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Best Things To Do in Maui

Maui, Hawaii's second largest island, is a fascinating place that has it all for a memorable vacation.

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

9 min read

Best Things To Do in Maui

Maui sunset | ©Neora Aylon

Paradise beaches, picturesque villages, party nights and dreamy landscapes to escape to for hiking and sightseeing adventures; in Maui it is impossible to get bored. Want to know everything you can do in Maui? I'll tell you all about it!

Snorkel in Maui and swim with fish and turtles

Admire Maui's marine wildlife| ©Stephen Leonardi
Admire Maui's marine wildlife| ©Stephen Leonardi

With more than 1,000 miles of coral reefs surrounding the Hawaiian coast, Maui's pristine waters hold a natural underwater treasure trove of green turtles, tropical fish, urchins, dolphins, manta rays and whimsical lava and coral formations that will leave you in awe.

One of the best areas for snorkeling in Maui is the island of Molokini, located offshore off the southwest coast of Maui. 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.

A place like this you have to see at all costs but you can only get there by boat, so my recommendation is that you book a Maui snorkeling experience that includes the boat ride, a full continental breakfast, deli lunch on board to refuel and of course snorkeling gear and an instructor. This way, all you have to worry about is enjoying yourself.

Book a snorkeling experience in Maui

Experience a magical night in Maui with a luau party.

Typical Hawaiian dancing at a luau| ©Andy L
Typical Hawaiian dancing at a luau| ©Andy L

During your trip to Hawaii I am sure you will want to attend a traditional luau party on the island, they are tremendously joyful and fun! Considering that they are held for the most varied reasons (birthdays, weddings, baptisms...), why not celebrate your trip to Hawaii in style and toast to the many more to come?

Book a luau experience in Maui, put on your best clothes and live a magical experience at sunset.

What are luau parties?

A Hawaiian luau party revolves around dance, music and typical Hawaiian food, but its meaning goes beyond that, as it has a very interesting origin.

When you arrive at the luau party, you will be welcomed with a lei necklace of flowers and cocktails to make you feel comfortable.

At the sound of the conch shell, the imu ceremony will begin and the delicious kalua pig will be taken out of the subway oven. From there you will enjoy a spectacular feast of Hawaiian food while you enjoy watching a Samoan fire dance show and other live Hawaiian music performances with lots of hula dancing.

Book a luau experience in Maui

Go on a Maui tour to explore the island

Haleakala National Park| ©NOAA
Haleakala National Park| ©NOAA

Traveling to Hawaii is an experience that every traveler should live at least once in a lifetime. Despite being a small archipelago in the middle of the ocean, it impresses with the enormous diversity, beauty and grandeur of each of the islands that compose it.

To explore the beauty of the island and its precious enclaves, the best thing to do in Maui is to join a tour that allows you to experience the magic of this place to the fullest. Take out your camera because you will be surprised to see the variety of landscapes that fit in such a small space!

Tour Kahālāwai on quad bikes

Taking an ATV tour of Maui is a fantastic option for touring the western part of the island, which is home to a mountain range covered in lush vegetation.

Known as Kahālāwai or House of Water, you will glimpse its highest peak, an ancient volcano, aboard a 4x4 vehicle.

Full adrenaline!

Discover Maui in an off-road vehicle

Experience an authentic adventure aboard an off-road vehicle, as a passenger or as a driver, and discover some of the treasures of the island.

If you book an off-road tour of Maui you can choose between two different routes:

  • A coastal tour, where you will see Kaanapali Beach and Lahaina.
  • A tour of the wetlands, on the west side, which includes a walk through the Pu'u Kukui hydrographic account reserve.

Horseback riding on Maui

If you're looking for an equally nature-filled, but slightly more leisurely experience, then I recommend booking a Maui horseback ride.

For two hours you'll ride through western Mahui, on a gentle climb through a coastal landscape to the scenic petting zoo.

Don't worry if you've never ridden a horse before, as no experience is required and you'll always be accompanied by an instructor guide.

Tour East Maui's rainforest on foot

Of course, if transportation is not your thing, because you prefer to go on foot, a hiking tour of Maui will surely be a perfect plan for you.

You will discover the magical corners of the East Maui jungle on foot, but the road to Hana will be traveled by courtesy transportation, to avoid unforeseen events or imprudence.

At the end of the tour you will enjoy a swim in a spectacular spot and a lunch that, no doubt, will taste like glory after the hike.

Admire Maui from another point of view

And if you already know the island inside out, why hire a kayak tour to admire its landscapes from the Pacific Ocean?

This adventure also requires no experience and will allow you to learn about the native marine animals, as well as the history and way of life of West Maui thanks to the explanations of the local guide who will accompany you.

Book a tour in Maui

Sunbathe and surf on the beaches of Maui

Surf in the waters of Maui| ©Ted
Surf in the waters of Maui| ©Ted

One of the biggest tourist attractions in Hawaii are its paradisiacal beaches. They come in all colors (with white, red, black sand...) and all have crystal clear waters that invite not only to take a dip but also to practice all kinds of water activities such as surfing, snorkeling, windsurfing or kayaking.

Maui's beaches are the ideal place to relax and disconnect from everything. If you were to ask me which are the coolest beaches on this island to sunbathe and have a great time, I would tell you that you can't miss them:

  • Makena Beach: the largest in South Maui and with great views of the islands of Molokini and Kahoolawe.
  • Wailea Beach: considered the best beach in the United States.
  • Polo Beach: ideal for snorkeling and swimming.
  • Kaanapali Beach: in West Maui where you can attend the Puu Kekaa ceremony at sunset that commemorates the feat of King Kahekili.
  • Puamana Beach County Park: a beach with perfect waves for beginner surfers.

And if you feel like a more complete plan and let yourself be carried away by the experts, take a tour of the island of Maui, which of course includes incredible beaches like Hookipa, known as the capital of windsurfing, or Wainapanapa, famous for its black sand, is a must for you.

Book a Maui Island Tour

Explore the Pacific on a submarine

If the underwater world is your thing and you are not satisfied with snorkeling and diving, you can take advantage of your trip to Maui to take a tour on the Atlantis submarine in Maui and explore the waters of the Pacific.

You will explore the incredible life under the sea, discovering the incredible flora and fauna that hides in the depths of the Pacific Ocean and you will live a once in a lifetime experience. I wouldn't even think about it.

Book a Maui Submarine Tour

Visit the villages of Maui

Visit picturesque Lahaina| ©the misshapen steed
Visit picturesque Lahaina| ©the misshapen steed

With all there is to do in Maui, it is sometimes difficult to plan your agenda so as not to miss anything on the island. That's why you can't forget to include among the activities of your trip to Hawaii some excursion to see the picturesque towns of Maui.

There are many interesting places to explore but I recommend you to go to three:

Lahaina

This port city was once the most important city on Maui and the capital of Hawaii as it was the center of government for the Hawaiian monarchy until the mid-19th century and a prominent whaling settlement.

The best way to see Lahaina is to take the Lahaina Historic Trail, which runs through the city ' s main historical and cultural attractions.

Hana

Visiting Hana in East Maui is like taking a trip back in time to a place where you can sense that traditional Hawaiian atmosphere and the true aloha spirit of Hawaii.

Just making the drive to town (known as the "Road to Hana") is worth it in itself because you'll pass through spectacular scenery, but once there there there are incredible sites to see such as Wailua Falls, Waiʻanapanapa State Park or Honokalani Black Sand Beach. To find out which are the most spectacular waterfalls in Maui you can enter our post Visit the best waterfalls in Maui.

Wailuku

Located at the foot of the West Maui Mountains and surrounded by the rainforests of the sacred valley of Iao is Wailuku, the capital of Maui County.

A quiet town full of history and fantastic sites to see as the Kaahumanu Church (the oldest on the island), the Bailey House Museum or the Market Street area, where you can lose yourself strolling among its stores, art galleries and cafes. A hiking route in this place can be a great plan.

Take to the skies of Maui by helicopter

Discover the most beautiful views of the island by helicopter.| ©Ted Murphy
Discover the most beautiful views of the island by helicopter.| ©Ted Murphy

During your stay on the island, one of the most exciting and fun things to do in Maui is to ride in a helicopter to fly over it and get a bird's eye view of spectacular sites such as the beautiful green valley of Halawa, the Honokohau Falls of Maui, the Iao Valley State Park, the Haleakala volcano or the Kahiwa Falls of Molokai, among many other places of captivating beauty.

Take advantage of this experience to take some of the most stunning and beautiful photographs you will take during your vacation. It's really worth it to ride a helicopter over Maui, even if you have a little bit of vertigo, because when you're up there, the beautiful views of Hawaii and the Pacific Ocean will make you forget about everything. You'll feel like you're floating in the air... (literally!).

Visit Pearl Harbor on Oahu

View of the Arizona Memorial and the bay from the USS Missouri| ©Bernard Spragg. NZ
View of the Arizona Memorial and the bay from the USS Missouri| ©Bernard Spragg. NZ

Pearl Harbor Naval Base is an iconic destination in Hawaii that every tourist is willing to wait in line to enter. Even though we know all too well what happened here on that fateful morning of December 7, 1941, there is something fascinating and moving about this place that cannot be described in words and that draws us like a magnet to see it for ourselves:

  • Visitor Center Exhibits.
  • USS Arizona Memorial, where the remains of a battleship sunk at sea and the memorial to the victims are located.
  • USS Missouri, the ship where the surrender of Japan was signed, ending the war.
  • USS Oklahoma, among other places.

Pearl Harbor is a shocking but also emotional place. This is one of the visits to do in Maui that I recommend the most, whether you are passionate about history or not, because it leaves no one indifferent.

How to visit Pearl Harbor?

In case you are staying on the island of Maui and want to know Pearl Harbor (which is located on the neighboring island of Oahu) my advice is to join one of the tours that make the visit to the military base as they usually also include a tour of downtown Honolulu with which you will discover tourist attractions as outstanding as:

  • The Kawaiahao Church
  • The Iolani Palace
  • The statue of King Kamehameha
  • The Mission Houses Museum
  • The Waikiki Beach area

When is it best to travel to Maui

Any time of year is a good time to visit this Hawaiian paradise. There are activities for all tastes and budgets, but if there is one thing this tourist destination boasts of, it is its nature. So if you want to enjoy the wide range of outdoor activities to do in Maui, I recommend you take a look at our article on the best time to visit Maui where I give you some useful tips:

So you don't miss anything, here are two guides:

Finally, to make your trip perfect, you may also want to read our tips on Maui Airport Transfers. Pack your suitcase and enjoy!