Backpackers Guide to Maui – Hawaii

Things to do on Maui

Maui is a tropical island of Hawaii, located in the Pacific Ocean. The year-round tropical temperatures make Maui the ideal destination amongst beach lovers. Maui is renowned for its beautiful beaches, surf and abundance of waterfalls. This guide to Maui covers things to do on Maui and other travel tips.

Things to do on Maui

The list is never-ending. There really is so much to see and do on Maui.

Explore the Road to Hana

No trip to Maui is complete without road tripping the Road to Hana. With a number of breathtaking viewpoints (waysides), lush scenery for the entire drive, endless waterfalls and your choice of red, black and white sand beaches, the road to Hana will leave you amazed. 

Find the Best Stop on the Road to Hana.

Backpackers Guide to Maui: Things to do on Maui, places to stay and other travel tips

Enjoy Maui’s beaches

Maui has so many amazing beaches, I could go on forever here. This is a handful of my recommendations.

Waianapanaka State Park/ Black Sand Beach.

Backpackers Guide to Maui: Things to do on Maui, places to stay and other travel tips

Red Sand Beach on Kaihalulu Bay

Backpackers Guide to Maui: Things to do on Maui, places to stay and other travel tips

Makena Beach State Park: Big and little Beach – Kihei

Baby Beach – Lahaina  

Backpackers Guide to Maui: Things to do on Maui, places to stay and other travel tips
Backpackers Guide to Maui: Things to do on Maui, places to stay and other travel tips

Ka’anapali Beach 

Relax by the beach or book an adventure packed day at Ka’anapali Beach. You can choose from a sunset cruise, parasail adventure, jet boating tour, snorkelling cruise, ziplining, Whale Watching, Scuba diving and more.

Backpackers Guide to Maui: Things to do on Maui, places to stay and other travel tips

Haleakala volcano/ crater

Sunrise and sunset on Maui are best seen from Haleakala Crater. There are several hiking trails ranging in difficulty. There is an information centre at the base that you can get information and maps. If you dare, you can take a bike tour down the volcano.

Chase Waterfalls

Maui is often referred to as the land of waterfalls. There are many to choose from. This photo was taken in the Bamboo forest on the Road to Hana.

Backpackers Guide to Maui: Things to do on Maui, places to stay and other travel tips

Adventurous things to do on Maui

ATV &  4WD off-road tours

Get off road and explore the remote valleys and beaches of Maui on an ATV. 

Bike Tours

Dare to bike down Haleakala Volcano?

Dolphin and Whale Watching

Between December and April every year, the endangered Pacific Humpback Whales travel from Alaska to birth and nurture their newborn calves in the warm Hawaii waters.

Fishing Tours

Many travellers enjoy fishing off the Islands of Hawaii.

Glass Bottom Boat and Submarine Tours

Why not try something totally new and explore the island of Maui from the ocean floor.

Helicopter Tours

Exploring the Island of Maui by air is a must. Helicopter tours offer spectacular aerial views of Hawaii’s tropical landscape, kicking your sightseeing up a notch with plenty of fun and adventure. Choose a doorless helicopter for a thrill ride, or sit back in the luxurious Whisperstar to look out over volcanoes, tropical rainforests, waterfalls and more.

Hiking Tours

Hiking is one of my all-time favourite activities, let me assure you there is no limit on hiking trails on the Hawaiian Islands.

Extreme Water Sports

Try Kite surfing, jet boarding and more.

Kayak on Maui

Some of Hawaii’s most gorgeous views are accessible only by canoe or kayak, so don’t miss out!

Experience a traditional Luau

Immerse yourself in Hawaiian traditions by attending a Luau, involving a lavish feast, live music & Polynesian dance.

Snorkel and Scuba Dive

Conditions are perfect in the Hawaiian Islands. You can book a tour that takes you to the surrounding islands of Molokini and Lanai.

Sunset sail cruise

End a perfect day with a romantic sunset cruise around the island. The sunset cruises have dinner or drink options.

Learn to surf on Maui

Maui is a surfers dream, with perfect waves for beginners through to professional big wave surfers.


Zip through the sky on a heart-racing Hawaii Zipline Adventure, the ideal outdoor experience for any fun-loving thrill-seeker.

Inter-Island Exploration

Head over to the neighbouring islands of Molokini and Lanai for a day trip from Maui.

Book a tour on Maui


Being a tropical island, Maui has a consistent year-round temperature of approximately 26°C (75°F), therefore visiting Maui at any time of the year is desirable.

Recommended trip length

I recommend visiting Maui for 4 – 5 nights. You could explore the entire Island within 4 days, but then again you could spend 2 weeks or even 2 months doing it at a slower pace, it depends on how much time you have.

Getting to and around Maui

If you are flying in to Maui from another Hawaiian Island, the cheapest airline is Island Air. Flying to Maui from Oahu (Honolulu) costs between $68 to $150 one way. You can take direct flights to Maui from some destination in the US and around the world, but generally, flights will come through Oahu.

Once on Maui, I recommend hiring a car from the airport. The only way to explore the famous Road to Hana and other hidden gems around the island is with a car.

If you don’t have your license, you can take the public bus. Buses cost $2, or you can pay $4 and ask the driver for a day pass. You can get to most places around the island, but not to the best spots.

Where to stay in Maui

Paia was my favourite town on the coast of Maui, offering a laid-back vibe and filled with cute cafes, shops and boutiques. The town is nestled along some of Maui’s best beaches and is surrounded by sugar cane and lush greenery. Paia attracts many windsurfers as the region is classed as one of the world best-windsurfing destinations.  Being located at the beginning of the road to Hana makes Paia the ideal location to position yourself for the Road to Hana.

For Backpackers, check out the Aloha Surf Hostel. This is the cheapest place to stay in Paia. The hostel offers free daily tours, who doesn’t love a free tour?

Lahaina is another great town,  full of rich history, restaurant and shops. The streets of Lahaina have a charming feel, but the town definitely has a tourist touch. Lahaina is a great place to stay if you are going to explore the famous Ka’anapali and Kapalua beach. I really enjoyed Lahaina, the sunsets from Baby Beach were beautiful. 

Backpackers Guide to Maui: Things to do on Maui, places to stay and other travel tips

The Last Resort Hostel is the cheapest place to stay in Lahaina. The hostel has an outdoor kitchen area with a social atmosphere. The hostel offers free tours on certain days. For those interested in staying for a long time, this hostel offers a work for stay program, where volunteers exchange 20 hours of work a week for free accommodation, on a 2-month contract. I would have loved to stay and play for 2 months, and I hope you consider it.

For more advice on where to stay in Maui. click here.

Search for accomodation in Maui

Travel Insurance for Maui

Travel insurance is a necessity when backpacking to Maui. I recommend World Nomads.  If you are still unsure if you should buy travel insurance or not, read this. 

Packing for a trip to Maui

Some essentials I recommend packing for Maui are:

  • Swimmers and a towel
  • Reef safe sunscreen
  • A good book
  • A snorkel
  • Hiking Shoes and clothes
  • Insect Repellant

Overseas Travel Checklist

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Disclosure: This post on things to do on Maui contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something I will make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

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