I've been to over 45 countries now and countless cities, and Maui is top 5 of my favorite places. I'm a beach kid from Ventura California, so the ocean is always calling my name. I've now been to Maui 4 times, and there are countless amazing things to do on this beautiful island, but here are my top 5. Sidenote: rent a car! You'll be glad you did.
1. Spend a day exploring the road to Hana
Road to Hana is a long day, so make sure you're well rested for the journey. Definitely avoid hangovers on this windy road. I've done this day trip starting on the north side of the island, which seems to be the popular route, and again from the south side, my preferred route. Why, you ask? It's the road less traveled so you get less congestion and also avoid the sun setting in your face while traversing scary single lane roads.
There are so many great stops along the way!
The first place you should go is Pools of 'Ohe'o (commonly referred to as the 7 sacred pools). As long as the water isn't too high you can swim in these. At the same location, there is a beautiful 5 mile round trip hike to the 400ft Waimoku Falls from there. On the way you wander through luscious greenery, a bamboo forest, see a massive banyon tree, and finally you get to the falls. If you're outdoorsy, it's well worth the trip.
The next stop I would hit up is the Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach. The sand is literally quite red and the bluffs above the beach are stunning. If you have time you can hang at the beach for a while and get into the ocean. The currents can be strong though so be careful!
My favorite spot visually is the Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach. The colors of the crystal blue ocean and lush greenery against the black sand are stunning. I could've roamed around for hours, but unfortunatley we didn't have a lot of time to explore. If you have the opportunity I would try and stay mid way somewhere along Hana so you can take your time to see all the nooks and crannys.
2. Watch the sunrise from Haleakala
You have to wake up in the middle of the night to head to Haleakala and drive to the top, but it's a great experience! At the peak of this extinct volcano you watching can watch the sunrise from high above the clouds. Bundle up for this experience, it's cold and windy so I recommend bringing a beanie, gloves, and layers. Even it's it's 80 degrees at sea level it will be cold at the top.
You can drive up yourself, or head there on a mountain bike tour. The mountain bike tour drives you to the top, then equips you with helmets and bikes to start an exhilarating trip downhill for 23 miles! We went with Maui Bike Co. and had a wonderful experience. You can take your time and stop for breakfast along the way. If you're an adventure junkie like me, this is way to do Haleakala.
3. Dive or snorkel with sea turtles
Sea turtles are protected in Hawaii, so you can find them everywhere! I've seen a sea turtles everytime I've gone diving, and even a few times when I've gone snorkeling in Maui. Some great places to snorkel are Honolulu Bay and Wailea. You can also easily book a tour to snorkel or dive. Maui Dive Shop were top notch! They prepped all our supplies for us, as well as a great spread for breakfast and lunch. I'd highly recommend them.
4. Splurge on lunch or dinner at Mama’s Fish House
If you're going to splurge on a great meal (or many!), make a rezzie at Mama's Fish House. It's crazy expensive but it's the best meal I've ever had on the island! And I've been to Maui four times. To give you an idea it's around $50 a plate, $18 a drink.
5. Relax at Slaughterhouse Beach
Slaughterhouse Beach sounds scary, but the name comes from ranch tanning and storage sheds that were located on the cliff's edge above the ocean. The buildings were torn down in the 60's, but the name stayed. This beach is such a gem. It's a little cove surrounded by lush cliffs. It's the perfect place to spend a day relaxing, bring a towel, picnic, a good book or some magazines and enjoy the 80 degree water and gorgeous view.