I’ve read enough travel articles that provide evidence that people specifically love lists about travel. That sounds right up my alley! So here it is, a definitive list of exciting things to do in Maui, Hawaii. Make sure you do ALL of them!
10. Get lei’d
Upon arrival at the airport or your hotel, be sure to accept the traditional island welcome of a flower lei. It has been a fun tradition since the first Polynesians arrived on the islands. Plus, they look adorable!
Remember: a lei is a sign of affection from one person to another, so you should always accept a lei & never take it off in the presence of whoever gave it to you.
9. Take a surf lesson
It may not be the infamous “North Shore,” but it is perfect for beginners! Kaanapali is a great spot with plenty of space to have your own private area & not run into other surfers or be judged by those more experienced. Opt for a surf lesson from a pro rather than just sitting like a duck on your own…if they are anything like my surf instructor, it is REALLY worth it when they offer to paddle you out there & push you to catch the waves!
8. Enjoy a drink at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua or Four Seasons Wailea
These resorts are truly spectacular & are worth a visit if you cannot stay there for your trip. Have a drink & bask in the quiet, traditional luxury of a 5-star resort. Try the Lokelani Margarita at the Ritz-Carlton or the Hana Haze Martini at the Four Seasons.
7. Snorkel Molokini or Dive the Carthaginian Wreck
Although it can be sometimes crowded, Molokini is a great snorkel spot and a scuba location. It is unique because it is a partially submerged volcanic crater, providing things to see from the surface & beyond. If you are a scuba diver & have never done a shipwreck, it is fun to do the Carthaginian Wreck at dusk. You can witness the phenomenon of daytime sea life going to sleep as the nighttime creatures awaken. Sea adventure enthusiasts definitely need to include this in their list of things to do in Maui.
Insider tip: charter a private boat with your travel companions to customise your experience and enjoy snacks and drinks on board.
6. Go to a luau
There are several options, depending on your budget & the atmosphere you desire. For a more traditional & sophisticated touch, enjoy the Feast at Lele in Lahaina. Enjoy cuisine from all Pacific Islands nations, including Aotearoa, Tahiti, Samoa, and Hawaii. The best part about the night is the performance, where you are entertained by talented dancers with a beautiful ocean backdrop.
5. Hike to ‘Ohe‘o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools)
What to do in Maui if you’re into hiking? During your road to Hana experience, it is a great break and can break up your drive nicely. Plus, it is a spectacular hike both at the beginning and at the end. Just be sure to begin your drive there early in the day; otherwise, you will be driving back at night like my brother & I!
4. Drive the road to Hana
The road to Hana is an excursion within itself & should be enjoyed as a full-day activity. The best way to do it is with a guidebook and a sense of adventure. I recommend purchasing Maui Revealed beforehand or asking to borrow it from your hotel as it provides a lot of insider tips as you progress.
3. Visit the banyan tree in Lahaina
The small town of Lahaina is a must-see while you are in Maui. Known for being the original Whaling Town of the Pacific, Lahaina now keeps much of its traditional charm for visitors to explore along its boardwalk-like Front Street. Enjoy shopping, a marina, and numerous restaurants. Be sure to see the local banyan tree that sits in the centre – it is over a century old & takes up an entire block! You should add this on your list of things to do in Maui.
Insider tip: Rent bicycles for the day to easily explore all of the areas & enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Maui.
2. Take a helicopter tour
Who wouldn’t love an aerial view of the Hawaiian islands? A journey by helicopter will feel like an adventure and give you a unique perspective. You will also have the opportunity to see neighbouring islands, such as Molokai and Lanai. The best part is spotting hidden waterfalls along the volcanoes that otherwise you would have never been able to see!
1. Watch the sunrise over Haleakala
Many who have seen this sunrise compare it to heaven, and for a good reason. Although you must wake up EXTREMELY early to witness the sunrise, I believe it is entirely worth it. The journey begins with a steep drive to the very top of the volcano, Haleakala. Be sure to bundle up, as the increase in altitude can make the top much cooler than when lying by the beach. Plan to arrive much earlier than sunrise, and bring a flashlight & blanket, so you can snag a front-row seat (hurry before the buses arrive!). Then, just sit back, relax & enjoy the spectacular show.
This sunrise is unique because you will be sitting above the clouds. The pictures will never do it justice, so it is best to snap one or two & then just watch as the sun continues to make its journey up & out of the clouds. Once the sun is shining, enjoy a hike around the Haleakala National Park before driving back down.
Insider tip: try to spot the rainbows on your drive back down!