You landed on Maui and just dropped your bags off at the hotel, now what to do in Kihei?  Filled with gorgeous coast lines, tasty restaurants and surf shops there are plenty of things to do in Kihei that will ensure a memorable Hawaiian vacation.

Kihei is located on Maui’s South shore and is one of the driest and sunniest parts of Maui. Kihei is a popular part of the island that offers many Kihei Airbnbs and more budget friendly places to stay on Maui.

Whether you’re on Maui for a romantic honeymoon, looking for a tropical adventure, or a relaxing vacation with the family, there’s an activity in Kihei that appeals to everyone.

In this article, I’ll go over the best things to do in Kihei written by a local (me), just so you know, you’re getting the inside scoop. And at the end of the post, I’ll add any useful tips or travel guides to will aid in your trip to Maui.

Things to do in Kihei, Maui

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  • Take a Surf Lesson
  • Enjoy a Mai Tai at Monkeypod
  • Check out 4th Friday in Kihei
  • Go Golfing
  • Happy Hour at Three’s Bar & Grill
  • Go Deep Sea Fishing
  • Get a Lomi Lomi Massage
  • Watch Sunset over the Water
  • Grill out at Kamaole Beach Park
  • Try Supping
  • Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

The Top Things to do in Kihei, Maui

Things to do in Kihei
Molokini in Maui view from above

Snorkel Molokini | The #1 Thing to do in Kihei

Molokini boasts some of Maui’s best snorkeling opportunities. Taking a Snorkel Trip Molokini is a perfect excursion for the whole family and by far one of the best things to do in Kihei.

Molokini is the horseshoe shaped volcanic crater you can see from Maui’s South shore and the only way to reach this fish sanctuary is via boat. Being that it is a fish sanctuary, people aren’t allowed to fish in this area which ensures that you’ll be able to see an array of fish and marine life.

If you are as fascinated with sea turtles as I am, this is the place you’re almost guaranteed to spot the ancient animal. So much that they named this specific snorkeling spot turtle town.

Make sure your GoPro is charged and prepare to have one of your best days exploring Maui on the water.

Book a Snorkel Molokini Tour →

Maui Luaua of the top things to do on Front Street

Attend a Luau

A top experience that everyone wants to have when they travel to Hawaii is to attend a luau. South Maui has some of Maui’s best Luau’s including ‘Aha’aina Wailea at the Grand Wailea and Te Au Moana at the Wailea Marriott.

A luau takes you through Hawaii’s history and legends by showcasing the beautiful Hula dance, music and chants. Come with an appetite because a luau a is dinner and show.

Taste local, Hawaiian cuisine and sip mai tais as you get a taste of authentic Hawaiian culture. It’s best to book a luau in advance as ticket sell out fast.

Book a Luau →

Rocks on the sand with the waves flowing over them
Wailea Beach in South Maui

Find the Perfect Beach in Kihei

Maui is known for her beaches, with over 120 miles of coastline it won’t be a problem finding a beach to your liking. South Maui has some of Maui’s best beaches and spending the day at one of these iconic beaches is one of the best things to do in Kihei.

A few of the best beaches that you can’t miss are Big Beach, Secrets, and Kam |||.  Kihei and Lahaina are the guaranteed towns in Maui to always have sun. Pack a cooler, bring your reef safe sunscreen and let you worries slip away. 

Because time wasted at the beach, isn’t time wasted at all. If you want to see several beaches in one day, opt for a private guided tour that takes you to all the best beaches on West Maui and South Maui.

Sampling beer at Maui brewco

Sample Beer at Maui Brewing Company

You can’t visit Kihei without stopping at this Maui brewery and restaurant. The space is beautiful, wide, open, large patio and over 20 beers on tap.  

This is also one of the best things to do in Kihei at night because they have live music daily during sunset hours. Don’t know which beer to pick, no problem opt for a flight and sample 4 different beers at once.  

The menu offers a basic fair for lunch including artisan pizzas, fish tacos and nachos. But you don’t come here for the food, you go to Maui Brew Co. for the beer, atmosphere and the live music.

Pacific Humpback whale in the ocean in Maui

Go on a Whale Watch | The Best Thing to do in Kihei

Psst, how does a whale tell time?..on a whale watch! Nailed it.

If you are traveling to Maui during whale season (December through April), one of the greatest experiences you can have is to witness these majestic creatures up close and personal.

One of the best ways to do this is by taking a Whale Watching Tour. There are several boat companies that offer tours to see the humpback whales.

The tours usually last a couple hours and snacks and open bar are included. The guides are very knowledgeable and you’ll learn tons of fun facts about the Pacific humpback whales that make the trek from Alaska to the warm waters of Hawaii every year.

This is one of the best Kihei attractions and is fun for the whole family. There are boats that depart from the Kihei boat ramp, Ma’alaea Harbor, Lahaina Harbor and also from Ka’anapali.

So even if you aren’t staying in South Maui, enjoying a whale watching tour is one of the best things to do on Maui and shouldn’t be missed when exploring the Valley Isle.

Book a Whale Watching Tour →

Kayak with the Whales

Looking for a little more adventure? Opt for a Kayaking Tour to see the Whales at eye level. This is by far the most exciting and thrilling way to experience the whales and one of the best things to do in Kihei.

There is no better way to start the day than spotting a Hawaiian islands humpback whale. Don’t forget to charge your gopro.

Book a Tour →

Visit the Humpback Whale Sanctuary 

Since we’re on the subject of the humpback whales, the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary visitors center can be found in the center of Kihei. 

Located on the south shores of Maui, at the humpback whale sanctuary, you’ll have the chance to learn about the marine environment. This is an ideal location because if you’re traveling to Maui during whale season, you may even see humpback whales breaching. 

This isn’t an uncommon occurrence but either way you’ll be greeted with views of Kahoʻolawe, Lānaʻi, and West Maui.

🐋 Read Next: The Best Time to Visit Maui

Big Beach places in Maui Hawaii

Explore Makena in South Maui

By far one of the most popular beaches on Maui is Makena. Located 10 minutes past Kihei, Makena is the southern most area in South Maui and home to my favorite beach on Maui Big Beach (pictured above).

Once past Big Beach the road narrows and hugs the coast line. The curvy road takes you past beautiful ocean views, palm trees and volcanic rocks jutting out of the ocean.

You’ll see locals fishing and soon you’ll start to drive through a volcanic lava fields. This part of the island is very similar to most of the Big Island as its lava fields every which way you look.

When the road ends, you can park your vehicle in the parking lot and start to explore by foot. This area is known as La Peruse and this is where the Kings Trail starts, one of the best hikes on Maui.

Luxury resort on Maui

Splurge at a World Class Resort

One of the best things to do in Wailea is live it up in paradise at one of the luxurious resorts that line Wailea’s breathtaking beaches. I know this isn’t technically in Kihei but its super close and deserved a spot on the list.

Spend your days sipping a pina coladas by the pool and taking dips in the ocean. Finish a book in a day. However you choose to spend your resort time, make sure its relaxing and let your stress melt away.

There are several fantastic resorts to choose from. A few of the best resorts in Wailea are the Andaz, the Four Seasons, the Fairmont Kea Lani, the Grand Wailea and Hotel Wailea.

Sansei Sushi restaurant

Eat Sushi at Miso Phat in Kihei

Maui is an island, surrounded by water which means there is never a shortage of fresh caught fish. Miso Phat in the heart of Kihei is one of, if not the best sushi establishment on island. If you love sushi, this is where to eat in Kihei.

The fish is caught daily by the owner and the sushi rolls are out of this world. Some of my favorite items are MISO Bomb & MISO pretty.

There is also a Miso Phat in West Maui, about 20 minutes North of Lahaina in the town of Kahana. Both restaurants are small in size so seating is limited but I promise it will be worth the wait.

A top thing to do in Maui is dine on a sunset cruise

Take a Sunset Cruise 

One of the best things to do in Kihei is take a sunset cruise on the Pacific Ocean. Toast to the good life and cruise in style aboard a spacious catamaran.

Departing directly from South Maui this sunset cruise offers stunning views of the Molokini Crater, the neighboring island of Kaho’olawe, white sand beaches and of course the sunset.

This cruise is dinner and a show featuring live ukulele music and island-inspired menu items such as the seared ahi. This tour is perfect for a romantic evening or a night out with friends.

Book a Sunset Sail →

Surf camp at breakwall in Lahaina, Maui

Learn to Surf in Kihei

When most people think of Hawaii surfing comes to mind. Learning to surf in Kihei at the Cove is a perfect spot for beginners.

There are plenty of surf shops nearby that will set you up with a group or private lessons depending on your preference but it’s best to reserve a surf lesson in advance.

Book a Surf Lesson →

Mai Tylers at Fleetwoods on Front Street, Lahaina Maui

Enjoy a Mai Tai at Monkeypod 

You can’t visit Maui without sampling at least a couple Mai Tai’s right?  Monkeypod Kitchen is one of the tastiest restaurants on Maui.  

Not only is the food delicious but so are the Mai Tai’s. The Monkeypod Mai Tai is a twist on the traditional Mai Tai that is more spirit driven and topped with a honey-lilikoi foam.

 Yum! You will see this style of Mai Tai is fairly popular on Maui as many restaurants have their own version of a foam topped Mai Tai.

A few other must hit up restaurants for the Mai Tai’s are Merrimans and Fleetwoods on Front Street, two of the best restaurants in Lahaina.

The Mai Tyler from Fleetwoods is pictured above.

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    Fourth Friday Town Party in Kihei

    Every ‘Aloha Friday’ on Maui, a free town party is put on in different locations throughout the island. Depending on what Friday it is will depend on where the party is hosted.

    The1st Friday of the month is held in Wailuku town, 2nd Friday’s in Lahaina and 4th Friday is in Kihei. This is by far one of the best ways to celebrate Maui’s culture, community, art, and music.

    The Kihei fourth Friday is one of the best things to do in Kihei with kids as these are family-fun events. Shop for local art and sample locals foods at the Maui Friday town parties.

    Golfing in Wailea, Maui

    Golf in Wailea

    South Mauiis home to not 1, not 2 but 3 beautiful 18-hole golf courses, all of which are located in Wailea. Take your swing at either the Wailea Blue course, Wailea Gold course or Wailea Emerald course.

    If you are golfing on the Blue course make sure to grab a cold pint at Mulligan’s after your rounds. It’s one of the best Irish bars on Maui. If you golfing on the Gold course, Gannon’s restaurant has a great happy hour.

    Happy Hour at Three’s Bar and Grill

    Locate in central Kihei, Three’s Bar and Grill has one of the best happy hours in Kihei. Every Monday through Sunday from 3-6 pm this awesome happy hour takes place.

    The happy hour menu is fairly large offering items such as coconut shrimp, kalua pork nachos and the crispy pork belly. Plus there’s a variety of sushi rolls for under $6 dollars.

    Book a Table →

    Deep Sea fishing Kihei, Maui

    Go Deep Sea Fishing

    There are dozens of companies offering fishing charters on Maui.You will fish offshore and expect to catch all types of Hawaiian fish such as ahi, mahimahi, ono, uku, swordfish and barracuda.

    Spend the day on the ocean chasing game. Dinner always taste better when you had to work for it.

    A lomilomi massage in Hawaii

    Get a Lomi Lomi Massage | A Unique Thing to do in Kihei

    You can’t visit the Hawaiian islands without relaxing. A Lomi lomi is a traditional Hawaiian massage that uses a combination of massage techniques, nut oils like macadamia and breathing and dance.

    The massage is meant to restore energy and soothe the body. A traditional lomi lomi massage costs around $120-200 at a quality spa, which is worth the splurge.

    Your best bet will be to book one with a hotel/resort to ensure the quality. Sit back, relax, and get your zen on. This is one of the best things to do in Maui when it rains.

    Sunset in Kihei Maui

    Sunset | A Free Thing to do in Kihei

    You can never have a bad sunset especially on Maui. In Kihei the sunsets hit a little differently as its sets over the water, opposed to West Maui where the sun sets over the neighboring islands of Lanai or Molokai.

    The best part is, watching the sunset doesn’t cost anything and its the best way to wind down your day.

    Kam III beach in Kihei, Maui

    Grill out at Kamaole Beach Park III

    Located on South Kihei road, Kamaole Beach Park is a beautiful beach with great facilities including showers, grills, restrooms. And there’s a large lawn optimal for gatherings or birthdays.

    Kam III has the most consistent South Maui shore breaks, perfect for boogie boarding. Kamaole Beach Park is a great beach for snorkeling, plus there’s always turtles feeding around the lava rocks that surround the beach.

    Beware of crowds on holidays and the weekends, this makes the best beaches in Maui list because of its popularity with tourists and locals alike.

    Stand up paddle boarding in Lahaina Maui

    Try Supping

    Take your workouts outside and try stand up paddle boarding. One of the best places to stand up paddleboard on Maui is at Makena Beach State Park. This beach has golden sands which makes it easy for any paddle boarder to launch their board in the water.

    Paddle boarding here means being near two large black rock lava outcroppings which makes it easy to find your bearings no matter where you are. The large lava rocks also shelters you from strong winds making this the ultimate place to get your stand up on.

    Book a Lesson →

    Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

    Located on the South Central coast of Maui about 10 minutes from the Maui Ocean Center, the Kealia Pond NWF is is a coastal salt marsh. This is one of the best things to do in Kihei with kids as it can be enjoyed by the whole family.

    The Kealia Pond is a sanctuary for many species that are native and endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. Stroll along the boardwalk through ancient wetlands where you can watch two of Hawaii’s native and endangered waterbirds the ae‘o (Hawaiian stilt) and ‘alae ke‘oke‘o (Hawaiian coot).

    Whether you are visiting the National Wildlife Refuge to view the wildlife, take epic photographs or to learn about the environment, this is a free thing to do in Kihei that can be done in the same day as the Ocean Center in Maaleaa.

    Hana Hotel in Hana Maui

    Where to Stay in Kihei

    Wailea contains some of Maui’s most luxurious resorts, and Kihei has more budget friendly vacation rentals. These are the top resorts in Wailea.

    • Grand Wailea – The biggest resort in Wailea, known for its pool areas, fabulous restaurants with locally sourced ingredients, and it recently got remodeled.
    • Four Seasons Wailea– Located next door to the Grand Wailea, dine at Spago’s, lounge in the infinity pool, and toast to the good life.
    • Wailea Beach Resort – The best place to stay in Maui for honeymooners and panoramic ocean views.
    • Andaz Hotel – Multiple pool areas, fun vibe and the newest kid on the block.
    • Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel – The best hotel in Wailea for families located on Polo beach.

    👇 If you nee more help deciding on where to stay in Maui, check out the travel guides below.

    Inside Haleakala National Park
    Swimming with sea turtles on Maui

    South Maui Travel Guides

    Kihei is the perfect place to base yourself when you explore Maui. Not only is it home to some of the most beautiful beaches on island but its has a central location to visit other areas on Maui.

    🌴 Check out the guides below for help in planning your trip to Maui. I’ve lived on Maui for over a decade so if there’s a question you have about this slice of paradise, chances are I’ve written about it.

    The Ultimate Guide to Maui – This is the big guide of all the best things to do, where to eat, where to stay, tips and much more.

    20 Best Things to do in Wailea – Kihei to Wailea is less than a 10 minute drive. These are the best things to do in Wailea.

    7, 10 or 14 Day Maui Itinerary – Plan your trip based on this 7 to 14 day itinerary around Maui.

    Best Hikes on Maui – I love hiking. These are the best hiking trails on Maui for all skill levels and various lengths.

    10 Unbelievable Places to Visit on Maui – These are some of the most beautiful places on Maui.

    Best Things to do on Maui – These are the top things to do on Maui.

    What to Pack for Maui – Don’t leave home without these essentials.

    Follow Me on YouTube – Do you know that I have a YouTube Channel? Would love a subscriber, that helps me continue  to create free and helpful content for you to enjoy.

    Final Thoughts on Best Things to do in Kihei

    Sunny skies, warm waters, and palm trees swaying in the wind are only a few of the luxuries that await you when you travel to Kihei.

    If you found this article useful, let fellow travelers know in the comments below 👇.

    Maui Travel Guides ↓

    📍Planning a trip to Maui? Check out these guides to further help you plan your trip.

    8 Adventures to have in Hana

    Unusual Things to do on Maui

    20 Awesome Things to do in Ka’anapali

    Things to do in Paia

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