Maui is well known as “The Valley Isle” thanks to its incredible natural beauty. It is, in fact, that natural beauty that contributes to many of the most popular off-the-beaten-path activities in Maui. Activities like sunbathing on the island’s world-famous beaches, exploring the tropical wonders of the Iao Valley, or whale-watching aboard sailing yachts cruising across the bright blue waters surrounding the island.
Yet, while these are some of the most popular things to see and ways to explore Maui, they certainly are not all that’s available to guests. If you find yourself growing tired of the beach crowds or otherwise wanting to do something outside of the big attractions and activities you see advertised in the glossy travel brochures, then the following list is just for you! Consider these exciting things to do that are more off-the-beaten-path in Maui:
Sacred Garden of Maliko
The Sacred Garden of Maliko is a gorgeous non-denominational retreat that prides itself on offering a beautiful setting for people seeking a place of quiet contemplation, nature-inspired meditation, and spiritual renewal. This unique hillside sanctuary operates on a donations-only basis and features a massive 10,000-square-foot greenhouse as its central draw.
The unique Sacred Garden of Maliko calls itself non-denominational, but it does offer some settings that might be preferred by those of various religions. For example, there is a Jesus Garden that features a painting of Jesus and a Buddha Garden that features an incredible Buddha statue that was hand carved by a master woodcarver in Bali from a single piece of wood. There are also plenty of green spaces here to explore that have no religious or philosophical significance. And as you explore these and the other spaces at the Sacred Garden of Maliko, don’t be surprised to find yourself joined by on-site rescued animals like Shanti, an African Grey Cockatoo.
Paako Cove (Secret Beach)
While Paako Cove was once called Maui’s best Secret Beach, it has become well-known enough that it no longer is that much of a secret. But while just about anyone who has done some research into Maui will know of this beautiful little beach, Paako Cove is far enough away from the bustling parts of Maui that it remains a premier destination that is rarely crowded (if at all).
You will find Paako Cove just south of Makena Beach on the western side of the island. The best place to park is, in fact, at the entrance for Big Beach within Makena State Park and then walking south along the road to access the secret cove behind a short lava rock wall. This small beach is worth visiting for its beautiful sunset views and tucked-away atmosphere.
If you are visiting the West Maui Natural Area Reserve, then be sure to stop by for a quick peek at the Nakalele Blowhole. This unique rock formation pushes the water out like a massive whale. Getting to see the sight, however, takes a short hike over rocky terrain. Park at the small curb-site parking lot off of Kahekili Highway and plan for a 15-45 minute hike and vista viewing just north.
Visit Local Food Trucks
Finally, one of the best off-the-beaten-path things you can do that will take you away from the standard recommendations where all the Maui tourists go and do something unique is to skip the big dine-in restaurants and dig into some delicious food trucks. Maui and the other Hawaiian islands have a lot of hard-working entrepreneurs that do things their own way, including cooking and selling homemade, mouth-watering treats roadside. Suffice it to say that you will see a lot of such roadside food trucks as well as other types of vendors slinging their wares throughout your visit to Maui. We definitely recommend trying at least one during your stay, if not one a day!
And if you’re not sure which food truck to stop in on, consider the following worthy spots:
This food truck features two large vinyl fish across its size and boasts a menu that is full of cooked fish and raw marinated poke bowls. You’ll find Like Poke? near downtown Wailuku at the intersection of Main Street and Maluhia Drive.
Northshore Noodle Bar
Northshore Noodle Bar is a vegan food truck that has a menu heavy on ramen options. They also make their own steamed buns and gyoza. Northshore Noodle Bar is currently in the process of transitioning into a new food truck and so they are only currently available at the weekly Upcountry Farmers Market.
Kraken Coffee offers signature espresso drinks, frappes, smoothies, and classic brewed coffee. They also happen to be parked just down the street from Kahului Airport, making them a great quick stop before or after a flight.
Thai Mee Up
Thai Mee Up is a food truck that also parks near the Kahului Airport, but instead of beverages they specialize in pretty savory Thai dishes. They have a menu that would rival plenty of sit-downs and dine-in Thai restaurants with options like a Fried Cornish Game Hen that comes topped with garlic and soil and served with jasmine rice and a papaya salad for just $4.
Aloha Aina BBQ
This is a newer addition to the Maui food truck scene, but their finger-licking BBQ plates have already made them a hot pick among locals. You can purchase brisket, pork belly, baby back ribs, chicken, and ahi poke all by the pound. Or you can opt for one of their more standard plates that include sides.
Learn More About All Maui Has to Offer
We hope this list of off-the-beaten-path things to do helps to give you an idea of some of the great alternative activities and locations Maui has to offer — places that aren’t so readily advertised in travel brochures. However, this is not to say that there is anything wrong with those more popularized locations and activities. They wouldn’t have gotten so popular if they weren’t so attractive to visitors after all! So make sure to check out our other pages on Maui to get a better idea of what all The Valley Isle has to offer, and to help you plan the perfect getaway for your traveling group!