I’m sure almost every adult has had their fair share of island day dreams. We all like to imagine the poolside cocktail service, the balmy beaches and sleeping in. Do you ever wonder what tropical paradise looks like from your mini me’s point of view? Their outlook is priceless!
I asked my kids to list their top 5 favorite things about Maui. I expected fluorescent-colored shave ice and birthday bounce houses to dominate the list, but these little buddhas showed me a much bigger picture.
#1 The Sacred Garden
The Sacred Garden on the North Shore of Maui is a zen hideaway, which doesn’t sound like the kind of place kids would be drawn to. However, this stunning location offers more than tuning bowls and prayer flags. There is a beautifully crafted labyrinth both inside and outside, used as a meditation or prayer tool. My girls understood my purpose of quietly walking the labyrinth path, contemplating transformation and growth. I understood their purpose of running the labyrinth path was to see who could finish the quickest without stepping on the lines. Our combined goals proved one thing: I could get a moment of calm in a serene environment without boring my children to tears. They also were fascinated by the overwhelmingly beautiful Buddha statue that grace the garden. Even I would find myself gazing on it in revere. There are different paths that wind around the garden, each with little treasures tucked away in the foliage. It became a bit of treasure hunt, trying to find the mermaid tail in the succulent or the candy cane in the basil. Of course, there was one obvious favorite when we would venture to The Sacred Garden. The free hot chocolate, spiced cider or tea always brought an ear-to-ear grin on their little faces.
There are plenty of stunning beaches on Maui, suiting every need from surfing to sunbathing. But if you’re on Maui with kids in tow, you want a beach that doesn’t threaten to drown your child with every wave. Us parents deserve to relax a little on our family beach day, and Baby Beach was created by the gods that get it. This protected lagoon is made possible by an exposed stretch of reef, which tame the North Shore waves. The white sand beach stretches for miles, with treasure piles of heart-shaped rocks and vibrant shell fragments. This spot isn’t only for babies. The calm waters make for a perfect lap pool. And the wooded hills behind offer some welcomed shade during the midday heat. My girls favorite part is when a giant sea turtle takes a detour into the lagoon, delighting them every time it pops its head above the water.
Maui has its fair share of friendly critters, and living on the North Shore means you share your living space with them. While I definitely haven’t taken to the thumb-sized cockroaches or the hand-size cane spiders, the geckos are ok in my book. Especially because my kids assumed that these reptiles are their household pets. The rare occasion that they would actually get to hold them happened when a gecko was found dead or near death. On an extremely cold winter night, my older daughter found a gecko nearly frozen to death and took it under her wing. Sunning it during the day and gently placing it in a dishcloth bed at night, this little guy found his will to live and sauntered out of our care by the third day.
We would make our weekly trip to the grocery store, and our very last stop in the store would be the fruit section. Every color in the rainbow was present, many of them very tropical and unfamiliar. We would pick a new fruit to try each time, adding a little mystery to our breakfast smoothies. From Soursop to Ice Cream Beans, there was never a shortage of yummy finds. If you need a little tropical fruit guidance, check out this helpful Hawaiian Tropical Fruit Guide.
It started with learning the shaka. My older daughter understood that throwing out a shaka resulted in a friendly smile and a reciprocal shaka. As a family that is obviously not local, we feel nothing less than true aloha from our fellow islanders. When you come to the island in love and acceptance of the flow, the island and its inhabitants respond with equal parts love and acceptance. My girls love the warmth and love from our community and island. Maui’s aloha vibe is intoxicating and I have two little girls that are firm believers of it!