Best Things To Do in Maui
Maui's various attractions and activities cater to just about every interest. While adventurers hike the dormant Haleakala volcano or fly above it on a helicopter tour, more relaxed travelers can soak up the sun on one of many shorelines or test the fairways at one of the island's 14 golf courses. But Maui isn't just for beach bums and active types: The island offers up its own history and culture at sites like Iao Valley State Park, Banyan Tree Park and the Old Lahaina Luau. And those traveling with kids can learn all about Hawaii's underwater residents at the Maui Ocean Center.
Updated July 24, 2019
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To find excellent views of Maui's beautiful coastline, all you need to do is drive. The Road to Hana is a scenic highway (Highway 360) that twists through the lush rainforest and past the cascading waterfalls that line the island's eastern shore. Most people start their trip in Kahului (home to Maui's main airport) with the intention of motoring 55 miles to Hana. The trip isn't always easy: The route often surprises unfamiliar drivers with hairpin turns. But those who decide to step on the gas aren't sorry they did. Despite all the hype and mental preparation, travelers are regularly surprised by the drive's beauty.
The Road to Hana might seem short, but traveling it will most likely take all day given the number of scenic lookouts and other places to stop. Those who have driven the Road to Hana highly recommend taking your time and stopping as often as possible. Reviewers also recommend starting your drive early in the morning, as the road grows congested as the day progresses. If you'd rather let someone else do the driving, there are several tour companies that offer tours in luxury vans, including Valley Isle Excursions and Temptation Tours. Though pricier than driving yourself, taking a tour allows you to focus on the incredible scenery while someone else focuses on navigating the winding curves.
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After you've experienced Maui through the eyes of a fish, consider getting a bird's perspective on a helicopter tour. Recent travelers describe this experience as a "splurge" (tours can cost between $150 and $350 per person, depending on the tour operator and the duration of your flight), but they also concede that seeing Maui from the air is an incredible sight. What's more, helicopters can access parts of the island unreachable by boat, car or foot.
Most operators offer tours of West Maui and Molokai, and Hana and Haleakala, though some also take passengers on scenic, hourlong flights of the whole island. No matter which route you choose, you'll be rewarded with stunning vistas of Maui's waterfalls, craters, cliffs and valleys. Some of the most popular operators include, Air Maui, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters and Maverick Helicopters. Most tours depart from the Kahului Heliport in west Maui (packages do not include transportation to or from the helipad). For more information on tour inclusions and prices, consult our list of the best Maui helicopter tours.