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Maui’s Best Outdoor Adventures

  • Post category:Hawaii

Maui, a tropical paradise in the heart of Hawaii, offers a plethora of outdoor adventures for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. From the azure waters teeming with marine life to the lush green mountains and awe-inspiring volcanic landscapes, Maui is a playground for those looking to explore the great outdoors. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or someone who enjoys a more laid-back approach to nature, Maui has something to offer for everyone.

Key Takeaways

  • Snorkeling with sea turtles is a must-do activity for marine life enthusiasts.
  • Outrigger canoeing provides a unique way to explore Maui’s coastline.
  • Kiteboarding and windsurfing are popular water sports for those seeking an adrenaline rush.
  • Haleakala offers both stargazing opportunities and thrilling downhill cycling experiences.
  • For the truly adventurous, shark diving presents a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

1. Snorkel with Sea Turtles

Snorkeling with sea turtles in Maui is an unforgettable experience that fits into any budget. You can snorkel right off the beach for free at spots like Turtle Town, Honolua Bay, and Black Rock. For those who are more experienced, the Ahihi Kinau Marine Preserve offers a more challenging adventure. The waters in Maui are warm, crystal clear, and teeming with marine life, making it one of the top snorkeling tours in the world.

Many visitors head to Honokeana Bay to canoe with sea turtles if they aren’t comfortable getting in the water yet. However, our two outrigger canoe experiences took us to different places to snorkel with sea turtles. After an hour of paddling and learning about the history of the Hawaiian islands, it was time to hop in the water. It wasn’t long before we spotted giant sea turtles swimming below. The strict rules of snorkeling in Maui ensure that you cannot go near or chase the turtles, making it a safe and respectful experience for both humans and marine life.

For those looking for a guided experience, Molokini Snorkel Boat Tours are highly recommended. These tours offer a chance to see not only sea turtles but also exotic fish and beautiful coral reefs. The tours are designed to be educational and safe, providing all the necessary gear and professional guides to enhance your underwater adventure.

2. Outrigger Canoe

One of our favorite things to do in Maui is to go on an outrigger canoe trip to canoe with sea turtles and admire the coast. We’ve loved it so much, we’ve done it twice! What sets this paddling excursion apart from other boat journeys is the cultural element.

Hawaiian Paddle Sports offers excellent group outrigger canoe tours from South and West Maui, including whale watching, snorkeling and canoe surfing, and each tour includes an overview of the cultural importance of the sport as well as proper paddling instruction and Hawaiian commands.

Listening to Keoni’s instructions we paddled in unison as we admired the coastline of Maui and nearby islands of Molokai and Lanai in the distance and on one of our outrigger canoe experiences from Mekena Beach, we saw the heavily bombed Kaho’olawe Island in the distance.

We would paddle a few strokes on each side and then listen for his instructions to switch as he told us story after story. You can book Outrigger canoe trips with Hawaiian Paddle Sports.

One of the most valuable things you can do during any trip to Hawaii is learn about the unique culture and historic practices of the Hawaiian Islands and people. Outrigger canoeing is not only the official team sport of the state of Hawaii, but a practice that has been around since approximately 200 AD when the first Polynesian explorers set out in search of new land. Today, outrigger canoeing, surfing and racing are popular activities on Maui, and one that many visitors are eager to try for themselves.

We had plenty of time in the water and shared it only with a few scuba divers below. The snorkeling area wasn’t crowded at all and it seemed as if the only way out to the reef was to kayak or canoe. We were so far away from shore. It is definitely one of the must-have experiences in Maui.

3. Kiteboarding Maui

black fish dove into ocean at daytime

Maui is known for surfing, but if you want to try something a little more unusual, you can take kiteboarding lessons at Kite Beach in Kahului. We met our guides Natasha and Tim and within a heartbeat, we were suited up in our life vest, waist harness, and helmets.

For more information on Kiteboarding in Maui, check out Kiteboarding School Maui for prices and details.

4. Wind Surfing

If kiteboarding doesn’t sound like your thing, Maui is one of the best places in the world for windsurfing. Kanaha Beach Park is a good place to go windsurfing for the first time. Ho’okipa Beach Park is reserved for the experts. If you are an avid windsurfer this is the place to go, but don’t even think about it if you are not.

5. Paddle Boarding

Paddleboarding is one of the fastest growing outdoor recreation activities in the world and for good reason—it’s great exercise, it’s easy, and most importantly, it’s FUN! While paddleboarding on a lake or a river is a good time, taking it out on the ocean is a whole new level of fun. Stand up paddleboarding (or SUP) is one of the most exciting ways to experience the ocean while visiting Maui. Enjoy views of Maui’s scenic shoreline while taking advantage of the perfect perspective to see some of Maui’s most common marine life. If you’ve never experienced stand up paddleboarding on the ocean, we recommend taking a private SUP lesson to learn the best techniques for standing up and staying up. For those with SUP experience, a tour with a certified guide is the ideal way to find the best paddle boarding spots along Maui’s shoreline. SUP is a low-impact workout and a fun activity for visitors of all levels—give it a try and treat yourself to a nice pat on the back afterward.

6. Paragliding

Paragliding is the perfect compromise for those who want to fly through the air but don’t want to jump out of a plane to do it. Skilled instructors offer tandem flights off the slopes of Mount Haleakala, letting you soar through the air taking in the extraordinary views. It’s a thrill of a lifetime. Check out FlyMaui for details.

If you have never tried paragliding before, Maui is the place to do it. Like many of the unusual activities on this list, no experience is necessary to have a great adventure.

7. Canyoning

Canyoning is becoming the adventure of choice for adrenaline junkies. It mixes a bit of rock climbing with hiking and swimming. Nothing is more exciting than rappelling over a waterfall and plunging into the cool waters of the pool below. Especially on a hot day in Maui, this activity not only is an exciting adventure, but it also keeps you cool in the tropical heat. You don’t need any experience to go canyoning and you can learn to rappel in a flash. It’s easy and safe. A Maui waterfall adventure is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Maui. Rapell Maui offers Canyon Tours.

The ultimate guide to Maui’s waterfalls showcases the beauty of Maui’s waterfalls, from the iconic Road to Hana to hidden gems in West Maui and Haleakalā National Park. Explore family-friendly spots and thrilling helicopter tours.

8. Haleakala Stargazing

cloudy sky

For an unforgettable experience, head to the summit of Mount Haleakala for a guided telescope tour of the night skies. Dress warmly, as it gets cold up there at night. At dusk, you can witness one of the most beautiful sunsets on the island, and stay after dark for a truly mesmerizing stargazing tour. Expert guides will point out constellations and stars, share stories about Hawaiian culture, and help you find planets with state-of-the-art telescopes. This is a unique opportunity to explore and appreciate the night sky in an unforgettable way.

9. Cycle Down Haleakala

body of water and snow-covered mountains during daytime

If you want to try something even more unique, what about cycling down a volcano? Take a van to the top of the volcano, learning about Maui history, culture, and points of interest before hopping on a mountain bike to cycle downhill. Combining the sunrise with a thrilling downhill bike ride is the ultimate Haleakala experience. This isn’t free unless you have your own bike, but it is worth every penny. The Sunrise Special tour with Bike Maui allows kids over the age of 8 to ride. You meet your guides at the bike shop to get outfitted with bikes and helmets, get transported to the summit to watch the sunrise, and then descend the 23-mile downhill route that takes you from 10,000 feet back down to sea level.

There are plenty of stops along the way, and you can go as fast or as slow as you want, stopping at shops and restaurants along the way. It takes about 90 minutes non-stop. This is a relaxing trip as it’s all downhill, so you don’t have to exert any energy to enjoy this unique adventure.

Experience the famous sunrise at Haleakala before zooming downhill alongside Haleakala’s fragrant eucalyptus forests, protea, tropical flower and purple lavender farms, and much more.

10. Shark Diving

shark against black background

Shark diving in Maui offers an exhilarating experience for adventure seekers. Many people try shark diving at the Maui Ocean Center, but why go to an aquarium when you can do the real thing in Maui? There are a few different shark diving excursions available. You can dive in open water with white tip reef sharks at Mala Wharf, where sharks are often swimming among the shipwrecks. If you are new to scuba diving, you can book beginner discovery dives from Lahaina. For those not ready to dive, cage diving is an excellent alternative. There are 40 different species of sharks in the waters of Hawaii, so get out and see them. Sharks are not as scary as they look once you are in the water with them. We’ve done cage diving in South Africa and Australia, and it is a great introduction to those thinking about taking up scuba diving.

Experience the thrill of a lifetime with our exclusive shark diving adventures! Dive into the deep blue and come face-to-face with these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Don’t miss out on this exhilarating experience. Visit our website to learn more and book your adventure today!

Conclusion

Maui’s diverse landscape offers an array of outdoor adventures that cater to every type of traveler. Whether you’re exploring the vibrant marine life on a reef walk, hiking through lush interiors, or experiencing the thrill of off-road adventures, Maui promises unforgettable experiences. The island’s natural beauty, combined with the passion and knowledge of local guides, ensures that every adventure is both educational and exhilarating. So pack your bags, embrace the spirit of adventure, and discover the best outdoor activities Maui has to offer. Your dream vacation awaits!

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I wear for outdoor activities in Maui?

Guests are recommended to wear comfortable appropriate attire including shoes (walking, water or hiking as needed), sun protection (cream, hat, and rash guard), insect repellent, sunglasses, and bring a bottle of water.

Do I need to know how to swim for water activities?

Yes, our water activities require guests to know how to swim, be comfortable in the water, and able to cope with occasional currents. Guests are also cautioned not to touch or step on the coral reef or touch any underwater animals for safety and environmental reasons.

Are wildlife sightings guaranteed during tours?

Wildlife sightings are likely but never guaranteed. Our tours operate in natural environments where wildlife is free to roam.

What is the best way to book activities in Maui?

Far and Away Adventures is a South Pacific Specialist that custom builds memorable vacation packages. You can book activities directly on our website. Some select activities and ferries that do not indicate prices can be booked only after booking a cruise, hotel stay, or flight.

Are the tours physically demanding?

Some tours may involve strenuous and lengthy hikes over uneven terrain, uphill and downhill trails, and limited shade. These activities are recommended for guests in very good physical condition. Each guest should carefully review the tour description to evaluate their physical limits.

What should I bring on a tour?

Guests are recommended to bring comfortable attire, sun protection, insect repellent, sunglasses, and a bottle of water. For water activities, reef shoes are recommended to avoid any wounds or discomfort.