Maui may be synonymous with tiki torch-lit luaus and blissing out on the beach, but for the more intrepid traveler, the island is a veritable playground brimming with one-of-a-kind activities.
Whether you’re a thrill seeker or a water baby, a bar fly or a foodie, a mother of three or completely unencumbered, here are ten adventures that will take your vacation from well-spent to utterly outstanding:
1. Soar Down the Slopes
At 10,023 feet above sea level, Haleakala is the largest (and arguably most spectacular) dormant volcano in the world. It’s also the chief spot to view Maui’s magnificence, from the crater’s stark and surreal moonscapes to the jaw-dropping vistas of the valleys and beaches below.
Haleakala Bike Company offers both seasoned and sporadic cyclists the chance to soar down the crater’s slopes on its Maui Bike Tours. With trails that descend from the lip of the summit through gauzy clouds, misty forests, and sun-splashed terrain—all of it accompanied by mind-blowing vistas—biking down Haleakala is bound to get your heart pumping in more ways than one.
2. Zip Above the Trees
Maui isn’t all beach umbrellas and unsullied golden sand. Rainforests, rivers, gorges, and gulches comprise a large chunk of the island, earning Maui the well-fitting moniker of the Valley Isle. And what better way to see its wetter, wilder side than zooming over it on a zipline?
Maui Zipline Company offers breathtaking rides over and through the Maui Tropical Plantation. We love maui Zipline Co. for many reasons including their fun staff, beautiful views and convenient location. They can take kids as young as 5 years old, and they’ve thrilled adults up to 88!
Soaring over plantation over Waikapu is amazing. Skimming tree tops over rainforest on the slopes of Haleakala is exhilarating. But why not throw in an incredible view of the ocean and nearby islands with Skyline Hawaii’s Kaanapali zipline coarse. All of Maui’s various ziplines are fun, but the Kaanapali ziplines are truly unique and worth visiting, especially if you’re already staying on the west side.
3. Get lost
With its tony resorts and pristine golf courses, it’s easy to forget that the south side of Maui was once home to miles of unspoiled dryland and acres and acres of lava fields. Experience the island’s past by hiking part of King’s Highway in La Perouse.
Set against the stunning backdrop of the crater’s slopes, the four-mile path takes you across barren fields of undulating lava and past tide pools, blowholes, shrines, and sugar-sanded beaches. The dearth of visitors on this ancient trail will make you feel as if you’re in another era entirely. Wear hardy shoes and bring lots of water: this hike is often as hot as it is striking.
4. Gaze Away
From grinning manta rays to tiger-striped eels, yellow trumpet fish to Picasso triggerfish, Molokini—a partially submerged horseshoe of a crater off of Maui’s southwestern shore—is a snorkeler’s Shangri-La.
The best way to take advantage of its splendor is aboard a snorkeling catamaran offering daily excursions and a chance to make memories so indelible there’s no way they’ll fade with your tan. Before you choose, check out these Molokini snorkeling charters.
And for those that want all the luxuries of a large catamaran, check out Kai Kanani’s sunrise Molokini Tour. Not only will you arrive before anyone else, but you’ll experience sunrise in a truly unique and remarkable way. Haleakala is touted as the sunrise that can’t be missed. But when visiting Molokiini at sunrise, you get an equally impressive sunrise only without having to get up nearly as early.
5. View in Comfort
We’re finding more and more Maui visitors that love the island but aren’t big on swimming or snorkeling. Many of these visitors want to experience the underwater world and natural beauty of our reefs, and now they can!
Experience the wonder of our ocean in a semi-submerged, glass bottom boat with Maui Reef Dancer out of Lahaina Harbor.
6. Fly Like a Bird
Literally. Proflight Paraglyding offers solo and tandem paragliding tours from an expert team, allowing fearless flyers to see Maui’s majesty from 3,000 feet above ground.
With launches from the verdant grounds of Polipoli, these aerial tours blend exhilaration with spine-tingling views, reminding gliders why Maui is often referred to as no ka oi.
7. Make an Impression
It’s no secret that Maui is lacking in nightlife activities. That being said, those in the know find unique opportunities to party with drinks, snacks, music and creativity at Island Art Party. Here you’ll have everything done for you, except for the fun parts. You’ll be painting within minutes of arrival.
We’ve gone 3 times already and are planning another one for this summer. This is so much fund, and you get a personal souvenir to take home.
8. Take the Controls
Never did we dream we’d fly a plane. It just wasn’t on my radar, no pun intended. But, when the opportunity presented, we didn’t regret having experienced taking off on the run way. This is a bucketlist item I never knew I needed! With Fly Maui HI’s Discovery Flight, you learn how everything works in the cockpit and are able to take off and fly around Maui!
We highly suggest bringing a friend or 2. You’ll get a chance to see Maui views found nowhere else! It’s a great way to grab incredible photos for your vacation reel.
9. Jump Off a Cliff
There’s hiking within a few hundred feet of stunning waterfalls and immense jungle walls, and then there’s rappelling down the face of them.
Rappel Maui calls to the Tarzan inside all of us, taking courage to new heights as you hike, swim, climb, and rappel in a lush and secluded rainforest off of Maui’s famous Hana Highway. Named one of the best outdoor activities on the island, its staff puts safety first—but exhilaration doesn’t fall too far behind.
10. Go Off-Roading!
Join West Maui Off Road Adventures for a UTV tour that will stretch your current beliefs about Maui’s off the beaten path beauty. Explore trails over 1,400 acres of land along the West Maui Mountains. For the adventurous, this is a Maui Must-Do!
Want more inside Maui tips?
Find The Aloha 360 Podcast on your favorite streaming app and listen to John and Leslie share their own experiences as residents and explorers of paradise. Even if you’re just looking for something to help get excited for an upcoming trip, these 2 are some of the best Maui has to offer as far as insight and aloha!