best beaches in maui - hamoa beach maui hawaii

Top 10 Best Things to Do in Maui Hawaii

From the mountains to the ocean, check out or top 10 best things to do in Maui, Hawaii.  Whether you’re traveling alone, with your partner, your family or a large group of friends, the island of Maui has a lot to offer everyone.  Are you traveling with kids or on a budget? We’ve got suggestions for you, too. Food, culture, nature, fun; Maui has it all.

  • Top Things to Do in Maui (all activities)
  • Best Things to Do in Maui With Kids
  • Things to Do in Maui on a Budget

Top 10 Things to Do in Maui

1. Relax on the Best Beaches in Maui

best beaches in maui - hamoa beach maui hawaiiBelow is a list of the best beaches in Maui according to the top travel websites with top Maui beaches lists as well as from personal experiences.  Because there are so many things to do at the beach, every beach is different and will have something different to offer.  So, knowing what you want to do at the beach will help guide your experiences. For example, if you just want to lay out, a great beach for snorkeling won’t matter; if you’re traveling with kids, you definitely don’t want to go to Little Beach (the [in]famous nude beach); and if you want an all-inclusive resort experience, there are many hotels and resorts with private beaches on Maui.  Whatever you’re into, one of the Maui beaches on this list has what you’re looking for. Here are the top 10 beaches in Maui (beaches with the same number of votes show as tied for the specific ranking).

  1. Ka’anapali Beach
  2. Hamoa Beach
  3. Kapalua Beach, Wailea Beach
  4. D.T. Flemings Beach Park (Honokahua Bay Beach), Keawakapu Beach, Napili Bay
  5. Baldwin Beach, Ho’okipa Beach Park, Kama’ole Beach Parks – 3, Makena Beach State Park (Big Beach / Little Beach)
  6. Big Beach, Maluaka Beach (Turtle Town), Wai’anapanapa State Park
  7. Kaihalulu Beach (Red Sand Beach), Little Beach (Secret Beach)
  8. Kahekili Beach (Airport Beach), Kama’ole Beach Parks – 1, Kama’ole Beach Parks – 2, Ulua and Mokapu Beaches
  9. Baby Beach, Honolua Bay
  10. Black Rock, Honomanu Beach, Kanaha Beach Park, Polo Beach

Some of the best beaches in South Maui are coincidentally some of the best beaches in Maui for snorkeling.  So, if you’re searching for the best snorkeling in Maui, check out some of these beaches in South Maui:

  • Charley Young
  • Kamaole Beach III
  • Maluaka Beach
  • Wailea Beach
  • Ulua & Mokapu
  • Polo Beach
  • La Perouse
  • Makena Landing
  • Turtle Town
  • Ahihi-kinau Natural Area Reserve
  • Molokini Crater

For a geographical look at the best beaches in Maui, check out our Maui beaches map.  The map is mobile friendly and powered by Google Maps. Whether you’re staying in West, East, North or South Maui, there’s going to be a nice beach nearby.  Use our map to discover new beaches or get directions to Maui beaches on your list to visit.

For those looking for that picturesque beach with colored sand like pink sand beach and the famous black sand beach in Maui, check out the beaches below:

  • Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach (Hana)
  • Kaihalulu Beach (Hana)

As you can see, there are many beaches with different things to offer visitors and locals alike.  Before you go, check out our list here or go online and find a trusted source on Maui travel and make your own list before you go.  When you arrive, ask locals and hotel staff to check your list of best beaches in maui; this goes for tourists and Kama’aina from other islands, but no matter what beach in Maui you end up on, you’ll have a great view and a nice spot to relax on the sand.

2. Check Out the Best Snorkeling in Maui

Some of the best snorkeling beaches in the Hawaiian Islands are off the beaches in Maui.  Book a Maui snorkeling tour or just find a snorkel rental shop (like Snorkel Bob’s) on the island and hop in the water, preferably in South Maui because that’s where the best snorkeling in Maui can be found.  Also, the island’s close proximity to Molokini makes Maui an ideal place for visitors and locals that love to go snorkeling. This is another activity that’s great for the whole family. You get to enjoy the water and see tropical and colorful saltwater fish and reef life.  Below are some of the best places to snorkel in Maui:

  • Ulua & Mokapu
  • Polo Beach
  • Makena Landing
  • Ahihi Keanau Reserve
  • La Perouse
  • Molokini Crater
  • Honolua Bay
  • Makulei’a Bay
  • Kapalua Bay
  • Black Rock

3. Visit Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park is home to Maui’s highest peak.

  • Elevation: 10,023 (3,005 m) feet
  • Haleakala means “house of the sun”
  • The dormant volcano’s “crater” is actually a valley carved by erosion.
  • Source:

One of the most popular things to do at this popular Hawaiian national park is a Haleakala sunrise tour.  The sunrises and sunsets at the Haleakala summit are incredibly beautiful and awe inspiring.  To visit the Haleakala National Park, there are entrance fees. You can buy a 3-day pass for an individual or for a private, non-commercial vehicle or a yearly pass.  There are many options. However, if you’re going for sunrise, you’ll have to make a reservation online or by phone because of limited space on the mountain (Reservations:  This is not the case for checking out a Haleakala sunset.  [Source:]

Another popular thing to do is to bike down Haleakala, whether with a designated bike tour operation, combined with a sunrise tour or to just rent bikes and do a downhill bike ride down Mount Haleakala.  The good thing about a Haleakala bike tour is that you get road-side support with a follow vehicle.

Some other popular things to do at Haleakala National Park are:

  • Hiking: Summit area / crater hike tour, alpine desert hikes, subalpine shrubland hikes, Kipahulu District.  Look into ranger led hikes versus booking a tour, or going on your own
  • Drive-up Camping: Hosmer Grove Campground
  • Wilderness Camping: Holua Campsite or Paliku Campsite
  • Reserve a Wilderness Cabin:
  • Swimming
  • Stargazing tours

The weather at the base and summit can be very unpredictable with possible temperatures below freezing before sunrise and after sunset.  Make sure to dress accordingly, have enough gas and food for the trip as there are no vendors on the mountain. Go to for detailed directions, weather, fees and pass prices, and visitor center information.  Before visiting Haleakala National Park, make sure to check the current conditions and alerts at:  

4. Camp or Explore the Best Hikes in Maui

Not all of the best Maui attractions cost money.  Going on a hike in Maui is one of the activities on the island that’s not only free, but gives you a great workout and you get to see some nature.   Pick one of the best waterfall hikes in Maui from the list below and you’ll get to see some of the island’s greatest natural wonders.  You want a great view of the island and some nature, check out a Haleakala crater hike in Haleakala National Park; this volcano hike is one of the best hiking trails on Maui.

If you prefer guided experiences, there are plenty of Maui hiking tours or just go hiking in Maui on your own and explore the island at your own pace.  Below are some of the best hiking trails in Maui.

Best Hikes in Maui

  • Haleakala National Park Trails
  • Kapalua Coastal Trail
  • West Maui Forest Reserve
  • 7 Sacred Pools
  • Bamboo Forest Hike
  • Twin Falls Hike
  • Makahiku Falls
  • Pipiwai Trail / Waimoku Falls
  • Waihou Spring Trail
  • Hosmer Grove
  • Kahakapao Trail (Makawao Forest)
  • Lahaina Pali Trail
  • Waihee Ridge Trail
  • Kaupo Gap Trail
  • Halemauu Trail
  • Iao Valley State Monument
  • Nakalele Blowhole
  • Kapilau Ridge Trail

Best Camping in Maui / Maui Campgrounds

  • Waianapanapa State Park
  • Haleakala National Park
  • Camp Olowalu
  • Polipoli Springs State Recreation Area
  • Camp Keanae
  • Hosmer Grove Campground
  • Kipahulu Campground
  • Holua Campsite
  • Paliku Campsite
  • Kanaha Beach Park
  • Kapalaoa Campground
  • Papalaua Wayside Park

5. Enjoy a Luau in Maui

Experiencing a Maui luau is great on many levels.  You get a show, learn about the culture, and get a nice authentic Hawaiian meal and drinks!  This is a great daytime or evening activity for people of all ages. Most have similar aspects, but there are some that are more popular than others for various reasons.  Everyone values different things. Some people are all about the show, some want the best quality and variety of food. It’s a good thing most of the luaus in Maui are excellent in all respects.

The big resort and hotel chains like Hyatt, Westin, and Sheraton have their own luaus, so if you’re staying at any of those chains, take advantage of the convenience of the location.  But, if you want to get out and experience something different, check out one of the the luaus below. They’re definitely on many a website’s best luau in Maui lists.

  • Old Lahaina Luau
  • Wailea’s Finest Honua’ula Luau
  • Myths of Maui luau
  • Maui Nui Luau at Black Rock
  • Legends of Ka’anapali Luau
  • Wailele Polynesian Luau
  • Drums of the Pacific Lu’au
  • Feast at Lele
  • Te Au Moana
  • Bonus: ‘Ulalena at Maui Theatre (not a luau, but great cultural show)

6. Eat Local Food

There’s so much good food on Maui.  There are many Maui restaurants list online which tell you the best places to eat in Maui from towns like Kihei, Lahaina, Wailea, Paia, and more.  Besides dining at top restaurants at resorts, people want to know what to eat in Maui?  Here’s a list of popular Hawaiian local food to eat while on the island:

  • Top Picks: BBQ mixed plates (Aloha Mixed Plate), Loco Moco (808 Grindz), Saimin (Sam Sato’s)
  • Seafood: Poke (Anywhere), Squid Luau (Mama’s Fish House), Lomi Lomi Salmon (Poi by the Pound), Fish Tacos (Coconuts Cafe)
  • Meat: LauLau (Waikapu on 30), Kalua Pig (Da Kitchen), Chicken Long Rice (Joey’s Kitchen Napili), Huli Huli Chicken (roasted on side of the road)
  • Snacks: Manapua (Manapua Bakery), Spam Musubi (Anywhere) [if you like SPAM, go to any grocery store and buy your SPAM before you go.  They have many, many more flavors than on the mainland!]

You want to go high-end dining?  There are plenty of places to eat a 5-star meal on Maui.  Want a great view with your meal? Try Morimoto’s at the Andaz.  You’ll dine on the beach and if you get a reservation during sunset, you can join other guests and walk out to the ocean to enjoy it during your dinner.  For a different experience, check out a farm-to-fork epicurean meal like the one offered by The Mill House at the Maui Tropical Plantation – Chef’s Table.

Due to the large filipino population on the Hawaiian Islands, some filipino style food and dishes have become popular.  A popular example are Ensaymadas.  Locals and visitors alike love these two treats.  Homemaid Cafe makes great Ensaymada. Another good treat is the Portuguese donut called Malasadas.  Sugar Beach Bake Shop makes excellent Malasadas.

Other popular desserts and sweets that you should try on Maui:  Shaved Ice (Ululani’s), Poi, and tropical Hawaiian fruit (ie, Pineapple, Lilikoi [passion fruit], etc…).  Check out our Maui map for the best shaved ice spots on the island.

7. Visit the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium

The Maui Ocean Center Aquarium is definitely on many top things to do in Maui lists. It’s great for families and a nice stop on a day trip to or from Lahaina or the north Maui resorts.  This is a great place with many things to do for kids, but also an excellent learning experience for people of all ages. You’re sure to enjoy the Living Reef, Turtle Lagoon, and the Open Ocean Exhibit with sharks, stingrays, and hundreds of other fish.  Where is the Maui Ocean Center located? This Maui aquarium is in Maalaea, Hawaii at 192 Maalaea Rd, Wailuku, HI 96793.  It opened in 1998. The business hours are 9am – 5pm, everyday.  Learn more at:

8. Ziplining in Maui

Ziplining in Maui is a great excursion for adults and kids alike.  You’ll be able to experience lush canopies and see Maui from a different vantage point.  There are several Maui zipline tours and companies in different regions of the island. They can be pricey, so do some price comparisons (check GroupOn for some great deals).  You can fit this activity in with other outdoors adventures like hiking, camping and biking; so, you can have a fun day outdoors to get a change of scenery from beaches and palm trees and get in some jungle time!  Below are some great companies to start your research:

  • Kapalua Ziplines Lahaina
  • Flyin Hawaiian Zipline Wailuku
  • Skyline Eco-Adventures Zipline Tours (Ka’anapali, Haleakala National Park, Kula)
  • Piiholo Ranch Zipline Makawao
  • Maui Zipline Company Wailuku
  • Northshore Zipline Co. Haiku
  • Jungle Zipline Maui Haiku
  • Maui Downhill Kahului
  • Ka’anapali Zipline Adventure
  • Rappel Maui Extreme Zip Rappel Tour
  • Haleakala Zipline Adventure

9. Book Maui Tours / Excursions

Like any vacation destination, there are many tours and excursions that can be booked to experience the island.  There’s something for everyone whether you want a land, air, or ocean excursion. Maui is, of course, an island and one that is great for snorkeling.  Also, there are a few other islands nearby that have great snorkeling as well like Molokini, Lanai, and Molokai. You can head up the mountain to Haleakala or head to the air for a Maui helicopter tour.  Check out some of the tourist and local favorites below:

  • Whale Watching Tours
  • Snorkeling Tours
  • Road to Hana Tours
  • Volcano Sunrise Tours
  • Helicopter Tours
  • Kayak Tours
  • Waterfall Tours
  • Horseback Riding Tours
  • Pineapple Farm Tour
  • Rappelling Waterfall Tours
  • Maui Craft Beer & Wine Tasting Tours
  • Glass Bottom Boat Tours

10. Go on a Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise

After a long day of tours, excursions, or just laying out in the sun, a Maui dinner cruise or sunset cruise is a great way to top off the night.  Most of the Maui boat tour companies that do these sunset and/or dinner cruises offer great food, live musical, drinks, and more. Some of the vessels are traditional boats or large sailing catamarans with great views from every part of the vessel.  Some popular Maui dinner cruise tours include:

  • Maui Princess Dinner Cruise
  • Pride of Maui Party Cruise
  • Quicksilver Dinner Cruise
  • Kai Kanani Cocktail Cruise
  • Trilogy Sunset Cruise
  • Teralani Dinner / Cocktail Cruise
  • Hula Girl Sunset Cruise
  • Paragon Sunset Sail

Best Things to Do in Maui With Kids

Visiting the island of Maui is a great vacation for adults and kids (“keiki”) alike.  Of course, there are a few activities that the little ones will enjoy more than others.  Sometimes it’s the simple things like playing on the beach and making sandcastles that kids want to spend their time doing on the beach.  Snorkeling is a favorite as well for kids that are willing to get out of their comfort zones and explore. Maui is great for snorkeling, especially beginners because of the many easily accessible spots to see color fish and reef ecosystems.  There are plenty other adventures on Maui to be had for kids of all ages. Below are just a few things to do in Maui with kids:

  • Visit Family Beaches
  • Go on a Molokini snorkeling tour
  • Visit the Maui Ocean Center
  • Ride the Atlantis Submarine
  • Go to the Old Lahaina Luau
  • Take a Surf lesson
  • Go on a Hike (Lava Fields at La Perouse Bay, Iao Valley, Twin Falls, Anapanapa State Park)
  • Check Out the ‘Ulalena at Maui Theatre Cultural Show
  • Check Out Mermaid Adventures
  • Try the Maui Treasure Hunt
  • Bike Down Mount Haleakala
  • Book a Whale Watching Boat Tour
  • Do a Ziplining Adventure
  • Go Horseback Riding
  • Visit the Lahaina Animal Farm
  • Play a Round at Maui Mini Golf and Sports Park
  • Visit the Leilani Farm Sanctuary
  • Visit the Surfing Goat Dairy
  • Go Gokarting

Things to Do in Maui on a Budget

Let’s face it, when traveling to or within Maui, the cost of an island vacation or staycation adds up.  The beachfront hotels aren’t cheap, even during the slow season. But, if you have flexibility with dates, you can save some money.  If you’re a Hawaii resident, even better as there are so many kamaaina discounts to take advantage of; especially for hotels, beachfront vacation rentals, condo rentals, and more.  Of course, there are other costs besides lodging, so check out our list of things to do in Maui on a budget to save some money on your trip while still having a great time:

  • Relax at the Beach – Being a beach bum on Maui is free.  The beauty of being on an island is that most if not all the best beaches in Maui are free!  You can lay out, swim, snorkel, surf, etc… and do what you’re supposed to do on vacation…relax.
  • Go Snorkeling – Snorkeling gear rental is pretty cheap.  If you’re going to be on Maui for a week, get a weekly rental and save money.  You never know when you may need it. Or, if you have a set, pack it. Then, snorkeling will be free.  If you don’t have a set and planning ahead of time, buy a traditional snorkeling set or full face mask online before traveling to Maui and save on rental fees.
  • Go Hiking – There are so many natural wonders on Maui from lava fields and tubes to waterfalls, lush forests, mountains and volcanoes; not to mention the ocean!  There’s Iao Valley, Haleakala, Lava Fields at La Perouse Bay, Twin Falls, Anapanapa State Park, and more). This free activity can take up as long as you want and can yield some great memorable experiences and photo opportunities.
  • Go Camping – Yes, there’s camping on Maui; some campgrounds are more remote than others.  Figure out how remote you want to get and check out and reserve a space online. This is great for families and large groups.
  • Eat Local Food – Local food is usually less costly than eating at the restaurants near tourist centers and of course versus eating at the hotel or resort.  Plus, you get to taste the authentic flavors of Hawaii. BBQ mixed plates are great like at Aloha Mixed plate; loco mocos at 808 Grindz; shaved ice at Ululanis; or some Poke anywhere on the the island (like at Tamura’s Wine Shop).
  • Find Happy Hour Deals – There are plenty of happy hour deals on Maui.  Get that discount on Maui Brew Co. beer or a cheap Mai Tai.  Whatever you like to drink or eat, hunting down happy hours is a great way to eat and drink your way through your vacation or staycation on Maui.
  • Check Out Maui Friday Events – [Source:]  Maui Friday Town Parties were created by the Maui County Office of Economic Development.  Each Friday happens at one of Maui’s historic small towns. These events were setup to help local businesses. Go out and enjoy an authentic island Friday night out with great food, music and local vendors.  You’ll save some money, get free music, and support the Maui locals. Explore Wailuku, Lahaina, Makawao, Kihei, and Lāna‘i.

As you can see, some of the best things to do in Maui are free or won’t cost as much as you may expect.  Of course, whether the cost for the special experiences like Luaus, helicopter tours, or horseback riding is worth it will be up to you.  Whatever you and/or your family and friends are in to, there are plenty of things to do in Maui, Hawaii, whether traveling with kids, on a budget or by yourself.  That’s the beauty of Maui, there’s something for everybody.