17 Awesome Things To Do In Maui

Last Updated on April 28, 2024

Maui is a beautiful island located in the Central Pacific, part of the Hawaiian archipelago. It is known for its stunning landscapes, crystal clear waters, and rich cultural history. Hawaii, though politically part of North America, is geographically considered to be part of Oceania. Maui has become a popular tourist destination due to its tropical climate and diverse range of activities that cater to all types of travelers. Whether you are seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Maui has something for everyone.

In this post, we will explore some of the most awesome things to do in Maui that are sure to make your trip a memorable one.

17 Awesome Things To Do In Maui

Table Of Contents

DISCLAIMER: Lahaina is undergoing reconstruction following the fires. Avoid stopping in the area.

Snorkeling With Sea Turtles

Snorkeling in Maui is a must-do activity for anyone visiting the island. With crystal clear waters and an abundance of marine life, it’s no wonder why Maui is known as one of the best snorkeling destinations in the world.

There are numerous places to snorkel on the island, each offering a unique experience. One popular spot is Molokini Crater, a partially submerged volcanic crater that is home to over 250 species of fish. Other popular spots are Turtle Town (Maluʻaka Beach), Honolua Bay, known for its frequent turtle sightings. We had the best luck along Kapalua Bay during our visit with turtles coming right up into the shallow water by the shore.

In addition to the diverse marine life, snorkeling in Maui also offers the opportunity to see stunning underwater landscapes. From coral gardens to lava rock formations, there is no shortage of natural beauty to be explored.

Make sure to pack your snorkel gear for the ultimate flexibility (less hassle then renting) and head out for a day of underwater adventure in Maui. Don’t forget to bring an underwater camera to capture all the amazing sights you’ll encounter.

Hiking In Maui

While Maui is famous for its beautiful beaches, the island also boasts some incredible hiking trails. From easy coastal walks to challenging mountain treks, there are options for all levels of hikers.

One popular hiking spot is the Waihee Ridge Trail, which offers stunning views of the lush valley and coastline below. For a more challenging hike, try conquering the Haleakala Crater. This dormant volcano stands at over 10,000 feet and offers breathtaking panoramic views from its summit. For an easy coastal walk, try Kapuli Coast Trail.

Aside from the physical challenge, hiking in Maui also provides the opportunity to learn about the island’s history and culture. Many trails have informational signs along the way, sharing facts about the native plants and animals as well as Hawaiian legends and mythology.

Before embarking on a hike, it’s important to come prepared with proper footwear, plenty of water, and sunscreen. It’s also recommended to hike with a guide or in a group for safety purposes.

Ultimately, hiking in Maui is not just about reaching the end goal, but also enjoying the journey and immersing oneself in nature. Take your time and soak in all the sights and sounds that the island has to offer on foot.

Devour Hawaiian Shaved Ice

No trip to Maui is complete without trying a Hawaiian shaved ice. This popular treat consists of finely shaved ice topped with flavored syrups, condensed milk, and various toppings.

Not to be confused with a snow cone, which uses crushed ice, Hawaiian shaved ice has a soft, fluffy texture that melts in your mouth. It’s the perfect refreshing treat on a hot day, and there are countless flavors to choose from, including local favorites like lilikoi (passion fruit) and haupia (coconut).

You can find Hawaiian shaved ice stands all over the island, but one of the most well-known spots is Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice. With multiple locations in Maui, this family-owned business offers a wide variety of flavors and even has a “secret menu” for those in-the-know.

View Turtles At Ho’okipa Beach

A top priority for any visitor to Maui is the opportunity to witness sea turtles. However, spotting these majestic ancient creatures on land requires a stroke of luck. Ho’okipa Beach on Maui’s North Shore is a reliable spot to catch sight of turtles sunbathing on the shore.

During our visit, we were greeted by numerous turtles, with more emerging from the water as we delighted in observing them. Remember to respect their space and watch from a distance. The area where they rest is cordoned off to give them room, but there’s also an elevated viewing spot overlooking the beach.

At first glance, the turtles may appear to be rocks. As you get closer you’ll realize they’re actually what you’ve been looking for!

Enjoy A Traditional Hawaiian L’uau

A trip to Maui wouldn’t be complete without experiencing a traditional Hawaiian l’uau. These cultural events showcase the island’s history and traditions through music, dance, and food.

The most popular lu’aus on the island are held at resorts or hotels and feature a buffet style dinner with an array of local dishes. You can also expect performances by hula dancers, fire dancers, and live music. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture and try some delicious food at the same time.

The Drums Of The Pacific L’uau is said to have the best fire dancing on Maui, and we were totally impressed and blown away by the performance.

For a more intimate l’uau experience, there are smaller companies that offer private or semi-private events. These tend to have a more personalized touch and may include activities like lei making or traditional games.

No matter which l’uau you choose, it’s sure to be a memorable and delicious experience that will give you a deeper appreciation for the Hawaiian culture.

Visit Wai’anapanapa State Park

Located on Maui’s rugged eastern coast, Wai’anapanapa State Park offers a unique and picturesque experience. Here, you can discover the stunning black sand beach, explore caves, hike along the coastline, and try to catch a glimpse of the sea arch. The main attraction is the black sand beach, but before you go, know that it is small and expect it to be crowded.

The water was really rough, with signs cautioning against swimming.

Humpback Whale Watching Tour

If you’re lucky enough to visit Maui during the winter months, don’t miss the opportunity to go whale watching. Every year, thousands of humpback whales migrate from Alaska to the warm waters of Hawaii to give birth and raise their young.

There are many whale watching tours available on the island, ranging from larger boats with onboard naturalists to smaller catamarans for a more intimate experience. You can also spot whales from the shore at popular lookout points like Kapalua Bay and La Perouse Bay.

Choose a tour that allows you to go again at no extra cost if you do not have any whale sightings. On our tour, it felt like we had endless whale sightings. However, on our snorkel tour a family mentioned that they saw zero whales on their whale watching tour.

We did this whale watching tour and would highly recommend it, especially because they have a sighting guarantee or you go again for free.

Drive The Road To Hana

The Road to Hana stands out as one of Maui’s most iconic and picturesque drives.

While navigating the road poses a challenge with its narrow pathways and sharp bends, the journey rewards you with remarkable vistas at every turn. This serpentine route guides you through verdant rainforests, by enchanting waterfalls, and along majestic coastal cliffs. During your travels, make a point to pause at the numerous scenic spots, and be sure not to miss sampling the renowned banana bread at one of the quaint roadside stalls.

Upon completing the 64-mile trek, you’ll arrive in the charming town of Hana. Here, unwind on the picturesque beaches, embark on treks to concealed waterfalls, and fully embrace the relaxed Hawaiian way of life.

While the Road to Hana is a popular tourist attraction, it’s important to be respectful of the environment and local communities during your visit. Stay on designated paths, do not litter, and support local businesses by purchasing goods and services from them.

See The Nakalele Blowhole

Located on the northern coast of Maui, Blow Hole Beach is a must-see natural phenomena. This unique attraction features a captivating blowhole that blasts water high into the air when waves crash against the rocks.

In addition to the impressive blowhole, this stretch of coastline also offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

To reach Blow Hole Beach, take Hana Highway to mile marker 38.5 and follow the signs for “Blow Hole Scenic Lookout”. Be sure to bring a camera to capture this incredible sight!

Do NOT go too close to the blow hole. If you get caught in a big blast, you can get sucked into the hole and the chances of making it back out are slim. It has happened; do NOT chance it!

Relax On The Beach

There’s no better way to unwind than by lounging on one of Maui’s beautiful beaches. Whether you prefer secluded coves or popular stretches of sand, there is a great variety of options for all beach-goers.

Some popular beaches in Maui are Wai’ānapanapa State Park, Ho’okipa Beach, and Hamoa Beach. Each beach offers its own unique features, from black sand to surfing opportunities. Be sure to pack sunscreen, snacks, and plenty of water for a full day of fun in the sun.

While enjoying the beaches, remember to respect the ocean and any posted signs or warnings. Strong currents and changing tides can be dangerous, so always exercise caution when swimming or participating in water activities.

Also, don’t forget to only use reef safe sunscreen! We always reach for either this sunscreen, or this one! Both are great options for you to have fun in the sun, while not causing harm to the environment around you.

Take Surfing Lessons

For those looking for a more active adventure, why not try your hand at surfing? Maui is known for its great surf breaks and offers lessons for all levels, from beginners to advanced.

You can find surf schools all along the coast, from Lahaina to Kihei, where experienced instructors will teach you the basics of surfing and help you catch your first wave. It’s a fun and exciting way to experience the Hawaiian waters and get a great workout in at the same time.

Don’t forget to bring your sense of adventure and be willing to fall a few times before you start to master the art of surfing. And don’t worry, even if you’re not able to stand up on the board right away, just being out in the ocean and enjoying the beautiful views is an experience in itself.

Get An Aerial View With A Helicopter Tour

For the ultimate bird’s eye view of Maui, take a helicopter tour over the island. This is a great way to see the diverse landscape of Maui, from its lush rainforests and waterfalls to its rugged coastlines and volcanic crater.

There are several tour companies that offer helicopter tours with various routes and durations. Some even include landing at remote locations for a unique and unforgettable experience. Soaring above Maui in a helicopter is truly an adventure of a lifetime.

The weather did not cooperate during our visit to take a helicopter tour above the road to Hana, so we opted to do the Central Maui  Two-Island Scenic Helicopter Flight to Molokai tour and it did not disappoint! The views of the ocean, mountains and valleys were incredible and we even got to see some whales swimming below us. This is definitely a must-do activity for anyone visiting Maui.

Read next: A Breathtaking Helicopter Adventure Over West Maui And Molokai

Learn About Hawaiian Ocean Life At The Maui Ocean Center

If you want to learn more about the fascinating marine life of Hawaii, be sure to visit the Maui Ocean Center. This aquarium features a variety of exhibits and interactive experiences that showcase the diverse sea creatures found in Hawaiian waters.

You can walk through a tunnel surrounded by sharks, touch starfish, and even watch feeding sessions with turtles and other marine animals. It’s a great educational experience for both kids and adults alike. Plus, the Maui Ocean Center is dedicated to conservation and promoting sustainable practices to protect Hawaii’s ocean ecosystem.

You can also expect a lot of presentations from naturalists. For one of the presentations, a naturalist even gets into a scuba suit in the shark tank and answers questions from inside the tank! It is an amazing opportunity to learn more about these majestic creatures and the efforts being made to protect them.

Read Next: Journey Under The Sea At Maui Ocean Center

Experience A Thrill Hanggliding In Maui

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to experience Maui from a different perspective, try motorized hanggliding . This thrilling activity allows you to soar above the island while taking in breathtaking views of its natural beauty.

No experience is necessary as you will be safely harnessed to an experienced pilot who will guide you through the flight. You can choose between a 30 or 60 minute flight, depending on your budget and desired duration. This is a unique way to see Maui’s lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and stunning coastline.

And if you’re lucky, you might even spot a circular rainbows (we saw two!) and Hawaii’s majestic humpback whales during their seasonal migration. It’s truly an exhilarating experience that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

It is an experience you’ll want to relive over and over again! We suggest taking your flight with Hang Gliding Maui.

Visit Haleakalā National Park

Haleakalā National Park is a stunning scenic destination located on the island of Maui in Hawaii. . The name Haleakalā translates to “house of the sun” in Hawaiian, fitting for a park known for its breathtaking sunsets (and sunrises).

Endless fields of vibrant wildflowers, towering volcanic peaks, and breathtaking views – these are just some of the things you can expect to see at Haleakalā National Park. This stunning national park is home to the world’s largest dormant volcano and offers a range of hiking trails for all levels.

You can also catch the sunrise or sunset at the summit of Haleakalā, which is said to be one of the most beautiful and spiritual experiences on Maui. Just make sure to bundle up as temperatures can drop below freezing at this high altitude. And for the truly adventurous, you can even bike down the mountain after watching the sunrise.

Keep in mind that sunrise visits require reservations if you’re venturing up there without a guide, and it’s best to book in advance as spots fill up quickly. Reservations for SUNRISE can be made up to 60 days in advance and are valid only for the reserved day.

If you have your own vehicle, you can drive yourself there. It’s advisable to arrive early as the parking lot at the summit is not huge. Alternatively, if you prefer having a guide, consider booking this sunset tour, or opt for the sunrise tour.

In addition to its natural beauty, Haleakalā National Park is also steeped in Hawaiian culture and history. The park is home to many sacred sites and legends, making it a meaningful and culturally significant destination for visitors.

What you need to know before you go:

  • Prepare to stop at the entrance station. All groups entering the park must acquire an entrance pass, unless you have a valid National Park Service (America the Beautiful) pass.
  • The road winds steeply on the way up. If you or your passengers are prone to motion sickness, make sure to prepare!
  • Pack an assortment of snacks to keep you fueled throughout your visit.
  • Parking fills up quickly. The summit spots are limited, but there’s no cap on cars entering for sunset. Arrive early to secure a spot, explore different options for backup viewing locations. Lots close when full. We saw a large amount parking at the lower lot and many walking back down the road after sunset to their vehicle.

Visit The Biggest Cave On Maui

The Ka’eleku cavern, also known as the Hana Lava Tube, is a captivating self-guided attraction found in Hana on the eastern side of Maui. This basaltic rock formation, created around 1,000 years ago, stands as the most expansive cave open to the public on the island of Maui. It is a short walk through (out-and-back), but worth a stop. They supply flashlights when you pay for your admission fee (cash only).

Stop Along The Road At Local Vendors

You’ll find plenty of local vendors selling fresh fruit, coconut candy, banana bread, and other delicious homemade goodies. Make sure to stop at a few of these roadside stands to fuel up for your journey. Not only will you be supporting local businesses, but you’ll also get a taste of some authentic Hawaiian treats.

Maui is a destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural experiences, this island has it all. From its stunning natural landscapes to its rich history and traditions, Maui is a place that will capture your heart and leave you with lasting memories.

For those looking for adventure, Maui offers a variety of activities such as surfing, zip lining, and helicopter tours. You can also explore the island’s diverse marine life through snorkeling or scuba diving adventures.

If relaxation is what you’re after, Maui has plenty of options for that as well. You can spend your days lounging on the beach, practicing yoga in front of a picturesque backdrop, or indulging in a traditional Hawaiian lomi lomi massage.

Immerse yourself in the local culture by attending a l’uau and feasting on traditional Hawaiian dishes while enjoying performances of hula dancing and fire knife dancing. You can also learn about the island’s history and culture by visiting museums, historical sites, and participating in cultural activities.

There are also opportunities to give back to the community and support conservation efforts on Maui. You can volunteer at local organizations working towards protecting the island’s natural beauty or participate in beach cleanups to help preserve Hawaii’s pristine beaches.

No matter what your interests may be, Maui has something to offer. Pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable experience on this beautiful Hawaiian island.

Know Before You Go

How Many Days Do You Need In Maui?

To see everything on our list, you’ll need at least 8 days. However, those will be a very busy eight days! Ideally, we recommend spending at least 10-14 days on Maui to fully experience everything the island has to offer and truly relax into its laid-back pace of life. This will give you enough time to explore different parts of the island, take part in various activities, and also have some downtime to recharge and soak in the beauty of your surroundings.

If you only have a limited amount of time, don’t worry! Maui is a great destination for a shorter trip as well. Just be sure to prioritize the activities and experiences that are most important to you and plan your itinerary accordingly.

Where We Stayed

During our trip to Maui, we stayed in Kiehi at Maui Bay Villas (Hilton Grand Vacations), a newer resort that is still being developed. The villa had two bedrooms, a full kitchen, and the resort had multiple pools, a small private beach, and a balcony with a beautiful view. It was the perfect base for our adventures on Maui.

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