Why Does Maui Have More Shark Attacks?

Shark attacks occur when a shark bites a person, causing injury or death. These attacks can be fatal, although they are relatively rare. The most common type of shark that attacks humans is the great white shark, although there are other species that can pose a threat as well.

How common are shark attacks on Maui?

Shark attacks are more common on Maui than on the other Hawaiian islands, but attacks are still relatively rare.

haleakalahanasameday12 1
Not an actual shark attack, if you were wondering.

Maui’s shark attack statistics

Over the past 20 years, Maui has had almost double the number of shark bites of any other island, even though all of the larger islands have thousands of people going into the ocean every day.

Historically, Hawaii averaged between two and three shark attacks a year going back to the 1980s. During the past two decades, the annual average edged up to between three and four shark attacks.

Maui has seen an increase in shark attacks over the years, with 8 attacks in 2019 and 9 in 2020. This is a significant increase from previous years, where there were only 1-2 attacks per year. While the number of attacks is still relatively low, it is cause for concern for both locals and tourists.

Bruce Anderson, administrator of DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources, said in 2016 that the reason for more shark attacks off Maui than other islands is “the large and protected shallow ocean shelf that acts as a magnet for tiger sharks near and far.

The most visited waters by tiger sharks around Maui include some of the most popular beaches and ocean recreation sites, the study said.

Preventive measures, he said, include staying out of the water if it’s murky, swimming with others and staying close to shore.

Anderson said changing ocean behaviors have contributed to the increase in shark bites over the last 20 years. More people are kayaking, blue-water spearfishing, stand-up paddling and swimming offshore, he said.

I heard about a shark attack on Maui and want to know more about it

The Division of Aquatic Resources maintains a list of “incidents” involving sharks. View it here.

Possible reasons for more shark attacks in Maui

There are several possible reasons why Maui has more shark attacks than other beach destinations. These include:

Increased human activity in the water

Maui is a popular destination for tourists, with many people coming to enjoy the beautiful beaches and waters. With more people in the water, there is a higher likelihood of a shark attack occurring.

Large shark population

Maui is home to a large population of sharks, including tiger sharks and great white sharks. These sharks are known to be aggressive and can pose a threat to humans.

Migratory patterns

Sharks are known to migrate to different areas depending on the season. During the winter months, for example, tiger sharks migrate to Maui to feed on the abundant food sources in the area.

Food availability

Sharks are attracted to areas where there is an abundance of food. In Maui, there are several factors that contribute to the availability of food, including large numbers of sea turtles, fish, and seals.

How to stay safe from shark attacks in Maui

While shark attacks are relatively rare, there are several things you can do to reduce your risk of being attacked while enjoying the beautiful waters of Maui. These include:

Swim in groups

Sharks are more likely to attack a person who is alone than someone who is with a group of people. By swimming in a group, you can reduce your risk of being attacked.

Avoid murky water

Sharks are more likely to mistake a person for prey in murky water. If the water is cloudy or unclear, it’s best to avoid swimming.

Stay away from dead animals in the water

Sharks are attracted to dead animals in the water, so it’s important to stay away from any carcasses you may encounter while swimming.

Don’t wear shiny jewelry

Shiny jewelry can attract sharks, so it’s best to leave it at home when you go swimming.

Don’t swim at dawn or dusk

Sharks are most active at dawn and dusk when the lighting is low. It’s best to avoid swimming during these times to reduce the risk of a shark attack.

Use protective gear

Wearing protective gear such as wetsuits and shark deterrent devices can help reduce your risk of a shark attack. Some devices emit an electric current that sharks find unpleasant and can help keep them away.

Be aware of your surroundings

Always be aware of your surroundings when swimming in the ocean. Look out for any signs of shark activity such as schools of fish jumping out of the water or birds circling above.


Maui’s beautiful waters are a popular destination for beachgoers and tourists, but it’s important to be aware of the potential risks of shark attacks. While the number of attacks is relatively low, it’s still important to take precautions to reduce your risk. By swimming in groups, avoiding murky water, staying away from dead animals, and being aware of your surroundings, you can swim, surf, snorkel and paddle the beautiful waters of Maui while staying safe.


  1. Are shark attacks common in Maui?

While shark attacks are relatively rare in Maui, the number of attacks has increased in recent years.

  1. What is the most dangerous shark in Maui?

Tiger sharks and great white sharks are the most dangerous sharks in Maui.

  1. Can I swim in Maui’s waters?

Yes, you can swim in Maui’s waters, but it’s important to be aware of the potential risks of shark attacks and take precautions to reduce your risk.

  1. How can I reduce my risk of a shark attack in Maui?

You can reduce your risk of a shark attack in Maui by swimming in groups, avoiding murky water, staying away from dead animals, and being aware of your surroundings.

  1. Are there any shark deterrent devices that can be used in Maui?

Yes, there are several shark deterrent devices that can be used in Maui, such as wetsuits and devices that emit an electric current that sharks find unpleasant.

Maui Honeymoon Guide: Best Areas, Duration, and Romantic Activities

Maui, one of the most beautiful Hawaiian islands (in my biased opinion), is a popular honeymoon destination for couples around the world. Its pristine beaches, lush green landscapes, and stunning sunsets create a romantic atmosphere that is perfect for a honeymoon or to celebrate a special occasion.

Are you planning your honeymoon and considering Maui as your destination?

From the best areas to stay, to the recommended length of stay, to the most romantic activities to do, we will cover everything you need to know about Maui for your honeymoon. Whether you’re planning a short trip or a longer stay, this guide will help you make the most of your Maui honeymoon.

Cozy honeymoon sunset in Maui.
Cozy honeymoon sunset in Maui.

Why choose Maui for your honeymoon?

Maui is a perfect honeymoon destination for many reasons. Here are some of the top reasons why couples choose Maui for their honeymoon:

Beautiful beaches for honeymoon photo shoots

Maui is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The soft, white sand and crystal-clear waters create a picturesque scene that is perfect for a romantic getaway and showing off. From Wailea Beach to Kaanapali Beach, there are plenty of options for couples to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.

Lush landscapes create a mood of possibilities

Maui’s lush green landscapes are another reason why couples choose it as their honeymoon destination. The island is home to many beautiful parks, gardens, and waterfalls that offer a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The Road to Hana is a popular scenic drive that takes you through some of Maui’s most beautiful landscapes.

Maui’s island ethos supports a romantic atmosphere

Maui’s laid-back and romantic atmosphere is perfect for couples looking to spend quality time together. The island’s warm weather, stunning sunsets, and delicious cuisine create a romantic atmosphere that is perfect for a honeymoon. Whether you’re strolling hand in hand on the beach or enjoying a candlelit dinner, Maui’s romantic vibe is hard to beat.

Variety of activities on Maui appeal to anyone

Maui offers a wide range of activities for couples to enjoy. From snorkeling and surfing to hiking and zip-lining, there is something for everyone on this beautiful island. Couples can also enjoy a romantic sunset sail or a couples spa treatment to relax and unwind. Whatever your interests may be, Maui has plenty of options to keep you entertained on your honeymoon.

Best areas for your honeymoon in Maui

If you’re planning a honeymoon in Maui, it’s important to choose the right area to stay in. Here are some of the best areas for going on your honeymoon in Maui:

Hyatt Regency Maui

Wailea honeymoon destination

Wailea is one of the most popular areas for honeymooners in Maui. It’s home to some of the island’s most luxurious resorts, including the Four Seasons and the Grand Wailea. Wailea Beach is also one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, offering stunning views of the ocean and the nearby islands.

Kapalua for quiet honeymoon on the sheltered northwest corner of Maui

Kapalua is another great area for honeymooners in Maui. It’s located on the northwest coast of the island and is known for its beautiful beaches and golf courses. The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua is a popular resort for honeymooners, offering stunning ocean views and luxurious amenities.

Happening honeymoon in Lahaina

Lahaina is a charming town located on the west coast of Maui. It’s known for its historic landmarks, art galleries, and restaurants. Honeymooners can enjoy a romantic sunset dinner at one of the many waterfront restaurants or take a stroll through the town’s charming streets.

Rural jungle honeymoon vibe in Hana

Hana is a secluded town located on the east coast of Maui. It’s known for its rugged landscapes and scenic drives. The town is home to several beautiful beaches, including Hamoa Beach and Red Sand Beach. The Travaasa Hana resort is a popular choice for honeymooners looking to get away from it all and enjoy a peaceful retreat.

No matter which area you choose to stay in, Maui has plenty of options for honeymooners looking to enjoy a romantic getaway.

Duration of honeymoon in Maui

When planning a honeymoon in Maui, one of the biggest questions couples have is how long they should stay. Here are some things to consider when deciding on the duration of your stay:

Recommended length of stay for Maui honeymoon

Most travel experts recommend spending at least a week in Maui to fully enjoy all the island has to offer, more if you want to tackle a few epic crater hikes. This allows enough time to explore the island, relax on the beach, talk about your future together, and participate in bonding activities like snorkeling, hiking, and whale watching.

How many nights are enough in Maui?

The length of your honeymoon in Maui will ultimately depend on your budget and personal preferences. While a week is recommended (and ten days is even better), some couples may only be able to stay for a few nights. In this case, it’s important to prioritize the activities and experiences you want to have on the island.

Pros and cons of shorter or longer honeymoon stays on Maui

Shorter stays can be more budget-friendly and allow you to visit other destinations on your trip. However, longer stays allow you to fully immerse yourself in the island’s culture and experience everything it has to offer. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each option and to know your budget and expectations before you decide as a couple what’s best for your honeymoon.

No matter how long you stay in Maui, it’s sure to be a memorable and romantic experience. Quality time over quantity, right?

Maui vs. other Hawaiian islands for honeymoon

Maui is just one of many beautiful Hawaiian islands, each with its own unique charm and attractions. Here’s a comparison of Maui with two other popular island destinations for honeymooners: Honolulu (on Oahu) and Kauai.

Maui vs. Honolulu (Oahu) for couples

Maui and Honolulu (on the island of Oahu) are two of the most popular Hawaiian destinations for honeymooners: while Maui offers a more secluded and romantic atmosphere, Honolulu is more bustling with a wider range of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. Maui’s beaches are also less crowded and more pristine than those in Honolulu, so if you would like a slower change of pace, I recommend Maui.

Maui vs. Kauai for honeymoon getaway

Kauai, also known as the Garden Isle, is another popular destination for honeymooners. While Maui is known for its beautiful beaches and landscapes, Kauai offers more rugged and natural scenery. Kauai’s Napali Coast is one of the most scenic areas in all of Hawaii and is perfect for couples who enjoy hiking and exploring and don’t mind the rustic amenities.

Maui also offers rugged coastlines in East Maui, so you won’t miss out on that if you choose Maui.

Waiapanapa State Park offers rugged coastline for honeymooners.
Maui offers everything from groomed beaches to rugged coastline.

Pros and cons of Maui, Oahu and Kauai as a honeymoon choice

When deciding between Maui, Honolulu, and Kauai for your honeymoon, it’s important to know what experience is best offered by each island:

  • Maui offers a romantic atmosphere and beautiful beaches, but can be more expensive and touristy. Hana on the east side offers more of a quiet and rustic experience, though.
  • Honolulu on Oahu offers a wider range of entertainment options, but can be more crowded and less romantic.
  • Kauai offers natural beauty and outdoor activities, but can be less convenient and more remote.

Ultimately, the decision of which island to choose for your honeymoon will depend on your personal preferences and budget. I know I’m repeating myself. Your choice comes down to your vision and your values (and your means).

All three islands offer beautiful landscapes, romantic atmosphere, and plenty of activities to keep you entertained, so you can’t really go wrong. You can always take a small plane to visit the other islands.

Planning your Maui honeymoon

Planning a honeymoon in Maui requires careful consideration of various factors, including when to book, budgeting the cost of a Maui trip, and the cheapest time to get married in Hawaii.

When to book your honeymoon in Maui

I recommended you book your Maui honeymoon at least six months in advance to ensure availability and secure the best deals on flights and accommodations. If you plan to visit during peak season (December through April), it’s best to book even earlier to avoid disappointment and the dog house.

Budgeting for your Maui honeymoon

Maui can be an expensive destination, but with careful budgeting, you can make the most of your honeymoon without breaking the bank.

Some tips to save money include:

Cheapest month to get married in Hawaii

The cheapest month to get married in Hawaii is typically November, which is considered the off-season for tourism. However, keep in mind that the weather can be less favorable during this time, with increased rainfall and higher chances of storms. Still beautiful, though!

By planning ahead and budgeting wisely, you can enjoy a memorable and romantic honeymoon in Maui without overspending.

Romantic activities for couples in Maui

Whatever your interest, Maui offers a variety of activities perfect for honeymooners seeking romance and adventure. From sunset sails to couples’ spa treatments, there’s no shortage of things to do to create unforgettable memories.

Maui sunset sail or dinner cruises

There’s nothing quite as romantic as watching the sun dip below the horizon while sailing along the Maui coastline. Many tour companies offer sunset sails complete with drinks, snacks, and stunning views of the ocean and nearby islands.

Couples spa treatments for newlyweds on Maui

Treat yourselves to a relaxing couples’ spa treatment at one of Maui’s many luxury resorts. Enjoy a massage, facial, or body treatment together, surrounded by tropical gardens and ocean views.

Hiking to waterfalls all over Maui

Embark on a romantic hike through Maui’s lush rainforests to discover hidden waterfalls and natural pools. Some of the best hiking trails for waterfall adventures include the Road to Hana and the Bamboo Forest Trail.

Bamboo forest hike in Maui.
Go for a bamboo forest hike and oxygenate your newly wed cells.

Helicopter tour above Maui

Take to the skies on a romantic helicopter tour to experience Maui’s breathtaking landscapes from a whole new perspective. See towering waterfalls, dramatic coastlines, and verdant valleys, all while enjoying a thrilling and romantic adventure.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, Maui offers plenty of options for couples looking to create unforgettable honeymoon memories.

Where to stay in Maui

Maui offers a range of accommodation options for honeymooners, from luxury resorts to cozy vacation rentals.

Luxury resorts in South and West Maui

For those seeking the ultimate in relaxation and pampering, Maui’s luxury resorts offer world-class amenities and stunning ocean views. Popular options include the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, the Montage Kapalua Bay, and the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort.

Boutique hotels for an intimate Maui experience

For a more intimate and unique experience, consider staying at one of Maui’s boutique hotels. These properties often have a distinct personality and charm, and are perfect for honeymooners seeking a more personalized and off-the-beaten-path experience. Some popular options include the Hotel Wailea, Travaasa Hana, and the Lumeria Maui.

Private vacation rentals

For honeymooners seeking privacy and seclusion, Maui’s private vacation rentals offer the perfect escape. Whether you’re looking for a cozy cottage or a luxurious villa, there are plenty of options to choose from, and if they aren’t too remote, you can get your groceries delivered.

Popular vacation rental websites such as Airbnb and VRBO offer a variety of properties in all parts of the island. Maalaea is a popular area for private vacation rentals (and viewing sea turtles!).

When choosing where to stay in Maui, consider your budget, preferred location, and desired amenities. No matter where you choose to stay, Maui’s natural beauty and romantic atmosphere are sure to make your honeymoon unforgettable.

Maui honeymoon tips and romantic activities in Maui

Maui offers many romantic activities for couples to enjoy. Here are some suggestions:

Beaches to Visit in Maui

  • Kaanapali Beach: Known for its clear waters and soft sand, it’s perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
  • Wailea Beach: A quieter beach with stunning views of the ocean, it’s ideal for a romantic stroll.
  • Napili Bay: A secluded beach with a beautiful coral reef, it’s perfect for snorkeling and swimming.

Water Activities to Enjoy

  • Sunset Dinner Cruise: Enjoy a romantic dinner while watching the sunset on a cruise.
  • Snorkeling: Explore the underwater world and see colorful fish and coral reefs.
  • Surfing Lessons: Learn how to surf together and catch some waves.
  • Scuba Diving: Explore the depths of the ocean and see marine life up close.

Land Activities for Couples

  • Road to Hana: Take a scenic drive along the coast and see waterfalls, beaches, and gardens.
  • Haleakala National Park: Watch the sunrise or sunset over the volcanic crater for a breathtaking view.
  • Horseback Riding: Take a scenic ride on horseback and explore Maui’s countryside.

Best Restaurants for a Romantic Dinner

Maui has many restaurants that offer a romantic setting and delicious food. Here are some recommendations:

  • Mama’s Fish House: A popular restaurant with stunning ocean views and fresh seafood.
  • Lahaina Grill: A fine dining restaurant with a romantic atmosphere and a diverse menu.
  • Merriman’s: A farm-to-table restaurant with oceanfront views and a romantic ambiance.

Best Places for Sunset Views

Maui is known for its breathtaking sunsets. Here are some places to enjoy them:

  • Haleakala Summit: Watch the sunset from the top of the volcano and enjoy the stunning view.
  • Kaanapali Beach: Watch the sunset while sipping cocktails on the beach.
  • Lahaina Harbor: Enjoy the sunset while strolling along the harbor

Tips for Planning Your Maui Honeymoon

Planning a Maui honeymoon can be overwhelming, but these tips can help make the process easier:

  1. Book your accommodation in advance to get the best deals and availability.
  2. Rent a car to explore the island at your own pace.
  3. Pack sunscreen, insect repellent, and comfortable walking shoes.
  4. Research the best time to visit Maui to avoid crowds and high prices.
  5. Consider purchasing travel insurance for peace of mind.

A honeymoon in Maui is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it’s essential to make the most of it. Here are some tips to help you plan a perfect Maui honeymoon:

What not to miss on Maui

View the sunrise and sunset from the top of Haleakala crater
View the sunrise and sunset from the top of Haleakala crater
  • Road to Hana: A scenic drive with breathtaking views of waterfalls and beaches.
  • Haleakala National Park: A must-visit for its stunning sunrise or sunset views from the summit.
  • Snorkeling and diving: Explore the vibrant underwater world of Maui’s beaches and reefs.
  • Maui’s culinary scene: Sample the island’s fresh and delicious seafood, tropical fruits, and local cuisine.
  • Maui Ocean Center: A fascinating aquarium showcasing Maui’s marine life.
  • Luau: A traditional Hawaiian feast with music, dancing, and cultural performances.
  • Whale Watching: Observe humpback whales up close during the winter months.
Whale-watching is a fun a special experience to share with your new wife or husband (in the winter months).

How to avoid the crowds

  • Avoid peak season: Easy to say but not always convenient to plan around despite knowing that Maui can get crowded during peak travel season. Still, if you can, consider traveling during off-peak times.
  • Choose less popular destinations: Instead of sticking to the popular tourist spots, venture out to quieter areas of the island. Like Hana!
  • Go early or late: To avoid crowds, try visiting popular attractions early in the morning or late in the day. This usually works, unless everyone has the same idea and tries to avoid crowds. This is why the Road to Hana is busy at 6:30am.

How to make the most of your honeymoon in Maui

  • Plan ahead: Research and plan your activities and excursions in advance to make the most of your time.
  • Choose romantic accommodations that suit you both: Whether it’s a luxurious resort, a boutique hotel, or a private vacation rental, choose accommodations that provide a romantic atmosphere.
  • Take advantage of the natural beauty: With its stunning beaches, waterfalls, and landscapes, Maui offers many opportunities for romantic walks, hikes, and picnics.
  • Unplug and relax: Take time to disconnect from the outside world and enjoy quality time with your partner without distractions.

By following these tips, you can have a memorable and romantic honeymoon in Maui.

Maui honeymoon FAQs

  1. What is the best time of year to visit Maui for a honeymoon?
  • The best time to visit Maui is from April to May or from September to November when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller.
  1. Can you recommend any all-inclusive resorts for a Maui honeymoon?
  • Yes, some popular all-inclusive resorts in Maui are Travaasa Hana, Hotel Wailea, and Montage Kapalua Bay.
  1. Is it necessary to rent a car in Maui for a honeymoon?
  • Renting a car is recommended as it allows you to explore the island at your own pace and discover hidden gems.
  1. What is the dress code for a romantic dinner in Maui?
  • The dress code for a romantic dinner in Maui is usually smart casual, but it’s best to check with the restaurant beforehand.
  1. Can you suggest any unique activities for a Maui honeymoon?
  • Some unique activities for a Maui honeymoon are a helicopter tour of the island, a couples massage at a spa, and a private sunset sail.

So, what’s your plan?

Maui is a beautiful destination for a honeymoon, offering stunning beaches, romantic activities, and delicious food. Whether you’re looking for a quiet getaway or an adventure-filled trip, Maui has something for every couple. Use this guide to plan your perfect Maui honeymoon and create memories that will last a lifetime.

5 Ways to Stay in Maui for Free: From WWOOFing to House-Sitting and More

Maui is a popular vacation destination with beautiful beaches, stunning landscapes, and old Hawaiian culture, but it can also be a costly place to visit, with high prices for accommodation, transportation, and activities — but there are budget options for the creative traveler.

If you’re looking to save money on your trip to Maui, here are five ways to stay for free (or for a lot less than the usual options):

  1. WWOOFing
  2. Housesitting
  3. Couchsurfing
  4. Camping
  5. Work exchange

1. ‘WWOOF’ your way across Maui

WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms): WWOOF is a global organization that connects travelers with organic farms and homesteads around the world. In exchange for a few hours of work per day, you can stay with a host family and experience life on a farm or homestead while learning new skills. WWOOF hosts offer room and board in exchange for your help, and you’ll get to taste the freshest and most delicious food while immersing yourself in the local culture.

How to WWOOF on Maui, step-by-step

WWOOF stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, which is a program that connects volunteers with organic farmers all over the world. If you want to WWOOF your way across Maui, here are some steps you can take:

  1. To get started with WWOOFing in Maui, you’ll need to sign up for a membership with the WWOOF Hawaii organization. Membership fees vary depending on your location and the length of your stay.
  2. Once you’re a member, you’ll have access to the WWOOF Hawaii database, where you can browse and contact host farms and homesteads on Maui. You can filter your search by location, type of work, and other criteria.
  3. When you find a host that you’re interested in, you’ll need to contact them and introduce yourself. Make sure to include information about your skills and experience, as well as your availability and any other relevant details. You’ll also need to provide two references.
  4. Once you’re accepted by a host, you’ll need to agree on the terms and conditions of your stay, including your responsibilities, the length of your stay, and any other details. During your stay, you’ll be expected to work a few hours per day in exchange for room and board. You’ll get to experience life on a farm or homestead and learn new skills, and you’ll have the opportunity to explore the local area and culture.
  5. Plan your trip! Once you have secured a volunteer opportunity, you can start planning your trip to Maui. You will need to arrange your own transportation to the farm and make sure you have accommodations during your stay. Some hosts may offer housing for volunteers, while others may require you to find your own.

WWOOFing is a great way to learn about organic farming, meet new people, and experience different parts of the world. Make the most of your time on Maui by learning as much as you can from your host and taking time to explore the island during your free time. I’ve travelled with the WWOOFing program and it is the most fun I’ve ever had, meeting new people and experiencing different ways of farming across the world. Plus you’re helping farmers provide quality produce for everyone! Win-win-win-win.

IMG 20191027 122540
You’ll often get your own cabin or caravan accommodation as a WWOOFer at a farm.

2. House-sit for someone in Maui in exchange for free accommodation

If you’re comfortable looking after someone else’s home and pets while they’re away, house-sitting can be a great way to stay in Maui for free.

Many homeowners need someone to take care of their property and animals while they’re on vacation, and they’re willing to offer free accommodation in exchange.

You can find house-sitting opportunities through websites like TrustedHousesitters or by networking with locals and travelers.

Membership fees for house-sitting websites vary depending on the length of your membership and the services you choose, and help to weed out people who aren’t serious.

Once you’re a member, you’ll have access to the website’s database, where you can browse and apply for house-sitting opportunities on Maui.

You’ll need to create a profile that includes information about your experience, skills, and references. You can also use the website’s messaging system to contact homeowners directly and negotiate the terms and conditions of your stay.

When you find a house-sitting opportunity that you’re interested in, you’ll need to apply and wait for the homeowner to accept your application.

Once you’re accepted, you’ll need to agree on the details of your stay, what your responsibilities will include, the length of your stay, and any other details pertinent to your arrangement.

During your stay, you’ll be responsible for looking after the homeowner’s property and pets, and you’ll have the opportunity to explore the local area and culture.

3. Couchsurf for free in Maui

Couchsurfing is a social network that connects travelers with local hosts who offer a spare bed, couch, or room for free. It’s a great way to meet new people, learn about the culture and customs of the place you’re visiting, and save money on accommodation.

sleeping on a couch in Maui
Couchsurfing is probably the cheapest option for the least responsibility.

The Maui couchsurfing network is pretty small but check it out and maybe you’ll find a couch to rest your head for the night.

4. Feeling adventurous? Camp for free (or for cheap) on Maui

If you don’t mind roughing it a bit, camping is another affordable way to stay in Maui. There are several state parks and campgrounds on the island, where you can pitch a tent or park your RV for a nominal fee. You’ll get to enjoy the beauty of nature and the great outdoors, and you’ll save a lot of money on accommodation.

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Cabins in Haleakala State Park. Campsites, too!

To camp in Maui, you’ll need to research and choose a campground that meets your needs and preferences. Try to reserve a campsite in advance, if possible. Many campsites in Maui can fill up quickly, especially during peak tourist season.

  • State Parks: Many of the state parks on Maui offer camping for a nominal fee. For example, you can camp at Wai’anapanapa State Park for $30 per night or Hosmer Grove Campground at Haleakala National Park for $5 per night for a maximum of three days.
  • Beach Parks: Some of the beach parks on Maui allow camping for a small fee if you have Hawaiian ID. For example, you can camp at Papalaua Wayside Park for $5 if you’re a local, or pay $100 per person per night if you’re a nonresident.
  • National Forest: You can camp for $8 per night in the National Forest areas on Maui, such as the Kipahulu Campground in the Haleakala National Park. However, note that three days is the maximum stay.
  • Private campgrounds: There are also several private campgrounds on Maui, such as Camp Olowalu, that offer different types of camping (tent to cabin) for a fee.
  • Boondocking: Boondocking, (or camping in an RV) without hookups, is allowed in some areas of Maui, but not on the side of the highway or in public parks. You will need to research the specific rules and regulations for boondocking in the area you plan to visit.

5. Work exchange (similar to WWOOFing)

Another way to stay in Maui for free is by finding a work exchange opportunity. You can offer your skills and labor in exchange for a place to stay, either through a formal program or by negotiating with a local business or organization. Work exchange can be a great way to get a unique and authentic experience, meet locals and other travelers, and create amazing memories, all while saving money on accommodation.

WWOOFing is the most popular work exchange, but other opportunities such as HelpX exist and allow you to work on a farm or in a host’s business in exchange for food and accommodation.

Which will you choose?

By considering these unconventional travel options, you can enjoy all that Maui has to offer without breaking the bank. While nothing in life is free, you can get creative and exchange your time and energy for room and board while WWOOFing, or provide a house-sitting service in exchange for a roof over your head. Money isn’t the only medium of exchange. Just make sure you leave some time to go for adventures in other places on Maui.

Whether you choose to WWOOF, house-sit, couchsurf, camp, or find some other creative arrangement, you’ll have a memorable and budget-friendly trip to this beautiful and welcoming island if you practice Aloha and look for the good in others. If you have six months or longer to commit, I definitely recommend the WWOOFing experience.

The Best Location to Stay on Maui: Convenience and Fun Combined

There are many convenient and fun areas to stay on Maui, and the best one for you will depend on your preferences and the activities you plan to do during your trip.

If you’re single and looking to mingle, Kihei is a great area and close to lots of restaurants and beaches. Maalaea is lesser-known and still central if you want a quiet place to stay away from the children and parties. What’s your style?

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Maui is a lot of things, but it certainly isn’t cheap. Hyatt Regency Maui Resort

Here are the most popular vacation locations people wanting proximity to the beach and shops:

  • Lahaina: This historic and busy town on the west side of the island is a great base for exploring the nearby beaches, restaurants, and shops. It’s also within easy driving distance of the Kapalua and Kaanapali resorts, as well as the Iao Valley State Park. Fun place to visit but a bit too busy for me for an extended stay here.
  • Kihei: Located on the south side of the island, Kihei is home to some of the best beaches on Maui, including Kamaole Beach Park, Wailea Beach, and Keawakapu Beach. It’s also close to the Wailea resort area and the Maui Ocean Center. Also a busy hub but has everything you need for your vacation and great beaches. Great if you’re in Maui to party with friends.
  • Kahului: If you’re arriving on the island via the Kahului Airport, you may want to consider staying in this central location; keep in mind that the beach around Kahului is great for wind surfing but not a day at the beach. Kahului is home to several large hotels, shopping malls, and Costco, as well as the popular Maui Arts & Cultural Center. I’d rather stay somewhere quieter.
  • Hana: If you’re looking for a more secluded and laid-back vacation, the town of Hana on the east side of the island may be the perfect fit. It’s known for its stunning natural beauty, including the Hana Highway, the Seven Sacred Pools, and the Red Sand Beach. This is old Hawaii and doesn’t have all the conveniences (shopping malls, chain restaurants) of west and south Maui, and is also a little cheaper. Hana is where I go to recharge.

Pros and cons of staying in each area of Maui

Maui is divided into several main areas, each with its unique features and attractions. No matter which area you choose, be sure to book your accommodation in advance, as popular spots can fill up quickly during peak travel months.

Lahaina/Kaanapali Pros and Cons


  • Beautiful beaches and clear waters for swimming and snorkeling
  • Plenty of high-end resorts and restaurants
  • Excellent shopping and entertainment options
  • Rich in history, lively atmosphere, many dining and shopping options
  • A variety of outdoor activities such as golfing, hiking, and zip-lining
  • Close proximity to the famous “Road to Hana” scenic drive


  • Can be crowded with tourists, especially during peak season
  • Higher prices for accommodations and activities

Wailea Accommodations, Pros and Cons


  • Luxurious accommodations, upscale resorts and fine dining restaurants
  • Stunning beaches, quiet and peaceful, with calm waters for swimming and snorkeling
  • Quieter and more relaxed atmosphere compared to Lahaina/Kaanapali
  • Excellent golf courses and tennis facilities


  • Limited nightlife options
  • More expensive than other areas of Maui, less local flavor

Kihei/Maalaea Pros and Cons


  • More affordable accommodations compared to Lahaina/Kaanapali and Wailea
  • Good location for exploring other parts of Maui
  • Great for water sports such as surfing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding
  • Plenty of local restaurants and bars
  • Close to attractions in Central Maui, such as the Maui Ocean Center and the Maui Arts and Cultural Center


  • Fewer upscale dining and shopping options compared to other areas, less nightlife in Maalaea
  • Maalaea: limited dining and shopping options, not as scenic as other parts of the island
  • Close to beaches but some beaches can be windy and rough, making swimming and snorkeling difficult

Paia Pros and Cons


  • Quaint and charming town with a unique and bohemian vibe
  • Good location for exploring the Road to Hana and Haleakala National Park
  • Plenty of shops and restaurants with a focus on local and organic products
  • Beautiful beaches and great surf spots nearby


  • Limited accommodations, mostly small bed and breakfasts and vacation rentals
  • Not as developed as other areas, with fewer resort-style amenities

Staying in Hana, Pros and Cons


  • Secluded and peaceful, with beautiful natural surroundings
  • Great for those looking to disconnect from technology and unwind
  • Plenty of hiking and water activities such as swimming and kayaking
  • Good location for exploring the Road to Hana


  • Limited accommodations and dining options, mostly small bed and breakfasts and local eateries
  • Can be a long and winding drive to get there from other parts of Maui

Upcountry (Makawao, Kula, and Pukalani) Pros and Cons


  • Cooler temperatures and lush greenery, perfect for nature lovers
  • Plenty of hiking trails, botanical gardens, and farms to explore
  • Quaint towns with charming shops and restaurants
  • Great location for exploring Haleakala National Park


  • Fewer accommodation options compared to other areas
  • Limited beach access
  • Can be a longer drive to get to other parts of the island

Kapalua Pros and Cons


  • Beautiful beaches and excellent snorkeling spots
  • Upscale resorts with luxurious amenities
  • Plenty of outdoor activities such as golfing and hiking
  • Quieter and more exclusive atmosphere compared to Lahaina/Kaanapali


  • Limited dining and shopping options
  • Can be more expensive than other areas of Maui

Wailuku/Kahului Pros and Cons


  • Centrally located with easy access to other parts of Maui
  • Historical and cultural attractions such as the Bailey House Museum and the Iao Valley State Park
  • Plenty of local shops and restaurants
  • More affordable accommodations compared to other areas, close to airport


  • No direct beach access
  • Limited nightlife options
  • Industrial area, not as scenic as other parts of the island
  • Can be a bit crowded with traffic during peak hours

That gives you a good idea of the regions of Maui, but maybe you have more specific questions about where to stay with a young family. There are several great places to stay on Maui for families with young children.

Areas and Resorts in Maui that are Great for Families with Children

If you have young children and you want a vacation of amenities and convenience, you will likely narrow down your choices to West and South Maui.

Most expensive but kid-friendly: Wailea is known for its beautiful beaches and luxury resorts, and is an ideal choice for families with young children.

Kaanapali: This area on the west coast of Maui is also home to several beautiful beaches and resorts, and is a popular choice for families.

Lahaina: This historic town is located on the west side of the island and is a great place to stay for families with young children, though it can be a busy town. It has a laid-back atmosphere and is close to several family-friendly attractions, such as the Maui Ocean Center.

South Maui: This area is home to several kid-friendly beaches and resorts, and is a great choice for families with young children.

Kihei: This town on the south side of the island is known for its affordable accommodations and is a popular choice for families. It is also close to several kid-friendly beaches.

Families with young children can find a range of accommodations and activities that are tailored to their needs and interests in these areas. From quieter, more laid-back towns like Napili to more upscale resort areas like Wailea, there are plenty of options for families of all types and budgets.

Kid-Friendly Towns and Resorts in Maui

Maui is a great destination for families with young children, and there are several areas and accommodations that are particularly well-suited for families.

The various family-friendly resorts and hotels, such as the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas, the Aston Kaanapali Shores, and the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, offer fun things for families to do together, and activities for kids — including water slides, children’s pools, and kids’ clubs. For convenience there are several family-friendly restaurants and shops in these areas, as well as parks and playgrounds for kids to enjoy.

Napili is a quieter, more laid-back area on Maui’s west coast that is ideal for families looking for a more relaxed atmosphere. The beach is great for swimming and snorkeling, and there are several family-friendly restaurants and shops in the area. There are also several parks and playgrounds nearby.

Kaanapali is a popular resort area on Maui’s west coast that has plenty of amenities and activities for families. The beach is ideal for young children, with calm waters and plenty of sand to play on. There are also several swimming pools, a water park, and a variety of family-friendly restaurants and shops.

  • The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas is a popular family-friendly resort on Maui’s west coast that has several amenities and activities for families, such as a water slide, a children’s pool, and a kids’ club. The rooms are spacious and feature a kitchenette, making it easier to prepare meals for young children.
  • The Aston Kaanapali Shores is a family-friendly condo resort on Maui’s west coast that has several amenities and activities for families, such as a swimming pool, a hot tub, and a kids’ pool. The condos feature a full kitchen, making it easier to prepare meals for young children. The beach is also great for swimming and snorkeling.
  • The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa is a popular family-friendly resort on Maui’s west coast that has several amenities and activities for families, such as a water slide, a children’s pool, and a kids’ club. The beach is also great for swimming and snorkeling.

Lahaina is a historic town on Maui’s west coast that has plenty of family-friendly attractions, such as the Maui Ocean Center and the Whalers Village shopping center. There are also several family-friendly restaurants and beaches in the area.

  • Honua Kai Resort & Spa ia located in Lahaina on the island of Maui and known for its spacious suites ( ideal for families), as well as its on-site amenities, including multiple pools, a kids’ club, and a beachfront location.

Kihei is another popular area for families, particularly those looking for more affordable accommodations. The beach is great for water activities such as swimming, boogie boarding, and snorkeling, and there are several family-friendly restaurants and shops in the area. There are also several parks and playgrounds nearby.

  • The Maui Coast Hotel is a family-friendly hotel in Kihei that has several amenities and activities for families, such as a swimming pool, a hot tub, and a kids’ pool. The hotel is also located near several family-friendly restaurants and shops, as well as parks and playgrounds.

Wailea is a more upscale resort area with several family-friendly hotels and condos. The beaches are great for swimming and snorkeling, and there are several swimming pools and water slides to keep kids entertained. There are also several parks and playgrounds in the area.

  • The Grand Wailea is a luxurious and popular family-friendly resort on Maui’s south coast that has several amenities and activities for families, such as a water park, a lazy river, and a children’s pool. There are also several restaurants and shops on the property, making it easy to keep young children entertained.

More about where on Maui to stay.

The Best Grocery Stores on Maui: Where Locals Shop

Maui is has a variety of grocery stores for your vacation needs, ranging from large chain supermarkets like Costco and Safeway, to small, specialty and locally-owned markets and farmers markets. For the best food quality and prices, shop where the locals shop.

Locals on Maui generally shop for groceries at a variety of supermarkets, farmers markets, and specialty stores and neighborhood markets for their everyday needs. These can be a good option for finding unique, hard-to-find items, as well as supporting local businesses.

  • Some popular supermarkets on Maui include Safeway, Foodland, and Times Supermarket, which are all located throughout the island. Maui isn’t that big so it is easy to find grocery stores, especially if you are staying anywhere but East Maui.
  • Farmers markets are also a great option for fresh produce, and there are many to choose from, including the Maui Swap Meet, Upcountry Farmers Market, and Napili Farmers Market.
  • For specialty items and organic produce, locals may visit stores like Mana Foods, Down to Earth, and Whole Foods Market.

Some popular natural food stores on the island include Mana Foods in Paia, Down to Earth in Kahului, and Alive and Well in Kihei.

  • Mana Foods is a health food store located in Paia on the north shore of Maui, and is particularly known for its selection of organic and locally-sourced produce, as well as its extensive bulk foods section.
  • Down to Earth is a large store with a wide variety of natural and organic products, including many vegetarian and vegan options.
  • Alive and Well specializes in health supplements and natural remedies, as well as organic produce and specialty food items.

All three stores have a loyal following among locals and visitors alike, so it may be worth checking out each one to see which fits your needs and preferences best.

Mana Foods

Mana Foods in Paia

Mana Foods is a beloved institution in the town of Paia and is known for its commitment to providing healthy and sustainable food options for the community. The store has a laid-back and welcoming atmosphere, and many visitors to Maui make a point of stopping by to experience the unique vibe of this iconic health food store.

It has a strong commitment to supporting local farmers and producers, and the store’s produce section features a variety of fruits and vegetables grown on Maui and other nearby islands. The store also offers a large selection of bulk foods, including grains, nuts, and spices, as well as a wide range of gluten-free and vegan products.

In addition to its retail store, Mana Foods also operates a deli that serves a variety of fresh and healthy meals, including salads, sandwiches, and smoothies. The deli is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, and many people stop by for a quick lunch or to pick up food for a picnic or beach day.

Compare prices and shop around to find the best deals.

Here are some of the best places to shop for groceries on the island:

  1. Mana Foods: Located in Paia, this locally-owned market is known for its selection of organic and locally-grown produce, as well as a wide range of natural and specialty products.
  2. Foodland: This popular chain has several locations on Maui, including in Kihei and Lahaina. It offers a good selection of standard grocery items, as well as locally-grown produce and an in-store bakery. It has a good selection of fresh produce, meats, and seafood, as well as a wide variety of prepared meals. Foodland is a popular choice for locals looking for affordable prices. They are known for their poke, a traditional Hawaiian dish made with raw fish.
  3. Target: This national chain store has a good selection of groceries, including fresh produce, meats, and seafood. It is a convenient option for tourists who are staying in a vacation rental and need to stock up on supplies. There is a Target located in Kahului.
  4. Safeway: With locations including in Kahului, Kihei, and Lahaina, Safeway is a convenient choice for those looking for a wide variety of products at competitive prices. It has a wide selection of fresh produce, meats, and seafood, as well as a large selection of prepared meals. Safeway is also known for their deli counter, where you can find a variety of sandwiches and prepared foods.
  5. Wholesale Unlimited: This discount store in Kahului is a great place to stock up on bulk items and household essentials at low prices.
  6. Farmer’s markets: Maui has several farmer’s markets where you can buy fresh, locally-grown produce and other products directly from the growers. Some popular ones include the Upcountry Farmer’s Market in Pukalani and the Lahaina Farmer’s Market on Front Street.
  7. Costco: Costco is a membership-based warehouse store that is popular on Maui. They offer a variety of products in bulk, including fresh produce, meats, and dairy items. Costco is also known for their affordable gas prices and take-out pizzas.
  8. Whole Foods Market: Whole Foods is a natural foods grocery store chain that is popular on Maui. They offer a wide range of organic and natural products, including fresh produce, meat, and dairy items. Whole Foods is also known for their salad and hot food bars, where you can find a variety of healthy and tasty prepared foods.

The most popular grocery stores on Maui grouped by location:

West Maui Grocery Stores:

  • Times Supermarket (Honokowai)
  • Foodland (Lahaina)
  • Safeway (Lahaina)

Central Maui Grocery Stores:

  • Safeway (Kahului)
  • Foodland (Wailuku)
  • Costco (Kahului)

South Maui Grocery Stores:

  • Foodland (Kihei)
  • Safeway (Kihei)
  • Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods (Kihei)

Upcountry Grocery Stores:

  • Mana Foods (Paia)
  • Rodeo General Store (Makawao)
  • Pukalani Superette (Pukalani)

Farmers markets on Maui

Some of the farmers markets on Maui, their locations, and the goods they offer:

  • Upcountry Farmers Market: Located at Kulamalu Town Center in Pukalani, this market operates on Saturdays from 7am to 11am. They offer a variety of fruits and vegetables, baked goods, coffee, and crafts.
  • Maui Swap Meet: Located at the University of Hawaii Maui College in Kahului, this market operates on Saturdays from 7am to 1pm. They offer a wide variety of goods including fresh produce, clothing, jewelry, crafts, and souvenirs.
  • Maui Farmers Market: Located in Honokowai, this market operates every day from 7am to 11am. They offer a variety of local produce, flowers, and handmade crafts.
  • Napili Farmers Market: Located in Napili, this market operates on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8am to 12pm. They offer local produce, baked goods, coffee, and crafts.
  • Kula Country Farms: Located in Kula, this farm offers a produce stand that operates on weekdays from 9am to 4pm. They offer a variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables.
  • Makawao Farmers Market: Located in Makawao, this market operates on Wednesdays from 9am to 1pm. They offer a variety of local produce, baked goods, coffee, and crafts.
  • Ono Organic Farms Farmers Market: Located in Kipahulu, this market operates on Fridays from 10am to 4pm. They offer a variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as fresh coconuts and juices.
  • Waipuna Chapel Farmers Market: Located in Kula, this market operates on Tuesdays from 8am to 12pm. They offer a variety of local produce, baked goods, coffee, and crafts.
Kula Country Farms

Maui farmers market locations and hours

Farmers MarketLocationDays and Hours
Upcountry Farmers MarketKulamalu Town Center, PukalaniSaturdays, 7am to 11am
Maui Swap MeetUniversity of Hawaii Maui College, KahuluiSaturdays, 7am to 1pm
Maui Farmers MarketHonokowai Marketplace, LahainaEvery day, 7am to 11am
Napili Farmers MarketNapili Plaza, LahainaWednesdays and Saturdays, 8am to 12pm
Kula Country Farms6240 Kula Hwy, KulaWeekdays, 9am to 4pm (seasonal hours may vary)
Makawao Farmers Market3654 Baldwin Ave, MakawaoWednesdays, 9am to 1pm
Ono Organic Farms Farmers MarketHana Hwy, KipahuluFridays, 10am to 4pm
Waipuna Chapel Farmers Market17 Omaopio Rd, KulaTuesdays, 8am to 12pm

If you are looking for good deals on tasty food in Maui, here are some tips and suggestions:

  • Look for kama’aina deals, which are discounts offered to Hawaii residents with a valid ID. Some restaurants that offer kama’aina deals are Gannon’s, Cafe O’Lei, and Zippy’s.
  • Check out local hidden gem restaurants that serve authentic Hawaiian cuisine or other ethnic dishes. Some local favorites are Da Kitchen, Cafe Des Amis, Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop, and Brigit & Bernard’s.
  • Visit Local Deals Maui, a website that features food and drink discounts from various Maui businesses. You can find coupons for coffee, sushi, pizza, burgers, and more.
  • Refer to the Top 30 Places for Local Food on Maui list by Pride of Maui. This list includes places for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snacks. You can find places for poke, acai bowls, eggs benedict, burrata mozzarella, and more.
  • Check out grocery stores that deliver.

Grocery Delivery Services on Maui: A Guide to the Best Options

The last thing you want to focus on while vacationing in Maui is grocery shopping and wasting time away from the beach. Maui offers a few grocery delivery services as a convenient option for those who want to surprise their partner with a fully stocked condo and avoid the hassle of shopping in-person, or for those who are unable to leave their home.

There are several international and local grocery delivery services available on Maui, each with their own unique features and benefits.

Maui delivery services for groceries
Maui grocery delivery services will co-ordinate with your concierge or building manager for fridge service.

International options for grocery delivery on Maui

One popular grocery delivery option is Instacart, which allows you to shop from a variety of local stores and have your groceries delivered to your door within a few hours. Instacart partners with several stores on Maui, including Safeway, Costco, and Target, so you can shop from a wide range of products. Many chain grocery stores also offer pickup and go services; order ahead and pick up your grocery order during a reserved time slot. Pretty slick.

Local grocery delivery services on Maui

If you prefer to support local businesses, you might want to try Maui Grocery Delivery. This service partners with both big-chain and several small, locally-owned stores on the island, including Tante’s Market, Island Grocery Depot, and Yoki’s Health Foods.

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Order a special cake or gift basket for a special occasion, and Demmings delivers.

Tropical gift baskets handmade daily: Demming’s Delivery specializes in gift baskets in West Maui (delivery area includes Lahaina, Ka’anapali, Kahana, Napili and Kapalua).

Personalized grocery delivery services

They will shop, deliver, and set up your items in your condo if you wish.

Maui Grocery Service currently shops at a number of grocery stores in the area: Costco, Safeway, Foodland, Wholefoods and other Specialty stores, based on your order. They deliver to all of Maui, for a fee ($59, or $250 for remote locations like Hana, Lanai and Molokai).

Makai Services is a Maui grocery concierge and errand service that will stock your condo before you arrive. They shop at the local farmers markets for the freshest fruits and vegetables, and can also deliver kosher food. They request at least 72 hours’ notice to process an order and are located in South Maui.

positive testimonial about Makai Services' grocery delivery.

Maui Market Delivery has two branches that serve South and West regions of Maui, including Kapalua, Napili, Kahana, Ka’anapali, Lahaina, Launiopoko, Oluwalu, Ma’alaea, Kihei, Wailea, and Makena. Their delivery fee is 30% of the store’s receipt subtotal, which includes shopping at the various stores needed to fulfill your order, round-trip delivery from Kahului to the location you are staying on Maui, and properly setting up all of your items in the kitchen of your hotel room, condo, or home. For orders under $150 there is a flat-rate $45 fee (no % charge). Since they shop 1 day in advance for most orders (2 days for Costco orders), their cancellation policy states: “Once a grocery list is submitted AND payment is collected cancellations made within 48 hours of the arrival date listed on the order form are subject to a $45 fee to account for restocking/returns and the cost of any grocery items that are unable to be returned back to the stores.”

Service NameDelivery DaysDelivery HoursDelivery FeeOrder Cut-off TimeMethod of PaymentDelivery Area
Maui Grocery Service7 days a week, 365 days a year7am to 7pm Hawaii time or 9am to 9pm Pacific time$59.00 (additional $30 for accommodations w/o elevators) and $250 delivery fee for remote locations Hana/Lanai/MolokaiNoon for next-day deliveryVisa, MasterCard, JCB, AMX, DiscoverAll of Maui, but $250 fee for remote locations like Hana, Lanai and Molokai
Maui Market DeliveryDaily12pm to 4pm Hawaii time30% of subtotal or $45 for orders under $150
(plus 3% credit card processing fee)
24 hours (or 48 hours for Costco) in advance of requested delivery Visa, MasterCard, DiscoverWest and South Maui, including Kapalua, Lahaina, Kihei, Wailea, and Makena
Makai Services MauiNot specified, but ask for 72 hours’ noticeNot specifiedPercentage of grocery total; minimum fee $50 depending on location; additional $25 fee for each store stopNot specifiedVisa, MasterCard, DiscoverCall for details
Comparison of Grocery Delivery Services on Maui

You might not think to utilize a grocery delivery service but next time try it as a convenient way to get your groceries on Maui without leaving your home, or to have your groceries at your condo by the time you land.

No matter which service you choose, be sure to compare prices and confirm delivery fees before placing your order so there are no surprises. Some services may offer further discounts or promotions for first-time customers, or for orders over a certain amount.

Snorkeling for the First Time in Maui

If you’re going to go anywhere to snorkel for the first time, it might as well be Maui. Snorkeling is a popular activity on Maui, and the island has many beautiful and diverse snorkeling spots to satisfy snorkelers of all skill levels.

If you are planning to snorkel for the first time in Maui, here are a few tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable experience:

snorkel in Wailea
Photo courtesy of My Splash, Wailea. Snorkeling for non-swimmers and beginners.

Where to go snorkeling in Maui: choose a beginner-friendly spot

There are many snorkeling spots on Maui that are suitable for beginners, including Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve, Ulua Beach at Wailea, and Makena Landing. These spots tend to have calm water, a soft sandy entry and a good variety of colorful fish and other marine life to see.

Molokini Crater and Honolua Bay are also amazing snorkeling destinations.

Honolua Bay is one of the best places to go snorkeling on Maui, and you can regularly see Hawaiian green sea turtles, octopus, parrotfish, goat fish, ta’ape (blue striped snapper), vibrant corals, unicorn fish, urchins, and occasionally, spinner dolphins.

Molokini Crater is a crescent-shaped island located off the coast of Maui that is home to a wide variety of marine life, including tropical fish, sea turtles, and dolphins.

Rent or bring your own gear

If you’re in Kihei, Auntie Snorkel offers snorkel gear rentals.

You will need to have a mask, fins, and a snorkel to snorkel. You can rent snorkel gear at many beach rental shops on Maui, or you can bring your own if you have it (but it is not worth bringing on the plane, really). It is important to make sure that the mask fits well and that the fins and snorkel are in good condition, which you can usually tell at a glance unless the mask has a tiny hole in the front which you don’t realize until you are already miles out at Molokini Crater…

Learn basic snorkeling skills

Make the most of your trip to Maui and familiarize yourself with basic snorkeling skills, such as how to clear your snorkel, how to equalize pressure in your ears, and how to swim with fins, before your trip. You can find instructional videos and tutorials online or ask a local snorkeling instructor for guidance.

Follow snorkeling safety guidelines

Of course, the obligatory safety talk. Snorkeling can be a safe activity if you follow basic safety guidelines:

  • always snorkel with a buddy,
  • stay within your comfort level,
  • avoid touching or harassing marine life, and
  • be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Overall, snorkeling in Maui can be a fun and rewarding experience for first-timers. By following these tips and using common sense, you can help ensure that your snorkeling adventure is safe and enjoyable.

If you are planning a first-time snorkeling trip to Maui, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Tips for first-time snorkelers:

  • be comfortable in the water before venturing out too far. It is also a good idea to wear a wetsuit or rashguard to protect your skin from the sun and to stay warm in the water.
  • the waters around Maui are generally clear, but visibility can vary depending on the time of year and weather conditions.
  • bring a waterproof camera to capture your snorkeling adventures.

Best snorkeling in Maui for non-swimmers

snorkeling for non-swimmers in Maui
Some snorkel gear, mainly fins and sea scooters to the left, from My Splash in Wailea, Maui.

If you don’t feel comfortable swimming in the ocean, there are still ways to enjoy snorkeling in Maui:

  • Float: Many beach rental companies offer floating devices such as boogie boards or inner tubes that you can use to stay afloat while snorkeling. This can give you more confidence in the water and allow you to enjoy the marine life without having to learn how to swim.
  • Use a snorkeling vest: A snorkeling vest is a flotation device that fits around your waist and helps you stay afloat in the water. It can be a good option for people who are not comfortable swimming but still want to enjoy the underwater world.
  • Go on a guided tour: Many snorkeling tours offer the option of a floating device or floatation belt, which allows you to snorkel without having to swim. The guide can also provide assistance and support if needed.
  • Snorkel from the shore: Some snorkeling spots in Maui have shallow areas that you can access from the shore, so you can stand in the water and snorkel without having to swim. Some popular spots for shore snorkeling include the sandy Ulua and Makena beaches.

Listen to your own comfort level and limitations when snorkeling, and do what feels safe and comfortable for you.

Beginner Snorkeler FAQ

Here are a few additional tips for first-time snorkelers in Maui:

Are swimming fins absolutely necessary?

Snorkeling isn’t so much about swimming as it is about floating, so as long as you have a face mask and perhaps a breathing tube, you’re good to go. When you’re in the water, relax. You’ll save a lot more energy (and breath) if you just float, only kicking when needed. Think of yourself as gliding through the water, rather than swimming. Less effort equals less disruption in the water and increases the probability you’ll see shy sea life up close. The more relaxed you are in the water the more relaxed the fish will be, too; relaxed fish will allow you to swim much closer. Plus the oxygen you save will allow you to hold your breath longer and get a closer look at the reef.

Rent or buy snorkel gear?

If you don’t have your own snorkeling equipment, you can rent it from a local dive shop or beach rental company. Be sure to try on the equipment before you leave the shop to ensure that it fits properly and is in good condition.

If you are new to snorkeling, you can rent some good snorkeling gear at a local rental store. Make sure you have a mask that fits you properly. If you want to explore Maui’s underwater world, do yourself the favor of not cutting corners on the gear. Nothing will ruin the experience faster than a leaky mask and a tube that allows water to flow into your mouth.

If you are concerned about sharing mouth pieces with other people, buy your own mask and tube and pack it with you, then rent the fins.

We rented our snorkel gear from The Snorkel Store, which we highly recommend. They rented us masks with tubes that automatically expel water, which was great for us. The staff work with each member of your family to fit your gear, which is hugely important. They also give you each a sack to keep track of your gear and color-code or have little symbols on each pack to help you keep track of which is whose. The pricing is good, they are responsive, they email you a snorkel report each day to outline the best beaches for snorkeling, and they will tell you on the day you get your gear which beach is best for whatever you want to do.

If you plan to snorkel a lot and want to buy your own gear, Costco offers high-quality snorkel gear at reasonable prices, making it the perfect place to shop for your snorkeling needs. Not only will you save money by purchasing your own gear instead of renting it, but you’ll also have reliable gear for your beach or boat snorkeling adventures.

And having the right snorkeling gear is essential. Not only will it help you stay comfortable in the water, but it can also make or break your experience; poor quality gear can create a frustrating experience, while good quality gear can ensure you get the most out of your snorkeling adventure.

So, if you’re planning a Maui vacation and looking to purchase snorkel gear, head over to Costco! You’ll find high-quality gear at a price that won’t break the bank, ensuring you have the best snorkeling experience possible.

The Pros and Cons of Snorkeling from a Boat or the Beach

Photo from https://www.fourwindsmaui.com/the-411-on-snorkeling-maui/

Snorkeling is an easy and fun way to explore the underwater world, and now that you know your gear options, you have more options about from where to launch: from a boat or the beach. So which do you choose?

Pros of Snorkeling from a Boat

Snorkeling from a boat offers a unique and exciting experience, and gives a feeling of exploring areas untouched by others.

  • Boats allow you to travel to more distant, and sometimes even unexplored, locations.
  • Some of the best snorkeling spots are not accessible from the beach, so a boat is the only way to get to them, like around the Molokini Crater.
  • Snorkeling from a boat allows you to access areas that are too deep for shore divers.

Pros of Snorkeling from the Beach

Snorkeling from the beach is how most people are introduced to snorkeling and is the easiest way to get comfortable with exploring the underwater world.

  • It is an easily accessible and usually less expensive option than snorkeling from a boat.
  • And don’t underestimate the cool marine life you can observe just by snorkeling from the beach!

Cons of Snorkeling from a Boat

  • Snorkeling from a boat can be expensive, as boats typically require additional fees.
  • Boats can be intimidating for beginners, Since you’re out at sea and have less control over where you go.
  • And then there’s always the potential for getting lost or having an engine malfunction…

Cons of Snorkeling from the Beach

  • Snorkeling from the beach can be limiting and you may feel like everybody has been when you’re going
  • Shallow waters are usually the only option, and can be crowded, making it difficult to enjoy the serene underwater landscape or observe shy marine life.
  • Rocky shorelines can also be close to strong currents, so be careful.

When it comes to snorkeling, there is no “right” or “wrong” choice. It all depends on your skill level and your budget.

If you’re looking for an exciting adventure, I’d say snorkeling from a boat is the way to go.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience and are just starting out, snorkeling from the beach may be the best option. No matter which you choose, snorkeling is a relatively inexpensive and fun way for people of all ages to explore the underwater world around Maui.

Does Maui Have a Zoo? Exploring the Island’s Animal Attractions

Maui is one of the most beautiful islands in the world and a popular destination for tourists seeking to explore its stunning beaches and lush tropical forests with waterfalls from many hiking paths. But what about the animal attractions? Does Maui have a zoo?

The short answer to the question “does Maui have a zoo?” is no, there is not a traditional zoo on the island. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of opportunities to see and learn about a variety of rare birds and animals that are sure to please visitors of all ages.

Maui Ocean Center for Aquatic Life Up Close

Humpback whales make a migratory showing in the winter off the coast of Maui, not at the Maui Ocean Center.

One popular option for animal lovers on Maui is the Maui Ocean Center, which is an aquarium and marine park located in the town of Ma’alaea. The center features a variety of exhibits, including a shark tank, a turtle lagoon, and a coral reef exhibit, where visitors can learn about and see a variety of marine animals up close.

  • The center features a variety of exhibits, including a shark tank, a turtle lagoon, and a coral reef exhibit. Visitors can see a variety of marine animals up close, including sharks, rays, fish, and turtles.
  • The Maui Ocean Center is home to the world’s largest display of living coral, which can be seen in the “Coral Reefs in Crisis” exhibit.
  • In addition to the exhibits, the center also offers a number of educational programs and activities, including guided tours, interactive exhibits, and animal encounters.
  • The center is home to a number of endangered species, including the Hawaiian green sea turtle and the Hawaiian monk seal.
  • The Maui Ocean Center is an important research and conservation facility, and works to protect and study the marine life of the Hawaiian islands.
  • The center is open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm, with extended hours during the summer months.
  • The center is located in the town of Ma’alaea, which is about a 30-minute drive from the town of Kahului.
  • The center has a gift shop and a food court, where visitors can purchase souvenirs and grab a bite to eat.
  • The Maui Ocean Center is a popular attraction on the island and can get busy, especially during peak tourist season. It is recommended to purchase tickets in advance to avoid long lines.

Maui Animal Sanctuaries and Wildlife Refuges

In addition to the Maui Ocean Center, there are also several animal sanctuaries and wildlife preserves on the island, where visitors can see and learn about a variety of animals, including endangered species. These include the Olowalu Petroglyphs, the Waihe’e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge, and the Hana Forest Reserve, among others.

Olowalu Petroglyphs

olowalu petroglyphs
Olowalu Petroglyphs near Lahaina, Maui
  • The Olowalu Petroglyphs are a collection of historic and cultural rock carvings located on the west side of Maui in the Olowalu Valley.
  • The site features a collection of ancient rock carvings, or petroglyphs, that were created by the island’s early Polynesian settlers utilizing sharp stones or tools to carve the images into rock.
  • The petroglyphs depict a variety of images including people, animals, and geometric shapes. Some of the carvings are easily recognizable, such as the image of a human figure with outstretched arms, while others are more abstract.
  • The petroglyphs are thought to be over 500 years old (or 300 to 800 years) and depict various symbols and figures that were important to the island’s early residents.
  • Visitors to the Olowalu Petroglyphs can take a self-guided tour of the site and learn about the history and culture of the island’s early residents.
  • The Olowalu Petroglyphs are considered a sacred site by many native Hawaiians and should be treated with respect.
  • There may be some native plants and animals in the surrounding area, but the main focus of the site is the petroglyphs themselves.

Waihe’e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge

  • The Waihe’e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge is a protected area located on the west side of Maui.
  • The refuge is home to a variety of plants and animals, including endangered species.
  • The refuge features a network of trails that visitors can explore, and offers opportunities for birdwatching, hiking, and other outdoor activities.
  • The Waihe’e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge is managed by the Maui Coastal Land Trust and is open to the public.

Hana Forest Reserve

The Hana Forest Reserve is a great destination for those who enjoy hiking, birdwatching, and nature photography. As always, check the weather conditions and trail conditions before heading out to the reserve, as the area can receive heavy rainfall and some trails can be steep and challenging.

The Hana Forest Reserve is home to a diverse array of plants and animals, including several rare and endangered species, such as the Hawaiian hoary bat, the Hawaiian goose, and the Maui parrotbill. The preserve also contains several waterfalls, streams, and pools that you can swim in or relax by. In addition, the Hana Forest Reserve is rich in cultural history, with several ancient Hawaiian cultural sites and artifacts that you can explore.

The Maui parrotbill or kiwikiu (Pseudonestor xanthophrys) is a species of Hawaiian honeycreeper endemic to the island of Maui in Hawaii.

Whether an outdoor enthusiast, a nature lover, or a history buff, the Hana Forest Reserve is definitely worth a visit.

  • The Hana Forest Reserve is a protected area located on the east side of Maui.
  • The preserve is home to a variety of plants and animals, including several endangered species.
  • The preserve features a network of trails that visitors can explore, and offers opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and other outdoor activities.
  • The Hana Rainforest Preserve is managed by the Nature Conservancy and is open to the public.

Maui Offers Wildlife Habitats Galore

There are also many opportunities to see wildlife in their natural habitats while on Maui. For example, visitors can take a boat tour to see whales and dolphins, or go hiking in the island’s Haleakala crater, Hana jungle, or west Maui mountains to see a variety of birds and other animals.

So, while there is not a traditional zoo on Maui, there are still plenty of opportunities to see and learn about a variety of animals while on the island, most of them for free if you like to snorkel and explore hiking trails. From the Maui Ocean Center to the many animal sanctuaries and wildlife preserves, there is something for every animal lover to enjoy on Maui.

Top Flora and Fauna of Maui to See for Free

Maui is home to a variety of unique and interesting plants and animals. Some of the more unusual ones include:

Hoary bat in Maui
Hoary bat likes roosting alone.

Rare Animals of Maui

  • Nēnē (Branta sandvicensis): The nēnē, or Hawaiian goose, is the state bird of Hawaii and is found only in the islands. It is a endangered species and is protected by law.
  • Hawaiian monk seal (Neomonachus schauinslandi): This seal is found only in the Hawaiian Islands and is considered one of the most endangered seals in the world. It is protected by law and is often seen basking on the shores of Maui.
  • Hawaiian honeycreepers
  • Kiwikiu aka Maui parrotbill (Pseudonestor xanthophrys) is a critically endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper endemic to the island of Maui. Once found across much of the islands of Maui and Moloka’i, the Kiwikiu is now limited to 30 km2 of wet rainforest on windward east Maui.
  • Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus): This bat is the only native land mammal in Hawaii and can be seen in Maui’s forests and gardens. It is endangered and is protected by law.
  • Humpback whales: Maui is one of the best places in the world to see humpback whales. They migrate to the island’s warm waters to mate and give birth between December and May.
  • Green sea turtles: Maui’s beaches are home to several species of sea turtles, including the endangered green sea turtle. Visitors can see them basking on the shore or swimming in the ocean.
  • Spinner dolphins: These playful dolphins can often be seen jumping and spinning in the waters around Maui. Visitors can take a boat tour to see them up close.
  • I’iwi: This vibrant red bird is an endemic species that can only be found in Hawaii. Visitors can see them in Maui’s forests.

Rare Plants of Maui

  1. Alula (Brighamia insignis): This native Hawaiian plant is found only on the islands of Maui and Kauai. It is also known as the “Hawaiian palm” and has a distinctive, cone-shaped flower.
  2. ‘Ohi’a lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha): This flowering tree is found throughout the Hawaiian Islands and is known for its bright red flowers.
  3. Kukui (Aleurites moluccanus): The kukui tree is native to Hawaii and is known for its shiny, green leaves and nut-like seeds. It is also the official state tree of Hawaii.

Where to See Maui’s Animals and Plants

Visitors interested in finding rare plants and animals on Maui should consider visiting the following locations, as well as other natural areas on the island:

  • Haleakala National Park – This park is home to many rare and endangered species, including the Haleakala silversword plant, the Hawaiian goose, and the Hawaiian petrel bird.
  • Maui Nui Botanical Gardens – This botanical garden (formerly known as the Maui Zoological and Botanical Gardens, are botanical gardens covering 7 acres and located at 150 Kanaloa Avenue, Kahului, Maui) is dedicated to preserving and promoting the native plants of Hawaii, many of which are endangered. Visitors can explore the gardens and learn about the cultural and medicinal uses of these plants.
  • Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge – This refuge is a birdwatcher’s paradise, home to many rare and endangered species of birds, including the Hawaiian coot and the Hawaiian stilt.
  • Hana Forest Reserve – This reserve is home to several endangered species of plants and animals, including the Maui parrotbill bird and the Kulu’i plant.

Maui Butterfly Farm

Maui Butterfly Farm Tour

The Maui Butterfly Farm in Lahaina (820 Olowalu Village Rd., Lahaina, HI 96761 – on the left hand side of the Olowalu General Store) is home to hundreds of colorful butterflies from around the world and open from 9am to 1pm every day. Visitors can observe the beautiful insects in their natural habitats, as well as learn about their fascinating life cycles.

These are just a few of the animal attractions on Maui, and there are many more to explore. Whether you’re looking for a traditional zoo experience or something more unique, Maui has something to offer any animal lover. So, don’t miss out on the island’s incredible animal attractions, and come explore Maui’s wild side.

What to Know About the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

Visiting the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge in Maui is an experience you won’t soon forget! To make sure your trip is the best it can be, here are a few tips and facts that you should know:

Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge map
Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge Key Takeaways:

  • What to Expect – Bird lovers rejoice! The refuge is home to a variety of migratory birds, native plants, and Hawaiian waterbirds. Visitors can also expect to see a variety of shorebirds, including the endangered Hawaiian Stilt and Hawaiian Coot.
  • Wildlife Viewing – As noted, the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge is an ideal spot for bird watching and wildlife viewing. You will see all sorts of rare and protected species, and the Refuge provides sanctuary to endangered species like the Hawaiian Monk Seal.
  • What to Bring – When visiting Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, it is important to bring binoculars, a hat, sunblock, and plenty of water. It is also a good idea to wear long pants and closed-toe shoes for protection against the sun and thorns.
  • To protect the wildlife, pets are not allowed on the refuge. Disturbing or removing plants, animals, rocks, fossils, or artifacts is strictly prohibited.

Remember to always check with the refuge management before participating in an activity that could be harmful to the environment.

With these tips in mind, you can make sure your visit to Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge is a memorable one. Most people find the walk calming and a nice break from the busy tourist scene.

Kealia Pond Wildlife Refuge
Kealia Pond Wildlife Refuge

Wildlife Refuge, Not Recreation Area

The Wildlife Refuge is better thought of as a walk in an open space to appreciate the protected habitat. Recreational activities such as bicycling, ball throwing, frisbees, jogging, and skateboarding can be enjoyed elsewhere at the county parks located along South Kihei Road in Kihei, but are not appropriate in the Refuge areas.

To learn more about the local wildlife, you can check out the printed and virtual information available on many topics, including plants and animals, seasonal migrations, habitats, refuge management strategies, and endangered species.

Best Time to Visit Kealia Pond

When you’re ready to visit, the best time is in the morning on a Thursday or Friday, when the sun and wind are not as strong and the Refuge is not as busy. To make your visit out walking in the open habitat more enjoyable, come prepared with some water, sunglasses, and a hat.

Species to Look For at Kealia Pond

The refuge is a vital habitat for many endangered species, including the Hawaiian stilt, Hawaiian coot, and Hawaiian gallinule. It is also home to a variety of migratory birds, including shorebirds, ducks, and geese.

Hawaiian gallinule
Hawaiian gallinule

Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge is also home to a variety of native plants and flowers, including naupaka, lama, and lokelani.

Visitors to Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge can enjoy bird watching and wildlife observation from the observation platform, located near the main entrance.

Wildlife viewing: what species of birds, fish, and other animals can be seen at the refuge?

Visitors can view a variety of birds at The Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge such as Hawaiian ducks, stilts, coots, laysan albatrosses, black-footed albatrosses, red-footed boobies, and terns, as well as fish, crustaceans, and other aquatic life. Migratory birds are present from the duration of August to April.

Kealia pond hiking trails: what trails are available, and what is the difficulty level?

Kealia Pond coastal boardwalk on the left in blue, Kanuimanu Dike Trail on the right in blue grid
Kealia Pond coastal boardwalk on the left in blue, Kanuimanu Dike Trail on the right in blue grid

The refuge offers two short hiking trails, one for beginners and one for more experienced hikers.

Kanuimanu Dike Trail is 1.34 miles and the Kealia Pond Coastal Boardwalk is less than half a mile.

The Kanuimanu Dike Trail passes through the freshwater pond and wetlands in a grid-like walk, offering visitors the chance to observe waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wildlife.

Event information: are there any special events or activities taking place at the refuge?

The refuge hosts special events throughout the year, such as bird watching days and field trips.

The refuge is also a popular destination for kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding. There are three launch locations available, and visitors can explore the backwaters of the refuge where they can observe a variety of wildlife and birds.

What facilities are available for visitors, such as restrooms, picnic areas, etc.?

The refuge offers restrooms, picnic areas, and interpretive displays.

Photography and videography: What are the policies on taking photos or videos at the refuge?

Photography and videography are allowed but must not disturb the wildlife or other visitors.

Educational programs: are there any educational programs offered by the refuge?

The refuge offers a variety of educational programs, such as guided walks, talks, and workshops. Find out more here.

Accessibility: Is the refuge wheelchair accessible?

The refuge is wheelchair accessible, although the path is bumpy in sections.

Interested in more adventurous activities?

The Best Places to Paddleboard in Maui: From Makena Beach to Molokini Crater

Maui is a great island for paddleboarding, with many protected coves with calm waters and some fun areas with waves for the more experienced boarders.

Photo from https://www.instagram.com/mauipaddleboarding

Key takeaways for where to paddleboard in Maui

Maui offers a wide range of locations for paddleboarding, each with their own unique features and benefits.

  • Ka’anapali Beach: Located on the west side of Maui, this popular beach offers calm, clear waters and a wide, sandy shoreline for easy launching. Paddle out to the nearby Black Rock for some snorkeling or just enjoy the views of the surrounding resorts and mountains.
  • Kapalua Bay: Located on the northwest coast of Maui, Kapalua Bay is known for its turquoise waters and calm conditions, making it a popular spot for paddleboarding.
  • Lahaina Harbor: Located on the west side of the island, Lahaina Harbor is a popular spot for stand-up paddling. Rent a board from one of the local shops and explore the harbor, or paddle out to the nearby islands for some snorkeling.
  • Wailea Beach: Located on the south side of the island, Wailea Beach offers calm, clear waters and a wide, sandy shoreline for easy launching. Paddle out to the nearby coral reefs for some snorkeling, or just enjoy the views of the surrounding resorts and mountains. A popular spot for paddlers of all skill levels.
  • Honolua Bay: Located on the west side of the island, Honolua Bay is a popular spot for stand-up paddling. Rent a board from one of the local shops and explore the bay, or paddle out to the nearby reefs for some snorkeling.
  • Check out the waters around Makena Beach and Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge for calmer waters for beginners learning how to paddleboard.
  • Molokini Crater: Located just off the coast of Maui, Molokini Crater is a crescent-shaped islet that is popular for snorkeling and paddleboarding.

The best place to paddleboard in Maui will depend on your skill level and the conditions on the day you go, and your proximity to the beach. If you’re staying on the west or south side of Maui, you will usually be in luck, as the waters there are calmer than on the northeast side.

Go snorkeling and stand-up paddleboarding together for twice the fun. Photo from https://mauistanduppaddleboarding.com/

What conditions are ideal for paddleboarding in Maui?

If you want an easy day of paddling, look for protected areas with flat water, such as the shallow waters of Makena Landing, Wailea, and the Kapalua Bay. These areas are ideal for beginner paddleboarders and stand-up paddleboarders alike.

Paddling is easier and more popular on the leeward side of the island in west and south Maui, as evidenced by the locations of the paddleboard shops.

For those looking to get a better view of the island, head to Ka’anapali Beach on the west side of the island.

Whether paddleboarding or stand-up paddleboarding, the best spots for those learning paddling are in flat waters, protected areas, or surf spots, depending on your mood and energy level. Paddleboarding is typically done in protected areas, while stand-up paddleboarding is done in areas with surface waves, but it depends on what kind of experience you want.

Wailea beach paddling

There are a number of great spots to check out on Maui, no matter what kind of experience you’re looking for. Ask the locals for the best spots on the day you’re looking to go out on the water, but in general, the popular areas for a fun coastline paddle are in the calm waters around Wailea Beach. Wailea offers lots of coastline to explore, and the beach also offers clear views of the islands offshore.

Makena beaches have lots to offer paddlers

If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous and are a more experienced paddler, check out the beaches at Makena State Park. The waters here can be choppy and there are some strong currents, so try to focus more on paddling and less on the spectacular views of the nearby islands.

Calmer paddling in Kapalua Bay

For a more relaxed experience or if you’re just getting comfortable with paddling, head to Kapalua Bay. The waters here are usually very calm, making it the perfect spot for beginners. The bay is also a great spot for snorkeling, with plenty of reef and marine life to explore.

For intense paddleboarding adventures on Maui

More experienced paddleboarders might want to try the open ocean around the islands of Molokini and Lanai, where the waves can offer more challenging conditions. Definitely do not attempt this paddle unguided, as many paddlers have been lost at sea.

For a downwind paddle run on the North Shore of Maui that “makes heroin addiction seem like a vague craving for something salty,” [source] you can attempt the Maliko run:

Paddleboarding is popular all over Maui

No matter what kind of experience you’re looking for, you will find plenty of suitable paddleboarding spots on Maui. if those spots weren’t enough or you’re in a different part of the island:

  • Head to Lahaina Harbor for some of the best paddle boarding on Maui. The harbor offers plenty of flat water and is a great place to paddle board for all levels of experience.
  • For more experienced paddle boarders, head to Ho’okipa Beach Park. The beach offers more challenging waters with bigger swells that are perfect for more experienced paddle boarders.
  • Make sure to bring a snorkel mask, as the waters around Maui are full of sea life that can be seen up close.
SUP vs prone paddleboarding

To clarify the difference: Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a type of water sport in which participants stand on a board and use a paddle to propel themselves through the water. Paddleboarding is similar to SUP, but participants lay or kneel on a paddleboard, which is a smaller, more maneuverable board than the boards used for SUP. Paddlers of both persuasions frequent the same waters, but SUPers prefer calmer coves and bays to maintain stability in the water.

Stand-up paddleboarding or paddleboarding to Molokini Crater

Stand-up paddling (SUP) nor prone paddleboarding from Maui to Molokini Crater is not recommended due to the distance and open ocean conditions. The trip is about 15 miles, which can be quite intense and tiring, and the open ocean can have strong currents and rough waves; many paddlers have lost their lives attempting the trip.

Do not attempt the paddle from Maui to Molokini Crater unguided, unless you are a very experienced paddler with the proper equipment and taking every safety precaution.

If you are interested in paddling to or around Molokini Crater, it is best to join a guided tour or charter a boat from a reputable company. These tours will provide you with the necessary equipment (board, paddle, life jacket, and more), as well as safety measures for your peace of mind for the trip.

Depending on the tour you choose, the departure points could be Maalaea Harbor or Kihei, and your guide will provide all the necessary instructions for a safe and enjoyable paddle to the coolest crater outside of Maui.

Find more adventure activities to do in Maui.