If you’re anything like me, you CRAVE adventure. Thankfully, I get into tons of Maui adventures on a daily basis.
But unfortunately for me it comes at a price because Hawaii is very expensive. Don’t worry! You can still have incredible adventures in Maui on a budget. I’m going to let you in on the secret.
For full transparency, I have sprinkled some affiliate links in this post. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases that gives me a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decided to make a purchase. All proceeds go to keep Jess traveling and coffee ☕️. I thank you in advance.
1. Hike to a 400 Foot Waterfall
Cost: $30 per vehicle Haleakala National Park enterance fee
Idyllic waterfalls tucked deep into lush jungles are one of the many images that people think of when they think of Hawaii. Hiking to Waimoku Falls is just that.
The Pipiwai Trail is one of Maui’s most popular trails as it takes you past waterfalls, through a dreamy bamboo forest and finally ends up at the jaw dropping Waimoku Falls.
This waterfall hike Maui is located in Haleakala National Park on the east side of the island past Hana town.
2. Kayak with the Whales
Cost: $110 for a kayak tour with the whales
Talk about a Maui adventure, although on the high end of the price scale. This is an experience you can’t do many other places in the world and is worth the splurge. Seeing them from your kayak is the ultimate Maui water adventure 🐳.
3. Watch the sunset above the clouds
Cost: $30 per car Haleakala National Park enterance fee or Annual Park Pass
The summit of Haleakala sits above the clouds at 10,023 feet. Watching the sun dip below the clouds as you stand on top of a volcano is a magical way to end your day. Being up there makes you feel closer to Mother Earth.
Make sure you dress warm, last year it snowed and the snow stuck for a few days! You can also head up Haleakala for sunrise but you must make reservations in advance here.
Check out tours below for more fun ways to explore Haleakala.
4. Scuba dive/ Snorkel an Atoll
Cost: $100 & ↑ depending on the tour company/activity
Molokini Crater is a crescent shaped islet and is one of the best places to dive/snorkel on Maui. Why you ask? Molokini is a marine preserve therefore you can’t hunt the fish.
There are close to 250 species of fish and 38 species of coral that live here. On a clear day you can see up to 150 feet of visibility and you may even see moray eels, octopus and reef sharks!
This is one of the best things to do in Kihei.
Although on the pricier side, its not everyday you get to have an opportunity to snorkel an atoll. A Molokini Snorkel Tour is always fun for the whole family. Most of the boat tours leave from Maalaea Harbor making it convenient no matter which side of the island you’re staying on.
5. Surf at a World Renown Surf Break
Cost: $75 per person in a group lesson
Hawaii and surfing go hand in hand and there’s no shortage of breaks on this island. This is one of the ultimate Maui adventures. If you’re new to surfing do yourself a favor and get a private instructor for a couple hours.
It’s definitely not an easy sport and you want to learn the proper way as not to piss anyone off in the water. Joe (my other half usually behind the camera) is a surf instructor a few days a week and loves getting people up on a wave. Actually getting up on a wave only increases the enjoyment value and experience.
6. Hike through a dormant volcano
Cost: $30 per car Haleakala National Park enterance fee
Hiking is one of my favorite past times and being able to hike through a dormant volcano has been one of my favorite Maui adventures.
Maui is home to Haleakala National Park. The park offers visitors the chance to hike through the crater and explore its foreign landscape.
The most popular Maui volcano hike is the Sliding Sands Trail that takes you down to the crater floor. The elevation and sandy trail makes it strenuous but worth every step. You’ll feel like you’re traversing the surface of Mars.
7. swim at a world class beach
Maui was named Condé Nast Traveler’s best island in the U.S. for 23 consecutive years, it is no wonder that Maui is full of world class beaches.
West Maui and South Maui contain the best beaches that the island has to offer. The stand out beaches for swimming on West Maui are Napili Bay (pictured above), Airports, Flemings (surf depending) and of course Ka’anapali Beach.
On South Maui don’t miss Big Beach, Secrets and Polo Beach. Doesn’t matter what time of year it is as its never too cold to go for a swim on Maui 🐠.
8. Swim with the Dolphins on a Snorkel Cruise to Lana’i
One of the most magical moments you can have is being submersed in warm tropical waters with dolphins swimming all around you. Although it is possible to have this experience on Maui, the BEST way to make sure this happens is by island hopping to Lana’i on a dolphin snorkel cruise for the day.
These spinner dolphins frequently hang out at Manele Bay which is where the boat will anchor and you will enjoy lunch and the beautiful beach for the day.
I know most people wouldn’t consider $100 dolphin tour Maui a budget friendly adventure but considering that the average daily budget in Hawaii is $200 and up, I’d say its a pretty good deal.
But if you’re still trying to opt out of the boat trip, Slaughterhouse Beach is a place that I frequently see dolphins.
9. Watch Sunrise at a Vibrant Black Sand Beach
One of Maui’s most famous beach is Pa’iloa, a vibrant black sand beach at Wai’anapanapa State Park. Being so famous has its minuses though as this beach is always packed with people.
Getting to the beach for sunrise however will give you the beach to yourself. If you’re into videography or INSTAGRAM it is a dream come true. The beach itself and the black sand is more of a smooth black pebble. This is my top ranked activity on the budget friendly Maui adventures list.
TRAVEL TIP: As of March 2021 reservations in advance are now required to enter Wai’anapanapa State Park. Book a few weeks prior to visiting. Same day reservations are not permitted. You can reserve your spot here.
10. Swim Under a Waterfall
Cost: FREE but they kindly accepts donations!
At Twin Falls you can do just this. A popular stop off on the road to Hana about 15 minutes past the town of Pai’a in Haiku is where you’ll find this waterfall. Like most attractions on Maui you’ll want to get here early when it opens to get the dreamy photos without people in them.
There are 2 falls, hence the name Twin Falls. The second waterfall is my favorite and worth the 10 minute hike.
You can also do this on a guided road to Hana tour if you want to skip the driving.
11. Camp Inside a Dormant Volcano
For an experience that is out of this world then camp inside a dormant volcano at one of the Haleakala cabins. There are 3 historic wilderness cabins within the crater inside the summit district of Haleakala NP.
The only way to get to any of the cabins is by foot and hiking in. Haleakala Cabin rentals cost $75 per night and reservations open up 6 months in advance. You can’t beat the price and experience of this Maui adventure.
For more campgrounds on Maui check out this article.