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10 Best Things to Do in Maui – From Whale Watching to Hana

These things to do in Maui are a list of the tours I took and adventures I had on that amazing Hawaiian island. I just returned from two weeks on Maui, and I’m already planning my second vacation there.

This list of the best things to do in Maui includes some of my favorite activities, plus a few things I’m saving for my next trip to Hawaii.

Before the tips, a quip:

“The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience,” said Daniel J. Boorstin. “The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him.  He goes “sight-seeing.”

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” ~ Lin Yutang.

Perhaps, but the truth is I’d rather be at the Aston Maui Kaanapali Villas than in my own home! Two weeks isn’t long enough…but two months might be. If you’re traveling to Hawaii and need a guidebook, get the Maui Trailblazer: Where to Hike, Snorkel, Paddle, Surf, Drive – it’s full of adventures!

And, here are ten fun things to do in Maui…

10 Best Things to Do in Maui – From Whale Watching to Hana

1. Whale watching – a Hawaiian marine watching adventure. We went whale watching cruise at 7 am one morning, and saw at least a dozen whales above water. Other marine life to observe include dolphins, turtles, flying fish, manta rays, monk seals, and whale sharks. Whale watching is one of the best things to do in Maui, but they’re only around from January-March (or thereabouts).

2. Molokini snorkel trip. I regret not going on this boat trip to the island of Molokini – I talked to people who did, and they not only saw tons of gorgeous coral and exotic fish, they saw several whales on their trip there and back! These snorkel trips include breakfast, lunch, drinks, snacks, snorkel gear, and scuba gear.

3. Helicopter tour of Maui. This air tour gives you amazing views of waterfalls, rain forests, deserted beaches, volcanic craters, flowing lava, and more. This is one of the best things to do in Maui – and it’s also one of the most expensive. No surprise, since helicopters and small planes are very expensive to operate.

4. Luaus and Polynesian shows. We went to the “Drums of Paradise” luau at the Hyatt, and it was wonderful. You can’t have an adventure in Hawaii without experiencing a luau! Other things to do on Maui include magic shows, free hula dancing, Polynesian cultural shows and feasts, and even Cirque de Soleil productions.

Are you celebrating your birthday in Maui? Read my tips for birthday celebrations.

5. Cycling the Haleakala Volcano. If you like to bike, this will be one of your “best ten things to do in Maui!” You’ll cycle past pineapple fields, farms, flower gardens, horses and cows, incredible views…and of course to the top of the Haleakala Volcano. This is a great way to work off all that luau food (especially if you’re not into running on the beach in Maui).

6. “Snuba” and other ocean adventure tours in Maui. “Snuba” is a cross between scuba diving and snorkeling; you stay underwater for up to 20 minutes with your snorkel gear. Guided kayak trips, kite surfing, surfing, jet skiing, wakeboarding, waterskiing are more great things to do in Maui.

7. Dinner or cocktail cruise along the Hawaiian cost. Cruising along the coast of Maui gives you a gorgeous view of the beaches, beachside restaurants, hotels, and harbors. What a romantic thing to do – especially if you’re on a romantic honeymoon getaway on Maui. Many of these dinner cruises in Maui have live entertainment…including hula dancers.

8. Ziplining tours and adventures in Maui. There are two ziplining adventure tour companies in Maui – you’ll have an amazing time if launching off cliffs and zipping across valleys is one of your top ten things to do while traveling in Hawaii! I didn’t go ziplining in Maui, but loved it in Costa Rica.

9. Hawaiian island pampering at local spas. After cycling a volcano or snorkeling the coral reefs, you might be read for a massage, body treatment with natural Hawaiian ingredients, manicure, or pedicure. This wasn’t my idea of the “best thing to do in Maui”, but spas get really busy so I know other people love it.

10. Drive the road to Hana – one of the best things in Maui. This adventure tour (or self-guided drive) isn’t for the faint of heart…the road to Hana crosses 52 one-way bridges and has crazy hair-pin turns. Along the way are botanical gardens, state parks, natural caves, ocean blow holes, massive waves, hikes, waterfalls, beaches, and secret Maui treasures. We drove the road to Hana ourselves, but I’d recommend going with an expert tour. Who wants to worry about the road when you could be gawking out at the gorgeous Maui coastline?

If you’re planning a Hawaiian adventure, you might find How to Find Cheap, All Inclusive Vacations to Maui and Hawaii helpful.

You may also find What to Pack for an All Inclusive Resort Vacation interesting (and fun!).

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Have you been to Hawaii – and do you agree with my “best things to do in Maui”? If you’re planning a holiday, I welcome your questions below…

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5 thoughts on “10 Best Things to Do in Maui – From Whale Watching to Hana”

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hello Heidi,

    There’s a beach nicknamed “Baby Beach” behind the Lahaina Mall on Maui. I don’t have kids, but my friend does, and they really liked snorkeling there. I can’t remember the official name of the beach, but if you ask around about the beach near that mall, you should be able to get directions.

    A really popular snorkeling spot was Black Rock, on the Kanaapali stretch of beach. It’s crowded, though, and I didn’t think the fish were all that exciting. But, it’s a calm place to snorkel, and may be a good place to “get your feet wet.”

    There are also spots to stop and swim on the road to Hana — beautiful bays — but I don’t know how good the snorkeling is. We also drove along the coast for part of an afternoon, getting out at the look out points and watching the surfers! That’s another way to find the “best thing to do in Maui” — just let the wind, sun, and sand direct you 🙂

    And, talk to your fellow travelers. Finding out what they did while they were there is a great way to discover the hidden treasures in Maui.

    Aloha!! By the way, I’m going to Hawaii on Monday (the day after tomorrow), and can’t WAIT!!!!


  2. Travelling to Maui in March with our two kids (6 and 8). We are a fairly adventurous and active family. This will be the kids’ first time snorkelling (they have been practising in the bathtub and at the pool). I would like to know of some great (not so touristy) places where the kids do not have to go too deep but can still try out snorkelling and see lots of great fish. If you have any tips let me know. we do plan to do a snorkel tour to Molokini but would like to also find some cool places on our own.