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Top 50 Things to Do in Maui

Updated on March 7, 2018

Ever Wonder What to Do When Visiting Maui, Hawaii?

It's hard to know what to do and see in Maui without having lived here for a long time. Thankfully, we are long time Maui residents sharing our island knowledge with you!

We've listed the top Maui activities, restaurants, attractions, shows, beaches, events, and towns to get you started on the right foot.

Have we missed anything crucial? Please feel free to share your suggestions/edits in the comments.

Bonus: We've also shared our favorite top 5 Maui resorts!

1) Take a Snorkel Trip to Molokini

"Sun is shining and the weather is sweet,"—lyrics sung by free-spirited Bob Marley and an anthem here on Maui. Days like this demand a snorkel trip to the famous Molokini Crater, a crescent shaped island located about 2 miles off the coast of Maui. Molokini offers an abundance of colorful tropical fish, stunning geometric coral, and pterodactyl like sea birds.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Flotation devices are available to ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone. Please don't be shy, there are easy-to-use non cumbersome floaters available. Also available are "view port boogie boards" which allow for youngsters to float above the water with an underwater view.
  • Snuba available! Snuba is the cool offspring of a Scuba and Snorkeling marriage. It requires no certification and minimal instructions. And, it offers a more deep, other worldly experience than what snorkeling can provide.

Piiholo Zipline
Piiholo Zipline

2) Ride High Through the Treetops on a Zipline!

Never before has an activity taken Maui by storm like ziplining! Fun for the whole family, (check weight limits), a zipline tour offers a fun, safe, adventurous way to see the island. For first timers strapping into the gear, you will start to feel a little tingle deep down in your belly. Rest assured the guides are trained and qualified, and the equipment fully tested and secure.

Standing on a platform in the trees, wind blowing fiercely, friends giggling nervously behind you, the anticipation alone is exhilarating. After securing your harness to the line, its more of a strappy seat really, you hang there 100 feet up at the mercy of your guides. The target is a platform about 400 feet away, and there's only one way to get there!

What the locals know/tips:

  • For Maximum Thrill: Piiholo Zipline has a tremendous 5 course zipline tour as one of their options. The final line of which, is over a half a mile long and sits 600 feet up.
  • Close toed shoes required
  • There is usually a ride along option for those who aren't feeling as adventurous, but would still like to enjoy the day.

Biking Maui
Biking Maui

3) Bike Down a Volcano

Don't let the simplicity of "riding a bike" fool you. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, to watch the sunrise over majestic Haleakala, the world's largest dormant volcano. Since ancient times, it has been a powerful place of worship and ceremony for the people of Hawaii. Today visitors revel at the unearthly landscape, sheer vastness, and power that is Haleakala.

Haleakala Bike Company has been operating on Maui for over 20 years, and offer excellent instructions and equipment. Guests are taken to the summit for sunrise, and then to the base of Haleakala National Park at 6,500 feet to begin biking. Twenty-three fun miles to explore and enjoy the lush scenery of upcountry Maui.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Believe it or not, due to the elevation, the temperature with wind chill can get down to around 15 degrees Fahrenheit at sunrise. Be sure to dress in layers, or even pack a blanket for comfort. Many tour companies offer a backpack to store your items.
  • Please check with your concierge or tour company as to driving time to your destination.
  • Haleakala Bike Co. is one of the very few bike tours that are unguided, meaning you set the pace. This allows for more freedom and fun in your day.

Maui Helicopter Tours
Maui Helicopter Tours

4) Helicopter Tour

It's true that 80% of Maui is only accessible from air! And, that 80% is a utopian fairy-tale of lush forests and time-forgotten landscape. Explore deep into the crevasses of the West Maui Mountains, along the jagged edged thousand-foot cliffs to discover the mystical Honokohau Falls. Said to be the tallest on Maui, they drop an enormous 1100 feet. The West Maui Mountains are also home to the breathtakingly beautiful set of waterfalls known as the "Wall of Tears".

  • What the locals know/tips:
  • Wear dark solid clothing to prevent glare from the window. This will make for a much better viewing experience, and better photos.
  • Some visitors experience minor motion sickness, so please pack ginger, Dramamine, etc.

5) Take a Surf Lesson

Relive your youth! The experts on Maui make surfing so easy, that if you don't catch a wave, your lesson is free. Surfing is an easy and fun activity for the whole family, and a great way to connect with the ocean and mother nature.

He'enalu, or surfing in old Hawaiian, was first developed in the waters of ancient Polynesia. "He'e" means to change from a solid form to a liquid form and "nalu" refers to the motion of a wave.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Many surf schools offer beginner, intermediate, advanced and/or group or private lessons.
  • Apply plenty of waterproof sunblock.
  • If you are renting a board to go it alone, please check with instructors or lifeguards as to current conditions. It's important to stick to your comfort level in unknown breaks.

6) Escape on a Romantic Sunset Cruise

People around the world pine for a stunning and relaxing Maui sunset. And, there is no better way to experience the magic than out on the water on a sunset cruise. Drinking, dancing and your sweetheart at your side, add up to an unforgettable evening.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Check for live music on board before making reservations, if you feel like dancing!
  • Your sunset cruise might treat you to a whale sighting or two when in season. Whale Season: approx. December 15 through April 15

7) Choose Your Own Adventure! Hike Into Paradise

One of the best ways to see the island is to get out on foot and experience first hand what mother nature has to offer. There is an abundance of tropical flora and fauna on Maui, and with her drastic changes in elevation, Maui offers a whopping seven ecosystems to explore. There are a variety of books on hiking Maui trails available, or travel with a guided hiking company.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Always let someone know where you are going.
  • Bring plenty of water and a snack.
  • Wear appropriate footwear for the area.
  • Sunscreen and/or bug spray is helpful.
  • Remember if you begin hiking down in elevation, you're return hike will be uphill and and take twice the time.
  • Check for and obey flash flood warnings.
  • Above all else, leave the area as you found it! Maui hosts a number of endangered species. Please respect the aina (land).

8) Take a Horseback Tour

Did you know that cowboys have a rich tradition here in Maui? The Paniolos, or Hawaiian cowboys, have been wrangling and riding horses here since the late 19th century when King Kamehameha III ordered that Spanish-Mexican vaqueros come from California to teach Hawaiians how to manage the cattle that had been brought over by European settlers. The cattle business has slowed on Maui, but there are still a number of working ranches here that offer amazing horseback tours.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Close-toed shoes and pants are usually required.
  • Snacks and/or lunch and water are provided.
  • Depending on the ranch that you visit, a sunset ride can be gorgeous and romantic. The afternoons in some area can provide for a less windy and cooler experience.

9) Go on a Whale Watch

Bobbing up and down on the water, scanning the horizon, you'll never forget the first time one of these mammoth creatures suddenly emerges directly next your boat, blasting a geyser of misty breath from its blowhole. A uniform gasp and awe erupt from the crowd, as the beast submerges itself again, flashing its Herculean tail, and diving back down into the unknown deep.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Whale Season: approx. December 15 through April 15
  • Make sure that there is a naturalist on board who can share more about whale behaviors and fun facts.
  • The water is usually calmer in the early morning hours. However, if you are prone to seasickness, please be sure to take ginger, dramamine, or other anti-nausea product.
  • Don't get stuck behind the camera. Only the pros seem to capture really great whale photos. So, snap a few and then be sure to put the camera down and live in the moment!

10) Golf

Every year Maui hosts numerous PGA and LPGA tournaments, including the prestigious Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua. Marvel at the skills of players like Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh or Phil Mickelson; and then try your hand on the same hole! There are 14 courses to choose from on Maui, many of which were designed by master architects like Arnold Palmer, Ben Crenshaw and Jack Nicklaus, and are ranked among the best in the world.

The views are impeccable, with top notch equipment and facilities for use. For a unique experience, hop the ferry to Lanai to try your hand at the world famous "Challenge at Manele" or the "Experience" at Koele. All courses are sure to please.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Most courses offer a discount after 4 p.m.
  • Maui's trade winds pick up in the afternoon.

Top 10 Maui Restaurants: There Are so Many More Than 10, but These Are Some of Our Very Favorites.

1) Mama's Fish House

Maui's first fresh fish restaurant, Mama's Fish House delivers in beauty, quality and an authentic Hawaiian experience. Located in Paia on a secluded beach, Mama's is famous for its great seafood selection, killer view and island ambiance. Pricey but totally worth it. Reservations recommended.

Call 808.579.8488 or visit

2) Mala Ocean Tavern

A great find in Lahaina, Mala Ocean Tavern offers delicious food in a casual yet beautiful ocean view setting. Grab a seat on the lanai (patio), watch the sea turtles cruise by, order the consistently awesome Ahi bruschetta, and don't leave without trying their famous mai tai. Reservations recommended, happy hour daily from 3:00-4:30pm.

Call 808.667.9394 or visit

3) Cuatro

If you're looking for a great happy hour and dinner spot in South Maui, don't miss Cuatro in Kihei. Small but charming, this place offers unique seafood dishes like the Spicy Tuna Nachos and fresh fish prepared four different ways. Enjoy their daily happy hour from 4:00-6:00pm and go next door to Foodland to grab your choice of drink. It's BYOB!

Call 808.879.1110 or visit

4) Taqueria Cruz

Yet another awesome BYOB spot in Kihei, don't miss Taqueria Cruz for easy, quick and inexpensive Mexican food. Offering a daily $2 taco and $6 dinner options, grab a six pack, some friends, and head out for a no fuss meal before heading to the beach. Don't miss the fish tacos and chips and salsa! Be prepared for a crowd on Taco Tuesdays.

Call 808.875.2910 for questions.

5) Merriman's Kapalua

For a memorable West Maui meal, visit Merriman's at the Kapalua Resort. Sit back, enjoy the ocean views, and try fresh, local Maui food with their "farm to table" concept. Go for a romantic sunset evening and get the pineapple upside down cake for dessert! Reservations recommended.

Call 808.669.6400 or visit

6) Cafe Des Amis

Don't go to Paia without trying Cafe des Amis. Offering a delicious assortment of French crepes, Mediterranean style appetizers and home style Indian food, go for a big breakfast or happy hour and try to catch some live music on their courtyard.

Happy hour is 4:00-6:00pm, call 808.579.6323 or visit

7) Flatbread Paia

Who doesn't love great pizza?! Located in the always charming Paia, don't miss Maui's best pizza at Flatbread. Offering the best in locally grown and organic produce, you won't be disappointed with anything you order. Try the Kalua Pork pizza and one of their delicious salads.

Call 808.579.8989 or visit

8) Capische?

Casual yet elegant, Capische? is the perfect spot for a nice sunset meal. Located in Hotel Wailea, they serve a mix of Italian and American dishes in a truly beautiful setting. Try the mushroom truffle risotto with a glass of wine and go on a Friday or Saturday evening for the live music. Reservations recommended.

Call 808.879.2224 or visit

9) Star Noodle

If you're looking for great Asian food on Maui, don't miss Star Noodle, serving fresh house made noodles. Located in Lahaina, this is a great, moderately priced, casual yet busy restaurant. Go for dinner and don't miss the Garlic noodles and Pork Buns!

Call 808.667.5400 or visit

10) Ka'uiki

For those of you venturing the Road to Hana and want to reward yourself when you arrive, have a late lunch or dinner at Ka'uiki, located at the stunning Travaasa Resort. Focusing on local Maui ingredients, the chef calls the food "Hana fusion." Treat yourself after a long day of exploring.

Call 808.248.8211 or visit

Top 10 Maui Attractions

1) Journey to Heavenly Hana

Hana is one of the last true Hawaiian places on earth. Located on the east side of Maui, the road to Hana (Hwy - 360) is an un-touched fairy-tale consisting of tropical waterfalls, fields of red ginger, rainbows, enchanting rain forests, exhilarating views from epic sea cliffs, bamboo forests, and ancient taro patches. The road itself is a winding 50 miles of 620 curves and 59 moss covered bridges.

This is why it is so important to remember the #1 Rule: its all about the journey not the destination. Don't get overwhelmed, pick a few spots and soak up what each has to offer.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Gas up in Paia Town on Maui's North Shore. There won't be another opportunity until Hana Town.
  • It takes 3 hours round trip without stopping, so plan for a whole day excursion and leave early. Staying the night at the infamous Travassa Hotel in Hana, or camping at one of the beach parks are the best options to really soak in the serenity of the area.
  • Pack snacks and water. However, there are an abundance of roadside stands offering local treats like banana bread or kalua pork, caught right out of the jungle!
  • Let local traffic pass so that you can continue at a leisurely pace.
  • The R2H offers an informative CD guide that takes you all the way to the 7 Sacred Pools. Listen along to fun facts about the area and tips on the best places to stop.
  • For first timers, a guided van tour is definitely the way to go. This takes the pressure off and allows you to sit back and "cruise brah". Valley Isle Excursions offers some of the best guides and most comfortable vans.
  • Go local style—Leave the house with your swimsuit on for the day, and plan to hang out at a waterfall, pond, stream, beach, or all of the above. Put the windows down and turn the radio up. Bring a warm sweatshirt for the drive home at sunset.

Here are some of the best stops along the Road to Hana:

  • Twin Falls: A tropical farm offering waterfalls, farm tours, and a farm stand with the fruits of their labors.
  • Waikamoi Nature Trail
  • Honomanu Bay Lookout
  • Wailua Valley State Wayside
  • Upper Waikani Falls (Three Bears)
  • Piilanihale Heiau and Kahanu Gardens: Visit an ancient Hawaiian ceremonial temple and a breadfruit orchard.
  • Wai'anapanapa State Park and Black Sand Beach: Bathrooms and Camping. View a blowhole, sea arches, jump into the pools at the Princess Caves, or relax on the black sand beach.
  • Hamoa Beach: consistently named one of the best beaches in America by Dr. Beach.
  • Wailua Falls
  • Ohe'o Gulch and Seven Sacred Pools Camping and Bathrooms. A $10 per vehicle fee applies. (Worth it!) Wonderful swimming location. The trail head to Waimoku Falls, a 400-foot waterfall, is located across the street.
  • Charles Lindbergh Grave at Palapala Ho'oanau Church

2) Feel the Power of Haleakala (House of the Sun)

Mark Twain described sunrise at the summit of Haleakala as, "...the sublimest spectacle I ever witnessed". From the peak of the Puu Ulaula Overlook, sitting at the 10,023-foot summit, the colossal size and ethereal landscape of the crater make for a dramatic show. The Ancient Hawaiians believe that this is the location where the demigod Maui lassoed La, the sun god, to lengthen the days so his people good fish and hunt. Today visitors can spot the rare silversword, found only on the slopes of Haleakala, or the endangered nene (Hawaiian goose).

What the locals know/tips:

  • Sunrise occurs between 5:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.
  • From Kahului, take Hana (Hwy 36) to the Haleakala Hwy (Hwy 37), turn left on (Hwy 377), then left onto Crater Rd.
  • The drive from Kahului will take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • Call for information on weather conditions at 808-871-5054 before heading out.
  • Park Admission: Vehicles, $10; Hikers and bikers, $5. Limited camping available. Pass is valid for 3 days and can be used at the Kipahulu entrance on the Road to Hana as well.
  • The temperature plus drastic wind chill at the summit during sunrise can easily be below freezing. Blankets, jackets, etc are recommended.
  • Kahului will be your last chance to fill up gas or for convenience stores.
  • Hike, Bike, or Horseback tours available. Haleakala Bike Company offers a fun downhill bike tour that includes the spectacular sunrise at the summit.

3) 'Iao Valley (Pronounced "ee-ow")

This majestic rainforest houses the iconic 1,200-foot Iao Needle, which has become one of Maui's most popular tourist destinations and most recognizable landmarks. The area rose to fame as being the site of the Battle of Kepaniwai in 1790, in which King Kamehameha defeated Maui's army in a quest to unite all of the Hawaiian islands. Visitors can enjoy a walk along Iao Stream through the rainforest; or take an invigorating dip in the streams, said to have healing powers.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Kepaniwai Park Heritage Gardens are located below the parking area for the Iao Needle, and offers a perfect spot to picnic at one of the many pavilions. The park was enacted to memorialize Maui's multicultural history of Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Korean, and Filipino migrant workers.
  • A helicopter tour can provide some once in a lifetime views of the inner realms of Iao Valley.

4) Maui Ocean Center

Their 750,000 gallon tank houses over 20 sharks, stingrays, stunning coral, sea turtles and thousands of tropical reef fish. Excite your senses, by strolling through an acrylic tunnel that bubbles its way through the aquarium itself! Look up and touch the glass as the belly of a 12-foot shark swims inches away from your hand.

Outside there are interactive displays, touch pools, and baby sea turtles to view. The Maui Ocean Center's mission is to foster understanding of the ocean and its sea life with an up-close and personal experience.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Seascape Ma'alaea Restaurant is located on-site and boasts an open wall view of the harbor and a delicious menu. There is also a Reef Cafe for lighter fare.
  • Open everyday until 5 p.m., later hours in July and August

5) La Perouse Bay: Looking for Lava?

This bay marks the spot of the most recent lava flow on Maui; yes, recently, in approximately 1790. The water here is a gemstone quality turquoise color. Located in south Maui along Hwy 31, the road ends here in this rugged untouched area.

What the locals know/tips:

  • While it still provides a great photo op and is well worth the short drive, the bay is temporarily closed to swimming and snorkeling.
  • Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve is located just north, and is an excellent snorkeling location.
  • The trail head to the Kings Highway Trail, an ancient footpath by King Piilani, begins here at La Perouse Bay.

6) Nakalele Blow Hole

Erupting daily, this powerful geyser-like spout is located along one of the most beautiful drives on Maui, the "top-side drive" on Hwy 30. The drive takes visitors around the West Maui Mountains, along rugged sea cliffs with jaw dropping views. Coming from Kapalua the blow hole is located around mile marker 38, near a dirt pull out. Visitors can view it safely from the lot, or hike down the trail for a closer look.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Always stay at a safe distance. Do not stand near or on the blowhole. Numerous fatalities have occurred here.


7) Ho'okipa Beach Park: Let the Pros Wow You!

Ho'okipa is one of the premier surf and windsurfing locations in the world. It is located on Maui's north shore along the Hana Highway at mile marker #9. It offers rugged lava coastline, a sandy beach, and powerful waves that can reach over 30 feet in the winter.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Restrooms, pavilions, and observation deck available.
  • Not good for swimming. If you are not an advanced surfer, go elsewhere.

8) Lanai/Molokai: Visit a Neighboring Island!

Lanai and Molokai are only a short ferry ride away. Each offer their own unique character, and unbelievably, are even more relaxed than Maui.

Molokai: The friendly isle, is known for their sweet bread, Halawa Valley and falls, and the darker history of Kalaupapa, the leper colony. Kalaupapa is a peninsula that housed sufferers of Hansens diseases (leprosy). A church was founded in the late 1800's by Father Damien, who was recently canonized as Saint Damien of Molokai.

Lanai: World class golfing, daily dolphin spottings from the bay, and Puu Pehe (sweetheart rock) are a few of the treats that make Lanai unforgettable.

9) Lahaina Town

Lahaina has a rich history as an old whaling port, and before that was the seat of the Hawaiian capital. Fortunately much of the history and charm is still intact today in historical buildings and quaint architecture. Lahaina offers fun restaurants, shops, art galleries, boat tours, surfing and more. By day or night there is plenty to do for the whole family.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Don't miss the Lahaina Banyan Tree. This tropical specimen covers over an entire acre! Located across from Lahaina Harbor.
  • With all the culture and history seeping from this town, many visitors opt to take the FREE self-guided Walking Tour to explore these points of interest.
  • Try the Shave Ice! There are local flavors like Mango, Coconut, and Guava with fun toppings like mochi and li hing mui.

Whale Watching

Every year from around December 15 o April 15, Maui's favorite part time residents come to frolic in our tropical waters. The best way to see humpbacks is by taking a boat tour.

Top 5 Maui Shows


1) Immerse Yourself in the Fun and Festivities of a Luau!

Picture this: the sun setting in idyllic and vibrant colors on the ocean, the smell of smoked pork wafting through the air tantalizing your nostrils as your mouth starts to water. You are greeted by beautiful tanned girls, dark hair past their waistline, wearing red and yellow pareos and lovely red hibiscus flowers pinned behind the ear. Smiling, they place a shell lei around your neck and with abundant aloha, welcome you to their feast!

Maui offers a variety of top notch Luaus along its West and South Shores. From the beauty and mystique of the Hawaiian hula to the impassioned thrusts of Tahitian dance, every show is a heart-pumping experience that showcases the culture of Polynesia.

What the locals know/tips:

  • For maximum thrill, inquire about the fire dancing! Many luaus offer one or more master fire dancers as part of the show.
  • Try the poke (pronounced Poe-kay) and the poi (pronounced Poy)! It's unheard of to come all the way to Hawaii, and not try these classic Hawaiian dishes.
  • Most luaus offer an "open bar". This means drink up and enjoy yourself! Depending on where you stay, some luaus may only be a short walk away. Otherwise, check with your concierge for a preferred taxi service. Free, paid, or valet parking will be available on site.

Other options: authentic Hawaiian cultural show, intimate seating vs. buffet spread, ocean side setting


2) Experience the Spectacle That Is Ulalena!

Ulalena is a jaw-dropping Broadway caliber production that takes you on a journey into the culture and mystic of Hawaii. Ulalena's poignant story celebrates the Hawaiian people and their connection to their paradise home. history of Hawaii, and shares the poignant story of her peoples struggle to preserve and honor the land and connection to it. Colorful ornate characters, powerful hula, a rotating stage, and Cirque du Soleil quality acrobatics make for a spell binding show.

Every seat in this theatre offers a tremendous view, so be prepared to be wowed!

What the locals know/tips:

  • Only light fare is available for purchase. Contact the theatre when making reservations to inquire about Dinner Combo with a cooperating restaurant.

'Ulalena: A Story of Hawaii's People

A moving depiction of Hawai'i's history, people, and traditions. Experience Hawai'i's culture!


3) Burn'n Love: A Tribute to Elvis!

Maui make way for a new sensation! Burn'n Love, a tribute to Elvis Presley, stars Darren Lee, voted #1 Elvis Impersonator in the world; and highlights Elvis's hip jiving time in Hawaii. Like the rest of the world, Elvis had a love affair with Hawaii and her people. Let nostalgia wash over you with hits from Blue Hawaii, Girls Girls Girls, and Paradise Hawaiian Style.

magic show
magic show

4) Warren & Annabelles Magic Show

Be thrilled by one of the country's best sleight of hand magicians. This is an up close and personal show, full of phenomenal magic and hilarious laughs. The theater boasts a warm, classy and comfortable ambiance with appetizers, desserts and cocktails available.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Sit up front to be part of the action
  • Ask about the Royal Flush (Dinner package)


5) Kupanaha: Magical Dinner Theatre

Rip-roaring comedy by Maui's "magic family". Kupanaha pronounced Koo-pa-na-ha offers a hula performance, a 3 course gourmet dinner that might include seared fresh island fish or pina colada cheesecake, close up magic right at your table, and a grand finale spectacular show of illusions.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Free self parking available or opt for valet parking.

Top 5 Maui Beaches: Maui's Beaches Are Some of the Very Best in the World.

Kaanapali Beach
Kaanapali Beach

West Maui: 1) Kaanapali Beach

Try your hand at snorkeling, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, or just relax and soak of the rays. Whether you venture down for an early morning swims or take a romantic sunset stroll, Maui's breathtaking beaches are what keep visitors coming back year after year. Please always heed conditions and lifeguards, and remember: "when in doubt, don't go out."

Three miles of white sandy beach with calm waters, fronting resorts and restaurants, no wonder Kaanapali Beach has been consistently voted one of the best on Maui. It is also home to the mystical Puu Kekaa or Black Rock where visitors can enjoy snorkeling with tropical fish and sea turtles, or watch the torch lighting ceremony every day at sunset.


2) D.T. Flemming Beach Park

This Beach has been ranked as one of the top 10 in America by Dr Beach. It is flanked by tall pine trees and views of Molokai island. It offers restrooms and showers, picnic and BBQ areas, and a lifeguard on duty. Be sure to heed warnings and flags as this beach can occasionally have a rough shore break.

Makena Beach
Makena Beach

South Maui: 3) Makena Beach State Park (Big Beach)

One of the largest beaches on Maui, Big Beach, as its name describes, is an immense 2/3 of a mile long and 100 yards wide of soft golden sand. It is a favorite for locals and visitors alike. Boogie boarding and body surfing are regular past times here, along with multiple courts of beach volleyball. Lifeguards and Restrooms on hand. Showers not available. Caution: Shore break can be dangerous.


4) Kam I,II, and III

The three Kama'ole beach parks in Kihei all offer picnic tables, restrooms and outdoor showers. They are wonderful locations for snorkeling, swimming and getting in some premium beach time. Each park offers free adjacent parking and/or parking lots located directly across the street. Lifeguards on duty.

Kamaole Beach Park I: Kihei, Hawaii

Check out one of Maui's best South Shore beaches!

We're sharing some of our favorite beaches with video from land and air. This is Kamaole Beach Park I in Kihei, South Maui, Hawaii.

Hamoa Beach
Hamoa Beach

East Maui: 5) Hamoa Beach

Located on the east side of Maui in the heavenly town of Hana, this beach has been written about and adored by people for centuries. Not only is it one of the most serenely beautiful places on earth, but its rustic backdrop and lush surroundings have been known to transport visitors to a deep place of storybook satisfaction and imagination. Restrooms and showers available. No Lifeguard on duty, please heed warnings.

Top 5 Towns to Visit


1) Lahaina Town

A seaside port town, with a rowdy history, Lahaina is comprised of numerous restaurants, shops, art galleries, and more dotting its legendary strip - Front Street. Visitors flock to this district to take in a meal and the colorful characters that help to make it legendary.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Be sure to stop at Lahaina Harbor and ask about one of the many tours heading out. Whale Watching, Snorkeling, Sunset Cruises, Sport Fishing and more!
  • Don't miss the incredible Lahaina Banyan Tree, located across from the Lahaina Harbor, it covers an entire acre!
  • Stroll the town and take in its rich history with the FREE Lahaina Town Self-Guided Walking Tour.


2) Makawao Town

Makawao is home to the Hawaiian Cowboy, the Paniolo. Located on the lofty slopes of Haleakala, this rustic throwback to a bygone era offers a lovely day trip away from the predictable beach vacation. Boutiques and eclectic shops dot this town, with a few restaurants and cafes.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Komoda's Store bakery has been baking up delectable guava filled malasadas and doughnuts on a stick since 1916. Try an island tradition at Komoda's! Open every day but Sunday, and get there early as they've been known to sell out.
  • Visit a Chinese herbal pharmacy and tea shop at the Dragon's Den. At the intersection of Baldwin and Makawao Avenue, follow the cobblestone path behind the old K. Matsui Store
  • Extra free parking is located behind the Stopwatch Bar and Grill on Makawao Avenue.

Makawao Town

Get a feel for the cowboy town of Maui in Upcountry Makawao!

Glassblowing, food and scenery in Makawao Town.


3) Paia Town

Nicknamed "Maui's coolest little town", Paia (prounounced pah-ee-ah), certainly lives up to the hype! This tiny town hosts some of the most delicious, yet laid back, restaurants in Maui. There are also an assortment of high-end and budget-conscious boutiques where you can find one of a kind, hand-made goods. Surfers, hippies, ex-pats roam the town giving it a fun bohemian vibe.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Keep your eyes peeled. Paia is known to have a celebrity or two pop up at one of its international style cafes. In fact, be sure to check out Charley's Restaurant and Saloon, one of Willie Nelson's favorite watering holes. The establishment is covered with memorabilia saluting this country music legend.
  • Extra free parking is located next to the post office on Baldwin Avenue.
  • The delectably romantic, Mama's Fish House, is located just down the road. Follow the Hana Hwy toward Hana until you see the sign.


4) Wailuku Town

The county seat for Maui, Wailuku is a quaint, yet bustling center of commerce. Find unique and locally made clothes, Aloha shirts, silk kimonos, Hawaiian jewelry and collectibles, music, books, arts and gift items. Most stores are located on Market and Vineyard Street. Wailuku also hosts a family friendly block party with food booths and live music every first friday of the month.

What the locals know/tips:

  • Take in a show at the Historic Iao Theatre. Bing Crosby and Bob Hope played here during WWII.
  • Stop into Homemaid Bakery to pick up some Omiyage (Japanese for gifts), dishing up tasty treats like malasadas, crispy manju, and mochi of all flavors since 1960. This establishment is a testament to the rich and diverse culture here in the islands. Located at 1005 Lower Main Street
  • Iao Valley and Iao Needle are located only a short drive away from downtown. Be sure to visit this iconic Maui landmark.
  • Visit the Bailey House Museum at 2375 A Main St. in Wailuku. Built in 1833, it was the home of missionaries, and now houses Hawaiian artifacts and furnishings and art pieces from the nineteenth century.


5) Wailea

Wailea is a luxury resort area in South Maui. It boasts some of the most beautiful beaches and fun snorkeling on island. High-end resorts offer 5 star ocean-front restaurants with menus crafted by celebrity chefs. Shoppers delight at the premier shopping center on Maui, The Shops at Wailea. And, golfers feel they've stepped into a dream with a whopping 4 prestigious courses to choose from.

What the locals know/tips:

  • For live entertainment check out Wailea on Wednesdays (Wow!) at The Shops at Wailea. Or, stop over at Mulligans on the Blue for their dinner show. Many of the resorts have fun ocean-front happy hours.
  • Stop into the world famous Grand Wailea Resort and Spa for shopping, fine art sculptures on display, a spa treatment, and to peruse the beautiful grounds.

Top 5 Maui Events: Looking for a Fun Way to Mingle With the Locals and Experience Some of the Culture That Maui Has to Offer?

Maui Film Festival
Maui Film Festival

1) Maui Film Festival

Famous for their outdoor Celestial Cinema theater experience, Maui Film Festival has created a name for itself by previewing and honoring films and film stars of Hollywood and the independent circuit. Be sure to check out one of their signature events The Taste of Wailea, or The Taste of Chocolate during the week long festival. A star-studded event in paradise!

Lahaina Halloween
Lahaina Halloween

2) Halloween in Lahaina

Once dubbed "The Mardi Gras of the Pacific", this fantastic party takes place on Front Street on the night of Halloween. Revelers come from all over the world to the tune of over 30,000, to show off their creative costumes and partake in a little fun-loving debauchery.

What the locals know/tips:

Book your hotel stay early, and plan on taking one of the shuttles or cabs. Parking is limited.

Halloween 2013: Lahaina, Hawaii

Maui knows how to party on Halloween!

Cruise to Lahaina and enjoy the costumes and craziness on Front Street!


3) Hyundai's Tournament of Champions

One of the PGA's signature events, the tournament of champions is unique in that features only the champions from the current year's PGA tour. Taking place on the prestigious Kapalua Plantation Course, this is truly and elite event. Don't miss PGA's best players like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson battle it out on the green.

Whale Day
Whale Day

4) World Whale Day Celebration

This is a free event to the public that's been going on strong for over 34 years, and it celebrates our beloved humpback whales. The day begins with a parade to kick off the festivities. The celebration continues in Kalama Park in Kihei with entertainment, food, crafts, games and more!

Hana Town
Hana Town

5) East Maui Taro Festival

The Taro plant was a staple for ancient Hawaiians, and can be seen growing today in irrigated rows throughout areas of Hawaii. Mythic tales of taro tell of it being born to Wakea, the sky father. The significance of this plant in Hawaiian culture are is celebrated each year in Hana Town in East Maui through music, hula, arts, and crafts, Try taro potato chips, taro burgers or even taro pancakes!

Bonus: Ongoing Friday Town Block Parties!

Every Friday, one of Maui's districts hosts a fun and family-friendly block party. Get your hands on some hand-made Maui gifts, try your taste buds on some unusual local treats, or get to know some island residents.

First Friday of the month: Wailuku

Second Friday: Lahaina

Third Friday: Makawao

Fourth Friday: Kihei

(Bonus) Top 5 Maui Resorts: We Thought You Might Want to Know Our Favorites.


1) Travaasa Experiential Resort & Spa

Located in the heart of Hana Town (and actually taking up most of the acreage of the town), Travaasa has been an escape for mainland vacationers for close to a century. This is one of the last true "escapes" from the hustle and bustle we often get wrapped up in. Quiet, secluded, luxurious, and beautiful, this unique property is unlike any resort in Hawaii (and the world!) and, show us a better spa set up in the State, and we'll be shocked.

Travaasa Hana Resort

Visit this beautiful property for a relaxing escape in paradise.

Timelapse of the sunrise in east Maui, Hawaii at the Travaasa Hana Hotel pool.

4 Seasons Wailea
4 Seasons Wailea

2) Four Seasons Wailea

This is our favorite resort on the south side of Maui. The level of service and quality of everything you come into contact with are unparalleled in Wailea. They share a beach with the Grand Wailea, so it can be a bit crowded, but you're only 5 minutes away from less populated, gorgeous beaches in Makena.


3) The Andaz

This brand new resort is elegant, modern, and has a very personal approach to it. Though the Grand Wailea spa is larger with more components, the apothecary elements to their hands-on spa is something unique. Everything from their teared infinity pools to the modern equipment in their fitness center makes the Andaz special. We also love that they have a 24/7 market serving hot food, Iron Chef's Morimoto's restaurant is on site, and they are heavy handed on their cultural appreciation. Probably the smartest thing a resort could do in Hawaii is hire Kainoa Horcajo, Hawaiian Cultural Expert. He's on property most of the time helping guests with questions and steering the staff towards a more respectful understanding of the land and people.

Fairmont Kea Lani
Fairmont Kea Lani

4) Fairmont Kea Lani

Their many suites and villas make this property unique. With full kitchens, large lanai's, private washer/dryer, and private plunge pools, their suites and villas give you a little extra of what you'd want in a personal experience. Sitting directly on Polo Beach doesn't hurt either. This is a top 10 Maui beach for sure.

Lodge at Koele
Lodge at Koele

5) Four Seasons Lana'i (Manele Bay and the Lodge)

We know, these are 2 different resorts, but when you stay at one, you automatically get to use the amenities at the other and there's free shuttle service between them. The Lodge is named accurately, and gives a very different feel from any other resort in the State. Located higher and more inland on lana'i, the weather is cooler and allows for a more cozy experience. It has it's own small lake and great hiking nearby. The Four Seasons at Manele is actually at Hulopoe Beach. Manele is the harbor that you come into for the island of Lana'i. This beach is perfect. Enough said.

New Guestbook Comments

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Mark Twain never visited Hawaii, brah.

      But good article.

      Thank you for it.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great list! What about artist markets, or farmers markets

    • evawrites1 profile image


      6 years ago

      THis place looks absolutely amazing, thank you for sharing with us.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I was in Maui for my FIFTH time last Jan, 2013. Did the Seahorse Swing Golf Package at Wailea's Emerald and Gold Courses...Awesome. Tricky greens, though. We did Stand Up Paddle, aka SUP, for the first time. Fun! It takes a bit to get the hang of it, but once you do, you can boogie (think canoeing). We also did Haleakala! Not possible to describe this experience. Take lots of pics and dress twice as warm as you think that you should. I'm a Minnesotan and the wind chill up there was wicked! Did scuba for the first time, as well. Gonna leave my clubs home next year, yes I'm booked for Jan 2015, and instead do more island exploring and more water, i.e. scuba. You really can NOT go wrong, whatever you choose, including doing NOTHING!!! Enjoy the sunsets. They're Free! Aloha ;}

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Planning our next trip back to Maui to look for investment property. Cannot wait to have our "little piece of Heaven"!!!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      We went to Maui in 2013 for the first time. We fell in love with what we did see. After reading this I know we definitely need to go back (again and again) and see all these things we missed!!

    • bueler lm profile image

      bueler lm 

      6 years ago

      I love Maui, went there for the first time this year. It was an unforgettable trip. Nice write up!

    • profile image

      Max Globe 

      6 years ago

      Nice lens, thank you) East Maui Taro Festival looks so interesting and peculiar, wish I could go there!

    • trevorjb1406 profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens! It looks fabulous and I would love to visit...maybe one day!

    • profile image

      sybil watson 

      6 years ago

      Wow, what a fabulous lens! My favorite things to do in Maui are visit the Maui Ocean Center (I'd live there if they'd let me), visit the Seven Sacred pools, and just hang out in Lahaina. I wish our Ali'i Drive in Kona was like Front Street, I'd be down there every day!

    • takkhisa profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow! So many things to do and see, I can't wait to visit Maui! :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Don't forget to visit Kepaniwai Park if you visit Iao Village in Wailuku ^o^

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      @AOMServices: I agree!!! My husband was told the same thing and wasn't really looking forward on going to the road to Hana because one of his friends...(probably chefdaveseattle) told him it was a long boring winding road....i had read about it and downloaded an app (yes there's an app for that - which is awesome btw) the app told us all about the history and stops along the way very informational and well worth it. Spend a day for the road to Hana, pack a lunch, drinks, comfy shoes, mosquito spray, swimsuit/trunks, camera, charger and/or batteries. Unless you do not like the whole tropical rain-forest, beautiful scenery, hikes, homemade banana bread, fruit, and waterfalls...then i don't understand what you're doing in Maui anyway. My husband was amazed and decided to go back the next day...we will definitely head back to Hana and beyond on our next trip. Maui no ka 'oi

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      @chefdaveseattle: ^ What Bad advice from this chef! The road to Hana is about the adventure, not the destination. Next time you should buy the road to Hana CD so you will find out the nearly 50 stops you missed. I would only listen to this chef guy if you find nature boring, amazing scenery drab and exciting hiking adventures lull you to sleep. Otherwise, you'll enjoy the lush tropical rain-forest, the wonderful views and the exciting hikes to see dozens of waterfalls along the way.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Do NOT drive to Hana-there ain't nothin' there. Drive to the first waterfall you see & go back. Enjoy the day in Paia & go then go home.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      For ziplining we chose Flying Hawaiian. It's lines are longer and higher than the other companies. They go between the ridges behind the Pineapple Plantation (where you check in). It was an amazing day with great people, views of both coasts and thrilling ziplines!


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