There are lots of fun and exciting things to do in Wailea Maui that even if you didn’t explore any other parts of the island of Maui, you’re guaranteed to have an epic time. From snorkeling to world class golfing, there’s Wailea activities for every type of traveler.

Wailea is a resort area on Maui’s south shore. Filled with stunning beaches, romantic resorts and gourmet dining, Wailea is a top destination to spend on your honeymoon.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic escape or action packed family vacation, there is plenty of things to do in Wailea that will suit your needs. After living on Maui for over 12 years I compiled a list of the best things to do in Wailea.

In this article, I’ll go over 20 fun things to do in South Maui written by a local, just so you know, you’re getting the inside scoop and insider tip. 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 Wailea Maui

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Best Things to do in Wailea Maui

Things to do in Wailea Maui
Molokini in Maui view from above

Snorkel Molokini Crater

The most popular thing to do in Wailea is taking a Boat Tour to Snorkel Molokini. Molokini is the horseshoe shaped volcanic crater that can be seen from South Maui’s coastline.

Molokini is a popular spot and fish sanctuary and can only be accessed on a boat tour. 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 tropical fish and marine life.

This snorkeling tour is usually paired with a visit to turtle town located in close vicinity to Molokini. You’re guaranteed to see turtles and tons of marine life.  Don’t forget to wear your reef safe sunscreen and prepare to have one of your best days exploring Maui on the water.

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Big Beach in Wailea Maui

Big Beach

Big Beach, also known by the names Makena Beach and Oneloa Beach, is one of Maui’s most iconic beaches, largest beaches, and my personal favorite beach on Maui. Once your feet step on the sand, you’ll quickly realize why it got its name.

Big Beach is well over a half mile long and wide compared to most Maui beaches, which means you can always find a piece of paradise without feeling crowded by your neighbor.

There isn’t much coverage on the actual beach so if you plan on spending a day here, an umbrella and sunscreen is necessary. The waves here are often big and powerful. When the surf is up, you’ll also be front-row to some extreme boogie boarding and even surfing at the south end of the beach.

Since March of 2021, there is now a $10 fee for parking (residents are free). Parking can be a struggle when it is high tourist season and the car will be towed if not paid. There are kiosks at the parking lot to pay at with a credit card or you can simply park outside the lot and walk in with no fee.

Little Beach which we’ll cover a little later in this best things to do in Wailea post can only be accessed at the North end of Big Beach by climbing up and over the lava rocks.

Travel Tip:  Big Beach has a significant on-shore break that can be extremely intimidating when there is a large south swell.  The shore break crashes right at the water’s edge so you should always enter the water here with caution.  Examine the ocean for 5 minutes before getting in so you understand what you’re getting into.  If in doubt, don’t go in.

Luxury resort on Maui

Splurge at the Grand Wailea Resort

The Grand Wailea is one of the best resorts in Wailea. Situated on Wailea Beach, the Grand Wailea Resort is a great place for families, couples or solo adventurists.

From daily morning beach yoga, the award winning spa or the Wailea Canyon activity pool you can spend a week at this resort and not run out of things to do.

Spend your days sipping a pina coladas by the pool, taking dips in the ocean and listening to live music during sunset. Finish a book in a day. However you choose to spend your resort time, make sure it’s relaxing and let your stress melt away.

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Paddle boarding in Maui

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Take your workouts outside and try stand up paddle boarding.  One of the best places to try supping 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. The best time to try supping is in the mornings.

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Golfing in Hawaii

Golf in Wailea

The Wailea golf club is home to not 1, not 2 but 3 beautiful 18-hole golf courses. 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.

Golfing is a popular activity and one of the best Wailea activities for fresh air and beautiful landscapes.

I'm Jess Traveling hiking the Old Kings Highway in La Perouse Maui

Hike the Hoapili Trail

If you are looking for hiking in Wailea, then head south towards Makena to hike the Hoapili Trail. The Hoapili Trail also known as the Kings Trail is a lightly trafficked Maui hiking trail that is suitable for any skill level.

The highlight of this trail is the beautiful coastline and goats! Yes there are wild goats that are running around at the beginning of the hike! Shoes or hiking boots are a must because the lava rocks jut into the path and it’s sharp.

It gets very hot so water and sunscreen is very important. This is one of the best things to do in Wailea if you love hiking as much as I do. The trailhead starts in La Perouse Bay.

Maui Luaua of the top things to do on Front Street

Attend a Luau

One of the best things to do in Wailea is to attend a luau. South Maui has some of Maui’s best luau’s including the Grand Wailea luau – ‘Aha’aina Wailea at the Grand Wailea and the te au moana luau – 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 is dinner and a show.  Taste local, Hawaiian cuisine and sip mai tais as you get a taste of authentic Hawaiian culture at a Wailea luau.

Book a Luau →

Hiking the Hoapili Trail, Maui Hawaii

Explore Makena

Located 5-10 minutes past Wailea, Makena is the southern most area in South Maui. 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 is also where the Hoapili Trail starts.

Get Weird at Little Beach

If you love boogie boarding, sandy beaches, great views and being naked then you’ll adore Little Beach. Little Beach is Maui’s most famous nude beach.

Although I think that nudist beaches tend to attract the people that you don’t want to see naked. Go on a Sunday when there’s a naked drum circle, dancing, and a guaranteed good time.

Sunset Sail | One of the Best Things to do in Wailea HI

One of the best things to do in Wailea is take a Sunset Cruise on the Pacific Ocean. It just doesn’t get any better than this. A sunset cruise off South Maui offers stunning views of Molokini Crater, the neighboring island of Kaho’olawe, white sand beaches, and the sunset.

Enjoy dinner and a show featuring live ukulele music and island-inspired menu items such as the seared ahi. This Wailea tour is perfect for a romantic evening or a night out with friends. Toast to the good life and cruise in style aboard a spacious catamaran.

Book a Sail →

Mai Tai in Maui

Mai Tai at Monkey Pod

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. They have 2 locations, one in Wailea and one in Kaanapali.

Monkeypod’s 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.

Secrets Beach | One of the Best Beaches in Wailea

Secrets Beach is exactly what you want Maui beaches to look like. Although Secrets is not a so secret hidden gem anymore, as this is one of the most popular wedding beaches.

To access this beach you must hike around the outcropping on a semi hidden path.This beach is quiet, has calm waters and is a bit off-the beaten path. Come to this beach to relax, catch a tan and let your worries melt away.

A lomilomi massage in Hawaii

Lomi Lomi Massage | A Things to do in Wailea worth the Splurge

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.

This is an activity in Wailea 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 what to do in Wailea when it’s raining on Maui.

The Wailea Coastal Trail

Walk the Coastal Trail in Wailea

The Wailea Oceanfront Boardwalk Trail is a beautiful paved walkway that showcases the stunning beaches of Wailea. While strolling the Wailea beach path, you’ll be able to get loads of Wailea sightseeing in.

The Wailea coastal walkway features wild flowers and is suitable for all skill levels. This coastal path climbs to Wailea Point and is a great spot to watch for whales from November through May.

Eat Jawz Tacos

Jawz Taco Trucks has some of the best tacos in Wailea. You can find this ono truck in the parking lot of the first entrance to Big Beach. This is a popular spot, perfect for grab and go tacos if you have a picnic area in mind.

🌮 Must try items include: Mahi Mahi Tacos, Pork Tacos and Shave Ice. A great restaurant at a great price. 

Shop at the Shops of  Wailea

Need to bring home friends and family souvenirs that aren’t super cheesy? Head to the Shops of Wailea which is Maui’s premier retail destination.

Located in Maui’s famed south shore, the shops feature more than 70 stores, including world-renowned luxury brands, like Louis Vuitton top island-restaurants and a collection of distinctive Hawai‘i stores.

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    Maui Film Festival

    Every June, Wailea, Maui comes alive with a star-studded event honoring talent in cinema. This is one of the best things to do in Wailea at night if you happen to be visiting Maui during this time.

    The Film Festival lasts five days and nights which include film premieres, filmmakers panels, special screenings, tributes and award ceremonies.

    The festivities rev up in the evenings at numerous culinary arts celebrations and galas, featuring world-renowned chefs, delectable desserts, and sophisticated Maui farm-to-table presentations.

    Bring beach chairs or a blanket and watch film premiers under the stars on the lawn. Surrounded by beauty, you can’t create a better atmosphere.

    Boogie Board at Wailea Beach

    Wailea beach is the best place in Wailea for easy boogie boarding. The beach is wide, inviting and has perfect sand. The Four Seasons and the Grand Wailea sit on this beach.

    Boogie boarding is fun here due to the gentle slope and small waves. You can rent boogie boards at any of the surf shops around town.

    🌊 Travel Tip:  During south swells the surf can get big and rip currents and hazardous water conditions form. If you are unsure consult with a life guard or when in doubt, don’t go out.

    Go Diving at Makena State Park

    If you are looking for Wailea things to do in the water, Makena State Park contains,One’uli Beach (also called Naupaka Beach) which is an excellent beach for snorkeling and diving.

    Most visitors only associate black sand beaches with Waianapanapa State Park but One’uli is the closest black sand beach to the Wailea Resort area. Oneuli in ancient Hawaiian language means “dark sands”.

    The beach is covered in a thick blanket of black sand, but at the water’s edge the sand disappears and becomes hard lava. Coral and reef are found just past the water’s edge which contains abundant sea and marine life.

    Green Sea Turtles also frequent this area which makes Makena State Park an excellent location for diving.

    Swimming with sea turtles on Maui

    Scooter Snorkeling Tour

    Calling all nature lovers. A Scooter Snorkel Tour is a great way to experience Wailea. When you are scooter snorkeling, you travel farther and faster to see reefs and other marine life of the region.

    It’s like you’re playing the main character in an action movie. This is how you’d get away. Plus you’ll get to snorkel with some of Maui’s best creatures – colorful fish, aged turtles, reef tip sharks and much more marine life.

    Book a Tour →

    Kayak & Snorkel Tour

    Turtle town is, you guessed it an area that it always full of Hawaiian green sea turtles. One great way to be able to experience these majestic creatures is by going on a Turtle Town Kayak and Snorkel Tour.

    This kayak tour is one of the best things to do in Kihei and Wailea to be out on the water, get to interact with some of Maui’s most beautiful creatures, and to be active.

    Book a Tour →

    Get Romantic at the Four Seasons Resort

    The Four Seasons Wailea is one of Maui’s most romantic resorts. On days your not exploring the Maui, spend your days lounging at the adults-only infinity pool in one of the luxury or elevated ocean-view cabanas.

    The Four Seasons Maui oceanfront resort is perfect for couples wanting to get away from it all and celebrate life’s special moments. Move from the pool to the spa and get pampered in luxury.

    🕯️ Travel Tip:  If you are looking for an ultra exclusive, luxurious stay in paradise with no interruptions opt for a stay at the Four Seasons Resort Lana’i one of the best places to stay in Lanai.

    Pacific Humpback whale in the ocean in Maui

    Whale Watch | The Best Thing to do in Wailea Maui

    Of course, the best thing to do in Wailea is go on a Whale Watch Tour. Whale-Watching Tours are only possible during the winter months whale season from November to May when these gigantic creatures make their way to the islands to give birth.

    Keep a lookout for spouts of mist, graceful breaches, or the slap of a giant tail. Not only do you get to spot humpback whales in their natural habitat, but you get to taking in the beauty of Maui from off shore. There are plenty of tour operators.

    Book a Tour →

    Hana Hotel in Hana Maui

    Where to Stay in Wailea

    Wailea contains some of Maui’s most luxurious resorts. These are the top resorts in Wailea. If you nee more help deciding on where to stay in Maui, check out the travel guides below.

    • 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 fine dining restaurant (one of the top restaurants on Maui), lounge in the infinity pool, and toast to the good life.
    • Wailea Beach Resort – The best place to stay in Maui for honeymooners, a special occasion, and the 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.
    Pipiwai Trail in Hana HI
    Sunset at 505 beach Lahaina Maui
    Tired turtle on the beach in Maui HI with I'm Jess Traveling

    South Maui Travel Guides

    Wailea 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 Maui, 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 Kihei – Kihei to Wailea is less than a 10 minute drive. These are the best things to do in Kihei.

    Driving the Back Road to Hana – Drive the famous road to Hana in reverse.

    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.

    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 Wailea

    It’s hard not fall in love with Wailea, paradise in the Hawaiian Islands. Pristine beaches, a cool ocean breeze, and luxury on the shores of the Pacific. 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.

    Haleakala National Park Tips & Tricks 

    21 Mistakes Not to Make on Your First Trip to Hawaii 

    5 of Maui’s Most Photogenic Towns

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