our Kaanapali condo
The view from the giant lanai on our Kaanapali condo

Restaurants:

Dukes Beach House– The banana & macnut pancakes here are my favorite!  Great location with beautiful views and super tasty food.

Hula Grill (Barefoot Bar)-  My husband and I were fortunate enough to have a couple of child free Aloha Hours here… I love their mangoritas!  You sit at a table right in the sand, staring out at the ocean at the centre of Kaanapali Beach.  It is pretty amazing!

Betty’s Beach Cafe– This place is a hidden gem down the road on Front Street in Lahaina.  The happy hour is a steal, the view is awesome, food is delicious and the atmosphere is super relaxed.  If you sit there long enough (like we did!) you might be lucky enough to catch a luau show out the window at the adjacent restaurant.

Maui Tacos– My go to for something quick and delicious!  The fish tacos (& everything that I have ordered from here) are so yummy.  And cheap, which is always a bonus!

The Sunrise Cafe– We asked our waitress at the Hula Grill what her favourite local breakfast spot was and she told us we had to go here.  You probably wouldn’t look twice if you walked by it on the street but the food was incredible.  We sat out on the little street side patio and joked around with the super friendly staff while we ate the best home cooked breakfast!

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Strolling in front of the Hula Grill
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Lunch at Betty’s- Kalua Pork & Fish Tacos
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Banana macnut pancakes at the Sunrise Cafe (my favourite!)
Tiny breakfast patio at the Sunrise Cafe
Tiny breakfast patio at the Sunrise Cafe

Beaches:

The beaches in Kaanapali are absolutely gorgeous.  This being said, the waves were HUGE when we were there in April and I was terrified of my fearless two-year old being sucked out to sea! We did spend a few days playing in the waves but then spent the majority of time at more kid friendly spots.

Baby Beach– We found this to be the most kid friendly beach on this side of the island.  Visually it is not as stunning as some of the other beaches but as far as being able to sit back and not worry about the waves it was my favourite.  There is lots of shade with calm water and a small reef to snorkel around.  We also saw turtles swimming by every day we were there which was super exciting for the kids!

Kaanapali Beach–  This is the gorgeous stretch of beach in front of the hotels and restaurants.  We found this to be a good place to play in the mornings but there is no shade and by the afternoon the wind would really pick up, blowing over our umbrella and creating crazy waves.

Black Rock– Is at the North end of Kaanapali Beach and this was a great spot for snorkelling.

Napili Bay– This was a hidden gem of a beach.  There was no formal public parking lot, just spots on the street and a short walk down (which is the only downside because you need to get there early or all of the parking will be gone.)  The ocean is beautiful, turquoise and fairly calm.  Great spot for swimming, digging in the sand and snorkelling.

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Playing in the super calm water at Baby Beach
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Kaanapali Beach looking towards Black Rock
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The boys playing in the sand on Kaanapali Beach
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Oceanside cuddles with my babe

Pineapple Bikini  *  Straw Fedora

The beach at Napili Bay
The beach at Napili Bay
Loving life at Baby Beach!
Loving life at Baby Beach!
Little surfer checking out the waves
Little surfer checking out the waves

Activities:

Maui Ocean Center– (this is actually located in Maalaea Bay but we went here during our 2 week Kaanapali stay which is why I am including it in this section.)  The boys loved the aquarium, the shark tank was our favourite part!  When we were there you could buy a gift card at Costco to help save on admission.  You could also use the promo code “Airport” if you bought your tickets ahead online.

Whalers Village– The shops are fun to wander through, but one of the highlights with kids was the Honolulu Cookie Company, the cookies here are super delicious and lots of samples to nibble on!  There is also a play area with a climbing apparatus and splash pad.  You can also watch free Hula Shows in the village

Lahaina Town– Wander down Front Street in Lahaina.  Tons of shops, galleries, restaurants and history to check out.  Grab a shave ice and some shade under the ginormous Banyan Tree.  My oldest son loved chasing all of the birds around while the rest of us sat and people watched.

Climbing in Whalers Village
Climbing in Whalers Village
Having a blast at the aquarium
Having a blast at the Ocean Centre
The historic Banyan tree in Lahaina
The historic Banyan tree in Lahaina
I can never get enough of the gorgeous sunsets!
I can never get enough of the gorgeous sunsets!

There is honestly no shortage of activities to do in Maui.  Drive to the top of Haleakala to watch the sunrise, it is spectacular! Visit the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm, it is really beautiful.  Tons of guided whale watching tours, snorkelling experiences, visit one of the many coffee farms, zip lining, luaus, surfing, paddle boarding… the list goes on and on.  I am simply sharing what we got up to during our holiday with young children.  If you have any recommendations for me I would love to hear them in the comments below!  I will be posting later this week with my recommendations from our stay in Kihei.

Thank you for reading!

Shannon xx

 

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