Maui is a paradise for adventure seekers. From hiking inside the worlds largest dormant volcano to snorkeling with tropical fish in the crystal clear waters of the Pacific, Maui has something for everyone.
The best part is, a lot of adventures on Maui don’t come with a hefty price tag. In this article, I’ll spill the beans on all the awesome budget friendly Maui adventures and also include some practical information that will aid you in your trip to Maui.
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- Hike to a 400 foot Waterfall
- Kayak with the Whales
- Watch Sunrise above the Clouds
- Drive the Road to Hana
- Scuba Dive or Snorkel Molokini
- Learn to Surf
- Hike Through the World’s Largest Dormant Volcano
- Watch Sunrise at an Exotic Black Sand Beach
- Swim at a World Class Beach
- Island Hop to Lanai
- Swim with the Dolphins
- Camp inside a Dormant Volcano
- Swim Under a Waterfall
1. Hike to a 400 Foot Waterfall
- Cost: $30 Entry Fee to Haleakala National Park or National Park Pass
Idyllic waterfalls tucked deep into jungles are one of the many images that people think of when they think of Hawaii. Hiking to Waimoku Falls is just that.
Waimoku Falls is a spectacular 400 foot waterfall cascading down a sheer cliff face. This stunning waterfall hike is located in the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park on East Maui just past the town of Hana.
The Pipiwai Trail is one of Maui’s most popular hikes. This four mile round-trip hike takes you through tropical rainforests, past distant waterfalls, through a dreamy bamboo forest and finally ends up at the jaw dropping Waimoku Falls.
🎋 East Maui Travel Guides:
8 Epic Adventures to have in Hana
2. Kayak with the Whales
- Cost: $120
One of the best adventures on Maui you can have is to Kayak with the Whales. This is a seasonal adventures as official whale season runs December 15th through – May 15th.
This is a more hands on approach than a classic whale watching tour and an experience you can’t do many other places in the world. It’s not everyday that get the opportunity to get up close and personal with the majestic humpback whales. Don’t forget to charge your GoPro and keep a lookout for whale spouts and breaches, I mean that’s why you chose this adventure after all.
3. Watch Sunrise Above the Clouds
- Cost: $1 Reservation Fee
The summit of Haleakala sits above the clouds at 10,023 feet. Watching the sunrise above the clouds as you stand on top of a volcano is a magical way to start your day. Being up there makes you feel closer to Mother Earth.
Make sure you dress warm, in the winter sometimes it snows.! You must make reservations to watch sunrise in advance and it cost $1. You can make reservations here.
If sunrise is too early or you can’t snag a reservation, you can opt for sunset atop Haleakala. The view is just as good but instead of a volcano as your backdrop you’ll have West Maui and views of the Big Island.
4. The Road to Hana
- Cost: Free
The Road to Hana is one of the most popular things to do on Maui and one of the best Maui adventures. The unofficial start to the road to Hana is in the town of Paia. Make sure you top off your gas tank and stock up on snacks here as there won’t be any place to fill up before you reach Hana,
This all day adventure takes you along the Hana Highway passing by numerous road side waterfalls, scenic seascape views and through lush rainforest. Pulling over on the side of the road for photo ops or to swim under a waterfall is the name of the game.
Some of the best stops along the road to Hana include Twin Falls, the Rainbow Forest, Waianapanapa State Park and Wailua Falls. If you’re looking for an alternative adventure drive the back road to Hana. This route takes you around the bottom side of Maui and off-the-beaten path.
5. Snorkel or Scuba Dive Molokini
- Cost: $140
Scuba Diving Molokini Crater is an incredible adventure to have on Maui. Molokini is a crescent shaped volcanic crater located off the southwest coast of Maui, just a few mils away from Wailea.
Molokini is a marine preserve which makes this one of the best places to dive and snorkel on Maui. This safe haven for a wide array of tropical fish and marine with 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!
Snorkeling on Molokini is a Maui adventure for the whole family. Most of the boats tours leave from Maalaea Harbor making it convenient no matter which side of the island you’re staying on.
6. Learn to Surf
- Cost: $55
Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing and learning to surf like Maui is the ultimate thrill. Maui is the ideal spot to learn to surf or take your surfing to the next level.
Taking a Surf Lesson is a must if you want to learn to surf the properly. Not only will the surf instructions teach you the fundamentals and techniques of surfing, but they’ll explain the unwritten rules in the water and proper surf etiquette.
There are several beginner spots to learn to surf on all parts of the island. With the reliable wave and warm waters year round, you won’t be disappoint with this Maui adventure.
7. Hike through a dormant volcano
- Cost: Entrance into Haleakala National Park
Hiking is one of my favorite past times and being able to hike through a dormant volcano has personally been one of my favorite Maui adventures.
Haleakala Crater is the largest dormant volcano in the world. The Summit District of Haleakala National Park offers visitors a chance to hike through the crater and explore its foreign landscape.
The most popular volcano hike is the Sliding Sands Trail. This trail takes you down to the crater floor. The elevation and sandy trail makes it moderate/strenuous hike but trust me, its worth eery step. You’ll feel like you’re traversing the surface of Mars.
Another popular hike inside the summit district of Haleakala National Park is the Halemau’u Trail. This knee crushing hike descends down a series of switchbacks to the crater floor.
8. Watch Sunrise at an Exoti Black Sand Beach
- Cost: $15
One of Maui’s most famous beach is Pa’iloa, a vibrant black sand beach at Wai’anapanapa State Park. Not only is the beach stunningly beautiful, but it also has a rich history and is home to many ancient Hawaiian legends.
Getting to the beach for sunrise is a magical experience. Entering Waianapanapa State Park requires reservations in advance and if you are driving from the opposite side of Maui, chances are is that you don’t want to start the journey to this black sand beach at 3 am.
Instead, opt for a stay at the Waianapanapa Cabins inside the park. This is one of my favorite adventures on Maui and all you’ll have to do is wake up and walk less then 10 minutes to the epic black sand beach.
9. Swim at a World Class Beach
- Cost: Free
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 🐠.
10. Swim with Dolphins
- Cost: $100
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.
11. Island Hop to Lanai
- Cost: $30
A budget friendly activity on Maui is island hopping to Lanai. There is a ferry that runs daily to the neighboring island of Lanai from Lahaina town.
The ferry ride to Lanai takes just over an hour and offers spectacular views of West Maui, the Big Island and the ocean along the way. From the ferry, you can catch glimpses of Maui’s rugged coastline, Molokai’s lush green hills and the dramatic cliffs of Lanai’s south shore.
Once docked at Lanai, its about a 10 minute walk to Manele Bay where you can swim in the crystal clear waters. From here you can hike along the coastline from Manele Bay will take you to sweetheart rock. The iconic, natural landmark rises 80 feet out of the water.
12. Swim Under a Waterfall
- Cost: Free but they kindly accept 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.
13. Camp Inside a Dormant Volcano
- Cost: $75
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.
MAUI TRAVEL GUIDES
📍Plan your Trip:
- The Ultimate guide to Maui
- 10 Tips to Know Before you Travel to Maui
- 21 Mistakes to Avoid on your First Trip to Hawaii
🗺 How long to travel Maui? 1-2 Week Maui Itinerary
☔️ Best Time to Visit: Best Time to Visit Maui
💰 Average Daily Budget:
⛺️ Maui accommodation Guides
- Best Area to Stay on Maui
- West Maui vs. South Maui – Where to Stay
- Where to Stay in Maui on a Budget
- Best Airbnbs in Maui
- Where to Stay in Hana, HI
- Top Honeymoon Resorts in Maui
- 10 Best Honeymoon Resorts in Hawaii
- The Coolest & Most Unique Airbnbs to Stay in Hawaii
- Driving the Road to Hana
- Sunrise over Haleakala
- Exploring Exotic Beaches
- Waianapanapa State Park
- Haleakala National Park
- Whale Watch
- Hike the Pipiwai Trail
- Snorkel Molokini
- Drive the West Maui Loop
- Lahaina Town
- Learn to Surf
🧳 What to Pack: What to Pack for Maui
🎥 Watch our Maui Series on YouTube
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My husband and I had to postpone our first ever trip to Maui in August. We are hoping to reschedule for the end of October, since they just announced the pre-travel testing program starting Oct 15th!! Will all of these exciting adventures and sites to visit be open if we come in October? We don’t want to come and everything is closed due to COVID pandemic.
Aloha! Yes most of these activities are open but have limited hours. For example hiking to Waimoku Falls, the trail is open Monday through Friday during the day. Haleakala for sunrise is open and they just opened Sliding Sands trail (limited hours of course) so be sure to check the NP website for exact times. Snorkeling Molokini tours are also running and you’ll prob have the boat all to yourself! Hope you have an amazing trip, you’re going to love it here!
Hi Jess, we have tickets from CA to Maui on Dec 8th. How is the COVID thing going there. Our restaurants are only seating outdoors and no large groups. I know we can’t predict anything… but here… things are getting better each week! How is it there?
Aloha! Today Hawaii officially is welcoming back visitors! 🥳 Most businesses like snorkel tours and Haleakala National Park are open but have limited hours but as visitors trickle in, the hours will increase. Most restaurants are opened or are in the process of being reopened by November 1st. Of course no large parties and seating is limited to follow the rules of social distancing. And you must wear a mask everywhere 😷 but just like you stated things are getting better every week and by December 8th the whales will be here and you’ll have a fantastic trip!
What is Hawaii like now? We were/are scheduled for the end of December trip. This was booked over a year ago.
Aloha! Hawaii is open and happy for visitors to return. As I’ve heard from people traveling in, getting here was a bit more difficult as you need to provide a negative COVID test (from approved partners) before you are able to get on the flight. COVID seems to be under control due to the strict guidelines to enter the state (I am speaking about Maui).
Restaurants and bars are all mostly open but are operating at a 3rd capacity as per CDC so making reservations ahead of time are crucial. This applies to boat tours and the such as well, since capacity is smaller, things fill up quicker.
Masks are required everywhere (even giving tickets if not complying), even exploring towns but its a small price to pay to keep everyone safe. 🙂
Weather is perfect and I saw my first whale sighting yesterday! You will have a great trip!