The Best Things to do on Maui, Hawaii

The 25 Best Things to do on Maui

Known as the Valley Isle, Maui caters to a wide variety of travelers with its adventurous must-do activities. From pristine beaches, cascading waterfalls, and botanical gardens to the iconic Road to Hana road trip, Maui offers a never-ending supply of natural beauty just waiting to be explored! 

The island is home to 80 beaches, more than any other island in Hawaii. You’ll easily find a stretch of shoreline perfect for you! People also come from around the world to dive below Maui’s surface, with water-based adventures ranging from snorkeling excursions to windsurfing to kayaking. 

From small beach towns and bamboo forests to black sand beaches, Maui offers unique surprises, while bucket list activities include whale watching and seeing the sunrise over the island’s dormant Haleakala volcano. Don’t miss out on Maui’s rich history either, as you can also attend an authentic luau, visit a state park, or tour a local museum.

With so many things to see and do on Maui, narrowing down your itinerary can be challenging. Here’s a list of the absolute best things to see and do on Maui and why they should make the cut for your ultimate Maui bucket list! From Maui’s best beaches to the top island hikes, this gorgeous Hawaiian island is brimming with possibilities. 

Don’t forget to check out our web story: The Best Things to do on Maui!

25 cool and unique things to do on Maui

1. Drive the Scenic Road to Hana

Unique Things to do on Maui: Road to Hana

Hana is considered to be one of the last unspoiled Hawaiian frontiers. However, to get here, you’ll have to navigate the hairpin turns on the legendary 52-mile-long Road to Hana. Full of postcard-worthy vistas, it’s considered one of the top things to do on Maui, if not in all of Hawaii! 

While the scenic journey isn’t for the faint of heart, it’s worth the white-knuckle drive for the chance to marvel at the incredible island views along the way. You’ll see lush landscapes of rainforests, waterfalls, and dramatic seascapes paired with black, red, and white sand beaches that make this adventure well worth it. 

Some of the most popular stops on the Road to Hana include Ho’okipa Beach Park, Twin Falls, Huelo Lookout, and the Keanae Peninsula. You’ll also find incredibly photogenic views at Wailua Valley State Wayside, Pua’a Ka’a Falls, Hanawi Falls, and Waianapanapa State Park. 

If you’re not feeling confident about driving it yourself, you can also choose to embark on this iconic road trip on a tour or with a professional guide. Road to Hana Tours and Hawaii Tours both offer comfortable rides, so you can sit back and take in the incredible views. 

Book a Road to Hana Waterfall Tour

2. Visit the Black Sand Beach at Waianapanapa State Park

Must do things on Maui: Waianapanapa State Park

A popular stop along Hana Highway, Waianapanapa State Park is home to a beautiful black sand beach. One of the most picturesque destinations on Maui, it was created hundreds of years ago when Maui’s Haleakala volcano sent lava flowing through Hana. 

Surrounded by lush green foliage, the stark contrast of the jet-black sand with the bright green jungle and turquoise sea creates a must-see natural attraction on Maui. It’s one of the most popular black sand beaches in Hawaii, but there’s more to see here than just the beach! 

You can also hike the park’s primary trail. Just follow the coast past the black sand beach to discover a collection of dazzling freshwater caves. Featuring a gorgeous clear, aqua color, they’re what the park (which translates in the Hawaiian language to “glistening waters”) is actually named after. 

Take a dip in the pools or continue along the trail to see other natural sites along the route. On the volcanic coastal journey, you’ll pass burial grounds, natural blowholes, sea stacks, a native hala forest, and more. 

3. Hike Through a Bamboo Forest & Swim in the Seven Sacred Pools

What to do on Maui: Seven Sacred Pools

Set in Haleakala National Park, Pipiwai Trail is one of the most popular hiking destinations on Maui. A four-mile round trip adventure with 650 feet in elevation, it features beautiful waterfall landscapes and lush bamboo forests. 

Along the way, you can traverse the towering bamboo forest by wooden boardwalks and bridges that have been installed to make your hiking adventure easier. Stop to take in your surroundings, as you can also spot giant banyan trees on the trail. 

One of the most photographed waterfalls along the trail is Waimoku Falls, which drops dramatically down a steep lava rock almost 400 feet. You’ll also pass the 185-foot Makahiku Falls, which is just as beautiful! 

Another famous natural wonder in this national park is the Pools of Oheo in Ohio Gulch. With its beautifully tiered pools fed by waterfalls and stunning natural setting, it’s the perfect spot to take a dip in Hawaii’s sparkling waters.

This scenic trail can be found at the end of the Road to Hana, about 12 miles past Hana Town. It’s a part of the National Parks System, located in southeast Maui in the area called Kipahulu. 

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4. Tour the Kula Botanical Garden

Fun Things to do on Maui: Kula Botanical Garden

If you’re a nature lover, the Kula Botanical Gardens is a must-see on Maui. Home to more than 2,500 species of indigenous Hawaiian flora and fauna, this is an ideal spot to learn more about Hawaii’s natural beauty and take a break from the crowds. 

Perfect for spending a gorgeous Maui day outdoors, this garden oasis sits at an elevation of 3,300 feet and features an impressive collection of tropical and semi-tropical plants. There’s plenty to explore here, including beautiful waterfalls, rugged rock formations, a covered bridge, and a tranquil koi pond. 

See its eight acres of exotic plant displays and flowers, then stroll along the tranquil stream to discover water-loving plants like white ginger. Breathe in the lovely scents while visiting the grove of lemon and eucalyptus trees. 

Be sure to make a stop at the Orchid House, Fuschia House, and Bromeliad House. Kids will love the Jackson Chameleon exhibit, native Nene geese, and Aviary. 

Self-guided tours will take you to the garden’s flowers, plants, and trees along easy-to-follow, paved trails, with maps available at the on-site gift shop. After taking in the botanical garden views, stop and enjoy your lunch on the picnic tables on the lanai. 

5. Breathe in the Fresh Air at Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm

Must do things on Maui: Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm

Get off-the-beaten-path on Maui and explore one of the island’s hidden gems: the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm. Featuring over 20 varieties of lavender, you can breathe in the fresh mountain air at this unique attraction and learn about its rich history on the island. 

The 13.5-acre farm sits at an elevation of about 4,000 feet and is home to around 55,000 lavender plants. Nestled on the slopes of Haleakala, it has year-round blooms as well as olive trees, hydrangea, succulents, and other plant varieties. 

Come and experience the fragrant purple paradise, where you can marvel at the picturesque lavender landscapes on a self-guided walking tour. Take in the beautiful views along the peaceful walking paths or sign up for unique activities like a Lavender Treasure Hunt, Gourmet Picnic Lunch, or Craft Classes. 

After you explore, don’t forget to pick up lavender gifts and souvenirs at the on-site gift shop. You’ll find a wide selection of interesting items, including soaps, lotions, apparel, and culinary treats like teas and jams. 

6. Visit the Haleakala Crater for Sunrise

Maui Things to do: Haleakala Crater for Sunrise

One of the most memorable experiences you can have in Hawaii is seeing the sunrise on Haleakala Crater. It’s a must-do thing on Maui! It takes a bit of effort to get there, including a National Park Service reservation, but it will be worth it when you catch those first rays of light. 

Haleakala National Park is home to Maui’s highest peak at over 10,000 feet above sea level. Seeing the sunrise at the summit of this dormant volcano has been a visitor attraction since the late 1800s, as the color of the sky before daybreak is stunning. 

The mix of high elevation, as well as lack of light and environmental pollution, make it a popular place for sunrise viewing on Maui. After seeing the brilliant array of dawn colors stretching across the landscape, you can explore the park’s scenic trails that encompass over 30,000 acres of public land. 

However, you’ll need a reservation for vehicles to enter the Summit District from 3 am to 7 am to see the sunrise, with the park entrance fee separate and payable on the day of your visit. Make sure to start your journey early, as it can take up to two hours to drive the Haleakala Highway and up the winding Haleakala Crater Road leading to the summit. 

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7. Snorkel Molokini Crater

Unique Things to do on Maui: Snorkel Molokini Crater

One of the best things to do on Maui if you’re a snorkeling lover, searching for underwater treasures at Molokini Crater is at the top of most traveler’s Hawaii bucket list. It’s one of the best snorkeling destinations in the United States for a reason, featuring a partially submerged crater just 160 feet off the west coast of Maui. 

An eruption caused the crater at this crescent-shaped spit of land over 230,000 years ago. It’s now a protected marine sanctuary where you’ll find an abundance of crystal-clear waters that make for the perfect day of snorkeling adventures. 

In fact, the snorkeling is so good that you’ll have a chance to see over 250 species of colorful and vibrant tropical fish swimming in its waters. The only way to access this top snorkeling spot on Maui is by boat, with most travelers opting for a guided tour to ensure they visit the best areas.

Some of the most popular Molokini Crater snorkeling tours on Maui are the Pride of Maui, Maui Magic, and Maui Snorkel. Most organized tours will also make a stop at the nearby Turtle Town, which is a popular coral reef where turtles can be regularly seen swimming in the waters. For the best chance of seeing Hawaii’s sea life, plan your snorkeling trip in the early morning.

Book a Snorkeling Adventure

8. Stroll the Sun-Kissed Makena Beach

Must do things on Maui: Makena Beach

If you’re a beach lover, then make sure to add Makena Beach to your Maui bucket list. While the Hawaiian island has over 30 miles of incredible beaches to choose from, this white-sand gem is one of the best of the bunch. 

It’s one of Maui’s signature beaches for a reason. Nicknamed the Big Beach, it offers a long stretch of golden shoreline where you can sunbathe and frolic in the ocean. Along with one of Maui’s largest, undeveloped shorelines, its waters are crystal clear and ideal for swimming and snorkeling adventures. 

This tranquil beach is the perfect spot to kick back and enjoy the incredible sight of Hawaii’s unspoiled nature surrounding you. Set between two black-lava outcroppings, it provides lovely views of the nearby islands of Molokini and Kahoolawe. 

Be aware that there are two sections of this top-rated Maui beach, one known as Big Beach and the other known as Little Beach. Big Beach offers a secluded setting when you want to escape the crowds in Kaanapali and Lahaina and has amenities like picnic tables, food concessions, and lifeguards. 

Alternately, free-spirited beachgoers can visit the quiet cove of Little Beach just a short walk away. However, be aware that it is the only clothing-optional beach in Hawaii. If you visit on a Sunday, stay for the weekly hippie fest and drum circle at sunset. 

9. Swim or Snorkel at Wailea Beach

Best Things to do on Maui: Wailea Beach

Consistently rated as one of the world’s best beaches, Wailea Beach is a pristine stretch of sand in Hawaii, perfect for sun-seekers. Offering excellent swimming and amenities like restrooms and equipment rentals, it’s an ideal spot for a day out with the family. 

Offering gorgeous views of nearby islands of Kaho’olawe, Molokini, and Lanai, this wide beach is ideal for snorkeling around the rocky outcroppings when the waters are calm. Kids will love boogie boarding and bodysurfing in the small waves, while whale sightings are common in winter. 

It’s easy to explore the area, as there is a paved beach walk that lets you stroll past Wailea’s top attractions. The luxurious resort community in South Maui features luxury hotels, restaurants, shops, and golf courses, as well as another popular beach nearby called Ulua Beach Park. 

Snorkelers looking to explore further can add the Ahihi-Kinaui Natural Area Reserve to their itinerary. With a coastline mixed with lava rock and coral, it’s the perfect spot to search for beautiful marine life and is considered one of Maui’s best-kept secrets. 

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10. Beach Hop the Kamaole Beach Parks

Fun Things to do on Maui: Kamaole Beach Parks

Located on Maui’s South Shore, the Kamaole Beach Parks is made up of three beautiful (but very distinct) beaches. In addition to incredible views, these beaches (nicknamed “Kam I,” “Kam II,” and “Kam III”) make for a wonderful day of beach hopping in Kihei. 

The first of the group is Kamaole I, a crescent-shaped natural gem that is considered one of the best places on Maui for swimming. It’s a picturesque white sand beach that stretches for one-third of a mile and regularly offers calm, serene waters for little ones. There’s also a grassy area for picnics and convenient amenities like showers, picnic tables, and barbeque areas. 

Next is Kamaole II, a wide sandy beach that is also a local favorite for swimming and basking in the sunshine. Smaller than Kamaole 1, it’s also a great destination for snorkeling enthusiasts, while the on-site restrooms and on-street parking make it a local favorite. 

Lastly, there’s Kamaole III, which is the smallest of the Kamaole Beaches bunch. Featuring regular shore breaks along its rocky shore, it’s a popular area for bodyboarding. Amenities here include a large grassy park where you can enjoy activities like picnicking and kite flying. 

11. Sample Gourmet Goat Cheese at Surfing Goat Dairy

Best Things to do on Maui: Surfing Goat Dairy

If you enjoy off-the-beaten-path attractions, add the Surfing Goat Dairy to your Maui itinerary. Perfect for families with kids, you can tour this fascinating farm and say hello to friendly goats while discovering how they make their award-winning goat cheese. 

Located on the slopes of Maui’s Haleakala Crater in lower Kula, Surfing Goat Dairy has been producing award-winning gourmet goat cheese for over 15 years. It’s a fun stop in Kula for animal lovers, where you can experience the life of a goat farmer and meet the working dairy goats, dogs, and cats. 

On the 30-minute tour, you’ll see the farm’s modern milking machines and get a glimpse of the daily operations. You can learn about the cheese-making process on this informational tour and get a chance to pet and feed the friendly goat residents. Best of all, the tour ends with a sampling of the farm’s delicious goat cheeses. 

12. Explore the Chilled Out Town of Paia

Unique Things to do on Maui: Town of Paia

One of the most charming small towns on Maui’s North Shore, Paia is a chilled-out hippie hamlet with laid-back vibes. Escape the bustling resort areas and explore this surfer town, which is known for its bohemian atmosphere and quaint beach shops. 

Although small, Paia is packed with things to do. Many travelers breeze through, as it’s a popular stop on the Road to Hana, but it’s worth a full day on its own. Known for its eccentric residents, it’s fun to explore its coffee shops, yoga studios, art galleries, and excellent eateries. 

Start by browsing the shops in Paia Town, where you’ll discover island-themed gifts, jewelry, and beachwear on offer. If you need a beach break, Baby Beach, Baldwin Beach Park, Tavares Beach, and Hookipa Beach are a few favorites. 

From here, you can easily tick off some of the coolest things to do on Maui, including the Ho’okipa Lookout and Twin Falls. You can also learn about the history and culture of harvesting pineapple on the Maui Pineapple Tours, just a 10-minute drive away. 

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13. Dine at Mama’s Fish House

Must do things on Maui: Mama’s Fish House

Located in Paia, Mama’s Fish House is one of the most popular restaurants on Maui for a reason. It’s a must-stop for foodie fanatics, featuring a delicious seafood-driven Hawaiian menu and a gorgeous ocean view setting. 

Adorned with delightful Polynesian decor, this local favorite has a changing menu depending on what the local fishermen have caught that day. You can’t get any fresher than the seafood served here. If you want to indulge, the dessert and cocktail menus are just as tempting. 

A family-owned restaurant since 1973, its entrees include enticing eats such as stuffed lobster, freshwater trout, mahi-mahi, and prawns. Wash your meal down with a fruity cocktail or glass of wine, then satisfy your sweet tooth with a decadent slice of coconut cake or chocolate mousse served in a pastry seashell. 

If you decide to dine at Mama’s Fish House, be sure to make a reservation well in advance, as this restaurant is popular. We recommend arriving early to wander around the lush grounds, catch a beautiful sunset, or sip a tiki drink at the bar. 

14. Surf Giant Waves at Hookipa Beach

What to do on Maui: Hookipa Beach

While Hookipa Beach is a world-renowned windsurfing destination, it’s also an ideal spot for surfers. Even if you’re not a “surfer” of any kind, it’s a great destination to kick back on the golden sands and watch the pros in action. 

Catering to skilled surfers, this premier North Shore destination offers large waves for riding, particularly in wintertime. The location of the beach allows it to catch the surf from the tradewinds and the “Pavilions” is the best surfing area of the beach.

It’s a popular stop if you’re taking the Road to Hana, featuring picnic tables and an observation deck for watching local surfers tackle the giant waves. It’s also home to Hawaiian green sea turtles, which come up to the shore every evening to rest!

If you’re only coming for the views, head to the Hookipa Lookout area. Set on the edge of a cliff overlooking the “Pavilions,” it has a parking lot, so you can easily walk out and marvel at the huge waves crashing against the rocky outcroppings. 

15. Learn About Hawaii’s Ecosystems at Maui Ocean Center

Best Things to do on Maui: Maui Ocean Center
Images courtesy of Maui Ocean Center

Not just for kids, the Maui Ocean Center offers an incredible display of Hawaii’s marine life that all ages can enjoy. In addition to the world’s first virtual encounter with Hawaii’s humpback whales, you will have the chance to see schooling reef fish, sharks, stingrays, and turtles up close. 

A signature Maui attraction for over 20 years, this top-rated aquarium features over 60 exhibits with local marine animals. Explore beneath the surface and learn more about the Hawaiian Islands as you watch jellyfish drifting, hammerhead sharks patrolling, and Hawaiian green sea turtles hanging out in the Turtle Lagoon. 

The Living Reef showcases 40 unique and rare species of Hawaiian coral, while the Open Ocean exhibit is a hit with its 53-foot-long tunnel where you can marvel at sharks swimming above your head. The aquarium’s 750,000-gallon tank is the largest in the state, featuring hundreds of fish, rays, and different species of sharks. 

The Humpbacks of Hawaii is a fascinating 3D exhibit, which brings you face to face with humpback whales beneath the waves. You can also listen to the stories of Hawaii’s first people in the cultural exhibits, which offers insight into the relationship locals have with the land and sea. 

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16. Hike to the Iao Needle at Iao Valley State Park

Unique Things to do on Maui: Iao Valley State Park

If you’re up for a hiking adventure, Iao Valley State Park is a historic Hawaiian park that’s home to the iconic Iao Needle. Located in central Maui just west of Wailuku, this nature-filled area features a stunning landscape of towering emerald peaks, tropical flora, and a lush valley floor.

The 4,000-acre, 10-mile-long park features one of the island’s most recognizable natural landmarks – the 1,200-foot-tall Iao Needle. A place of great historical significance as the site of a major battle, the picture-perfect needle is also known for its natural beauty and features a lush green rock outcropping that overlooks the Iao stream. 

It’s an easy hiking and sightseeing destination suitable for all skill levels, featuring a well-marked, paved pedestrian path with signs highlighting its history. It leads from the parking lot to the Iao Needle, where you can admire the incredible views of the valley from the well-established ridge-top lookout.

It’s best to start your hiking adventure in Iao Valley State Park early, as the Iao Needle can sometimes be covered with clouds. If you want to explore more, there’s also a rainforest walk that is family-friendly, as well as interactive exhibits worth seeing in the Hawaii Nature Center nearby. 

17. Visit the Old Lahaina Luau for Traditional Hula & Feast

Maui Things to do: Old Lahaina Luau
Images courtesy of Old Lahaina Luau

One of the coolest things to do on Maui is to attend the Old Lahaina Luau, where you can immerse yourself in Hawaii’s rich culture. With an open-air beach setting, this authentic luau offers an evening of traditions with a mix of Hawaiian cuisines, music, cultural dances, and demonstrations. 

You’ll receive a fresh flower orchid lei upon arrival, then enjoy tableside service, with every seat offering a clear view of the stage. Embrace the island atmosphere while being serenaded by local musicians playing island melodies on the ukulele, then settle in for an evening of entertainment. 

In addition to incredible sunset views, you’ll be presented with a hearty, five-course feast of Pacific-Rim and Hawaiian cuisine. There’s something on the menu to satisfy everyone’s palate, including Imu roasted pork, poke ahi tuna, Maui-style fish, and island-style chicken, as well as decadent desserts like pineapple upside-down cake and tropical drinks.

The entertainment is the real highlight of the luau, as you’ll experience an award-winning presentation of traditional Hawaiian music and dancers wearing beautifully detailed costumes. The story of Hawaii is set to the beat of Hawaiian drums and presented through a series of traditional dance performances, which include ancient hula and chants. 

18. Take a Ferry to Lanai

Must do things on Maui: Ferry to Lanai

One of the best day trips from Maui, a visit to the nearby island of Lanai offers an exciting day of adventure. It’s considered one of the must-do things on Maui, as the ferry ride offers spectacular views of the island and its picture-perfect southern coastline. 

The ferry from Maui to Lanai departs early from Lahaina, which means you’ll have plenty of time during the day to explore this gorgeous Hawaiian island. It arrives at Manele Harbor, where you can head to nearby Hulope’e Beach if you want to spend a leisurely afternoon sunbathing and snorkeling. 

Active travelers looking to explore can rent a 4WD vehicle to traverse Lanai’s rugged landscapes. Featuring more than 89,000 acres of countryside and 400 miles of 4WD trails without stoplights, this tropical island has been dubbed “Hawaii’s Most Enticing Island.”

You can go off-the-grid and explore the 18 miles of secluded shoreline beaches on Lanai or marvel at the unique landscapes of Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods). Puupehe is a popular natural attraction on Lanai, rising majestically 80 feet out of the water and 150 feet off the coastline between Manele and Hulopoe Bays. 

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19. Follow the Scenic Kapalua Coastal Trail

Best Things to do on Maui: Kapalua Coastal Trail

If you want to soak up Maui’s coastal views but aren’t ready to tackle the trails in Haleakala National Park, the scenic Kapalua Coastal Trail is a great alternative. Perfect for beginners, this mostly flat and easily accessible route winds around Maui’s northwestern coast for about 1.5 miles (one way). 

As you follow the trail, you’ll encounter gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean from beautiful Maui spots like Kapalua Bay, Namalu Bay, Oneloa Bay, and Honokahua Bay. Bring your camera, as you’ll want to capture the dramatic coastline scenery that includes sweeping seascape vistas, unique lava formations, and beautiful crescent beaches. 

With its easy terrain and spectacular scenery, the Kapalua Coastal Trail makes for an ideal hiking destination for families with kids. However, there is a mix of paved walkways and boardwalk sections, as well as dirt trails and rocky outcroppings you’ll have to traverse along the way. 

If you visit in winter, you might have the bonus of spotting whales making a splash in the water. Those looking to travel further can continue along the trail to the Mahaha Ridge Trail, which boasts stunning views of nearby Molokai Island. 

20. Paddleboard at Napili Beach

Cool Things to do on Maui: Napili Beach

Popular with families, the gorgeous crescent-shaped Napili Beach is a less crowded shoreline than many found in West Maui. Its waters are much calmer than other beaches as well, making it an ideal spot for paddle boarding, swimming, and snorkeling.  

With its laid-back atmosphere, you can get out on a paddleboard and enjoy the beach’s incredible sun-kissed scenery. The water is frequently glassy at Napili Beach due to the outer reefs protecting it from most swells, which means you can enjoy a tranquil paddling adventure in the sandy cove.

Laying out a towel and sunbathing along this white sandy shoreline is also a popular activity. The soft sandy beach boasts gentle breezes, coconut palms, and cobalt-blue waters for those looking to unwind in Hawaii’s sunshine. 

Napili Beach is located a few miles south of Kapalua on Maui’s northwest coast and can be accessed from Route 30 (Honoapiilani Highway). Pack a picnic lunch, as this area doesn’t have the variety of restaurants surrounding it like other Maui beaches. 

21. Take a Thrilling Helicopter Tour

Fun Things to do on Maui: Helicopter Tour

Seeing Hawaii’s incredible landscapes from above is a once-in-a-lifetime activity, and Maui is one of the best destinations for ticking this adventure off your bucket list. Pairing scenic vistas with a thrilling hair-raising adventure, helicopter tours on Maui allow you to explore the island’s remote mountains, waterfalls, and hidden gems that can only be seen by air. 

There’s nothing quite like seeing impressive Maui sights like the Haleakala Crater from above and its 88 miles of undeveloped coastline. Soar above Hawaii’s beautiful beaches, picturesque mountains, lush rainforests, and cascading waterfalls as you explore the island. 

Most guides can tailor your helicopter tour based on what sights you prefer to see on Maui. There are plenty of gorgeous viewpoints to choose from! You’re spoiled for choice, whether it’s the world’s largest dormant volcano, beautiful Hana Rainforest, or the longest fringing coral reefs in the United States. 

Pacific Helicopter offers private tours, while Air Maui has cliff-side landings, and Blue Hawaiian offers a range of specific site tours. Maui Helicopter Tours is another popular helicopter tour that takes you to top attractions such as the Wall of Tears, Jurassic Rock, and the Haleakala Crater. 

Book a Scenic Helicopter Flight

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22. See Humpback Whales Frolic in the Ocean

Cool Things to do on Maui: Humpback Whales
Image courtesy of Pacific Whale Foundation

If seeing humpback whales is on your Maui bucket list, you’re in luck, as this is one of the best places in Hawaii to do it! Only available from December through May, catching a glimpse of these gentle giants is one of the top things to do on Maui. 

While Hawaii offers a long list of popular destinations for seeing whales, the waters surrounding Maui set the stage for some of the best whale watching in the world. It’s here that thousands of “kohola” (humpback whales) travel from colder waters in order to breed, calve, and nurse their young. 

Join a tour for the best chances of seeing the gigantic sea creatures in action. Pacific Whale Foundation, Pac-Whale Eco Adventures, and Redline Rafting offer some of the most popular whale-watching tours on Maui. 

On these tours, you can watch as the whales playfully surface above the water, slap their tails, or blow their spouts in the air. Many tour companies also combine a day of whale watching with kayaking or snorkeling. 

If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of places on the island where whales can be seen from the shoreline during the whale season. McGregor Point Lookout and the beaches of Kaanapali, Kihei, and Wailea are the most popular spots. 

Book a Whale-Watching Cruise

23. Take the Family to D.T. Fleming Beach Park

Cool Things to do on Maui: D.T. Fleming Beach Park

One of the best things to do on Maui for families, visiting the remote D.T. Fleming Beach Park offers a day of fun in the sun. It’s a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, surfing, and bodysurfing. Plus, its long sandy beach offers plenty of family-friendly amenities. 

You’ll find ample parking, as well as restrooms, showers, picnic tables, grills, and lifeguards on duty at this West Shore beach. It also features plenty of shade thanks to its large ironwood trees that dot the 1,500-foot-long and 150-foot wide sandy shoreline. 

A shallow sandbar fronts most of the beach and is perfect for little ones who want to make a splash. It’s also large enough to provide room for everyone on a busy day, making it feel as if you’ve got the beach to yourself. 

The crescent-shaped coastline and soft sands can be found off the Honoapiilani Highway on the Lower Honoapiilani Highway. Be aware that during high periods of surf, especially in winter, beachgoers need to be careful of dangerous rip currents. 

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24. Visit the Nakalele Blow Hole

Maui Bucket List: Nakalele Blow Hole

To experience an explosive show on Maui, head to the Nakalele Blow Hole. This forceful explosion of seawaters occurs on a regular basis – as often as every few minutes – when the surf is up. 

Located on the island’s northwestern coast on mile marker 38.5, this natural attraction is a popular geyser and photogenic spot. Get your camera ready to see the Nakalele Blowhole in action when seawater escapes its trap in the underwater lava tube.

Sit back and watch the pressure from the waves push the water out of a hole in the black lava rock, which is so powerful that it can shoot up to 100 feet in the air! As a bonus, if you visit in the early morning, you might catch a rainbow formed in the mist of the spray. You can also often see whales leaping in the distance of the blowhole during whale watching season between December to May. 

It’s important to stay safe at this natural attraction, so don’t stand too close to the blowhole and be careful not to slip on the jagged rocks. The best place to view the blowhole is from the dry rocks from a distance. 

25. Follow the Historic Walking Tour of Lahaina

Maui Things to do: Historic Walking Tour of Lahaina

Stretch your legs on an epic walking tour of Lahaina, where you’ll get to see the area’s top historical attractions and interesting highlights. The Historic Walking Tour of Lahaina is a must for history and culture buffs, where you’ll have the chance to stroll present-day Front Street while enjoying a look into the rich history of the former Hawaiian capital.

This self-guided tour allows you to pick and choose which destinations appeal to you and takes about one to two hours, depending on how long you stay at each location. Start your journey on the corner of Front and Dickenson streets in Lahaina Town for the easiest accessibility. 

Along the way, you can see The Master’s Reading Room that was an officers club for sailors, browse unique artifacts in The Baldwin Home Museum, and visit the historic Taro Patch. See Brick Palace, the first Western-style building in Hawaii, then photograph The Old Lahaina Lighthouse

Hollywood films were shot at the next stop, Pioneer Inn, while the massive Banyan Tree is an iconic landmark of Hawaii. The Courthouse, Episcopal Church, and Maluuluolele Park are notable stops, and Luakini Street was the site of a traumatic Hawaiian love story. Wrap up your walk at The Ho Hing Museum for a snapshot of Chinatown’s history in Lahaina. 

There you have it! 25 of the best things to do on Maui. What’s your favorite thing to do in The Aloha State?

Planning a trip to Maui? Check out our favorite books and travel guides!


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