Choose from 37 Fun Things to Do in Maui
Makena is home to some of Maui's best beaches, including Big Beach—one of the only stretches of Maui's shoreline that has been entirely protected from development—and nearby Little Beach, which is known as the island's clothing-optional outpost and hosts drum circles led by sun worshippers. Snorkeling is also especially popular in Makena, and pods of spinner dolphins have been known to frequent the waters of Keone’o’io.
Maui has great beaches, including white-sand Kaanapali Beach near Lahaina, so don’t be afraid to spend your whole day in port on the sand.
How to get to Maui
Ships dock in Kahului Harbor on the north coast or anchor off Lahaina on the west coast. If you’re not taking an organized tour, you’ll want a rental car to get around the island. Most of the rental companies have shuttles from each port to take you to one of the airports to pick up your car.
One Day on Maui
The Road to Hana is a must, so plan your day around that. The 68-mile (109-km) journey (technically highways 36 and 360) starts in Kahului and travels east along the northern coast of the island to the town of Hana, on the eastern end of the island. The road takes you through the lush rainforest and over nearly 60 bridges. Stop whenever you like to check out waterfalls and amazing coastal views.
When you reach Hana, continue about 45 minutes past town if you’d like to swim in Ohe'o Gulch, a series of pools and waterfalls in Haleakala National Park.
Make sure you keep an eye on the time. Each way, the journey can take 2.5 to 3 hours, longer when you make stops.
The town’s old plantation-style wooden buildings are now home to funky bars and restaurants, craft shops, surf stores and art galleries.
The town’s windsurfing hub is nearby Ho'okipa Beach. Pull up a towel and watch the surfers in action, or head to calmer Baldwin Beach for a paddle.
- Beat the crowds with an early Molokini tour.
- Be sure to bring sunscreen and a swimsuit.
- Snuba diving is available as an upgrade on many Molokini snorkeling tours.
- Private charters are available for personalized experiences.
Set off Maui's southern coastline, Molokini Crater is only accessible by boat, powerboat, or raft. Popular departure points include Maalaea Harbor and Kihei Boat Ramp. The Molokini snorkel tours that leave from Maalaea Harbor are on large, stable boats, whereas tours that leave from Kihei Boat Ramp are on small rafts that are faster and bumpier, shortening the overall travel distance.
When To Get There
Mornings offer the calmest conditions at this tropical caldera, and the earlier you get there the better. Tradewinds can be strong in summer, making for a thrilling ride back. Winter tends to have lighter winds, plus the added bonus of potentially spotting humpback whales.
Why Molokini Crater Offers the Best Snorkeling in Hawaii
- Molokai is a must-see for travelers wanting to get off the beaten path.
- Helicopter tours to Molokai range in length from 45 minutes to an hour.
- If staying on Molokai, you’ll need a rental car or taxi; there is no public transportation on the island.
- Don’t forget hiking boots and everything you’d need for a day at the beach.
- The Maui Tropical Plantation is a must-see for families.
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
- Much of the plantation is wheelchair accessible.
- Sunrise tours typically require very early start times, with most tours starting hotel pickup around 2 or 3am.
- The weather can be chilly at Mt. Haleakala’s high elevations, especially before sunrise and after sunset. Bring layers and comfortable shoes, and be prepared for rain.
- There are no gas stations or outlets to purchase food within Haleakala National Park.
- Some facilities at the summit are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers, including the Park Headquarters Visitor Center, Haleakala Visitor Center, and Hosmer Grove picnic area.
Lahaina is well-known for its year-round sunny weather, but the popular whale watching cruises are only available in the winter when the humpback whales are migrating. If you're flying directly to Maui, chances are you'll land at Kahului Airport, which is about a 45-minute drive from Lahaina on Route 30.