Maui vs. Cancun: Which is a Better Family Vacation?


Iconic family vacation destinations are abundant, but choosing the best location can be tricky when planning an ideal tropical trip. Maui and Cancun are undeniably hard to compare, as they both flaunt a range of engaging activities and stunning scenery. So, would Maui or Cancun be better for a family vacation?

Maui offers many family-friendly activities and cultural experiences, as well as being safer, but at a higher price. Cancun boasts exceptional dining opportunities and is cheaper than Maui, but is not as family-friendly. Both locations have stunning atmospheres, beaches, and scenery. 

Although Maui and Cancun are infamous for gorgeous sands and sparkling waters, there are a few differences to consider. Stick around to find out about Maui and Cancun and what to expect from these destinations to discover which location would be better for your family vacation. 

Maui

The island offers a warm ambiance with friendly and hospitable locals. The atmosphere is rich in culture and is often described as tranquil, relaxed, and peaceful. Maui is quite safe for visitors and families, provided that you choose a trusted accommodation spot. The area has a low crime rate, making it quite easy for families to relax in comfort throughout their stay. 

Activities 

Maui boasts quite a range of opportunities for fun and adventure, most of which lie on its beautiful beaches. Families can enjoy underwater adventures or lounge on Maui’s golden sands, while luaus provide engaging entertainment for everyone. 

Some of the best activities in the area include hiking, biking, experiences with marine life, exploring volcanoes, and traversing the surrounding forests. There are many family-friendly activities on Maui, making it a great destination irrespective of age. 

Amenities

It is fairly simple to find everything you need in the area when visiting Maui. It’s easy to rent cars or arrange other transportation methods, visit grocery stores, find gear shops, and much more. However, it has been noted that the flights to Maui are not particularly simple, and it may take some time to get your family to your destination. 

Costs

Maui can be fairly pricy compared to many others destinations. You may need to buy groceries or dine at restaurants throughout the trip. While this may be pleasant and exciting for some families, the related costs can add up. Not to mention the cost of flights to get there, which will not come that cheap.

Dining Opportunities

Visitors can tantalize their taste buds in Maui, as the area boasts a blend of cultural influences. You can find grills, seafood, and many traditional dishes inspired by Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese, and many other cultures on Maui. There’ll be something for everyone, regardless of your favorite foods or preferences. 

Cancun 

Cancun locals are generally welcoming, friendly, respectful, and happy to host travelers. However, the ambiance is fairly bustling, loud, and crowded. Although the area is mostly safe for tourists, Cancun does have a fairly high crime rate. 

Still, it is not a dangerous location – contrary to popular belief. Safety can be supported with appropriate planning and choosing secure settings for lodging. But, it is still a factor to consider if you’re seeking a safe yet fun vacation for the family. 

Activities

Visitors can go on scenic drives, snorkel or sunbathe on beaches, and attend interesting tours at the Chichen Itza Maya Ruins or the MUSA Underwater Museum. However, Cancun is generally considered a party destination, and the activities are less family-oriented. Therefore, there may not be something for everyone to enjoy if you have kids or toddlers accompanying you.

Amenities 

Cancun is fairly easy to traverse, as many dining hotspots, attractions, and activities are within easy proximity. In addition, many accommodation packages are inclusive, meaning that your family won’t need to fret about food, drinks, and treats.

Costs 

Visiting Cancun is undeniably enjoyable for those seeking a fantastic beach holiday. Holidays in this area are reasonably pricy compared to other locations and are relatively budget-friendly. 

Dining Opportunities

One of the most alluring attractions in Cancun is undoubtedly the food, including various traditional Mexican dishes such as fajitas, salsa, tortillas, quesadillas, and much more. Of course, food preferences are always subjective. But, many travelers visit the area for an incredibly charming vacation topped with the opportunity to feast on mouthwatering cuisine. 

Maui vs. Cancun for a family vacation

Choosing between these two amazing destinations can be quite challenging – and for good reason. Both locations could be fantastic for family vacations, depending on your family and what you want out of the trip. 

Beaches and Scenery

Both Maui and Cancun boast exceptional waters and coastal shorelines, offering the opportunity for plenty of perfect beach days. However, the primary difference in these areas’ landscapes concerns the surrounding scenery. Maui flaunts spectacularly lush mountains with plenty of tropical landscapes, while Cancun is mostly surrounded by vast flatlands. 

Maui is known for golden sands and beautiful marine life, while Cancun boasts brilliantly blue waters and white sand. Cancun has arguably better beaches, as the water is generally clearer and warmer. If you’re planning to relax on the beach for the entire vacation, Cancun may be the better choice. 

Budget

Maui is pricier than Cancun, especially if you’re planning a long trip or are accommodating many family members. The difference in pricing has a lot to do with currency conversion rates, popularity, supply versus demand, and accessibility. 

Safety

Although many people believe Cancun to be unsafe, the safety risks and crime rates are relatively similar to many other popular locations worldwide. It’s always best to stick to tourist spots, as they are patrolled and guarded fairly well. Still, Maui is infamous for having a stupendously low crime rate and would be the best choice for anyone prioritizing safety throughout the trip. 

Fun and Entertainment

Maui is undeniably the best location for family fun and adventure, offering a wide range of exciting entertainment and activities all year round. Maui would also be best if you’re planning to spend lots of time snorkeling, exploring underwater areas, or observing marine wildlife. 

On the other hand, Cancun is undoubtedly unique and vibrant in its atmosphere. Apart from its pristine beaches, there are quite a few fun activities for cultural experiences and tours in the area. Both Maui and Cancun offer opportunities for unforgettable dining experiences, depending on your food preferences.

Maui and Cancun are excellent destinations for family vacations, with numerous features that promise an iconic tropical trip. The main differences between the two locations concern the costs, available activities, atmosphere, surrounding scenery, and security. The ultimate choice will rely on your budget and your family’s priorities.

Elizabeth Ciobanu

Elizabeth Ciobanu is a full-time (homeschooling!) mom of four, and serial entrepreneur in a variety of enterprises, one of which is producing content for Family Vacation. If free time existed, she would love to spend more time on hobbies.

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