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The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa sits along the Kaanapali beach.

Families will find fun in Maui’s tropical paradise!

The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa sits along the Kaanapali beach.
The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa sits along the Kaanapali beach.

We admit it: My daughter and I are beach freaks. For us, a great getaway has to include sand and saltwater. Maybe it’s because we’re both Pisces, but the lure of the ocean is inescapable and has taken us to many magnificent seasides.

One that hadn’t been on our radar was Maui. We were fortunate to visit just prior to the fires that ravaged more than 10 square miles. Now, seven months later, visitors are welcome once again. They’ll find that the lush island lives up to its allure and, at the same time, dispels a number of myths. Most notably: Maui isn’t just for honeymooners or bucket-list retirees. We found ourselves sunning and swimming alongside kids, parents, grandparents, girlfriend groups and bachelor parties. At a packed sunset performance of local music and dance, the emcee called for newlyweds to stand up, and only one couple took the applause.

The island's history and cultural diversity is celebrated in a musical production staged between luau courses.
The island’s history and cultural diversity is celebrated in a musical production staged between luau courses.

The island’s popularity with visitors of all ages has caught the attention of the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa. The hotel offers an Ultimate Maui Family Vacation package, a six-night stay that includes a range of age-appropriate adventures and activities. It starts at the Kahului airport where a rental car awaits, making it easy to load the gang and the luggage, and get underway. A 45-minute drive to the property winds along the coast between the Pacific’s deep blue waters and the cloud-shrouded mountains, and has several pull-offs ideal for photos and videos. Equally picturesque is the property’s location, perched on a 3-mile stretch of Kaanapali beach, considered one of the best on the island.

The package also comes with custom menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It includes a buffet at the three-hour Drums of the Pacific Luau, which might seem like a long time to be under the stars, but even the squirmiest kids around us were captivated by the dramatic dancing and fire-eating experts. Another activity not to miss is the Tour of the Stars, offered after dark on the hotel’s roof where a former NASA expert sets up three high-powered telescopes and gives a everyone a chance to get up-close views of the night skies.

Along with two pools, the hotel has a splash area with slides for the kids and shaded daybeds overlooking the beach for grown-ups who can have food and drinks delivered to their nook. A recreation cabana is stocked with chairs and umbrellas for those who prefer getting sandy at the surfside. And that’s where our second surprise showed up: All those killer-wave YouTube videos weren’t taken on the island’s west side. The swells were so calm that bodysurfers had a hard time catching a curl, but that made it ideal for splashing and floating on our noodles alongside two giant sea turtles.

The hotel is home to six African blac-footed penguins.

We weren’t disappointed by the pix we’d seen that showed off Maui’s vividly colored, lavishly lush landscape, home to equally colorful critters. Inside the hotel’s open atria are several cages and open perches where exotic, and often vocal, birds are on display. Through the hotel’s grounds, swans, ducks and herons wander freely. But the most popular and surprising attraction was the abode of six African black-footed penguins who pose and preen for the cameras. Feeding time each morning was an Insta-worthy event. The wildlife staff gladly conducts tours to showcase the animal stars and leads a kids’ workshop to make bird feeders and toys.

Beyond the property, Maui has all the expected beach-related activities, from parasailing and paddleboarding to snorkeling and, if the tides cooperate, surfing. Visitors can tour a pineapple farm, hike to a waterfall, climb up a mountain in the clouds and picnic on the edge of a quiet cove. But for us beach-lovers, bouncing between the beach and the waves, with a few tropical beverages in between, was all the activity we needed to enjoy this Pacific gem.


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