So you brought the teenager...good job, guys, your selfless-parenting award will be waiting on your doorstep as soon as you get back home.
Traveling with teenagers can be quite an experience...mood swings, sulking, unprovoked verbal outbursts...kind of like hanging out with a menopausal mom and a “hold on, I’m having a mid-life crisis” dad. Hint, Hint.
Anyway, all humor aside, Maui offers some great activities that promise to enrich your teen’s vacation by stimulating their minds, challenging their bodies, and stirring their soul...just don’t tell them that.
You came to be a family, right? So get out there and do some of this stuff together. You’re bound to find yourself having a great time regardless of the generation gap... Your kids just may realize that hanging out with you can actually be fun, and you’ll be amazed at how much they can teach you about the world around us.
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At the Maui Ocean Center in Ma'alaea, Maui's marine environment is showcased through a variety of aquarium displays, hands-on exhibits and even a "touch pool" where visitors can touch various ocean creatures like sea urchins and starfish. Other live ocean inhabitants at the Center include jellyfish, octopus, reef fish, shrimp, eels, skipjack tuna, lobsters, rays and sharks.
Teenagers will love the “out of this world” feeling of the deep sea exhibit where you are practically surrounded by sea life...above your head, under your feet. It's amazing and is sure to get a reaction from the whole family.
Another attraction, the Maui Tropical Plantation, spotlights the Magic Isle's agricultural history, taking visitors on a tram tour of acres of sugar cane, macadamia nuts, guava, mango, banana, papaya, pineapple, coffee and flowers.
The kids might moan and groan when they hear that the words “agricultural history” are about to be ingrained into their vacation, but honestly, it is interesting and watching the live coconut husking demonstration is too good to pass up. They'll love it. Curious? Check it out.
And don't pass up a visit to the Hawaii Nature Center's 'lao Valley Interactive Science Arcade and Gift Shop at 'lao Valley State Park. Here, more than thirty hands-on exhibits will help you learn about Maui's natural environment. You can even "experience" life as a dragonfly, simulating the ability to see a hundred directions at once! There is also a Rain forest Wilderness Walk guided by naturalists who interpret the culture and the natural history of Iao Valley.
For the morbid teenager, Iao can have a second, more intriguing face. Legend has it that Iao Valley was the site of some of the most vicious battles in Hawaiian history...so gory in fact that the rivers ran red with blood. If they don't find it fascinating, you might. Ask about it.
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Known as "Dig Me" beach among the local teens, Kaanapali Beach is one of Maui's best beaches. It is four miles long, with grainy gold sand as far as the eye can see. The beach parallels the sea channel through most of its length and has a paved beach walk. Summertime swimming is excellent. Various beach activity vendors also line up in front of the hotels located along the beach walk and offer nearly every type of water activity and equipment.
It's also hormone heaven...lots and lots of people from all over to mingle with. It's not uncommon for local and tourist teens to meet in the water and then spend the rest of the day “hanging out”. Think “Summer Lovin'” from Grease. Keep an eye on your young Sandra-Dee's and Danny Zucko's, but remember what it was like to be “that age” and let them enjoy themselves...just enough.
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Bikers can cycle from Wailea to Kapalua, from Ho'okipa to Kahului and from Waiehu to Wailuku, on improved shoulders or bike lanes. Numerous tour companies provide several unique biking adventures, including an exhilarating thirty-eight-mile ride from the 10,023-foot summit of Haleakala. For those wanting more independent or more difficult biking, there are tours that go into back-road areas like 'Ulupalakua and Kaupo.
Biking can be an awesome family adventure, but dangerous too. If you go out alone remember that a lot of our roads here are curvy and a car trying to get around you (and they will) may have very little visibility of oncoming traffic. Be considerate and pull to the side...instruct your headstrong teen to do the same.
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There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails on Maui, but only three of the trailheads are marked. Haleakala; Polipoli, a large upland forest; and 'Ohe'o in Kipahulu, a moderate four-mile walk along a stream, past waterfalls and through bamboo forests. Haleakala National Park rangers lead regularly scheduled hikes. For information on hikes at the summit or through the Nature Conservancy's Waikamoi Preserve, call (808) 572-4400. For information on hikes and programs in the park's Kipahulu district, call (808) 248-7375. There are several guide services for hiking on Maui. Since 1988, a program called Na Ala Hele has been maintaining trails and advocating beach access routes. Ancient Lahaina Pali Trail, echoes the sixteenth-century Pi'ilani Highway, the first walking path built around the island. Remnants of it still remain. Na Ala Hele provides an informative booklet that includes interesting facts and stories about certain points along the trail.
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There are numerous stables on the island, providing mounts to match every level of riding ability, and trips usually last from one to six hours.
If you want to see your teenage daughter beam at you like that sweet-little eight year old that she once was, horseback riding is the way to go. There is nothing quite like horseback riding on Maui, the horses are healthy, the trails are unique and the views are amazing.
Most stables will dismount a few times during the ride so that you will have a chance to capture that smile on your Princesses face...keep the picture in your wallet when you go back to real life so when she's threatening to move out AS SOON AS she turns 18 (and she's counting down the days) you can peek at it and know that she doesn't really hate your guts, she's just being a bratty teenager. Don't worry, she'll change her tune when she has kids of her own...they always do.
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Snorkeling gear can be rented for as little as $15 - a bargain when you consider the rare and wonderful sights that you'll see underwater. Five of the best spots on Maui to snorkel and dive are Honolua Bay, Olowalu, 'Ahihi-Kina'u Bay, Kaanapali's Black Rock and Wailea's 'Ulua Beach. Numerous charter boats offering sailing, cruising, and snorkeling trips can be found anchored in Ma'alaea and Lahaina Harbors.
Ever been this close to a sea turtle? Take a closer look, click on the picture to the right for a short video of this amazing animal!
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Maui has several areas with world class waves. Ma'alaea and Honolua Bay are two of the best. Several local companies offer surfing lessons – they'll having you riding waves in just a few hours!
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Scuba diving is extraordinary in paradise. For experienced divers, cave and lava tube diving are adventures of the Indiana Jones ilk. Don't miss the breathtaking Cathedrals off Lanai, hailed by avid divers as one of the best dive spots in the world.
Just about all of the scuba dives here require that you be certified. A good option for those who aren't is SNUBA. It is kind of like a hybrid between scuba and snorkeling. Ask your activity agent about the details.
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Ho'okipa Beach is now the windsurfing capital of the world, hosting international championships and drawing hundreds of spectators. Only the pros surf Ho'okipa. Novices will find excellent conditions, for beginners through advanced, at Kanaha, Kihei and Spreckelsville. Gear can be rented at several sports shops in Pa'ia, Wailuku and Kahului.
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KEIKI TIME- FUN STUFF FOR LITTLE TIKES:
It's amazing how little kids see the world. Everything is fresh, everything is new, bugs are fascinating and water play is a religion.
Maui Resorts offer some really special activities for the littlest ones in your group. Most offer fun, stimulating, educational and active programs that will enthrall your children and give you the peace of mind needed to go and do some “grownup stuff”. Here's a list of resorts and the programs they offer for children.
Aston Kaanapali Shores - CAMP KAANAPALI is offered year-round, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., at ASTON Kaanapali Shores on Maui. Supervised activities include educational nature walks, Hawaiian crafts, storytelling and hula lessons. An initial one-time registration fee of $10 includes an ASTON camp T-shirt and keiki (child) button. Morning and afternoon sessions are available at $5 each per day (limit of six hours per week per child). Optional lunch is $5 per day. Children of registered guests who are 5 to 10 years old may participate.
Embassy Suites Resort – BEACH BUDDIES is a hands-on program which includes arts and crafts with a Hawaiian theme (decorating coconuts, beach sand art and leaf painting). Ages 4-10, 8:30 am - 2:30 pm, Daily.
Hyatt Regency Maui - CAMP HYATT KAANAPALI features Olympic-like games, tug-o-war on the beach, obstacle course, fishing and snorkeling. Children learn about the arts, crafts and language of ancient Hawaiians, mix taro into poi, make leis and hula dance. Ages 3-12, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm, Daily.
Ka'anapali Beach Hotel - The KALO PATCH PROGRAM is offered to children ages 5-12 and includes field trips, Hawaiian language classes and games and Hawaiian crafts. Available seasonally.
Maui Marriott Resort – KAANAPALI KIDS CAMP focuses on fun education and adventure on land and on sea. See historic Lahaina town via the Sugar Cane Train; visit whale museums; hike along Kaanapali beach for bamboo pole fishing and sand castle building, learn Hawaiian crafts and storytelling through the hula. Ages 5-12, 8:00 am - 2:00 pm, Monday - Friday.
Sheraton Maui – KEIKI ALOHA where children learn about Hawaiian arts and crafts, such as dancing the hula, playing the ukulele and making coconut frond hats. Activities include games, water sports, and excursions to favorite attractions and sites. Ages 5-12, Offered June - August.
The Westin Maui – KEIKI KAMP offers whale watching, hiking, and hands-on activities. The program is designed around Hawaiian activities, especially "Aloha Friday" which includes lei making and hula lessons. Daily field trips. Age 5-12, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm, 6:30 - 9:00pm, Daily.
Kapalua Bay Hotel & Villas - CAMP KAPALUA where children enjoy sand castle contests, swimming, snorkeling, Hawaiian crafts, recreational games, hula lessons, and eco-adventures to explore Mother Nature's treasures. Ages 5-12, Seasonal only, days vary.
Maui Prince Hotel at Makena Resort - PRINCE KIDS CLUB allows children to meet friends from other parts of the world and to share fun activities such as bamboo pole fishing, sand castle building, swimming, making Hawaiian arts and crafts, and participating in treasure hunts. Ages 5-12, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm, Monday - Saturday.
Napili Kai Beach Club – KEIKI KLUB activities include Hawaiian games, hula lessons, Hawaiian story telling, lei making, parent/child golf putting contests, hot dog barbecues, sand castle building, children's movies, watermelon eating contests and nature/ecology walks. Ages 6-12. Two to four hours daily except on Sundays -- offered during Easter, June 15-August 31 and Christmas.
Outrigger Wailea Resort – KEIKI CLUB GECKO activities include lei making, hula dancing, sand castle building, swimming and pool games, and making Hawaiian arts and crafts. Ages 5-12, 9:00 am - 3:00pm, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Four Seasons Resort - KIDS FOR ALL SEASONS offers hula classes, Hawaiian songs, flower lei making lessons, Hawaiian legends, story-telling, arts, crafts and games. Outdoor recreational activities include kite flying, swimming, and lots of fun. Ages 5-12, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Daily. For ages 12 and up, there are complimentary scuba clinics, swimming lessons, snorkeling and whale watching cruises.
Kea Lani Hotel, Suites and Villas – KEIKI LANI emphasizes Hawaiian culture and the ecosystems of Hawaii. Activities include learning about the animals that live in Hawaii's tide pools and ocean, lei making, tapa printing, hula dancing and playing Hawaiian games. Ages 5-12, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm, Daily.
Renaissance Wailea Beach Resort - CAMP WAlLEA features nature hikes, island crafts, hula lessons, coral reef tours, whale watching classes, traditional story telling and field trips. Ages 5-12, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm, Daily except Wednesday and Sunday.
Molokai Ranch – KEIKI CORNER is a special supervised children's program offering an array of fin activities for children including arts and crafts, nature walks, bug hunts, beach activities, radio theater and paniolo (cowboy) adventures. Ages 4-12.
|Manele Bay Hotel and Lodge at Koele - PILIALOHA, "close friendship and beloved companionship', children's program is based at "Manele Bay Hotel" but is available to guests at the "Lodge at Koele" (shuttle service available). The program gives children the opportunity to explore the tide pools adjacent to Hulopo'e Bay, learn about petroglyphs, discover how the Hawaiian Islands were formed and even build their own erupting volcano. Children are able to try their hand at croquet or lawn bowling, fly a kite on the Lodge at Koele lawn, or mosey on down to the Stables at Koele to meet the resident animals. Other special island activities include a Hawaiian safari through the lush and mysterious Manele Bay gardens, discovering the constellations in the spectacular Hawaiian night sky, taking a shot at the Manele putting green, or producing their own video, live from Lanai. Ages 5-17, Daily. Full day, half day and evening programs are available.
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