If you’re like most people, then a trip to Maui is definitely on your bucket list. I understand. There are so many fabulous things to do in Maui that you could stay busy for months.
That’s where we come in. We recently visited Maui and loved touring the island and seeing all this beautiful slice of paradise had to offer.
From the infamous Road to Hana to the glorious, beautiful beaches, Maui truly has something for everyone. Once you visit, you will quickly understand why Maui continually makes the list of best islands in America.
Let’s dive in and explore the best things to do in Maui!
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1. Road to Hana
The Road to Hana is a 64-mile road that twists and turns along the Maui coastline. As you slowly navigate the lush forests of the Hana highway, the 620 turns take you past incredible ocean views, cascading waterfalls, and gorgeous tropical foliage.
The Road to Hana is full of great Maui attractions, so be sure to make note of the ones you want to see before setting out on your journey.
There are several opportunities to explore the attractions on the Road to Hana; just park in designated parking areas and don’t trespass on private property.
This post will discuss some of our favorite stops on the Road to Hana, including Twin Falls, the Pa’iloa Black Sand Beach, Upper Waikani Falls, the Garden of Eden Arboretum, and the Pipiwai Trail.
If you would rather leave the driving to someone else, consider taking a guided tour of the Road to Hana.
No matter what, the Road to Hana should be on everyone’s Maui bucket list!
Pro Tip: The Road to Hana can get quite crowded. We got an early start and did the Road to Hana in reverse. This allowed us to see many of the most popular stops early in the morning and beat the crowds!
2. Old Lahaina Luau
One of the most popular things to do in Maui is to attend a luau. Lucky for you, Maui offers an authentic Hawaiian luau experience to visitors thanks to Old Lahaina Luau.
Located in Lahaina town on a beautiful stretch of oceanfront property, the Old Lahaina Luau has welcomed guests since 1986.
When making your reservation, you have the option of sitting on traditional lauhala mats on the ground like native Hawaiians do or sitting at a private dining table. Marty and I chose a dining table, but we did see many people sitting on the lauhala mats.
Upon arriving, guests are treated to a traditional Hawaiian orchid lei before being escorted to their private dining table.
We arrived early to take advantage of the gorgeous sunset views before enjoying the show, and we were glad we did. Not only did we have time to take some amazing sunset pictures, but we also had time to enjoy the pre-dinner festivities.
Once the show begins, you are offered your choice of beverages: soda, tea, beer, wine, or cocktails, all of which are included in your ticket price. I tried several specialty cocktails and loved them!
The luau performers are incredible, each striving to preserve the traditional luau experience by presenting authentic Hawaiian storytelling. The storytelling takes place through the spoken word, music, and dance. It was truly a mesmerizing experience.
As the show continues, guests are served a fabulous feast of five courses. Some of my favorite items on the menu were the fresh pineapple chunks with Black Hawaiian sea salt, the honey-guava butter, the Puaʻa Kālua (Imu roasted pork), the grilled beef steak, and the local sweet potato mashed with coconut milk.
There is more food than anyone could eat, so heed my warning and pace yourself!
If you do not include a visit to Old Lahaina Luau in your list of things to do in Maui, you are missing out!
Full disclosure, we were guests of Old Lahaina Luau, but I know experienced every guest received the same top-notch treatment!
3. Pa’iloa Black Sand Beach of Wai’anapanapa State Park
One of your stops while driving the Road to Hana has to be Waianapanapa State Park. This beautiful state park has several items of interest, but the most popular part of Wai’anapanapa State Park has to be the Pa’iloa Black Sand Beach.
After parking in the small parking lot, follow the trail to the Wai’anapanapa Beach overlook area for an incredible view of the black sand beach and the jagged, rocky cliffside. While on the lookout, look to your right to see the natural sea arch, also part of the state park.
After taking in the scenic views, go down the staircase to the left of the lookout area. This will take you to the black sand beach of Wai’anapanapa State Park.
After enjoying Pa’iloa Black Sand Beach, explore the rest of the park. There are ocean caves, cliff diving, hiking trails, freshwater pools, and a blowhole.
If you are so inclined, you can even camp inside the park!
Pro Tip: You must make a reservation at least 24 hours before visiting the state park, as it is one of the top things to do in Maui. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to navigate the twisty Road to Hana when considering a reservation time!
4. Haleakala National Park
Another item that should be on everyone’s Maui bucket list is Haleakala National Park.
Located on the island’s southern portion, Haleakala Crater is a dormant volcano that can be seen almost anywhere.
Haleakala National Park is divided into two distinct areas: the summit and the Kipahulu area. The summit contains one of the famous Maui attractions, the Haleakala crater.
The Haleakala crater measures over 7.5 miles long and 2.5 miles wide. Hiking to the crater is one of the best things to do in Maui if you want adventure. You can access the crater via the Sliding Sands Trail or the Halemau’u Trail.
Visitors forgo sleep while on vacation to catch the sunrise from the summit of Haleakala National Park. This is such a popular Maui attraction that the park now requires you to have a reservation to participate in this epic experience.
Watching the sunrise from Haleakala National Park sells out quickly, so book your reservation well. If you find the experience sold out, watching the sunset from the summit is another excellent option.
The Kipahulu area of Haleakala National Park is quieter and is accessed by driving the Road to Hana.
The Kipahulu District boasts coastal land with incredible waterfalls and rocky ocean cliffside to explore. One of the most popular trails is the Pipiwai Trail, which we discuss further below.
Of course, taking a guided tour of Haleakala National Park ensures that you don’t miss anything and allows you to relax and enjoy while someone else does all the planning and driving.
5. The Dragon’s Teeth
If you find yourself in northwest Maui, visiting the Dragon’s Teeth is worth some vacation time.
The Dragon’s Teeth, located on Makalua-puna Point, were made by eroding lava. The spires that you see today line up like
To get here, park in the free parking lot at Lower Honoapiilani Road and Office Road. Follow the path that runs alongside the golf courses. Signs are pointing you in the direction of the Dragon’s Teeth.
6. Whale-Watching Tours
Humpback whales find their way from Alaska to Hawaii seasonally every year. The warm, protected waters around the Hawaiian Islands are the perfect area to rear their young.
One of the most popular places for humpback whales to be is the waters between Maui and Moloka’i, and Lana’i. This is why you see so many whale-watching excursions in this area.
The whale watching season runs from November to May, with the season’s peak being January through March.
Schedule a whale-watching tour if you find yourself in Maui during the winter months.
We had a wonderful time on our whale-watching tour, cruising on the catamaran and scanning the ocean for whales during our most recent trip. During our whale-watching tour, we saw seven humpback whales, a school of spinner dolphins, and several sea turtles.
This makes a whale-watching tour one of the best things to do in Maui!
If you would like, you can combine your whale-watching tour with snorkeling to make a whole day out of it.
7. Eat Hawaiian Shave Ice
Eating Hawaiian shave ice is one of the best things to do in Maui. It was a daily must for me!
The shaved ice in Hawaiian is finer than any other shaved ice I have ever had. It is so fine that it is almost the texture of snow.
When you combine the perfectly shaved ice with the wonderful and exotic flavors offered in the Hawaiian Islands, you have the makings for a delicious treat!
There truly is something special about the shaved ice in Hawaii, especially when you get it from Ululani Shave Ice. Ululani has shaved ice down to a science! Their syrups are made from natural ingredients, making them wonderfully sweet and delicious.
Venture out of your comfort zone and try something new on your shaved ice in Maui. You can get condensed milk, ice cream, Li Hing Mui powder, or toasted coconut added to your shaved ice for extra flavor!
8. Molokini Crater
Just a few miles off the shore of Maui sits the Molokini Island Preserve, a crescent-shaped island partially submerged crater.
The Molokini Crater is a famous spot for snorkeling and diving thanks to the abundance of sea life that call it home.
Many tour operators offer day trips to Molokinin Crater for guests to experience the beautiful cove.
While Molokini Crater is a great place to snorkel, it was not our favorite. Still, it is good for first-timers to see some colorful fish and reef life.
If I were you, I would combine a trip to Molokini with other stops when choosing my day tour. One example is a trip to Molokini and Turtle Town or a tour combining the Molokini Crater with sailing in Maui.
9. Maui Ocean Center
The three-acre Maui Ocean Center opened in 1988 and is considered the largest tropical reef aquarium in the Western Hemisphere.
The Maui Ocean Center prides itself on teaching the public about Hawaii’s marine life. You can view Hawaiian green sea turtles, coral, reef fish, and hammerhead sharks here.
Kids will especially think this is one of the fun things to do in Maui!
You can purchase your Maui Ocean Center ticket in advance to save yourself valuable vacation time.
10. Ho’okipa Beach Park
Ho’okipa Beach Park is the place to go if you love to windsurf (or watch windsurfing). Fair warning, though, the surf here can get dangerous, so only tackle this activity if you are an experienced surfer.
Located on the Hana Highway, just past Pa’ia town, Ho’okipa Beach Park was one of our favorite spots, thanks to the surfers, windsurfers, and the massive green sea turtles come to the beach to rest.
The Ho’okipa Lookout, at the top of the hill, is a great place to park and watch the surfers and windsurfers in the ocean below.
Further down, you can enjoy the Ho’okipa Beach Park, where you can stretch out on the small stretch of sandy beach to watch the sea turtles come and go in the afternoon. there are picnic tables and restrooms on-site as well.
Take note that swimming at Ho’okipa Beach Park is not safe due to the harsh ocean conditions. If you aren’t an experienced ocean swimmer, just put your feet in the water.
There aren’t any restaurants or food trucks at the park, but Mama’s Fish House is nearby.
11. Iao Valley State Park
The Iao Valley State Park is in Central Maui and should be on your list of things to do in Maui!
Home to the 1,200-foot Kuka’emoku, or Iao Needle, this state park offers visitors so much beauty and scenery.
The area is sacred in Hawaiian culture and was off-limits to all but Hawaiian royalty at one time. Still today, many Hawaiian consider it a pilgrimage site.
The park spans over 4,000 acres and is filled with natural beauty, thanks to some hiking trails.
One of the most popular hikes is the Iao Needle Lookout Trail and Ethnobotanical Loop, which is a .6-mile trial that offers a great view of the Needle.
It is important to note that this area gets a lot of rain, so be prepared with appropriate gear for your hike if you set out on the Iao Needle Lookout Trail. You may also experience areas of the park that are closed due to hazards caused by weather conditions.
Visit the Iao Valley State Monument website to stay updated with the latest information.
12. Lahaina Town
Your time in Maui will have you in Lahaina at some point. Whether you are staying in Lahaina or just coming to the Lahaina Harbor to catch one of the many boat tours, you will likely visit the charming seaside town at some point.
Honestly, you are missing out if you don’t see Lahaina!
This charming little community boasts boutique shops, fabulous restaurants, art galleries, and the Lahaina Harbor.
One of the highlights of Lahaina is Banyon Tree Park. Banyan Tree Park is a one-acre park in the center of town and is home to a huge banyan tree. This banyan tree was planted in 1873 and is over 60 feet tall! It is truly a sight to see.
Another highlight of Lahaina is Front Street. Front Street Lahaina is where you will find many fun shops and restaurants in the city. There is even free parking located right on Front Street!
Of course, the Old Lahaina Luau (discussed above) is also located in Lahaina town. As is one of the most beautiful beaches in Maui Ka’anapali Beach (which we also discuss below).
I can imagine what island life is like in this little town!
13. Kapalua Coastal Trail
Kapalua Coastal Trail is a beautiful trail in the northwest corner of Maui near many of the island’s luxury hotels.
The hike is around 3.5 miles roundtrip and stretches from D.T. Fleming Beach to Kapalua’s south bay. While on the Kapalua Coastal Trail, you will pass through the wilderness, lava fields, and gorgeous beaches.
You can start at either end of the Kapalua Coastal Trail or do the round-trip walk. Either way, you can enjoy two beautiful tropical beaches in Maui!
D.T. Fleming park even has picnic tables, perfect for packing, bringing along one of the gourmet picnic lunches you can buy on the island.
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14. Pa’ia Town
Pa’ia is a quintessential surfer town in every sense of the word. This laid-back community was once a sugar plantation with an intriguing history.
Today, Pa’ia town is the perfect place to spend the day. Explore the town’s many small boutique shops and colorful storefronts before eating at the many restaurants.
Enjoy an incredible wood-fired pizza from the Flatbread Company or some amazing fish and chips at Pa’ia Fish Market. We had both and can say they are both delicious!
The area also has a Ululani Shave Ice and the famous Mama’s Fish House.
If you time your visit right, you can enjoy the traditional farmer’s market. Here you can purchase fresh, delicious Maui fruits and vegetables.
When you’re ready to hit the beach, there are several choices in Pa’ia. You can go to Ho’okipa Beach Park (mentioned above) to watch the surfers and windsurfers or head to Baldwin Beach Park for some calm swimming waters.
15. Wailea Beach
If staying on a gorgeous beach with luxury hotels is your idea of a great vacation, you must check out Wailea Beach.
Located in South Maui, Wailea Beach has over 1500 acres of sprawling beaches and luxury resorts.
This area is popular for the golf courses and great snorkeling water found here (when the wind and surf are calm). Of course, if you aren’t up for any activity, there are plenty of palm trees to nap under!
You can also enjoy walking on the 1.6 miles of paved coastline while visiting the Wailea Beach area.
16. Makena Beach State Park
Makena Beach State Park is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon as you explore Maui.
This 165-acre state park is the perfect place to find peace and quiet as it is considered one of the most secluded places on the island.
While at Makena Beach State Park, you can enjoy swimming, body surfing, shore fishing, or simply doing nothing!
Check out the different areas of the park to see which suits you best. Makena Beach State Park is divided into two sections, Oneloa (Big Beach) and Puu Olain (Little Beach). Just note that Little Beach is known to be popular with nude sunbathers.
17. See the Nakalele Blowhole
Head to Northern Maui to see the island’s beautiful, rugged coastline. Along the route, visit the Nakalele Blowhole, located on Nakalele Point.
This blowhole is formed thanks to seawater trapped in an underwater lava tube. The seawater is “erupts” every few minutes as waves pound into it, sending water shooting out of the hole.
Marty and I equated this to the geysers we witnessed in Yellowstone National Park. The power generated from the ocean waves is magnificent as the water from the blowhole shoots as high as 100 feet into the air!
The Nakalele Blowhole is easy to find as it is located on Highway 340. Just park in one of the parking areas and follow the path down to the blowhole.
You can view the blowhole from the lookout above or venture down to get a closer look. Just be careful. The rocks along the path are slippery.
Also, obey the warning signs and not get too close to the blowhole, as you risk being sucked into it by the waves.
Seeing the Nakalele Blowhole is one of the best things to do in Maui for nature lovers.
18. Learn to Hula
One of the fun things to do in Maui is to take a hula lesson.
The Hula dance is a beautiful expression of Hawaiian culture. This Polynesian style of dancing originated in the Hawaiian islands and was traditionally used to tell a story through movement and song or chant.
While there are plenty of opportunities to see Hula shows, it is even more rewarding to experience the art yourself.
Thanks to the Hawaiian Hula Company, you can learn this beautiful and moving style of dance yourself!
19. Visit Upcountry Maui
Visiting Upcountry Maui allows you to see a different side of the island than the Maui coastline.
Small towns and winding roads come together in the hilly region of Maui, providing a new perspective on island life.
Here you can explore the Maui towns of Pukalani, Kula, and Makawao while
checking out some of the top things to do in Maui.
A popular restaurant in this region is O’o Farm. O’o Farm offers true farm-to-table experiences and guided tours of their sustainable farm. Although we did not personally experience O’o Farm, we heard great things from many of our friends, so we included it in this post.
20. Maui Brewing Company
Beer lovers will want to include a trip to the Maui Brewing Company on their list of things to do in Maui.
As one of the largest craft breweries in Hawaii, Maui Brewing Company is a great place to learn about the beer-making process and taste some delicious Hawaiian beer.
Visitors can embark on a 60-minute tour of the facility before settling in to taste some incredible beer crafted at the Maui Brewing Company.
With unique flavors like Pineapple Mana Wheat and a Coconut Hiwa Porter, you are guaranteed to try a beer you’ve never tasted before at Maui Brewing Company.
The company also serves ginger beer, root beer, and some delicious pub-style food.
21. Kula Botanical Gardens
The Kula Botanical Gardens offers visitors a peaceful and serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the Maui cities and beaches.
This 8-acre botanical garden boasts loads of tropical flora and fauna that make you feel like you have been whisked away to a private paradise.
Located on the slopes of Haleakala, you will see unique rock formations, waterfalls, koi ponds, an aviary, and beautiful tropical vegetation.
22. Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop
When you’re hungry and need good, old-fashioned comfort food, there is no better place on the island than Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop!
This family-style restaurant has been a Maui favorite since 2011. Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop has developed a cult following, serving farm-fresh, sustainable ingredients.
You can enjoy a delicious Reuben sandwich or a fantastic blue cheese burger during your visit. Of course, you have to save room for pie!
Leoda serves up incredible savory or sweet pies. Enjoy a savory chicken or beef pot pie, or take home some banana cream or apple crumb pie!
23. Pipiwai Trail
The Pipiwai Trail has to be on your list of things to do in Maui! This hiking trail takes you through an incredible bamboo forest while on your way to see two gorgeous waterfalls.
The trail is a 4-mile out-and-back loop, one of Maui’s most popular hikes.
Pipiwai Trail brings you to great spots like the Pools of ‘Ohea’o and the Waimoku Falls.
Plan for about 3 hours to complete the trail, or more if you love to take a million photos like us.
24. Maui Snorkeling Tour
One of my favorite things to do in Maui was snorkeling. I think I loved it so much because there were green sea turtles everywhere I looked!
Maui offers numerous places where you can snorkel directly off of the shoreline. Some popular areas include Kama’ole Beach Park, Kahekili Beach Park, Honolua Bay, and Olowalu.
If you want to snorkel out in the open water, book one of the many Maui snorkeling tours offered throughout the island.
One of the popular tours combines Turtle Town and Molokini Crater with lunch. This tour on a nice boat with 2 restrooms and a great crew is great.
Turtle Town is located just off Maluaka Beach and is home to some great marine life. In addition to sea turtles, there are also some beautiful fish that live here also.
A snorkeling trip is one of the fun things to do in Maui!
25. Ka’anapali Beach
Located in west Maui, Kaanapali Beach is known to be one of the best swimming beaches on the island.
Kaanapali Beach boasts three miles of white sand and beautiful blue water for visitors to enjoy.
Of course, gorgeous stretches of beaches also mean resorts, and that holds true for Kaanapali Beach.
The area around Kaanapali Beach has several resorts, many shops and restaurants, and many fun water activities to enjoy.
You will also find Black Rock Beach just north of Ka’anapali Beach. Black Rock Beach is a popular place for snorkeling and cliff jumping.
26. Napili Beach
Another of the top-rated beaches in Maui is Napili Beach. Napili is a gorgeous stretch of coastline with white sand and crystal-clear water.
Napili Beach is a great place for snorkeling any time of year and a prime whale-watching spot during the winter months.
Napili Beach is known to get quite crowded, so keep that in mind if you plan to add this to your list of things to do in Maui
27. Maui Helicopter Tour
A Maui helicopter tour is one of the best things to do in Maui and seems to be on everyone’s Maui bucket list.
Photographers will be in heaven as they soar above the breathtaking scenery of this gorgeous tropical island.
The lush terrain, turquoise ocean, and incredible waterfalls make this one of the unique experiences in Maui.
There are different tours offered all over the island. Whether you want to take a helicopter tour over the Hana Forest or the Molokai cliffs, Maui has you covered.
28. Lanai Island
One of the fun things to do in Maui is to make a half-day trip to Lanai Island.
Lanai is the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii and is popular thanks to the thriving marine life that lives in the area, specifically the dolphin population.
A guided tour from Maui to Lanai is excellent for seeing the area’s dolphins! Be sure to add this to your list of things to do in Maui!
29. Hana Lava Tubes
The Road to Hana is full of unique things to do in Maui. From hiking trails through the bamboo forest to the incredible waterfalls, it is no secret that the Hana Highway is full of surprises.
Another of the great attractions on the Hana Highway is the Hana Lava Tube. This incredible natural wonder was formed after molten lava that flowed thousands of years ago cooled and hardened, forming the cool lava tubes you see before you today.
Take time to tour the Hana lava tube and enjoy the gardens on the property.
30. Waihe’e Ridge Trail
One of the most popular hiking trails on the island is Waihe’e Ridge Trail.
The hike in the West Maui Mountains promises great views and lush tropical scenery. It is so popular that the parking lot is known to fill up first thing in the morning.
The hike is a mid-level hike that covers about 3.7 miles and can take between 2 and 4 hours to complete.
There are some steep inclines along the route, but the scenery makes it well worth the hike!
31. Garden of Eden Arboretum
Another of the popular stops on the Road to Hana is the Garden of Eden Arboretum.
The Garden of Eden is a gorgeous tropical arboretum home to numerous tropical flora and fauna species, including the beautiful Rainbow Eucalyptus trees.
One of the most popular attractions at the Garden of Eden Arboretum is the view that was used in the opening scene of Jurassic Park.
Throughout the park are breathtaking views of waterfalls surrounded by tropical plants. It is truly incredible!
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About The Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel. Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.