The islands of Hawaii are some of the most beautiful places in the world. Even if you only have a few days to spend in Maui you should make an effort to immerse yourself in all this beautiful island has to offer.
There are many things to do in Maui from a thrilling zipline adventure to a lazy snorkeling beach day. Due to the size of the island, you will likely be able to busy yourself for your whole vacation alone or take part in one of the many guided tours available in the area.
As you are on an island, the watersports in Maui is one of the greatest attractions. With so much to do and see we have listed our top activities in this tropical paradise. Take a look below as we help you plan your next vacation.
13 Best Things To Do In Maui
1. Helicopter Tours
Flying around in a helicopter is one of the most fun things you can do on the island of Maui. They can get you to places that you would never be able to go otherwise. You can get up close and personal with valleys, craters, and even peaks of volcanoes. Many helicopter pilots will be able to talk you through what you’re seeing and give you a history lesson about the island. One of the cooler places is on the northwest coast of the island. It has the highest cliff, at 4 000 feet (1219 meters) tall, in the world.
Many shops have access to helicopters. They will have tours that you can choose from that may include Iao Valley State Park and Haleakala National Park. These places feature amazing rock formations, dormant volcanoes, and beautiful rainforest views.
Maui is a premier snorkeling destination in the US. This is a great activity that the whole family will enjoy. Many snorkeling spots on the island can be accessed from the beach and can occupy a lazy beach day. Others are harder to get to and can require a boat tour to get you out to the best spots. While snorkeling on this island you are likely to see many colorful tropical fish, dolphins, rays, and lots of sea turtles. While there are lots of places where you can rent from, bringing along your own snorkel gear is always desirable. Bringing along your child’s snorkel gear will help them to get the best fit and allow the whole family to get the most out of their day.
These warm tropical waters offer superior visibility allowing you to get endless views. The Mokokini Crater is one of the most popular snorkeling destinations that require a tour group to get to. Worth every penny, this protected reed is something you will never forget.
For those thrillseekers out there, parasailing is a must when traveling to this part of Hawaii. The warm sun and crystal clear waters deliver beautiful views that you will never forget. Sit back and relax as you soar high above the water attached to a parachute and being pulled by a boat. This is a great sport to do with a friend as you laugh gliding roughly 38 stories in the sky. The parasailing on the island is located in the west end of Maui in Lahaina Harbor and can be enjoyed anytime between May and December.
Grab your surfboard and hit the warm tropical waters of Maui. There is a reason Hawaii is often thought about when thinking of surfing. With no shortage of killer waves, Maui is home to many worldwide surfing competitions including the Aloha Classic and the Red Bull surfing competition. All held on Ho’okipa Beach in Honolua Bay you can take on the same waves as many pro surfers.
There are many spots on the island for those new to this sport. Head to Kaanpali, Lahaina, or Kihei to have gentle waves that are more suited to the average surfer. If you are looking, there are many lesson packages you can get to master the art of surfing.
There are times of the year to come to Maui for the best waves, and then there are times for the best wind. Summertime, between May and December, is the best time to take advantage of the wind. The tropical trade winds in this area make Maui ideal for windsurfers. Kanaha Beach Park is the most popular area on the island for this as the nearby town of Kahului regularly experiences winds of 13.7mph.
One of the best ways to see the island is by floating on top of it. Paragliding will not only show you the island and its crystal clear waters but also get your blood pumping. There are many places you can take off from including Mount Haleakala. Your guide will make this so easy that all you have to do is take in the sights. In fact, the hardest part will be waiting for ideal wind conditions.
If you are scared of heights we strongly encourage you to try this sport. Honestly, there is nothing to be afraid of. You don’t feel as though you’re falling and you are so busy looking around you forget to be scared. You will be strapped into a suit that feels like you’re sitting in a chair.
As with many tropical vacation hubs, ziplining is a must when traveling to Maui. This sport is incredibly safe while being intensely thrilling. On the north shore of the island, you will zip over a lush tropical valley that will have you feeling like you are on top of a jungle. There is also ziplining in the Ka’anapali region which offers unbeatable beach views of the clear turquoise waters and many neighboring islands.
With the growing popularity of paddleboarding, why not take to the warm Hawaiian waters while on your next vacation. Maui offers some incredible bays with sheltered water that is perfect for your next SUP adventure. Take to the waters as the sun sets and head out for an evening paddle. This is a great place to try your hand at SUP yoga. The crystal clear waters allow you a beautiful view of life under the sea.
The best paddle boarding can be found in the northwest corner of the island at either Kapalua Bay, Napili Bay, or Kihei Beach. There are many rental shops on the island where you can get aboard for the day for a relatively inexpensive price.
If you are a fan of kayaking Maui is the place for you! There are places on the island that have guided tours and kayak rentals that allow you to see Maui from a unique perspective. You can expect to see caves, amazing coastlines, and an abundance of marine life.
Kayaking in Maui is not strenuous on your body. Depending on the time of year it is, the waves aren’t overpowering which makes paddling something anyone can do. This is also one of the best ways to see the island. Kayaking is one of the few sports that has nearly zero impact on the environment. You will also get a great workout without even knowing it.
There are many places to recommend kayaking. One of the best places is Turtle Town. As you can guess by its name, Turtle Town is where turtles like to hang out. It is located on the southwest coast of the island and if you’re lucky you may even see whales here.
Honolua Bay is another excellent kayaking destination. You will see steep rocky cliffs along the shore with private beaches scattered in between. Just be prepared for it to be windier than other areas on the island. Bring your snorkel and jump in the water as this area is home to many different types of fish including rays and spinner dolphins.
Fishing, especially spearfishing and deep-sea fishing, are incredibly popular on this island. Booking day trips will help you access the best fishing on the island. These are typically from Kihei, Lahaina, and Kapalua. For spearfishing, you will want to grab some snorkel or diving gear and take to the water with a speargun. Deep-sea fishing with a kayak fishing in the area is sure to deliver. With many Marlin, Mahi-Mahi, and Wahoo in the area, you will likely get your fill in this area. Especially when you reel in an unforgettable 500 pound Yellowfin Tuna.
With so many affordable bike rental places on the island, what better way to explore than to jump on a bike and pedal away. This island hosts places for trail riders as well as city bikers to get what they need. You can take a guided tour to the top of Haleakala Volcano to watch the sunrise like never before. Mountain bikers will love the Mamane Trail or the Makawao Forest Reserve. Offering ideal trails for bikers of all skill levels you can go from lush forests to oceanside parks in no time.
12. Scuba Diving
There are many local dive shops for you to go to Maui.
One of the most talked-about places on the island is the Molokini Marine Sanctuary. This place features not only great scuba diving but also amazing snorkeling. The water ranges from shallows to upwards of 130 feet (39 meters). This place singlehandedly proves that the Hawaiian Islands don’t just have a black rock to look at underwater.
Another place you should check out is Moku Ho’onani Rock. This special dive spot has everything from manta rays to Hawaiian Monk Seals to Spinner Dolphins and even Scalloped Hammerhead sharks. If you can only go to one place while you’re on the island this should be near the top of your list.
If you can dive for a few days (or even a week) you should head to the area of Lanai. There are over 25 sites here for everyone from beginners to expert divers. You can swim through everything from lava domes (First and Second Cathedrals) to lava bubbles, tubes and arches.
Another amazing scuba dive site is in Lahaina. Here you can swim through a sunken ship (The Carthaginian Sailing Ship) which has transformed into an artificial reef. It sits at 97 feet (29.5 meters) deep which means you need to have your Advanced Open Water certificate from PADI.
Even though Maui is not the biggest island it still has some of the most spectacular hikes. Some trails fall into any skill level, with some even being quite difficult. Maui’s scenery can range from rainforest-like conditions to black rock in craters.
One of these trails is the Waihee Ridge Hiking Trail. It is on the western side of the island and features a 4-mile trek. This trail is rated intermediate and you should have a pack with you on this one. You should expect to see lots of trees and plant life in between amazingly beautiful waterfalls. If it’s a particularly hot day, this is a hike that will cool you off. Bring a bathing suit and take a dip in the water.
Another excellent hike is called the Sliding Sands Trail. This is a longer one (11.2 miles / 18 km) in length. Anyone who’s hiked this trail describes it like how they envision walking on the moon. In the time it takes to hike this the scenery transforms from wildflower fields to craters with black rocks.
If you’re looking to just experience a short hike you should head to Kuloa Point Trail. It is a 0.6 mile (1 km) trail that ends with the Oheo Gulch and Seven Sacred Pools (both are a must-see). This one can knock a few things off your activity list all while getting some exercise. You can even bring a bathing suit to swim in the pools if you like.
Globo Surf Overview
You can spend months on Maui without seeing everything it has to offer. This island is truly an outdoors person’s dream. The weather year-round is nearly unbeatable, the hiking is unique and the watersports are second to none. You will not leave this island without having a good time.
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