Maui has something to offer for everyone – whether it’s hiking in the jungle, snorkeling with sea turtles, or spending a day relaxing on the sand. Not counting all the sights on the Road to Hana (as they warranted their own separate post), here’s what we consider the top 10 things to do in Maui:
1. Watch the sunrise or book a bicycle tour at Haleakala
Haleakala, or “House of the Sun” in Hawaiian, is a dormant volcano in the middle of Maui. The parking lot at the summit fills up as early as 4:00 am! If you’re willing to wake up early enough for the sunrise, we recommend adding this to your itinerary as soon as possible to take advantage of the time difference from California. Be sure to wear layers and bring a warm jacket.
Another unique way to experience Haleakala is to rent a bicycle. The self guided tour starts at the top of the mountain and takes you downhill for 23 miles – a thrilling way to start your day!
2. Drive the Road to Hana
The Road to Hana (or Hana Highway) is a narrow and twisting 52-mile route along the northeastern coast of Maui. The drive is filled with scenic ocean views, jungle hikes, majestic waterfalls, and beautiful beaches. There are so many stops worth mentioning that we put them together in a separate list (see: 17 Worth Stops on the Road to Hana)! It can easily take an entire day to reach the small town of Hana, so we highly recommend spending one night in Hana before making the drive back to the other side of the island.
3. Go Snorkeling
Maui has fantastic beaches for water activities like snorkeling, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, and more. The most well known beaches for snorkeling are Ulua Beach, Kapalua Beach, Ka’anapali Beach, and Honolua Bay.
4. Stroll down Front Street in Lahaina
Front Street in Lahaina is the best place in Maui to go for nightlife and shopping. This bustling stretch of restaurants, bars, art galleries, and souvenir shops even has one of Fern’s favorite Hawaiian stores – the Honolulu Cookie Company.
5. Explore the Grand Wailea/Wailea Beach
The breathtaking Grand Wailea Resort is a true tropical paradise, with 40 acres of lush gardens, fountains, and pools. Enjoy a stroll along the paved beach walk behind the hotel or spend a relaxing afternoon people-watching at Wailea Beach.
6. Visit the Nakalele Blowhole
Drive along the northwestern coast of Maui to watch sea water shoot up 100 feet in the air through a natural hole formed by lava. Right ahead of the parking lot is a great vantage point with spectacular views of the coast! It’s a short but rocky descent to get from the parking lot to the blowhole, so make sure to bring shoes with good traction.
7. Kayak (or Snorkel) with Sea Turtles at Turtle Town
Turtle Town is a long stretch of coastline in the southern part of Maui. The most well known spots for sighting Hawaiian green sea turtles are Maluaka Beach and Makena Landing. Sea turtles flock to these areas to feed on algae in the coral reefs and are often curious enough to swim up to humans! However, it’s important to note that these sea turtles are an endangered species and are protected by law – please be respectful and do not touch them.
8. Sail to Lana’i
Hawaii’s smallest inhabited island is just a 30 minute ferry ride away from the harbor of Lahaina. You can book a sailing cruise, snorkeling tour, or simply hop on the ferry to reach the island. Once you’re there, visit Manele Bay for a chance to see wild dolphins.
9. Explore the Charming Town of Paia
The colorful surfer town of Paia, also known as the “windsurfing capital of the world”, has a population of under 3000. Its charming main street is a leisurely place to spend a few hours visiting boutiques, art galleries, coffee shops, and yoga studios. Paia Inn and Flatbread Pizza are among the most buzzworthy places to eat, and the renowned Mama’s Fish House is just a mile past the main block.
10. Attend an Authentic Hawaiian Luau
Most of the luaus on Maui are put on by resorts, but the Old Lahaina Luau is the most authentic and takes place in downtown Lahaina. Enjoy traditional Hawaiian music and dance while feasting on a delicious meal around a center stage. The Royal Lahaina Luau is the most kid-friendly (and budget friendly) option with 1 free children’s ticket (ages 6-11) for every adult ticket.