The island of Maui has so many activities and attractions that's it's hard to decide what to see and do. Aside from the many great activities that require advance reservations and some significant cost, there are plenty of things to see and do which cost absolutely nothing or, at least, very little. Here are some of my favorite things to do for free (or almost free) on Maui.
Explore Historic Lahaina
Lahaina today is a reflection of its colorful past. Approximately 55 acres of the town have been set aside as historic districts containing several sites designated as National Historical Landmarks. The LahainaTown Action Committee offers a self-guided walking tour or historic Lahaina. Maps can be obtained at the Lahaina Visitor Center at the Old Lahaina Courthouse.
01 of 08
Drive the Road to Hana and Beyond
One of the most popular day trips on Maui is a trip on the Road to Hana and Beyond on the Hana Highway. It's a trip that will take a full day, but it's one of the most scenic drives in the world. There are plenty of places to stop and explore along the way.
In fact, most people feel that it's not the destination that's so important, it's the journey along the way. Whether you make it all the way to Hana and then back around the eastern part of the island to Upcountry or whether you just drive part of the way, you won't regret it.
02 of 08
Visit ‘Iao Valley State Monument
A thousand years ago, Hawaiians gathered at `Iao Valley to celebrate and honor the bounty of Lono, god of agriculture, during the annual makahiki festival. More than a hundred years ago visitors began coming to witness the natural beauty of this valley.
Today `Iao Valley is recognized as a very special place for both its spiritual value and spectacular scenery. There is a $5.00 cost to park per vehicle. Hawaii residents can park for free.
Iao Valley State Monument on Maui, will remain closed indefinitely due to extensive damage from heavy rain and flooding the night of September 13 and early morning on September 14, 2016. Be sure to check the park's website before visiting.
03 of 08
Visit Haleakala Summit, the House of the Sun
A drive to the summit of Haleakala is a must for all visitors to Maui. Whether you decide to get up in the middle of the night and make the trip to see the sunrise, or wait until later in the day when the sun is overhead and you can appreciate the beauty of the cinder cones and lava formations in the crater, you won't regret making the drive.
Admission to the park is $20 per private passenger vehicle and is valid for three days.
04 of 08
Drive Around West Maui's Rugged North Shore
The drive around West Maui's Rugged North Shore is absolutely breathtaking, in some ways more impressive than the Hana Highway, which gets much more publicity.
From Kapalua to Wailuku you pass some of the most rugged coastline in the world and some very lovely beaches and bays which are not well known or frequented.
The drive itself can be done in a couple of hours without stops. In order to really appreciate the views, however, it will take you between four and five hours.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Watch the Windsurfers at Ho'okipa Beach Park
The best place in Hawaii to observe windsurfers is at Ho'okipa Beach Park on Maui's North Shore.
Located just a couple of miles each of Paia, on a windy day you'll see some of the best windsurfers in the world. Parking can often be difficult since most of the good spots are grabbed by the windsurfers early in the day, but it's well worth waiting for a spot to open.
You'll soon find that you've spent an hour watching the action and it hasn't cost you a penny. Be sure to bring your camera.
06 of 08
Drive to Upcountry Maui
For many visitors Maui will always be known for its resorts, fine beaches, snorkeling and whale watching, Haleakala, and the Road to Hana.
Maui is much more, however, and a great way to see some of the other Maui is to drive through Upcountry. The drive starts at the North Shore town of Pa`ia, continues through the paniolo town of Makawao, to Kula known for its flowers, vegetables and ranches and ends at `Ulupalakua where you can have eat fresh Maui beef for lunch while sipping a glass of Maui wine.
07 of 08
Enjoy the Beach
If you go to Hawaii, you have to spend some time on the beach.
If you enjoy the water, you'll surely appreciate the warm, clear waters of the Pacific Ocean. Great snorkeling can often be done right off the beach, especially at such favorite spots as at Black Rock on Ka'anapali Beach.
Even if you never get into the water, people watching is always fun and you'll see people of all ages from all over the world enjoying Maui's beaches.
08 of 08
Search the Ocean for Humpback Whales
From December until April there's no better place in Hawaii to see humpback whales than on Maui.
While many whale watch excursions are offered by companies such as the Pacific Whale Foundation (and I encourage everyone to take at least one), there are plenty of places across the island where you can see the whales from shore. You may even be able to see them from your own hotel lanai!
If you're headed to Maui during whale season, bring a pair of binoculars and start searching the ocean for the spray from the blowhole that tells you that there are whales to be seen.