Top Outdoor Activities in Maui, Hawaii

The island of Maui is home to breathtaking beaches, luxury retreats, and amazing eateries. Even with all of that the true reason to visit the island is the outdoor activities in Maui.

If you love being out on the water, exploring the coastline or hiking in the forests you’ll have a chance to do a little of it all on a trip to Maui.

You will find the nature around the island awe-inspiring. And while the island is big enough to explore for a few weeks it’s also small enough that you can see the highlights in just a few days.

Find the best things to do and outdoor activities in Maui, Hawaii.

Whether you are taking a few long trip to the island, including it on a tour of more of Hawaii or just having a weekend getaway make sure to add a few of the outdoor activities in Maui to your itinerary. 

Drive the Road to Hana

One of the most talked about activities when you head to Maui is the Road to Hana. This breathtaking drive along the East Coast of the island will take you to black sand beaches, rainforest hikes, waterfalls and more. It can be done in a day if you wake up early, or you can stay in the town of Hana to spend more time on the east coast of the island. 

Find the best things to do and outdoor activities in Maui, Hawaii.

I loved using the GyPSy Guide app that allowed me to find the highlights, learn about the history of the island, and have GPS even without service.

Find the best things to do and outdoor activities in Maui, Hawaii.

My favorite stop was making it all the way to the Seven Sacred Pools in the Haleakalā National Park to see the impressive waterfall and get a good hike through the bamboo forest in.

Explore the North Coast of the Island

While the Road to Hana is well worth the trip I enjoyed driving along the North Coast at least as much. If you’re staying on the West Coast of the island it’s really a short trip. You’ll get some of the windy roads but it’s a shorter drive than Hana.

Find the best things to do and outdoor activities in Maui, Hawaii.

You won’t have the same rainforest feel along this drive but the views along the coast make up for it. Two highlights you shouldn’t miss are the Nakalele Blowhole and the Olivine Pools. 

Do note, that like the back side of the Road to Hana, it’s not recommended to drive rental cars all the way around. But you can easily make it to the pools.

Go Scuba Diving or Snorkeling

If you stay above the surface you’ll only see half of what the island of Maui has to offer. I’m a certified diver and absolutely addicted. The diving off of Maui did not disappoint. This was my personal favorite outdoor activity in Maui. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or just giving it a try there are great places to experience right off Maui’s shores.

Find the best things to do and outdoor activities in Maui, Hawaii.

I did four dives with Lahaina Divers. They not only had great equipment and high-quality instructors, but they also had the best boats out on the water. It was perfect for not only enjoying the dive but also the rides out to dive site. I recommend taking a dive to Molokini and Lanai. 

If diving isn’t your thing, and while I seriously recommend giving it a try,  There are also great opportunities to snorkel around the island. You can catch fish or turtles off just about any beach on the island or hop on a charter to Molokini.

Hop on a Whale Watching Tour

From November to May, Maui is home to a large population of Humpback Whales that make their way from Alaska each winter. They head down to the warmer waters to both mate and give birth. One of the great things about that is you’ll have a chance to watch them play. They also don’t feed, meaning they spend a good amount of time on the surface.

Particularly on the West side of the island, you’ll be able to find them breaching just off shore. You’ll be able to see them from beaches and overlooks. At the same time, it’s amazing to get up close to them and see them on the water. If you’re looking for a tour check out the Pacific Whale Foundation, they have eco-friendly tours and the funds help support their conservation efforts.

Get on the Water with Surfing or Paddle Boarding

Find the best things to do and outdoor activities in Maui, Hawaii.

You’re in Hawaii so you should be sure to catch a wave. One of the outdoor activities in Maui you shouldn’t miss. If you want to give surfing a try check out Maui Wave Riders, they’ve got a few different spots on the island that will allow you to give surfing a try. 

I’m not much into surfing but an alternative I love is stand-up paddle boarding. It gives you a chance to get out on the water and even ride waves with a little more balance. You can head just about any beach and find a rental store, you’ll want to first give it a try in a protected area but you’ll find a lot around the island.

Get off the Beach with These Outdoor Activities in Maui

Whether it’s taking a hike up into the beautiful terrain or heading out on the water, there are so many opportunities to get outside and enjoy the attraction of Maui’s nature. There are even a few more opportunities like hiking up the Haleakala crater in the National Park to watch the sunrise, but I didn’t have a chance to give it a try this trip.

Just another great excuse to head back to the island. If I missed any other outdoor activities in Maui let me know in the comments! 

Find the best things to do and outdoor activities in Maui, Hawaii.
Find the best things to do and outdoor activities in Maui, Hawaii.

About Megan

Megan MacNee is the founder of Traveling Nine to Fiver. From nine to five she works in the non-profit world in California. She focuses on exploring the world from her own backyard to across the globe. You'll find her sharing about explorations through food, books, travel, and more.