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Top Free Things to Do on Maui

Top Free Things to Do on Maui

17 Jul 2019

“The best things in life are free. The second best things are very, very expensive.” - Coco Chanel

One of our favorite things about the island of Maui is that it offers so many free activities and experiences for visitors to enjoy. It starts with its stunning natural beauty, public access beaches, waterfalls, small-town charm, and winding roads that are perfect for a long drive. Save your cash for a nice dinner out, shopping spree, or special tour. Here is a list of our top free things to do on Maui.


1. Take a Hike

Maui is home to many incredible hiking trails, ranging from easy to advanced. Maui has many microclimates, and getting out on its diverse network of trails is an excellent way to experience them. Here is a short list of some of our favorite hikes on Maui.

In West Maui, take a walk along the Kapalua Coastal Trail and explore the interesting geography where the land meets the sea. The Ka’anapali Historical Trail is an easy walk along the boardwalk with ten points of interest featuring plaques with historical information. For more advanced hikers, the Waihee Ridge Trail is a 5-mile round-trip hike which offers incredible sweeping valley views of the West Maui Mountains only otherwise seen from a helicopter.

On the road to Hana, about 25 minutes drive from Paia town, Twin Falls is a moderate 2-mile round trip hike to waterfalls for swimming. There is ample parking and the Wailele Farm Stand which offers fresh fruit smoothies, cold brew coffee, and fresh coconuts to drink. If you are willing to make the drive, Pipiwai Trail up to Waimoku Falls is the most spectacular waterfall hike on the island. The trail begins at Haleakala National Park in Kipahulu, a 2.5-hour drive from Lahaina. This 3.5-mile round trip moderate hike winds you through banyan trees, alongside rivers, and through a bamboo forest and up to a 400-foot waterfall vista. The website Maui Hikes offers more insight and details into hikes on the island.



2. Drive The Road to Hana

The road to Hana on Maui’s east side offers 600 curves, 59 one lane bridges, and many road-side waterfalls for those that enjoy a good road trip. This drive through a lush tropical rainforest features breathtaking ocean views from sheer cliff drop offs and is peppered with cute roadside fruit stands and food trucks. You will want to make sure you have a full day for this adventure. Drive slowly and defensively on this narrow winding road. Pull aside to let oncoming traffic past. Just before you reach Hana, you’ll pass Waianapanapa State Park, which has a beautiful black sand beach. Once you get to Hana, there are several little mom and pop style eateries, a small cultural center and museum, an art gallery, and a bank. The drive all the way to Hana takes roughly 2 hours and 40 minutes from Lahaina without stopping.



3. Friday Night Parties

Aloha Friday, Maui style. Each week highlights one of Maui’s historic small towns with a festive street fair-style party. Sponsored by the County of Maui, these town parties are popular with visitors and locals alike and are super family friendly. There is always live entertainment, delicious food, and artisan craft vendors. For more information, visit their website, Maui Fridays.

  • First Friday of the Month, Wailuku (Central Maui) on Market Street
  • Second Friday, Lahaina (West Maui) on Front Street
  • Third Friday, Makawao (Upcountry) on Baldwin Avenue
  • Fourth Friday, Kihei (South Maui) at Azeka Shopping Center Mauka
  • Fifth Friday – Lāna‘i (Lāna‘i City)


4. Take a Ukulele Lesson

Learn to play Hawaii’s favorite instrument. The ukulele came to Hawaii in the late 1800s by way of Portugal, where it was adapted from a similar stringed Portuguese instrument called the Machete. King Kalākaua, the “Merrie Monarch”, was a patron of the arts and a big supporter of the ukulele, which helped its rise to popularity throughout the islands. Free ukulele lessons are offered on a regular basis at the Outlets of Maui (in Lahaina town), Lahaina Cannery Mall, and The Shops at Wailea. Ukuleles are provided. The schedule for lessons is posted on their website. This is a fun activity for children and adults.


5. Explore Maui’s Last Lava Flow

Where the road ends and the seashore begins, La Perouse Bay is where you can find Maui’s last lava flow, dating to 1790. South of Wailea, this black lava cove is unlike any other coastal region of the island. With piercing blue waters, the bay borders a nature preserve. The parking lot entrance marks the start of the historic Kings Highway, which was constructed over 500 years ago and was once a major transport route in ancient Maui, measuring a total of 138 miles in length. You can walk a short portion of this ancient trail here to a lighthouse on the point. You’ll want sneakers to walk over the sharp lava rock. Bring plenty of water and sun protection because there is little shade.



6. Visit Maui’s North Shore

Maui’s North Shore is famous for windsurfing and kite surfing, and home to the notoriously heavy surf break Jaws. Ho’okipa Beach Park is a favorite spot for windsurfers and kite surfers. Hangout on the beach and watch the acrobatics. During the winter time, Jaws is at its peak, with 70-foot waves rushing in at up to 30 miles per hour. Bring a pair of binoculars and head to the Jaws lookout for a view of world-class surfers braving these monstrous waves. Paia and Haiku are the main towns in this area. Paia has a fun downtown to stop for a stroll and grab something to eat, including its popular health food store, Mana Foods which has an extensive hot and cold salad bar.



7. Watch a West Maui Sunset

Many of Maui’s west coast beaches offer spectacular sunset views. Kapalua beach, Napili beach, and Ka’anapali beach are three of our favorites for a picture perfect sunset. At the Sheraton in Ka’anapali, you can attend a unique sunset ceremony for free. Since the opening of the hotel in 1963, the Sheraton has been honoring Maui’s Chief Kahekili with this torch lighting ceremony and cliff dive as a symbol of spiritual strength. A native Hawaiian chant begins the ceremony. The diver is welcomed by the blowing of a conch shell, followed by the lighting of the torches and dive off Pu’u Keka’a, Black Rock’s cliff edge. Check seasonal times for Maui’s sunset as the ceremony shifts to coordinate with the spectacular sight that is the shift of day into night.



Are you looking for a great place to stay in West Maui? We can help you. Sunset views? Check. World-class beaches? Check. Contact us to find your perfect Maui vacation rental.