So you’ve got your tickets and are ready to visit one of the most beautiful islands in the world. There are so many things to do in Maui, that you might be wondering where to start. Whether you want to relax or go on an adventure, Maui has something to offer for everyone.
Not only are we going to highlight some of our favorite activities, but you will also find information on accommodation, be it vacation homes or hotel options, and first-hand tips and recommendations on the things we loved from our visit to this incredible Hawaiian island.
Don’t leave home without Lonely Planet Maui (Travel Guide)
42 Awesome Things to Do in Maui
1. Go, Beach Hopping,
Of course, no Maui vacation is complete without a trip to the beach. There are so many great beaches to see, but which one should you visit? Although Maui is the home of many fantastic beaches, South Maui is considered to have some of the best.
Big Beach, also known as Oneloa Beach, is perfect for surfing and sunbathing. There’s also Keawakapu Beach, a beautiful place to do some whale watching and snorkeling.
It also contains an artificial reef 400 yards offshore that consists of over a hundred antique cars. This is perfect for both snorkelers and car lovers. Read our first-hand account of finding the best beaches in Maui.
2. Get a Traditional Lei Greeting
Arrive into Maui in traditional fashion, as you are welcomed after your long flight to Hawaii with a traditional Lei Greeting. This personalized experience will see you greeted into Hawaii by locals with a garland of Lei flowers, and any help you might need on arrival too.
3. Take a Snorkeling Trip
Snorkeling is, of course, one of the most fun activities in Maui, and there are tons of places to do it. Exploring Maui’s waters and hanging out with the turtles and fish can be like visiting another world.
Read about our amazing experience snorkeling the Molokini Crater. This crater offers an endless snorkeling adventure with a vast amount of different fish and plant life.
One of the best places to go snorkeling is appropriately named Turtle Town. It’s home to a massive population of sea turtles thanks to the Endangered Species Act.
Looking for a small group tour to experience Turtle Town? Makena Turtle Town Eco Adventure maximizes your chances of seeing Hawaiian green sea turtles by kayak or snorkel. Paddle from Makena toward Turtle Town, a snorkeling location along the island’s southern coast, and explore the calm, clear water to spot these beloved marine animals.
4. Go on a Submarine Tour
The Maui Atlantis Submarine Adventure tour gives you the opportunity to board a submarine to explore Maui’s underwater wonders.
You’ll go a hundred feet down to see Maui’s coral reefs and underwater marine life from a true technological marvel. It’s a safe and comfortable way to look at Maui’s undersea world. Each trip is a unique experience. You might even see sharks or whales.
5. Go Surfing or Stand-up Paddleboarding
There are so many more Maui activities than just sunbathing and snorkeling. Surfing is a classic Hawaiian activity, and Maui is the perfect place to learn. Maui is home to several surfing schools for those who’d like to try something new. There are also several great spots for experienced surfers.
The North Shore is the perfect place to catch some waves. Honolulu Bay is another popular spot for advanced surfers. Keep in mind that these spots can be dangerous for beginners and are recommended for experienced surfers only.
Get the best possible chance for learning to surf in Maui with this private surf lesson. As you work one-on-one with an instructor, you’ll learn surfing theory and how to paddle, stand up, and catch a wave. Each lesson is adapted to the student’s comfort and skill level; anyone can learn and return home from vacation with a new hobby.
Stand-up paddleboarding was born in Hawaii out of surfing. This 2-hour beginner tour introduces newbies to the sport. You’ll begin with a brief lesson onshore before venturing into the water.
6. Try the Local Food
Of course, this is the perfect time to try some traditional Hawaiian dishes. One thing you must try while you’re on vacation is Kalua pork. The pig is cooked in a unique way in an underground oven, making the meat especially tender and juicy. You’ll also want to try some shaved ice during your stay.
This is a delicious snow cone that comes in a variety of exotic flavors. You might also consider stopping by the Geste Shrimp Truck, which is not far from the airport. This is a great place to get a Shrimp Scampi or Spicy Pineapple Shrimp.
There are so many great foods to be found on Maui. One great way to start is by enjoying a sunset dinner. It was one of the most magical things we did while exploring Maui.
Looking to unwind after a day of exploring Maui, opt for a sunset dinner cruise. This cruise features a fantastic 4-course dinner. Enjoy delicious cuisine and included Mai Tais and other beverages against the stunning backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding islands of Lana’i and Moloka’i. The best part is, this tour is limited to 10 people.
7. Take a Helicopter Tour
If you think Maui is beautiful from the ground, try seeing it from the air. In Maui, you can take a helicopter tour of the island. This way, you’ll be able to see parts of the island that you could never get to otherwise. You’ll get an aerial view of beaches, forests, cliffs, valleys, and volcanoes.
It’s the perfect way to see one of the most beautiful places in the world. You also have the option of taking the tour with the doors off. This is great if you’re feeling bold and want to get an even better view of the island.
Helicopter options are available based on the area of the island you want to see. Popular routes include the west Maui mountains and a circle tour of the Haleakala Volcano.
When visiting Maui you must do a Helicopter ride, It’s hands down one of the top things to do when visiting. We have taken helicopter rides all around the world and Maui is still one of my favorite. This amazing Doors-Off West Maui and Molokai Helicopter Tour is the one we did, and it will not disappoint!
8. Visit the Bailey House Museum
This is a must-see for any history lover. The Bailey House is a museum dedicated to Hawaiian art and history. It features Pre-European Hawaiian artifacts along with artwork from the 19th century.
On the second floor, you’ll see a picture-perfect replication of a 19th century home in Hawaii. Be sure to pay this museum a visit while you’re in the ‘Iao Valley.
9. Attend a Luau
You can’t leave Maui without going to a luau, and this is one of the best. The Old Lahaina Luau is a three-hour-long celebration of Hawaiian culture. You’ll see hula dancing, eat delicious traditional meals, and enjoy breathtaking views of the ocean.
A great Luau experience we recommend is the Feast at Lele: A Luxury Maui Luau. At ‘The Feast at Lele’ luau in Lahaina, take a journey across Polynesia just steps from a white-sand beach.
Located on famous Front Street in Lahaina, this Maui luau is an epic culinary journey capped off by song and dance performed to a sunset backdrop
10. Visit the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm
Another fascinating attraction that’s singular to Maui is the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm. This is a 13.5-acre farm that contains 55,000 lavender plants. Although the plant isn’t native to Hawaii, it thrives under its unique climate conditions.
Along with being a farm, it’s also a beautiful garden and an amazing place to shop for lavender based products. You can go on a walking tour, participate in a treasure hunt, or take part in a gourmet picnic.
11. Drive the Road to Hana
The legendary Road to Hana is a beautiful 65 mile stretch of Hawaiian road that’s a popular destination for tourists. That’s because it’s the best way to see some of Maui’s lush rainforests and waterfalls. It’s also the only way to reach many of Maui’s most essential attractions.
You can take a tour van, or you can make the drive yourself. You’ll be able to go at your own pace if you drive yourself, but the Road to Hana’s curvy roads might make it more convenient to take the tour.
You’ll also learn more about the road’s historical and mythological significance in this way.
We rented a car for our time on Maui and drove the Road to Hana on our own. Wanting to get the best out of the experience we bought the R2H Audio Guide and as a result, had an amazing time exploring the secrets of the road.
Without the CD guide, we would have missed so many great spots. Read about our epic Road to Hana adventure here.
Need to book a car for your road trip adventure? We use Discover Car Hire for comparing car prices to find the best deal. They search both local & international rental companies.
Not planning on renting a car? No biggie, there are several great tours that offer this great adventure. Discover the incredible landscape and hidden sightseeing gems along the road to Hana during a small-group sightseeing excursion.
This iconic Maui roadway offers plenty of twists and turns, plus an amazing wealth of attractions and activities. Stop for pictures above the towering lava cliffs, explore a tropical garden, swim in the crystal-clear pool below a waterfall, and dig into an optional Pacific-Rim style lunch served on linen tablecloths.
12. Go Zip-lining in Ka’anapali
This is great if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous. The Maui Zip-line Tour on the North Shore is fantastic. Enjoy great views of the ocean as you soar above treetops during this 2-hour zip-line adventure.
This adventure is based on the historic World War II “Camp Maui”. Follow your professional guide as you fly across seven zip-lines, cross the high-altitude suspension bridge and try other obstacle challenges.
13. Take a Trip to the ‘Iao Valley
While you’re taking in all of Maui’s natural beauty, you’ll also want to visit the ‘Iao Valley. It’s home to one of Hawaii’s most famous landmarks, the ‘Iao Needle. The ‘Iao Needle is a massive rock covered in vegetation that is a dream come true for people who love to hike.
The valley also has historical significance as the site of the Battle of Kepaniwai where King Kamehameha defeated the forces of Maui, changing Hawaiian history forever.
This makes the ‘Iao Valley a must-see for both nature lovers and history lovers.
14. See the Dragon’s Teeth
This is yet another of Maui’s natural wonders. The Dragon’s Teeth is a unique formation on West Maui that was created by a combination of fierce winds and molten lava, causing the rocks to bend upwards into the shape of Dragon’s Teeth.
It’s unlike anything you’ll see at home. It’s also a good place to spot some whales and turtles. Just be careful not to step on the lawn next to it as it is site of the Honokahua burial ground.
Maui has many great natural wonders and one of the best ways to explore these natural wonders is by hiking.
15. Sunrise Bike Tour on Haleakala
While you’re in Maui, you can take a bicycle tour in the early morning hours to see the sunrise from Haleakala Crater. This is one of Hawaii’s famous dormant volcanoes and the best place to see the sun come up.
You’ll also have a tour guide to tell you about its history and geology. This is a completely one of a kind experience, and the perfect way to start your day.
Get the most from your visit to Haleakalā National Park on this full-day adventure that combines the park’s three most popular activities in just one tour. Watch the spectacle of rays casting light on the crater floor as you watch the sunrise from the 10,023-foot (3,055-meter) summit of Haleakalā volcano.
Not into biking but still want to have this amazing experience? Check out this Haleakala National Park Small-Group Luxury Tour by Air and Land. Experience the best that Maui has to offer, from helicopter flights to artisanal food and charming small towns, during this 9.5-hour luxury tour with a small group.
Soar like a bird on a 30-minute helicopter flight above 10,023-foot (3,055-meter) Mount Haleakala.
16. Stay in a Yurt
If you’re looking for exotic accommodation during your stay, consider staying in a yurt. This is a traditional dwelling in the form of a circular tent that’s become popular among tourists and residents alike.
It’s another fascinating way to absorb Hawaiian culture during your stay. On top of this, you can also go on a spa retreat in a yurt courtesy of the Luana Spa Retreat. It’s one of the best ways to relax while you’re on vacation.
17. Go Whale Watching
If you’ve ever wanted to see these massive beasts up close, this is your perfect opportunity. From December to May, thousands of humpback whales migrate to Hawaii from colder climates.
Maui offers a number of whale watching tours where you can see these magnificent animals in action, or you can choose to watch them from the island. The scenic lookout of McGregor Point is a popular spot to do some whale watching.
Catch an exciting peek at the underwater world on this whale-watching cruise in Maui. Your excursion includes narration from your captain and crew, as you learn more about these majestic creatures. Enjoy stunning views and photo opportunities while traveling along Maui’s exquisite coastline.
18. Check Out the Ono Farms
Here is another farm you’ll want to see. The Ono Farms are Hawaii’s largest tropical fruit farm. They are responsible for much of Maui’s fruits, chocolate, and of course, coffee.
If you love coffee, you won’t want to miss this one. When you take a tour of these farms you’ll be invited to try their products and see how they’re made for yourself.
19. Explore the Wai’anapanapa State Park
Here is yet another attraction on the Road of Hana. The Wai’anapanapa State Park is a beach-based park in Hana that’s full of black sands and green trees. It’s a great place to visit if you’re looking to do some fishing, hiking, or camping.
While the main draw to the park is the black sand beaches, and most people only pop in for a couple of hours while driving the Road to Hana, it is possible to stay longer.
The park offers campsites and amenities for those that want a little adventure. Stay for a few days to explore the jungle hiking and waterfalls.
20. Check Out the Maui Cultural Center
The Maui Cultural Center is the best place to catch some entertainment while you’re in Maui. There’s always something exciting happening here. It features everything from hula to film festivals to jazz concerts.
It’s also hosted some legendary rock acts such as Elton John and The Eagles. Be sure to check and see what will be happening while you’re there.
21. Rappel Down Cliffs and Waterfalls
A great option if you an adventurous type. Your guides will take you and a small group of other adventurers to a beautiful rainforest located on the Road to Hana where you will learn how to rappel down cliffs and waterfalls.
With this activity, you combine heart-pumping action with Hawaii’s natural beauty. You will also be able to take a dip in the waterfall pools between rappels.
22. Visit the Hali’imaile Distilling Company
This is something you can’t miss if you love your beverages. The Hali’imaile Distilling Company is a brewery located in Maui’s pineapple region with the goal of creating Hawaii in a Bottle.
They make their drinks using only local ingredients, giving them a unique Hawaiian flavor. You can take a tour of this distilling company and see for yourself how they make their spirits.
23. Hike the Pipiwai Trail
If you’re looking for a place to hike while you’re in Maui, look no further than the Pipiwai Trail. The Pipiwai Trail is a two-mile-long trail that brings you across a gorgeous string of waterfalls before taking you into a bamboo forest.
The bamboo here is so thick that it nearly blocks out the sun. You’ll then leave the forest to be greeted with a view of Waimoku Falls, one of Maui’s tallest and most beautiful waterfalls.
Hiking the Pipiwai Trail is like going on an incredible journey, and it’s something you don’t want to miss out on.
24. Go on a Motorcycle Tour
Explore Maui by motorcycle, on unique tours that take you across the island’s best-known attractions and along the iconic coastal roads. You can head into the rainforest, feel the ocean breeze as you ride past spectacular scenery and see the best of Maui from the saddle.
25. Take a Day Trip to Pearl Harbor
Staying on Maui doesn’t need to limit you to only visiting one island when you are in Hawaii, because Oahu is just a day trip away.
This great Oahu Day Trip from Maui starts with a short flight, where you can then tour the infamous Pearl Harbor, learning more about that fateful day in 1941 when the Japanese attacked the US Fleet and dragged America into World War II.
Your tour doesn’t stop there though, as you visit the rest of Honolulu and Oahu’s most famous attractions, from the Punchbowl Crater to the Iolani Palace.
26. Outrigger Canoe Adventure
Polynesian settlers first made their way across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii using nothing more than outrigger canoes, and while on Maui you can enjoy a trip like no other as you take to the water in a traditional Hawaiian Outrigger.
Learn how these stable, ocean-going boats were made in the past, before having the opportunity to paddle along the Maui coastline. Watch out for whales and dolphins and you’ll have the opportunity to snorkel in the bio-diverse waters too.
27. Have Breakfast on Top of Haleakala
Haleakala is the largest volcano to be found on Maui, comprising much of the eastern side of the island, and you can enjoy it in style with a sunrise tour including breakfast.
You’ll make it to one of the best vantages points out there, just in time to watch the sunrise gloriously over this vast crater. Then, early in the morning, you can enjoy a Hawaiian breakfast too to set you up for the rest of your day.
28. Party at the Maui Nui Luau
With more than one option for a good luau on Maui, we can also recommend a visit to the Maui Nui Luau at the Sheraton. This Luau is a traditional Hawaiian style party, where you can feast on sumptuous local food and dance the night away.
On Maui, you can enjoy music and dancing in the evening, as the sun sets over the horizon. It’s a great chance to learn more about Polynesian culture and cuisine and to have a roaring good time.
29. Enjoy a Wild Dolphin Encounter
From west coast Lahaina, you can embark on an adventure as you travel by boat across to Lanai, one of Hawaii’s many spectacular islands.
You’ll have the chance to snorkel in beautiful surroundings, under towering cliffs, enjoy a buffet lunch and have a close encounter with Lanai’s resident population of local dolphins.
Sail to one of Hawaii’s less-frequented islands on this Lanai Dolphin & Snorkel Adventure from Lahaina to Lanai, or the Pineapple Island. Snorkel beneath 300-foot tall cliffs near Shark Fin and Manele Bay, and look out for sightings of Lanai’s resident pod of Spinner dolphins. This tour also includes breakfast and lunch to fuel a full day of fun.
30. Visit the Maui Ocean Center
The Maui Ocean Center is one of the most diverse aquariums in the world, and proof that the aquatic wildlife around Hawaii is absolutely supreme.
At the Ocean Center, you can come face to face with many of the local marine residents at the incredible reef aquarium, while also learning much more about the unique ecosystem found in the water here.
31. Go Horseback Riding to a Waterfall
Travel on horseback across the rugged mountainous scenery of West Maui during your Maui Horseback Waterfall & Ocean Tour. Explore some of the island’s most remote scenery, searching for waterfalls and beautiful vistas along the way, before then riding along the coast, with views out over the ocean.
You don’t need any horse riding experience, as you’ll be accompanied by guides, and it’s a wonderful way to see Maui in a more unique manner than most.
32. Take an ATV Adventure
Have an extreme adventure as you crash across Maui during your ATV Adventure. These thrilling tours take you to some of the hardest to reach locations, as you traverse valleys and mountains, and the long, scenic coastline.
No experience is necessary, as an ATV is easy to handle and drive off-road, and you’ll be accompanied by local guides the whole way through.
33. Go on a Kayak Tour
Turtle Reef is found just off the west coast of Maui, and it’s one of the most colorful and diverse reefs in Hawaii. Take a gentle kayak tour out onto the water to reach the reef, quietly traversing the coral so as not to scare the marine life away.
You can jump out and snorkel amongst the coral, or just sit back and look out over the spectacular scenery from your kayak.
34. Take an Air Tour of the Big Island’s Volcanoes
Hawaii is famous for its unusual quantity of volcanoes and its sometimes intense volcanic action, and from Maui, you can catch a flight over some of the biggest islands to be found in the archipelago.
During your tour, in a small aircraft, you take off from the airport in Maui to fly high above the landscape, making your way over the picturesque coastline, the huge craters and out to the Big Island, where you will see yet more volcanoes from the air.
You’ll pass over the Haleakala Crater, Kilauea, Mauna Loa and finally, Mauna Kea, before returning safely back to Maui again.
35. Explore the Ka’Eleku Cavern
The mythical, legendary Ka’Eleku Cavern is a must-visit site for anyone traveling across Maui. The underground cavern has a special place in local folklore and Hawaiin history and was formed thousands of years ago by the island’s infamous volcanic activity.
Take a torch and head into the long, dark cave to experience the gloomy, mysterious interior of Ka’Eleku Cavern.
36. Plan a Vacation Photo Shoot on Maui
You won’t want to return from your trip to Maui without a few great snaps of you and your fellow travelers. If you don’t have the cameras or know how to take great pictures, or you just want to enjoy yourself, then you consider booking in for a professional photo shoot.
The photographer will take you to some great locations and provide you with excellent photos to take home at the end of it.
37. Take a Food Tour
Maui is home to a diverse culinary scene, with influences from not only the Hawaiian Islands but from across the USA and Asia too.
When you are on the island, a great way to delve into the heart of Hawaiian food is to join a food tour of Maui, where you’ll be shown around by local enthusiasts who know where to find the best local eats and the best local beers.
Immerse yourself in the culinary culture of Hawaii on this Taste of Maui Food Tour. With a guide in the lead, you’ll skip the tourist spots and get to taste authentic Hawaiian food, stopping at seven locations to taste 17 dishes.
You’ll also sample some locally brewed beers and have plenty of time to ask questions about Hawaiian food, drink, and culture.
38. Go Scuba Diving in Lanai
With so much marine life and so much coral surrounding Maui, it would be a crime not to go out diving at least once during your stay on the island. One of the best spots is Lanai, just off the coast of Maui, where you can find pristine coral reefs to dive.
Discover Maui’s beautiful underwater world on a 2 Tank Lanai Dive Trip. Explore the First and Second Cathedral and its incredible diversity of marine life as you swim past archways, lava structures, and schools of fish.
Reach depths of 50 to 85 feet on two separate dives with a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit, bagels, juice, and water in between.
39. Try a Sea Scooter
From the beach, you can head straight out into the water to explore the coral reefs of Maui by sea scooter. You’ll cover much more ground as you weave gracefully through the waves, giving you more opportunity to look out for the rare marine life.
Snorkelers with some experience will love this tour Sea Scooter Snorkeling Tour in Wailea Bay. These underwater scooters allow snorkelers to go farther and dive deeper without exhausting themselves.
A small group of just six people or fewer will go in search of vibrant reefs, manta rays, turtles, eels, and other marine life in a remote part of the bay.
40. Gone Fishing in Maui
Maui is the perfect place for fishing enthusiasts, and you have the opportunity to catch some big fish out at sea. You’re best traveling out with local guides though, who know the rules and regulations, and what you can and can’t catch around Maui.
41. Enjoy the Thrill of a Jet Boat
Thrill-seekers will want to take on a fast-paced Jet Boat Tour around Maui, as you have the chance to speed around much of the island’s fabled coastline. Enjoy both beautiful scenery and an action-packed adventure across the ocean.
Ride a veritable Hawaiian roller coaster on this adventurous jet boat tour from Kaanapali Beach. Skip across the waves on an eco-friendly jet boat equipped with twin turbo-charged jet drives for a powerful ride around Maui.
42. See Ulalena
Your Hawaiian vacation isn’t complete until you see Ulalena at the Maui Theater. Ulalena is an award-winning show that tells the story of Hawaiian mythology and history through song and dance.
Along with being a brilliant theatrical production in its own right, it also perfectly captures the heart of Hawaiian culture. You’ll also be treated to a luau with lots of delicious food. This incredible show truly encapsulates everything that makes Maui one of the most amazing places in the world.
Go Out and Explore Maui
It doesn’t stop there either, this list only scratches the surface. Maui is chock-full of amazing experiences and adventures, way more than you could ever dream of accomplishing on a single visit unless you planned to stay for a couple of months.
Start with what you love and save the rest for your next visit because let’s face it, you won’t be able to stay away after that.
Location is Everything for Accommodation
Maui may seem like a small island on a map but it’s anything but small. Many travelers underestimate the size. It’s not a small island where you can walk to everything.
It’s divided into four main regions (West Maui, South Maui, East Maui, and the North Shore/Upcountry area) and it only has two resort areas. Depending on what your travel style is and what you may want to do you may want to research a little deeper on those different areas.
We stayed at the Days Inn by Wyndham Maui Oceanfront for our week-long trip. Located on Keawakapu beach, that’s voted the most romantic beach in Maui every year and there’s no wonder why with those sunsets. Watch whales jump out of the water from your room or while enjoying dinner at the restaurant.
Keawakapu beach is great for all types of beach lovers, you really can do it all from snorkeling, sup, swimming to kayaking. We loved being able to park our Jeep safe and easily next to our room in the side parking lot that’s only for guests. We loved it so much, next time we will stay here again.
Below are the best places to stay in Maui to get the most out of our top things to do in Maui list. We have listed them out based on what we recommend for luxury hotels, mid-range hotels, budget hotels, and hostels.
Note: All of the hotels we are recommending are in the main areas, yes there are many great towns around the island where you can stay but we are recommending places based on a week-long vacation so you can get the most out of your stay.
Our Top Recommended Hotels in Maui:
- Luxury: Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
- Mid-Range: Royal Lahaina Resort
- Budget: Maui’s Days Inn Oceanfront by Wyndham ** We Stayed Here **
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