Free Activities & Almost-Free Activities: All Over Maui!
Free activities abound on Maui. Moreover, there are also almost-free activities and not-at-all-free activities. Whatever your budget allows, you’ll have a great time!
The Honokeana Cove website gives you a taste of what’s available. In addition, we offer this page for vacationers who want to know everything. Well, almost everything…
We’ll show you the free activities first. In addition, we’ll offer tips about non-free activities that still provide good value for the visitor. Just remember, for outdoor activities be sure to prepare yourself: sunblock, bottled water, suitable clothing and appropriate footwear.
Free Activities and Almost-Free Activities
The following activities are all in West Maui, within a 20 minute drive from Honokeana Cove.
- Sunset. Don’t miss one of Maui’s favorite activities, watching the beautiful sunset every evening – it’s free, and each one is different!
- Front Street. Many visitors enjoy walking through the town of Lahaina on Front Street, the main street. The business district is just half a mile long; it’s full of art galleries, shops and restaurants and is great for people-watching. The art galleries are open late on Friday evenings.
- Honokeana Cove Walk. Walking is one of those activities that offers tropical scenery as well as mild exercise. There’s a comfortable walk north from Honokeana Cove through Kapalua Resort. It even has a sidewalk “most of the way.” When you reach Office Road, turn right to the Honolua Store, where you can grab lunch or a beverage. Then return along the road through the golf course. This walk is 3.2 miles round trip in gently rolling terrain. (It’s also possible to turn left instead of right and walk along the beach.)
- Kaanapali Walk. Another nice walk, about 1 mile each way, is along the oceanfront boardwalk next to Kaanapali Beach. The paved sidewalk extends from the Hyatt Hotel; past hotels and restaurants, including the Whalers Village shopping center; to Black Rock, near the Sheraton Hotel.
- Crafts Fair. Maui’s local arts and craft fairs are great weekend activities. The one closest to Honokeana Cove is conducted on Sundays, behind the Lahaina Post Office. There are many booths, both indoors and outside, selling local crafts and clothing, and they charge only a dollar admission. (Late 2017, this fair was temporarily relocated to the Gateway shopping center.)
- Farmers Markets. Visit the local Maui Farmers Markets. There’s a nearby one at the Farmers Market store, 3636 Lower Honoapiilani Road on Monday-Wednesday-Friday mornings. There are other farmers markets and craft fairs scattered all over Maui. (An hour’s drive across the island, there’s a BIG Farmers Market and Swap Meet at the Maui Community College in Kahalui, on Saturday mornings.)
- Sandy Beaches. If your chosen activities involve sand and surf, you have many good choices. Napili Bay beach is a ¼ mile walk from Honokeana Cove. D. T. Fleming Beach is 2 miles north on Hwy 30 from Napilihau St., then turn toward the ocean and drive 0.3 miles. Many small county parks along Highway 30 have sandy beaches and free parking; some also have restroom facilities.
- Water Sports. Paddleboard, longboard, boogie board and body surfing at Honokeana Cove or at public beaches.
- Snorkeling. There’s good snorkeling at Honokeana Cove, D. T. Fleming Beach, or next to the Sheraton Hotel on Kaanapali beach.
- Lipoa Point Lookout. 12 minutes north of Honokeana Cove, a dirt road takes you to the lookout at Lipoa Point on the north edge of Honolua Bay in West Maui. This is a good place to watch for whales in the winter, and to see great sunsets all year long.
- Lobby Walks. Other pleasant free activities involve window shopping: walk through the lobbies, ground and shops of the big West Maui hotels (Hyatt, Westin, Sheraton, Ritz).
- Shave Ice. Get shave ice at local stands in Lahaina, at the larger beaches and next to hotel swimming pools.
- Free Hula. One of Hawaii’s most cherished activities is hula dancing, and you can enjoy it for free at shopping centers and hotels. For example, the Lahaina Cannery Mall offers free hula shows at 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and free hula lessons at other times. Moreover, there are similar shows at other shopping centers and hotels. Google ‘Maui free hula show’ for more references.
- Live Music. Many bars have live music, both during Happy Hour and in the evening. Search online or see the Maui News website for schedules.
- Green Flash. Watch for the famous “Green Flash” at sunset.
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- Hiking. There are great hikes all over Maui.
- Iao Needle. Drive 50 minutes to the Iao (“EE-ow”) Valley State Monument in central Maui. There’s an easy 0.6-mile paved trail from which you can view the Iao Needle and walk through a botanical garden. (Heavy rains can flood this park – before you drive here from the Cove, you may wish to check the website or even phone the park to make sure all trails are open.) As you drive back on the park road, it’s also worth walking through the adjacent Heritage Gardens Park.
- Wailea. Drive 50 minutes to the Grand Wailea Hotel in south Maui.
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- Haleakala. Some activities are almost an expedition! Drive 90 minutes to the National Park at the top of Mount Haleakala in central Maui. You can take great photos and (if you wish) enjoy some of the 30 miles of hiking trails at the summit. Warning: it’s very chilly at the top, bring along your warmest clothing!
- Camp in the Crater. Lovers of the outdoors can camp overnight in a National Park cabin inside the crater of Mount Haleakala. They charge only $75 per night to sleep up to 12 people in a very primitive cabin that is 4 to 9 miles from where you park your car.
- Botanical Gardens. Maui has many botanical gardens that you can visit.
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- Hana. A drive on the highway to Hana, in east Maui, is another of those “expedition” activities. This is a long all day trip. It involves hours of winding through repeated “S” turns at 15 miles per hour, your hands clenched on the steering wheel. You want to stop and take the lovely half hour walk to the waterfall and the swimming pool, but you’re worried about taking the time. What’s the answer to this dilemma?
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- Drive Around the Top. One of Maui’s most challenging activities is to drive the Kahekili Highway around the northwest corner of Maui to Wailuku. Much of this is a one lane road, and when you meet a vehicle coming the other way, someone has to be pretty confident about backing up a long distance. Not for the faint of heart.
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- Whale Lookout. If you visit during whale season (mid-November to mid-May), park at the Papawai Point whale lookout at mile 8.7 on Highway 30, south of Lahaina. Bring beach chairs, sodas and binoculars, then settle in to watch for the whales.
- Restaurants. Guests to Honokeana Cove enjoy using our oceanside barbeque grills to cook steaks, fish and vegies. However, they also enjoy eating out. Maui has many excellent restaurants, many reasonably priced restaurants, and some that are both excellent and reasonably priced. In addition, there are Early Bird and Happy Hour specials that can save you a peck of money.
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- Luau. A luau show and feast combines many activities in a single evening. Our favorite is Old Lahaina Luau, but there are many other choices. The farther ahead you reserve, the closer they will seat you to the stage. Make your reservation as soon as you know your travel dates.
- Whale Watching. If you visit from mid-November to mid-May, take a Whale Watch trip, preferably with the nonprofit Pacific Whale Foundation. Reserve online a week ahead for best choices of date and time. Better yet, become a member for a tax-deductible contribution, and you not only get the best price for the whale watch trip, but you get to board the boat and choose your seat ahead of all the non-members.
- Bicycle Down the Mountain. Some intrepid bicycle riders take a 3:00 a.m. bus to see the top of Mount Haleakala, enjoy the sunrise and a tour of the volcano’s crater, then ride their bike down the mountain. The cost is anywhere from $24 to more than you want to pay. Barefoot Tours gives a summary, but you will want to check a number of providers and reviews if you’re considering this adventure. In addition, make sure your bike has good brakes! (You will not find Art and Nola on this trip.)
- Horseback riding at Ironwood Ranch, Lahaina Stables or another – daytime or moonlight. They typically charge $80 to $140 per person for a 1.5 to 2.5 hour ride.
- ATV off-road tours cost $120 and up, for 2 to 4 hours.
- Spa & Fitness: visit the Spa, at the Montage Hotel in Kapalua, just three-quarters of a mile to the north of Honokeana Cove. Check out their yoga, Pilates and stretch specials.
- Golf: Maui has many spectacular championship golf courses at the major resorts: Kapalua, Kaanapali and Wailea. If you’ve got the money, honey, they’ve got the (tee) time.
– If you don’t want to spend the big bucks, the best public course is Waiehu Park, a lovely site next to the ocean near Kahului. You would need to call them to find out the greens fees, see whether you can reserve a starting time, whether you have to reserve to rent clubs, and all that stuff.
- Tennis: Maui has many excellent tennis courts. The Kapalua tennis center, with ten plexipave courts, is three-quarters of a mile north of Honokeana Cove. There are also many free tennis courts on Maui.
- Fishing Charters. Typical trips cost $150 to $200 for 4 to 8 hours on a shared boat, or you may rent your own boat.
- Helicopter Tours. Helicopter tours are chosen activities for visitors who want to see as much as possible and don’t care what it costs. A helicopter is a spectacular way to see the beauty of Maui, since many of its verdant canyons and waterfalls are all but inaccessible to the visitor.
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- It’s Magic! Warren and Annabelle’s magic show in the Outlets of Lahaina center sounds dorky, but it’s actually very entertaining. They offer alcoholic cocktails, so it’s not a children’s show.
- Submarines. Atlantis Submarines charge you around $99 per person to go 100 feet deep and see wrecks and fish. These are the same fish you see snorkeling in the Cove, but we don’t have wrecks in the Cove.
- Much Much More. Also, for lots more ideas of activities you can enjoy during a visit to Maui, we recommend the Jon’s Maui noncommercial website and the Barefoot Tours tour agency.
The following activities are more distant: many of them are an hour or more drive from Honokeana Cove.
Activities That Cost Money
The following activities cost money and need to be reserved in advance.
Art and Nola encourage you to come visit Honokeana Cove Unit 114. We promise that you won’t run out of things to do during your Maui vacation!