Fun things to do around the island of Maui

The Valley Isle is filled with an assortment of fun outside activities — some can be pricey (like zip lines, golf, boat excursions or a bike ride down Haleakala), but an abundance of fun can be found for a moderate fee (such as a morning ocean paddle in an outrigger canoe)…and better yet are all the fabulous “free” things to do on Maui.

Here’s some of our favorites

Like to hike? Maui has some great hiking trails for beginners and the experienced hiker. One of our favorites, suitable for most all ages, is called “13 Crossings” to the Makamakaole Waterfall. The hardest part is finding it. The trailhead is located .8 mile west of mile marker 7 on highway 340. Look for the pullout. (Pack a little mosquito spray.)

Friday Night Neighborhood Fun — From Market Street (in Wailuku) to Front Street (in Lahaina), from Baldwin Avenue (in Makawao) to Kihei (north of the Shores of Maui on Lipoa) most every Friday evening communities around the island gather to celebrate art, music and Maui culture. Residents and visitors enjoy a special night of interaction and fun, punctuated with free entertainment, and Friday-only promotions from each town’s family of merchants. Kihei’s party is on the last Friday of each month.

Luau is a traditional Hawaiian party or feast that is usually accompanied by entertainment and hula. It usually features traditional food such as poi, roasted kalua pig, poke, lomi salmon, opihi and haupia. Many Wailea resorts (just a few miles south of here, see below) have nightly luaus where you may sit on the surrounding grassy area and enjoy the lovely Hawaiian music for free. The Marriott hosts the Te Au Moana Luau on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

Check out the beaches across the street from Shores of Maui at Cove Park. It’s great for easy surfing, stand up paddling or kayak launching. Walk south about a block to beautiful Charley Young Beach. This is a great place to enjoy a day swimming, snorkeling or boogie boarding. If you are adventurous cross the street and go over the lava spit to the left of the parking lot at Cove Park and discover what we call “secret beach.” Walk across the lawn (look for turtles!) and continue south until you reach the soft white sand. This is a great walking beach both on the sand or on the outer side of the breaking waves, our favorite. (Click on the photo at the right to enlarge.) Wave to the webcam located on the north end of this beach.

Another fabulous walking beach is along Keawakapu located at the south end of Kihei. The cushiony soft sand makes it a favorite place for people doing sunrise yoga and wake-up strolls and it’s also a good spot for a sunset swim. Mornings are the best time for snorkeling; head to the rocky outcrops that form the northern and southern ends of the beach.

Wailea — Drive south to the Ulua Beach parking lot or the Marriott Hotel parking structure and walk down to the sidewalk along the beach. Take a stroll along this lovely ocean walkway in front of the pricey resorts. Check out the beautiful grounds at the Grand Wailea, Four Seasons (Spago restaurant is here), Kea Lani and the Marriott. Every beach is Hawaii is public. Enjoy! Look for turtles along the way. Most Wailea hotels have open-air bars in the lobby. Good place to have a drink and enjoy the view (especially at sunset). Try a lava flow. Yummy!

Big Beach – An expansive beach about a 10-minute drive south. Past Wailea in Makena.

Little Beach – A clothing-optional beach. From Big Beach, walk north along the sand to the lava spit. Follow the people climbing over the spit to a beautiful crescent shaped beach. No trash cans or bathrooms.

Turtle Town Wanna snorkel with turtles? (that movie is from the Ahihi-Kinau Preserve). Another great spot is to drive south past the Makena Beach & Golf Resort (last hotel going south) then take the sharp right turn (sign says “No Outlet”) and continue to the parking area. Take the sidewalk to the south end of the beach. You may see snorkelers and kayaks to the left. Great fish and lots of turtles await you.

Ocean Activities — The best time to do anything in the ocean is in the morning. Use the afternoon (when the trade winds pick up) for the pool or to sight see. You may rent surfboards, bicycles and kayaks for a fair price just north of the SOM at the Island Surf building.

Snorkeling Trips – The boat trip to Molokini is great. Most boats leave from Maalaea Harbor, but Maui Dive has a outings from the Kihei Boat Ramp (much closer). Water conditions will be best on morning trips.

Kayaking – There are several companies that take kayak groups out from Makena Landing and paddle around Turtle Town and La Perouse Bay. Tip: go as early in the morning as possible. In the afternoon, the trade winds pick up, and the ocean gets choppy.