Maui, Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever visited. Maui is the 2nd largest Hawaiian island and boasts tropical lush gardens, 81 golden sandy beaches, majestic ocean hideaways and more. There are endless activities & areas to explore in Maui from beaches, to rainforests to volcanos to mountains. In this guide to Maui, I provide some of the top things to do in Maui. Plan out your trip to Hawaii in advance so that you make the most of your heavenly days on this Hawaiian island.
While I suggest many of the top things to do in Hawaii in this guide, Hawaii is a place of relaxation and natural beauty. Build time into your trip to simply relax and enjoy the beauty. While there are many things to do each day in Maui, relaxation should be a priority on your list to really appreciate the beauty and slow pace of life on the island.
Maui has amazing snorkeling in multiple locations throughout the island. There are beautiful corals, fish and amazing underwater life to see. During my time in Maui, I snorkeled lots and saw the most beautiful sights including 3 turtles swimming alongside each other. Snorkeling gear can be rented at hotels or cheaper at local dive/snorkeling shops. I suggest buying your own rather than renting off a hotel as they can be almost the same price to rent. There are lots of snorkeling day tours to do on catamarans which stop off at multiple snorkeling locations throughout the day.
Scuba diving in Maui is very popular and is an amazing way to see the underwater world. Make sure that you look for a PADI certified scuba center to ensure safety. If you are not a certified PADI diver, you can get a crash course for 45 minutes before going scuba diving. We scuba dived with Extended Horizons and it was really enjoyable. This takes longer than snorkeling so build half a day into doing this activity.
Haleakala National Park & Summit
Haleakala National Park & Summit offers the most breathtaking views of the island. The volcano rises 10,023 feet above Maui’s coastal areas. Popular times to visit are for sunrise and sunset. For sunrise, there is a reservation process in place as only so many vehicles are allowed at once. The fee is $1 for your reservation. Reservations can be made 60 days in advance on recreation.gov. Sunset also offers the most breathtaking views. Entry is $25 per car to the national park. After you get to the national park, the summit is a good 20 minute drive so factor this in to your drive time. I would suggest arriving in lots of time so you enjoy the drive. There are tour companies that offer trips to the summit. We drove and I think the trip may be a bit rough on a bus as there are lots of twists and turns on the road. Tour companies also offer a vehicle ride to the top of the summit and a bike ride down the 38 mile descent. Guided walking tours of the park are also popular. Bring warm clothes as the temperature drops incredibly low by the time you reach the summit.
Maui has the most wonderful beaches throughout the coasts of the island, with one as beautiful as the next. There are 81 beaches throughout the island which have been voted some of the best beaches in the world. I loved the beaches at Ka’anapali & Lahaina.
There are lots of horse riding around the island through forests, lush green trails and also around the Haleakala National Park.
Road to Hana
The Road to Hana is a weaving and winding road through the most beautiful coastline, rainforests and beautiful nature. There are 56 one lane bridges & 617 hairpin curves along the scenic route. There are many unique stops along the way so this takes up the majority of a day. The road is narrow and bumpy at times. You can drive through Hana and around to the other side of the island or you can turn and journey back the road travelled. By continuing, the road turns into a bumpy dirt road, so I advise on turning back. Lots of tour companies offer tours of the Road to Hana however to allow your own pace and stops at locations that you like, I suggest renting a car.
The seafood is amazing in Maui and lots of restaurants serve fish that has been caught that day. Make sure you enjoy lots of seafood and healthy goodness when visiting Maui.
It is hard to see all of the beauty that Maui has to offer in one trip. A helicopter tour can help you see more and more of the beautiful Hawaiian island. Helicopter tours vary in time, price, locations covered and quantity of people on the journey. Some options include landing in the Hana rainforest! Vista points include the lunar-like surface of Haleakala Crater, the north shore rainforest, towering waterfalls & sea cliffs. Airtime is usually from 30-90 minutes. Morning is the best time to fly due to the clouds that roll in throughout the afternoon. Most of the helicopter tours leave from Kahului airport.
Skyline Eco Adventures offers the most awarded zip lining in Maui for the last 5 years and offer zip lining over Ka’anapali’s Pacific coastline or through the Haleakala forest. There are 11 lines over the pacific coastline to explore. There is a sunrise bike and zip line combo over the Haleakala forest.
Molokini crater is a sunken volcanic crater which is the perfect place to snorkel and enjoy some of the best underwater views off the island. Lots of snorkel tours are available to Molokini. The crater is a short 3 miles away from Maui coastline & can only be reached by boat. There are 250 types of fish found at the crater, some of which are only found at this crater. Green sea turtles, monk seals, eagle rays sharks, rainbow colored fish and lava formations are all visible daily. Humpback whales can be seen in the winter months. Duration of tours depend on your preferences however many tours offer sunbathing options, breakfast, lunch and stops at other snorkel places. There are also sunset cruises to Molokini with sunset cocktails and dinner options available.
A Hawaiian Lu’au is a celebration and showcase of traditional Polynesian dance and music including Hula & fire dances. Lots of different hotels and venues offer Lu’au shows nightly. Most are served with a buffet dinner and some an open bar/complimentary wine & beer.
Lana’i day trip
There are daily departures to Lana’i from Maui via ferry. Lots of adventures exist on Lana’i such as snorkeling, hiking, golfing, horse riding or UTV tours. It is a quick adventure to Lana’i as the neighboring island is only 9 miles away.
Front street in Lahaina is lined with boutiques, galleries, tourist shops, restaurants, bars and more. We visited on Black Friday and it was incredibly peaceful and picturesque so I imagine on other days it is even more peaceful. There is a beach called baby beach right outside the town and an outlet mall right beside the town also which are worth exploring. In the middle of the town sits a giant Banyan tree which is one of the largest Banyan trees in the United States. It was imported from India and planted in 1873. It is over 60 feet tall and 200 feet wide covering a large jungle like space known as Banyan Tree Park.
Go Gallery hopping
There are art galleries all over Maui. Lahaina boasts more art galleries per capita than any other US town. The galleries are full of the most beautiful art pieces. Often in the evenings, some of the artists will be at the galleries to speak about their work over a glass of wine.
Some of the beaches in Maui offer amazing surfing – Ho’okipa Beach Park, Pa’ia Bay, Hamoa Beach & Honolua Beach. Boards can be rented throughout the island and there are lots of lessons and camps daily.
There are lots of opportunities for yoga on the beach early in the morning before it gets too hot. The crashing of the waves and the rich golden sand make for the perfect back drop for a morning yoga session.
Hump back whales can be seen December to April around the Crater. There are lots of different tour operators that will take you on a guided tour to see these beautiful creatures in Maui.
Dolphins can be seen just a few short miles away from the coast of Maui. Daily tours leave the island and it is an inexpensive way to get out onto the water and enjoy the beautiful coastal view from the water.
Paddle boards are available for rent from hotels and tour companies along the waterfront. The perfect way to exercise, relax and enjoy the Hawaiian rays of sunshine.
For little kids to see the underwater, a submarine trip is a great idea so they explore the underwater viewing all kinds of exotic creatures while remaining dry and safe. Trips leave multiple times per day from the island.
Tour a lavender farm
At Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm, you can see lavender bloom all year long. The farm is tucked away in Maui’s Upcountry. The 45 different varieties are spread over 13.5 acres at an elevation of 4,000 feet. There are 55,000 lavender plants along with olive trees, hydrangea & succulents. There are walking tours offered daily.
Sunset cruises in Maui are popular with dinner and/or drinks often included in the ticket price. There are also private charters available for rent for special occasions.
There are lots of opportunities for shopping at Maui. Our hotel was near Whaler’s village which offered lots of high street American stores however in little towns such as Pa’ia and Lahinia, there are rows upon rows of stores with locally produced and Hawaiian themed merchandise available. There are also lots of street vendors and fairs that set up near to the beaches and touristy locations.
I stayed in Maui for 6 nights and I only had time to explore and enjoy a small sample of the above. There are so many amazing things to do in Maui and I already cannot wait to return. “101 things to do” in Maui magazine provided lots more tips and companies to explore for the above activities along with specific activities for the season. Definitely pick up a copy when you arrive at the airport so you have lots of up to date information on island festivals and happenings.
Mahalo for reading! For a guide on Honolulu or on our yoga retreat in Maui click here and here.
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