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Once you’ve booked your airfare and accommodations, you might think you’ve got your vacation in the bag. But what about how you’re going to spend time once you get there? There is soooo much to do on Maui (you’ll literally be hit in the face with options the minute you get off the plane) that you can’t possibly do it all on one trip (and it would cost you an arm and a leg if you tried).
So in this post I’m going to break down the best Maui activities and my opinions of what’s worth it, what you should do on your own, and what you should skip.
Molokini Snorkel Trip: I think a snorkel trip that includes stops at Molokini Crater and Turtle Town is a don’t miss in Maui. While you can do a lot of snorkeling from shore, you’ll need to go by boat to reach these spots. Plus during whale season, this is a great way to get more bang for your buck. You’ll get a snorkel trip plus a whale-watching trip for the price of one. Book a snorkel tour with the Pacific Whale Foundation. Read more about the best snorkeling spots on Maui here.
Haleakala Bike Ride: The other excursion I would pay for is a bike ride down Haleakala (Maui’s dormant volcano). There are half a dozen companies that will take you in a van up the mountain and then let you bike back down (my favorite is Maui Sunriders though). While you can drive the route in a car, cruising down on a bike while feeling the wind in your hair is an experience you shouldn’t miss. You can read more about it here.
RELATED: Not very familiar with Maui? Read up on the lay of the is(land) and where to stay plus my favorite beach resorts, budget hotels, Airbnbs, honeymoon resorts, family friendly resorts, luxury resorts, and boutique hotels.
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Do on Your Own
Road to Hana: While the Road to Hana is not to be missed, I think you should skip a van tour and do it on your own. Do a little research before hand about the stops you want to make and just be sure to budget your time well. The road isn’t nearly as treacherous as some people say (it’s all paved and two lane with one lane bridges) so plan to spend a full day on your own journeying to Hana. Read more about the Road to Hana here.
Sunrise at Haleakala: the summit of Haleakala is another DON’T miss Maui experience, but I think you should do it on your own instead of with a tour company, this way you can hang around to hike and explore afterwards. But be prepared…know how long it will take to get from your resort to the summit, pack plenty of warm clothes, and register beforehand to make sure you get a spot.
I’ve written an entire blog post on 5 things I think you should skip on Maui, so read up on that, but here I’ll restate that I think you should skip the Maui Ocean Center (overpriced and unimpressive) as well as the Maui Tropical Plantation (unless you’re looking to kill time at a good gift shop). I would also suggest skipping a helicopter tour on Maui, as it’s expensive and not the most impressive Hawaiian island from the air. The last thing I would seriously consider skipping is a luau in favor of having dinner at Mama’s Fish House. Its one of the best experiences you’ll have in Maui and if it isn’t in the budget for both, do Mama’s (unless you have small children). But if it is in the budget to do both, definitely make it the Old Lahaina Luau.
RELATED: Need a packing list for Maui? Find my best packing advice here.
Also, if you’re looking for absolutely everything you could ever want to know about Maui, I highly recommend ordering the Maui Revealed guidebook (this is an affiliate link which means if you choose to purchase I’ll make a little money). It’s worth its weight in your backpack just for its directions on finding hidden beaches, waterfalls, and trail heads. Seriously, I never would’ve found half of my favorite spots on Maui without it.
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