Activities All Around Maui

The best things to do on a Maui vacation, no matter where you are on the island

So now that you've booked your flight, rented an oceanfront condo, and packed the sunscreen, you're all set for your trip to Maui. But have you considered how you'll spend your time once you arrive in paradise? There are so many activities to choose from, it can be difficult to narrow it down to just a few. Whether you've chosen to stay in either Kihei, Maalaea, Lahaina, Kaanapali, or somewhere in between, each area has unique options. 

humpback whale

Kihei

This South Maui-located hot spot is ideal if you're looking for more than just a two-week lounge on a beach blanket. While there are still certainly plenty of gorgeous beaches to kick back on, Kihei is host to a myriad of other unique opportunities that will make you feel as if you truly earned that nap in the sun. 

Visit the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Maui is one of the best places on Earth to witness these majestic creatures, with as many as 12,000 humpback whales migrating from Alaska to the warmer waters of the South Pacific every winter. Before climbing aboard the vessel for your up-close-and-personal visit, learn about the population and behaviors of these magnificent animals at this outstanding facility. 

Book a snorkel tour to Molokini Crater. This volcanic crater, set roughly 2.5 miles off the shore of South Maui, is home to over 250 species of indigenous aquatic life, including manta rays, moray eels, and parrotfish. It's a snorkeling experience you'll never forget. 

Go on an all-day hike. The area surrounding Kihei is ideal for hikers who want to spend an entire day exploring. While you can't go wrong with an excursion to the island centerpiece of Haleakala Crater or the upcountry ranching town of Ulupalakua (with its own Maui winery), check out your options at one of the several outdoor-adventure facilities before deciding. There are several splendid waterfall hikes, and a full day will give you time to explore more than just one. 

Maalaea Harbor

Maalaea

Book a snorkel tour to Molokini Crater. This volcanic crater, set roughly 2.5 miles off the shore of South Maui, is home to over 250 species of indigenous aquatic life, including manta rays, moray eels, and parrotfish. It's a snorkeling experience you'll never forget. 

Learn more about Hawaii’s Marine Life. The world-class Maui Ocean Center aquarium is an ideal place to learn more about the undersea world, including Hawaiian marine life found nowhere else in the world! There are also a myriad of restaurants nearby where you can watch the boats go in and out of Maalaea Harbor.

Lahaina

Lahaina

There's no place in the world quite like this old whaling port town. Whether you're strolling down bustling Front Street or taking in the view from a dinner cruise, the memories you make here will last a lifetime. 

Go parasailing. This breathtaking ocean experience needs no description. If you've always wanted to try it, this is the place. Some companies will offer a discount if you book ahead online, so if this is a definite yes for your group, go ahead and shop around in advance for the best deal. 

Take in a show. For a theatrical event that screams Maui, try the "Burn'n Love" show, created just for Hawaii and featuring a real-live Elvis impersonator. There are a number of superb and authentic luaus available nearby as well. 

Rent a Jeep and drive to Hana. While Lahaina is an excellent home base, a trip to Maui wouldn't be complete without taking this exotically beautiful drive. Best of all, winter visitors traveling from West Maui will likely be able to spot humpback whales from the highway as they begin their journey. You'll want an open-top vehicle for this. 

parasailing

Kaanapali

The ideal spot for those who are looking for the final word in stunning views and ultimate relaxation. 

Stake out a patch of sand. The glories of Kaanapali Beach can't be overstated. Lie back and enjoy the kiss of the Pacific sun, or frolic in the rolling waves. There are a number of good open-air restaurants located just off the beach, so you won't have to walk far for your mai-tai. 

Swing a golf club. Kaanapali isn't just any paradise, it's also a golfer's paradise, with the Kaanapali Golf Course hosting the Senior PGA Tour each year. Try your hand at all 36 holes, and see how you compare to the greats. 

Soar above the Pacific on a zipline. While West Maui's ocean views are fantastic no matter where you're standing, they're even better while you're flying. Skyline Eco Adventures was voted the best ziplining experience in the state by Hawaii Magazine's Readers Choice Awards, and ranks as Trip Advisor's number-one thing to do in Kaanapali. As with the parasailing experience, if you're planning to do this only once in your life, you should definitely do it here. 

Has this fabulous buffet of options made your choice simpler, or more difficult? Likely a little of both. Fortunately, you're guaranteed to have a great time no matter what you decide. As the saying goes, "You don't take the trip; the trip takes you" — and that's especially true when visiting a place as unique and interesting as Maui. So let it take you on the most exhilarating and memorable ride of your life.