My neighbors are on vacation in Maui with their teens. They’ve posted some fabulous photos on social media and it’s a treat to live vicariously through them. We recently took a family trip to Maui, too, so it’s also been fun to literally see how two families with teens can have really different but equally fantastic trips to that magnificent Hawaiian island.
The two different trips have illustrated some important points about traveling to Maui with teens.
From ATV tours to zip lining, there is a lot to do on Maui.
I tend to try to pack as much as I can into a trip, and had really lofty goals when we selected Maui as our vacation destination. The list of things to do was long, and the cost was rather, well, over the budget.
A quick pre-departure family meeting took care of those problems. My teen was happy hanging on the beach, and that was easy to afford – all beaches in Maui are public.
We did stand up paddle boarding, my neighbors went fishing. They visited the lavender farm, we watched the sunset cliff diving ceremony. We watched sunset from the beach, they viewed it from the top of Mt. Haleakala.
One way to keep thing economical is to take full advantage of where you’re staying. There are gorgeous gardens and lush grounds all over the island. Also, remember that kids (yes, even teens) really love pool time. And pools in Maui are pretty fabulous, like this one where we stayed.
Speaking of where we stayed . . .
Having a good home base is important
Teens are famous for sleeping in, taking their time in the bathroom and needing some space. There are grains of truth to each of those stereotypes, and that’s why it can be a good idea to consider accommodations that offer everyone enough room. It’s a truth that sometimes more space allows families to be closer. (And at least limit some of the sibling disputes.)
We found that renting a condo at the Kaanapali Alii was a good option. Separate bedrooms and separate bathrooms were awesome.
There’s also something to be said for a place to enjoy breakfast while still in your jammies and your teen is sleeping in.
Teens eat. A lot. That can get really expensive, really quickly, especially in Hawaii where food is not cheap.
Having a kitchen in your home base is one way to make a trip to Maui more affordable.
It’s another reason to consider a rental over a hotel, and to see what options are available to you once you get there. I was surprised that many of the beachfront properties in Lahaina, including the Kaanpali Alii where we were, had grills available for guests. There’s something pretty great about cooking out with a view of the ocean.
My neighbors have a great teen fishermen and they shared images of grilling his catch of the day for dinner. It looked amazing. We are not that awesome, but our food was thanks to the help of the grill master on staff.
There’s an added bonus to dining in with older kids. I’ve found that my teen is a bit more herself, and a lot more likely to be silly or funny or vulnerable, when we’re not in a restaurant. We definitely enjoy eating out, don’t get me wrong, but some of the best times of connection come in spaces that are a bit less public, including on vacation.
Whatever you do, soak up the sun and the time with your teen.
Disclosure: We were hosted for two nights at the Kaanapali Alii.
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