An exhibit at Maui Ocean Center Image Tommy Lundberg Hawaii Tourism Authority
An exhibit at Maui Ocean Center. Image: Tommy Lundberg Hawaii Tourism Authority

Best things to see and do on Maui

Hawai‘i’s second largest island is known for its laid-back beach vibe, colourful towns and incredible nature experiences

Whale watching tours on Maui

The clear, calm, shallow waters off the island’s west and south coasts offer perfect conditions for whale watching, with several operators offering boat tours from Kā‘anapali, Mā‘alaea Harbor and Kīhei during the season, which runs from December to May.

An aerial view of Molokini Crater on Maui Image Sail Trilogy
An aerial view of Molokini Crater on Maui. Image: Sail Trilogy

Snorkelling at Molokini Crater on Maui

You can also book a tour to go snorkelling at the extinct Molokini Crater – a small, crescent-shaped island and protected marine reserve. You may even get to snorkel with honu (green sea turtles) at other sites on the day.

Maui Ocean Center

You can learn more about the marine creatures that inhabit these waters at Maui Ocean Center, at Mā‘alaea Harbor in Wailuku. Its Living Reef exhibition showcases more than 40 coral species. Hear honu surface to take noisy breaths in the Turtle Lagoon, come eye-to-eye with humpback whales in the 3D Sphere experience, and hear how Native Hawaiians sailed across the Pacific in double-hulled canoes using the stars as guides and about their spiritual connection to the ocean and land.

Haleakala Crater on Maui Image Hawaii Tourism Authority Taku Miyazawa
Haleakalā Crater on Maui. Image: Hawaii Tourism Authority Taku Miyazawa

See the sunrise at Haleakalā Crater tour on Maui

It’s worth getting up early for a tour to watch the sunrise over the dormant shield volcano, Haleakalā Crater, in Haleakalā National Park. If you have hired a car, reservations are required for US$1 per vehicle (excluding the national park entrance fee) from 3am to 7am, and can be made online up to 60 days before at recreation.gov. There are also lots of great hikes in the national park, and throughout the island, and some beautiful waterfalls to discover, including Wailea Falls, Twin Falls and Makapipi Falls.

Live music and dine from food trucks

The fourth Friday night of the month is a great time to visit Kīhei, when you can meet artists in galleries, enjoy live music and dine from food trucks.

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