Top 10 Fun Things to Do in Maui

By Susan Guillory · June 12, 2023 · 8 minute read

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Top 10 Fun Things to Do in Maui

Maui, known as “The Valley Isle,” is a lush Hawaiian island famous for its whale and turtle sightings, as well as the Haleakalā volcano, which makes up 75% of the island. When it comes to the best things to do in Maui, of course a big part of the allure is just enjoying the fantastic scenery.

But there’s more to do than just gaze at the horizon. There are fantastic beaches and hiking trails to explore; there are cliff divers to watch and craters to climb. Plus it’s a food lover’s paradise.

To help you plan an amazing trip to this natural paradise, read on. You’ll learn the top 10 fun things to do on a Maui vacation, as well as tips to help you travel smarter.

Best Times to Go to Maui

There’s really not a bad time to go to Maui. The weather stays warm, with highs in the 75- to 85-degree range year-round during the day. Summer, especially July and early August, can be very popular, with singles, couples, and families embarking on summer travel. If you prefer to have a less crowded and more lowkey trip, you might prefer to plan your trip for April, May, or mid-August through September.

But if it’s whale-watching you’re after, January is the month to visit, because it’s their migration season.

Here are some annual events you might want to include in your travel plans.

•   February: Great Maui Whale Festival

•   March: Lahaina Whale and Ocean Arts Festival

•   May: Lei Day

•   June: Maui Film Festival

•   July: Lana’i Pineapple Festival

•   October: Hawai’ian Food & Wine Festival

•   December: Lighting of the Banyan Tree

Bad Times to Go to Maui

While there really isn’t a bad time to go to Maui, if you want to lessen the chance of getting rained on while enjoying the top things to do in Maui, avoid the rainy season, which is November to March. That said, Wailea, an area on the southwestern side of the island, has its own microclimate and tends to be drier year-round.

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Average Cost of a Maui Vacation

Hawaii isn’t known for being a budget traveler’s paradise. Because it’s an island, food has to be shipped in, which can cause it to cost more. And renting a car can get expensive, depending on the time of year and demand. But how much will your Maui vacation cost?

For a couple, expect to pay about $4,517 for a week in Maui. The actual cost will depend on your accommodations, largely. A hotel room can range from $102 to $467 a night, while a vacation rental could be about $240 to $440 per night. Keep in mind that these price estimates don’t include airfare getting to the island. When you are purchasing your tickets, you might want to use an airline credit card to rack up some bonus miles or other rewards.

You might also take advantage of book now, pay later travel to book flights when you see affordable options instead of waiting until the last minute when prices may spike.

One other expense to consider is travel insurance. Check if your credit card travel insurance will cover you; some card issuers offer this. Otherwise, you might rest easier if you buy a separate policy to protect yourself if something were to go awry.

10 Fun Must-Dos in Maui

Every Hawaiian island has its own unique features and things to do. Maui is an in-demand destination because of all of its incredible attractions. Here, based on travelers’ advice, locals’ picks, and the best-rated sights on the web, are 10 fun things to to when in Maui, Hawaii.

1. Watch the Cliff Divers at Black Rock

This event feels like an insider’s secret, but in reality, lele kawa, or cliff-diving off of Black Rock has been attracting thousands of tourists for 60 years. Hawaiians have been cliff-diving for centuries, and this twice-weekly ceremony, lasting about 10 minutes, continues the tradition.

Stake out a place to view the spectacular event at the Sheraton Maui before sunset. You don’t have to be a guest of the property to attend, though you may choose to enjoy a cocktail at the outdoor bar for prime seating. Otherwise, find a spot along the shore and wait for the torch lighting that signifies the start of this nightly ceremony.

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2. Go Ziplining

Another top thing to do in Maui: Ziplining, a great way to fulfill your need for speed and see the gorgeous landscape. There are several ziplining companies in Maui, allowing you to glide down lines above the treetops and take in breathtaking views of the island and the sea. One business, North Shore Zipline Company (, operates on a historic World War II landmark site, and the guides provide interesting tidbits about Maui’s role in the war. Kapalua Ziplines’ Dual Zipline Mountain Adventure ( is another option, allowing a pair of zipliners to glide down parallel paths together.

Prices can range from $100 to $200 or more, depending on how many ziplines you do. This attraction could be a good time to use plastic and reap some credit card rewards.

3. Savor a Luau

Some may find it a tad hokey, but a luau experience can be one of the most fun things to do in Maui for couples. These typically involve local delicacies (perhaps including roast pig cooked in the earth) and action-packed, flame-throwing dance performances. If you can go at sunset, you’ll likely have the backdrop of stunning pink and purple skies.

4. Snorkel with Turtles in Honokeana Bay

One of the top 10 things to do in Maui is snorkeling with sea turtles. While there are many places you can see them, sometimes the number of tourists scares them away at the more popular beaches. However, at sleepy Honokeana Bay, you’re more likely to bump into one.

This bay doesn’t have a sandy beach, so wear water shoes; you’ll likely have to climb over some possibly sharp lava rock to get into and out of the water. Bring an underwater camera to get a shot of these graceful creatures, but remember: Don’t touch them!

5. Follow the Road to Hana

If you love gorgeous road trips and don’t mind a few curves on your path, take a day to drive the Road to Hana. This winding road will have you cruising through rainforests, black beaches, sacred burial sites, and past gushing waterfalls. There are apps you can download to guide you to the best places to stop (and note: Cell service may be spotty, so download your map beforehand).

Another way to see this memorable sight: Let one of the local guides do the driving, and be a passenger. Plenty of options are available to tour this way.

6. Take to the Trails

Maui is truly a nature lover’s paradise, and there are hikes for every level of skill. For an easy, ambling hike along the coast, try Kapalua Coastal Trail, especially if you don’t have time to drive to one of the parks for a hike.

If you do have more time, try Waihe’e Ridge Trail, which rises 2,500 feet above sea level and puts you right in the heart of the mountains. You’ll also get to see some of the island’s most beautiful waterfalls.

7. Get Up Close to the Haleakalā Crater

At the heart of Maui is the Haleakalā volcano, which makes up 75% of the island. Visitors love watching the sunrise from the crater, though know that you need a reservation. You can also book a van or bike tour, camp, or explore the park on your own. The park is open 24 hours a day, while the visitor’s center is open 8 am to 3:45 pm There is a $1.50 fee per vehicle for sunrise; this low fee can be one of the ways families can afford to travel.

8. Cool Off With Shave Ice

No trip to Maui is complete until you’ve had shave ice from Ululani’s (that’s right; shave not shaved ice). Shave ice is a local treat and is just what it sounds like: bits of ice shaved from a block and doused with sweet syrup. It’s similar to a snow cone, though that’s made with crushed ice.

As for Ululani’s, this institution has been creating smiles with its sweet treats since 2008. Try a fun flavor like passionfruit, coconut, guava, mango, or macadamia nut on a hot day.

9. Bask on a Black Sand Beach

Of course you need beach time, so why not head to the black sand beach of Waiʻānapanapa State Park? It’s a great selfie spot. The black color comes from eroded rock mixed with sand.

You can also picnic, swim, and snorkel there. If you’re traveling with a pet, know that the park allows leashed dogs, so it can be a good place to explore together.

To combat the throngs of visitors, the park now requires reservations, and entry is $5 per person plus a $10 parking fee.

10. Sip Mai Tais at Sunset

Another of the best things to do on a Maui vacation is enjoy Happy Hour. There’s nothing more romantic in Maui than enjoying a Mai Tai as the sun dips below the sea. There are several places you can get a delicious cocktail, including Ka’anapali Beach Hotel and Duke’s Beach House. Some places get crowded at sunset, so it’s often best to make a reservation.

The Takeaway

A trip to Maui can provide the opportunity to see some true natural wonders, relax, hike, and eat amazingly well. With attractions like the Road to Hana and cliff-diving ceremonies, Maui offers diverse attractions that make a stay there amazingly memorable.

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What are the best things to do in Maui?

There’s plenty to do in Maui, from snorkeling with turtles to watching cliff divers at Black Rock. Also don’t miss experiencing a luau or the amazing sunsets over the water.

Where should I hike in Maui?

If you drive the Road to Hana, there are many trails along the way where you can view waterfalls. Other noteworthy hikes can be found at Kapalua Coastal Trail, Waihe’e Ridge Trail, and the Haleakalā Crater.

How long should I visit Maui?

With so much to see, not to mention the slow pace of the island, you’ll probably want to allow a minimum of five days in Maui.

Photo credit: iStock/Jacob Boomsma

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