This is the place for hiking, snorkeling and windsurfing. Diversity rules on the 734-square-mile “Valley Isle,” from powdery beaches and lush rainforests to eclectic Upcountry towns and upscale resorts. From December through April, this humpback whale playground often delivers close encounters during whale watching excursions.

#1 Haleakala National Park

At 10,023 feet, Haleakala is the Earth’s largest dormant volcano. Drive 40 miles along a road that weaves through Upcountry pasturelands to the rocky summit and the crater’s lookout point. Book a helicopter tour to get a fuller look at this massive marvel.

Volcanic crater landscape with beautiful orange clouds
Haleakala National Park, Maui

Another option is to hike the Sliding Sands trail down into the crater as far as you want - while bearing in mind that it will take twice as long to hike back up and out!

#2 Iao Valley State Monument

Mauna Kahalawai from within Iao Valley State Park
Mauna Kahalawai from within Iao Valley State Park, Maui

With natural gardens, dense rainforests and shimmering waterfalls, Iao is legendary for its dramatic volcanic “Needle” monolith rising nearly 1,200 feet from the valley floor. Pack a poncho; this lush park receives 350-plus inches of rain annually. For hiking, follow the concrete path past the bridge to a sign that reads "Stay On The Trail".

#3 Lahaina Town

View of Lahaina's Front street, Maui, Hawaii
Lahaina's Front street, Maui

This former whaling port blends historic seafaring charm with trendy galleries, eateries and boutiques. Enduring favorites include the restored missionary-era Baldwin House built in 1834 and Banyan Tree, where you can savor macadamia nut ice cream while sitting on benches shaded by the massive 60-foot-high Front Street icon celebrated as the largest banyan tree in the U.S.

Head to the harbor to book ocean expeditions or take a ferry to the neighboring islands of Lanai and Molokai. Both are ideal for off-the-beaten path hiking and four-wheel-drive adventures. Lanai is also home to some of Hawaii’s top spots for snorkeling and diving.

Expert tip: Accommodations are limited on both islands, so book early to plan to make it a day trip.

#4 Paia Town

Paia, Maui
Beautful coastline near the village of Paia

Paia charms with plantation-era storefronts, casual restaurants and colorful boutiques with locally produced wares. More recently, the town’s laid-back surfer attitude has been infused with a buzzing art scene. Just beyond is Baldwin Beach Park, a white sand beauty that’s great for swimming.

Expert tip: Parking can be a challenge, so watch for public lots on the right when heading into Paia from Kahului.

#5 Upcountry Maui

Savor the tasty agri-tourism scene in Upcountry’s Makawao and Kula areas. It’s a menagerie of produce and flower farms, dairies and restaurants serving farm-to-table fare. You’ll even stumble across a winery on Haleakala’s slopes at Ulupalakua Ranch.

Fortress amphitheater, Kula
Enjoy a show at Kula's medieval fortress amphitheatre

Take a farm tour in Kula to see how island growers produce sweet Maui onions, protea and lavender. Or stroll the streets of rustic Makawao with its thriving arts scene and Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center, where visitors can take classes and explore free gallery exhibits.

#6 Snorkeling Molokini Island

Scuba diving near Molikini
Go scuba diving off the coast of Molokini

Considered one of the world’s top snorkel and dive sites, crescent-shaped Molokini takes you face to face with damselfish, tang, triggerfish, snapper and Hawaii’s state fish, the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a. Charters operate from Maalaea Harbor just beyond the town of Wailuku.

Expert tip: Water is generally clearer and calmer on morning journeys.

#7 The Road to Hana

Three Bear Falls on the road to Hana
Stop at Upper Waikuni Falls on the road to Hana

With 600 curves and 54 bridges, the 30-mile trek from Kahului winds along a narrow bluff through tropical rainforests to splendid isolation.

Expert tip: Hit the road before dawn for this six-hour round-trip drive. The traffic is lighter then, and you’ll have more time to savor scenery.

Honokalani Black Sand Beach is a beautiful Hana spot with jet-black tiny polished lava pebbles and surrounding jungle-like foliage of Waianapanapa State Park.

Expert tip: Allow extra time for exploring tubes and caves carved into the lava cliffs skirting the shore.


Map of Top 7 Things To Do In Maui
Map of Top 7 Things To Do In Maui