Free Activities on Maui

Free Activities on Maui are all around you.

Not only is Maui the Best, but some of the best things in Maui are free!

Some free activities are near your hotel. If you are on Maui for only a day or two, it might be best to stay where you are and explore the things to do close by.

More free activities are reachable if you have a rented car, because the resort areas are far from many of Maui's scenic wonders.

"You can't experience Maui fully from a condo or even from a vehicle. The best of the island is outside. You don't have to walk far: a worthwhile hike on Maui can be as short as a quarter-mile stroll..." (from Kathy Morey, in 'Maui Trails')

It takes time to sight-see much of Maui, partly because there's so much to see, and partly because Maui is the second-largest island in Hawaii. Also our roads are few and our speed limits are slow. If possible, plan to spend a week or two on Maui. You won't regret it.

About Maui Activities:

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THE BEST THINGS ON MAUI ARE FREE

SIGHTSEEING IN NATURE

[in alphabetical order]

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BAMBOO FOREST

Past Hana at Oheo Gulch, often called Seven Sacred Pools, there is a beautiful bamboo forest with a hiking trail through it, which leads to a waterfall 300 feet high.

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BEACHES ARE SUNNY

Maui has 42 miles of beaches. The beaches on its west and south coast of Maui are shielded by two high mountains from the numerous winter storms that come from the northeast, resulting in perfect weather in the beach areas of Kaanapali and Wailea. So if it is raining and windy at your hotel in Kapalua, you can drive four miles south to Kaanapali, and if it’s not raining there but is cloudy, you can drive four more miles south to the two beaches on either end of downtown Lahaina [which means ‘Relentless Sun’] where it sunny and balmy virtually every day of the year because the mountain shields it from storms [which may be why the Hawaiian royalty chose to live in Lahaina].

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HALEAKALA MOUNTAIN

Maui’s highest mountain Haleakala [meaning ‘House of the Sun’] is the world's largest dormant volcano, whose summit rises to more than 10,000 feet and is home to the rare silversword plant. The road to the summit has spectacular views of the ocean and of Maui, including views of Maui’s other mountain the West Maui Mountains. At the summit is one part of Maui’s only national park, where you can see beautiful views of the caldera of this extinct volcano, which has a hiking trail so you can hike down into the caldera.

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HANA

On the remote east end of Maui, at the end of a three hour drive (one way) is the area and small town known as Hana amid beautiful and serene ranch land. To get there the Hana Highway narrows down into the infamous winding 'Road to Hana' with 600 curves as you pass through the green tropical rain forest covering the east side of Haleakala mountain on Maui. Along the way you will see spectacular views from cliffs high above the ocean.

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IAO VALLEY

Maui’s oldest volcano, known as the West Maui Mountains, has a caldera eroded down so much that you can drive on a road into the center of this extinct volcano at Iao Valley State Park. This is one scenic wonder that is a relatively short drive from the resort areas on Maui and near the airport, so don't miss it. On the valley floor at 1000 feet elevation, you are in a rain forest surrounded by spectacular steep cliffs that reach an elevation of over 5,000 feet.

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LAHAINA TOWN

Historic past home of Hawaiian royalty, missionaries, and Yankee whale boats. A free guidebook to Lahaina’s historical places is sometimes available.

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MAKAWAO TOWN

Historic upcountry ranching town converted to tourist shops.

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PAIA TOWN

Historic past plantation town now near the surfing areas of Ho’okipa Beach and Jaws.

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PARKS

Ten state parks, and fifteen county parks.

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RAINFOREST

The east side of Maui’s highest mountain called Haleakala blocks the numerous winter storms that come from the northeast, resulting in a lush green tropical rainforest covering that side of Maui, which can be seen from the Road to Hana.

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ROAD TO HANA

The winding road to Hana with 600 curves passes through the green tropical rainforest covering the east side of Haleakala mountain on Maui, past many streams rushing over waterfalls, with spectacular views from cliffs high above the ocean.

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SNORKELING

Viewing fish under water at any of Maui’s 42 miles of beaches, and at innumerable other spots where there are reefs just offshore along Maui’s 120 miles of shoreline, such as Black Rock, Honolua Bay, etc..

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SUNRISE ON HALEAKALA

Maui’s highest mountain Haleakala [meaning ‘House of the Sun’] has spectacular views of sunrise, when you are lucky enough to be there when it is cloudless. You can drive there yourself for sunrise, if you leave your hotel in the middle of the night for the two hour plus drive up to the summit of Haleakala.

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SUNSETS

Colorful sunsets can be seen from the west side of Maui’s two mountains, where virtually all of the resorts are. These Maui sunsets can be seen on the west coast of Maui from the beach resort areas of Kaanapali, Lahaina, Kapalua, Kahana, Napili, and Honokawai. These Maui sunsets can be also seen on the south coast of Maui from the beach resort areas of Wailea, Kihei, and Makena. These spectacularly colorful Maui sunsets take place against a backdrop of views of three other Hawaiian islands: Molokai, Lanai, and Koholawe, providing picturesque sunsets not seen from the other main Hawaiian islands, which look out only on the ocean.

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SURFING, SAILBOARDING, KITESURFING At Hookipa Beach, Honolua Bay, and Kanaha. Big wave surfing at Jaws in winter.

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SWIMMING

At any of Maui’s 42 miles of beaches, and at innumerable other spots along Maui’s 120 miles of shoreline.

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UPCOUNTRY SIGHTSEEING

Almost halfway up Haleakala mountain is the Upcountry area of Maui, with ranch lands and flower farms in the cool of the clouds and miles of roads to drive sightseeing, including the historic upcountry towns of Kula and Makawao, a historic ranching town converted to tourist shops.

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WATERFALLS

When there is enough rain to fill the streams on Maui, more so in winter, many waterfalls can be seen in the rainforest along the Road to Hana. And there are waterfalls you can hike to see at either end of the Road to Hana, at Twin Falls with two pools you can swim in, and at Oheo Gulch with its waterfall 300 feet high.

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WHALE-WATCHING IN WINTER

Maui is best for whale watching, because Six thousand humpback whales in winter congregate in the sheltered waters between the Hawaiian islands of Maui and Lanai and Molokai. Spouting whales can be viewed for free from many points along Maui’s 120 miles of shoreline

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GUIDEBOOKS for ACTIVITIES

Guidebooks are available to help you get the most out of doing some of these free activities on your own without paying for a guide.

Below are links to Amazon.com to view or buy these books:

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BEACHES of MAUI


DRIVING & DISCOVERING MAUI


HANA HIGHWAY Mile by Mile


Where to Hike -- Snorkel -- Paddle -- Surf -- Drive


SNORKEL MAUI: Guide to Beaches and Snorkeling


TRAILS: Walks -- Strolls -- Treks


Hiking: BEST EASY DAY HIKES MAUI


Hiking: DAY HIKES on MAUI


Whale-Watching: HUMPBACK WHALES


Lahaina: EXPLORING HISTORIC LAHAINA


Upcountry: EXPLORING HISTORIC UPCOUNTRY Maui


MAP of MAUI




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