23 of the best things to do in Maui

Isn’t it wonderful to have tropical islands in the world as beautiful as Maui? I’ve been a fan of Hawaii since childhood, and have visited more than a dozen times, including several to the island of Maui.

Whether you’re traveling with friends, with your significant other, or solo, each of these stops will make your trip to Maui as adventurous as possible:

23. take a surfing lesson

It’s no secret that Hawaii is the surfing capital of the world. It may seem a little intimidating to imagine hitting the waves by yourself, but Maui Surfer Girls makes the experience great for first-timers.

Other famous surfing spots on Maui include Ho’okipa Beach on the north shore, Lahaina Reefs on the west side of the island, and Honolua Bay on the northwest end. Ho’okipa is definitely the most suitable for advanced surfers, but Lahaina Reefs and Honolua Bay are suitable for beginners at low tide.

22. Snorkeling

molokini crater
Molokini Crater on Maui.

Molokini is one of the most popular snorkeling spots because of its incredibly deep, blue waters. It is located just 3 miles off the coast of Maui and used to be a bombing site. It has since been restored and you can find all kinds of coral and other marine life.

The Alii Niu snorkeling tour is recommended because it limits the boat to 45 people, which usually makes it more enjoyable….

21. Go snorkeling

Scuba diving off the coast of Maui is known as one of Hawaii’s best kept secrets. In particular, diving off the coast of Maui tends to be less expensive than elsewhere in Hawaii. If you’re into freediving, there are plenty of options, but this is the most recommended. I can’t imagine a better way to enjoy the incredible biodiversity of Maui’s shores.

20. Make your mermaid dreams come true

Want to take your mermaid skills to the next level? The folks at Hawaii Mermaid Adventures on Maui offer a unique experience that involves trying on a mermaid tail for a swim. They also offer visitors a full briefing on marine life and conservation efforts.

19. sunset cliff dive.

If you want to get your adrenaline pumping, try cliff diving! Every evening before sunset, adventurers can jump off the Black Rock cliff at Ka’anapali Beach.

Make sure you’re a good swimmer before you take the jump, as strong currents can occur and the water is quite deep in places.

18. Sunbathing on Kaanapali beach.

Since all of Maui’s beaches are public, you have plenty of options on where to spend a day sunbathing and swimming. Kaanapali Beach is a great place to do this because it tends to be warmer and sunnier than other places on the island due to its location. If you’re a big people watcher like me, this is a great place to watch windsurfers do their thing in the water.

17. Frolicking in a lavender field

Did you know there are lavender fields on Maui? I didn’t. If you need a break from the beach (okay, who really needs a break from that?), head to Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm. There, you can follow the trails on foot on your own or take a tour of the farm in a golf cart. I don’t know about you, but it sounds like a dream come true for me to lie in a lavender field.

16. Watching a sunrise on Haleakala

chakras of the earth
Sunrise on the Haleakalā volcano in Maui, Hawaii.

Surely waking up at 2:30 in the morning (or staying up until 2:30) doesn’t sound pleasant now. However, when are you going to get to see the most beautiful sunrise of your life?

To enjoy a sunrise at the top of Mount Haleakala on Maui, you’ll need to book ahead. Between the drive there and back and the sunrise itself, plan to be there between 3am and 7am or so.

Make sure you’re prepared for the cold, as the top of the mountain will be quite cold before the sun comes up. Bring layers of clothing and get ready for an epic photo op.

15. See the black sand of Honokalani beach.

Not that anyone really needs a break from soft white sand beaches, but if you want to see an interesting and equally beautiful beach with black sand, head to Honokalani Beach. It’s inside Waianapanapa State Park on the Road to Hana, which is free to visit but has some parking fees.

The sand gets its deep black color from millions of years of volcanic ash and lava. The texture is also very beautiful.

14. Explore the lava tubes and caves.

While you’re at Waianapanapa State Park, be sure to visit the caves and lava tubes. There’s an awesome cave just off the beach entrance and the rest of the park is fun to explore, especially for the views of the coastline. The best part is that there is a chance you can have the caves to yourself if you get there early enough. You can also book a full day tour to explore the area.

13. Go Outrigger Canoeing

An outrigger canoe tour is an amazing way to learn more about the landscape, history, and culture of Maui. The canoes themselves are traditional Hawaiian and are long, sleek and have been used for centuries.

The tour specializes in offering visitors a unique experience that involves learning about the island’s marine life with an “open-air museum” approach.

12. Drive along the Hana Road

on the way to hana

If you do anything in Maui, take this drive. The winding roads to Hana can be thrilling and there are plenty of natural wonders along the way. Known for its incredible views and stunning waterfalls, you can also find plenty of local treasures in the small towns that dot the road.

Be sure to check out our complete guide to the road to Hana before you head out.

11. Take a kayak tour

If you can’t get enough of the water after your outrigger canoe adventure, take a kayaking excursion. Depending on your budget and what you want to see on the excursion, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some awesome excursions to choose from, including stops to see the green sea turtles at Turtle Town.

At Maui Kayak Adventures you have many different kayak tour options, including a whale watching tour! They come highly recommended for the variety of tours they have available.

10. See some turtles on Ho’okipa beach.

Hawaiian green turtle

As you drive down Hana Road, you’ll find Ho’okipa Beach. It’s just outside of Paia and is the best place on Maui to see green sea turtles.

It’s always recommended to avoid touching wildlife, and this time is no different. While stretching your legs, stay at least 10 feet away from the turtles, which is close enough to see them in their natural habitat without disturbing them.

9. Try some island delicacies

Best things to do in Kona, Hawaii.

Another place on the road to Hana, Paia, is one of the best places to stop during your trip for some delicious Hawaiian food. Paia is a small town that has a lot of island flavors. Mama’s Fish House and Paia Fish Market are local favorites for the freshest food imaginable.

If you want to really get into the island’s food scene, consider taking a Maui food tour. This one includes stops at 7 of Maui’s best restaurants – yum!

8. Eat in a food truck

Eating something can be quite expensive in Hawaii due to the fact that much of the food is imported from the mainland. A great option to get a full meal at a decent price is to choose a food truck. You can find them all over Maui, but especially in Kaanapali, Lahaina and Kihei. There are also some on Hana Road. These food trucks are a local favorite and many serve authentic Hawaiian cuisine.

7. Look for the rainbow eucalyptus trees.

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you and your screen isn’t broken – these trees are actually rainbow-colored!

These beauties can be seen mostly along the Road to Hana, but also in the Ke’anae Arboretum. They are a unique species of eucalyptus trees that have rainbow-colored bark that is best seen in the sunlight. They are native to Maui and grow in only a few places, so keep an eye out for them.

6. Admire the Banyan tree in Lahaina.

Okay, I know you’re not going to one of the most beautiful places on the planet to see a tree. There are a lot of Banyan trees all over the islands, but this one in particular is worth going to see. It’s one tree, but it’s got 16 trunks. Yes, 16. It’s bigger than a city block and covers almost two hectares. Go and see it for yourself and admire its enormity.

5. Chasing waterfalls

on the way to hana

While the road to Hana is an amazing place to find Maui’s best waterfalls, there are many others to visit. Makamaka’ole Falls is located in West Maui, near milepost 8 on the Kahekili Highway. You can see it from the highway, but you can also walk about a mile to get to the bottom of it where there is an even better view.

The King’s Garden is another impressive waterfall that you have to make a reservation for. Once you get there, you can also explore the grounds surrounding the waterfall.

4. Go on a chocolate tour

Cacao is native to Maui and there are many places where it is grown and harvested to make chocolate. If you fancy a visit to one of these cacao farms, check out the Maui Chocolate Tour. Not only will you be able to taste the delicious product of these amazing plants, but you’ll also have the opportunity to learn about their cultivation.

3. Hike to the Iao Needle

While you’re in the islands, it seems like a rite of passage to head out for an epic hike. A crowd favorite is Iao Valley State Park on Maui, from where you can get an excellent view of the Iao Needle, a craggy mountain peak that rises over 1,000 feet. Because of its popularity, it’s best to get to Iao Valley early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

2. Take a yoga class on the beach.

Without a doubt, taking a yoga class in a tropical location is a wonderful experience in itself. With warmer temperatures, our bodies tend to be more flexible, which makes yoga even more enjoyable.

Go one step further and consider taking a class on the beach with your toes in the sand at Maui Beach Yoga. They have group and private classes and even do sunrise and sunset sessions on the beach.

1. See Humpback Whales

From mid-October to early April, Maui becomes one of the best places in the world for whale watching. Because of the warm, shallow waters surrounding the island, humpback whales find refuge there before heading north to Alaska.

There are many options for whale watching on Maui, but this one in particular focuses on preservation and environmental sustainability. It’s a win-win.

Here’s a map with all the places mentioned to help you plan your trip:

When planning your Hawaii adventure, always keep the seasons in mind, as some of these destinations are optimal during different times of the year (click here to find out the best time of year to visit Hawaii). There are so many awesome places in Maui that you could probably spend your trip there alone. However, at BMTM we have plenty of guides to help you decide how best to spend your time in the Aloha State.

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which support our site at no additional cost to you. We only recommend experiences and stays that we think you’ll love.

road to hana

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