The Hawaiian Islands are a popular vacation destination but if you’ve ever visited any of these tropical islands, you’ll know that they aren’t cheap. Maui, in particular has lots of great things to do that are really inexpensive or totally free, like snorkeling with turtles! Check out this list of super cheap and free things to do in Maui.
Is Maui an affordable family vacation?
My family recently got back from a nine day vacation in beautiful Maui, Hawaii. Maui is one of the most popular Hawaiian islands and for good reason -it’s one of the most beautiful places in the USA. We had lots of fun doing everything from scuba diving and snorkeling to hiking through lush rainforest. Don’t let Maui’s reputation for being really expensive hold you back from visiting this tropical paradise. There are plenty of free and cheap things to do on the island that everyone in your family will love.
What is there to do in Maui for free?
- Sunbathe on the beach- There are no private beaches on Maui. All beaches are open to the public free of charge, even the ones in front of the fancy hotels. You can literally walk through the lobby of the Four Seasons, head out back and plunk yourself on the beach in front of the hotel.
- Snorkeling (tips on finding sea turtles on the island here)
- Hiking- Most hiking trails on Maui are free, although some have a small admission fee. Keep in mind if you plan on visiting the Haleakala Crater the fee jumped from $5 to $30 in 2020.
- Visit The Sacred Garden Botanical Garden and Nursery (free and kid friendly!)
- Check out wind surfers on Hookipa beach
- See the giant banyan tree in downtown Lahaina
- Vist the penguins at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Kaanapali.
How do I eat in Maui on a budget?
Aside from airfare and lodging the next expensive thing on your trip is going to be food. There are plenty of delicious restaurants to choose from but to save the most money you should head to the supermarket and try to cook in your hotel or condo. Even though cooking yourself is much cheaper than eating at restaurants, you’ll likely experience a little sticker shock at the high prices of everyday items at the grocery store. The only place I’ve seen higher prices is Alaska. Here are some suggestions on where to eat or buy food for cheap.
- Maui Fridays- Tons of food trucks set up at this outdoor festival every Friday night. The location changes every week.
- Grocery Stores like Walmart or Target.
- Tin Roof
- Aloha Mixed Plate
- Sam Soto’s
- Komoda Store and Bakery
- Ulupalakua Ranch Store and Grill
What is there to do in Maui besides the Road to Hana?
The famous Road to Hana is a popular day trip for tourists- but it’s not for everyone. If stressful drives on one way dirt roads aren’t your thing then try some of these free excursions that kids will love and you can do in a couple hours:
- Iao Valley State Monument– lots of stairs, so stretch your calf muscles before you start.
- Lava Fields at La Perouse Bay– rocky but beautiful, so wear good shoes.
- Visit the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge– nice easy stroll through the marshlands.
Can you snorkel for free in Maui?
Yes. All you need to do is buy or rent the snorkel gear. Head to Maui Dreams Diving Co. in Kihei and they can hook you up with snorkel equipment to rent. Here are some of my favorite snorkel spots.
- Honolua Bay
- Ulua Beach
- Makena Beach
Here is a video my dad took of the waters out by Ulua Beach. Check out several eels and a manta ray near the end.
How do you get around Maui without a car?
I highly recommend renting a car if you are visiting any of the Hawaiian islands except for Oahu which has a decent public transit system (it’s still nice to have a car though). However, if you don’t drive and no one in your travel group has a license you can still get by.
- The free Whalers Village Shuttle runs along the Kaanapali strip stopping at all major resorts, the golf course, and the Whaler’s Village shopping complex.
- The Lahaina Express shuttle, also free, has various stops in Lahaina and Kaanapali.
- The West Maui Shopping Express runs between Lahaina and Kaanapali.
- There is also ride sharing like Uber and taxi’s available on the island.
What are your favorite things to do in Maui? Let me know in the comments!
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