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Things to Do in Maui

An idyllic week on Hawaii’s Valley Isle is a total dream! Check out our list of things to do in Maui whether you’re traveling as a couple, with children, for a honeymoon, or for a family vacation.

Things to Do in Maui

I always feel so incredibly lucky to live in California and have a quick trip to one of the most amazing places in the world: Hawaii.

The culture is so rich and fascinating, the people are lovely and genuine, and the environment is unlike anywhere else in the world. And there’s so much more!

Maui specifically has so much in store for travelers, whether you’re on a romantic trip for two or traveling on a family vacation. Read on for the best of things to do in Maui.

We have a ton of other incredible spots to visit with families as well! Pin your favorites from the below to make sure you can find them easily.

Psst — before you dive in, be sure to sign up below for my VIP group so I can send you more of my very best travel destinations and secret spots.

What is the Best Island In Hawaii?

Having made multiple trips to the islands of Oahu, Kauai, and Maui, I feel like we have a really good sense of our personal favorite Hawaiian islands and what works for our family.

But obviously, every person is different and each island has a very different vibe. So here’s a completely realistic, and entirely un-sugar coated take on each island.

Oahu is certainly the most visited island, and the most commercial-feeling. Honolulu and the Waikiki area feel like a bustling city and quite commercial. This can be a turnoff for some travelers, while it’s a positive thing for others.

However, there are plenty of more secluded and laid-back spots on Oahu, especially on the North Shore or tucked away on the other parts of the island, to give you that local feel. So if you like a mix of busy and relaxed, Oahu might suit you well.

Kauai is a total visual paradise. Lush green jungles, red soil canyons, waterfalls galore, and beautiful beaches.

If you love hiking, this is your place. But why I really love Kauai is because of the relaxed vibe on the majority of the island. While there are definitely a few large and upscale resorts, most of the island has a smaller, more accessible feel.

You’ll find lots of great design and local makers, small boutiques to explore, delicious mom and pop restaurants, and plenty of hidden local spots.

Maui feels very upscale, and in some places, to me, touristy. The west side of the island is focused on large resorts and shopping areas, interspersed with beautiful beaches.

To get a more remote feel or to experience some fun local spots, head to the Upcountry area. Maui also is the home of the Road to Hana, which is a legendary, twisty-turny drive through tropical wilderness.

If you love beautiful resorts and incredible dining, Maui is for you.

Where to Stay in Maui

Accommodations on Maui are a mix of high-end resorts, smaller hotels, condos, airbnbs, and other vacation rentals. There are also some really fun camping options, from glamping to traditional campgrounds.

We stayed at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas. This particular location is very central to lots of shopping, great food, and plenty of incredible beaches. All of these are a short drive away, so I recommend a rental car.

On the property, you’ll find multiple pools (including an amazing kids’ pool with a pirate ship theme), a kid’s club, a decent (but not great) restaurant, and beautiful grounds.

The beach on the hotel’s property is great for sunbathing and sandcastles. We even did a little snorkeling right off of this beach and found a fair amount of fish, coral, and anemones.

Best Beaches in Maui

You’ll find that Maui has incredible, easily accessible beaches tucked around every corner. Here are some of our favorites.

Slaughterhouse Beach. This is a family favorite for sure. If you go in the morning, you can sit shaded on the far right side of the beach for hours. There’s great snorkeling, rocks to climb on, and a cool cave to explore on the left side of the beach.

Ka’anapali Beach. Ka’anapali is an easy and convenient beach for sunbathing, swimming, boogie boarding, and even snorkeling. It’s right off of many of the main resorts and has lovely soft sand.

Black Rock Beach. The main attraction here is the tall black lava rock formations, off of which you can cliff dive. Black Rock is located at the northern end of Ka’anapali Beach so you could easily experience both in an afternoon.

Baby Beach. Baby Beach is a great place for little ones. There’s an offshore reef that protects the area and makes for extremely calm water and zero waves. We also saw a few early morning sea turtles here.

Olowalu Beach. Right off the road, this beach is a perfect spot for snorkeling when the water is calm (if it’s windy, it’s not the best). You can grab plenty of shade underneath the rows of trees in between swimming.

Ho’okipa Beach. I saw more sea turtles sunbathing than I’ve ever seen on any island at Ho’okipa! We lost count at 35. This is a great beach for watching surfers and windsurfers catch bigger waves as well.

maui sea turtles on the beach

Black Sand Beach. We didn’t make it here but I felt compelled to include Black Sand Beach on the list because it’s the only one on the island! It’s a commitment to get there — you have to travel most of the Road to Hana to access it.

Maui Attractions and Activities

Road to Hana. The Road to Hana is notoriously long and winding (take Dramamine if you’re prone to carsickness), but also incredibly beautiful! We had small kids and didn’t want to do the entire 4-hour drive, so we made a mini-itinerary that took us to Mile Marker 9 and back.

I highly recommend downloading the GyPSy Guide app and the Road to Hana tour. It narrates your drive and shares the natural or historical significance of what you’re seeing.

I also recommend stopping frequently if you have the time, at roadside fruit stands or pretty spots. It helps break up the drive.

Waikamoi Nature Trail. Around Mile Marker 9 of the Road to Hana is a charming and easy little trail hike! It’s just under a mile around the loop. Take the left side of the loop on your way up to make coming down a little easier.

Waikamoi Falls. After the Waikamoi hike, drive on around the corner and find a parking place either before or after the bridge. Walk up into the trees past the bridge, down the steps, and you’ll come to the most beautiful waterfall swimming hole. There’s even a rope swing!

Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm. If you’re driving Upcountry, this is a pretty stop for something different! It’s a small entrance fee and a pretty place to walk around.

Kula Botanical Gardens. If you’re stopping at the lavender farm, the botanical gardens are right nearby. It’s an interesting place to let the kids run around and see tropical plants and flowers that you might not see elsewhere.

Maui Ocean Center Aquarium. We didn’t make it to this place, but it’s worth a mention, especially if you need to break up beach time or have an indoor afternoon.

Maui Shopping

Pa’ia. My personal favorite shopping on the island is Upcountry in Pa’ia. Pa’ia is a much more low-key area, filled with cute boutiques and local makers. You’ll still find a bit of touristy stuff, but it feels less manufactured than other areas of the island.

Make a stop into House of Fleetwood, a beautiful shop owned by Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac. We happened to stop on a day when he was in the store and he had a gracious and lovely conversation with us before signing a pennant we bought. Check their Instagram ahead of your trip to see if Mick will be around.

There are also lots of great boutiques with beachwear and locally made jewelry – my fave.

Lahaina. Front Street in Lahaina is a fun place to wander at least once. It feels more bustling and touristy than Pa’ia but it’s worth a visit. While you’re there, be sure to stop at the banyan tree in the central square. It’s the largest and oldest on the island.

Whaler’s Village. This is a good spot if you love higher end shopping. Whaler’s Village is home to a mix of popular chains, souvenir shops, and a few local boutiques.

Aloha Bead Company. This one is a little off the beaten path but we loved it! We make a point to find a bead shop on most of our travels; the kids choose a couple of beads and we make something with them when we get home to remember our trip.

Aloha Bead Company is inside Temple of Peace, which is a wellness sanctuary; the woman who runs the shop lives on property. The selection is beautiful and the prices were better than just about any I’ve seen.

Best Maui Restaurants

Monkeypod. A delicious lunch or dinner in Whaler’s Village. Our recommendations: the poke tacos and the MaiTai.

Star Noodle. Delicious and elevated Asian food. If you can’t get a reservation, walk up the moment they open and get on the wait list. Our recommendations: the pad thai, pork buns, and tempura shrimp.

Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop. A perfect stop for lunch across from Olowalu Beach. Our recommendations: chicken pot pie, and any of the dessert pies (favorites were haupia and key lime).

Kamala’s Kitchen. A delicious wood fire pizza truck near Leoda’s. Our recommendations: anything!

Down the Hatch. This easy spot on Front Street in Lahaina is great for lunch or dinner. Grab a table while someone waits in line for your party to order. Our recommendations: the crispy fish tacos.

Manuela Malasada. A permanent food truck serving fresh malasadas (Portuguese donuts)! Our recommendations: the nutella, the haupia, and the classic.

Island Fresh Cafe. Maybe my favorite meal on the island! A little local spot in Upcountry where you eat outside. Our recommendations: the pancakes, the breakfast sando, and the acai bowl.

Pa’ia Bay Coffee Bar. The cutest little hidden spot in Pa’ia. Grab coffee or a light snack/meal.

Ululani’s Shave Ice. Ululani’s is located in a few spots around the island and it might be the best shave ice I’ve ever had. The lines are long but it’s because they take time to make it perfectly. My fave: the root beer with a snow cap.

Maui Matcha. Love this spot for a fun, unexpectedly refreshing drink! Our recommendations: the Lavender Lemonade and the Blue Lotus.

Slappy Cakes. A super fun breakfast! Get a table with a griddle, order some different flavors of batter, and you can make your own pancakes in crazy shapes right at the table.

Maui Turtle Town (And More places to Find Sea Turtles)

Sea turtles feel like they are everywhere on Maui! It feels so special every time you see one. They’re incredibly beautiful and peaceful creatures.

For almost guaranteed sea turtle sightings, try Turtle Town at Maluaka Beach (amazing for snorkeling) or Ho’okipa beach. We also saw turtles at Baby Beach and Slaughterhouse Beach.

Whenever you see a sea turtle, enjoy it at a distance and be sure not to disrupt its natural rhythms.

More Hawaii Travel Ideas

If you’re traveling to other Hawaiian islands, I have lots more recommendations!

Check out our ideas for the best food on Oahu, along with lots of things to do on Oahu as well.

And bookmark our Kauai with kids tips (it has a packing list!), along with our favorite Kauai restaurants and shopping. Finally, take a look at our Kauai for couples post. xoxo

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