5 Adventurous Things to Do in Maui
From high mountain peaks, dense rain forest, ancient volcanic fields, and abundant snorkeling spots, Maui is a hot spot for the adventurous. With a very small town feel, and nature creeping in from all sides, there's no shortage of adrenaline pumping action. Go ahead, dive in!
1. Drive the Road to Hana
You can't visit Maui without taking the Road to Hana. 42 miles of narrow roads through thick jungle, 629 curves, and 59 bridges, make the road to Hana one of the most intense and beautiful road trips on the planet. Along the way, you'll see waterfalls, organic farms, exotic flowers, and windblown seascapes.
Beware, this is not for the faint of heart! Blind corners and one way bridges can make this road seem a little too intense to those used to things like stoplights and six-lane freeways.
The real adventure begins when you get off of the road. There are dozens of waterfalls to hike, food vendors to try, and outrageously gorgeous scenic overlooks.
The most popular thing to do, besides sample Maui's incredibly soft shaved ice, is to make it to what tourists call "The Seven Sacred Pools." They are a series of cascading waterfalls into the Pacific Ocean. If you hike further up Oheo Gulch, you will swing like a monkey from a giant banyan tree, hike across a bamboo forest boardwalk, cross a creek a couple of times, and end up at the bottom of a couple hundred foot waterfall, with 400 ft tall sheer walls.
The road does continue past Hana but soon turns into an unkempt dirt road through lava fields. Most rental companies discourage you from continuing on to Wailea.
Last large town until Hana. It's a good idea to fuel up and grab some water and snacks.
Cascading pools, waterfall, bamboo forests, and great views.
You've made it!
2. Take A Blue Water Rafting Trip Through Volcanic Caverns
When I first saw their ad, I thought, "I didn't know there was river rafting on Maui. Where's the river?" Nope, river rafting isn't on the menu, but spinning donuts around sea caves in a ridgid inflatable boat, will be a memorable Maui experience.
The Blue Water Rafting Company offers several packages that included spending a couple hours exploring caves and lava formations, snorkeling with dolphins and sea turtles, and speeding across open blue water.
Bring a waterproof camera, you will get wet.
3. Go Snorkeling
Maui offers some of the world's best snorkeling opportunities. Here are some of the best snorkeling spots.
- Honolua Bay. A picturesque bay just a few minutes from Kaanapali. You can either walk in your gear a quarter mile or take a charter boat. The best snorkeling is farther off shore, so I highly recommend taking a snorkeling trip.
- Molokini Crater. Molokini is the moon shaped crater off of Maui. The water is protected in a semi-circle, often providing 100+ feet of visibility.
- Black Rock. It sits at the far end of Kaanapali and is a magnet for green sea turtles. It's also ridiculously fun to jump off of.
- Kihei to Makena. The whole stretch of coastline is littered with great snorkeling spots. My favorite place is the Kamaole beach park (it's broken into 3 sections).
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4. Scuba Dive Molokini
With it's crazy 100+ visibility, and steep slopes, Molokini is best seen with a tank on your back. It is protected as a Marine Life Preservation, so the sealife is abundant and colorful.
Dive boats leave from Kihei and Lahaina. Since Molokini is just off the Wailea/ Kihei coast, the boat ride only takes a few minutes.
Dive Charters From Lahaina
Dive Charters from Kihei
I have personally dove with B&B and can say that they are a top notch dive company. I was able to get in 2 dives on Molokini and be back by breakfast. A great opportunity to still dive, even if you are visiting Maui with non-divers. The Captain and crew were really helpful and very nice people. I would recommend them to all of my friends.
5. Drive up Haleakala to Watch the Sun Rise
Did you know that Maui has a 10,000-foot peak? What better place to watch the sunrise than from above the clouds?
You will drive a stunning 37 miles from upcountry Maui, through several terrain changes, to get to the summit. It's a long, windy road through countryside, lush sub-tropical rainforest, pine forests, and high desert.
At the top, there is a visitor center, and a crater the size of Manhattan. You can hike down into it, but it is a dry and harsh environment, so be prepared. There is no shade, and temperatures are generally thirty degrees less than at the beach. Treat it like you would any other 10,000-foot peak.
Be sure to bring a warm jacket, the temperature is usually in the 40's or 50's and very windy.
If you want a little extra adventure, the Haleakala Bike Company, offers tours and bike rides down the mountain.
If you want to watch the sunrise, you'll have to get up really early, leaving before 4 am, so that you can make it to the top before sunrise. I know, that's really early for vacation, but when else do you get to watch the sunrise from a 10,000-foot peak?
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© 2014 Jennifer Arnett