“Cool” Things to do in South Maui

By Kathy Englert

At some point, our children are old enough to participate (sometimes quite loudly) in the vacation planning process. If you find yourself with an opinionated teen or preteen in tow, give them something to look forward to by letting them plan an activity. Here are a few suggestions to get him or her started on planning an interesting vacation for your active family.

Snorkeling tours depart from Maalaea seven days a week, often twice daily. Destinations include Molokini, Honolua, Wailea, and Lanai. Plan your snorkel tour for early in your trip, if you really enjoy snorkeling, equipment can be rented for a couple dollars a day and nearly every beach in South Maui has something to see and explore. Masks with corrective lenses can be rented for slightly higher rates, and with these even very near sighted family member can enjoy snorkeling. Be sure to rent any corrective masks before your tour, it is unlikely that the crew will have these masks on hand.

Surf or Stand Up Paddle Board lessons can be taken as a group (up to ten students or more), a private (one on one) or semi-private (family only) setting. Because these activities depend on the weather cooperating, it is best to leave a few days open and schedule your lesson just 24 hours in advance. Choose days with calm winds and little to no wave action for your paddle board lesson. For surfing, look for a swell forecast of one to two feet (which will produce knee to waist high waves in most areas) and shoot for a lesson time midway between low and high tide.

Your “Surf School” will provide a rash guard and water shoes, but if you prefer not to share, you can get your own at any ABC store or surf shop. Both items are important safety gear and should be worn at all times while surfing. Don’t forget your waterproof sunscreen either. Apply at least fifteen minutes before you get in the water and reapply after you get out of the water. Nothing ruins a vacation like a sunburned behind!

Hiking is a great way for the whole family to spend time together. Unlike snorkeling or surfing, hiking lends itself to conversation and loads of photographs. Most hiking on Maui is along the North Shore, from Iao Valley to Hana, and around Haleakala Crater. But South Maui offers the truly memorable King’s Highway. This remarkable hiking trail extends south from LaPerouse Bay in Makena for several miles. Much of the trail is over the last volcanic eruption on Maui, guidebooks often describe it as a well marked trail, sometimes over rounded rock. The trail is quite well marked, but the sections traversing the lava flow, nearly two miles, are quite rugged with almost no shade, short but steep slopes, over angular and abrasive lava rock. Despite that, the King’s Highway is a lovely hike. The vistas are stunning, the beaches are often deserted and the water is pristine. Bring lots of drinking water and wear very sturdy shoes, there are no amenities and extremely limited vehicle access. Pack lunch, get an early start, and spend the hot part of the day swimming, snorkeling, or relaxing on a shady beach. The hike back always seems shorter than the hike out.

Keep your schedule flexible, give older kids lots of opportunities to stretch their arms and legs, and you are sure to have a great time on your Maui vacation. Book a two or three bedroom condo today, and get ready to make memories your kids will cherish forever.