When you think of things to do on Maui, snorkeling at Molokini, watching fire dancers at a luau, hopping aboard a sunset dinner cruise, taking surf lessons and shopping on Front Street are just a few things that come to mind. You might notice, however, that none of those things are free. And although Maui certainly doesn’t top any charts as the most budget-friendly tropical destination, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. With year-round temperatures averaging between 75 and 85 degrees, at the very least remember that it’s always free to go outside. Here are 10 great Free Things to Do on Maui.
Attend an Island Celebration
If there’s one thing Islanders believe in, it’s celebrating! No matter what time of year you visit Maui, chances are you’ll catch some kind of event, celebration, festival or party, almost all of which are completely free to attend.
See the Sights
One of the best things about flying thousands of miles to a gorgeous island is the chance to explore it. Get outside and see the natural (and free) sights Maui has to offer.
North Maui: Take a scenic drive past Kapalua for picturesque, winding roads and stunning views of the rugged North shoreof Maui. Stop at Nakalele Blowhole and take the hike down for an awesome display of mother nature. Warning: Stay on the dry ground and don’t get too close to the blowhole!
East Maui: There’s a lot to love about the Road to Hana. If you enjoy frolicking in waterfalls, hiking through secret bamboo forests, standing in lava tubes, watching waves crash into scenic cliffs, and exploring black, red and gold sand beaches interspersed in dense tropical rainforest along on a winding highway of fun, you’re in the right place.
Upcountry Maui: If you’re looking for a break from the heat, head upcountry to Makawao or Kula and spend the day exploring art galleries and gardens.
South Maui: Drive South past Makena to La Perouse Bay, the site of the most recent lava flow on Maui. You’ll enjoy sweeping views of rugged lava fields and may even see the famous Hawaiian spinner dolphins resting in the bay. Take a walk, go for a snorkel or simply enjoy the view.
Relax under the Banyan Tree
On April 24th, 1873, Sheriff William Owen Smith planted an Indian banyan tree to honor the 50th anniversary of the first Protestant mission in Lahaina. One hundred forty-one years later, that same tree now shades two-thirds of an acre and reaches over sixty feet tall. Grab a book and head down to Lahaina’s famous banyan tree for a relaxing time in the shade. Even though climbing on the tree isn’t allowed, this is one of the best spots on Maui to people-watch to your heart’s desire. You can catch Art in the Park, an arts and crafts fair with live music, every second and fourth weekend of the month.
From December to May, an estimated 12,000 humpback whales swim over 3,000 miles from the Gulf of Alaska to Hawaii to breed, calve and nurse their young in the shallow, warm waters around Hawaii. One of the best places in the world to see these majestic creatures is the Auau Channel, the shallow area between West Maui, Lana’i and Molokai. While there are many ways to see the whales on your trip to Maui, including a boat, kayak, stand up paddle-board, outrigger canoe and even a helicopter, they can certainly be seen from shore for an equally magical, totally free experience.
Watch the Surfers
Hawaiian surfers are world renowned for their skills in big wave surfing. While Maui doesn’t get as much attention as Oahu, there are still some incredible breaks that bring in surfers from around the globe. Although you may not be ready to face the hardcore waves (and wind) yourself, it’s definitely worth making a trip to watch the pros tackle the action.
Catch some live Music
What’s a Hawaiian vacation without some island tunes? While you’re most likely to find live music at restaurants and bars, there are plenty of free options for low-key, fun evenings outdoors.
South Maui: Every Wednesday, the Shops at Wailea host a free live music event from 6:30 to 8pm. Enjoy shopping, restaurant specials and gallery receptions with artists.
West Maui: Every last Thursday of the month, the Lahaina Restoration Foundation hosts a free show on the Baldwin Home Museum Lawn from 6:00 – 7:30pm to showcase the best of Hawaii’s up-and-coming musicians and singers. Want to learn to play the ‘ukelele yourself? Free lessons are given every Tuesday at the Lahaina Cannery Mall.
Take a Hike
With an abundance of truly spectacular trails, hiking is definitely an activity you should consider on your trip to Maui. You’ll have a chance to explore the beauty of Maui firsthand and enjoy some of the best hidden spots on the island, including bamboo forests, freshwater streams, lava rock, sea arches and waterfalls! Some of our favorites include:
Pipiwai Trail: If you plan on visiting the famous Seven Sacred Pools on the back side of Haleakala National Park, don’t miss this stunning four-mile roundtrip hike. It’s worth it!
Kings Highway: This hike is actually an ancient pathway that was developed by King Piilani in the 16th century to circumnavigate and connect both sides of the island. Bring sturdy hiking shoes and lots of water, as this hike will take you directly over jagged lava rock. The ocean views from here are amazing!
Iao Valley: Located only a short drive from Wailuku, Iao Valley offers stunning views of rolling clouds, towering green cliffs and ocean views from the West Maui Mountains. Make sure to pack rain gear, bug spray and a bathing suit for a nice dip in the freshwater stream.
Twin Falls: A Maui favorite, Twin Falls is a great place to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Ho’olawa Valley and Wailele Farm, located at mile marker 2 along the Road to Hana.
Visit the Beaches
Maui has a total of 81 accessible beaches, so if you can’t find at least one that suits your fancy, chances are it doesn’t exist. From calm water and golden sand to one of the best windsurfing beaches in the world, Maui has something for everyone.
Brush up on your history
Did you know Hawaii is the only state whose land area is increasing, grows coffee and honors a monarch? Learn about Maui’s rich culture, history and wildlife by taking a free tour of Lahaina Town, the historic Wailuku district, Wai’anapanapa State Park, Kealia Coastal Boardwalk, and Whalers Village.
Watch the Sunset
When you’re in Hawaii, sunset isn’t just a time of day, it’s an activity. Pick a beach and walk along the shore or pack a blanket and beverage for a truly relaxing, spectacular Maui pastime.