There’s just something about Maui. A sense of calm comes over you as soon as you step foot off the plane, smell the ocean breeze and bask in the tropical weather. And with so many things to do on the coolest Hawaiian island, you will surely never get bored—unless you want to.
While traveling throughout the second largest of all the Hawaiian islands, there were a lot of goals checked off my Bucket List—everything from fun activities to cool attractions to breathtaking tropical nature, tasty restaurants and traditional luaus. Plus, so much more unexpected treasures.
The Best Things to Do in Maui
What to See + Do
1. ✦ Attend a Luau
Not many people travel all the way to Hawaii without attending the quintessential luau. The traditional feast typically has music accompanied by dance and, of course, no shortage of food. The Feast of Lele in Lahaina puts on one of the few luaus in Maui that is not a buffet (that’s primarily why I chose that one and the backdrop wasn’t too shabby either). Though another popular choice is Old Lahaina.
Book a Tour: An Evening at the Old Lahaina Luau
Book a Tour: Kaanapali Sunset Luau in Maui
2. ✧ Go Whale Watching
3. ✦ Swim with Sea Turtles
Though sea turtles can be found in many snorkeling areas on the island, one of my favorites was Maui’s Olowalu Reef. Kayak Olowalu has an excursion where not only can you kayak through the smooth waters, but also pop on a mask to snorkel, and if nature is on your side quite possibly swim with some sea turtles.
If you are lucky, a few sharks will be roaming around ready to share your ocean space.
Book a Tour: Molokini and Turtle Town Snorkeling Adventure
4. ✦ See the 7 Sacred Pools of Ohe’o Gulch
5. ✦ Walk on a Black Sand Beach
While contemplating which of the Road to Hana stops you will make, don’t miss the one at mile marker 32, the Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach. Take the short, steep trail down to the beachfront, take off your shoes and walk along the shiny black sand. It was one of my favorite Things to do in Maui.
6. ✧ Pose With Lahaina’s Banyan Tree
7. ✦ Tour a Pineapple Farm
You haven’t tasted a pineapple until you have tasted one straight from the bush. Take a tour of a pineapple farm with Maui Gold Tours to see the fascinating farming process of the fruit, plus your guide will allow you to taste the pineapples at three different levels of ripeness, so you can pick your favorite.
8. ✧ Learn to Hula
9. ✦ Drive the Road to Hana
One of the absolute best things to do in Maui is to drive the picturesque 53-mile, curvy Road to Hana. With breathtaking waterfalls, hiking spots and beaches, this drive should absolutely be on your bucket list.
Take a peek at my 17 Stops on the Road to Hana to see what you would be missing if you chose not to go.
Book a Tour: Full-Day Sightseeing Tour of the Road to Hāna
10. ✧ Snorkel Molokini Crater
11. ✧ Sleep in a Yurt
Prior to traveling to Maui, I had never even heard of a yurt. But, now I know that these tent-like shelters that are used by Central Asian nomads can be a unique lodging option.
At Luana Resort Spa in Hana not only can you sleep in a cozy yurt, but you can also have a variety of spa services in one too.
12. ✧ Take a Helicopter Tour
13. ✧ Milk a Goat
Maui is home to Surfing Goat Dairy which is located in lower Kula of Maui’s Upcountry and has been producing gourmet goat cheeses for nine years. They offer a variety of tours, one of which you can milk an actual goat!
After the milking is complete don’t forget to eat a creamy goat cheese truffle while at the goat dairy.
14. ✧ Go Ziplining
15. ✦ See a Blow Hole
Though the Road to Hana is the most famous roads in Maui, it is not the only place to take an incredible drive. Traveling north from Kapalua to the Nakalele Blow Hole won’t disappoint either. The natural wonder gives off quite a show when the tide and surf combine. Just don’t get too close!
16. ✧ Do a Waterfall Rappel
17. ✧ Bicycle Down a Volcano
Haleakala Bike Company will take you on a bicycle adventure starting at the summit of Haleakala, Maui’s largest Volcano. The thrilling 27-mile downhill bike ride includes bicoastal and crater views, as well as pit stops along the way.
photo credit thenickalt
18. ✧ Learn to Surf
19. ✦ Relax in a Funky Surf Town
One of the absolute must things to do in Maui is to spend time relaxing in a cool surf town—and Paia is a perfect choice. With its beachy boutiques, stunning waterfronts and fresh fish restaurants, It is definitely the epitome of a funky, cool town. It is also a great place to start on the Road to Hana.
Consider an overnighter at the trendy Paia Inn, which Conde Nast named as having one of the World’s Sexiest Hotel Staffs.
20. ✧ Standup Paddle Board
21. ✧ Smell the Lavender
In the Upcountry region of Maui, you will find Alli Kula Lavender Farm. Although lavender is not native to Maui, and they are not always blooming, a walk through the gardens during the season is definitely bucket list worthy.
Photo credit John-Morgan
22. ✧ Learn to Play the Ukelele
The ukelele, which means jumping flea, is commonly associated with Hawaiian music. So, what would be a more perfect thing to do in Maui than learning how to play one while on the island? At Ukelele Mele you can not only master how to play this instrument, but also purchase one as a souvenir.
23. ✧ Wear a Fresh Flowered Lei
A lei is a garland that is a symbol of affection and placed around the neck upon arriving to Hawaii. In the movies these tokens are mostly made with exquisite fresh flowers, though in most places through the islands they have been replaced by the Kukui Tree Nut lei, which lasts much longer.
But, with all of the gorgeous Hawaiian flowers you will find in Maui it is worth seeking out a fresh one.
Photo Credit Corey Ann
24. ✦ Witness Lava Rock
Another one of the amazing things to do in Maui is to take a drive along Makena Road and through the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve for cool peek at the lava fields. It looks like something from the set of Star Wars!
The surreal landscape was created by the lava flowing from Mt. Haleakala.
25. ✦ Stand Amongst a Bamboo Forest
Along Maui’s Road to Hana, you can take the Pipiwai hiking trail to the majestic Bamboo Forest. Stand amongst the impressive bamboo that lines the pathway.
photo credit rcdodden
26. ✧ Learn to Husk a Coconut
A coconut has a rough exterior shell which is the husk. Corn husking may not be the most practical skill you ever learn, but a fun thing to do none the less.
Classes are often given at the Whalers Village in Lahaina.
photo credit Rosa Say
What + Where to Eat & Drink
27. ✧ Eat Pie at Leoda’s
28. ✦ Indulge on Shave Ice
Take a step up from the kiddie snow cones and indulge in a Hawaiian delicacy, flavored Shave Ice. What is it? This dessert is made with shaved ice (not crushed like that of a traditional snow cone) and then topped with an array of flavors.
Try one of the best at Ululani’s Shave Ice shop, which has three locations throughout Maui. I can vouch for the Haleakala made with coconut, leche and topped with sweetened condensed milk.
29. ✧ Eat Seafood at Mama’s Fish House
30. ✦ Eat at a Roadside Stop
From banana bread to fresh fruit smoothies to jumbo shrimp, you can get it all on the Maui roadside.
On the Road to Hana, stop at Halfway to Hana for some of their famous pieces of banana bread. Or go to one of the most well-known roadside stops is Geste Shrimp, a delicious Hawaiian food truck in Kahalui that would make a perfect pitstop on the way to the airport.
31. ✧ Drink Local Craft Beer
32. ✦ Go Wine Tasting
Drinking different types of wine is one of my favorite things to do wherever I am in the world and here you can take a tour, as well as do a complimentary tasting. Don’t miss out on trying the pineapple wine!
33. ✧ Eat Farm to Table at O’o
34. ✦ Snack on Spam Musubi
Along with shave ice, Spam Musubi is another popular Hawaiian delicacy. Spam musubi is a slice of canned meat (made mostly of ham) that is wrapped in seaweed. It an be found at many delis, grocery stores and even gas stations. The one I munched on was scored at the Honolua Store in Kapalua for only a dollar fifty.
35. ✧ Drink a Cup of Maui Grown Coffee
36. ✦ Eat Kalua Pig
Kalua pig is cooked in an underground oven, a traditional Hawaiian cooking technique. And, of course, it is tender and tasty. Flatbread Pizza in Paia sells a popular pie, the Mopsey Kalua Pork, which features the most tender Kiawe smoked free-range pork shoulder.
A good option for checking this savory meat off your bucket list.
37. ✧ Eat at a Mixed Plate Restaurant
38. ✦ Eat Fresh Fish Tacos
Located in a discreet strip mall, you will find one of the most popular fresh fish tacos and yummiest of things to do in Maui. At Coconuts Fish Cafe each fish taco is made with 17 different ingredients, plus the fish is no older than five hours and the tortillas are made in house.
What could be better than that?
39. ✧ Eat Manapua Buns
40. ✧ Eat Poke
41. ✦ Eat Coconut Candy
Nahiku Marketplace is a small Hana shopping center, which consists of a tiny handful of Hawaiian product shops. This is where I discovered one of my absolute favorite Maui treats, coconut candy.
The coconut is hand cut, sprinkled with brown sugar and slow baked. It was well worth the $5 a bag and a spot on your bucket list.
42. ✧ Eat Loco Moco
43. ✧ Buy Fruit Using the Honor System
While driving on the island you will see several unattended stands selling a small selection of fresh fruit. Each has it’s own money slot with the cost of the product, allowing you to buy your fruit using the honor system. Consider picking up a fresh pineapple for the road.
Which of these things to do in Maui will you add to your bucket list?
Essential Tips for Visiting Maui
Getting There: Most travelers fly into Kahului Airport (OGG), which is the main airport of Maui. You can easily check for the best fare deals at Skyscanner, which also has the option to choose ‘cheapest month’ as the departure to find the lowest priced dates to fly to your destination. You could also check on flying into Honolulu International Airport (HNL) and taking a half hour commuter flight to Maui.
Where to Stay in Maui: Choosing where to stay in Maui is mostly about which area you’ll be spending the most time in. For the perfect gateway to drive the Road to Hana, then the town of Paia is a good choice. We stayed (and loved!) the Paia Inn (Moderate). West Maui is popular because it has the many dining and accommodation options. For something on the less expensive side, try the Best Western Pioneer Inn (Budget) that is right in downtown Lahaina. For a hotel with a little more extravagance, book a room at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa. Or search some great deals on hotels of your choice at Booking.com. If you’re looking for more of a home atmosphere (or are traveling with a group of people), head over to Airbnb that has houses, apartments and even just a room for rent in every price range.
Getting Around: Renting a car in Maui is the best to really experience the island and RentalCars.com has some great deals. If you are not renting a car, there are plenty of options. It is possible to get around the island by taxi, shuttle, tours or public transportation. Plus, both Lyft and Uber are available all over the city.
Top Tours: You can find some of the top tours at Get Your Guide. I recommend these ones:
- Maui: 2-Hour Whale Watching Excursion from Lahaina Harbor
- Maui: Molokini and Turtle Town Snorkel
- Maui: Mountaintop Sunrise Tour to Haleakala National Park
- Maui: Full-Day Sightseeing Tour of the Road to Hāna
Insurance: It’s always a good idea to travel fully insured so you are protected in case of trip cancellations or medical emergencies. You can check out pricing are Travelex Insurance.
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Maui Luau: 6 of the Best Hawaiian Luaus on the Island
Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook
Walk a Black Sand Beach on the Road to Hana
Facing Pineapple Gluttony in Hali’imaile
Swim with Sea Turtles in Olowalu
The 17 Best Road to Hana Stops on the Hawaiian Island of Maui