Top 35 Maui Activities & Attractions
From snorkeling to ziplining and everything in between, it’s easy to feel lost in a sea of things to do and places to see when planning a trip to the Valley Isle. While there are countless amazing activities on the island, we’ve narrowed down the top 35 activities to enjoy on Maui.
THE TOP MAUI ACTIVITIES
1. Haleakala Crater
The otherworldly landscape at Haleakala Crater is named Maui’s #1 attraction time and again. The mountain’s 10,023′ summit is renowned for its jaw-dropping sunrise and sunset views, superb stargazing, and miles of hiking trails that descend into the crater’s moon-like basin.
2. Molokini Crater Snorkeling
Molokini is renowned as one of the best snorkeling destinations in Hawaii. Situated two miles off the coast, this crescent-shaped islet shelters a bounty of coral reef and tropical marine life. Numerous snorkel tours visit Molokini, departing from Lahaina Harbor, Maʻalaea Harbor, and Kihei Boat Ramp.
3. Whale Watching
From mid-December to mid-April, the waters around Maui Nui are teeming with humpback whales. It’s estimated that about 10,000 whales migrate to Hawaii each winter, with the highest concentration found in the waters around Maui. These gentle giants are easy to spot from shore, but take a whale watch to view them up close and in their element.
4. ʻIao Valley
The lush amphitheater of ʻIao Valley was the site of one of Hawaii’s bloodiest and most significant battles. King Kamehameha led the Battle of Kepaniwai in 1790 to unite the islands under one rule. Today, ʻIao Valley is home to a state park with meandering walking paths, informative panels, and views of the iconic ʻIao Needle- a 1,200-foot cylindrical peak. You can take a tour with Maui Circle Island of the West Maui mountains and up to the Iao Needle lookout point.
5. Road to Hana
Waterfalls, dense jungle, and countless turns and bridges characterize the rural road to Hana. The narrow highway travels through the remote East Maui region and is littered with attractions such as state parks and hiking trails easily making it one of the top Maui activities. The Road to Hana typically takes a full day, and there are very few amenities along the route. For the best experience, get an early start, avoid trespassing on private property, only park in designated areas, and pull over for local drivers and faster-moving vehicles, or sit back and relax and let a tour driver do all the hard work.
6. Twin Falls
Twin Falls is a popular string of waterfalls and ponds in Huelo along Hana Highway. Visitors can hike along a jungle-shrouded dirt road to numerous freshwater swimming holes. The Twin Falls farm stand is also a great place to stock up on local tropical fruits and snacks. Keep in mind Twin Falls is located on a privately owned farm that graciously allows public access.
7. Pipiwai Trail
The Pipiwai Trail is a popular hiking trail in the ultra-remote Kipahulu district of Haleakala National Park. The 3.5-mile out-and-back trail travels past giant banyan trees, through a thick bamboo forest, and leads to the impressive 400′ Waimoku Falls. The path is often muddy and humid, but the scenery along the way is well worth the minor pitfalls.
8. Lanai Snorkeling
The neighboring island of Lanaʻi is a fantastic snorkeling destination. The island’s remote reefs see a fraction of the number of tour boats that visit Molokini. In turn, sea life is abundant, including pods of curious spinner dolphins, which occasionally crash snorkeling sessions. In addition, the boat ride across the channel to Lanai offers up terrific whale watching opportunities (in winter) and views of Lanai’s impressive sea cliffs.
Maui is studded with zipline courses, and the activity has become one of the most popular things to do on the island. There is a zipline for everybody on the Valley Isle, from thrilling courses in high-elevation cloud forests to family-friendly lines that buzz through tropical gardens.
10. Front Street – Lahaina Town
Lahaina’s Front Street is the most lively town strip on Maui. This pedestrian-friendly street is punctuated by local shops, restaurants, bars, and art galleries. Front Street is set in the heart of historic Lahaina town, and there are several landmark buildings and stopping points that underscore Lahaina’s past as a whaling town and the former capital of Hawaii.
Whether it’s your first trip to Maui or your fifteenth, luaus are a must-do! While luaus are more of a tourist attraction than an authentic cultural experience, between the food and the entertainment, a luau is sure to stand out as one of the most memorable nights of your trip.
12. Surf Lessons
Oahu is often touted as the surfing isle, home to the birthplace of modern surfing in Waikiki and world-famous breaks on the north shore. However, Maui boasts a fair share of beginner breaks and surf schools that will get you up and riding in no time.
13. Waiʻanapanapa State Park – Black Sand Beach
Waiʻanapanapa State Park is the most popular stop on the road to Hana. The most alluring feature of the 122-acre park is the glistening black sand beach, dubbed Paʻiola Beach, which attracts scores of visitors annually. The remaining areas of the park house hiking and walking trails along the rugged lava coastline, legendary freshwater caves, ancient burial grounds, temples, pictographs, a camping area, and much more. Reservations to enter are now required for out-of-state visitors.
14. Paia Town
Located on Maui’s windswept north shore, Paia Town is one of the most eccentric villages on the island. Paia is the epitome of a funky beach town. The T-shape strip that forms the downtown area is lined with brightly painted storefronts, restaurants, and art galleries. While Paia’s colorful strip boasts great shopping and eating, it’s the town’s funky character and the eclectic population that makes it stand out. You never know who you might encounter in Paia Town- from barefoot hippies to professional surfers and even stars like Owen Wilson and Willie Nelson.
15. La Perouse – Keoneʻōʻio
Haleakala last erupted around 1790, and molten magma spilled down the mountain’s southwestern flank to form a lava desert at the Keoneʻōʻio area, also known as La Perouse. Geologically speaking, the lava flow here is relatively fresh, and the desert landscape is barren, hot, harsh, and windswept. The historic Hoapili Trail travels through the desolate lava plain, rewarding hikers who can brave the cruel heat and rough terrain with expansive views of the otherworldly desert.
Upcountry is the gateway to Haleakala summit and often gets overlooked as a destination in itself. However, Upcountry is littered with impressive views and hidden gems. A drive around this verdant region will reveal botanical gardens, wineries, lavender farms, county parks with great views, and mom-and-pop establishments like Grandma’s Coffee House, Morihara Store, and Fong Store. One of our favorite top Maui activities.
17. Makawao Town
Makawao Town sits on the edge of the Upcountry region. This quaint town was once a prominent ranching outpost and a favorite hangout of Hawaiian cowboys- Paniolos. Paniolo culture still runs deep in Makawao- the town hosts annual rodeos, parades, and a hitching post on the main strip remains from bygone days. Today, Makawao is a hub for art galleries, boutiques, and some of Maui’s best donuts and coffee. (Komoda Bakery and Espresso Mafia, respectively.)
18. Glass Blowing
Glass is a striking medium- and the art of glass blowing is a mind-blowing skill. Seeing how Maui is a haven for artists of all types, it should be no surprise that glass blowing is a somewhat prominent art on the island. There are glass blowing studios in Makawao, Haliimaile, Lahaina, and Kahului. If you’re interested in taking a glass-blowing workshop, head to Moana Glass near the ports in Kahului. If watching the masters do their thing is more your speed, look no further than Hot Island Glass in Makawao, one of the island’s most renowned studios.
From the sands at Haleakala Crater to the jungle labyrinth at the Pipiwai Trail, hiking trails are scattered about the island. There is an abundance of treks that cater to any level of fitness. Expect strenuous journeys on the Haleakala trails, Waiheʻe Ridge Trail, and Lahaina Pali Trail. More moderate hikes include the Pipiwai Trail, Hoapili Trail (if you can bear the heat), and Makawao Forest. If easy-does-it is more your speed, check out Iao Valley, Kapalua Coastal Trail, Waihou Spring Trail Loop, or the Ohai Loop Trail.
20. Helicopter Tour
Helicopter tours are an ultra-popular visitor activity on Maui, not only because of the grand birds-eye views but because helicopter tours give visitors the chance to see inaccessible sights. From the “wall of tears”- an emerald valley wall strewn with waterfalls deep within the West Maui Mountains- to the tallest sea cliffs in the world on Molokai, helicopter tours reveal a side of Maui Nui that few get to see.
21. Sunset Cruise
There are many great things about Maui, and sunsets are one of them! Take your sunset experience to the next level by climbing aboard a sunset cruise. Ocean breezes, an open bar, live music, and a fantastic meal are usually guaranteed aboard most sunset cruises. Could you ask for anything more?!
22. Distillery Tours
Several acclaimed liquors are produced on Maui, namely Ocean Vodka, Pau Vodka, Fid Street Gin, and Paniolo Whiskey. Ocean Vodka’s distillery sits on 80 acres of manicured farmland in lower Kula. Tours, tastings, and the cafe are open to the public daily- plus the views from Ocean’s distillery are hard to beat. The latter liquors are all produced at Haliimaile Distilling Company, where tastings and tours are also offered.
23. Maui Ocean Center
The Maui Ocean Center is the biggest aquarium in the state of Hawaii. The three-acre facility features exhibits that highlight Hawaii’s bounty of marine life. From touch tide pools to a tunnel that travels through the shark and ray tank, visitors of all ages will enjoy Maui Ocean Center.
24. Maui Tropical Plantation
After a prolonged closure and a period of uncertainty in 2020, the Maui Tropical Plantation has reopened to visitors. This expanse of 500 acres pays homage to Maui’s agricultural roots, and as such, over 40 different types of crops are cultivated on the property. Visitors can tour the property via tram, devour delectable farm-to-table eats at Cafe O’lei at the Mill House, go ziplining, stock up on fresh produce at Kumu Farms store, or browse a myriad of shopping options.
Maui is one of the top golf destinations in the United States. Kapalua plays host to the PGA Tour every January. The highest concentration of golf courses on Maui are located in the resort areas on the west side (Kaʻanapali, Kapalua) and the south side (Kihei, Wailea, Makena). However, there are excellent courses in both Waikapu and Pukalani as well.
26. Aliʻi Kula Lavender
This 13.5-acre Upcountry farm features countless neatly planted rows of lavender, hydrangeas, proteas, and other beautiful botanicals. The stunning bi-coastal views, walking trails, and lavender-infused products like lavender soaps, brownies, salt, and lemonade are well worth the trip Upcountry.
Are you dreaming of reeling in the big one? Well, Maui is just the place. There is a myriad of sportfishing tours for anglers to get their fix. But, even if you don’t catch an elusive blue marlin- the undisputed king of the sea- you’ll likely leave with something to grill for dinner and a memory of a day well spent on the ocean.
28. Makena State Park
Makena—also known as Big Beach—is renowned as one of the most stunning beaches on the Valley Isle. More formidably, the hammering shorebreak here is responsible for more spinal injuries than any other beach in Hawaii. Makena is well worth a visit for a morning walk, to watch daring local bodyboarders do their thing, or to catch the sunset, but it’s better to stay on dry land at this beach.
29. Lahaina Banyan Tree
Despite its many trunks, the Lahaina Banyan Tree is actually one singular tree! Located in the heart of Lahaina on Front Street, the tree spans an entire block and stands over 60 feet high. Most weekends, you will find local artists and artisans displaying and selling their works under the shade of the massive tree.
30. Maui Wine
Maui’s only winery is located in the rural Ulupalakua region. The winery’s historic estate has roots that date back to 1857, the height of the plantation era. In the mid-70s, the property was converted into a winery. Today, a host of local wines are on offer, made with anything from locally grown grapes to pineapples.
31. Bailey House Museum
For those interested in learning more about Hawaiian culture, there is no better place on Maui to do so than at the Bailey House Museum. The Bailey House is home to a substantial collection of pre-western-contact Hawaiian artifacts. In addition to a myriad of historical relics, the hospitable staff are experts on Maui’s history and happy to share their indispensable wisdom.
Whether you need to wear the kids out before a long flight back home or it’s a rainy day on the Valley Isle, the Ultimate Air Trampoline Park is a godsend for both parents and keiki. Centrally located in Maui Lani off Kuihelani Highway, Ultimate Air makes for an easy stop coming from any side of the island.
33. Maui Breweries
Interest in craft beer is booming around the country, and Maui is no exception. Maui is now home to three craft breweries- Kohola Brewery in Lahaina, Mahalo Aleworks in Pukalani, and the famous Maui Brewing Company in Kihei. In addition, Waikiki Brewing, an Oahu-based brewery, also recently opened a taproom in Lahaina.
34. Maui Pineapple Tours
While Maui’s sprawling pineapple farms are mostly a thing of the past, one plantation remains- Maui Gold. Situated in the rolling hills near Haliʻimaile, the Maui Gold pineapple tour gives visitors a glimpse into the cultivation of the unique fruit. Plus, every guest gets a free pineapple!
A kayak tour is a great way to see massive humpback whales up close in the wintertime. Year-round, kayaking is a wonderful way to spend a morning on the ocean. For the best experience, go with a guide who can show you the ropes and lead you to the best snorkel spots.
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