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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Day Trip Highlights

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Day Trip Highlights

Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, on the Big Island, to walk through lava tubes, see ancient petroglyphs and walk around the rim of Kilauea volcano.

About Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to two of the five volcanoes on the Big Island – Kilauea and Mauna Loa – which are also among the most active volcanoes in the world.

Due to the nature of the unpredictable nature of volcanoes, you may or may not see lava flow or glow during your visit. Check the website before you plan your visit if this is the primary reason for going. No matter if you do or don’t see lava, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is absolutely worth visiting.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is so big that you could easily spend a few days exploring. If you are pressed for time however, it is possible to see highlights on a day trip to the park.

It costs $25 per car to enter the park. The pass is valid for up to seven days, so you can return and see more if you like.

Getting to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is located in the Southeastern part of the Big Island in a region called Puna, right by the appropriately named town of Volcano.

There are two ways to reach Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: from Kailua-Kona (a 2 hour drive) and Hilo (a 45 minute drive). We have done a tour group which is great for ensuring you see the highlights and don’t have the driving fatigue if you are returning back to the Kailua-Kona side, but you can also hire a car and self-drive around the park, which we have also done and enjoyed for being able to pick and choose what we wanted to see and spend as much or little time as we wanted doing it.

Where to stay at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

If you want to stay inside the park, Volcano House your best bet. It’s located right across from the Visitor’s Centre.

Most people visit the park as part of a day trip and afterwards to head to Hilo for the night or returned to Kailua-Kona and other towns further north.

Kīlauea Visitor Center

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Kīlauea Visitor Center is the best place to stop when first entering the park (just past the park entrance station on the right). You can pick up a map, get advice from rangers and volunteers on the current conditions, things to do and the daily schedule of ranger-led activities. You can also pick up a kids’ guide to the park.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

There is a small shop inside the Visitor’s Center operated by the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association selling books, posters and other educational materials.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Kīlauea Visitor Center hours: Daily, 9am-5pm
Open today: 9:00 AM–5:00 PM

Steam Vents at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Wahinekapu aka Steam Vents is less than a mile past the Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. It’s an easy spot to access (parking can however be tricky) and perfect for introducing kids to the power of a volcano. The steam vents are where rain and water seeps into the warm volcanic rock, which omits the steam we see from the surface.

You can also look out over Kilauea volcano from Wahinekapu Steam Vents. The area is of special significance to Hawaiians who view it as a place of healing or an area where they can come to release bad toxins or vibes.

Nāhuku – Thurston Lava Tube

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Walk through a 500-year old lava tube where a river of 2000 degree fahrenheit (1093° celsius) lava once flowed. The path leading to the lava tube winds through a lush rainforest. Note there are lots of steps involved getting down to and from the lava tube so the path is not suitable for strollers or wheelchairs.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Parking is extremely limited at Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube). We parked instead at nearby Kīlauea Iki Overlook and walked the 2.4km round trip trail which is actually a lovely reasonably flat and easy loop walk. The lava tube is lit 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Flashlights are recommended outside of those hours. Please check that Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) is open before attempting to visit. It closed indefinitely right after our visit in July 2022.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Get more ideas on a Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Day Trip.

Rainbow Falls Hilo: Waterfalls on the Big Island of Hawaii

Rainbow Falls Hilo

Rainbow Falls Hilo: Waterfalls on the Big Island of Hawaii

Rainbow Falls is located in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii. Named for the rainbows that are often spotted in its mist each morning, Rainbow Falls are 80 feet tall and almost 100 feet in diameter. Waianuenue Falls is its Hawaiian name and means “rainbow seen in water”.

Part of the Hawai’i State Parks, there is no fee to see the falls.

Legends say that the cave beneath the waterfall was the home of Hina, mother of the demigod Maui.

Follow the path to the left of the look out to walk to a viewpoint at the top of Rainbow Falls.

Restrooms are available. To get to Rainbow Falls, take Waianuenue Ave. from downtown Hilo mauka for approximately two miles. Rainbow Drive branches off to the right just after crossing a bridge. Follow the signs to the parking lot. The park opens at sunrise and closes at dusk.

Read more about Rainbow Falls

ʻAkaka Falls State Park: Waterfalls of Hawaii

ʻAkaka Falls State Park

ʻAkaka Falls State Park: Waterfalls of Hawaii

See majestic ʻAkaka Falls, 442 ft high & one of the most iconic waterfalls on the Big Island of Hawaii, & Kahuna Falls in the one short hike.

ʻAkaka Falls State Park is located at the end of End of ʻAkaka Falls Road (Hwy. 220), 3.6 miles SW of Honomū on the northeastern Hilo Coast.

ʻAkaka Falls State Park

The 0.4-mile hike goes down into the valley via quite a lot of steps, so the path is not wheelchair or stroller accessible. It is, however, a short, easy walk for kids. The path weaves through a lush rainforest filled with wild orchids, bamboo groves and draping ferns.

ʻAkaka Falls State Park

Along the paved path first is 100-foot Kahuna Falls, followed around the bend by towering ʻAkaka Falls which plummets 442-feet into a stream-eroded gorge.

ʻAkaka Falls State Park ʻAkaka Falls State Park ʻAkaka Falls State Park

There is reasonable parking in the car park. A fee must be paid to enter ʻAkaka Falls State Park and see the waterfalls.

Read more about ‘Akaka FallsnState Park

Punaluu Black Sand Beach on The Big Island of Hawaii

Punaluu Black Sand Beach on The Big Island of Hawaii

Punaluu Black Sand Beach on The Big Island of Hawaii

Punaluu black sand beach, on the Big Island of Hawaii, was once a white sand beach that was turned black by lava flowing over it and into the ocean. The black sand is formed by smooth fragments of lava that cools at it hits the ocean and splits into tiny pieces that, over time, build up to form the black sand beaches.

Punaluu Black Sand Beach on The Big Island of Hawaii

There are several black sand beaches in Hawaii due to the constant volcanic activity in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, with Punaluu Black Sand Beach probably the most famous of them.

Punaluu Black Sand Beach on The Big Island of Hawaii

While Punaluu Black Sand Beach isn’t the best swimming beach on the island, people do swim there. Facilities include a picnic area and restrooms, however there are no nearby cafes or restaurants so bring in your own picnic.

Punaluu Black Sand Beach on The Big Island of Hawaii

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is also famous for its large honu residents. Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles frequent the beach to bask in the sun. There are often sea turtles and beautiful fish offshore if you are a strong swimmer and into snorkelling.

Punaluu Black Sand Beach on The Big Island of Hawaii Punaluu Black Sand Beach on The Big Island of Hawaii Punaluu Black Sand Beach on The Big Island of Hawaii Punaluu Black Sand Beach on The Big Island of Hawaii Punaluu Black Sand Beach on The Big Island of Hawaii

There is plenty of free parking both next to the beach and it an adjacent car park. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours (they also yell at the tourists to keep away from the honu). Grills are also available for bbqs and there is a camping ground.

Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach is best tied into a drive to or from Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The beach is a short detour off Highway 11 between the towns of Volcano Village and Naalehu.

Get more ideas on things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Manta Ray Night Snorkel on the Big Island of Hawaii

Manta Rays

Manta Ray Night Snorkel on the Big Island of Hawaii

Watch giant mantas up close on a manta ray night snorkel in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The Mobula alfredi species of manta rays that live in the Hawaiian waters are the second largest species of manta rays. They can grow up to a wingspan of 5.5m (18 ft), with the rays around Kona around 12ft.

The Manta rays live in the waters off the Hawaiian islands their entire lives, filtering plankton out of the water with their giant mouths. With life spans of up to 50 years, each manta ray is well known and all of the Kona manta rays have been named.

There are several tour operators and locations where you can enjoy manta ray snorkelling. If you get seasick like I do, I suggest choosing a company that has a short distance to travel from where their boats launch and the manta ray site they visit.

There are three main locations on the Big island that are recommended for swimming with manta rays. The two most popular and consistent for the manta ray sightings are nicknamed “Manta Village” and “Manta Heaven”. A third, less reliable but also less crowded location, is off the Waikoloa coast near the Kohala Coast Resorts. You can get further info on the pros and cons of visiting each site on this excellent website: lovebigisland.com/big-island-manta-ray-night-dive.

We had booked our tour many months out (and highly suggest doing the same as the tours book up). While we were on our trip however we were struck down with a virus and unable to do our booked tour. As we were desperate to still do the tour and at short notice our options were limited, we called around every tour operator until we found one with vacancies. While initially I had done my research and chose the tour with the shortest distance travelled due to my propensity for seasickness, at the end of the day we just had to take whatever we could and it was absolutely fine. The moral of this story for me is don’t stress the decision because any tour will be a good tour at the end of the day if you swim with manta rays!

The tour we ended up taking was booked through Hawaiian Island Ocean Tours – the actual tour was run through their sister company Snorkel Big Island. I cannot recommend either company highly enough for their help in booking us in at extremely short notice and for the amazing tour.

We did the Honokohau Manta tour. Participants must be aged 8+. The tour goes for two hours, with only six passengers on board. This makes for a much more personal experience with the manta rays. Snorkeling with the mantas on this tour is either at the Northern site near the Kona Airport (Manta Heaven) or down South at Keauhou Bay (Manta Village) depending on which area is having the better sightings. We were provided with mask, snorkel and wetsuit.

The Honokohau Manta ray night snorkel tour departs from Honokohau Harbor in the evening, with a  20-30 minute boat ride to the manta ray site. It’s pretty stunning watching the sun set over the ocean as we make our way out to the manta ray site.

At the site, after donning our wetsuits, we slid into the water and hung on to their custom-made light board to watch the huge, acrobatic, gentle giants feed on tiny pieces of plankton.

Manta Rays

The time in the water is about 30 minutes. Keep in mind the tour is at night and even with a wetsuit on it can get cold in the water.

In the water, the manta rays swoop through the water in circles, coming right up to the swimmers and often brushing up against them with their massive wings as they open their mouths and catch plankton.

Manta Rays

The bright lights brought by the tour operators attract the plankton, and the plankton attracts the manta rays. To me it looks like an underwater ballet as they gracefully swim and somersault through the light beams.

Back on the boat, we were given hot cocoa and light snacks while we head back to the harbour. Make sure to take a towel to dry yourself off and a jacket to keep warm, plus underwear and a wetbag for swimsuits.

Manta rays in Hawaiian waters are protected by law. If you do a tour, please observe the rules that make this incredible experience possible by ensuring the safety of the manta rays:

Observe only: No touching. Resist the urge to “pet” the mantas. This will rub off their protective mucus coating. Do not chase, grab, or try to take a ride on the mantas.

hawaiiislandandoceantours.com
snorkelbigisland.com

A huge thank you to Hawaii Island Ocean Tours and Snorkel Big Island for the amazing experience and the photographs!

Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours – Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian

Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian

Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours – Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian

See the lava inside the Kilauea volcano, rainforests, beaches and an optional landing at a 1200-ft. waterfall on Hawaii Big Island helicopter tours by Blue Hawaiian.

Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian

The best way to see the Big Island’s majestic volcanoes, black sand beaches, lush rainforests and sparkling waterfalls is by air.

Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian

There are a few helicopter tours of the Big Island available. We chose Blue Hawaiian because we loved the sound of their Big Island Spectacular tour which covered the entire island as well as a waterfall landing add on, which is exclusive to Blue Hawaiian.

Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian

Blue Hawaiian helicopter tours depart from both sides of the island. We chose the Kona departure helicopter tour vs Hilo as different tours operate from each location.

Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian

The Blue Hawaiian Helicopter base is located at Waikoloa Village, which is about a 40 minute drive from Kailua-Kona. The helicopters fit five passengers plus the pilot. Two in the front and three in the back. You can pay an extra fee for guaranteed front seating, otherwise it’s up to luck if the other passengers do opt to pay for this better view or it comes down to weight distribution.

Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian

The Big Island Spectacular tour heads inland to get a close up look at the famous Kilauea volcano, which has been continuously erupting since 1983.

Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian

The tour flys over the arid volcanic landscape where lava had flown during previous eruptions, to the edge of the volcano itself. We saw red lava in the crater of the volcano, and steam gushing out – what an incredible experience.

Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian

Next we head over the lush rainforests of the Hamakua Coast and the scenic valleys of the Kohala Mountains, where countless waterfalls pour from the cliff edges.

Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian

Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian

The highlight of the Big Island Spectacular comes at the end – the optional landing at remote, isolated Laupahoehoe Nui, a majestic 1200-ft. waterfall on the Kohala Coast. Landing at the base of the waterfall was very much a Jurassic Park movie moment.

Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian

On the ground we had 20-25 minutes to take photos and explore this untouched area before boarding the helicopter again and heading back to base.

Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian Hawaii Big Island Helicopter Tours - Big Island Spectacular with Blue Hawaiian

The entire tour goes for roughly 1h 45m.

We highly recommend Blue Hawaiian for their Hawaii Big Island helicopter tours.

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
68-690 Waikoloa Rd, Waikoloa Village, HI 96738
bluehawaiian.com

Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm Kona Hawaii

Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm Kona Hawaii

Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm Kona Hawaii

Get up close to seahorses at Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm in Kona on The Big Island of Hawaii.

Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm is a family-run aqua-farm. They breed and provide farm-reared seahorses to aquariums and hobbiests to protect wild seahorses facing the threat of extinction due to being taken from their homes in the wild.

Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm Kona Hawaii

The aqua-farm began raising mustang seahorses in 1999 and now breeds over 25 species of seahorses in captivity, including some on the verge of extinction. Their amazing variety of seahorses can be viewed on a guided tour.

Ocean Rider’s vision statement is to eliminate the need to take wild seahorses off the reefs by providing home and public aquariums with healthy, eco-friendly, hand raised, domesticated seahorse pairs to be kept as pets for many years to come.

Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm Kona Hawaii

Join an Ocean Rider seahorse tour and learn about ocean conservation and the amazing seahorse. The Kona seahorse guided tour lasts about 60 minutes and is an indoor and outdoor tour so wear a hat and sunscreen plus good walking shoes.

Tour times are Mon – Fri at 10am, 12pm and 2pm except for low season (May and September) when there is only one tour per day which is at noon.

Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm Kona Hawaii

We were extremely excited to take a tour on our recent visit to The Big Island of Hawai’i. We were able to see thousands of seahorses from babies to pregnant males, as well as leafy sea dragons and a variety of beautiful fish, plus enjoy an interactive tide pool.

Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm Kona Hawaii

The highlight of the tour is holding a seahorse (extremely gently!) at the end of the tour. Visitors must be aged 5 and up to be able to hold a seahorse.

Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm Kona Hawaii

Book online to guarantee your spot on a tour. Walk-in spaces are available if tours are not fully booked, however the price is higher so I highly recommend booking online at least 24 hours before the tour.

Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm Kona Hawaii

Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm Kona Hawaii

Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm Kona Hawaii
73-4388 Ilikai Place
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740
Phone: 808-329-6840
seahorse.com

The Best Things To Do In Maui With Kids

The Best Things To Do In Maui With Kids, Hawaii

The Best Things To Do In Maui With Kids

Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian islands. It’s a wonderland of fun for families, with Haleakala National Park, thrill-seeking adventures, 30 miles of beaches and aquatic wildlife galore. There are plenty of things to do in Maui with kids!

Family-friendly Activities

Surfing Goat Dairy

Surfing Goat Dairy, Maui, Hawaii

Surfing Goat Dairy is a dairy farm located on the slopes of Maui’s Haleakala Crater in lower Kula, Hawaii. It produces more than two dozen goat cheeses, many of which have won national awards and are used by hotels and restaurants on the island.

The dairy was was established in 1998 by German expatriates Thomas and Eva Kafsack.

Visitors are welcome to drop by the dairy and try the cheeses or meet the goats near the main office. I highly recommend taking a daily tour. The walking tours last for 30 minutes and take visitors around the working farm and dairy and includes petting and feeding the working goats and meeting the dogs and cats.

Read more about our experience visiting Surfing Goat Dairy here.

Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm

Ali'i Kula Lavender, Maui, Hawaii

A sweet-smelling place to stop on the slopes of Haleakalā, Ali’i Kula Lavender grows 45 varieties of lavender. It’s a gorgeous spot to wander through the different lavender plants and smell the differences. There is a kids’ trail on offer. Try the lavender ice cream for something different!

Get more info on visiting Ali’i Kula Lavender here.

Haleakalā National Park

Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii

Haleakalā, or the East Maui Volcano, is a massive volcano that forms more than 75% of Maui. Haleakala is home to some of the world’s rarest and most endangered plant and animal species. The mountain summit is one of the few easily-accessible parts of Hawaii where their rare and endemic species can be found to survive and thrive.

Driving to the summit takes 2-3 hours. Sunrise is the most popular time to visit, however any time of day is beautiful. 

Read about driving to the summit of Haleakalā here.

Napili Beach

Napili Beach, Maui, Hawaii

A gorgeous spot with sloping sand and plenty of trees for shade, Napili Beach is a top spot for families. The enclosed bay keeps the beach protected from waves, making it a gentle, flat beach, perfect for kids and snorkelling. With plenty of reef areas to the left of the beach, Napili is a great spot to float around looking for fish.

Napili Beach, Maui, Hawaii

There is an outdoor shower at the exit/entrance to the beach and restroom amenities. parking however is a challenge and we had to park a long way down the road. Bring a picnic lunch as there is nowhere to buy food and set up for the day in a shady spot.

Ka’anapali Beach

Kaanapali Beach, Maui, Hawaii

This gorgeous beach is home to seven resorts (we’ve stayed here twice!) and plenty of restaurants. The key attraction however is the beautiful golden sand that stretches for three miles and the soft waves that crash upon it.

There are plenty of trees not far back from the waters edge so there is plenty of space to set up towels or chairs for the day. Morning is the best time to visit to get shade. 

Ka’anapali Beach is a fantastic snorkelling spot as there is a reef just beyond the wave break. Take along a snorkelling set and spot beautifully coloured fish and even the odd green sea turtle.

There are outdoor showers to rinse off at several spots along the beach near the resorts. Kahekili Beach Park has outdoor showers and restrooms to change in. 

Whalers Village

Whalers Village, Maui, Hawaii

This beachside mall has it all! Plenty of boutique shops, restaurants, a whaling museum, cultural activities such as lei making and hula lessons, free movie nights, live music and a kids play area featuring a climbing structure and splash play area. 

Whalers Village, Maui, Hawaii

Get more info on Whalers Village here

Maui Ocean Centre, The Aquarium of Hawaii

Maui Ocean Center, The Aquarium of Hawaii

The Maui Ocean Center is an aquarium and oceanography center located on the island of Maui, Hawaii, and is the largest tropical reef aquarium in the Western Hemisphere.

Maui Ocean Center, The Aquarium of Hawaii

The Maui Ocean Center mission is to foster understanding, wonder, and respect for Hawaii’s marine life with local residents and visitors from around the world. The center is home to many of Hawaii’s unique marine life, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. The Maui Ocean Center is at the top of our list for things to do in maui with kids. 

You can read more about our visit to the Maui Ocean Center here.

Ziplining

Ziplining over the beautiful island of Maui is a popular activity for visitors to the island. If you want to take kids ziplining, try Maui Zipline Company, who offer side-by-side zip lines over a tropical plantation for kids ages 5+ and adults.

Get more info on ziplining with kids here.

Horseback Riding

Kids need to be aged seven and up to horseback ride at most ranches on Maui. Try Ironwood Ranch – they have an excellent location and offer rides of various lengths.

Get more info on Ironwood Ranch here.

Ho’okipa Beach

Hookpia Beach, Maui, Hawaii

A world-renowned windsurfing destination, Ho’okipa Beach is also a prime turtle-spotting location. Hawaiian green sea turtles can usually be found at the north end of the beach near the rocks. Be mindful that they are wild animals and stay 6-10 feet away. 

Pa’ia

Paia, Maui, Hawaii

This little town on Maui’s north shore is big on charm. It’s a great spot to stop for lunch and to check out the little art galleries, boutiques and street art. 

Paia, Maui, Hawaii Paia, Maui, Hawaii

We dined at the Flatbread Company, who serve hand-made pizzas cooked in clay ovens. Kids can watch the pizza dough being stretched and toppings being added.

Luau or hula show

Westin Hula

An absolute must on Maui is a hula show or luau. The Whalers Village at the Kaanapali Beach Resort has free hula shows, as do some hotels such as the Westin Ka’anapali Beach Villas. If you have a dancer in the family like we do, catching a hula show should be at the top of your list for things to do in Maui with kids.

Soak up a true Hawaiian experience at the Old Lahaina Luau.

Lahaina Banyan Court

Lahaina Banyan Tree, Maui, Hawaii

Kids will love running underneath the famous banyan tree in Lahaina. Measuring over 60 feet high, and looks like a mini forest with several tree trunks.

Maluaka Beach: Turtle Town

Turtle Town, Maui, Hawaii

Stronger swimmers will love seeing Hawaiian green sea turtles in their natural habitat at Maluaka Beach, also called “Turtle Town”.  Maluaka Beach is located adjacent to the Makena Beach & Golf Resort and has nearby amenities like a grassy park area, bathrooms and snorkel gear rentals on site. The entrance to Maluaka Beach and Turtle Town are both unmarked and easy to miss. 

Early morning is the best time for snorkelling as the water is calmest then. The reef at the south end of the beach is where you’ll find marine life including angelfish, butterfly fish, moray eels, octopus, trumpet fish, triggerfish and Hawaiian green sea turtles.

Maluaka Beach has a sandy-bottom, shallow area that is ideal for swimming with young kids. There is shade, picnic tables and an excellent view of the Molokini crater in the background.

More things to do in Maui

Have older kids? Try the Road to Hana – get info here

Where to eat with kids

Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

Ululani's Shave Ice, Maui, Hawaii

Shave ice is an iced-based dessert made by shaving a block of ice. Flavoured syrups are added to the top. Ululani’s can be found in a few locations across Maui.

Ululani's Shave Ice, Maui, Hawaii

The first store is located on Front Street at the Lahaina Market Place.

Get more info on Ululani’s here.  

Island Cream Co.

Island Cream Co. Maui, Hawaii

A delicious spot for gelato and ice cream, at the Lahaina Gateway. Add fun toppings like gummy bears for some extra fun.

Get more info on Island Cream Co. here

Hula Grill

Hula Grill, Maui, Hawaii, Whalers Village

A fun, beach-side eatery in Ka’anapali at Whalers Village, we loved dining at their barefoot bar, which was reminiscent of eating at the beach thanks to the sand underfoot.

Hula Grill, Maui, Hawaii, Whalers Village

The excellent kids’ menu with activity sheet left the little one happy, while the adults loved the cocktails, fish tacos and goat’s cheese pizza (cheese from the local Surfing Goat Dairy).

Hula Grill, Maui, Hawaii, Whalers Village

Hula Grill, Maui, Hawaii, Whalers Village

Get more info on Hula Grill here

Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop

Leoda's Maui, Hawaii

Famous for their pies and sandwiches, Leoda’s is so good we could have eaten there every single day.

Leoda's Maui, Hawaii

The little one liked the grilled cheese on brioche bread while the adults enjoyed the massive, freshly made sandwiches. Don’t leave without a sweet pie, they are delicious!

Leoda's Maui, Hawaii Leoda's Maui, Hawaii

Get more info on Leoda’s here

Kimo’s Maui

Kimo's Maui, Hawaii

Home of the original Hula Pie, Kimo’s is a Lahaina institution.

Kimo's Maui, Hawaii

A seafood restaurant, Kimo’s has vegetarian options and a great kids’ menu. We ordered a vegetarian sandwich and burger for the adults and mac and cheese for the little one.  The view is impossible to beat.

Kimo's Maui, Hawaii Kimo's Maui, Hawaii

Order the Hula Pie to share!

Kimo's Maui, Hawaii

Get more info on Kimo’s here

Flatbread Company

Paia, Maui, Hawaii

We dined at the Flatbread Company in Paia, who serve hand-made pizzas cooked in clay ovens. Kids can watch the pizza dough being stretched and toppings being added.

Paia, Maui, Hawaii

Get more info on the Flatbread Company here.

How to get around on Maui

Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

I think car hire is a must on Maui unless you intend to never leave your resort or only plan to do so with guided tours that pick up at your hotels. We used our car every day to pick up groceries, head to a new spot for lunch and visit attractions. There are many different car rental providers at Maui airport that are all quite similar. You can get a free shuttle bus between the car hire places and airport. I would suggest booking car hire in advance.

Where to stay on Maui with kids

Westin Kā‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas

Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas, Maui, HawaiiWe chose the Westin Kā‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas because all rooms or “villas” have a full kitchenette as well as excellent resort facilities including six outdoor pools. 

You can read more about our stay at the Westin Kā‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas here.

Kā‘anapali Beach Hotel

Ka'anapali Beach Resort, Maui, Hawaii Often called the “most Hawaiian of Hawaiian hotels”, the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel offers an authentic Hawaiian experience with plenty of aloha warmth from staff. We loved the hotel’s location and friendly staff.

Ka'anapali Beach Resort, Maui, Hawaii

Read more about the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel here.

More things to do in Maui

Find great hikes on Maui here.

The Best Things To Do In Maui With Kids, Hawaii The Best Things To Do In Maui With Kids, Hawaii The Best Things To Do In Maui With Kids, Hawaii

 

Haleakalā National Park: Driving To The Summit

Haleakalā National Park, Maui, Hawaii: Driving To The Summit

Haleakalā National Park, Maui Hawaii: Driving To The Summit

Haleakalā, or the East Maui Volcano, is a massive volcano that forms more than 75% of Maui. Haleakala is home to some of the world’s rarest and most endangered plant and animal species. The mountain summit is one of the few easily-accessible parts of Hawaii where their rare and endemic species can be found to survive and thrive.

Driving to the summit

Depending where you get started from on Maui, it can take two to three hours to drive the Haleakala Highway (HI 37) and then up the winding Haleakala Crater Road leading to the summit of Haleakala.

Kahului1.5 – 2 hours
Kihei1.75 – 2.25 hours
Kaanapali and Lahaina2.25 – 2.75 hours
Kapalua2.5 – 3 hours

The Park Visitors Center is located at 7,000 feet. Continue past it to the Haleakala Visitors Center at 9,740 feet.

Visitor information 

Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii

Haleakalā National Park is open year-round, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except during severe weather closures.

There are 24-hour available restrooms at the two visitors centres.

Park Headquarters Visitor Center (7,000 feet/2,134 meters) is open 8am-4pm. Haleakalā Visitor Center (9,740 feet/2,969 meters) is open sunrise to noon. Kīpahulu Visitor Center (coastal) is open 9am-5pm.

The visitors centres have naturalists are on duty during business hours to answer questions.

Entrance fees

Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii

Daily passes are required to enter the park. Have a credit card handy to use for payment of entry fees at the Summit and Kīpahulu entrance stations.

Private Vehicle: $25. Valid for 3 days. Admits private, non-commercial vehicle (14 pax capacity or less) and all occupants to Haleakalā National Park including both the Summit and Kīpahulu Areas.

Motorcycle: $20. Valid for 3 days. Admits a private, non-commercial motorcycle to Haleakalā National Park including both the Summit and Kīpahulu Areas.

Per Person: $12. Valid for 3 days. Admits one individual with no car to Haleakalā National Park including both the Summit and Kīpahulu Areas – typically used for bicyclists, hikers and pedestrians. Youth 15 and under are admitted free.

If you arrive at the park at a time when the entrance station is closed, please pay the entrance fee at the automated fee machine using cash.

Sunrise and sunset at Haleakalā

Haleakala Sunrise, Maui, Hawaii

Watching the sunrise over Haleakalā is an incredibly special experience, one which now requires reservations to keep the crowd numbers down. If you want to visit at sunrise, reservations open up online 60 days in advance at recreation.gov.

Sunset at Haleakalā is just as beautiful and requires no reservations.

Before sunrise and after sunset the temperatures plunge dramatically, so you will need to pack extra layers like coats, beanies, gloves and possibly even blankets if you plan to visit then.

Get more information about sunrise at Haleakalā here.

Haleakala Visitor Center and Pa Kaoao Trail

Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii

Elevation: 9,740 ft. (2969 m.)

Features: Ranger Station, Wheelchair Accessible, Restrooms, Water
 

This small Visitor Center is perched right at the edge of a cliff. Leave your car here to walk the Pa Kaoao Trail, which leads 100 ft. (30 m.) up to an overlook with a remarkable view. The change in altitude on this short trail is very noticeable.

 

Puu ulaula Summit

Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii

Elevation: 10,023 ft. (3,055 m.)

 
Features: Wheelchair Accessible Drive up to Haleakala’s highest point, Puu ulaula Summit, to enjoy 360-degree views of the alien Haleakala landscape. This is the spot to stick around and watch the sun set from.

Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii
Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii
Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii

Important information before driving up to Haleakalā

  • Dress warmly. Be prepared for all kinds of weather. Temperatures at the Summit are at least 20 degrees colder than at sea level and often drop below freezing.
  • Fill up your gas tank and bring food. Neither are available in the park.
  • Bring water, sunscreen, and wear sturdy shoes.
  • Pay the entrance fee with a credit card.
  • Always respect speed limits. The park road goes through endangered species habitat.
  • Please leave natural resources and cultural artefacts, rocks, and structures alone.
  • No climbing/ walking off the marked trails as this can destroy habitats and scare wildlife.
  • Please be quiet and respectful. The Summit is sacred to Native Hawaiians.
  • The Summit is remote. Emergency medical assistance is at least one hour away.

Safety information care of nps.gov

Haleakalā National Park, Maui, Hawaii: Driving To The Summit

Surfing Goat Dairy, Maui Hawaii

Surfing Goat Dairy, Maui, Hawaii

Surfing Goat Dairy

Surfing Goat Dairy is a dairy farm located on the slopes of Maui’s Haleakala Crater in lower Kula, Hawaii. It produces more than two dozen goat cheeses, many of which have won national awards and are used by hotels and restaurants on the island.

Surfing Goat Dairy, Maui, Hawaii

The dairy was was established in 1998 by German expatriates Thomas and Eva Kafsack.

Surfing Goat Dairy, Maui, Hawaii

Visitors are welcome to drop by the dairy and try the cheeses or meet the goats near the main office. I highly recommend taking a daily tour. The walking tours last for 30 minutes and take visitors around the working farm and dairy.

Surfing Goat Dairy, Maui, Hawaii

Meet the working dairy goats, dogs, and cats, see the modern milking machines and try some goat cheese. The most fun of course is feeding and petting the goats.

Surfing Goat Dairy, Maui, Hawaii
When we visited in November 2018 the tour cost $8 for kids 2-12 years old & $12 for adults. Reservations are recommended however we just showed up and went on the next tour. It certainly is a very unique Hawaiian experience!

Surfing Goat Dairy, Maui, Hawaii

Surfing Goat Dairy, Maui, Hawaii

We also bought extra cheese platters to sample while we were visiting, which included some highly unusual flavours of hard and soft goat cheese.

Surfing Goat Dairy, Maui, Hawaii

Surfing Goat Dairy
3651 Omaopio Rd, Kula
surfinggoatdairy.com