If you’re planning a trip to Maui, it’s time to start building out your perfect vacation itinerary. There are a ton of amazing things to see, do, and experience, after all. So, be sure to create a plan to avoid missing out on the most exciting opportunities for adventure. Not quite sure what to focus on during your travels? Here’s a look at the top 10 things to do while visiting Maui to help you out.
Visit Haleakala National Park
Well-known as the “House of the Sun,” Haleakala National Park serves as a phenomenal spot to become one with nature. Exploring this dormant volcano takes you 10,023 feet above sea level where you can explore rock gardens, waterfalls, and everything in between. Sunrise is the most popular time to visit the park. People come from far and wide to see the sun peek through the clouds as it rises over the mountainside. The starry nights are equally spectacular as the complete absence of light pollution allows you to see every last star in the sky.
Drive the Road to Hana
At 64 miles long, the Road to Hana is the quintessential Maui road trip experience. As you venture out on the Hana Highway at Kahului, you travel through the rainforest, enjoying scenic views mile after mile. Waterfalls, beaches, and lookouts serve as wonderful stops along the way. Plus, you can swing by the many farmstands for ultra-fresh fruit, homecooked food, and refreshing beverages of all kinds. Upon making it to Hana, you have even more beaches, restaurants, and other attractions to enjoy before heading back.
Hike the Pipiwai Trail
While visiting the Haleakala National Park, lace up your hiking shoes and take a long jaunt down the Pipiwai Trail. At 3.8 miles round trip, this moderately difficult trail takes you on a two-hour trip through a thick bamboo forest. As you traverse the rocky trail, you’ll come across many awe-inspiring waterfalls, all leading up to the star of the show, Waimoku Falls. Standing 400 feet tall, this waterfall is the perfect grand finale for your challenging hike through paradise.
Spend Time at Waianapanapa State Park
Perhaps better known as “Black Sand Beach,” Waianapanapa State Park is a terrific spot for playing on the shores, hiking, and camping overnight. Beyond the beach covered in jet-black sand, magnificent sights abound across this park. Natural rock arches, lava tubes, and blowholes surround the beach, along with tide pools that run red several times a year. If you like birdwatching, you’ll undoubtedly delight at the appearance of many beautiful birds, including red-crested cardinals, wedge-tailed shearwaters, and the Hawaiian goose.
Relax in Style at Makena Beach State Park
When you just want to relax on the golden sands and laze the day away, set your sights on Makena Beach State Park. Nearly one mile of sandy shores stretches between the outcroppings of black lava, creating the perfect cutout for swimming, boogie boarding, and surfing. You can even aim to haul in the big one by trying your hand at shore fishing. Big Beach makes up most of the shoreline. But if you go over the rocky point on the northern side, you’ll land at Little Beach: Maui’s unofficial clothing-optional beach.
Try a Snorkeling Tour
Although you can snorkel along the many Maui beaches on your own, joining a snorkeling tour lets you truly see all the ocean wonders up close. Charter companies all over the island specialize in trips along the West Maui coast and beyond. Many companies even offer snorkeling tours out to Lanai and Molokini. On all the trips, you get to see all the marine life living it up on the local reefs, including eels, octopuses, and tropical fish. Sea turtles, dolphins, and even whales are a common sight as well.
Enjoy a Helicopter Tour of the Island
You haven’t truly experienced all the beauty of Maui until you’ve taken a helicopter tour. On these tours, you get to circle over all the lush green landscapes, sparkling waterways, and other awesome sights on the island. As you soar through the skies, your pilot narrates the entire trip, filling your mind with interesting facts about the island’s history, culture, and geological formations. Many helicopter tour providers even record your sky-high adventures, so you can take home a video as a memento of your travels.
Take in a Sunset at Wailea Beach
If you want to see the sunset perfectly framed by paradise, head over to Wailea Beach during the golden hour. By timing it just right, you can get a few fantastic photos in while the sun sits perched over the horizon. And then, still, have enough time to get cozy before the show starts. As the sun goes down, it lights up the sky in a brilliant array of hues, including rich purples, pinks, and oranges, which then reflect off the water. All the vivid hues elevate the appearance of the golden sands, bright green palm trees, and islands in the distance, making this a must-see experience for all ages.
Go on a Whale Watching Cruise
From December through April, you can join a whale-watching cruise to see larger-than-life humpback whales right up close. These whales come to the island every winter to complete their mating rituals, give birth, and then raise their little ones. As a result, you can see whales of all sizes swimming through the water, slapping the surface with their fins, and releasing air through their blowholes. If you’re really lucky, you may even see them breaching the surface with a heart-thumping leap into the air.
Attend a Luau
While visiting Maui, you must attend a luau at least once. But, you’re likely to fall in love with the performance and come back again and again. At these ceremonies, you get to enjoy Polynesian stories, songs, and dances while grubbing on classic Hawaiian food. They often start with the imu ceremony, which shows the effort put into making the kalua pig. Then, they roll out a multi-course meal and open bar fare while keeping you well-entertained. In the end, the fire-knife dance serves as a memorable grand finale.
Although these top 10 things to do while visiting Maui are a must, leave room in your schedule for impromptu adventures. You never know what will catch your eye while traveling through paradise. So, make sure you have a little wiggle room between activities as you plan your trip.