13 Must-Do Activities In Maui

Get ready for your unforgettable journey filled with outdoor adventures, colorful marine life, and breathtaking landscapes.

Whether it’s snorkeling with sea turtles, embarking on the legendary Road, or attending a traditional luau, there’s something for everyone in Maui.

The list of must-do activities in Maui covers the top sights and experiences that will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the island’s charm.

1. Drive the Scenic Road to Hana

If you’re visiting Maui, one of the must-do activities is to take a drive on the scenic Road to Hana.

The beautiful drive is perfect for travelers looking for an unforgettable experience. The winding road offers beautiful views of lush vegetation, ocean vistas, and countless waterfalls.

wet road between trees during daytime

Intensify your trip by starting early to avoid crowds, departing Paia by 8 AM, and planning stops for a smooth and enjoyable experience.

While driving the 64-mile route, you’ll encounter over 620 curves and 59 narrow bridges, so prepare for a thrilling adventure.

As you navigate through the winding roads, be sure to stop at some of the popular attractions along the way:

  1. Keanae Peninsula: A beautiful spot offering breathtaking ocean views and vibrant taro fields.
  2. Waikani Falls: Don’t miss the chance to admire the stunning trio of waterfalls cascading down the lush cliffs.
  3. Wai’anapanapa State Park: Known for its black sand beach, ancient lava tubes, and natural sea arches.
  4. Hana Town: A quaint village where you can relax, grab a bite to eat, and check out the rich cultural history.
  5. Ohe’o Gulch: Also known as Seven Sacred Pools, this natural wonder features cascading waterfalls and freshwater pools perfect for swimming.

Make sure to pack a few essentials like water, snacks, sunscreen, and a charged camera to capture the unforgettable moments.

2. Witness a Sunrise or Sunset From the Summit of Haleakalā

Maui offers countless breathtaking experiences, and one of the most magical is witnessing the sunrise or sunset at the summit of Haleakalā.

Standing nearly 10,000 feet above sea level, Haleakalā’s summit offers an incredible vantage point to start or end your day in wonder.

sun rising from the top of a mountain

Begin your adventure by making a reservation for your vehicle as it’s now required for entry between 3:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.

Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance, with tickets being limited to one per customer every three days.

silhouette of a building during sunset

Remember, tickets are per vehicle, not per person. Don’t worry about the ticket price; it’s only $1.00! Just keep in mind that you’ll also need a national park pass.

Dress in layers for the chilly high-altitude temperatures. Bring a blanket or seat cushion for comfort, along with snacks or a warm beverage.

3. Snorkeling at Molokini Crater

If you’re looking for an amazing underwater adventure in Maui, snorkeling at Molokini Crater should be at the top of your must-do activities list.

This crescent-shaped, partially submerged volcanic crater offers an incredible ecosystem for marine life and is a perfect spot for snorkelers of all skill levels to explore.

When snorkeling at Molokini Crater, you can expect to see up to 250 varieties of fish, as well as 38 different types of coral, and various birds and mammals.

The crater is a serene haven for thriving wildlife, offering up to 150 feet of water visibility on clear days to fully enjoy the underwater beauty.

4. Whale Watching

One of the most popular and unforgettable experiences in Maui is whale watching. During the peak season from December to March.

You’ll have the chance to observe the majestic humpback whales in their natural habitat. They migrate to the warm Hawaiian waters to breed and give birth, offering an incredible spectacle for visitors.

tail of a whale diving into the ocean

There are a variety of whale-watching tours available, which typically include catamarans, sailboats, rafts, kayaking, and outrigger canoes.

Each option provides a unique perspective to witness these gentle giants up close. Some recommended tours include Maui Adventure Tours, Kai Kanani, Redline Rafting, and South Pacific Kayaks.

To increase your chances of spotting whales, go out early in the morning or late afternoon, just before sunset, when whales are most active.

5. Explore Lahaina’s Historic Sites

When in Maui, allocate time to explore Lahaina, a historic town that was once a bustling center for the Pacific whaling industry. Now, it preserves its vibrant history with captivating museums and sites.

Start your Lahaina exploration at the Lahaina Heritage Museum in the old Courthouse building.

Scrimshaw on sperm whale tooth
File:Scrimshaw on sperm whale tooth, Lahaina Heritage Museum.JPG” by Wmpearl is marked with CC0 1.0.

Experience rotating exhibits offering insights into various aspects of Lahaina’s history, providing a comprehensive overview of its rich heritage.

Be sure to visit the Wo Hing Museum and Baldwin Home Museum to delve deeper into the town’s intriguing past.

For more Lahaina experience, look out for the iconic Banyan Tree, a historic landmark in the heart of Lahaina with roots as deep as the town’s history.

6. Hike Through the Lush Iao Valley State Park

If you’re looking for a beautiful and relaxing outdoor adventure, the Iao Valley State Park should be at the top of your Maui must-do list.

This park is known for its breathtaking scenery, including the legendary ʻĪao Needle or Kukaʻemoku in Hawaiian, which is a natural rock formation covered with greenery.

aerial photography of river between mountains

The park is filled with bright green plants, stunning waterfalls, and a serene stream that you can enjoy along your hike.

Begin your hike by following the well-marked trail that will lead you to the Iao Needle Overlook. This short, easy-to-read path is accessible to most visitors and provides stunning vistas along the way.

7. Surfing or Windsurfing at Ho’okipa Beach Park

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience in Maui, surfing or windsurfing at Ho’okipa Beach Park should be on your list of must-do activities.

Located on the beautiful North Shore of Maui, Ho’okipa Beach Park is renowned for its world-class waves and is a popular destination for professional surfers and windsurfers.

Scott McKercher at Ho'okipa beach park
Scott McKercher at Ho’okipa beach park” by DeniseMeertens is marked with CC0 1.0.

Ho’okipa offers various surf breaks to cater to different skill levels, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced surfers.

Mornings are considered the best time to enjoy the beauty of Ho’okipa Beach Park, as the winds tend to pick up later in the day, making it more appealing for windsurfers.

8. Relax on the Golden Sands of Makena Beach

Makena Beach, also known as Big Beach, is one of Maui’s signature beaches. With its stunning white sands stretching nearly 2/3 of a mile, this is one of the largest undeveloped beaches on the island.

people on beach during daytime

To make the most of your visit, here are some activities you can do on Makena Beach:

  • Admire the view: Hike up to Pu’u Ola’i for panoramic views of the beach and its surroundings.
  • Explore Little Beach: Take a stroll down to Little Beach, a smaller, more secluded beach just a short walk away from Big Beach.
  • Snorkel: Discover the underwater world by snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of Makena Beach.
  • Swim: Take a refreshing dip in the ocean and enjoy the pleasant waves.
  • Sunbathe: Lay down your beach towel and soak up the Hawaiian sun on the pristine sands of Makena Beach.

Make sure to come prepared, as this beach offers limited amenities, such as parking, restrooms, and food concessions.

Remember that lifeguards are on duty from 8 am to 4:30 pm. It’s essential to practice caution, as Big Beach can have strong currents and powerful waves at times.

9. Visit Upcountry Towns (Makawao and Kula)

When you’re in Maui, don’t miss the chance to explore the beautiful upcountry towns of Makawao and Kula.

These charming towns offer a unique blend of authentic Hawaiian culture, stunning natural beauty, and diverse attractions.

person in hoodie watching sunset from a hill

Starting your journey in Makawao, you’ll find a vibrant artistic community and a strong Hawaiian cowboy (paniolo) heritage. Stroll along the lovely streets for some shopping or admire the beautiful architecture.

Some popular stops include:

  • Art galleries
  • Boutiques
  • Cafés
  • The Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center

Next, head over to the lovely town of Kula, where you’ll be surrounded by stunning views and lush landscapes.

Monstera deliciosa-habit with Kim-Kula Botanical Garden-Maui
File:Starr-110307-2359-Monstera deliciosa-habit with Kim-Kula Botanical Garden-Maui (24450012953).jpg” by Forest and Kim Starr is licensed under CC BY 3.0.

Home to the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm and the Kula Country Farms, it is the perfect place for those seeking relaxation amidst nature. Be sure to visit:

  • Surfing Goat Dairy Farm
  • Ocean Vodka Distillery
  • Kula Botanical Garden

10. Attend a Luau

Experience the vibrant culture of Maui at a luau—an iconic Hawaiian gathering featuring music, dance, and delectable feasts.

Maui boasts diverse luaus, each with a unique cultural twist. Whether set against stunning beaches or lush gardens, you’ll receive a warm aloha and a flower lei upon arrival at these captivating events.

Old Lahaina Luau
Old Lahaina Luau” by ccharmon is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

One of the top picks for a luau in West Maui is the Maui Nui Luau, which offers a breathtaking backdrop for your evening of entertainment.

South Maui showcases the Feast at Mokapu, located at the Wailea Beach Resort, as well as The Luau at the Grand Wailea.

Typically, a luau will start with a variety of interactive activities and demonstrations for you to participate in, such as lei making, hula dancing lessons, and learning about traditional Hawaiian crafts.

After sunset, be captivated by skilled dancers performing traditional Polynesian dances, with many luaus concluding the night with an exciting fire-knife dance!

11. Snorkel at Turtle Town

If you’re a nature lover, one of the must-do activities on your Maui trip should be snorkeling at the famous Turtle Town.

This underwater paradise is perfect for snorkel enthusiasts, as it offers an exceptional opportunity to swim with majestic Hawaiian green sea turtles.

Turtle Town is not just a single snorkeling spot; it’s a collection of prime locations along the southern coastline of Maui.

Some of the most popular spots include Maluaka Beach and areas near Nahuna Point to Black Sand Beach which have an abundance of turtle sightings.

Maluaka Beach is especially favored by snorkelers for its calm blue waters, white sand beach, and vibrant marine life.

12. Discover Marine Life at the Maui Ocean Center

Maui Ocean Center is a special facility highlighting Hawaii’s marine life through exhibits and immersive experiences, fostering a deeper appreciation for the region’s biodiversity.

Maui Ocean Center houses diverse marine species, including the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal, native exclusively to the Hawaiian archipelago.

underwater photograph of jellyfish

Maximize your visit by joining the center’s interactive experiences—unique tours and adventures that deepen your connection to Hawaii’s marine life.

Maui Ocean Center is both an enchanting attraction and a vital force in conservation and education. Your involvement supports programs dedicated to safeguarding Hawaii’s marine life for future generations.

13. Zip-lining Adventures

If you’re seeking an adrenaline rush during your Maui vacation, look no further than the thrilling zip-lining adventures available on the island.

One of the top zip-lining spots on the island is Kapalua Ziplines, which features both 2.5-hour, Four-Line Zipline Tours and 3.5-hour, Six-Line Zipline Tours.

For a truly unique experience, consider the Skyline Eco-Adventure Haleakala Zipline Tour & Maui Treetop Adventure, which lets you soar at speeds of up to 45 mph on five different zip lines.

Some other notable zip-lining locations include:

  • Maui Zipline Company: Known as one of the most popular spots for zip-lining on the island.
  • Flyin Hawaiian Zipline: Offers an unmatched, exhilarating experience.
  • Adventure Park Maui: Famous for challenging aerial adventures.
  • Paraglide Maui – Proflyght Paragliding: Offers a unique, thrilling activity that complements zip-lining.

As you soar through the skies, take a moment to marvel at Maui’s breathtaking natural beauty from a bird’s eye view.

My Thoughts on 13 Must-Do Activities In Maui

Starting on a journey to Maui promises an unparalleled adventure with a plethora of activities to ensure a memorable experience on this enchanting island.

Start with beach fun and water activities like snorkeling, surfing, or paddleboarding. In winter, catch the breathtaking humpback whale migration on a booked tour.

While these activities promise an exhilarating experience, it’s important to find moments to relax and savor the island’s beauty at your own pace. Happy exploring!

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