Centrally located within the Hawaiian Island grouping, Maui is a popular tropical destination for families and couples seeking a well-rounded experience. Maui offers over 30- miles of pristine coastline with unique beaches that range from beautiful black sand strands to palm-lined white coastline. Visitors can enjoy a diverse array of area activities, including water sports, exploring picturesque waterfalls and the famous Haleakala volcano, getting up close and personal with native marine life, and much more.
1.) Dolphin Tours & Whale Watching
Explore the open seas and some of nature’s most majestic creatures by taking a scenic dolphin or whale-watching cruise. Visitors can view two of Maui’s most common dolphin species, spinner dolphins and bottlenose dolphins, which can be observed throughout the year, while humpback whales can be observed during whale season, which typically lasts from December through April in the Maui area. Tours typically last around two hours and are abundant throughout the island.
2.) Road to Hana & Hana Lava Tube
Adventurers of all ages are sure to enjoy a scenic stroll through the historic Hana Lava Tubes. Formed almost 1,000 years ago, the historic Hana Lava Tube is not only one of the largest in Hawaii but also boasts being the 18th largest lava tube in the world! Visitors can enjoy an affordable self-guided tour, which includes a flashlight to help guide you through the cave. The property also includes access to the Red Ti Botanical Garden Maze and picnic tables for an afternoon snack.
3.) Snorkeling At Molokini
If you’re itching to try out your sea legs, look no farther than the Molokini Crater. A popular destination for snorkelers of any level, this ancient volcanic crater is located approximately 3-miles off the Maui shore and provides a fantastic variety of marine life for exploration. Visitors can explore more than 250 unique native fish species, many of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Snorkeling trips are easily found at various charter companies along the island.
4.) View A Sunrise Or Sunset at Mt. Haleakala
What could be more memorable than a scenic Maui sunrise or sunset? How about that same sunrise or sunset from 10,000 feet? You can experience just that by taking a scenic trek to Mount Haleakala. For early risers, reservations are required to enter the park for an early morning expedition. Or, visitors can leave later in the day to catch the sunset. Depending on mountain conditions, it could take up to two hours to reach the summit, so be sure to pack a few snacks and dress accordingly, as the temperature is usually 30 degrees cooler than sea level. While enjoying the trip, guests can also peruse the scenic Haleakala National Park.
5.) Maui Ocean Center
Families, groups, and couples alike are sure to enjoy Hawaii’s largest aquarium, which offers more than 60 indoor-outdoor exhibits. Get up close and personal with some of Hawaii’s most popular marine life, including sea turtles, various shark species, tropical fish, eels, rays, jellyfish, and much more. The aquarium takes about two hours to explore, though visitors can also add on other activities, like exclusive behind the scenes tours and even a shark dive expedition! Maui Ocean Center is open daily from 9am – 5pm.
Maui offers some of the most highly coveted golf courses in the world, and it’s not hard to see why. The island boasts 14 unique courses, several of which were designed by notable golf legends, like Arnold Palmer and Ben Crenshaw. Popular Maui golf courses include: Kaanapali Golf Resort – Royal Kaanapali Course and Kaanapali Kai Course, Kapula – Bay Course and Plantation Course, Pukalani Country Club, The Dunes at Maui Lani Golf Course, Kahili Golf Course, and Maui Nui Golf Course.
7.) Day Spa & Massage Services
Visitors looking to truly relax and unwind during their Maui vacation will definitely want to indulge in a day spa experience. Maui is home to several well-regarded spas, which offer a wide array of lavish services. Popular treatments include various massages, body scrubs and body wraps, soaks, facials, manicures and pedicures, and much more. A trip to a day spa is the ultimate way to relax during your Hawaiian vacation!
8.) Beach Yoga
Relax and reconnect during your stay in Maui by taking a beach yoga class. Yoga studios are abundant throughout the island and experienced instructors offer a variety of classes for yogis of any level. For a truly unique experience, seek out a sunrise or sunset yoga class!
Surfers of all levels flock to Maui each year to take advantage of the fantastic surfing offered along the island and visitors can easily take advantage of this popular sport! Pros are welcome to bring their own board and scope out one of Maui’s popular surf spots, while beginners can take a more relaxed approach with a lesson at one of Maui’s surf schools. Or, if you have experience but couldn’t travel with your personal board, simply rent one from a watersports provider for a small fee. Popular surf spots include Honolua Bay, The Point, The Cave, and Keiki Bowls.
10.) Helicopter & Zipline Tours
Conquer your fear of heights by exploring a completely new side of Maui, offered only via aerial tours. Visitors seeking an immersive experience can take a lively zipline tour through the scenic coastal landscape. Zipline tours vary in length, making it easy to find the ideal tour for your comfort level, and each offers a unique view of the local scenery, the glistening Pacific, and the surrounding islands. Or, if a more relaxing trip is more your style, enjoy a breathtaking helicopter tour, which provide stunning views of the lush rainforests, magnificent waterfalls, and so much more.
11.) Ali’i Lavender Farm
Explore a true hidden gem during your trip to Maui with a trip to Ali’i Lavender Farms. This often-overlooked farm is nestled on the slopes of Mount Haleakala at an elevation of approximately 4,000 feet. The farm boasts more than 50,000 lavender plants and 45 different lavender varieties. Visitors can enjoy both walking or golf cart tours, book a gourmet lunch, take a scenic scavenger hunt, or take craft lavender classes. A trip to Ali’i Lavender Farm is truly a one-of-a-kind experience!
12.) Sport Fishing
Fishermen and fisherwomen looking to test out their sea legs should definitely consider taking a private fishing charter. Not all charters are created equal, so do a bit of research upfront to find the perfect trip. Charters range from just a few hours of near shore fishing to full-day offshore trips and what you can expect to catch varies with where you go. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of the catch!
It wouldn’t be a trip to Hawaii without taking advantage of the pristine beaches and calm seas that make Maui ideal for watersports and water activities. The western side of the island is more guarded from the rough seas and offers several options when it comes to enjoying the open water. Popular watersports and activities include:
- Jet Ski Rentals
- Paddle Boarding
- Kite surfing
14.) Live Entertainment & Luaus
Attending a live luau show is an absolute must during your stay in Maui. The grass skirts, authentic local music, and leis are all part of the experience that you won’t want to miss. Visitors seeking a premium luau should check out the Feast at Lele, which includes a decadent dinner and show, while families and large groups will enjoy the lively Ka’anapali Beach Luau. Or, if you are interested in a show that emphasizes Hawaiian culture and history, check out the Old Lahaina Luau. There is truly a show for every occasion available in Maui!
Outdoor enthusiasts are sure to appreciate the lush landscape offered by Maui, which is ideal for exploration by foot. Hiking is a popular activity across all Hawaiian Islands and Maui provides several options for explorers of any level. Popular hiking trails in Maui include: ‘Iao Valley State Park, Twin Falls, Polipoli Spring State Recreational Forest, and Kaupo Gao Trail. Visitors can create their own adventure with a self-guided tour or join a group trail.
16.) Bailey House Museum
History buffs will want to pencil in a trip to the historic Bailey House Museum during their trip to Maui. Build in the early 1800’s, the Bailey House is an important landmark dating back to Hawaii’s missionary era. Edward and Carolina Bailey lived in the home for over 45 years while they taught at the Wailuku Female Seminary. Now, the home showcases the largest collection of pre-contract artifacts on the island, including fascinating indigenous tools and materials that provide a glimpse into the past.
17.) Maui Arts & Cultural Center
Seeking a fun way to enjoy a night out on the town? If so, check the event calendar at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. For over 20 years, the local arts and center has offered Hawaii’s most comprehensive and authentic cultural experience with a wide array of events and performances throughout the year, many of which celebrate Hawaiian heritage.
18.) Shopping & Dining Along Front Street
Located in the charming Lahaina neighborhood along the northwestern side of Maui, Front Street is a shoppers’ paradise. Unlike flashier shopping destinations, Front Street provides quaint, rustic seaside village feel with a plethora of local shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Front Street is a popular shopping destination during the day and offers a lively nightlife scene at night.
19.) Snorkeling In Honolua Bay
Located along the northwestern end of Maui, Honolua Bay is a marine life conservation district, meaning no fishing or taking natural resources of any kind is allowed in the area. Fishing restrictions provide a plethora of marine life for exploration via snorkeling. Grab some gear and swim up a bit from the shoreline for the best views of native fish, turtles, and more.
20.) Waterfalls Tour
Among Maui’s natural resources are several picturesque waterfalls, many of which are easily accessible via hiking tours, car tours, or helicopter tours, if you’re up for a real adventure. Popular Maui waterfall destinations include Waimoke Falls, Alalele Falls, Twin Falls, Honokohau Falls, and Wailua Falls.
21.) Visit Charles Lindbergh’s Grave
Another popular stop for history aficionados, Charles Lindbergh’s grave is located on the grounds of the Palapala Ho’omau Church. Known for being the first man to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, Charles moved to remote Kipahulu in 1968, where he lived until his death in 1974. The serene setting offers a tranquil atmosphere for a quick visit.
22.) Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum
Maui’s rich history and background in the sugar history is the focal point of the popular Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum. Located next to Hawaii’s largest working sugar plantation, this 1,800 square foot museum explores the rich heritage of Maui’s sugar industry and provides insight into how this resource developed Maui’s modern day makeup. Visitors will not only enjoy a one-of-a-kind, but also get an inside view of the inner workings of a sugar mill.
23.) Horseback Riding Tour
Seeking a break from the salt and the sand? If so, explore the lush countryside of Maui via a scenic horseback tour. Popular spots for horseback riding include Thompson Ranch, Ironwood Ranch, Haleakala Ranch, Makena Stables, and Mendes Ranch. Tours vary in both length and location, so do a bit of research prior to booking to ensure you find a tour that meets your experience level. And don’t worry, Maui also offers a few horseback tours on select beaches for guests looking to stick to the seaside.
24.) Scuba Diving
A step up from more casual snorkeling trips, scuba diving does require a bit of training prior to your adventure. However, the work is worth the effort, as scuba trips provide a rare glimpse into the often-unexplored underwater worlds. Training and trips are available for scuba divers of any level and popular scuba excursion spots near Maui include Kapalua Bay, Honolua Bay, and Molokini Crater.
25.) 7 Sacred Pools at Ohe’o
Located within the beautiful Maui rainforest, the Seven Sacred Pools, also known as ‘Ohe’o Gulch, is one of the most popular attractions in East Maui. The name is a bit of a misnomer, as the area actually boasts far more than seven pools. The area itself is incredibly pictorial, with glistening rivers and plunge pools punctuated with stunning waterfalls. The word “’Ohe’o” actually means “something special”, and this attraction truly lives up to its name.
26.) Explore Haleakala Volcano
If you can’t make it to Haleakala for a sunrise or sunset as noted above, fret not. The area offers plenty of other ways to explore the stunning natural landscape. Visitors are welcome to explore the volcano via car or hike the scenic countryside, though the high elevations make it more fit for experienced hikers. Active visitors can also explore the volcano via a guided bike tour, an ideal option for guests unfamiliar with the area. Take in the panoramic views or enjoy a picnic in one of the most beautiful places on Earth!
27.) Hawaii Nature Center
A popular destination for families traveling to Maui, the Hawaii Nature Center has been a premier leader in environmental education for more than 30 years. The Nature Center is actually comprised of several field sites across the island. Visitors of all ages are invited to come enjoy hands-on educational activities, nature excursions, and much more.
28.) Culinary Tours
A surprise to many, Maui is actually an ideal destination for foodies, with several unique culinary attractions that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Of course, Maui offers an immersive pineapple and tropical fruit experience, but did you know that Maui also offers a winery and is well known for local chocolate? Popular culinary and beverage tours include:
- Maui Chocolate Tour
- Maui Pineapple Tours
- Ka’anapali Coffee Farm
- Maui Winery
- Maui Brewing Company Tour
- Ocean Vodka Organic Farm & Distillery
- Maui Tropical Plantation
29.) Dinner Cruise
Seeking a romantic Maui escape? If so, splurge on an exciting dinner cruise, which will take you on a breathtaking tour of the Pacific at dusk. Dinner cruises are ideal for couples and include a decadent dinner and a lively atmosphere with live entertainment and an open bar. Dinner cruises around Maui last around two hours and the price is all-inclusive.
30.) Beach Hopping
Unlike many other tropical destinations, Maui offers a wide array of beaches that vary greatly depending on what area of the island you are visiting. From glistening white sand breaches with palm trees to vibrant black sand beaches with crystal water, there are plenty of places to enjoy all that Maui has to offer. Popular Maui beaches include:
- Kaanapali Beach
- Napili Beach
- Wailea Beach
- Ho’okipa Beach
- Kapula Beach
- Red Sand Beach
- Makena Beach
- Little Beach
- Black Sand Beach
31.) Gardens & National Parks
Maui offers eight national parks and several other scenic gardens that are definitely worth a trip during your trip to the island. Visitors can peruse the local landscape and stop for a scenic lunch during the exploration. Popular Maui parks and gardens include:
- Haleakala National Park
- Wai’anapanapa State Park
- Ho’okipa Beach Park
- Baldwin Beach Park
- Iao Valley State Park
- Makena State Park
- Koi Beach Park
- Banyan Tree Park
- Kula Botanical Gardens
- Garden of Eden Arboretum