Aloha! My family and I call this beautiful island of Maui our home. It’s one of the most diverse islands in the world with so many things to see and explore — it’s the perfect destination for the whole family.
From five-star luxury experiences to barefoot hikes to hidden beaches, we’ve got you covered for the best things to do on Maui. A hui hou!
31 Best Things to Do on Maui (Locals Perspective)
1. Kayak and Snorkel at Turtle Town
Maui is known for its epic snorkeling, and Turtle Town will not disappoint. Choose a tour time early in the morning to avoid rough waters and feast your eyes on some of the most beautiful fish you will ever see.
PRO TIP: Great for kiddos 5 and up, the fish are remarkably friendly and swam right up to my six-year-old son on our last excursion. Although they do provide them with an “okay” one, I would suggest bringing a quality snorkel and life vest for your little ones to make sure he/she can really see all the fishies.
2. Haleakala National Park
From Mt. Haleakala National Park, you can watch the sunrise from 10,000 feet up. You’ll marvel at unobstructed views over the ocean from what looks almost like a Martian landscape. It’s an experience unlike anything you’ve had before. Just make sure to pack a winter jacket and closed-toe shoes because the temperature hits the 30s F before sunrise.
PRO TIP: If you don’t want to worry about packing for winter on your beach vacation, check out one of these guided tours! They provide winter coats, pick you up at the crack of dawn, and educate you on the flora, fauna, and cultural significance of this very sacred volcano.
3. Farm to Table Luau
What is a trip to Maui without experiencing a traditional Hawaiian Luau? This is our #1 recommendation for the Luau experience because this show has an elevated fine dining experience full of farm-to-table ingredients and traditional eats with local flavors. Plus, nothing beats the gorgeous Wailea Beach as your backdrop.
4. Baby Beach, Sprecksville
Baby Beach is a staple of the North Shore. It’s got a reef surrounding it creating a swimming pool environment that’s great for younger kiddos. It used to be a secret only known by locals, but the word got out about how great it is — and now it’s one of the most visited beaches in the area! It can get pretty windy (especially during the winter), so I recommend checking the weather and heading out in the AM before the winds pick up in the afternoon.
PRO TIP: You might have to park a bit far from the beach and having your belongings streamlined is key. Make sure to strategically pack a beach bag, travel towels, and pocket-sized beach blanket so you don’t feel like a pack mule!
5. Paia Bay
If you love to bodyboard and have some experience, Paia Bay is a must (especially in the winter). It’s just down the road from the more gentle Baby Beach and has a killer shore break that the local kids love. This beach is great for older kids and teens. Plus it’s within walking distance of downtown Paia.
6. Paia Town
After you hit up Baby Beach and Paia Bay, don’t forget to check out Paia Town. It’s got a hippy local vibe mashed up with fun shops and restaurants that are great for tourists.
Check out Mana Foods, the legendary North Shore grocery store, and Choice Health Bar which serves great vegan lunches and treats. Then, stroll up to the Artisan Ice Cream shop nestled next to delicious Cafe Des Amis and get yourself some local organic ice cream (they even have options made with local coconut milk and sweetened with coconut sugar.) If you want a great coffee, Better Things Cafe is also just up the road and will have you covered with fresh macadamia nut milk for your latte!
7. Helicopter Tour to Hana
The road to Hana is like a journey into Jurassic Park — minus the dinosaurs. It’s incredibly lush with epic waterfalls and stunning lookouts along the way.
The only thing that is better than driving the road to Hana is flying over it. This helicopter tour gives you a bird’s eye view of the action and allows for a 30-minute stop off in Hana to walk around the rainforest.
8. Front Street in Lahaina
If you like the party vibe, Front Street is perfect for you. With many famous restaurants like Fleetwood’s (owned by Mick Fleetwood), it’s a great place to listen to music and enjoy the nightlife.
PRO TIP:CHEERS! hangover relief helps alleviate the not-so-positive effects of a night out. Even if you are used to packing in the pina coladas, add in the Maui sun and it can be a brutal combo. Be sure to stay hydrated!
9. Four Seasons Spa
If you need a day to unwind before or after traveling, the massage therapists here are incredible. Asher treated me to a spa day for our anniversary this year, and it was one of the best relaxation massages I’ve ever had. Plus — why not hang out at the very spa featured on White Lotus? I suggest treating yourself while your family enjoys the neighboring Wailea Beach.
10. Mama’s Fish House & Mama’s Beach
Mama’s Fish House has a prime location on the North Shore — plus it’s a sweet beach where you are guaranteed to see turtles taking a nap on the shore. Be sure to make reservations in advance, it books out quickly.
PRO TIP: Bring your beach gear and go for a swim before or after you eat — it’s a very secluded beach with almost no access other than the restaurant’s valet parking. You’ll feel like it’s your own private spot — Enjoy it!
11. E-Foil Lesson
Ever dream of flying? E-foiling is the closest we’ve gotten to that experience. Imagine coasting through turquoise waters, watching turtles underneath, as you glide through the air on a motorized board. It’s heavenly! Consider checking out an E-foiling school and giving it a try for yourself!
12. Sunset Dinner Cruise
Romantic and surprisingly affordable, this 4-course Sunset Dinner Cruise is something you are sure to remember. Between the live music, delicious food, and incredible scenery, you and your family (or a special someone) are bound to have an amazing time.
13. Iao Valley
Iao Valley is a lush rainforest on Maui’s second, extinct, Volcano. This spot has a special place in my heart as I used to live very nearby and loved to bathe in the cool river every weekend. The water is considered sacred to the Hawaiian people, so be sure to bring your Aloha spirit, and your bathing suits, as you dip into these beautiful waters.
PRO TIP: Make sure to bring your travel towels so you don’t have to carry full-sized towels while you are navigating the slippery rocks.
14. Maui Food Trucks
The food scene on Maui can break your budget unless you know about these magical food trucks that grace the island. Kihei, Kahului (across the street from Costco), Pukalani, Lahaina, and Makawao all have great food truck scenes — a lot being fresh farm-to-table ingredients.
15. Cacao Farm Tour
Enjoy a uniquely Hawaiian experience on a gorgeous private estate dedicated to the art and craft of turning cocoa plants into luxurious chocolate! Tour this picturesque 20-acre cocoa farm while learning all things chocolate with a knowledgeable guide.
16. Makawao Town
Makwao is so charming and often called “The Cowboy Town” because of all the nearby ranches and farms. Be sure to check out the hand-blown glass, beautiful local apparel, and gift shops. I personally love the boutique store called Tribe, Maui, on Makawao Ave. It has some of the cutest dresses and handbags that can be found on the island!
17. Lei Making
Haku Maui gives you the experience of creating your very own lei in a sacred and communal fashion. This is the perfect event for a family or wedding party to do together. Haku holds space for you as you put your intention into the lei and watch your beautiful handiwork unfold. Make sure to make reservations far in advance as they are booked out at least a month ahead.
18. Zipline through the rainforest
Ziplining is a thrilling experience; pair it with soaring through dense jungles at top speeds and you’ve got a once-in-a-lifetime adrenaline rush. For individuals and families with older kiddos, I recommend Skyline Hawaii. For families with younger ones, check out this Zipline course at Maui’s Tropical Plantation — and make sure you catch lunch afterward at The Mill House!
19. Pet an Alpaca on a Volcano!
Situated on Maui’s famous Haleakala slopes is an Alpaca Farm not to be missed. The Maui Alpaca Farm offers tours, picnics, Alpaca trekking across the slopes of the volcano (yes!) — plus, they have an incredible shop with some of the most gorgeous hats and scarves you have ever seen. They are great gifts to bring back home and will last longer than an Aloha Shirt. If you have a soft spot in your heart for these one-of-a-kind furry friends this is a sure win during your vacay.
20. Twin Falls Waterfall
Twin Falls is one of the first stops on the road to Hana and a very “user friendly” waterfall good for adventurers of all ages.
Be sure to wear your reef-safe sunscreen in order to protect the precious wildlife in the pools, and pack in your travel towels because you don’t want to be lugging full-sized towels down on the short but steep trail. Just keep in mind that parking can be a challenge mid-morning so best to head out early or catch it on the way back.
21. Walk in Silence through a Pine Forest
One of the most unexpected gems on Maui is the Makawao Forest Reserve situated upcountry off Olinda Road. Olinda Road is itself a fun drive, and really gives you a different experience of the island. Once you arrive you will be greeted by some of the tallest pines you have ever seen and the deep silence that pervades the forest is tangible. My kiddos naturally whisper whenever we enter the forest. It’s an unusual but unforgettable experience.
22. Eat Donuts Upcountry Style
If you are heading upcountry you might be so lucky as to catch the famous Komoda Store and Bakery (when it’s open!) These local favorites sell out quickly and the store hours can be a bit unpredictable but if you are in the neighborhood be sure to check it out. 3674 Baldwin Ave, in Makawao.
23. Mermaid school
For all the mermaids out there, this is an awesome family adventure. You and your family can learn to swim like a mermaid then get mermaid-glammed up for a one of a kind photoshoot. Any little girl — or little girl at heart — would go wild for such an adventure and the photos you get will be frame worthy.
24. Kamole Beach Park
Centrally located in Kihe where the wind is usually kept at bay and the waves are minimal, Kamole Beach Park is a great place to hang out, learn to paddleboard, or just go for a relaxing swim. Just don’t forget to wear your watershoes on the beach because there are some Kiawe trees that are notorious for their spikes.
25. Maui butterfly farm
Nearby the Pine Forest you will find Maui’s one and only butterfly farm. A majestic and peaceful way to spend your afternoon, you will learn about the butterfly’s life cycles, interact directly with the butterflies and caterpillars, and help preserve Maui’s butterfly population.
26. Walk a Lava Tube in Hana
This Lava Tube is so much fun. I do it almost every time we head to Hana and it never gets old. It’s an unguided tour on a beautiful estate; so, after you finish walking into the earth and learning about Maui’s lava flow, you can chill out on the property and rest up after the long and windy road to Hana you just traversed.
27. Relax on Kanapali’s beaches
Kaanapali is known for its calm clear waters, great snorkeling, and white sand beaches. It can be a little more crowded there than at some of the other Maui spots and you are almost guaranteed to park quite a distance away — so be sure to pack your beach bag well so that you don’t have to walk back to the car to grab stuff. I also recommend packing a waterproof cell phone case to keep your phone from getting hit with sand and water. I know from experience!
28. Learn to surf at 1,000 Peaks
Imagine learning to surf with all the glory of the west Maui mountains in front of you. Maui Surf Lessons is our go-to for beginners and intermediate surfers alike. Their tagline is, “We believe anyone can surf!” And their expert coaches will guide you on a very fun, somewhat challenging and always adventurous experience. Great for all ages!
29. Sample the best coffee on Maui
Located in the Kulamalu Plaza of Upcountry Maui, Crema is a boutique cafe trolley. Crema is known for serving high quality, locally roasted and hand-crafted espresso drinks and specialty tea lattes along with a curated selection of fresh organic pastries and frittatas (including gluten-free and vegan options). With comfortable outdoor seating and an intimate space inside for ordering and taking in the experience, Crema’s thoughtfully designed cafe setup inside a completely transformed trolley is a truly remarkable experience that stands out on its own!
30. The Famous Road to Hana
What is a trip to Maui without traversing the famous (and infamous!) road to Hana. Its winding roads traverse a jungle-like landscape that will leave you feeling like you have escaped to a different, more secluded, world. There are two ways to get to Hana, one takes you via the North Shore. This road is well-paved and easier to navigate. The other takes you upcountry, through lava fields, and opens up to some of the most spectacular long-range views Maui has to offer.
This said, this road is not well paved throughout and the last time we traversed it we saw a tourist wreck their Jeep in a ditch. So, know what your vehicle can handle and pick your route wisely. Leave early and be sure to head home before dark as the roads are not safe at night.
PRO TIP: The road to Hana is well worth it but very winding! To prevent major motion sickness, wear these natural patches that are literally miraculous. They have saved me from puking multiple times! I’ve tried other similar brands, but none actually work except these ones.
31. Nakaele Blowhole and Nakaele Point
I’m going to top off my list with the Nakaele Blowhole and Nakaele Point, as the blowhole (and trail itself) are majestic. Feel the earth tremble beneath your feet as an extremely powerful jet of water shoots 50+ feet overhead. A hike along the ocean’s edge is always beautiful, but this blowhole makes the entire experience unforgettable.
PRO TIP: My only suggestion is to bring water shoes or a sturdy pair of hiking sandals as the rocks can be slippery and not ideal for flip-flops.
Asher and I hope you find yourself having the best vacation of your life on this beautiful island! We feel blessed to call it home, and even more fortunate to share it with you. If you need more advice on what to pack for your Hawaiian vacation, be sure to check out our Hawaii packing list, which is jam-packed with great insider tips for the most seamless trip possible.
Lyric is an accomplished poet, best-selling author, award-winning screenwriter (studied at NYU film school), amazing chef, singer/songwriter, and mommy of two amazing little kids! After growing up in Hollywood she decided to delve into a profound spiritual journey and became a yogi-monk for almost a decade. She enjoys helping Asher conduct research, writing for our blog, and loves traveling the world (Paris is her favorite city), and sharing her experiences with you!