I have a feeling this is going to be one of my favorite Maui posts. As I mentioned in my Maui [Eats] post some friends are visiting my island home — but I’m not there! I’m so excited for them though, as this is their very first trip to paradise, and I wanted to take a minute to share some must do activities.
As your virtual tour guide, I encourage you to grab a tropical drink and sit back and relax:)
Haleakalā Sunrise. Visiting the Haleakalā National Park is a definite must while visiting Maui. I suggest going for the sunrise, and the best day to do that is when you first get to Maui while you’re still on mainland time–that way waking up at 2AM isn’t that big of a deal! The sunrise on Maui in May is just before 6AM, and you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to get to the summit and regroup.
There’s actually lots to do up there, but I’ve only hung around the observatory. You could do a bike tour, hike the many trails or crater, you can even go camping! The trails are pretty moderate, so if that’s something you think you would want to do, pack a breakfast & picnic lunch — and make sure you wear proper shoes (the gravel is actually lava and is sharp!) and several layers — it gets crazy windy and cold up there, especially before and while the sun is rising, but then gets stifling hot once it’s up. After all, it is the house of the rising sun!
When a group of us go we usually look like we’re headed for a snowboarding trip! If you want a good picture, wear your bikini under all your layers and then strip for a fun picture — it’s like wearing your bikini in the snow:)
Ziplining. There is an adventurous zipline in the Eucalyptus forest on your way up Haleakalā. I almost booked that location, but ended up at Ka’anapali due to availability, but regardless of location, ziplining is a lot of fun! I’m a huge fan of Skyline Eco Adventure because I was super sketchballz the first time I did it, but the zip guys were very compassionate, took me aside to talk and pumped me up. They promised me after the first line I’d be addicted — and you know what? I was!
Hiking. There are so many places to hike I simply cannot begin to list them all here. Like I mentioned above, I would definitely consider hiking Haleakalā, ‘Iao Valley, Wai‘anapanapa State Park, and of course through the Bamboo forest up to Waimoku Falls. On the Westside, Kapalua has some amazing trails, which has always been my “backyard” and where used to run everyday:)
Shopping. While I always saved my shopping for O’ahu or the Mainland, you may want to check out Maui’s shopping scene:
Front Street is definitely more “tourist-y” than the other locations, but very fun to walk before or after dinner:)
* The ABC Store as well as our one and only Walmart are two great spots to load up on souvenirs.
Beaches. It’s no secret.. Maui has the best beaches. I have found some very special spots to claim my own, but here are a few you should definitely experience:
- Kapalua Bay
- Napili Bay
- Backside / Airport Beach / North Ka’anapali Beach
- Ka’anapali Beach / Black Rock
- LaPerouse Bay
In addition to laying out, you can snorkel at all the above beaches. Kapalua Bay and Black Rock / Backside are probably the best snorkel spots on the Westside, while a lot of the Wailea beaches, particularly LaPerouse has some breathtaking views both above and below the water! Wai’anapanapa is one of Maui’s many Black Sand Beaches in Hāna:)
If you’re looking for more beach activities, Ka’anapali pretty much has it all. Jet skiing, Parasailing, SUP, surfing, and more.
Trilogy. Sailing with Trilogy is the best bang for your buck and is by far my favorite adventure!
The Trilogy is the only catamaran with permission to discover the island of Lana’i. They offer two very similar Lana’i tours, and I strongly suggest doing one of them during your visit. Not only do you get to snorkel primo spots, frolic with spinner dolphins, and whale watch (during whale season), but you get to explore another island!
Also, the Lana’i Marine Preserve is less blown out than Molokini, so the quality of snorkeling, snuba, or scuba will be a way better experience.
Upcountry Adventures. There is a lot going on upcountry! You can easily spend an entire day up there experiencing the following:
- Maui’s Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch
- Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm (must try the lavender scone:)
- Surfing Goat Dairy Farm
- Explore Makawao
- Explore Pa’ia
- Kick back at Ho’okipa (and watch all the kite & wind surfers)
- Visit Jaws (watch big wave surfers get towed in during Maui’s winter months)
Lu’au. As I mentioned in this post the Feast At Lele is the best on the island. I went on and on about it in this post so please, please, please, take the time to read/watch/drool. Not only is this the BEST Polynesian food you will ever eat and experience, the entertainment and staff are full of ALOHA.
This style of Lu’au is plated and served opposed to buffet style. It’s also an OPEN BAR, and the food is unlimited. If you like a certain dish and want more — you can get more! You simply cannot get any better than The Feast. If you are limited to one splurge during your visit, I strongly recommend this authentic cultural experience.
Hāna. I’ve been going to Hāna for as long as I can remember and I cannot stress enough that the experience is in the journey, so don’t rush to a destination. Embrace the narrow road bordering Maui’s cliffs with leisure and stop frequently to take in the beauty and capture a photo or two.
I’ve posted several times about Hāna:
One thing to remember while driving on the island, especially to Hāna, is that [to locals] you stick out like a sore thumb. Every local knows a rental car when they see one! On your journey to Hāna you will experience 620 curves and cross 59 bridges suspended over lush rain forest terrain — let aggressive drivers pass and always pull over if you want to gawk at the view or see a whale breach:)
Whew! If you made it to this last paragraph you’re a trooper! There is so much to do on Maui and this beastly post doesn’t even scratch the surface!