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If sitting on the beach and soaking up the sun is not your idea of fun, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy on Maui. From water sports to full day adventure excursions, here are some of the top adventure activities to do on Maui:
1.Snorkel Molokini & Turtle Town. Molokini Crater is Maui’s famed snorkeling spot and a short boat ride away from South Maui. This crescent shaped crater creates a protected refuge and ideal spot for snorkeling with countless species of fish and some of the most impressive coral formations in Hawaii. Boat trips to Molokini usually also include a stop at Turtle Town close to Makena. I suggest going with Kai Kanani on their sunrise cruise. They leave from Makena Beach, which is the closest point to Molokini so they’ll get you there fast and you’ll have plenty of time in the water before the other big boats start showing up for the day. Read more about snorkeling on Maui here.
2.Snorkel Honolua Bay. During the summer months, Honolua Bay (north of Kapalua in West Maui) has some of the best snorkeling in Maui (during the winter, it’s one of Maui’s most legendary surf spots). While the bay is accessible from the shore (more on that below), a lot of snorkeling excursions leaving out of West Maui (especially those that operate from Ka’anapali Beach) will include stops here. If you come by car, check out the overlook before you pull off down the trail and park. The entrance to the bay is rocky so you’ll need water shoes for sure. Read more on Maui snorkeling here.
3.Sunrise at Haleakala. Haleakala’s summit hits 10,000 feet making it an excellent place to watch the sunrise. Actually, this is one of THE most popular things to do on Maui, but it’s not for the faint of heart. The summit is a good 2-hour drive from most of the Maui resort areas and you’ll need to be up there well before sunrise to stake out a spot so depending on the time of you, you may need to leave your resort in the wee hours of the morning to make the trip. But it is spectacular. And soooooooo cold. Like seriously cold, not just cold by Hawaii standards. Bundle up. You must make reservations to go up for sunrise 60 days in advance (they sell out in minutes) through the National Park. Seriously, create an account and get logged in before spots become available or you may miss out. They also release a hand full of last minute tickets at 7AM (HST) two days in advance. Once you have your tickets, you still have to pay the entrance fee ($25/vehicle) at the gates.
4.Hike the Crater. The summit of Haleakala offers a landscape that is quite “other worldly.” You may think you’re on Mars instead of Earth. There are many hiking trails that traverse the landscape of the crater. From the visitor’s center, you can hike down into the crater on the Sliding Sands trail. It’s 11 miles all the way across, but you come to the first overlook after ½ mile. Find more information on hiking in the national park 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 plus my area specific guides (including where to stay, eat, and things to do) for Wailea and Ka’anapali.
5.Drive the Road to Hana. Tales of the harrowing drive along narrow and windy roads along cliffs, through jungles, and past waterfalls have only built up the folklore surrounding Hawaii’s most popular drive, the Road to Hana. And taking part is practically a right of passage when visiting Maui. Set out early, stopping to grab a picnic lunch in Paia town and see all the sights along the way. Your journey past rainbow eucalyptus trees, bamboo forests, black and red sand beaches, 400 foot waterfalls, and Hana town itself will give you a taste of the real Hawaii. Old Hawaii. Of all the things to do in Maui, you really shouldn’t miss this one. Read this post about my favorite stops on the Road to Hana.