Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock/DonLandTaken at Kamaole lll at sunsetBreathtaking Haleakala.Walking along shore to Beautiful WaterfallMaui                  A Sunday Afternoon in Kihei Maui.  Photo by Sue Salisbury Maui Hawaii
       Iao ValleyRoad to HanaThe Garden of Eden along the Road to Hana

Families will love:

  • White-, red- and black-sand beaches
  • Named the best island in the world to visit
  • A number of accommodation options

If you've never padded onto a glittering, white-sand Maui beach, prepare yourself for the premiere tropical vacation of a lifetime -- and don't be surprised if this intoxicating isle pads its way into your heart. That's a fancy way of saying that you can't visit Maui just once. You'll be back.

Brimming with posh resorts and hotels, incredible dining and exciting family ... more
If you've never padded onto a glittering, white-sand Maui beach, prepare yourself for the premiere tropical vacation of a lifetime -- and don't be surprised if this intoxicating isle pads its way into your heart. That's a fancy way of saying that you can't visit Maui just once. You'll be back.

Brimming with posh resorts and hotels, incredible dining and exciting family activities, it almost seems impossible that the island could hold any more beauty and pleasure. Ah, but we didn't mention the beaches. Like beauty queens who rack up titles, Maui's white- , red- and black-sand beaches are consistently listed as "best beach" of just-name-a-year in the anointed circles that determine such things. In fact, when you first arrive on Maui, you'll see a sign in the airport informing visitors that Conde Nast Traveler voted Maui the best island in the world to visit. There you have it.

Maui is the second-largest of the eight Hawaiian islands and is basically a chain of small towns and hip beach havens. Sprawling luxury resorts thrive in Maui, thanks to the 2.5 million visitors who flock to paradise each year, but Maui also has condos and value accommodations for those willing to do the research.

To understand the various regions of Maui, begin with a map of the island. Notice that Maui is shaped like a person's head, neck and shoulders? Visitors arrive at the Kahului airport at the back of the neck (Kahului) and find hotels and resorts from the top of the head (Kapalua and Ka'anapali), passing the forehead (Lahaina), down to the throat (Kihei and Wailea). This is the western side of the island. The small town of Hana (with a lot of very cool stuff to see and do -- wonderful, but a long drive for little kids) is in the southeast. The information here tends to focus on the west and south side of Maui, simply because it's more accommodating to families with little kids.

If swimming beneath waterfalls and participating in a spontaneous family sand-castle competitions isn't sport enough for you, Maui also has the organized variety, including amateur softball, soccer and Hawaiian canoe-paddling leagues for all ages.

You'll find that it's more pricey these days to fly to Hawaii with Aloha Airlines and ATA calling it quits, leaving fewer airlines to service travelers. The great news is that the occupancy of hotels in Hawaii is down, so room deals can be found for those willing to hunt around and ask for deals when they call. (That's a tried-and-true tip: always ask about specials.)

Written by Wendy Irvine less

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