Maui The Valley Isle

There is a saying, “Maui no ka ‘oi,” or “Maui is the best.”

Indeed, Maui has a certain magic that is undeniable to anyone who has had the pleasure of visiting this island paradise.

Readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine know the feeling; last year they voted Maui the “Best Island in the World, placing the Magic Isle ahead of international hot-spots like Bermuda, Bora Bora, the Maldives, Bali, the Seychelles and other tropical getaways. In fact, this is 20th consecutive time that Maui has taken the top spot amongst U.S. island destinations.

The reason for Maui’s vast appeal lies in its abundance of activities paired with unending natural beauty—from open-ocean rafting tours to sheer sea cliffs and underwater caves, to romantic drives with your sweetheart along the fabled road to Hana and morning hikes to the summit Mt. Haleakala to watch sunrise, there is sure to be something for everyone.

Indeed, there are many reasons why Maui has fast become a favorite travel destination.

So you don’t miss out on a single thing to do during your stay, we’ve done our best to sort through Maui’s never-ending array of activities and narrowed them down to only the best of the best, which we then compiled into this handy guide.

Those hoping to discover Maui’s more-thrilling offerings can get their fi ll while racing over gullies on a ziplining tour, traveling deep below the ocean surface in a submarine or flying down a 38-mile mountain highway with a biking tour group.

Other less daredevil ways to take in the island’s amazing natural scenery include a walk through a lava tube, a ride on a steam locomotive, a visit to a hotel where the focus is on Hawaiian tradition or an excursion to Whalers Village Museum in old Lahaina and the Maui Ocean Center in Wailuku, where otherworldly creatures from the deep wait to meet your acquaintance.

If all those sea creatures inspire you to head out to the beach, there’s plenty to do out on the water. Snorkeling, surfing, kayaking, dolphin searches and something called snuba—an experience halfway between snorkeling and scuba—all make for a memorable family outing. There also are off-island getaways worthy of exploration, like the storied islet of Molokini and the legendary isle of Lana‘i, where pineapple once was king.

Summer on Maui is prime time to enjoy a range of outdoor festivals and gatherings, including the much-anticipated Maui Film Festival, Kapalua Wine & Food Festival and Maui Calls 2014, the signature fundraising gala for the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

And, after a long day on the go, be sure to take time to unwind at a spa, indulge in some retail therapy, tee off on one of the islands many fairy-tale fairways, kick back at an authentic Hawaiian lu‘au or get immersed in some small-town charm on a Friday-night art walk.

It is best advised to take your time and savor each magical moment— there will always be an opportunity to return for another go-round at a later time, and we’ll be eagerly waiting to welcome you back with 101 Things To Do.

View our top picks below or see all 101 Things To Do on Maui!

Watch the Sunrise at Haleakala

Watch the Sunrise at Haleakala

Rising 10,023 feet above Maui’s coastal areas is the massive shield volcano Haleakala. This sleeping giant is enormously popular and easily accessible for visitors; in fact, it has become a ritual for those staying on the island to rise before dawn and trek to the mountaintop in the chilly darkness to watch the sun make… Continue »

Indulge in Some Retail Therapy

Indulge in Some Retail Therapy

Though famous for its scenery, climate and cerulean blue sea, Maui harbors another little gem—shopping. Some of the best browsing comes in the form of walking up and down the streets of towns like Makawao, Pa‘ia, Kihei and Lahaina. Not only do you get to soak up the sunshine between stops, you also get to… Continue »

Gear Up for Undersea Exploration

Gear Up for Undersea Exploration

Snorkeling is an inexpensive pastime that is easier to learn than surfing or scuba diving and can be done either by booking a cruise or finding a good spot on a beach. If you go with the pros, like Maui Snorkel Charters or South Pacific Kayaks and Outfitters, expect gear, lunch and other amenities to… Continue »

Hitch a Ride on a Helicopter

Hitch a Ride on a Helicopter

Helicopter tours have become one of Maui’s signature attractions. Here, it is possible to lift off from a heliport, quickly bypass populated areas and, in minutes, leave civilization behind. Look down and you’ll find yourself flying low over deep, impossibly tangled, uninhabitable canyons where inland waterfalls drop hundreds of feet right outside your window. Now… Continue »

Feel the Mana at ‘Iao Valley

Feel the Mana at ‘Iao Valley

Hawaiians use the word mana to describe all manner of divine power, and there are places on Maui where a sense of mana is almost tangible. ‘Iao Valley is one of them. This 10-acre park, 4 miles west of Wailuku, is crowned by an ancient 2,250-foot rock pinnacle and defined by the events of its… Continue »

The Drive to Hana

The Drive to Hana

Life is a journey, not a destination, and the same could be said of the road to Hana. With zigs and zags that travel over 56 one-lane bridges and snake around more than 617 hairpin curves, this scenic drive truly is a heart-pumping adventure that’ll leave you breathless with anticipation for what lays around the… Continue »

Walk Around Lahaina

Walk Around Lahaina

Day or night, exploring Lahaina on foot is a unique experience, one where you’ll find historic sites and modern hangouts dotting the landscape of this famous port city. Hale Pa‘ahao, an old stone jail that stands at the corner of Waine‘e and Prison streets, has a colorful past. Built in 1852, it once was the… Continue »

Take a Hike

Take a Hike

A trip to Maui wouldn’t be complete without a hike through the lush greenery of the island, taking in views of volcano-formed mountains, ocean swells and towering trees along the way. One great trail to take in Maui’s natural beauty and learn about the Hawaiian culture is the 3-mile Wai‘anapanapa Coastal Trail (listed as the… Continue »

Golf Central and South Maui

Golf Central and South Maui

From private clubs to municipal courses, Central and South Maui have a range of golf options. Maui Country Club in Spreckelsville is an exclusive course that allows public play only on Mondays. Opened in 1925, this nine-hole course is the oldest golf facility on Maui and one of only two private clubs on the island…. Continue »