15 super cool Maldives activities

Maldives Activities Beach - a white sandy beach is on the left of the image, clear turquoise shallow water is in-between the beach and the water bungalows on stilts on teh right

Of all the things in the world you imagined about your once in a lifetime family trip, you never thought you’d be looking for things to do in the Maldives.

Imagine this.

The crystal clear waves crash softly against a pristine, powder-soft sandy beach. The breeze gently rustles among the leaves of the tall palm tree next to you. It cools your skin that is still damp and salty from a leisurely dip in the sea. You take a deep breath in… and out…

Maldives Activities / Things to do in the Maldives - A white sandy beach edged with green palm trees on the right and the bright blue water of the harbour on the left. There are boats in the harbour and a mum is walking with her kids oat teh water's edge

And you open your eyes.

You’re bored.

Moments later and the kids bounce over to you. They’re bored too.

This is not how it was supposed to go. A family trip to the Maldives was supposed to be peaceful and relaxing. An entire week on a luxury island was supposed to be relaxing. It was supposed to replenish you. You never dreamed you’d be bored!

In need of some Maldives activities?

Turns out you’re not that good at lying on a beach. Maybe you never were or maybe you’ve forgotten how to do it since you had kids. Speaking of kids… Turns out they’re not that good at lying on a beach either.

Luckily for you (and them), there’s way more to do on a Maldivian island than just lie on a beach.

Snorkel

With some of the best coral reefs on the planet, no visit to the Maldives is complete without a daily visit to your resort’s house reef. These aren’t even the best reefs to go to and yet will be teeming with fish swimming through bright coral. Most resorts have a mask, snorkel, and some fins for their guests to borrow. If you’re feeling adventurous, they will probably also have a snorkelling cruise where they will take you to even more incredible reefs.

Dive

If you love snorkelling but want to go deeper, diving is the activity for you. Whether you’re already PADI certified to dive, you know you want to learn or you’re just curious to know more, your resort dive shop will be able to help. They’ll know the reefs in the area like the backs of their hands and will be able to take you to some of the most amazing places you’ve ever dived. There’s a reason why the Maldives are known to have some of the best diving in the world.

Water sports

Maldives Activities / Things to do in the Maldives - Thing 1 and Mr Wanderlust in bright orange canoe. Mr wanderlust is waving at me. The sea is bright blue and there is a traditional boat in the background behind the breakwater. The sky is cloudy and stormy.

Sticking with the water theme – I mean if you’re staying on an island… If you’re wanting some more activity and adrenaline then try one of the many water sports that your resort will have on offer. You might be a kitesurfing or wave surfing fanatic or a windsurfing beginner – they will have the gear for you and will offer lessons as well. We loved borrowing the canoes and watching someone practicing their water jet skills. The Things can’t wait until we can all hire jet skis and I would love to take them surfing there too.

Get fit

You’ve snorkelled around the island and then done the same in a canoe. These aren’t the only ways to stay in shape on a Maldivian island. Head to the pool for some laps (go early to avoid kids getting in your way unless your resort has an adults-only pool). Your resort might have some tennis courts that you can play on too! If you’re still needing to burn off some energy then the gyms are usually really quiet and well equipped.

Explore

If, like us, you get easily bored, make sure you choose a bigger island. This will have several advantages including more facilities and restaurants but will also mean there are more places to go. When we went to Kurumba, we walked the whole way around the island most days, sometimes finding new paths or ways to cut across the island. We found it great, especially with little kids, to have a change of scene regularly. We would start on one beach, move to the pool and go to our room for a nap after lunch. In the afternoon we’d head to another beach and finish up on the far side of the island for sundowners.

Play

Maldives Activities / Things to do in the Maldives - Thing 2as a baby playing in the sand by the water on the beach. The is wearing a red jumpsuit with white shells on it

This is the perfect time to reconnect with your family. Teach the kids to snorkel, splash and swim in the pool with them or head to the beach to build sandcastles. Most family friendly resorts have kids clubs. While the Things love going to kids club by themselves, we also found them to be a great resource for activities to do as a family (think pizza making on the beach!). We were even able to use the club as a family when the Things were too little to stay there on their own. It was super helpful on the day when it rained and we were a bit stuck for things to do!

Pamper yourself

If you don’t go to the Maldives for the white sand, clear turquoise water or the amazing snorkelling, then go for the spas! All the resorts have really high-quality facilities and amenities and the spas are no exception. Whether it’s a simple mani-pedi or a full day of pampering treatments, you’ll leave feeling relaxed and replenished!

Read

What better time to catch up on your reading? Whether you’re a Kindle person or used up half the space in your suitcase to bring paperbacks, there are plenty of opportunities to turn the pages.

If you want some great reads that aren’t too heavy but not trashy either, head over to my summer reading recommendations post.

Cruise

Maldives Activities / Things to do in the Maldives - A stunning sunset photo taken from a boat. The sky is orange with some clouds and you can se the rays of sunlight streaming down from behind the clouds.

If you’re really feeling like you need to get off the island, taking a cruise is the perfect way to do it. We’ve already talked about a snorkelling cruise but that’s by no means the only one. Here are some more Maldives cruise ideas:

  • Head off on a day cruise and have a picnic on a sandbank.
  • Avoid the heat of the day by going on a sunset cruise. Enjoy the changing colours of the sky while you rock gently on the waves.
  • For a change of scene from the restaurants on your island, try a dinner cruise. This has all the advantages of a sunset cruise but adds a delicious meal such as a beach BBQ to the adventure.

Island activities

Your resort will almost certainly have daily activities for you to choose from. From cooking demonstrations, to sunset wine tasting, there’s something for everyone! We also noticed that there was a lot on in the evenings like quiz nights and discos that we weren’t really able to do with smaller kids but that would be good for families with older kids.

Eat

Maldives Activities / Things to do in the Maldives - photo of the games room and poolside restaurant with teh pool and some sunloungers in teh background

There will be no shortage of delicious food on your family trip to the Maldives! With the freshest seafood around, I was hard-pressed to choose anything else but there really was a great selection. Again, with a bigger resort, we found there were more options in addition to the main resort restaurant offering an international buffet.

Photo shoot

Maldives Activities / Things to do in the Maldives - family photo shoot. We are standing on a wooden deck with water bungalows behind us. Th

One of the things I am most pleased that we did was to book a photo shoot on our last trip to the Maldives. The shoot itself was free and then we were able to choose a couple of our favourites to be printed out or sent to our email address. It was a really quick shoot and we took photos in a few locations. This was great as it meant that the kids didn’t get too bored! I’m so happy to have a couple of professional photos to preserve our memories.

See nature

If you’re keen to see more nature, consider taking a dolphin cruise or go fishing. Most resorts also offer additional snorkelling activities such as taking you to find some other wildlife to snorkel with such as whale sharks or manta rays.

Go local

The only thing I missed when we went to the Maldives was the opportunity to mix with the locals. Staying in a 5* resort is a wonderful experience but you really find that you’re in a bubble there. I loved talking to the staff in our resorts but it still didn’t feel much like I knew anything about local life. I wish I’d known before about going to stay on a local island. These islands are definitely more rustic than the tourist resorts and they are dry. BUT they offer the chance to have a more authentic trip.

Explore Male

The other place I really wish I had seen is Male. Male is the main island in the Maldives and all international flights come in and out of here. What I hadn’t realised before we went there’s that it is so much more than just the airport islands. There are plenty of stunning mosques to visit including the Friday Mosque with a golden dome and another that is made out of coral! You can see the old presidential palace and visit the sultan’s park. There are food and souvenir markets as well as cafes and restaurants.

If you are planning a family holiday to the Maldives, I’d highly recommend it! Check out my posts on Family Holidays in the Maldives and How to Choose a Resort in the Maldives. They also have details of an exclusive discount with the travel agent we use: Purely Maldives (this isn’t an add I just really like them!)

Emma Morrell
Emma Morrell

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