Before Michael and I left for Maui, we heard a lot about Hawaii from friends and family who had visited. Everyone told us how beautiful it was, but also how expensive. Since we’re currently in the midst of a home build (which I recognize I haven’t talked about much around here yet!), we wanted to plan in a mix of inexpensive (or even free) excursions for our vacation. I’m excited to say we actually had a lot of luck with this. Maui was a great island to explore on a budget, so here are the six things I highly recommend doing because they’re amazing, but also free or nearly free!
1. Watch the Sunrise or Sunset from the Top of Haleakalā
I’m putting this first because it’s one of my favorite things Michael and I experienced while in Maui. Talk about breathtaking! Haleakalā is a massive shield volcano that formed more than 75% of the island of Maui, with a summit that’s above 10,000 feet. Luckily, you don’t need to hike all the way up to experience its beauty; you can actually drive. Sunrise visits require a reservation because of the number of people viewing each morning. We opted for sunset to avoid an early morning and a huge crowd, and we were glad we did. Seriously stunning and well worth the drive and fee to get into the National Park.
Cost: $25 park entry fee per vehicle + gas to get to the park
2. Drive the Road to Hana
The Road to Hana is an all-day adventure and a good way to explore a huge portion of Maui for a small amount of cost. While on the Road to Hana, Michael and I went into two caves, visited countless waterfalls, stuck our toes in the water at the famed black sand beach and generally explored the beauty of Maui while cruising through Hana Highway’s 600 curves. We used an app from Shaka Guide to point out the various places to stop, as some are pretty easy to miss. We left our hotel around 9am, so we opted for the “classic” tour, which ended at the Pools of ‘Ohe’o (AKA Seven Sacred Pools). Just a note: the pools are in Haleakalā National Park, but the same $25 ticket that gets you onto Haleakalā for the sunrise/sunset will also get you into the park, as long as you do both in a three-day period.
Cost: $4.99 for the Shaka Guide in-app tour + gas + lunch & dinner
3. Visit Nakalele Blowhole & Heart Rock
The Nakalele Blowhole and Heart Rock were just about a 30-minute drive from our hotel in Kaanapali Beach and were well worth the trip. I hadn’t seen a blowhole before this, but it’s essentially like a geyser coming up from beside the ocean. It was pretty interesting to see as water periodically flew up into the air…and also pretty intimidating. Definitely a good idea to stay far enough back as some locals warned. While hiking around the area, we also stopped by the Heart Rock and of course took an Instagram or two ;) When driving here, be sure to pay attention to the mile markers, as this attraction isn’t really marked; rather, you’ll see a parking area around mile marker 38.5. From there, it’s a short hike to the ocean to visit both the blowhole and Heart Rock.
Cost: Free, aside from gas!
4. Just Drive
Maui is easily one of the most interesting and beautiful places I’ve been, so Michael and I both enjoyed driving from place to place and taking in the scenery. After we left the Nakalele Blowhole and Heart Rock, we actually just kept on driving the coastal highway. Talk about some serious views!
Cost: Free, aside from gas!
5. Walk Around Lahaina Town
Lahaina Town is the cutest little downtown area I ever did see and a great way to spend a day exploring art galleries and trinket shops while in Maui. It’s walkable and has a ton to see. We actually wished we spent a little more time down here. There are also some really great restaurants in this area, although those of course are not free or cheap ;)
Cost: Parking, which will run about $5-10
6. Go to the Beach
Duh! Maui is home to some of the world’s best beaches, so finding something inexpensive to do might simply involve a quick walk down to the coast.
What are your favorite inexpensive or free things to do in Maui?