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Best Tours and Activities in Maui

Discovering Maui is one of the most unforgettable adventures you will experience in your travels. Read about the best Maui tours so you don't miss a thing!

Best Tours and Activities in Maui

Sunrise in Maui | ©Ganapathy Kumar

Maui is one of the most paradisiacal islands of Polynesia full of beaches and dreamy landscapes. A privileged place for surfing, snorkeling and photography lost in the middle of the Pacific.

If you are one of the lucky ones who are going to spend their vacations in Hawaii, I'll tell you all about what the "Magic Island" has to offer.

1. Hike the volcano for the best views

Haleakala volcano crater| ©Katie Rodriguez
Haleakala volcano crater| ©Katie Rodriguez

One of the most memorable experiences you can have on Maui is to hike around the island to discover the captivating landscapes it treasures.

Its unique geography is full of lush jungle, steep cliffs, green valleys, palm groves, turquoise beaches and long waterfalls that seem to have no end.

There is no doubt that by joining a Maui hiking tour you will be able to take some of the best photographs of your trip.

Some of the most interesting places to hike are Iao Valley State Park (low difficulty) or Pipiwai Trail (higher difficulty) but to witness the best views of the island, I recommend hiking to the top of Haleakala Volcano, the highest volcano on Maui at almost 10,000 feet above sea level.

The sunrise or sunset from the summit of Haleakala is magical! An absolutely fascinating spectacle of colors tinting the sky and clouds that you can't miss. Mark Twain himself described it as "the most sublime spectacle I have ever witnessed".

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2. Join a snorkeling boat excursion

Go snorkeling| ©Benjamin L. Jones
Go snorkeling| ©Benjamin L. Jones

The warm, crystal-clear waters of Maui are one of the best places to snorkel in Hawaii, as they hold a spectacular natural underwater treasure trove of miles of coral reefs home to tropical fish, sea urchins and starfish, manta rays, eels, green turtles and even dolphins.

Having the opportunity to dive in such a beautiful natural environment is one of the most fun plans you have to do during your stay on the island.

One of the best areas to snorkel in Maui is Molokini Island, located offshore off the southwest coast. It is a large volcanic cone that is extinct but so full of life that the island was named a State Marine and Birdlife Conservation District.

It is a place I recommend you go during your Hawaiian vacation but it can only be reached by boat as is Turtle Town on Maluaka Beach, the best place to see green sea turtles in Maui. This beach is another hidden gem to admire while snorkeling.

If you are interested in diving and would like to join an excursion in the sea, you should know that there are many boat tours for snorkeling in Maui. Whether by catamaran, boat or kayak, you are sure to find the right one for you.

To learn more about snorkeling tours in Maui, take a look at the post Diving and Snorkeling in Maui where you will see very interesting proposals to spend a great day snorkeling in Polynesia.

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3. Relax on a cruise along Maui's coastline

Visit the Molokini crater| ©Farid Askerov
Visit the Molokini crater| ©Farid Askerov

During a vacation full of activities, it is sometimes good to slow down a bit and reserve part of the day to simply rest.

For those relaxing moments, there's nothing better than cruising off the coast of Maui to enjoy the Pacific sunset while sipping delicious cocktails and listening to live music. Sounds good, doesn't it?

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4. Take a helicopter tour to fly over Maui

Discover the best views of Maui from the helicopter| ©Alan Light
Discover the best views of Maui from the helicopter| ©Alan Light

Known as "The Valley Isle" for its peculiar geography of beautiful emerald valleys, grandiose waterfalls and steep cliffs, the landscapes of the island of Maui are a fascinating natural spectacle that amazes even more when its beauty is appreciated in all its splendor from the very sky, flying in a helicopter.

This is one of the most breathtaking experiences you can take home from your trip to Hawaii. In addition to the beautiful views of Maui that seem to be taken from a lost world, there is the adrenaline rush of flying at hundreds of miles per hour over the Pacific. You won't stop taking pictures!

Some of the most beautiful sites that you can see during the activity are Iao Valley State Park, Halawa Valley, Molokai or the Haleakala volcano, among others.

Taking a helicopter tour in Maui is a great idea if you want to have a global vision of the island by sea, land and air, so that you don't miss any detail during your trip.

The good thing about this type of activities is that there is plenty of variety to choose from. I recommend you to read the post The best helicopter tours in Maui to see some of the most popular options.

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5. Dive in the Atlantis Submarine

Atlantis Submarine on the surface| ©Amaury Laporte
Atlantis Submarine on the surface| ©Amaury Laporte

Exploring the seabed of Hawaii aboard a submarine could be the great story you tell your friends when you return from your trip. Can you imagine stepping into the shoes of Captain Nemo himself to dive into the waters of Maui and observe an unknown universe beneath the earth's surface?

You will not travel in the mythical Nautilus of "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" but you will be able to discover the depths of the ocean aboard the Atlantis Maui submarine, a state-of-the-art vessel that will show you all the secrets hidden underwater: coral reefs, tropical fish, sea urchins and starfish, eels, manta rays, green turtles, whales... and even a sunken ship!

If you've never ridden a submarine to the depths of the ocean before, this is a fun and unforgettable adventure to experience during your Maui vacation - watch the thrill and adrenaline rush as the ship plunges into the depths of the Pacific!

Want to know more? Don't miss the post Atlantis Submarine Tours in Maui.

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6. Visit Pearl Harbor Military Base from Maui

Deck of the USS Missouri with the USS Arizona Memorial in the background| ©Bernard Spragg. NZ
Deck of the USS Missouri with the USS Arizona Memorial in the background| ©Bernard Spragg. NZ

Pearl Harbor is one of the most visited sites in Hawaii due to its international historical relevance and a must-see place even when you are not staying in Oahu but in Maui, as there are tours to Pearl Harbor from here that will take you to see the iconic U.S. naval base whose attack by Japanese aircraft in December 1941 changed the course of World War II.

Although you can do the visit on your own, in my opinion, taking a plane tour to Pearl Harbor from Maui is the best option because you will not have to worry about finding transportation to Oahu and then to the naval base, nor queuing at the ticket office of this National Monument to get tickets on the same day of the visit. Something quite complicated considering the long lines that form at the entrances.

So if you are going to spend your vacation in Maui but you would like to visit the neighboring island of Oahu to see Pearl Harbor doing an organized tour, I advise you to read the post Excursions to Pearl Harbor from Maui where you will find more details about it as well as what to bring during the excursion.

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7. Attend a traditional Hawaiian show in a Luau

Traditional Luau| ©bradhoc
Traditional Luau| ©bradhoc

During your trip to Hawaii I'm sure you'll want to go to a traditional luau party on the island - they're super fun!

You may have heard of them but don't know exactly what a luau party is. It's a Hawaiian celebration that revolves around music, dance and typical Hawaiian food - all with lots of aloha spirit!

They are also a very curious expression of Polynesian culture that every traveler should experience, so dress up in your best clothes and get ready to live a magical experience at sunset!

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8. Meet the Ocean Center Maui

Ocean Center Maui| ©Jon Konrath
Ocean Center Maui| ©Jon Konrath

The Ocean Center of Maui is considered one of the 10 best aquariums in the world.

It is well known the close relationship of the Hawaiian people with the sea, so a tour inside this aquarium is an excellent way to learn about the marine life of the archipelago (with a unique ecosystem in the world) and its conservation, as well as Hawaiian culture and values.

During your visit to the Ocean Center of Maui you will be able to see native Hawaiian species such as tropical fish, moray eels, octopus, manta rays, sharks, jellyfish, seahorses and many more.

Normally when there are more people in the aquarium is in the mornings, so if you want to visit it without crowds I recommend you to do it from 1 PM. It will take you about 2 hours to go through the whole aquarium. So it is a good plan to do at any time of the day.

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9. Travel along the scenic "Road to Hana" road on a tour

Enjoy the beautiful scenery along the
Enjoy the beautiful scenery along the "Road to Hana".| ©Aaron Jade

In every trip you can never miss a road trip, an exciting road adventure in which we discover unusual and beautiful landscapes. It so happens that Hawaii has one of the most beautiful roads in the world, Road to Hana, where the important thing is not the destination (the small town that gives it its name) but the road itself.

Road to Hana is a spectacular route of about 72 kilometers along the north coast of Maui that has 620 hairpin bends and more than 50 bridges that will lead you to wonderful landscapes of virgin jungle, large waterfalls, fields of palm trees, steep cliffs and paradisiacal beaches that will remain etched in your retina.

While you can do this road trip on your own by renting a car in Maui, my advice is that if you want to know the landscapes of the island it is better to join one of the tours that explore Road to Hana, as it is a road full of curves with which you are not familiar.

To avoid driving risks during your vacation, it is best to put yourself in the hands of local guides who know the geography of the terrain perfectly and will show you the most spectacular sites safely, so that you only have to worry about enjoying the views!

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10. Take advantage of your stay in Maui to go whale watching

Whale watching| ©Colton Jones
Whale watching| ©Colton Jones

Maui's shallow, warm waters make it an excellent place for whale watching. Every winter humpback whales leave the cold waters of Alaska for Hawaii to breed, give birth, care for and feed their calves.

These animals have a reputation for being unpredictable and fierce, but that does not represent an impediment for thousands of people who dream of joining a cruise to observe these beautiful creatures up close in their natural habitat.

If you are one of them you are in luck because Maui is an ideal destination to observe them due to the good conditions of its waters. You can enjoy a very special experience by participating in one of the various whale watching boat tours that exist on the island and that go deep into the Pacific.

In addition, during the boat ride you will have wonderful views of the coast of Maui and you will learn many curiosities about these majestic creatures from the captain and crew of the boat.

If you want to know more about the Hawaiian humpback whales and the boat tours, I recommend you to read the post Whale watching in Maui.

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11. In Maui, also with the family: the best activities to do with children

Children playing at sunset on the beach| ©Lance Shields
Children playing at sunset on the beach| ©Lance Shields

In Hawaiian culture, family (ohana) is very important, so children are always welcome on the islands and many activities are organized so that they can also enjoy a fantastic vacation in Hawaii.

In Maui you can make many family plans, such as spending a day at the beach, whale watching at sea, visiting the Ocean Center aquarium, riding the Atlantis submarine, climbing to the top of the Haleakala volcano, snorkeling in Molokini, visiting Pearl Harbor and much more. You will have a great time!

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the best experience on the coast of Hana?

    Based on reviews and ratings, the best experience on the Hana Coast is the easy day trip, as it includes pick-up from your hotel and stops at every point of interest so you can soak in the breathtaking views of the coast. Plus, you'll enjoy unique sights like black sand beaches, stunning waterfalls, and explore the area around Haleakala Volcano. If you are looking for a more adventurous and premium experience, we recommend the deluxe tour that includes a helicopter flight.

  • What are the best places on the coast of Hana?

    The Hana Coast has some unique views that you can't miss, including the spectacular pools of Ohe'o, the black sand beaches of Wai'anapanapa State Park, Keanae, Wailua Falls, and the rugged Haleakala Volcano area.

  • How much time do I need to see the Hana coast?

    Most experiences last one day, or at least 5 to 6 hours. Deluxe experiences, or day trips that include additional activities, last up to 10 hours.