Maui Adventure: Hike, Snorkel, Beach and Eats on Maui

Maui is a great destination with tons to see and do! Of course everyone reads about the road to Hana which is absolutely amazing and you definitely need to do that as part of your trip! We have a full post on driving the road to Hana which we have a link to at the end of this post! Here we will tell you where else on Maui to explore during your trip! We explored the island via camper van. We spent our nights at camp grounds and used the van as transportation to make sure we could see as much of the island as possible on this pretty short trip. We had about four and a half days to explore. Here’s our list of what to see and do on Maui outside the road to Hana.
Lava fields at Perouse Bay/Hoapili Trail: Our first full day it was a little rainy in the morning so we decided to drive out to the lava fields and hike. We were one of the only people on the trail that morning. It was really nice to have the place pretty much to ourselves. You are walking on a pretty rocky/uneven path but it is an overall easy hike. You will get great views of the ocean as you walk. As you walk farther you will see large rock cliffs that drop straight into the ocean. We also came across a few small tidal pools among the rocks. We even found one large and deep enough to swim in. We would recommend wearing you swim suit under whatever you are hiking in so that you can easily go for a swim if you would like. Do watch out for sea urchins if you are swimming over here, they are very sharp so you don’t want to step on one!

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Lava Fields Kings Trail: On your way to hike the lava fields you will pass this beach. We stopped here after our morning hike to do some snorkeling. It doesn’t look like much when you walk down to the beach but just offshore you will see amazing coral and lots of fish! Literally as soon as we put our faces in the water we were surrounded by fish here! We also saw a sea turtle and an octopus while we were here.

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Big beach and little beach at Makena Park: These are both white sand beaches and both are beautiful. Little beach is a clothing optional beach so do be aware of that if you are walking over there. It is just a short walk in-between the beaches. There is also a small path that follows the coast past little beach. The path is along lava stone on the coast, it is a pretty walk but we would recommend the lava fields to get your lava experience over this path.

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Hookipa beach: This beach is another white sand beach. It’s a good surfing spot and is right before the start of the road to Hana. There are bathrooms here, showers to rinse off at and picnic tables. We spend a little while here our last afternoon on the island. This beach has a great mix of locals and tourists.

Papalaua State Wayside Park and Ukumehame Beach Park: We stayed at camp Olowalu our first two nights. As you drive along the Honoapiilani highway from Kihei towards Lahaina (or towards camp Olowalu) there are these narrow beaches running just off the road. It is easy to pull off, park your car along the beach and relax during the daytime hours. We also heard this is a great spot for long boarding. These beaches are also great spots to watch the sunset! Camping at Papalaua State Wayside Park is also an option, if you’d like. Check our our Maui by Camper Van post for more information on camping throughout Maui- Maui by Camper Van


Papawai Point: This look out is a really great spot for sunset and for whale watching in the winter. Again this is along the Honoapiilani highway as you drive from Kihei towards Lahaina. We watched the sunset here our last night on the island. It is a popular spot (for good reason) so do be aware that the parking lot will likely be full.



Snorkel tour with Pacific Whale Foundation on Ocean Explorer: We chose to do a smaller tour group that offered more snorkeling spots than some of their other, larger tours. Our group was only about 15 people total which was really nice. It made getting on/off the boat much better than having to wait for everyone in a larger group. The tour starts at 6:30 am. You meet up at the Pacific Whale Foundation where you sign in and they provide you with breakfast as you watch the sunrise over the marina. At 7:30 am you will head down to the boat. You are on the boat a total of about 6 hours. We stopped at five different snorkeling spots on our tour. You get a small snack provided about half way through the tour. You also get lunch on the boat once you are done with your final snorkel. The tour ends back at the marina at 1:30pm. They have water and other beverages available at any time during the tour. You are welcome to get off the boat at each stop or sit on the boat and relax if you want to skip one or more of the snorkels. We had a captain driving the boat and two lifeguards/marine life specialists with us on our tour. Each snorkel one of the life guards would come into the water with us to make sure everyone was okay. They would also help point things out for us in the water. We snorkeled in the “turtle town” area where we saw tons of turtles! We then did another reef off the coast where we saw more turtles and a small eel. From there we did a drift  snorkel (the boat stopped, let us off the circled nearby while we snorkeled since it was too deep to anchor) to see a small place crash and all the fish that are living in the wreckage.  Then we headed to the back side of Molokini Crater (another drift snorkel) where we saw a seal and then snorkeled along the wall there before finishing our tour inside Molokini Crater snorkeling the reef. We would highly recommend this tour! We had a great time on this tour. The Pacific Whale Foundation does a lot of great research and advocacy for the environment/ocean. Part of the money you spend on your tour is going directly to the foundation to allow them to keep doing the good work that they do. The link below will take you to the snorkel tour that we did on their website. From there you can check out the other tours and activities that The Pacific Whale Foundation offers.

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We are foodies and typically food is a huge part of travel for us. But this trip was shorter and we were camping and moving around the island quite a bit. Food was not our top priority here. We ate a lot of snacks in the camper van and stopped along the way for more full meals as needed. Here are a few of our recommendations for where to eat on Maui:

Paia Fish Market: This place has great fish burgers! Also make sure to try some Maui Brewing Company beer while your here! This was our first stop after we picked up our Camper Van! The portions are huge and the prices were fairly standard, definitely not an expensive meal but very good!


Da Kitchen in Kahului or Kihei: This restaurant is BYOB. It has great kalua pork! The portions are huge! We both ordered an entrée for dinner and could have easily just split one meal.


Star Noodle in Lahaina: This place was one of our favorite restaurants we stopped at. They have really good food! We planned to eat in for dinner however when we arrived at 6-6:30ish there was an hour wait for a table. We ended up ordering take out which  only took about 15-20 minutes to prepare. We took our food back to our campground and enjoyed it there instead. Moral of the story, make reservations if you plan to eat dinner here and avoid the long wait time.

Jawz Taco Truck at Makena Park: This is a great option for a quick lunch on the go as you explore the island. We headed to Makena park after hiking the lava fields our first day. The trunk arrived to the park about 12:30 pm. We had pork and fish tacos here and both were really good but we preferred the pork.

For Food recommendations and recommended stops along the road to Hana check out our full Road to Hana post here: Road to Hana Camper Van Adventure

There is definitely more to Maui then we listed here. Another big thing to do is head to the top of Haleakala for the sunrise. We heard very mixed reviews on this so we decided to skip it on this trip. We have read that sunset on the top of Haleakala can also be really great and can be less crowded. If we had one more full day we would have added one of these two options to our itinerary. But now we saved something for the next time we are in Maui!