Credit: Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

12 Incredible Things to Do on Maui That You May Not Have Tried Before

 These Are the Island’s Best-Kept Secrets

Maui is the quintessential vacation destination. It’s a screensaver and a seaside sanctuary all rolled up into one. There really is something for everyone: lagoons and lazy rivers for the lounge lizards, outriggers and offroading for the adrenaline junkies, feasts and fire-dancing for the families and sunsets and massages for the romantics. Maui Guide

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This is a destination that promises more than just sandy beaches. While many know of its famed Road to Hana and the awe-inspiring Iao Valley, Maui offers a lineup of lesser-known experiences as well. From local grindz (aka eats) to authentic Hawaiian activities, we’ll walk you through all that Maui has to offer, which includes everything from moonlit paddles to aerial adventures over Molokai. Prepare to explore this pristine paradise like never before with these 12 unique things to do on Maui!  


Hoʻomālie Ritual at Kilolani Spa at Grand Wailea

Maui Guide
Credit: Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Located on the grounds of the luxurious Grand Wailea, Kilolani Spa is a sanctuary where ancient Hawaiian healing traditions meet modern wellness techniques. The spa’s treatments are aligned with the Hawaiian Lunar Calendar, offering a spiritual and holistic approach to relaxation. A standout experience is the Hoʻomālie Ritual, a 120-minute journey of tranquility that blends rhythmic lomilomi massage techniques with aromatic cocoa butter and native botanical essences.

Credit: Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

The addition of a warm pōhaku stone foot treatment and a coconut scalp massage ensures a rejuvenating experience that touches every sense. The spa itself has been newly renovated with top-of-the-line ergonomic and organic materials for an indoor/outdoor experience geared towards optimal relaxation. 

Local Insight: Want to learn more about the resort? Check out these seven reasons why Maui’s Grand Wailea is ideal for a wellness-inspired getaway.


Dinner at Humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa

Maui Guide
Credit: Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

We all remember that scene from “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” where the bartender immaculately pronounces “Humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa,” which is the official state fish of Hawaii. While the name is long, the summary is short: this Maui restaurant rocks. The menu, recommended by the Cultural Programming Manager at Grand Wailea, Kalei ‘Uwēko‘olani, includes dishes like the Black Pepper Boursin with lemon zest ‘ULU Gratin, Molokai Sweet Potato Mash enhanced with local hot honey and a decadent Spiny Lobster Coconut Curry. Each dish not only offers a burst of local flavors but also a connection to the island’s rich marine life, making dinner here a sublime culinary journey.

Credit: Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

The restaurant overlooks Grand Wailea’s lagoon and the bar top is an aquarium, meaning you can sip the evening away while watching the fish swim about. Don’t forget to end your meal with something sweet like their signature mud pie. Unlike Sarah Marshall, this isn’t a meal you’re going to forget.



Shaved Ice From Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

No visit to Maui is complete without a taste test of the island’s best shaved ice. Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice is renowned for its fluffy ice texture flavored with rich syrups. Kalei ‘Uwēko‘olani suggests trying the POG flavor—a tropical blend of passionfruit, orange and guava. Each spoonful is a refreshing respite from the tropical heat. Plus, the welcoming workers here ensure every cup is overflowing with aloha spirit. With multiple locations across the island, Ululani’s is a must-visit for anyone seeking a cool, crave-worthy Hawaiian indulgence. 


Poke Bowl From Foodland Supermarket

Credit: Ania Rude

For a taste of local life, head to Foodland Supermarket to grab a poke bowl. This humble dish, revered across the islands, offers a peek into Hawaii’s seafood mastery. Fresh tuna marinated to perfection in sesame oil, soy and citrus is combined with a selection of customizable toppings like seaweed and sesame seeds to make each bowl a personalized flavor fest. You can sub your tuna for salmon and accessorize your bowl with fan favorites like furikake, tobiko, fried garlic, scallions, imitation crab and so much more. Grab your grub to go and take it to the beach for the ultimate poke picnic. Wash it down with a Hawaiian Sun lilikoi libation to feel like a real local. Beware, though: you’ll be craving Foodland poke for months.


Full Moon Paddle With Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Voyaging Society

Credit: Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Voyaging Society

Join the Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Voyaging Society for a Full Moon Paddle, an experience that connects you with the ancient Hawaiian practice of navigating under the stars. If you’ve seen “Moana,” then you know what we’re talking about. You probably also have kids and need a vacation, so this one’s for you. 

Does paddling through the calm waters under the luminous glow of the full moon sound intriguing? This nighttime activity is said to provide paddlers with a profound sense of peace and connection to the universe. This unique activity lasts for around 90 minutes and is great for adults and kids interested in learning more about this Polynesian navigation technique. Adults cost $40, while kids can join for $20. This Maui activity is a core memory in the making!


Malasadas From Sugar Beach Bake Shop

Got a sweet tooth? Our Maui Guide includes a visit to Sugar Beach Bake Shop for their mouthwatering malasadas. These Portuguese donuts are a local favorite, known for their fluffy texture and sweet, crispy exterior. They’re made fresh to order, and the warm, cooked dough basically melts in your mouth. Some are dusted with sugar and others are filled with tropical flavors like liliko’i (passion fruit) or guava. You’ll get to pick your poison when you arrive. Open Monday-Saturday from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m., Sugar Beach Bake Shop regularly sells out of these dough-licious delicacies, so try to get there early. They also regularly feature limited batches of specialty malasada flavors like cookies and cream and ube!


Molokai Voyage Helicopter Tour With Maverick Helicopters

Take to the skies with Maverick Helicopters on the Molokai Voyage Helicopter Tour. This aerial adventure offers breathtaking views of Maui’s sister island, Molokai, showcasing dramatic sea cliffs, ancient fishponds and secluded waterfalls. It’s a unique opportunity to witness the untouched beauty of Hawaii from a bird’s-eye view.

Departing from Kahului Heliport on Maui, this adrenaline-pumping adventure takes you on a mesmerizing journey over the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean and is one of the best things to do on Maui. You’ll get up close and personal with the world’s tallest sea cliffs at over 3,000 feet high and soar above lush valleys and cascading waterfalls. Marvel at the pristine landscapes and dramatic coastline in a state-of-the-art helicopter flown by expert pilots. The tour lasts for about an hour and costs just under $400 per person. Passengers over 18 years old are required to bring a valid ID.


Volunteer With HILT (Hawaiian Islands Land Trust)

Feeling philanthropic this trip? We love it. Give back to the island that gives us so much by participating in the Mālama Hawai‘i Program at Grand Wailea, an initiative by Hawaii Islands Land Trust (HILT) that allows visitors to contribute to the preservation of Maui’s landscapes. This volunteering opportunity means you can personally contribute to preserving and protecting Hawaii’s natural and cultural heritage, including precious lands, watersheds and native habitats.

Volunteers assist in various capacities, such as land stewardship, restoration projects, educational outreach and community events. Whether planting native trees, removing invasive species or participating in community clean-ups, volunteers play a vital role in supporting HILT’s mission of conservation and sustainable land management. The Mālama Hawai‘i Program at Grand Wailea allows guests to volunteer every Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and every 3rd Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Visit HiLT’s volunteer page for more information!


Drive the Road to Hana With Stops at Ke’anae Peninsula + Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread

No Maui Guide would be complete without exploring the Road to Hana, a journey filled with breathtaking views and experiences galore. The iconic Road to Hana is renowned for its stunning vistas and adrenaline-pumping hairpin bends. Make this journey uniquely yours by stopping at the Ke’anae Peninsula for panoramic ocean views and visiting Aunty Sandy’s for her famous banana bread and liliko‘i butter. You’ll need to refuel after starting your quest before the sun even rises. This is truly an adventure filled with twists and turns , so if you’re susceptible to motion sickness, maybe sit this one out.

Credit: Simon Hurry

This iconic 64-mile stretch of road winds through lush rainforests, past cascading waterfalls and alongside dramatic ocean vistas. Discover hidden gems like the enchanting Seven Sacred Pools and the stunning Wailua Falls, where the water plunges into a tropical paradise below. Explore the quaint villages, roadside fruit stands and black sand beaches that dot the route, immersing yourself in the endless beauty of Maui.

Credit: Jamaal Kareem

The time it takes to drive the Road to Hana can vary greatly depending on the number of stops you make, traffic conditions and how far you choose to go along the route. Generally, the drive itself can take anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 hours one way if you power through without any pit stops. However, most visitors make this an all-day excursion and complete it at their own leisure to take in all the elements. It’s recommended to plan for a full day to truly enjoy and experience all that the Road to Hana has to offer. If you want to avoid traffic, leave early!


Hike the Pīpīwai Trail to Waimoku Falls

things to do on Maui
Credit: George Allen / Hike Maui

At the end of the Road to Hana is an incredible hiking opportunity that is an absolute must for anyone looking to stretch their legs after that wild car ride. The Pīpīwai Trail in Hana offers a scenic hike through lush bamboo forests leading to the stunning Waimoku Falls. The 400-foot waterfall is the perfect way to cap off a gorgeous hike filled with natural pools, banyan trees and cascading streams. This hike is 4 miles round-trip but is a very beginner-friendly hiking path. Take a dip under the falls to cool off and soak in the incredible surrounding Maui landscapes. Bring some of Aunt Sandy’s banana bread and liliko‘i butter to snack on before you make the 2-mile walk back to the car.


Snorkel at Molokini Crater

things to do on Maui
Credit: Farid Askerov

Explore the crystal-clear waters of the Molokini Crater, a crescent-shaped, partially submerged volcanic crater. This marine sanctuary is home to vibrant coral reefs and a slew of shimmering sea life. You’ll likely spot everything from manta rays and reef sharks to colorful fish. With 11 different boat and aquatic options, you can pick the vessel that best suits your needs. Almost all of the options are under $200 per person. This will feel like a steal considering the complimentary continental breakfast, snorkel gear and hands-on underwater tours. The crater spans 23 acres and houses over 250 species of fish and 38 species of coral. You won’t run out of things to see on this incredible adventure. And please, for the sake of the planet, wear reef-safe sunscreen!


Catch a Sunset Above the Clouds at Haleakalā

Photo by Rina Miele on Unsplash

Start or end your day with a core memory-making session at the top of Haleakalā. With a name that literally translates to “House of the Sun” in Hawaiian, this shield volcano is one of the world’s largest dormant volcanoes. It stands over 10,000 feet above sea level, which makes for an epic spot to catch a sunrise or sunset. The summit area feels like you’re on a different planet. It boasts barren lava fields, cinder cones and unique flora adapted to the harsh volcanic environment. For an absolutely ethereal experience, ascend to the summit of Haleakalā before dawn to catch the sunrise above the clouds. This is one of the best things to do on Maui, with a view guaranteed to take your breath away.

If you’re more of a night owl (or those Mai Tais have you snoozing), Maui Stargazing offers an unforgettable experience where their expert guides lead you through an immersive stargazing adventure combining astronomy education with cultural insights. From the summit of Haleakalā, witness the mesmerizing beauty of the night sky, scoping out celestial wonders like planets, stars and galaxies through high-quality telescopes. Whether joining a group tour or arranging a private session, visitors are treated to a personalized journey through the cosmos, enhanced by storytelling and Hawaiian mythology. The cost per person is $250 for adults and $235 for children.

Jane Adler is a marketing and branding consultant by trade, but a writer by preference. She shares a name with Meryl Streep's iconic character from It's Complicated and is presently trying to manifest that life (particularly that Santa Barbara house) for herself. Jane is an avid consumer of content and carbs and often used the latter to write on the former.




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