Aloha fellow Maui lovers!
You know, there’s nothing quite like the magical island of Maui with its stunning golden sand beaches, enchanting rainforests, breathtaking waterfalls, and fascinating marine life. But hey, I get it – deciding what to do during your precious vacation time can feel a little overwhelming with so many incredible options available. That’s where I come in! I’ve spent countless hours researching and experiencing the best tours, activities, and half-day adventures that you absolutely must try when you visit this tropical paradise.
You see, my boyfriend and I have been visiting Maui for years (it’s our favorite Hawaiian island – don’t tell the others!), so we really know a thing or two about finding those unforgettable experiences that make each trip truly memorable. From snorkeling with colorful fish at world-renowned Molokini Crater to witnessing picturesque sunsets on romantic cruises or even exploring this gorgeous island from high above via helicopter tours – we’ve done it all!
But enough about us – let’s talk about YOU! Whether you’re an adventurous thrill-seeker or someone who prefers relaxing leisurely strolls along the beach (or maybe somewhere in-between), there is something perfect for everyone in this list of must-do activities.
Warning: After reading this article and experiencing these top-rated tours firsthand on your next vacation, be prepared as returning back to reality might induce some serious “Maui Fever” (it’s a real thing… trust me!)
So buckle up fellow explorers because it’s time to dive deep into the wonders of Maui together and create memories that will last a lifetime! Let the adventure begin!
Sunset Cruise With Three-Course Dinner from Lahaina
There’s no better way to enjoy the breathtaking Maui sunset than a cruise sailing far on the shore. So take a terrific sunset dinner cruise from the Lahaina Harbor, which includes a three-course meal served tableside, cocktails, live music, and dancing on the ship’s spacious deck.
You’ll board the spacious Maui Princess cruise ship well before evening and enjoy a welcome drink served by the crew. Then, as the trip begins, you’ll be seated on an open deck and served a dinner comprising delicious mains like prime rib, fresh Mahi Mahi, and vegetarian options by a professional waitstaff. Enjoy the meal with live music performed by known musicians on the island as the sunset approaches.
After your meal, head to the upper deck and take in the Maui sun’s changing colors as it sets, and enjoy views of the beautiful Lanai and Molokai islands visible from a distance.
My boyfriend and I loved this romantic dinner cruise, and it’s one of the best tours in Maui you can take on a special occasion.
- After dinner, there’s dancing to live music on the deck.
- The onboard bartender prepares Mai Tais, cocktails, and Maui Brewing Co beer.
- The crew is incredible and makes sure each guest has a great time.
2-Hour Whale Watching Tour from Lahaina Harbor
If your trip falls during Maui’s winter months from December to April, don’t miss an opportunity to see humpback whales from the West Maui shoreline. You can take terrific whale-watching tours in Maui aboard cruises like this one, which guarantees whale sightings; otherwise, your next trip is free!
You’ll sail from the Lahaina Harbor aboard an expansive ship with an upper observation deck and an enclosed main cabin to see the whales from. There’s also an onboard marine naturalist who explains the various behaviors whales exhibit as you watch them break the shore and interact among themselves.
In addition, the tour has an underwater camera for enhanced viewing and a hydrophone that helps you hear whale songs.
We loved taking this exciting cruise and seeing whales so close, and it’s undoubtedly one of the best tours in Maui. Here’s why you’ll agree:
- The captain and crew help you spot marine life aside from whales.
- There’s a great gift shop onboard whose sales support marine research in Maui.
- You’ll learn all about the history and habitat of humpback whales.
Dolphin Watching and Snorkel Adventure in Lanai
The island of Lanai is a hidden gem for its rugged beauty and the abundant dolphin pods found offshore from it. So you can take this great 4-hour tour from the Lahaina Harbor in West Maui to Lanai to see a ton of dolphins and stop by popular snorkeling sites.
In addition, the boat tour boards a small group of passengers per trip, which keeps the whole experience intimate. On the tour, you’ll stop by marine life hotspots with tons of turtles, tropical fish, manta rays, and octopus, and snorkel with them.
When you reach Lanai’s shores, marvel at the resident spinner dolphins breaking the shore and performing their acrobatic feats. Make sure to capture the activity on your cameras and ask the crew to take pictures of you throughout the trip.
We loved this interactive dolphin adventure, and it’s one of the best tours in Maui. Here’s why you’ll agree:
- The tour includes breakfast, plus snacks and beverages throughout.
- There’s high-quality snorkeling equipment, so you won’t have to bring any.
- Your ticket helps in active marine research in Maui.
Small Group Road to Hana Adventure
The Road to Hana is the most amazing road trip you can take, as the Hana Highway includes waterfalls at every turn, secluded beaches, botanical gardens, rainforests, and much more. However, exploring every stop can take days, so a guided tour is the best way to see the top sights on a one-day trip.
You’ll load up on essentials before starting the journey, then drive to Ho’okipa Beach, known as the world’s windsurfing capital, pass by the beautiful Waikani Falls visible from the road, and stop at the Waianapanapa State Park’s gorgeous black sand beach. You’ll also make a stop at Ke’anae, a Hawaiian village known for its taro fields, fishing spots, and picture-perfect beauty.
Near the end, the tour stops for lunch and passes by a honey bee sanctuary, Charles Lindbergh’s grave, and the Ohe’o Gulch falls before making the journey back to your hotels.
We’ve taken many Road to Hana tours and highly recommend single-day trips like this one, which covers all the best sights, and is one of the best tours in Maui. Here’s why you’ll agree:
- You’ll see lesser-known sights and hidden gems of the Road to Hana.
- You’ll stop by Aunty Sandy’s food truck for the best banana bread and snacks.
- The tour provides chances to stop and take pictures of the breathtaking scenery you pass.
Horseback Riding Tour at Mendes Ranch
Hawaii has a rich history of ranching, with local cowboys known as paniolos running ranches across the islands. You’ll find terrific ones in the Maui countryside offering horseback riding tours on their gorgeous grounds, especially with the Mendes Ranch in Wailuku, run by real paniolos.
Take a horseback riding tour of the Mendes Ranch grounds, with sweeping views of the island’s North shore and the Pacific Ocean, on their 1.5-hour guided tours. You’ll pass through the West Maui rainforests and canter on rolling green pastures toward the beautiful Waihee Valley. Enjoy panoramic views of the Maui countryside from your horseback ride as expert guides help you navigate the landscape and your horses.
In addition, the riding trails make for great photo ops, and you can ask guides to take pictures of you on saddles with the beautiful valley backdrop.
My boyfriend and I enjoyed horseback riding in Maui a lot, and it’s one of the best tours in Maui you can take.
- You’ll learn about the ranch’s age-old history on tour.
- The tour passes by Maui’s old plantation homes, which were a big part of its history.
- The guides are terrific and ensure rider safety at all times.
- The riding at Mendes Ranch is ideal for all ages and skill levels.
7-line Zipline Tour on the North Shore
Maui’s lush landscape and expansive valleys make it the perfect spot for ziplining, which you can enjoy from well-developed zipline courses on the island. So visit the North shore to experience a thrilling zipline tour spreading over 7 ziplines atop a forest canopy.
Run by the North Shore Zipline Co, these zip lines are ideal for beginners and those with some ziplining experience, as you’re accompanied by guides who ensure rider safety at all times. On the ziplines, you’ll soar over the rainforest’s rainbow eucalyptus trees and take in gorgeous views of the North shore landscape from incredible heights.
In addition, thrill-seekers will love their longest zipline at a 70-foot height, extending 900 feet in length and going at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.
My boyfriend and I had the most fun at this terrific zipline course, and we highly recommend everyone to try it as it’s one of the best tours in Maui. Here’s why you’ll agree:
- The course is on a World War II base known as Camp Maui, with a museum dedicated to those who served in it.
- You’ll hear incredible stories about the island’s culture and wildlife from your guides.
- The course is family-friendly, with easy zip lines.
Turtle Town Snorkeling from Maui
Watching whales and dolphins from a boat won’t cut it when exploring Maui’s incredible marine life. That’s why you’ll need to take a trip to the island’s top snorkeling destinations and swim alongside some incredible sea creatures. For example, taking a tour to Turtle Town from Kihei in South Maui, home to one of Hawaii’s largest populations of green sea turtles or honu.
The tour only takes ten people per trip to keep the experience intimate, with experienced guides who guide you to the best snorkeling spots. You’ll be swimming alongside tons of turtles and colorful tropical fish species and exploring the wild reef in Turtle Town.
In addition, the guides can take high-quality pictures and shoot videos for you underwater, which are available after the tour.
So don’t miss the chance to see Hawaii’s native marine life up close on this trip, as it’s one of the best tours in Maui. Here’s why you’ll agree:
- The tour is ideal for first-time snorkelers as the guides facilitate them well.
- You’ll sail past the beautiful South Maui coastline to reach Turtle Town.
- The tour provides high-quality snorkeling equipment fitted to each passenger.
Molokini Crater Snorkeling Adventure From Maalaea Harbor
An incredible snorkeling destination in Maui is the Molokini Crater, a volcanic caldera rising from the sea at a great height and attracting more than 200 species of fish and various marine animals. You can take a terrific snorkeling tour to the crater aboard the Calypso cruise ship, stopping at Turtle Town to swim with Hawaiian green sea turtles.
The Molokini Crater is inhabited by a variety of sea life, like sea urchins, manta rays, tropical fish, eels, and even the occasional shark, which make for great snorkeling companions on this tour. You’ll have an incredible time exploring the underwater world of these animals and swimming next to them as guides take you to the best snorkeling spots.
In addition, the triple-decker Calypso has tons of amenities to enjoy, like an onboard water slide, a glass-bottom viewing room to see the marine life swimming by, and high-quality snorkeling equipment.
My boyfriend and I enjoyed this fantastic snorkeling adventure to Molokini and consider it one of the best tours in Maui. Here’s why you’ll agree:
- There’s breakfast, and a buffet lunch served on the cruise with delicious local food.
- There are professional lifeguards present to ease guests into the activity.
- The crater is a Marine Life Conservation District and bird preserve, so you’ll see beautiful bird species flying over your cruise.
West Maui and Molokai 45-Minute Helicopter Tour
Despite many tours going over Maui’s famous sites, a large part of the island remains inaccessible by roads, such as its deep valleys and waterfalls. So take this helicopter tour to see these gorgeous sights from a bird’s eye view, which goes over the West Maui mountains and the neighboring island of Molokai, that’s closed off to visitors.
The 45-minute tour flies from the Kahului Heliport to the heart of ancient Hawaii, where you’ll hover above ridgelines carved by 1.5 million years of wind and rain erosion, with mist clinging to the landscape. After circling the West Maui mountains, the tour continues to Molokai, over the world’s tallest sea cliffs, which plunge 4,000 feet into crashing waves on the coast.
In addition, you’ll enjoy being seated on six forward-facing seats on the helicopter, with great angles to capture the scenery below from your cameras.
We loved taking this incredible aerial tour of the never-before-seen parts of Maui, and you should take advantage of it as it’s one of the best tours in Maui.
- The pilot shares details of the sights you pass by and narrates their history.
- You can purchase a USB with the full video of your tour at the trip’s end.
- The state-of-the-art Air Maui helicopter ensures a smooth trip over the island.
Haleakala Summit Sunrise Tour with Breakfast
An unmissable sight in Maui is the Haleakala National Park, home to a dormant volcano rising 10,000 feet, offering one of the world’s most beautiful sunrise views. You can take a tour of the Haleakala Crater for the sunrise, which is the best way to experience this natural wonder.
Your tour with Skyline Hawaii will last nearly 8-9 hours and include hotel pickup late at night for the long drive up to the summit. In addition, you’ll be accompanied by experienced guides on a vehicle with large viewing windows, comfortable seats, and interiors.
Watch the incredible sunrise as it brings the entire Maui landscape to light, changing colors over the horizon as you enjoy narration from your guides about the National Park’s history, plants, and wildlife. Finally, take a trip down to the Kula Lodge for more sightseeing and a delicious breakfast.
My boyfriend and I can never get enough of the Haleakala sunrise, and you shouldn’t miss a trip to the summit as it’s the best tour in Maui.
- You’ll be given warm jackets and gloves for the cold climate on the crater.
- You can choose between vegetarian and gluten-free options for your breakfast.
- Your ticket price helps in conserving Hawaii’s natural environment.
Haleakala Volcano Sunrise Bike Tour
The stunning landscape from the Haleakala National Park deserves to be seen in full, which you can experience by taking a sunrise tour followed by biking down the volcano. The tour spans half a day and includes stops at small towns on your way down and taking in the gorgeous sights of Maui seen from the volcano’s height.
You’ll ride to the volcano for the sunrise on a vehicle, and after there’s sufficient light to navigate the way, you’ll take bikes and set off at your own pace. The downhill bike ride spans 23 miles, and you pass by the lush Upcountry Maui land, the beautiful town of Kula, historic Makawao town, and Haiku on the North shore.
Enjoy exploring Makawao as you stop there for breakfast, as it’s a beautiful town filled with age-old businesses, historic landmarks, and vast fields.
We were in awe of Maui’s rural beauty, seen from this super fun bike trip, and you should definitely take it as it’s one of the best tours in Maui.
- The tour provides custom mountain bikes, helmets, windbreakers, and warm clothes for the trip.
- The downhill bike ride makes this an ideal tour for beginners and younger children.
- The sights along the way make for gorgeous photo ops.
Lahaina UTV Adventure Tour
The best way to access Maui’s rugged landscape on the West shore, inaccessible by standard vehicles, is through a UTV tour. Your guided tour with Maui Off Road Adventures takes you on two incredible trails, the beachside East Side trail and the West Side one, which includes a ride through Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve on a four-wheel ride.
The beachside tour starts near Kapalua Airport, close to Ka’anapali beach, and passes through 1400 acres of riding terrain with gorgeous ocean views. For the West Side Adventure Trail, you’ll drive through the Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve, one of the wettest spots on the earth and home to plant and animal species found nowhere else in the world.
In addition, these two-hour adventures are ideal for experienced riders and beginners both, as you can choose to drive the UTV or ride as a passenger with an expert guide.
We had a terrific time driving through these unseen parts of Maui, and the unique ATV ride makes this one of the best tours in Maui. Here’s why you’ll agree:
- The tour uses the most advanced off-road vehicles, the Polaris RZR 900 and 1000.
- The four-wheel UTV makes the tour ideal for small groups or families wanting to travel together.
- The guides provide insightful commentary on the sights you pass.
Maui Pineapple Plantation Tour
Maui has a rich history of plantations that were used to cultivate sugarcane and pineapples in the past. Today you can take a guided tour of some of the plantations still functioning and see how the famous Maui pineapple is grown every step of the way.
The tour takes you to Makawao in Upcountry Maui, where you’ll find Haliimaile town, home to lush fields used for growing this golden fruit. You’ll walk around a working pineapple field on tour, learn about the growing cycles and cultivation process of pineapples from your guide and sample the fruit at different stages, from raw to ripe and tender.
In addition, each guest gets an airport-ready pineapple at the end of the trip, wrapped and ready to fly home with you!
My boyfriend and I were amazed by this informative tour and the laborious process of making the fruit. So be sure to check it out, as it’s one of the best tours in Maui.
- The tour is ideal for family-friendly, as you get to explore the open fields.
- You’ll walk through the pineapple packing facility after the fields and see how the fruit is prepared for shipping.
- The tour gives out snacks of fresh fruit to the guests.
Winding Up The Best Tours in Maui
If you’ve made it this far in the article, you know Maui has some fantastic tours going around the island, each exploring a unique activity and promising an exciting adventure. You can snorkel with native marine life, watch the sunrise from a volcanic crater, explore pineapple plantations in the countryside, take a road trip to beaches and waterfalls on the Hana Highway, and so much more through guided tours in Maui.
Looking for the best tours to see marine life in Maui? Go dolphin watching and whale watching from the Lahaina Harbor.
Want to see unseen aerial views of the island? Take a helicopter tour over West Maui and Molokai.
Need a family-friendly activity? Tour the pineapple plantations in Haliimaile, or take a UTV adventure from Lahaina.
Want to see the best sunrise and sunset views in Maui? Take a sunset cruise from Lahaina and a sunrise tour to the Haleakala volcano.
The best tours in Maui have something fun for everyone!
Last Updated on March 29, 2023 by Brigitte