Maui is a magical place. While it is true that it attracts tons of visitors, don’t let this deter you from actually visiting! There are so many different things to see and do that even with thousands of visitors swarming the island, you can still find your own adventures or your own pockets of peace and isolation.
This tropical wonderland offers unique experiences for all different types of travelers. You can experience opulent luxury, exhilarating adventure, or (my favorite) exploring the untamed natural beauty of the island. Whether you want to stay in a world famous 5 star hotel, walk along the side of a volcano, surf massive waves, or leave the path to commune with nature, the experience is offered in Maui!
Read on to learn about some of the best and some free things to do in Maui, as well as the best places to stay in Maui.
Where to stay in Maui
We love the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa. The location is perfect and only a 2 minute walk to the beach. There are 2 amazing pools at the property and so many amenities. The only downside is it is super expensive.
What to Pack? Before traveling to Maui, make sure to check out my Hawaii Packing List so you can know exactly what you need to bring to Hawaii.
11 Cool Things to Do in Maui (and affordable)
Still not convinced? Looking for more inspiration for your Hawaii bucket list? Worried that the trip won’t be affordable? Don’t worry, with proper planning you can make most trips, including Maui affordable.
I’ve done an affordable trip to Maui, which to be honest was a lot easier to save money on than other places. For example, I’ve heard tons of people complain about how expensive Iceland is; it wasn’t for us. We brought granola bars and fruit to eat, made sure our hotel had free parking, free wifi, and most importantly free breakfast, and found incredibly similar attractions to the main ones that were free or a fraction of the cost.
I am not saying a trip to Hawaii or Iceland is going to cost you nothing, but it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think. There are so many cool things to do in Maui that are completely free or really cheap, starting with a few of my favorite hikes and waterfalls!
Go Zip lining through the Lush Hawaiian Jungle
Are you a thrill seeker? Don’t worry, Maui isn’t all hikes and lounging on the beach. There are many places where you can scratch the adventure itch! I think one of the best ways to do this is via a rainforest zipline.
Though there are many places on Maui that you can zipline above and climb up platforms via rope bridges through the dense rainforest canopy. Haleakala 5-Line Zipline Adventure is one of the best. They feature ziplines, atv rides, rappelling, and suspension bridges.
Transportation is included.
Swim in the Seven Sacred Pools
The Seven Sacred Pools are one of the most popular attractions in Maui. This beautiful park has pools for swimming and waterfalls. Even though it is prohibited, you will often see people jumping down the waterfalls.
If you have a chance to go, make sure to get there as early as possible to guarantee parking as it can get quite crowded later in the day. There is a small fee to get into the park that includes these falls, but given the difficult of parking at many of the others many people think it is worth it.
When planning which waterfalls you want to visit, make sure you check out which ones require a hike, which ones cost money, and which ones allow swimming. Read about my favorite Maui waterfalls that allow swimming here.
Related Post: The 6 Best Easily Accessible Waterfalls in Maui
Take a Helicopter Tour of Maui and Molokai
There is no better way to see the entire island than the 75-Minute Hana Rainforest Helicopter Tour! The tour even includes a landing so you can go out and explore on foot in some of the most secluded parts of Maui.
This isn’t a cheap thing to do on Maui, but it is hands down a truly amazing experience. Riding in a helicopter is cool on its own, but being able to have over an hour long ride over some of the most gorgeous views on earth is special.
There is no better way to see the entire island with the pure blue oceans giving way to the lush mountains jutting up. All of the lush rainforests and mountain streams could not viewed another way.
There are also tours available that will take you over the hard-to-access island of Molokai (like this one here.)
Even though it is expensive, if you are going to splurge I highly recommend you do it here. Book your tour here, and know that there is free cancellation if you change your mind.
You have two Helicopter tour options:
Option 1 – Maui and Molokai Scenic Helicopter Flight
Drive the Road to Hana
It sounds silly, but this highway with over 600 hairpin turns is an absolute must visit. This meandering road follows the coastline and passes some of the most amazing hot spots Maui offers.
Directly from the highway you will be able to see waterfalls, entrances to trail hikes, and jaw dropping beaches and rocky cliffs. While it can get bogged down with traffic, you will not regret passing the endless amounts of photo stops.
So how many miles is the road to Hana? The whole thing is just over 64, but plan on it taking a while since you are guaranteed to make many stops along the way.
Some of my favorites are the Waikamoi Nature Trail, Upper Waikani Falls, Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach in Maui and the incredible area of Haiku-Pauwela.
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of navigating and finding parking (The road to Hana gets CROWDED) I recommend this Road to Hana Full-Day Tour with Lunch (transfer included). This tour literally covers all the best stops on the road to Hana.
Check out the Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees
Am I the only one that had no idea these trees even existed? There is literally rainbow tree bark on the Eucalyptus trees! The various colors form due to the outer layer of the tree continually peeling away and changing colors.
Kaihalulu Beach – Red Sand Beach Maui
Most people are surprised to learn that Hawaii not only features white and black sand beaches, but also features red sand beaches. Kaihalulu Beach in Hana, Hawaii is one of the few places on earth where you can observe this rare phenomenon.
This is one of the best beaches in Hawaii but it can be a little tricky to get to, as the trail is a little treacherous. Don’t worry though, it isn’t long. Make sure if you go you bring proper shoes and take extra caution if it is wet or raining.
Also worth noting is that due to the secluded nature of this little piece of paradise, Kaihalulu is known unofficially as a clothing-optional beach. So don’t be surprised if you end up seeing some things you weren’t quite prepared for though when we visited everyone was fully dressed.
Tour Maui on horseback
Horseback riding is fun by itself. Now imagine how much more fun it could be if you got to see remote beaches and explore the rainforest and hidden waterfalls. That is exactly what you can do if you book this incredible horseback tour!
Book your tour: West Maui Mountain Waterfall and Ocean Tour via Horseback
If you take the Pipiwai Trail off of the Hana Highway you will end up at trailhead of Waimoku Falls. This relatively long hike is worth it though to see these incredibly high falls. You get to see a thundering sheet of water cascading down a sheer volcanic rock face. Stunning!
Maui Atlantis Submarine Adventure
Okay, who doesn’t want to explore the world famous Hawaii ocean floor? How about getting to do it in a submarine! While on this tour you get to see a shipwreck turned into a coral reef. You should see all kinds of vibrant fish, corals, and even reef sharks.
Make sure to book your tour in advance because these do sell out.
Haleakala National Park is one of the best cheap things to do in Maui. When examining most of the island you come to expect a verdant green paradise. You won’t find any beaches or tropical vegetation here; this park features a Mars-like landscape that is the result of volcanic activity.
Interested in exploring the dramatic geography formed by volcanos? Book this day trip now so that you can be guided through the best paths and top views.
Book your tour: Haleakala, Ia’o Valley & Lahaina Tour
Hiking Haleakala Crater is a tough climb, but it’s worth it. The views here are incredible!
Tip – The hikes in Hawaii can get really MUDDY. Make sure to pack a nice pair of waterproof hiking boots so trekking through the mud and puddles doesn’t make you miserable. Nothing worse than wet socks. These are my favorite hiking boots. They are cute and comfortable. I never go hiking without them!
Heart Shaped Rock Hike
Although most people call this the heart shaped rock, it is more of a heart shaped hole. Either way, this romantic spot is definitely worth a visit. It is located right by the Nakalele Blowhole. Which just so happens to be our next point, so keep reading!
You (probably) won’t see a volcanic explosion while in Maui, but the Nakalele Blowhole is the next best thing. This is a geyser of seawater that explodes from a rock beside the ocean. Water spewed from the blowhole can rise as high as 100 feet in the air. Be sure to bring your camera!
Go for a swim at Twin Falls
There are so many incredible waterfalls in Hawaii, Twin Falls is just one of my favorites. Make sure to also check out the Twin Falls Maui Farm Stand before hitting the trails.
There is nothing more refreshing than some fresh coconut water straight from the coconut itself. Read about more Maui waterfalls here.
Black Sand Beach in Maui – one of the best beaches in Hawaii!
What to Pack for Maui
- Quick Dry Travel Towel – This quick dry towel is amazing to travel with. It really will come in handy when you need extra room in your suitcase.
- Tank tops – Free people is my go to place to buy cute and affordable tank tops (Depending on the style of course). I have this tighten up tank in almost every color.
- Hat – essential. Shop the newest hats at Nordstrom.
- Shorts – Anyone who is traveling to Hawaii needs a good pair of shorts. Khakis are great for guys. For women, cute athletic shorts or denim shorts are perfect for a breezy summertime look. These denim shorts are my current favorites! These high waisted athletic shorts have gone viral on instagram and for good reason, they are AMAZING.
- Dresses for Hawaii – Packing a few good dresses is essential for Hawaii. Dresses have become my go to on trips to help quickly put an outfit together.
- Beach cover-up – Having at least one good cover-up is essential on any beach trip. Amazon actually has amazing ones at really affordable prices. If you aren’t a fan of buying clothes off Amazon I recommend ASOS, Nordstrom and Revolve as well.
- Sandals – LOVE these Birkenstocks.
- Tennis Shoes – I guess you could wear sandals hiking this trail but I would recommend tennis shoes. It can get narrow and slippery in parts. These Nike high tops are my current favs. They look so cute with shorts too!
- Snorkeling gear – for obvious reasons.
So those are a few of our favorites, now over to you guys! Comment below and let us know what would you add to the list of the best things to do in Maui?!
Where to stay in Maui
Four Seasons Resort in Wailea – This is one of the more expensive resorts on Maui, but it’s also one of the most fantastic. The hotel overlooks Wailea Beach and has 3 swimming pools and 3 restaurants on-site. If you are looking for the ultimate service, food, and pampering, then you should stay here. Check current pricing here.
Hotel Wailea – This hotel is fairly small, with under a hundred guest rooms. This, and the fact that it is far away from the road and any other noise pollution, makes it the perfect place to stay in peace and quiet.
You definitely don’t need to stay in a Maui vacation Villa to have a great stay in Maui.
The Inn at Mama´s Fish House – Mama’s Fish House is the famous restaurant on Maui, but most visitors have no idea that you can actually stay there. The suites and beach houses are very affordable. It is one of the best places to stay in.
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa – Another amazing hotel and resort you are guaranteed to love.
Co-Author Breana Johnson
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OUR MOST POPULAR HAWAII BLOG POSTS
My husband and I have been to Hawaii many times and have written up more blog posts to help you plan your trip. These are my most popular blog posts and Hawaii travel guides to help you plan your trip.
The top things to do on Oahu – 15 Places You Can’t Miss in Oahu (Hawaii) – our most viewed post ever!
The best places to see on all the Hawaiian Islands – 27 Incredible Places To Visit In Hawaii
Best Things to do in Maui: 10 Cool Things to do in Maui Hawaii
What to Pack for Hawaii: The Ultimate Hawaii Packing List
For those looking for more unique things to do in Oahu – 11 Best Things to do in Oahu (You Probably Haven’t Heard of)
Guide to visiting one of the best beaches Maui offers – Red Sand Beach: Guide to Visiting the Red Sand Beach in Maui
The Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Hawaiian Islands – and what to expect on each island: What To Expect On Each Of The Hawaiian Islands
The Best and Most Easily Accessible Maui Waterfalls: 6 Easily Accessible Maui Waterfalls