Maui With the Kids - Part 2

Kaanapali and Wailea both offer long stretches of beach and boardwalks for seaside meandering. As the sun sets, listen for the haunting sound of the conch and watch for torch lighting ceremonies featured at most major resorts. At Black Rock in Kaanapali (just past the Sheraton hotel) every sunset is celebrated as a torch lighter climbs the steep lava outcropping and dives ceremoniously into the sea.

Older and more adventurous kids will enjoy both snorkeling and hiking from Napili Bay to Kapalua’s D.T. Fleming beach. Start at the Napili Kai for breakfast at the Gazebo, followed by a game of giant lawn checkers where coconut shells serve as playing pieces. Along the shoreline, tidepools beg discovery of a fascinating eco-system. Venturing along the coast in front of the Ritz Carlton, discover a range of “Dragon’s Teeth” (rugged lava rock formations), and a sacred Hawaiian burial site.

Special informational stations are positioned all through Kapalua Resort, revealing the history, culture and meaning of this special area. Stop in the Kapalua Cultural Arts Center and peruse an exhibit of Hawaiian cultural displays while talking story with a local expert. While in Kapalua, sign up for a Pineapple Tour and take home the world-wide symbol of hospitality, fresh from the fields.

After the sun goes down in Maui, look up. City-folks are constantly surprised by the heavenly display in the skies over the remote island chain. For a closer look at what’s out there, sign up for the Hyatt Hotel’s Tour of the Stars.

Talk, Talk, Talk! When Do We Eat?

Of all the challenges presented by the family seaside vacation, the dinner hour is often most daunting. To satisfy everyone, do as the locals do and picnic at one of the many seaside beach parks. The advantage goes beyond savings -- kids won’t become bored if the adults chose to linger. As an added bonus, get a sunset view without having to monitor table manners. Besides the obvious fast-food chains available on island, try the affordable, local grinds from the Honolua Store in Kapalua, Penne Pasta in Lahaina, or Mama’s Ribs and Rotisserie in Napili Market.

Many resorts hotels and local restaurants offer child-sized portions of healthy adult meals beyond the usual burger and fries. The Westin offers free keiki meals with a paying adult at the Ono Bar and Grill, and the beautiful Pineapple Grill in Kapalua has a gourmet style keiki menu. The Four Seasons Resort Maui offers a keiki room service menu with chocolate cake so good the grown-ups might fight for it!

Alone At Last!

By now you’ll have earned some time to yourself sans keiki. If staying in a resort hotel, call the concierge desk to find a qualified in-house sitter. Staying in a house or condo? You are also in luck. Happy Kids (888-669-1991) sitters are CPR trained, bonded, licensed and fingerprinted and arrive with age-appropriate games and toys. Fees are $16/hr. plus $4/hr. for each additional child, 4 hour minimum. Group rates are available! The agency recently managed the care of 200 children during a major corporate retreat. Another trustworthy agency for child care on Maui is the Nanny Connection. Fees start at $16/hr. with a 3 hour minimum; higher rates on holidays and after midnight.

Have fun, be safe and enjoy your fabulous days and glorious nights while making happy memories with your ohana on Maui.

Martha Rosenquist has traveled the world both with and without her children in tow. She lives in the idyllic island of Maui and loves sharing insider information with other travelers and parents.

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