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It's a well-known fact that Maui is one of the best family-oriented destinations out there. This Hawaiian island, with its pristine beaches and Polynesian culture, has families flocking to it year-round. But there's a lot more to do in Maui than just surfing and luaus. Here are our top 10 recommended activities for your next family vacation in Maui!
1. Helicopter Tour
While amazing landscapes can be seen from any angle, some of the most exciting tours of Maui are from the seats of helicopters. Get a birds’ eye view over the jungle and look down on lush landscapes and spectacular waterfalls. Also don’t miss flying over Haleakala, the island's largest volcano.
2. Watch the Whales
Between December and March, humpback whales can be seen congregating just off Maui to mate and birth their young in the warm waters. There are so many whales gathered in such a small area that it has even been referred to as "whale nirvana." Choose from one of the many whale-watching companies that run inflatable-boat trips out of Lahaina and Maalaea harbors, and be prepared for an amazing ride.
3. Zip-Line Through the Jungle
Not for the faint of heart, zip-lining can be an exhilarating way to experience Maui's jungle. Strap on a safety harness and get ready to feel the rush, zipping along at speeds of up to 25 mph. It’s an adventure you won’t forget!
4. Drive the Hana Highway
This 68-mile stretch between Kahului and Hana might be the windiest road in America, but it is worth the drive. The road stretches past lush jungles, black sandy beaches and delightful villages. Although Hana is only 50 miles from Kahului, the drive is about 3 hours long, so pack a hearty lunch and plan to stop along the way.
5. Snorkel in Black Rock
Many snorkel-loving tourists pay a pretty penny for a motorboat cruise to Molokini, a partly submerged atoll off Maui's southwestern side. But the snorkeling by Black Rock, at the west end of Kaanapali Beach, is just as amazing. There, you'll see everything from multihued fish and moray eels to sea turtles, all up close in glorious color.
6. Learn to Surf
The beaches on Maui's west coast are great places to learn to surf, thanks to warm water and beginner-size waves. A number of surf schools do business there, but make sure you find one that is family-friendly, if you are looking for kids’ lessons too.
7. Visit Maui Ocean Center
The Maui Ocean Center in Maalaea opened in 1998 and is home to more than 300 species of local marine life — the largest collection in all of Hawaii. For those who want to see the wondrous sea creatures without getting wet, this lovely land-based aquarium is perfect. Touch tanks are particularly popular among young children.
8. The Hawaiian Sailing Canoe
Ancient Hawaiians (and some modern ones, too) got around the many islands in boats known as sailing canoes. Today, families can re-create this experience with a 3-hour tour through on a Hawaiian Sailing Canoe. The cruise is relaxing and educational, with the retelling of ancient stories as well as the history of the islands. The boat leaves from the beach in front of the Fairmont Kea Lani.
9. Eat Malasadas in Makawao
Malasadas are kind of like Portuguese doughnuts; the delicacies are fried balls of yeast dough, usually stuffed with a delicious filling and then coated with sugar. Try one filled with guava; it's the best jelly doughnut you'll ever have!
10. Watch the Sunrise at Haleakala
Sunset from Kaanapali Beach is pretty remarkable, but sunrise from the top of Haleakala, the volcano that is Maui's tallest point, is absolutely breathtaking. Take in the spectacle from the Haleakala National Park visitors center, a building that sits 9,740 feet above sea level. Watch morning explode in magnificent hues of purple, orange and pink.
Credit: Travel Channel