If relaxation isn't your strong point, we've got good news. Maui is just as much an R&R destination as it is an adrenaline lover's paradise. Whether you're an on-the-go traveler seeking adventure or looking to fit a memorable activity into your relaxed itinerary, here are the ten most exciting things to do on Maui in 2023.
Picture a 40-ton whale bursting through the ocean's surface just meters from your boat. You hear it first— a whooosh as the whale's immense body breaks the surface— then turn to look as it slams the water, sending buckets of salty spray skyward. During whale season on Maui, this scene is a daily occurrence.
When whales start flocking to Maui's waters en masse, Redline Rafting begins readying their trusty tour boats. From December to April, you can climb aboard one of Redline's speedy 35-foot hard-bottom rafts for a whale watch unlike any other. Rafting tours can yield more up-close whale encounters, as humpbacks are curious by nature and sometimes approach small vessels. And trust us, there are few things more thrilling than a 60-foot whale coming to say hello.
Adrenaline enthusiasts can get their fix at Kapalua Zipline, which boasts over two miles of lines that soar over plunging valleys and across mountain ridges.
Even when you're not zipping, excitement is entrenched into the experience. You'll head high into the West Maui Mountains on off-road 4x4 trails— an adventure in itself. Then, you'll have the opportunity to cross the highest suspension bridge in Hawaii, which clocks in at an impressive height of 1,600 feet. But the best part of the adventure is the spectacular panoramic views you get while zipping— if you can focus while soaring at 50 miles per hour!
Maui is notorious for its incessant tradewinds. But hop on a sailboat, and the trades become fuel for a fun day of sailing instead of a beach-day-ruining burden.
The best way to take advantage of the endless island breezes? A sailing trip with Maui Custom Charters. This locally-owned charter company offers private excursions aboard their sleek, 42' Catalina MKII named Nova. Your itinerary is up to you: snorkel in a hard-to-reach nook, catch some sun on the deck, or get a hands-on sailing lesson from the qualified crew. Whatever you decide, a day aboard the Nova is bound to be the highlight of your trip— and for that, you can thank Maui Custom Charters and the relentless tradewinds!
Comfortable on two wheels and looking for the ride of a lifetime? Add a downhill bike tour with Bike Maui to your bucket list.
This unique excursion starts at 6,500 feet— just outside of Haleakala National Park— and travels down winding roads to Bike Maui's base in Haiku (not technically at sea level, but close enough!) You'll break up the ride with a scenic van tour of Upcountry and a shopping stop in Makawao before returning to base.
Yes, Molokini Crater has some great snorkeling. The visibility is unbelievable, and there are a ton of vibrant corals, tropical fish, eels, and even the occasional reef shark. But it's not just the snorkeling that makes the trip so special.
Molokini is a dormant volcanic crater. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, it was a fiery cauldron spewing lava and ash. Today, Molokini's rim barely peeks above the ocean surface. Once you wrap your head around the fact that you're snorkeling in an ancient volcano, it's pretty mind-blowing.
To make the experience even sweeter, book a trip with Kai Kanani Sailing. This top-notch sailboat has some of the best service and food you'll find on a tour boat. The open bar is hard to beat too.
Speaking of volcanic craters, no trip to Maui would be complete without visiting Haleakala Crater. Most people head to Haleakala's 10,023-foot summit to watch the sunrise or sunset, but few people take the time to hike into the depths of the crater.
Humble Tours is on a mission to change that. This locally-owned, small-group tour company helps visitors see Haleakala in a different light— showcasing the crater's fascinating history, geology, and varied landscapes. You'll hike three trails within Haleakala National Park, exploring conifer forests, native shrublands, and volcanic deserts. At the end of the day, you'll never look at Haleakala the same way again.
Jeep Wranglers? Psshh. Mustang convertibles? Old news. You won't find Maui's most head-turning rental car in the airport ConRAC facility. Instead, set your sights on Maui Roadsters. This brilliant company boasts a fleet of 1957 Porsche Speedster convertible reproductions for those who want to cruise the island in style.
Take an island-style road trip to Upcountry, where the roads and views go on for miles. (And while you're at it, check out these Insider Tips For Exploring Upcountry.)
You wouldn't pass up the chance to get basketball tips from an NBA player or work on your swing with a PGA star, would you? So why not start your surfing journey with a professional surfer?
All instructors at Rivers to the Sea have former professional surfing experience or are lifelong local surfers with professional prowess. These guys and gals are the real deal and know how to read waves and correct beginner mistakes like nobody's business. Book a surf lesson with them in the mellow waves near Lahaina, and you'll be shredding in no time.
Whether it's your first trip to Maui or your fiftieth, a luau is a visitor must-do. There are a ton of luaus to choose from across the island, but we like the Grand Wailea Luau. This exciting Polynesian revue recounts some of Hawaii's more obscure legends and weaves in Hawaiian traditions like an imu unveiling ceremony. Stick around for the grand finale, when Samoan fire dancers take to the stage and showcase their fiery finesse.
If exploring on your own accord gets you pumped, Maui is the place for you. There are a ton of things to be discovered off the trodden tourism path— whether it be a quiet cove or a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. To get started on your exploring journey, check out these Maui Hidden Gems.