Looking for the best things to do in Maui? So were we when we first visited the island, some 30 years ago. Maui will always have a special place in my hart. It’s the place where we’ve spent our 15th wedding anniversary and it was the first tropical island we ever saw. But aside from my emotional bond to the island, Maui is one of the most beautiful places in the world. And that’s not only my opinion. Maui No Ka Oi (Maui is the best) is how the locals brag about their island.
For 20 consecutive years, Maui has come on top in the annual Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards that selects the “Top 25 Islands in the World.” Truth is however that if you are fortunate enough to have visited all the Hawaiian islands, you’ll have a very hard time deciding which one to like best. Here are my top reasons to fall in love with Maui:
Things to do in Maui
Discover Maui Beaches
One of the best things to do in Maui is spend time on the beach. That’s probably why you are there, in fact. Volumes have been written about Maui beaches and their diversity. From calm, sheltered coves to popular resort strands. White, to black and red sand beaches. From snorkeling, to windsurfing and swimming. And if you want to see turtles in Maui, Wahikuli State Park is your best bet.
Maui has over 30 miles of unbelievably beautiful beaches. If you are a beach lover, you may never get past the stretches of sand to explore the rest of the island, but you should.
Stroll Through Lahaina Town
With its odd mix of history, fancy restaurants, art galleries, T-shirt shops and fine jewelry stores, Lahaina is the typical old-time sea town turned tourist spot. The number-one attraction in Lahaina is definitely “the buzz,” – the restaurants, the night-life and the swinging bars.
But probably the most famous landmark in Lahaina is the Banyan Tree. Planted in 1873, the tree was brought from India, and was only 8′ high at the time of planting. It now has a dozen main trunks, and spreads over an acre.
Watch the Sunsets
Maui sunsets are simply spectacular and there’s no better place to watch the sun go down than in South Maui. But there are some other great spots to catch a perfect Maui sunset, like Kaanapali Beach, Napili Bay Beach, or Kimo’s Restaurant in Lahaina. Just grab a Mai Tai and join the crowd.
Watch the Sunrise at Haleakala Crater
One of the most uplifting and memorable experiences in Maui is watching the sunrise from the Haleakala crater, 10,000 feet above sea level. This trip however requires some preparation, as reaching the summit takes about 1.5 hrs. of driving. Keep in mind that atop the volcano is not only cold, but also very windy. Wear very warm clothes (hat, gloves, jacket) and closed toe shoes.
Start early to get a parking spot at the summit and don’t forget that camera! Seeing the sunrise at Haleakala is an absolute must-d0 thing in Maui!
Iao Valley State Park
Iao Valley is one of Maui’s most recognizable landmarks. The beautiful deep valley is a peaceful lush area with easy hikes, tropical plants, and clear, natural pools. The ‘Iao Needle’, a natural rock pinnacle once used as a natural altar, raises high presiding the entire valley.
Gorgeous waterfalls abound on Maui’s East side, that gets the most rain. Most of them are just a short walk from the main road. Some of them are seasonal and may get dry in summer. Others have pools with cool, crystal clear water in which you can swim.
Visit the Garden of Eden Arboretum
Maui is the paradise of tropical gardens. This time we visited the Garden of Eden which is located on the way to Hana, on a high plateau overlooking the ocean. The grounds are dedicated to the rare rainforest species of trees. That garden also features a wide variety of unique flowers and fruits.
The Road to Hana
No visit to Maui is complete without a visit to Hana. The 52 mile long Hana Highway (also known as the “Road to Hana”) is the longest rainforest highway in the USA. The road goes through one of the wildest and most beautiful part of Maui. You’ll pass through tropical rain forests full of hidden waterfalls, bamboo forests, eucalyptus trees and miles of untouched jungle.
The road to Hana is carved into sheer cliffs and requires some good driving skills. There are hairpin curves, one-lane bridges, and many blind spots along the way. However, if you want to discover the hidden Maui, you should attempt the Road to Hana at least once.
Spend an Evening at Warren and Annabelle’s Magic Show
One of the most fun things to do in maui is attend the famous magic show of Warren and Anabelle. A tropical island may be the last place on earth you would expect to find a show that surpasses the ones in Las Vegas, but Warren and Annabelle’s is just that.
After checking in, you will be escorted into Annabelle’s Secret Chamber where you will need to find the mysterious passage to the Parlor. Once in the Parlor – an elegant living room where gourmet appetizers and cocktails are served – you will be entertained by the resident ghost “Annabelle” at the piano. Then, as you move into a small, intimate theatre, renowned magician Warren Gibson, will keep you at the edge of your seat for a two-hour magic show.
The performance is incredibly entertaining and funny, making the entire audience roar with laughter. It’s the best show that I’ve seen in years!
Tickets sell out quickly, so you need to make reservations ahead of time (do so here).
Where to Eat on Maui
If you think Hawaiian dining means a luau of pork, pineapple, and poi, you should think again. Food in Maui is very creative, not particularly Hawaiian, but absolutely divine! Most restaurants are using mainly local fresh products and, of course, the fresh fish. Restaurants range between small joints where the locals gather for dinner and dance, to very fancy 5 star fine dining with French chefs and sophisticated dishes whose names you can barely pronounce.
Planning to visit Maui? Read some of my other articles about this beautiful island:
Sunrise at Haleakala: What Should You Expect Atop Maui’s Highest Peak?
How to Plan a Romantic Maui Getaway for Your Anniversary