Maui map of top 10

You Just Can’t Miss These 10 Best Things To Do In Maui, Hawaii!

Planning a trip in Maui, Hawaii?

From enjoying sunrise (or sunset) at the summit of Haleakala to the scenic drive along the Road to Hana and lounging on beautiful tropical beaches, Maui has something for everyone.

Popular as a honeymoon destination, Maui offers a plethora of resorts with spas. There are family-friendly stays on the island as well, along with excellent shopping and dining.

Twin Falls is one of the popular waterfalls along the Road to Hana in Maui, Hawaii
Twin Falls is a popular stop on the famous Road to Hana

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Hike a Maui trail. Relax on a golden sand beach, or visit a black sand beach. Snorkel, swim, surf, or boogie board. Bike down the Haleakala crater. Go wine tasting or enjoy a tasting at a distillery. Eat lots of fresh seafood.

From foodies to photographers and just anyone looking for a sensationally beautiful place for some R&R, Maui is the perfect vacation destination.

In this article, we’ve rounded up the best ten MUST-DOs on Maui. If you want the big list, check our detailed guide to the best things to do in Maui, Hawaii.

First time to Maui and no time to read the blog? You can’t go wrong selecting from these 5-star rated, immensely popular experiences ranked by traveler popularity!

Big Beach in Makena State Park, Maui
Big Beach in southwest Maui

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1. Snorkel at Molokini Crater

Snorkeling at Molokini is one of the most exciting things to do in Maui.

The crescent-shaped islet in the Pacific Ocean is the remnant of a cinder cone that was created when an eruption occurred here many thousands of years ago.

Molokini Crater in Maui, Hawaii
Snorkeling Molokini is one of the top things to do in Maui!

If you are visiting Maui with kids, snorkeling at Molokini and Turtle Town is an activity they will adore.

With crystal clear waters that are also relatively calm, you can look for sea turtles and dozens of varieties of tropical fish.

Scuba divers will be excited to learn that the back of the crater offers a dive that drops several hundred feet.

You have to be certified to go scuba diving at Molokini, but snuba diving is an alternative for visitors that are not certified.

>> Check pricing and availability for a Molokini snorkel tour now!

2. Drive the Road to Hana

The Road to Hana is one of the most scenic driving routes in Hawaii, with spectacular views around every turn.

The Road to Hana winds its way for 64 miles from Kahului to Kipahulu (just beyond Hana Town), with more than 600 switchbacks and several dozen one-lane bridges.

Enjoy stunning views of the captivating coastline, numerous cascading waterfalls, rainbow eucalyptus trees, and lush rainforest.

Waikani Falls on the Road to Hana in Maui, Hawaii
Waikani Falls, also called the Three Bears Falls, along the Road to Hana

Some of the best stops along the Road to Hana include Twin Falls, the black sand Honokalani beach in Wai’anapanapa State Park, Upper Waikani Falls, and the Keanae Peninsula.

And you definitely have to stop for fresh-baked banana bread: there are several shops along the route selling the local treat.

In our opinion, a guided Road to Hana tour is the easiest way to experience the drive for the first time.

You’ll stop at a few select places, and enjoy the views on the drive without stressing about the curvy road and the need to find parking at popular stops.

>> Check pricing and availability for this highly-rated Road to Hana tour now!

3. Take a Helicopter Tour Over Maui

Adventure loving visitors to Maui usually have a helicopter tour on their bucket list for the picturesque island.

On a whole island helicopter tour, you’ll fly over the majestic Haleakala volcano, as well as the rainforest and waterfalls of the windward coast and the stunning West Maui mountains.

Our favorite Maui-from-the-air experience is a helicopter tour that combines the west side of Maui with the island of Molokai.

On this super scenic helicopter tour, you will glide over the rugged valleys of the West Maui Mountains, areas that you can’t really get to by road or trail.

Then you’ll cross the channel over to Molokai, one of the smaller islands that lie off the Maui coast.

Molokai has tall cliffs that are just made to be seen from the air, like Kauai.

The cliffs of Molokai in Hawaii
Admire the towering cliffs of Molokai from a helicopter!

The towering green cliffs of Molokai rise 4,000 feet into the air right next to the deep blue ocean, making for epic photo ops.

>> Check pricing and availability for a West Maui-Molokai helicopter tour now!

4. Relax on a Romantic Sunset Cruise

One of the most romantic and relaxing things to do in Maui is enjoy a sunset cruise. You can choose a dinner cruise or a cruise with just an open bar.

Cruising the ocean in the evening, with a breeze keeping you cool as you enjoy the sublime views, is heaven.

Maui sunset in Hawaii
Watch the sun set over the water on a dinner cruise!

Look for the nearby islands of Lanai, Molokai, and Kahoolawe from your catamaran, and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins frolicking in the water.

This highly-rated sunset cruise leaves from Kaanapali Beach and offers an open bar so you can sip a handcrafted cocktail as you watch the sun go down over the Pacific.

The catamaran loads right on the beach: it’s a barefoot tour.

>> Check price and availability for this Maui sunset cruise from Kaanapali Beach now!

There’s also a dinner cruise you can take from Kaanapali Beach.

If you’d rather board at a harbor, consider this luau dinner sunset cruise that departs from Ma’alaea Harbor.

The 2-hour excursion includes an open bar, a buffet dinner, and entertainment.

5. Attend a Luau

A luau is on the bucket list of many first-time visitors to Maui, and it’s a great way to get a peek into Hawaiian foods, music, dancing, and storytelling.

There are many luaus on the island from which to pick.

Tiki torches at a luau in Maui, Hawaii
Eat dinner with a view at a sunset luau as the tiki torches come on

The Maui Nui Luau at the Sheraton Resort has an oceanfront setting in Kaanapali. The 3-hour experience includes a buffet at sunset and a Polynesian dance show.

>> Check price and availability for the Maui Nui Luau now!

It’s a good luau to pick if you are based in Kapalua or Kaanapali. If you are based in southwest Maui, consider the option below!

The Te Au Moana Luau at the Wailea Marriott is also hugely popular. You’ll enjoy Hawaiian dishes at a buffet, followed by a music and dance show that includes a fire knife show!

>> Check price and availability for the Te Au Moana Luau now!

6. Experience Sunrise at Haleakala

Watching the sunrise above the clouds from the summit of the Haleakala volcano is an incredibly moving experience. It’s worth the super early wake-up call on vacation!

Just after sunrise at Haleakala in Maui, Hawaii
Sunrise at Haleakala is a magical experience! 

Whether you drive up to the summit on your own or you join a Haleakala sunrise guided tour, you will be mesmerized as you watch the golden ball make its way above the clouds, spreading golden light across the crater.

You just need the weather gods to be on your side.

There are four places you can park at the top for sunrise, with the Haleakala Visitor Center the prime location.

The Haleakala sunrise experience is so popular that Haleakala National Park now requires you to reserve a parking spot in advance if you plan to drive to the top.

Our Haleakala sunrise guide is the perfect resource to help you plan your visit.

>> Check pricing and availability for a Haleakala sunrise tour now!

TIP: If you absolutely detest waking up early, sunset and stargazing at the summit of Haleakala is also amazing.

7. Explore Upcountry Maui

Exploring Upcountry Maui is a fun activity away from the beaches of west Maui.

The communities of Kula and Makawao on the slopes of the Haleakala crater are home to numerous gardens, farms, and orchards, and great eateries as well.

Tiki at Kula Botanical Garden in Maui, HI
Tiki at the Kula Botanical Garden!

Visit the small Kula Botanical Garden or stroll the Alii Kula Lavender Farm. Sample cheese at Surfing Goat Dairy or sip pineapple wine at MauiWine.

Maui Pineapple in Makawao offers tours of their pineapple plantation! This very popular upcountry excursion allows you to sample the fruit at various stages and includes one sweet Maui Gold pineapple to bring back to your accommodation!

>> Check pricing and availability for the Maui Pineapple Tour now!

8. Learn to Surf in Maui!

You can’t visit Hawaii and not try to ride some waves!

Of all the Hawaii islands, Maui is best for beginners in that the waves don’t generally get huge like on the north shore of Oahu or the north shore of Kauai, although there are places for expert surfers as well, like Honolua Bay and Hookipa Beach.

A surfer at Honolua Bay in Maui, Hawaii
Surfing in Maui

Pick a known beginner spot, and have fun!

The Cove, at Kalama Beach in Kihei, is a very popular learners’ area. Puamana Beach Park, Olowalu, and Paia Bay are other good spots.

You can take private or group lessons to get started. We loved our surfing lesson: the instructor was patient and we all caught some waves by the end of the lesson.

Consider this highly-rated 2-hour group lesson in Kihei (each group is limited to just six students), or this private 2-hour surfing lesson in Lahaina.

9. Go Ziplining in Maui!

Ziplining over Maui’s tropical landscapes is an exhilarating experience if you’re up for the adventure!

There are zipline adventures to be had all over Maui, so whether you want to soar over the lush jungles of Hana, the coastal landscape of Kaanapali, or near the Haleakala volcano, you’ll find a guided tour to suit.

We enjoyed this popular experience at Camp Maui, a historic WWII base on the north shore of the island. There are several ziplines of varying lengths, allowing you to try “obstacle” challenges.

You’ll glide over the treetops for amazing views of the forests and the Pacific Ocean, and learn about local history and culture from your guide.

>> Check pricing and availability for this Maui zipline adventure now!

10. Enjoy a Thrilling ATV Adventure

Want to hit some of the more rugged landscapes on Maui in an offroading adventure?

This popular excursion from Lahaina offers two itinerary options: a beachside trail or a ride through a wetland preserve.

A view of the Maui west coastline
Enjoy coast views on the beach ATV itinerary

You’ll go on an exhilarating tour along winding trails. You may even get to plant a tree to rejuvenate a rainforest, depending on the tour you choose.

The vehicles are four-seaters, so this is a great family activity to enjoy in Maui! The two-hour excursion is easy to fit into even shorter Maui itineraries.

You may get muddy, so wear clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting dirty.

>> Check pricing and availability for the Maui ATV adventure now!

The Best Maui Tours

Have you booked these top-rated Maui guided adventures yet?

Small-group Road to Hana tour so everyone in your group can sit back and enjoy the views without worrying about negotiating hairpin bends or finding parking at popular stops!

A Haleakala sunrise tour so you can experience the bucket-list sunrise atop the volcano without the need to reserve a parking spot or drive up in the dark!

A Maui whale watching raft tour, which will let you see the massive humpback whales at eye level! (You can also opt for a more sedate boat whale watching tour.) A MUST winter Maui activity!

A Maui snorkeling excursion that combines the Molokini Crater with Turtle Town, the two most epic snorkeling destinations on the island!

A 7-line Maui zipline experience where you can glide over the forests on the north shore of Maui. Enjoy ocean views and navigate obstacle course challenges!

An oceanfront luau in Wailea where you can enjoy a sunset buffet and traditional Polynesian entertainment. You can also opt for a Kaanapali oceanfront luau.

Where to Stay in Maui

Depending on whether you want a vacation rental with more room and the option to cook some of your meals, or you want a resort or hotel experience, and depending on which part of Maui you want to choose as your base, you have a variety of options.

By far the majority of visitors to Maui choose to base on the west side, where there is a large selection of accommodations available, from resorts and hotels to vacation rentals.

We suggest starting your search for Maui accommodations by browsing vacation rentals on VRBO. You can filter to choose a specific area, such as Kihei, Kapalua, or Wailea.

We have stayed in VRBO rentals in Kihei and Kapalua and find that the choice and quality are generally great.

>> Look for a Maui vacation rental on VRBO now!

Renting a Car in Maui

The best things to do in Maui are located all over the island.

Public transport options on Maui are minimal to non-existent, so if you want to explore the island beyond your base, you’ll want to book a rental car for your Maui trip.

We always use Discover Cars to book Maui car rentals. They search across a variety of rental car companies, both budget and brand, to offer you the best deals, AND they offer free cancellations. Plus, there are no hidden fees.

>> Check availability and prices on Maui car rentals now!

More Maui Travel Inspiration

If you are considering a trip to Maui, read some of our other comprehensive guides to craft the ultimate Maui itinerary!

If you are a first-time visitor to Maui, start by reading our article on the best things to do in Maui. From beautiful beaches and lush rainforest to Maui’s volcanic crater, our round-up captures the most iconic Maui experiences and activities.

If you are dreaming of a winter getaway to a tropical paradise, read our guide on why you should visit Maui in winter!

If you are planning a brief first visit to Maui, here’s our 3-day Maui itinerary to help you flesh out your own trip! And if you are considering a couples getaway to Maui, read about the top romantic things to do in Maui!

Driving the Road to Hana is one of Maui’s bucket-list experiences. We have a comprehensive guide to the best stops on the Road to Hana, including waterfalls and short hikes on the way.

One of the top stops on the route is Wai’anapanapa State Park, which requires reservations. Read our full guide to Maui’s black sand beach in this popular state park!

Maui boasts one of only two national parks in Hawaii. Read our round-up of the best things to do in Haleakala National Park. We also have the ultimate guide to sunrise at Haleakala.

We also have a guide to the best hikes in Haleakala National Park, and in-depth hiking guides to the two most epic hikes in the park: the Sliding Sands Trail and the Pipiwai Trail.

Speaking of hiking, also be sure to check out our round-up of the best Maui hikes, from easy to challenging. Plus, peruse our complete guides to hiking the popular Kapalua Coastal Trail in northwest Maui, and the Waihee Ridge Trail for astounding views!

We also have a round-up of the best waterfalls in Maui, from the 400-foot Waimoku Falls to Upper Waikani Falls near Hana. Some Maui waterfalls can be seen from viewpoints whereas others require hiking.

Water activities are plentiful in Maui! Check out our epic guide to whale watching in Maui, and our guide to the best Molokini snorkeling tours and the best Turtle Town snorkeling.

If you’d rather snorkel from shore, read our round-up of the best snorkel spots in West Maui.

Every Maui itinerary should have plenty of beach time: there are so many beautiful beaches in Maui that you are spoiled for choice. We have a round-up of the best beaches in South Maui, plus a detailed guide to Wailea Beach in southwest Maui, and one for Maluaka Beach along the Turtle Town stretch of coast.

We also have articles on the much-visited Kaanapali Beach, the popular Napili Beach and local favorite Keawakapu Beach. Along the northwest side, Honolua Bay is a famous surfing spot, and Ho’okipa Beach, near Paia, is a windsurfing mecca.

If you are looking to experience a different side of Maui, plan a visit to the Iao Valley State Monument. The lush landscapes and serene ambience will wow you! Also read our guide to Maui’s state parks, which include popular Makena State Park, home to Big Beach and Little Beach.

Spend a day exploring Upcountry Maui. Some of the best things to do in Upcountry Maui include touring farms and gardens. Help milk goats, tour a tea farm, go wine tasting and much more.

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Discover the top things to do in Maui, Hawaii, from snorkeling at Molokini and a sunset cruise to sunrise on Haleakala and driving the Road to Hana.


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