Visit a National Park!
MT. HALEAKALA in Hawaii is not only affordable but a great learning experience!
When my kids were pre-teens, we decided to take an amazing vacation! One that they would always remember and would also be educational and fun! What better way to connect with your kids! We realized that communication was key to being involved in their lives and spending quality time with them was worth the investment. We started to research destinations & realized that Maui, Hawaii was more affordable than I thought! We stayed in the Aston Paki Condo’s in Lahaina, Maui. Staying in a condo let us cook breakfast and a few dinners which was much cheaper than any hotel, since we needed two rooms being a family of seven!
We started off our trip with surf lessons for my husband and the kids at The Royal Hawaiian Surf Academy in Lahaina. A two hour lesson for the six of them was reasonable. The instructor was patient and I think most of the kids were able to get up on the board. Spending quality time on the beach was an experience in itself!
We did the common Luau for dinner one night at the Wailea Marriot Resort! Starting with the “Aloha” Shell lei greeting and ending with the dazzling fire dance, the Luau will immerse you in an unforgettable cultural celebration of dance, music, food and traditions of Hawaii.
Mt. Haleakala was a place that I heard was a must when in Maui & knew it would be educational and fun. The best time to go to the top is either at sunrise or sunset and having five kids in tow, sunset was definately the time of choice!
There are several activities that you can pay for while visiting Haleakala such as horseback riding which we found to be too expensive. We did consider renting bikes to the top which was more affordable making the trip more adventurous for the kids but the thought of coming down the mountains steep descent, I immediately had thoughts of spending the day in the Emergency Room! Needless to say we decided to drive directly up to the summit which was a small entry park fee and were very happy with our decision.
The summit area of Haleakala was breathtaking and has over 30 miles of hiking trails. We took a short 20 minute hike down from the summit admiring native birds and endemic plants. We were amazed at the lava rocks and enjoyed exploring the geologic history of the volcano. Remember to pack a sweatshirt since the temperature at the top is much colder than the bottom.
After we got back in the van we started to compare the cool lava rocks we each found on our hike. One of my boys mentioned that he heard that it was bad luck to take any rocks home from Hawaii claiming they may contain an ancestral spirit! Dismissing this thought we all kept our rocks!
The morning of our trip home we were on the road back to the airport when we came to a sudden stop in a ton of traffic. After inquiring about the delay, we heard that there was a fire in the main building of the airport closing the airport completely! Upon hearing this news, I then hear the motor of the window in the back of the van which is my son dropping his rock out the window. After several other weird mishaps, we all one by one dropped our rocks out the window of the van.
So if you decide to visit Maui, definitely try the surf lessons and traditional Luau dinner, but if you happen to visit Mt. Haleakala, enjoy the scenery and definitely do not take home any lava rocks!
Please leave a comment and share your experience if you have ever been on a great family hike!