If you are planning a trip to Hawaii, this list includes 7 of the best things to do in Maui, Hawaii. First of all, lucky you!! Maui is amazing. The island vibe is laid back, the fresh air is amazing and the scenery is unbeatable. There are waterfalls, a volcano, sea life, red sand, hiking, snorkeling and so much more. We love, love, loved our trip to Maui. Now, let’s discuss the best (and our favorite) things to do while visiting Maui.
Lahaina Front Street
Lahaina is an old whaling town with great restaurants, shopping and looking at boats.
The Banyan Tree Park is in Lahaina and is on the top of my main reasons to visit Lahaina. It is home to the oldest tree on this island. The trees are amazing and our boys wanted to climb in them so badly. It is forbidden…so please follow the rules and stay on the trail. But they do look like the best trees for climbing ever! Stroll through the trees, relax on a bench and count the chickens running around.
Shopping is abundant. There are so many cute shops along Front Street. With a husband and three sons, shopping is not typically on the top of our vacation list. However, Front Street was a complete treat to me because all my guys loved strolling in and out of the stores. It is the perfect place to find souvenirs. While wondering through the stores in Wharf Cinema Center Shops, you will find all the floral Hawaiian shirts, flip flops, coffee mugs and inexpensive jewelry that your heart desires.
Oh the beaches. So many options! We enjoyed exploring many of the beaches. Ka’anapali Beach was incredible although finding parking was challenging. There are some beach access parking lots along the roadway and then sidewalks down to the beach. (Be on the lookout for cute little geckos.) Little beach, Big beach, Napili beach and all the beaches from Kihei to Wailea.
I will give you the most important travel tip for a beach vacation. Of course, this is speaking from experience as we arrived in urgent care at 10 a.m. on our first full day of vacation. Bring and wear water shoes or sandals. As we were wondering down the beach, I asked my boys if they wanted to put on water shoes. No more than five minutes later, my middle son jumped and blood started spurting everywhere. He stepped on a sharp rock and sliced the bottom of his foot open. Six stiches later, doctor instructions sadly include no water and no sand for the next week.
While visiting Maui, take an excursion to see some sea life. Spending time on the water is the ultimate bonus of visiting an island. Purchase reef safe sunscreen (an essential item for the entire vacation). The Molokini Crater is a popular snorkeling destination from Maui and features crystal clear water. Seeing sea turtles is another favorite excursion. A big rules is not to touch the turtles which can be a challenge when one swims directly at you to get to the surface. I back peddled as quickly as I could but what an experience!
There are many options of snorkeling activities. Click here for a highly recommended one!
The Road to Hana
When I was doing my research for Maui, the Road to Hana seemed like a must do. It is the most scenic 52-mile drive with bridges, flowing waterfalls, tropical vegetation, streams, and lookout points. However, let me be completely honest. My husband and boys were not overly thrilled with the amount of car time on this day. It is a gorgeous trip but be prepared for a long day of driving.
Along the trip, stop and visit the black sand beaches at Wai’anapanapa State Park. (Make your reservation in advance). Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach is gorgeous and perfect for pictures. It is a rather treacherous cliff-edge trail to reach it so wear good walking shoes to get to the beach. There are a couple areas with a narrow path with a steep cliff. If you like caves, stop at Ka’eleku Cave to see the Hana lava tube.
Stop and marvel at the rainbow eucalyptus trees that are just past mile marker 7. Wow! For a yummy treat, stop at the Halfway to Hana stand and enjoy a sandwich and some banana bread. Once you reach Hana, relax at the Hana Bay beach park after your drive then make your way past Hana to visit the Seven Sacred Pools.
There is one item that I think could have changed our experience….listening to this audio tour. I had plans to listen to the Shaka guide app (click here) while traveling up the Road of Hana. Unfortunately, I completely forgot on the day of our adventure. This would have kept my guys entertained and added some education on our adventure.
Watch a Luau
Do not wait to book your luau experience. The Old Lahaina Luau is one of the most popular on the island and books up quickly and months in advance. If you want this to be part of your adventure, make sure to book early. Story telling, experiencing the culture, eating a delicious dinner make a wonderful and memorable evening.
Haleakala National Park
National parks are always at the top of our favorite place and experiences list. Haleakala National Park provides a magical place to watch the sunrise. Due to the time change, this should be an activity early in the trip. It is easier to get up early before your body adjusts to to the time change.
One of the most popular activities is to enjoy sunrise at the top of the volcano and then ride a bike back down to town. You may choose a tour without the bike ride too.
Maui Ocean Center
The Maui Ocean Center is the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon or several hours when one of your group has stiches and needs to avoid sand and water (wheelchairs available on a first come, first come service). Walking between buildings is outside so you will get wet if it is rainy.
Walk under a long tunnel and watch sharks swim overhead. Get close to sea turtles and admire the jellyfish. The humpback whale movie is incredible. I love those magnificent creatures. Delightful pineapple dole whip is available. Yum!
And, stop in the gift shop on your way out. It is huge and the perfect place for great treasures.
Read Maui Revealed, The Ultimate Guidebook by Andrew Doughty. (Check Price on Amazon). The author lives on the island and has personally participated in all the island activities he recommends. It is an enjoyable read and offers the best tips for planning a trip.
Most of all – relax, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy your time on the island.