There are thousands of hotel rooms, condos and vacation rental homes on Maui ideal for a family vacation, but these resorts in particular offer great beachfront locations and in some cases truly spectacular pools, as well as opportunities for cultural and educational activities for kids.
Featured Photo: Grand Wailea
TIP: Don’t waste your day! Most hotels have 4 pm check-in. Ask for an early check-in.
If they can’t accommodate, they will let you store your bags so you can head to the beach!
Wailea Beach Resort Marriott
The impressively redesigned Wailea Beach Resort Marriott is ideally located on the water’s edge and offers families myriad amenities, including numerous sparkling outdoor pools and the longest resort water slide in Hawaii. Kid-friendly dining options include the Mo Bettah Food Truck, Nalu Pool Bar, Starbucks and oceanfront cafe Whale Tale for lunch, and Kapa Bar & Grill for lunch and dinner; Roy Yamaguchi’s Humble Market Kitchin also serves delicious breakfast options. Every room and suite has been updated with ocean-inspired decor and include mini-refrigerators, plush bedding and Wi-Fi. Large balconies and oversized lanai reveal stunning views, vibrant sunsets and the occasional humpback whale.
- Four kinds of pool experiences ensure everyone’s happy. The Nalu Adventure Pool for families boasts four water slides — including one 325 feet long — and a swim-through grotto, plus splash areas for little ones.
- Two infinity-edge pools straddle the point between Wailea and Ulua beaches, while parents taking a break from the kids can bask in a floating cabana at the adults-only, ocean-view Maluhia Serenity Pool.
- Those interested in learning scuba can sign up for lessons (for ages 10 and up) in the new dive pool.
Ever since its groundbreaking in 1988, “the Grand” has been the must-see property in Wailea. The development concept was to create a detached world where guests can free themselves from their daily routine, and with over 780 rooms, 120 luxury town homes, and a simply enormous complex of pools, the scale is grand indeed. There’s always a party atmosphere by the main pool complex, so families seeking their own oasis can reserve a cabana up to a year in advance. Kids receive a special passport to help locate fun educational activities across the resort, collecting stickers as they go and coloring sheets to take home.
- The Wailea Canyon Activity Pool is actually nine pools on six levels, including four jungle pools, a Tarzan pool with rope swing, six waterfalls, interconnecting water slides, and the first-ever water elevator (not operating during Covid times).
- A not-always-lazy river (think whitewater rapids) links the pools.
Hyatt Regency Maui
A luxe lodging choice on the south end of Ka‘anapali, the Hyatt Regency Maui has been popular with families since opening in 1980. There’s room for everyone at this recently reimagined 40-acre property with 810 rooms and 31 suites, six free-form pools, seven restaurants, three lounges, a fitness center and the only oceanfront spa on the island. You’ll spot exotic birds throughout the property — kids love penguin feeding time. Don’t miss the engaging luau.
- The half-dozen pools, framed by waterfalls and lush landscaping, also offer a 150-foot lava tube water slide, a rope bridge, grotto, whirlpool and interactive children’s area, including a sandy-bottomed walk-in pool.
- Camp Hyatt offers Hawaiian-inspired crafts and activities for ages 3 to 12, with half-day, full-day and weekend “date night” options.
Four Seasons Maui
The first full-service Four Seasons resort when it opened in 1990 towers above Wailea Beach, one of the best strands of sand in South Maui. The 383 recently renovated rooms on the 15-acre compound include 76 lavish suites with koa wood furnishings and contemporary Hawaiian motifs; you’ll pass lush gardens and fountain courtyards on the way down to the beautiful beach. Everything is top-notch, from the two pools (including the adults-only Serenity Pool), three restaurants, spa and fitness center to the nightly hula in the lobby lounge. There’s also no daily resort fee to drive up your bill, but plenty of complimentary amenities, including the excellent Kids for All Seasons program, offered daily for ages 5 to 12.
- Apply the free reef-friendly sunscreen, then wait 20 minutes before hitting the water with your kids on a boogie or paddle board or in a snorkel set.
- The expert concierges will help book unique experiences on and off the resort, too.
Fairmont Kea Lani
Perched above secluded Polo Beach at Wailea’s southern end, the all-suite Fairmont Kea Lani embodies the genuine spirit of aloha and offers exceptional cultural, spa and dining experiences in a truly spectacular setting. Closest to the beach, two- and three-bedroom villas offer prime accomodations for families, including a private furnished courtyard with plunge pool and barbecue grill. At the top of the hillside site, roomy suites (starting at 800 square feet) can also accommodate up to four and include a mini-kitchen in the foyer and large lanai. Don’t miss the complimentary outrigger canoe ride or dinner at Ko restaurant (drawing from the island’s multi-ethnic plantation heritage.)
- The complimentary Keiki Lani Kids Club provides ages 5 to 12 engaging cultural, educational and recreational activities (it’s on hold during Covid, but expected to resume soon).
- Koi feeding, ocean play and pool time are also popular with little ones here.
Fresh from a $120 million renovation that wrapped up in late 2020, this 12-acre resort in Ka‘anaapali has embraced its Hawaiian heritage with a redesigned luxury tower, upgraded complex of six swimming pools, a new wellness spa and four new dining outlets showcasing local culture and agriculture. The 217-room Hokupa‘a Tower offers an elegant hotel-within-a-hotel with ocean-themed decor and exclusive access to the second-floor, ocean-view Lanai lounge, offering Hawaiian breakfast bites, infinity-edge “cocktail pools” and cultural activities. Parents will appreciate that the well-designed Kids Club offers day and night programs for ages 5 to 12.
- Kids will enjoy the new interactive Keiki Splash Zone with spray jets, mini water slide, waterfall and kids pool, while older children and adults can zoom down the newly enhanced 270-foot water slide.
Napili Kai Beach Resort
The usually calm waters of reef-protected Napili Bay and its wide crescent of soft sand make Napili Kai Beach Resort an alluring choice for families in particular. The beachfront resort’s 163 accommodations include hotel rooms, studios and one- and two-bedroom suites, most with kitchen facilities, spread across 11 low-rise plantation-style buildings. Swimming pools tend to be on the small side, but there are plenty to choose from and the beach is only steps away. Unusual in not charging in resort fees, Napili Kai also hosts a long-running, weekly slack key guitar concert, putting greens, barbecue facilities, fitness center and intimate day spa; golfers and tennis players can head across the street to the championship facilities on the Kapalua Resort.
- Stand-up paddling and snorkeling in Napili Bay are first-rate, as are dining and views at the Sea House Restaurant, tucked on one end of the beach; the Kapalua Bay Trail begins nearby.
- Pick up complimentary beach gear at the poolside snack bar.