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I lived in Maui for several years and go back and forth from Oahu every once in a while, you just can’t escape the beauty of this island. The list of things to do is extensive so I compiled the best things to do on Maui to help you decide.
Whale watching and seeing the sunrise from Haleakala are definitely things to do but there is so much more to this island.
Maui, often referred to as the “Valley Isle,” is known for its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and endless adventures. As someone who has fallen in love with this enchanting island, I am excited to share with you the best things to do in Maui. So, grab your sunscreen and sense of adventure as we dive into the must-see attractions and experiences that will make your Maui vacation unforgettable.
If you’re planning a multi-island trip or considering going to one of the other islands, take a look at my choices of 41 Best Things To Do On Oahu.
All of Maui has been significantly impacted due to the recent fires. Check directly for up-to-date information and consider donating via a trusted Maui charity.
Snorkel Molokini Crater
One of the top snorkeling spots in Maui is Molokini Crater. This crescent-shaped volcanic crater located off the coast of Maui offers crystal-clear waters teeming with colorful coral reefs and marine life. Take a boat tour to Molokini and dive into an underwater world of tropical fish, sea turtles, and vibrant coral gardens. Remember to bring your waterproof camera to capture the beauty beneath the surface.
Tip: Book your snorkeling tour in advance to secure your spot, especially during peak seasons. Don’t forget to bring reef-safe sunscreen to protect the delicate ecosystem.
This tour operator has over 800 reviews and still maintains a 5-star rating, check them out.
Drive the Road to Hana
Embark on an epic adventure along the famous Road to Hana, a scenic drive that winds along Maui’s northeastern coast. This 64-mile journey is renowned for its breathtaking waterfalls, lush rainforests, and dramatic coastline. Take your time to stop at points of interest such as Twin Falls, Wai’anapanapa State Park, and the Seven Sacred Pools at Ohe’o Gulch. Be prepared for narrow roads and hairpin turns, but the incredible scenery makes it all worth it.
Tip: Start your journey early in the morning to avoid heavy traffic and have more time to explore. Pack snacks, water, and a swimsuit for spontaneous waterfall swims.
Check out this 5-star tour company with over 1500 reviews.
Take a Helicopter Tour
For a truly awe-inspiring experience, take to the skies with a helicopter tour of Maui. Fly over towering sea cliffs, dramatic valleys, and cascading waterfalls. Witness the majesty of Haleakala Crater from above and soar above the lush landscapes of the Hana Rainforest. The bird’s-eye view offers a unique perspective on Maui’s natural wonders and is a photographer’s dream come true.
Tip: Opt for a doors-off helicopter tour for an exhilarating and unobstructed view. Dress comfortably and wear dark-colored clothing to minimize reflections on the helicopter’s windows.
Check out the hidden features of Maui with this 5-star helicopter tour.
Go Whale Watching
If you visit Maui between December and April, don’t miss the opportunity to witness the incredible spectacle of humpback whales in their natural habitat. These gentle giants migrate to the warm waters of Hawaii during winter, and Maui’s coastline provides a front-row seat for their acrobatic displays. Join a whale-watching tour and marvel at their breaches, tail slaps, and melodious songs.
If you’re looking to learn more about whale-watching on Maui, be sure to read my article The Best Time To Go Whale Watching On Maui so you can make the most out of your visit to Maui.
Tip: Bring binoculars for a closer look and choose a tour operator that respects responsible whale-watching guidelines to protect these magnificent creatures.
Consider booking this 4-hour whale-watching tour that boasts a 5-star rating.
Bike Haleakala at Sunrise
For an unforgettable adventure, embark on a thrilling bike ride down Haleakala Volcano at sunrise. Begin your day in the pre-dawn hours as you ascend to the summit of Haleakala National Park to witness the sun casting its golden glow over the vast crater. After the awe-inspiring sunrise, hop on a bike and coast downhill, enjoying panoramic views of the island’s scenic landscapes.
Tip: Dress warmly for the chilly temperatures at the summit and wear layers that can be removed as the day progresses. Book your bike tour in advance and choose a reputable company with safety measures in place.
Enjoy a scenic tour of Haleakala with this 5-star, self-guided bike tour.
Attend a Luau
No visit to Maui is complete without attending a traditional Hawaiian luau. Immerse yourself in the vibrant Polynesian culture, savor delicious Hawaiian cuisine, and witness captivating hula performances. Experience the warmth of aloha as you learn about Hawaiian history, traditions, and mythology.
Tip: Reserve your Luau tickets ahead of time, as they tend to sell out quickly. Arrive early to explore the cultural displays and participate in activities like lei-making and ukulele lessons.
While there are many options, here is my recommendation for a Maui Luau.
Take a Sunset Dinner Cruise
Indulge in a romantic evening aboard a sunset dinner cruise along Maui’s coast. Sail into the golden hour, savor a delectable meal, and toast to the breathtaking views of the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy live music and dance the night away under the starry Hawaiian sky.
Tip: Check the weather forecast and choose a calm day for the smoothest sailing experience. Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning sunset moments.
Enjoy a catamaran sunset dinner tour with this highly-rated pick.
Tour Maui Pineapple Farm
Delve into the world of tropical fruit and visit a Maui pineapple farm. Learn about the cultivation and history of this iconic fruit, participate in a guided tour, and indulge in the juicy sweetness of freshly harvested pineapples. It’s a delightful and educational experience for the whole family.
Tip: Wear comfortable walking shoes and check the farm’s availability for tours, as they may require advanced reservations.
This 5-star choice with over 1600 reviews is my top pick for pineapple tours, check them out.
Visit Maui Ocean Center
Discover the wonders of the ocean at the Maui Ocean Center, a state-of-the-art marine park and aquarium. Immerse yourself in a fascinating underwater world as you walk through a tunnel surrounded by sharks, observe graceful sea turtles, and learn about the marine ecosystems unique to Hawaii. Educational exhibits and interactive displays provide insight into the importance of ocean conservation.
Tip: Plan your visit during feeding times and educational presentations for an enhanced experience. Check the schedule for special events or behind-the-scenes tours.
Obtain a full-day pass to this highly-rated award-winning aquarium.
Maui Atlantis Submarine Tour
Descend into the depths of the ocean and explore Maui’s marine life without getting wet on a Maui Atlantis Submarine tour. Board a comfortable submarine and dive below the surface, observing vibrant coral reefs, tropical fish, and perhaps even some shipwrecks. It’s a fantastic opportunity to see the underwater world up close and personal.
Tip: Book your submarine tour in advance to secure your spot, as they can fill up quickly. Bring your camera to capture the unique sights through the submarine’s large viewing windows.
Book your unique 5-star submarine tour with this tour company.
Hike Pipiwai Trail
Venture into the enchanting bamboo forest and embark on the Pipiwai Trail in the Haleakala National Park. This scenic hike takes you through lush vegetation, past towering waterfalls, and ultimately leads you to the stunning Waimoku Falls. Take your time to appreciate the serenity of the surroundings and the beauty of nature’s masterpieces.
Tip: Wear sturdy hiking shoes, bring plenty of water and snacks, and allow sufficient time to complete the trail. Start early in the day to avoid crowds and have ample time for exploration.
Go Horseback Riding
Embark on a horseback riding adventure through Maui’s scenic landscapes. Explore lush valleys, ride along pristine beaches, or journey into the upcountry for panoramic views. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a beginner, horseback riding allows you to connect with nature and embrace the equestrian spirit of the island.
Tip: Wear long pants, closed-toe shoes, and sunscreen. Choose a tour that matches your riding experience level and follow the guidance of the experienced guides.
Pick this ocean and waterfall horseback tour with over 450 5-star reviews.
Visit Iao Valley State Park
Discover the lush beauty of Iao Valley State Park, home to the iconic Iao Needle. Hike through verdant rainforests, admire cascading waterfalls, and learn about the historical and cultural significance of the area. It’s a serene and picturesque retreat that showcases the natural wonders of Maui.
This park now requires reservations along with a fee so check the official site for up to date information.
Tip: Wear comfortable walking shoes and consider bringing mosquito repellent. Take extra caution when hiking on slippery surfaces and stay on designated paths.
Take a Surfing Lesson
Maui’s legendary waves make it an ideal destination for surfing enthusiasts and those looking to learn the sport. Sign up for a surfing lesson with experienced instructors who will guide you through the basics and help you catch your first wave. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to improve your skills, the warm waters of Maui provide an excellent playground for surfers of all levels.
Tip: Choose a reputable surf school that prioritizes safety and provides beginner-friendly spots. Wear reef-safe sunscreen and follow the instructions of your instructor for a fun and safe surfing experience.
Beginners and semi-experienced surfers can enjoy a surfing lesson with this 5-star company.
Visit a Cacao Farm
Delight your taste buds and learn about the art of chocolate-making at a Maui cacao farm. Take a guided tour and discover the journey from cacao beans to delectable chocolate treats. Engage your senses as you taste different varieties of chocolate and gain a deeper appreciation for this sweet indulgence.
Tip: Check the farm’s availability for tours and consider making reservations in advance. Don’t forget to bring a sweet tooth and some extra cash to indulge in chocolate purchases.
When browsing options, consider picking this 5-star cacao farm and tasting tour.
Walk the Kapalua Coastal Trail
Experience the natural beauty of Maui’s coastline by walking the Kapalua Coastal Trail. This scenic path winds along the shore, offering breathtaking views of the ocean, lava rock formations, and secluded beaches. Take your time to soak in the tranquility and spot marine life such as turtles and dolphins.
Tip: Wear comfortable shoes, bring sunscreen, and carry water. Start early in the morning to avoid crowds and enjoy the cooler temperatures.
Visit Kula Lavender Farm
Escape to the fragrant oasis of Kula Lavender Farm, located in the upcountry region of Maui. Immerse yourself in the soothing aroma of lavender fields, explore the beautiful gardens, and learn about the many uses of lavender. Savor lavender-infused treats and take home unique souvenirs as a reminder of this enchanting visit.
Tip: Visit during the blooming season, usually from May to August, to experience the lavender fields in their full glory. Check the farm’s opening hours and consider purchasing tickets in advance.
Visit Kula Botanical Gardens
Step into a botanical wonderland at Kula Botanical Gardens, nestled on the slopes of Haleakala. Wander through diverse landscapes featuring vibrant flowers, exotic plants, and panoramic views of Maui’s coastline. Enjoy the peaceful ambiance as you connect with nature and appreciate the island’s unique flora.
Tip: Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Take your time to explore the gardens and consider bringing a camera to capture the colorful blooms.
Take an ATV Tour of West Maui
Embark on an adrenaline-pumping ATV tour of West Maui’s rugged terrain. Traverse off-road trails, navigate through lush forests, and soak in breathtaking coastal views. The thrill of an ATV adventure combined with the beauty of Maui’s landscapes creates an unforgettable experience.
Tip: Wear closed-toe shoes, comfortable clothing, and sunscreen. Follow the safety instructions provided by your guides and be mindful of the environment.
Looking for an exciting way to see Maui? Enjoy this 5-star mountain ATV tour of West Maui.
Visit Wainapanapa State Park and the Black Sand Beach
Discover the unique beauty of Wainapanapa State Park, home to a captivating black sand beach. Take a leisurely stroll along the volcanic coastline, explore sea caves, and marvel at the contrasting colors of the black sand against the vibrant turquoise waters. Don’t forget to capture the stunning views and embrace the tranquility of this secluded paradise.
Tip: Wear sturdy walking shoes as the terrain can be uneven. Respect the natural environment and avoid removing any rocks or sand from the beach.
Visit Big Beach
Spend a day soaking up the sun and enjoying the turquoise waters at Big Beach (Oneloa Beach) in Makena. Known for its wide stretch of golden sand and excellent swimming conditions, this beach is a popular spot for sunbathing, picnicking, and bodyboarding. Unwind and appreciate the beauty of Maui’s pristine coastline.
Tip: Pack beach essentials such as towels, sunscreen, snacks, and plenty of water. Pay attention to the ocean conditions and swim within your comfort level.
Visit Nakalele Blowhole
Witness the natural spectacle of Nakalele Blowhole, an impressive geologic formation that shoots ocean water high into the air. Located on Maui’s northern coast, this blowhole is a result of powerful waves crashing against the volcanic rocks. Marvel at the raw power of nature and capture the perfect photo as the blowhole erupts.
Tip: Approach the blowhole with caution and stay a safe distance away from the edges. Wear sturdy shoes and be mindful of slippery surfaces.
See the Sunrise at Haleakala National Park
Experience a magical sunrise at Haleakala National Park, standing atop the summit of Haleakala volcano. As the first rays of light break over the horizon, watch as the colors transform the sky into a breathtaking spectacle. This spiritual and awe-inspiring moment is a must-do for nature lovers.
Tip: Dress warmly in layers as the summit can be quite cold, especially before sunrise. Check the park’s website for reservation requirements and the best time to arrive.
Take a Zipline Tour
Embark on a thrilling zipline adventure and soar through the treetops of Maui’s lush forests. Experience the rush of adrenaline as you zip across canyons and valleys, enjoying panoramic views of the island’s natural beauty. Ziplining offers a unique perspective and an exhilarating way to explore Maui’s landscapes.
Tip: Wear closed-toe shoes, comfortable clothing, and follow the safety instructions provided by your guides. Check the weight restrictions and age limits for zipline tours.
Pick this 5-star 8 line ziplining tour for an exciting view of Maui’s forests.
Take a Farm-to-Table Tour at O’o Farms
Embark on a farm-to-table tour at O’o Farms and indulge in the flavors of Maui’s fresh produce. Explore the organic farm, learn about sustainable farming practices, and savor a gourmet meal sourced directly from the fields. This culinary experience celebrates the island’s vibrant food culture and highlights the importance of locally grown ingredients.
Tip: Make reservations in advance for the farm-to-table tour, as it can be a popular experience. Come hungry and be prepared to delight in the farm-fresh flavors.
I was lucky enough to live in Maui for 3 years before moving back to Oahu and have visited multiple times over the years. The activities and breathtaking sights, ensure that every traveler finds something to suit their preferences. Whether you seek adventure, cultural immersion, or simply a serene escape to nature, Maui has it all.
If you want to learn more about Maui for your upcoming trip, you need to read my Ultimate Maui Travel Guide which covers everything a successful trip to Maui encases.
Let me know your favorites in the comments below.