Ingredients for a Memorable Trip
Why recreate the wheel? If you have about a week in Maui and are up for some fun, below are my top activities and suggestions of things to do while on the island. I definitely had to budget for activities as it can add up (prices below) but my friends and I had 8 days to explore and we sure did pack it in. It was a trip to remember and my personal turning point on my travel journey.
Lodging: Honua Kai Resort and Spa
I highly recommend Honua Kai Resort in Lahaina!! Not only are you steps from Kaanapali North Beach but the condo’s are awesome and did I mention you get a full kitchen plus a washer and dryer?! No need to overpack like I did, just wash and reuse!
Volcano Sunrise & Bike Tour
Estimated Time: 8-9 hours
Cost: Starting at $140
This was an experience to remember. Our day started at 2:00 am when our shuttle arrived, we drove for 2 hours then faced negative degree weather at the top of Haleakala crater, the world’s largest dormant volcano. Despite the early wake up call and pick up time, we had a wonderful experience going up to the Haleakala summit to see the sunrise, 10,000 feet above sea level! Consider adding a bike tour to your volcano sunrise experience.
Our tour included roundtrip shuttle service, volcano sunrise experience, and then we biked down the volcano from 6,500 foot elevation, coasting for 2+ hours. As we descended down the world’s largest resting volcano, with 21 switchbacks, we took in breathtaking views of Maui’s central valley and the West Maui Mountains. It was a blast! Don’t worry, you don’t have to be an avid biker to do this activity; since you are going down the mountain you barely have to pedal, just let gravity do all the work.
One thing I recommend is to bring warm clothes because the summit was cold. We only planned for beach weather and were not prepared when we got to the top. Although the company we went with provided windbreaker jackets and pants it wasn’t enough when you’re that high above sea level.
Estimated Time: 3.5+ hours
Cost: Starting at $153
This was my solo adventure without the girls. While it was my first time zip-lining, it was a surprisingly peaceful experience. I booked with Maui’s Skyline Eco-Adventures and did the Ka’anapali 8-line tour and it included gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean. Being that high up, I expected it to be more of a rush but since it takes a lot for me to get scared, I just enjoyed the views. Although, if you’re afraid of heights this adventure might be a little more intense for you but totally worth it!
Estimated Time: 2+ hours
Cost: Starting at $119
If you’re in Hawaii, a Lu’au is a must see to complete the total experience. While everyone recommended the Old Lahaina Lu’au in Maui, we didn’t book in time as it sells out quickly. I hear it’s amazing so book in advance. Alternatively, we went to the Drums of the Pacific Lu’au at the Hyatt Regency which was also a great show, check out further details here.
“Road to Hana” Day Trip
Now this is an experience that everyone can join in on! We took our car rental and went out for the day, exploring the “Road to Hana,” a scenic drive from Ka’anapali to the other side of the island. First off, the roads were extremely narrow and included over 600 hairpin turns, so we weren’t going very fast. Luckily, we drove through some of the most beautiful coastal views and lush greenery, so we didn’t mind too much.
There are many sites to see along the way so choose wisely, time is of the essence. To sum up what we covered, we had a chance to check out the bamboo forest and waterfalls, the seven sacred pools, and black sand beaches. On our way back we stopped by the highly recommended restaurant, Mama’s Fish House. It was pricey but we had to see what the fuss was about.
Lanai Snorkeling & Dolphin Watching Excursion
Estimated time: 5 hours
Location: Old Town Lahaina | Pacific Whale Foundation, 612 Front Street, Lahaina
This was the excursion I was most excited about since I love dolphins and the ocean. We made this a day trip by doing our excursion in the morning (departs daily at 8:00 am), then we explored Old Town Lahaina afterward. We booked the “Lanai Snorkel and Dolphin watch” excursion and enjoyed a day of boating, searching for dolphins, and snorkeling near the island of Lanai. While we didn’t find dolphins, which I was really bummed about, the snorkeling was amazing! To their credit they offered free tickets to come back for another chance to discover dolphins which was a nice gesture.
I experienced a lot of firsts on this trip and snorkeling was one of them. Although we didn’t see dolphins, I still highly recommend doing this activity for the snorkeling experience at a minimum. Snorkel gear, breakfast, and lunch is included. For friends who don’t want to go in and snorkel, they can still join in on the fun and relax on the boat.
The cool part about this was all profits from these tours go to support the Pacific Whale Foundation’s research, education and conservation programs to save whales, dolphins and our oceans!
Hiking Day Trip
Estimated Time: 11 hours
Another friend did a day long hiking trip in Hana for her solo adventure. The rest of us relaxed by the beach. She signed up for the guided excursion that included: hiking, swimming, and sightseeing. The highlights of this trip were exploring hidden waterfalls (up to 400 feet), hiking in Maui’s National Park (4.5 miles), lush rainforests and black sand beaches. This was a great excursion for her and she thoroughly enjoyed herself. Lunch was included. If you’re staying at Honua Kai Resort & Spa, check out the experience here!
Cliff Diving at Black Rock Beach
One of the locals suggested we try jumping off the famous Black Rock in Kaanapali, a 30 foot drop, and surprisingly we did! Near the Sheraton Hotel, the beach is another great spot to swim, snorkel, cliff dive, and see huge sea turtles up close. Just don’t touch the turtles when they come up to you, apparently you could get fined. The swim out to the rock, about 150 meters, is not for the weak so beware. My friend wasn’t a strong swimmer but she braved the swim out to the rock and was glad she did!
Stroll through downtown Lahaina on Front Street, a super cute beach town where you can grab some ice cream, go shopping, and check out an art gallery. We popped into the Martin Lawrence Galleries where I was especially excited to see Picasso’s work for the first time (I’m an art nerd at heart). Additionally, if you’re looking for unique souvenirs, stop by the old-town Lahaina market for amazing items; I picked up amazing candles that come in coconut shells and were so fragrant.
Another shopping area worth visiting is Whaler’s Village, a mix of upscale and casual shops in an outdoor setting. Located in Lahaina, about a 5 minute drive from our resort in Kaanapali. Whaler’s Village is also accessible to Kaanapali Beach, so when you’re tired of shopping there’s always time to play in the water!
I hope you enjoy Maui as much as we did! The island is perfect for a girls trip or a romantic getaway. For other tips on how to plan your next island getaway, check out my last post. Happy traveling!