My husband and I have been fortunate enough to have visited Maui twice recently, and both times blew us away!
From stunning beaches and dramatic volcanoes, to fresh meals and unbelievable views, Maui has it all!
There is so much to do on this Hawaiian island, so much so that I haven’t found a list that quite encompasses all there is to do.
So I figured it was my turn to share! I’ve compiled this list of the top 60 things to do in Maui.
Whether you do one, ten, or all 60, these will absolutely make your Maui trip one to remember!
I’ve divided them into different categories. Feel free to jump straight to each category if you are looking for specific things!
Map of Locations
Here is a color coded map of all of the things to do in Maui.
You can open the map and interact with it through Google Maps.
1. Ali’i Kula Lavender
A lavender farm in Maui?
Yup, with over 55,000 lavender plants across the 13.5-acre farm, Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm is the biggest lavender farm in all of Hawai.
It resides 4,000 feet above sea level on the hilly region of Kula, on the slopes of Haleakala (the largest dormant volcano in Maui).
You’re probably wondering:
“Is it only open during a certain time of the year?”
Good news- this place has blooms year round!
Though lavender typically blooms in the summer, Ali’i Kula Lavender grows around 20 varieties of lavender, 9 of which bloom all year round.
But if you want to see the most blooms possible, July-August is peak blooming season.
They are open between 9am and 4pm with last entrance at 3:45.
General admission is $3 (children 12 and under are free!).
While you’re there, you definitely should stop at the gift shop and order a lavender scone and lavender lemonade!
My husband and I did the guided walking tour ($12 per adult, offered four times a day) which gave us a comprehensive look at all things lavender.
Not only did we learn about their lavender, but also about everything else grown on the farm and the farm’s history.
One thing I loved about the walking tour is that each person ended up with a little bouquet of all of the different varieties of lavender currently in bloom. (You can see my little bundle in the two photos above).
2. Maui Goat Yoga
Also in Kula, Maui Goat Yoga adds a whole new level of fun to your namaste.
It is quite literally what it sounds like- you will do a yoga lesson alongside goats!
We did the regular goat yoga class at 9:30 in the morning, but they also offer a sunset goat yoga class with live music!
The one hour fifteen-minute session takes place on a quaint little farm up on the slopes of Haleakala, from which you can see both sides of the island down below!
While you do your utkatasana and shavasana (don’t worry, you can definitely enjoy Maui Goat Yoga as a beginner) their adorable Nigerian Dwarf goats will interact with you, sit on your mat, and just be plain cute!
Beware of loose hair or clothing- one mischievous little fella kept trying to chew Harrison’s shorts!
No yoga mat?
You can rent one when you’re there for $5.
Their website says cash, but we paid with a credit card when we were there.
Book your reservation beforehand here, NO walk-ins are allowed.
3. Go wine tasting at MauiWine
If you are a wine connoisseur, you’ll love stopping at MauiWine!
The vineyards are just down the road and not open to the public, but you are more than welcome at their winery!
There is quite a bit of fun history to discover here.
King’s Cottage Tasting Room was once the guesthouse of King Kalakaua, the last reigning king of Hawaii!
You can do a self guided property tour (which is what we did) or join their free 30-minute guided tour at either 10:30am or 1:30pm.
MauiWine is open daily from 10am-5pm.
4. Do a sunset dinner sail
Hawaii has some pretty darn incredible sunsets, and a fun way to watch the sunset is by boat!
Add some cocktails and music and you have the recipe for a perfect evening!
Unfortunately our tour got canceled at the last minute and we didn’t have room in our schedule to reschedule, but next time I head to Maui I hope to go on one!
I’ve researched options in Maui and here are a few different sunset tours you could choose from:
- An open-bar sunset sail from Ka’anapali Beach (west Maui)
- A sunset dinner cruise that departs from Ma’alaea (central Maui)
- This sunset sail with hors d’oeuvres and beverages that departs from Lahaina (southwestern Maui)
5. Shop Paia Town
Paia is a funky surfer town located in northern Maui.
I love its relaxing Aloha vibes and eclectic, colorful shops and restaurants.
Located right on Hana Hwy, the main street that runs through Paia, The Paia Fish Market (the blue building on the right in the photo above) is actually one of the best reviewed seafood restaurants in all of Hawaii!
My recommendation: their delectable ahi fish burger!
Vana Paia is another one of my favorites- I talk more about it in the food section of this post!
6. Luau at the Old Lahaina Luau
If you go to Hawaii and don’t do a luau, you’re missing out on a fun traditional gathering essential to Hawaiian culture!
And the best place on Maui to luau is the Old Lahaina Luau!
We absolutely loved our luau experience with them!
Their three hour hula and feast is incredible, giving you a traditional Hawaiian experience with cultural integrity.
The Old Lahaina Luau hula tells the story of Hawaii’s history through dancing, singing, and traditional music.
They have a big spread of food including traditional appetizers and desserts. The taro chip appetizer was my favorite!
You have the option to sit at a table on a chair or to opt for their traditional seating: cross legged on a cushion at a low table.
Your group is assigned a seat at a table of eight, and since Harrison and I attended as a group of two, we got to make some new friends!
Book your reservation here ahead of time; this luau is so great that it typically fills up about a month in advance!
7. Drive the Road to Hana
The Road to Hana is a curvy, narrow road that winds along the eastern part of Maui with incredible views along the way.
The road is Hana Highway, and it takes you from northern Maui, past waterfalls, beaches, and parks until you reach Hana (hence its name!).
Tourists often drive the Road to Hana from north to south and then back north, instead of making a full loop because the road past the Pools of O’heo can be incredibly dangerous, especially at nighttime.
And you can do as much or as little of the Road to Hana as you want!
We had only a half day to drive it (we started around noon), and drove down about halfway and then turned back around so that we wouldn’t be driving in the dark.
Since tourists drive pretty slowly on these roads, it is common courtesy to let locals pass you (there are designated pull offs along the road).
I’ll write a full post on the Road to Hana and about what you can do along the road soon, and I’ll link it here when I’m done!
By the way- the Road to Hana might be known as the scariest road in Maui, but it really isn’t that bad in my opinion! Drive cautiously and you should be fine!
If you want to avoid driving on this road completely, join this Road to Hana tour! It is a small group tour, which is best for excursions like this.
Meanwhile, there is actually a road in northwestern Maui that is actually the most terrifying road I’ve ever been on… more about that later!
8. Do a Helicopter Tour
A great way to see Maui in all her glory is by helicopter!
With a landscape as dramatic as Maui’s, there is a lot you can’t see by trails. That is where helicopters come in!
They offer jaw-dropping views of the lush green Maui cliffs, stunning waterfalls, and surrounding islands.
While I haven’t done a helicopter tour, I’ve researched and chosen a few tours that I would sign up for in a heartbeat on my next trip!
I think the reviews of these five tours speak for themselves!
- Do a doors-off tour of west Maui and Molokai
- This tour is the lowest price I’ve found that still has stellar reviews. It also flies over west Maui and Molokai, but with the doors on.
- Fly over Hana and Haleakala with this tour.
- This luxury helicopter tour includes a Road to Hana limo-van tour with a professional guide.
- If you want to see the whole island by helicopter, this tour does just that!
9. Sunrise at Haleakala Observatory
Haleakala is without a doubt my favorite place in Maui!
And I’ve heard that sunrise atop Haleakala makes this dormant volcano even more mesmerizing!
I was unable to visit at sunrise because tickets were sold out, but here’s everything you need to learn from my mistakes so that you can get your sunrise reservation:
The first thing to know is that an online reservation ahead of time is 100% required.
The good news is that tickets are just $1 to reserve your sunrise admission. When you arrive there is also the additional “normal” entrance fee to the park ($30 per car as of January 1, 2020).
The bad news is that it can be very difficult to get tickets.
If the day you plan to go is already sold out, the park releases 80 more tickets 2 days before the date at 7AM Hawaii time.
But you need to book them right at 7AM because chances are they will all be gone in less than 2 minutes!
And here’s a crucial step: make sure you set up your login for recreation.gov before booking the ticket!!
Otherwise you’ll have to create a login while purchasing which takes time, and the tickets will be sold out by the time you finish (which is what happened to me!).
And if you don’t have a sunrise ticket, you’ll have to wait until the park officially opens at 7AM.
Once you have your ticket, the next part is actually getting there.
You’ll want to arrive at the top at least 30 minutes early to make sure you don’t miss sunrise!
If you’re going to wake up early and drive all the way up Haleakala, you want to make sure you make it in time for the view.
You can also join a sunrise tour
If you want to have a stress-free Haleakala sunrise visit, this Haleakala tour could be a great option!
Pick up time might sound absurdly early (I’m talking 2-3am, people!) and it is more money than you’d pay doing the drive on your own, but there are definitely perks to this sunrise tour!
- Someone else is driving you
- You don’t need to worry about getting your sunrise entrance ticket
- The timing is all planned out by the experts
- You can sleep on the drive up the mountain
- Also, breakfast is included!
10. Go whale watching
If you’re visiting Maui in the winter, you should definitely add whale watching to your list of things to do in Maui!
When we visited in late February, there were so many whales out that we actually saw some from shore a few times!
Peak whale season in Hawaii is from January to March, when an estimated two-thirds of the entire North Pacific humpback whale population returns to breed, calve and nurse their young.
Our guide explained to us that the waters around Hawaii are shallow compared to their normal waters, making it like a big whale bathtub where they can teach their babies safely.
The Auau channel between Maui, Molokai, and Lanai offers some of the best whale watching in the world!
We saw around 12-20 different whales (I’m not sure how many repeats we saw!) on our boating excursion, including mom and baby pairs!
To get to the Auau channel, we departed from Lahaina Harbour.
Lahaina is such a fun little seaside town in western Maui with great dining & shopping options- more about that in a bit!
We did a catamaran cruise, but there are smaller, faster boat options as well, so you can choose which atmosphere you prefer! The cost is pretty similar either way.
11. Go golfing at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua
I’m not a golfer, but when we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua we quickly learned that it’s the place to be if you love to golf!
(I mean, look at the guy in this photo! Harrison and I were walking around the Ritz property taking photos and passed these golfers. I was planning on taking a candid photo, but then this guy noticed and decided to be the star of the show!)
The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua offers not just one but two 18-hole, championship golf courses: the Bay Course and Plantation Course.
It has been recognized as one of the top golf resorts in the world and is well known in pro-golf circles.
In fact, the PGA tour visits it annually!
So if you love to golf and are visiting Maui, add this to your list!
And of course you don’t need to stay at the Ritz to access the golf course, but it knocks a bit off of the price if you are a hotel guest.
Check here for pricing. You can also check available tee times and make reservations up to 45 days in advance through their site as well!
12. Zipline with epic views
We had some friends do a zipline tour in Maui and rave about the experience- even though the weather was a bit cold and rainy when they went!
If they loved it that much even with less-than-stellar weather, I figured zip-lining in Maui must be fun enough to include on this list!
There are a lot of zipline tours to choose from in Maui, but the most famous, notable, and with best reviews is Skyline Hawaii.
When you zipline with Skyline, you get to zipline in Haleakala- and I feel like ziplining on a volcano is a pretty epic thing to do in Maui!
Book your Skyline Hawaii tour here!
Here are a few other options spread out around the island:
- Zipline down 7 lines on the North Shore
- Do an Eco- zip tour, also on the north side in Haiku
- Combine ziplining and rappelling near Kihei
13. See Maui on horseback
If you love horses like I do, there are a few great options for you to explore Maui on horseback.
When we stayed in Wailea, Makena Stables was the best option we found since it was closest to us.
Don’t worry if you’re a beginner- just let your trail guide know and they’ll put you on their best-behaved horse.
14. Explore Lahaina and the Harbor
Lahaina is such a charming coastal town with great oceanfront restaurants, local shopping options, and a jaw-dropping mountain backdrop.
Lahaina Harbor is a popular place for tour boats to depart from, so if you’re in the area, it is worth arriving early or staying after to explore!
Some great things to do in Lahaina include the Old Lahaina Luau, which I mentioned earlier in this article, whale watching, and walking down Front Street, the main street through the shopping area.
15. Do some water sports
What better place than Hawaii to get in the water? (Cue Moana soundtrack.)
You can choose from snorkle tours, scuba diving excursions, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and more!
There is an endless number of water activities you can do in and around Maui, and regardless of what water activity you choose, you will have a blast!
When we stayed at the Grand Wailea, Harrison and I did some paddle boarding and aqua gliding with Aqualani Water Sports.
Most people know what stand up paddle boarding is, but have you heard of an Aqua Glider?
It is basically like a simplified elliptical on the ocean!
One thing to note about ocean activities is that morning is typically the best time to do them, since that is usually when the water is at its calmest.
** Also, before you get in the ocean, check for rough surf or other ocean-related warnings! Safety first, always! **
Here are some great snorkel tour options:
- This glass bottom kayak and snorkel tour departs from Kihei
- This tour offers kayaking and snorkeling near Lahaina.
- And this catamaran snorkel tour heads to Lanai, a different Hawaiian island, where you might see the resident spinner dolphin population!
Parks & Nature
16. Haleakala Crater
Alright, I know I included Haleakala in my Activities section, referring to watching the sunrise on Haleakala.
But I am including it again under my Parks & Nature category because even if you don’t make it for sunrise, Haleakala Crater is worth the visit at any time!
Since we were out of luck with a sunrise reservation, we just went around 3pm one day.
You’ll climb up Haleakala until you reach the park entrance (there is a $30 entry fee per vehicle, but the pass is good for three days).
After you’ve reached the entrance, you’ll meander along for another 10 or so miles until you reach the summit.
The road is windy so take it slow. And the views along the way are incredible!
Once you drive into the clouds, you’ll see why Haleakala is a must!
17. Red Hill
Looks like Mars, doesn’t it?!
Red Hill is in Haleakala, and can be seen from the main parking lot and observation area.
However, for the views above, here’s my secret hidden gem for y’all:
When you’re climbing to the top of Haleakala and you come to the fork in the road, the right road will take you to the observatory and the classic views of Haleakala Crater.
But the small, left road will lead you to this view of Red Hill!
Follow the road until you reach a small parking lot, and there it will be!
18. Nakalele Blowhole
There are a ton of signs telling you that the Nakalele Blowhole is incredibly dangerous… and they’re right!
If you venture down to see it (like we did), make sure to not get too close to it! There have been incidents where people have gotten too close to the hole and have either fallen in or slipped and gotten washed out to sea.
As a rule of thumb, stay on dry rocks to be safe.
We stayed really far away from it because I’m a pretty risk-averse person, but we still got to see some really cool water explosions!
When the wind and surf are up, the Nakalele blowhole erupts every few minutes, and soars about 100 feet high!
Shop the post
19. Heart Shaped Rock
Maui’s Heart Shaped Rock is actually a heart-shaped hole in a rock!
This photo-worthy spot is right in the same area as the Nakalele Blowhole, just in a slightly different area.
If you’re looking out at the sea from the parking lot, the Nakalele Blowhole is to your left, and the heart shaped rock is on the edge of the peninsula to your right.
For both you’ll have to climb/walk down the lava rocks until you reach the lower levels closer to the sea.
191/2. The Olivine Pools
Number 19 and a half? What is that?
Well, I’m not giving the Olivine Pools a full number because I think that the danger here outweighs the beauty and fun of these tide pools.
Let me explain:
This is another stop on Kahekili Hwy, aka the scariest road I’ve ever been on (I know it sounds like I’m being dramatic, but trust me, this drive is not for the faint of heart!).
But that is not why these large tide pools teeming with fish are dangerous.
As beautiful as they are up close, visit the pools at your own risk, because:
- It can be dangerous scrambling down these rocks to go and see them, and
- One rouge wave can easily carry you out to sea, even if you’re above the pools!! Stay safe y’all! Even if it looks like the sea is calm, you never know when a powerful wave is going to come! If the water looks at all questionable, don’t visit these tide pools.
So why do people go here?
The large tide pools are pretty and can be good for swimming and floating beside some dramatic scenery and a beautiful blue ocean.
If you do park and want to go down and float/swim in the tide pools, you’ll find a dirt parking lot with a narrow dirt path that runs along the side of the road.
The path ends at the bluff, from which you’ll scramble down rocks to get to the tide pools.
We didn’t go down because I’m risk-averse and we didn’t have the right shoes on to begin with, and I have no regrets about that!
I prefer the view from the top, anyway!
In the first photo above you can see the view of the Olivine Pools, which is good enough for me.
And the second photo you see here is another look at the scenery you’ll find along the drive to Nakalele Blowhole, the Heart-Shaped Rock, and the Olivine Pools.
20. Iao Valley State Park
In my opinion, Iao Valley is the most Jurassic Park-like area in Maui!
Head to this 4,000 acre valley for some beyond stunning views, some of my favorites I’ve seen in Maui!!
It is a state park, with a large parking area and a $5 fee per vehicle.
Bring your bathing suit and water shoes- you can swim in the river that runs through the park!
One thing to note about Iao Valley is it actually doesn’t take a whole lot of time to view it all.
There aren’t many official trails, and the ones that are there are pretty short.
The main trail takes you up to the observation deck, which has a pretty view of the Iao Needle (the tall skinny peak you can see in the second photo).
The other main trial leads you down to the river and follows it through the jungle.
We spent about 40 minutes here. We didn’t get into the water since we didn’t know to wear our bathing suits and didn’t feel like changing.
21. Wailua Valley Lookout
You can find this lush, green view of Maui along the Road to Hana.
What you see here is the view of Ke’anae Valley from the overlook.
And on a clear day, from the Wailua Valley State Wayside park you’ll also see waterfalls far in the distance, the Ko’olau Gap, Wailua Peninsula and even the rim of Haleakala Crater!
It is easy to find the Wayside as it is just off the side of the road. From the small parking lot you’ll climb up a stairway to get to the overlook.
22. Maui’s Garden of Eden
Probably most famous for being in Jurassic Park’s opening scene (look for Keopuka Rock when you’re there), the Maui Garden of Eden is a lush, tropical arboretum worth a visit!
Designed by Alan Bradbury, Maui’s first ISA certified arborist, the Garden of Eden Arboretum was built in the 1990’s.
The 26-acre Garden of Eden has views of the coast, waterfalls, 2.5 miles of trails, and over 700 botanically labeled specimens.
(Fun fact: George Harrison from the Beatles donated a few of these plants!)
Unlike most stops on the Road to Hana, this one comes with an entrance fee.
The $15 per person (or $5 for ages 5-16) goes to the garden though, which is great since it does not receive any public funding.
Another important thing to note: the garden is open from 8am-4pm.
With those hours and its location on the Road to Hana, if you are arriving early to make it as far south as possible, you’ll probably have to skip this stop or try to visit on your way back north.
23. Ke’anae Peninsula
Ke’anae is another great stop along the Road to Hana for its beauty alone- and to catch a glimpse of old Hawaii.
Located between mile markers 16 and 17, just past the Ke’anae Arboretum, you’ll find the road to the peninsula at the bend of a curve, so drive slowly so that you don’t miss it!
While you cannot swim here (the waves are too dangerous), the incredible views here are worth the visit, including a picturesque historical church.
A tsunami actually hit Ke’anae Peninsula in 1946, destroying almost everything and sadly killing many- the only thing left standing was the Ke’anae Church.
Built in 1856, the Ke’anae Congressional Church still stands in its place today!
24. Wai’anapanapa State Park
Wai’anapanapa State Park was as far as we got on the Road to Hana; we turned back after this stop because of some heavy rain and because we didn’t want to be driving in the dark.
I’m glad we made it to this state park though, because there is a great black sand beach here, and a lot to explore in this 122-acre park.
The waves were a bit rough when we arrived (due to incoming weather) but it still was worth the stop! (More about this beach, Honokalani Beach, in the beach section of this article.)
I wish we had had time to explore more of the park; it is locally known for its stunning volcanic coastline and dramatic landscape.
You’ll find caves, stone arches, blowholes, sea stacks, and anchialine pools (landlocked pools with a subterranean connection to the ocean), and more.
From cliff diving and spelunking to hiking and camping, you’ll find it here!
Basically, if you’re an explorer at heart, this is the perfect park for you!
If you’d like to camp at Wai’anapanapa State Park, fees start at $12 per campsite and you can reserve your stay here.
There are also cabins you can reserve but reservations must be made at least 3 days in advance. (But I would book way ahead of time if I were you- these cabins often fill up fast!)
25. Kapalua Labyrinth/ Dragon’s Teeth
Located in Kapalua on Maui’s west coast, these two photos represent pretty much exactly what you’ll find at Dragon’s Teeth.
From the Ritz Carlton chapel, you’ll see the beginning of a path with a corresponding sign for Dragon’s Teeth.
Follow that path and you’ll find the jagged rocks that give this place its name, along with stunning ocean views.
And if you go beyond the rocks, at the end of the peninsula you’ll see the Kapalua Labyrinth.
One thing to note: it is extremely windy here!
I’m not sure if it was just that way when I was visiting or if it is always windy, but definitely be prepared for that to be the case!
Beaches & Bays
26. Makena Beach
Makena Beach is my favorite beach in Maui.
If you go in the morning, when the sun is shining, Makena Beach just glows!
Even when we visited in the afternoon (yes, we went twice because we loved it that much!), the contrast between the color of the sand and the clear blue water is beautiful!
Makena Beach is located on Maui’s southeastern coast and is free to access.
27. La Perouse Bay
Just a bit further east and you’ll find La Perouse Bay, a beautiful volcanic rock bay with ocean views and little tide pools.
La Perouse Bay is literally as far southeast as you can drive in the Wailea/Makena area; the last stop on Makena Alanui Road where it dead-ends.
As you drive there, the road becomes worse and worse (though still driveable, I recommend going slowly if you’re in a small vehicle), and you’ll see fields of black volcanic a’a and lava formations contrast with the green hills and blue ocean and sky.
Scientists estimate that La Perouse Bay was formed from the very last volcanic eruption on Maui, in the 1790s.
La Perouse Bay is generally not good for casual swimming because of how sharp the volcanic ground is. Instead, it’s known for its snorkeling.
While the bay itself doesn’t have good snorkeling visibility, it does have some coves that are great for snorkeling if you are a strong swimmer.
The best time to snorkel is before 10am when the water is calm.
There is plenty of biodiversity here, and you might encounter a pod of spinner dolphins early in the morning (usually between 8-10am)!
Though I haven’t snorkeled at La Perouse Bay, my research tells me that this is how you’ll find the snorkeling spot:
You’ll park at a small dirt parking lot on your right after you pass the lava fields. Turn right to find a larger parking lot closer to the snorkel spot.
Beware of walking on private property; the area to the right of the barrier in the parking lot is private.
The best snorkeling is to the right in the lagoon. It can be difficult to enter the lagoon with the sharp volcanic rocks; wear sneakers until the last possible moment.
And again, this is best for more advanced swimmers/snorkelers since there can be strong currents or swells in this area!
28. Hana Bay
The Hana Bay Beach Park is a large black sand beach with generally good swimming.
It is actually considered the safest beach for swimming along Maui’s east coast. But as always, check on swimming conditions before getting in.
You’ll find Hana Bay along the Road to Hana (hence the name!).
For some cool views here, you can:
- Walk down the pier and look back for a unique view of Hana
- Follow the trail up Ka’uiki Hill at the far end of Hana Bay. You’ll find the trail at the end of the road where the pier begins. From there, hike up the hill; you’ll have a great view of Hana Town, the bay, and Haleakala in the distance.
29. Honomanū Bay
I consider this my “secret beach.”
I don’t think I’ve seen it on any other Maui guides, and it is a stunning place with hardly any people (as you can see in the photo!).
When we went, there was only one other car at this beach.
I think the reason why is that the road to Honomanu is very easy to miss.
As you drive down Hana Highway with Honomanu plugged into your Google Maps, you’ll see a small road that sort of forks off- but it’s so small and unpaved that it just seems like it is not meant for cars.
But if you have 4WD, taking this road is worth it!
It is pretty steep but at the bottom you’ll find a secluded black sand beach just waiting for you!
30. Kapalua Bay Beach
On western Maui you’ll find this gem of a beach, widely considered to be one of the best beaches in Maui!
In 1991, it actually won the title of America’s Best Beach!
Sheltered by two coral reefs on either end, this crescent shaped beach definitely evokes paradise!
Snorkeling is best on either end of the beach, but the northern end tends to be better since you can see the reef more closely.
Parking is limited; be sure to arrive early in the morning to ensure a spot!
Don’t miss the Kapalua Coastal Trail
When we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, we walked along the Kapalua Coastal Trail, which I highly recommend!
It is a gorgeous trail with remarkable ocean views along the way. It actually runs from right by the Ritz all the way to the far end of Kapalua Bay Beach.
31. Honokalani Beach
This picturesque beach is located at Wai’anapanapa State Park along the Road to Hana.
The black sand here is mostly pebbles, actually, and is stunning in contrast to the lush greenery and blue ocean.
To get to the beach from the parking lot, you’ll go down a staircase. Once you’re there, feast your eyes on the powerful surf, black sand, and blue water.
Enjoy a swim at your own risk- the current can be dangerous, so check ocean conditions before getting in.
Typically the water is only okay for swimming on the rare occasion when it is calm, which is usually only in the summertime.
32. Ho’okipa Beach Park
This surfer’s paradise is known for just that: surfing.
Ho’okipa Beach Park is fun to visit all year round, but the most incredible surf happens in the winter.
If you’re not an experienced surfer (I sure am not!), you can drive to the Ho’okipa Beach Park Lookout right next door, which is where we captured this photo.
From up top, you can stand along the rails with all of the other onlookers and watch surfers catch some swells.
I took this photo in August- but in the winter waves can be as big as 20-30 feet high!
Ho’okipa Beach is also known for the frequent Honu (Hawaiian green sea turtle) sighting, usually on the other side of the exposed reef that runs along the shorebreak.
33. Molokini Crater
This crescent-shaped volcanic crater forms a small island 3 miles off of Maui’s southwestern coast.
Molokini Crater is most well known for its snorkeling and scuba diving. Honestly, there’s not anything else to do there- but the underwater adventures alone are worth it!
This crater rises 300 feet out of the ocean floor, creating a welcome home for marine live, teeming with biodiversity.
With over 250 species of tropical fish living in around 38 coral species, this marine preserve is a diver’s paradise!
If you’re lucky, you might even see the rare whale shark (not a threat to humans). Whale sharks are gentle giants that feed on plankton, and are the biggest fish in the world. (And high on my bucket list to see in the wild!!)
Since there is no sand to reduce visibility, you can often see clearly up to 150 feet down!
Did you know that Molokini Crater is Hawaii’s only island marine sanctuary?
Alright, all you snorkelers and divers, here are some great tours you can hop on to go see Molokini:
- This is the best rated tour I’ve found. It departs from Kihei and stops at Turtle Town (mentioned earlier).
- Just looking at prices? This is the cheapest Molokini snorkeling tour I’ve found that still has great reviews and stops at Turtle Town. This tour departs from Maalea Harbor.
- This catamaran tour is a great option for anyone who gets seasick (see my note on seasickness below). It departs from Maalea and stops at Turtle Town as well.
PS. If you’re going on a boat tour, please bear in mind that wind is always a factor in whether or not your boat tour gets canceled.
34. Koki Beach
Did you know that Maui has a red sand beach?
Koki Beach lies along the Road to Hana past Hana as you’re driving south.
This beach is great for snapping a photo- but getting in the water is a big no-no, unless you’re a pro surfer.
Koki lies where the Hana surf breaks, which makes it dangerous for swimmers.
Note that in the winter, a lot of the sand is washed away, so summer is the best time to see Koki Beach in all its glory.
Typically Koki has a mix of red, black, and white sand.
If possible, visit in the morning when the sun is shining- the sand will be even more vividly red!
35. Wailea Beach
We watched our favorite Maui sunset from Wailea Beach, and it was glorious!
This is another beach in Maui that is very easy to get to, located in southeaster Maui near a bunch of shops and restaurants.
In fact, we visited while we were waiting for our table at Monkeypod Kitchen (more about Monkeypod later on in the restaurants section).
Due to its location, surroundings, and easy access, Wailea Beach definitely has a resort vibe and crowds are typical.
It is great for swimming and snorkeling, and is flanked by the Four Seasons and Grand Wailea.
36. Twin Falls
Twin Falls ifs the first big waterfall that you’ll encounter on the Road to Hana.
Expect to see some crowds here unless you visit very early in the day.
But even if you see a full parking lot, don’t be afraid to still check Twin Falls out! The crowds are constantly rotating as people move on to continue their journey down the Road to Hana.
And a fun little secret about Twin Falls is that if you explore, you’ll find more and more waterfalls!
We visited the waterfalls that you see in the first photo here. There were people all around us, even though it was a rainy day and was kind of cold out!
My second time to Maui, my friend Kyle told me that he and his wife went to Twin Falls and didn’t see many people. Turns out there are other falls that are much less frequented.
He explained that there is a sign that warns of an intense hike, but it is actually a pretty simple hike to get to the falls that you see in the second photo (which the locals call the “caveman” falls).
There used to be a rope swing at Caveman Falls, but it has since been removed.
Anyway, to get there, according to my research, you’ll take a left fork and will have to cross over an irrigation ditch and masonry weir.
There is no fee to enter Twin Falls, even though it resides on private land.
37. Pua’a Ka’a Falls
This blue lagoon is also along the Road to Hana, and is quite underrated as people often overlook the hike to the second waterfall.
You might see poor reviews for Pua’a Ka’a Falls because the first waterfall you’ll see here is right by the parking lot, and not all that impressive.
Most people stop at this Wayside for a quick bathroom break.
But what they miss is that there is a short but somewhat intense hike to the much more secluded second waterfall.
Wear clothes you don’t mind getting muddy; the hike to the second waterfall is an upstream walk that crosses an embankment via a viaduct (which looks like a ladder going across a man-made water-filled ditch).
Watch your footing and be very careful as you cross.
But once you arrive, the half mile hike will feel like it was nothing- a turquoise blue pool will welcome you!
** Check flash-flooding conditions beforehand and make sure you never swim in a swimming hole with any open cuts. **
38. The Pools at ‘Ohe’o
The Pools at ‘Ohe’o are mystical Rivendell meets tropical Maui (sorry, my nerd just came out- any other Lord of the Rings fans out there?).
If you’re doing the full Road to Hana, the Pools at ‘Ohe’o (Seven Sacred Pools) is usually your very last stop before turning back and heading home.
(The reason most people backtrack on the Road to Hana is because rental car companies warn that the back side of Haleakala [aka doing the full loop] is off limits!)
Anyway, I haven’t made it to the Pools of ‘Ohe’o yet, but it’s definitely on my list for the next time I visit Maui!
There are actually more than seven waterfalls and pools that make up ‘Ohe’o, formed as this rainforest stream runs down to the ocean.
The later it gets in the day, the more crowds you’ll see here, so try to arrive early if possible!
There is an entrance fee- but if you have already visited Haleakala, you can use your ticket (within 3 days) to enter these pools, since they are part of Haleakala National Park.
The reverse works as well- so if you’re planning on visiting the crater, hold on to your ticket ($30 per car)!
Also, if it is very wet out, the NPS will close these pools, so check the weather beforehand and/or call 808-572-4400 and use Option 2 to find out if they’re open (I got that tip from the Maui Guidebook!).
39. Waimoku Falls
While you’re at the Pools of ‘Ohe’o, the 1.8 mile hike to Waimoku Falls is a worthy trek! (Yup, about four miles there and back.)
Named the Pipiwai Trail, this 3-5 hour hike cuts a path through a stunning bamboo forest, past ancient Hawaiian ruins, until you reach Waimoku Falls.
And these falls are a sight to behold!
Towering 400 feet high, this waterfall will most likely be the tallest you’ll see in Maui.
Even though it is about four miles round trip to get to Waimoku Falls, unfortunately this place does get pretty crowded, so be prepared!
Like always, the earlier in the morning you go, the less crowded it’ll be.
40. Wailua Falls
No hiking is required to see Maui’s “most photographed falls.”
These 80-foot tall falls are located on the Road to Hana as well.
You can actually see Wailua Falls from the highway just past mile marker 45 on the way to the Pools at ‘Ohe’o.
Though most people take their photo at the bridge and leave, you can actually go down to the pool and swim in it!
41. Upper Waikani Falls
Lovingly dubbed the “Three Bears” falls (Papa, Mama, and Baby bear), these falls are also drive-up falls like Wailua Falls.
Upper Waikani Falls is one of the earlier waterfalls along the Road to Hana, right past mile marker 19.
I snapped this quick photo from the highway. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go down to the falls since we were in a hurry.
But if you have time, there is a small parking area about .1 miles past the falls; just be careful walking back to the falls on Hana Highway.
You’ll drop down a sketchy area right off of the highway in front of the falls, then a short scramble will take you to the falls.
(Note that Upper Waikani Falls doesn’t always have three separate falls, though, since it all depends on water flow.)
42. Andaz Maui
The Andaz Maui is my all time favorite place I’ve stayed in Maui so far!
It exudes class and luxury, is impeccably decorated, and is relatively new (it was completed in 2013).
This Andaz boasts four pools, 301 rooms, and two restaurants over 15 acres.
The food is excellent, their attention to detail just tops everything off!
43. Hyatt Regency Maui
If you’re looking for something a bit more affordable, or something in Lahaina, the Hyatt Regency Maui is a great choice.
It is also HUGE- with almost 800 rooms across its 40 acres.
They have a great luau, called Drums of the Pacific, which is open to everyone (not just hotel guests).
My favorite feature is the walkability; there is a path called the Kaanapali Beach Walk that takes you from the Hyatt Maui past Kaanapali Beach, all the way to Whaler’s Village.
To top it all off, the Hyatt Regency Maui has penguins in the lobby!
44. Grand Wailea
The Grand Wailea is Harrison’s favorite hotel in Maui so far.
His reasons why: there are some epic water slides, a tarzan swing, a fantastic breakfast spread, and the only water elevator in the world!
What is a water elevator, you ask?
It is an elevator that you swim up to! There’s a waterfall inside and it brings you up to the top of a water slide!
I’d say this is the best family-friendly luxury hotel in Maui.
45. Ritz-Carlton Kapalua
On our most recent trip to Maui, we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, on the western side of the island.
Without a doubt, this is another fantastic luxury hotel!
However, I don’t think I’d choose to spend my whole trip here.
First of all, the resort is pretty secluded, so it is hard to access the main highlights of the island.
Second of all, the resort is so huge that if you want to get to the beach, you either walk for 10 minutes or hope the golf cart shuttle is nearby.
That being said, if you’re looking for a resort-style vacation, the Ritz-Carlton is for you.
It has a fantastic spa, one of the world’s best golf courses (both of which I discussed earlier in greater detail), and fantastic food (which I’ll cover more in the next section!).
46. Mama’s Fish House
Mama’s Fish House is my FAVORITE restaurant in the WHOLE WORLD.
(No joke! Second to Mama’s Fish House is Old Iceland in Reyjkavik if you were wondering.)
If it weren’t so expensive, I’d eat every meal at Mama’s Fish House!
Freshly caught fish, warm bread, perfect sauces, tender meat, I could go on and on!
Trust me, this place is a must- there is a reason why everyone recommends it!
You do need a reservation to eat here, but if you’re out of luck, still head over and check if there is available bar seating!
We didn’t have a reservation (and I was trying to book a month in advance!), but we showed up right when they opened for lunch and we sat at a nice table by the bar.
Bring cash for a valet tip!
Book your reservation here.
47. Coconut’s Fish Cafe
Coconut’s Fish Cafe is a cheaper way to enjoy a meal in Maui. You’ll notice that a lot of the restaurants on here are kind of pricey- but not this one!
This laid-back cafe is known for their fish tacos, so be sure to order a few for the table!
We got two each and paired them with some sides.
48. 5 Palms
I actually haven’t been to 5 Palms, but my friend Jillian (@travelandtenacity) recommended it to me and she’s a Maui regular, so I’ve added it to this list!
Part of the allure of a meal here is that you can enjoy it ocean side!
Also, pretty much everything you eat here is locally sourced: fresh fish from Hawaiian waters and produce from local farms.
Reservations are definitely recommended- you can book yours here!
49. Kula Lodge & Restaurant
We had a hard time finding good food in Kula for some reason, but a local suggested this place to us because she knew we wanted a good view to accompany our meal.
And let me tell you- the view here is excellent!
While the food we had was average, this is a worthy meal stop if you’re already in Kula/Haleakala.
Come grab a wood-fired pizza (I think that’s where we went wrong- their oven was closed when we arrived) and eat it on one of their outdoor tables!
50. Monkeypod Kitchen
We ate at Monkeypod on our first full day in Maui and it set the precedence for great local food!
(Fortunately we had delicious meals our whole time on the island… Hawaii has some of the best, freshest food I’ve had on vacation!)
The food at Monkeypod is fresh, local, and a bit pricey but worth it!
Monkeypod is famous for their Mai Tai’s, so be sure to order one!
Reservations are recommended; we didn’t have one and so had to wait about an hour, but in that hour we went to Wailea Beach to watch the sunset!
There are two locations: one in Wailea and one in Kaanapali; book your reservation here.
51. Ka’ana Kitchen
Located at the Andaz Maui, Ka’ana Kitchen is yet another great place with farm-to-table cuisine.
From entree to dessert, I recommend a full course meal.
We asked our waitress for her recommendations so that we could sample the best of the best. It was a perfect way to enjoy our meal.
You’ll end up trying some dishes that you might not try normally, but just go with their recs- you won’t be disappointed!
52. Vana Paia
I mentioned the Paia Fish Market earlier when discussing seafood in Paia town.
But for another superb restaurant, Van Paia does seafood right!
The salmon collar is divine, as is basically anything you order on their Japanese-inspired menu.
Whether you get the sushi, the pan-seared scallops, or the sea urchin (it was our first time eating urchin, and we enjoyed it!), you can’t go wrong!
53. Wow Wow Lemonade
This lemonade stand is famous for its acai bowls, smoothies, and of course the fresh squeezed lemonade.
The only brick and mortar store on Maui is in Kihei, which is where Wow Wow Lemonade started.
Now you can find several more stores on the American West Coast and internationally in Japan!
54. Hali’imaile General Store
Harrison was really skeptical when we pulled in front of the Hali’imaile General Store.
We were starving after driving the Road to Hana for hours without food, “and we’re going to a general store?” he asked.
As Google Maps drove us through what looked like a neighborhood and very middle-of-nowhere area, I got a bit nervous too.
But don’t worry y’all.
We quickly learned that Hali’imaile is not the type of general store that you’d typically expect.
Instead, it is a beyond incredible restaurant with fresh local food that tastes AMAZING!
And they’ve been doing the farm-to-table concept since 1988.
I daresay they’ve perfected it!
For dinner reservations, book here. (They only take lunch reservations for parties of 5 or more).
55. Banana Bread from Julia’s
Maui is famous for its banana bread. That was one thing I didn’t know before visiting for the first time!
But it’s true- and you’ll see banana bread stands all over the island, and especially on the Road to Hana.
There are several banana bread places that are famous, but people truly rave about Julia’s!
Located on the northwestern side of Maui, her shop is actually on the Kahekili Hwy in Wailuku (the scary road I referenced a few times earlier!).
But if you’re a careful driver, there are incredible sights to see there, and stopping by Julia’s on the way is a must!
Just follow the bright green signs on Kahekili Hwy, they’ll lead you to Julia’s bright green shop and some darn tasty banana bread.
(If you can’t wait to visit and just have to have some sooner, Julia’s actually ships anywhere in the US! Check out the shop here.)
On the way to Julia’s
Along the way to Julia’s, be sure to stop at Karen Lei’s Gallery!
You can pick up a smoothie at the food truck in the parking lot, grab a souvenier (I chose an “Aloha” ornament), or even buy a work of art!
What’s more is that the land Karen’s sits on offers beyond incredible views of the Kaukini Ridge.
56. Braddah Hutts BBQ Grill
Looking for some laid-back Aloha vibes and some tasty Hawaiian barbecue?
Braddah Hutt’s BBQ Grill is the stop for you!
This unassuming, family-style barbecue joint may look a bit sketchy when you first see it, but be prepared for some mind-blowingly delicious food.
Braddah’s is located on the Road to Hana, in Hana.
The food is served in to-go containers, so you can enjoy your food on the road or eat it under Braddah’s outdoor tents.
(Tip: Order the Hawaiian macaroni salad!)
57. Oceanside at the Hyatt Maui
If you’re looking for a statement meal, how about a romantic ocean-side meal under a tent for two?
The Hyatt Regency offers a top-notch dining experience with wine pairings and multiple courses in a private tent with ocean views.
You’ll feel like royalty!
As you might expect, this does come with a bit of a hefty price tag, so I’d recommend this for extra special occasions (or if you’re just looking to splurge on vacation).
58. The Mill House
The Mill House is a unique plantation that serves up farm-to-table dishes and craft drinks with stunning views of the Waikapū Valley.
Their warm ambiance, delicious food, and gorgeous grounds make The Mill House a must.
And if that doesn’t sell you on it, well maybe their valley views alone will reel you in!
59. Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice
If you haven’t tried Hawaiian shave ice from Ululani’s, you’re missing out!
This is Maui’s most popular and famous shave ice, and fortunately you’ll find it on more than one part of the island.
60. The Banyan Tree (at the Ritz)
The Banyan Tree is another restaurant on Maui that is worth every penny!
This AAA Four-Diamond restaurant is located in Kapalua at the Ritz-Karlton.
(I had to look up what that meant exactly: each year AAA evaluates over 30,000 restaurants, and only 2.3% have made the coveted Four Diamond list!)
The combination of food, ambiance, service, and decor puts the Banyan Tree on my top 60 list.
We felt like we were dining in a floral oasis!
The bread appetizer is a must- Harrison says it’s his favorite bread he’s ever eaten.
Tip: go during happy hour (5-6pm daily) for reduced rates!
Phew that was a long list!
If you have more recommendations for your favorite things to do in Maui, please let me know in the comments!
I’m always looking for more things to explore on my favorite Hawaiian island!
Mahalo nui loa!
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