Maui is an outdoor lovers paradise. Filled with exotic beaches, lush rainforests and hidden waterfalls, there are lots of things to do in Maui that will give your soul a little thrill.
Maui is the second largest Hawaiian Island with of course the Big Island being the largest in size. Maui can be divided into 6 areas West, South, East, the North shore, Upcountry and Central Maui. But no matter where you are there is adventure around every corner. These are the best things to do in Maui for an adventure.
8 Adventurous Things to do in Maui
1. Hike to a 400 foot waterfall
Waimoku Falls is one of the best waterfalls in Maui located in the Kipahulu district of Haleakala National Park. The only way to get to this site is by hiking the Pipiwai Trail.
The Pipiwai Trail is a 4 mile out and back hike that takes you past ancient banyan trees, through a dramatic bamboo forest and ends up at the powerful and awe inspiring Waimoku Falls. This one of the best hikes on Maui and needs to be added to your bucket list immediately.
2. Go on a Whale Watch
If you are traveling here during the winter months, you can’t miss out on going on a whale watch. Every year the Pacific Humpback whale makes the journey from the cold waters of Alaska to their breeding ground in the shallow Hawaiian waters.
There are several boat companies that provide whale watching tours multiple times a day. Plus snacks and drinks are provided on most tours.
Whale watches are relatively inexpensive and one of the best things to do in Maui on a budget. There’s not many places in the world that you can witness these majestic beauties up close in their natural habitant.
3. Drive the Road to Hana
The road to Hana is one of the top things to do on Maui, and one of the reasons why it’s one of the best islands to visit in Hawaii for families. 52 miles of one lane bridges and winding road that takes you from the town of Kahului to Hana town in East Maui.
Most people start the road to Hana on the North shore of Maui in the town of Paia. Make sure you fuel up for gas and stock up on snacks as this will be the last place for fuel until you reach the town of Hana.
Along the way you will see countless roadside waterfalls, have amazing seascape views and pass by some of the best and most exotic beaches that Maui has to offer. I recommended to stay a night or two in Hana to give yourself time to drive the road to Hana and explore all the fun things to do around Hana town.
Or, if you’re looking for a gorgeous and family-friendly place to stay, check out the Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea. It has a terrific pool, a great location on the beach, and plenty of fun activities.
4. Snorkel Molokini Crater
If you think Maui is beautiful from the shore you should see her from below the water. Molokini Crater is a crescent shaped, volcanic crater that can be found just off shore in South Maui. Molokini Crater is Hawaii’s only island marine sanctuary, which means there is no fishing allowed. This guarantees hundreds of different types of marine life, coral reefs and sea turtles.
The only way to get to Molokini is on a snorkeling tour with several different companies offering daily snorkel trips. Early morning trips are best as the trade winds pick up by mid afternoon. Lunch will also be provided. It’s a fun activity the whole family can enjoy.
5. Go Cliff Jumping at Black Rock
If you are staying in the popular resort area in Ka’anapali on West Maui, chances are you’re on or within walking distance of the stunning Kaanapali Beach. This popular beach stretches over 3 miles and is composed of soft, golden sand.
There is plenty of things to do at Kaanapali Beach including snorkeling, swimming, surfing and my personal favorite cliff jumping. On the North end of the beach you will see lava rock jutting out into the ocean, this area is known as black rock.
Black Rock is a great spot for cliff jumping because of the vast landing zone, usually calm waters and sandy bottom. There are several different spots to jump off of ranging from 12 to 18 feet, which makes this adventurous thing to do in Maui perfect for beginners and novice jumpers.
Locals Tip: Be sure to watch the nightly sunset ceremony where a Hawaiian warrior lights the tiki torches and then ends the ceremony by diving off black rock into the ocean.
6. Watch Sunrise atop Haleakala & Bike Down
There’s nothing quite like watching the sunrise above the clouds at the summit of Haleakala which sits at 10,000 feet. This Maui activity requires an early wake up call. You have to leave by 3:30 AM at least from West Maui in order to make it to the top of the summit in time for sunrise.
The sun rises above the clouds over the crater floor. After sunrise, you will leisurely ride down the mountain for 23 miles until you reach the town of Paia! On the way down take in the scenery, stop for breakfast and explore the historic town of Makawao. Reservations are required in advance.
Travel Tip: Dress warm! Year round temperatures range from 50°-65°F.
7. Explore a Black Sand Beach
Maui has a number of exotic beaches but one of the most alluring beaches has to be the black sand beach inside Wai’anapanapa State Park. This state park offers spectacular views or a rugged shoreline and a gorgeous black sand beach.
On land, the hills and valleys of green jungle give way to rugged and dramatic black lava coastline. Out to sea, the white cresting waves dramatically blast and pound against the jagged cliffs. In some places this amount of force and pressure create fascinating blow holes.
Other than the dramatic scenery, there is much to do around Wai’anapanapa including hikes, easy walks, a blowhole, a black sand beach, ocean caves, sea arches, islets, cliff diving, fresh water pools, pre-contact archeological remnants, camping, cabins and more!
TRAVEL TIP: As of March 2021 reservations in advance are now required to enter Wai’anapanapa State Park. Book a few weeks prior to visiting. Same day reservations are not permitted. You can reserve your spot here.
8. Learn to Surf in Hawaii
Surfing and Hawaii go hand in hand. Although not as well known as Oahu’s North shore, Maui has several notable breaks and surf spots to enjoy.
Since the Hawaiian Islands are the most isolated landmass in the world, certain wave patterns exist here that can’t be found anywhere else. This makes it possible to surf year round.
Hawaii is the ideal place to catch a wave no matter what your experience level. A few of Maui’s best surf breaks for beginners are Launiopoko, the Cove, Breakwall and S-Turns.
So How Much Does It Cost?
Maui, or Hawaii in general, is an expensive destination to visit. The average daily budget in Maui is over $200 dollars per person. Everything from the food you eat to the gas you put in your car is expensive. I mean the Hawaiian Islands are the most isolated island chains in the world after all. This is what you can expect prices to be like on Maui.
Housing: Housing/hotels will be your biggest expense. The average cost of a hotel for a couple is around $215. This usually entails a hotel on the beach or in a good location that is walkable to many Maui activities. Here are some of our favorite hotel options and some affordable hostels, too.
Food: Food is expensive in grocery stores and at restaurants. Expect to pay around $20 a meal in a causal restaurant and around $50 at a nice establishment and that doesn’t include drinks. Here are some budget-friendly restaurant suggestions.
If you are on a tight budget, get a poke bowl (raw ahi styled different ways over white rice). These are Hawaiian staples and cost around $10.
Activities: Activities cost anywhere from a $40 whale watch to as much as $600 for a private helicopter tour.
Flights: A flight to Hawaii costs an average of $500-$800 for a round trip ticket. Although if you are flying from the West Coast USA you can get a round trip ticket for as low as $250. All of this depends on the season, too. Check for flight prices here.
Car Rental: You can rent a car for as cheap as $40 a day, but the demand for rental vehicles are so high right now it’s easily twice the price. Over time, prices should return to normal.
Thanks for reading about 8 adventurous things to do in Maui. Maui is the island that just keeps giving. Whether you are searching for rest, relaxation, romance or a little adventure, Maui offers a little something for everyone.
Jess is a bikini wearing, coffee loving, temple chasing explorer. When she’s not galivanting around the world you can find her on Maui, working on her blog I’m Jess Traveling and building the life of her dreams.