A trip to Maui is typically pricey, given the costs for flights, lodging, meals and rental cars.
But having budgeted for those expenses, travelers can click on the island's most popular attraction – beaches – and other, lesser-known sites, all without further emptying your wallet. Actually, most of them don't cost you a penny. Here is a sample of the items awaits.
With a lot more than 80 accessible beaches, Maui is really a sun-worshipper's dream – as well as for many visitors, they're the very best attraction. Thanks to Hawaii state regulations, all beaches are free and open to the general public, even those that sit in front of a superstar's mansion or a ritzy resort. That said, tourists should use public access trails to avoid trespassing on private property.
Everyone, from locals to repeat visitors, has a personal favorite. We suggest looking at Makena Beach (also known as Big Beach) and the adjacent Little Beach. They're located four to five miles south from the Wailea resorts. One of Maui's longest strands, the golden sands of Makena Beach stretch for 3000ft. Head north (right while facing the ocean) and scamper on the ridge to achieve laid-back Little Beach, well-known to be clothing optional. Be forewarned: water conditions can be treacherous when there's a strong surf.
Sure, windsurfing is really a sport, however for most of the folks at Hookipa Beach Park, it's a spectator sport. In the winter months, the waves along Maui's Northern coast can reach 30ft, meaning wading in to the water a very good idea only for the super-skilled. From the beach, visitors can easily see not only the windsurfers but also the green sea turtles that come ashore around sunset. (Note: Hookipa Beach Park closes at 7 pm)
Plenty of tour operators take visitors out onto the water to see the humpback whales that winter off Maui. Boats are, however, prohibited from getting within 100 yards from the giant mammals so whale watching from land, for free, is yet another good option. Grab a towel and a pair of binoculars and head for the sand, specifically in West and South Maui, in which the water of a shallow ocean channel is particularly warm and welcoming to whales from November to May.
Volunteering on vacation shouldn't sound strange, as it is often culturally enriching. On Maui, additionally, it may earn guests free hotel nights through the state's Malama Hawaii program. (Within the Hawaiian language, malama means “give back.”) Opportunities abound and therefore are incredibly varied. At Kipuka Olowalu south of Lahaina, visitors help clear taro fields of invasive plants while learning taro is a staple of Native Hawaiians' diets for centuries. Head “upcountry” (up the slope of Kilaulea Volcano) to Leilani Farm Sanctuary. Located near Haiku, the sanctuary hosts critters which range from donkeys and goats to rabbits and roosters. On Mondays and Wednesdays, volunteers can communicate with the animals while helping out with chores such as animal grooming, fence repair and gardening.
The Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott is just one of the Maui hotels with special promotions for guests who donate their time. Your accommodation offers a fifth night free to individuals who stitch squares for Hawaiian-style quilts. When completed, the quilts are given to deserving local residents.
A hike with history
Tourists can get in their steps whilst getting a history lesson during the free walking tour of the Lahaina Historic Trail. A lot more than 60 significant sites share Five centuries of life in Lahaina, when a bustling whaling village. Allow a couple of hours to go to the various locations, including Baldwin Home, where missionaries lived because they preached to Native Hawaiians, to the Old Lahaina Prison, where lots of a drunken sailor wound up in shackles. Download the Trail's app or print a map in the Lahaina Restoration Foundation's website.
Play the ukulele
Learn a chord or two on what locals call an “uke” (pronounced “ook”) during free lessons in Lahaina. Rueben Pali offers the basics of Hawaii's favorite instrument on Tuesdays from 11:30 am-12:15 pm at Maui Music Mission in Lahaina Center, 900 Front St. While there's no charge, reservations are needed; call (808) 205-3757.
Stroll beneath giant monkeypod trees while viewing the whole shebang of Maui artists each weekend on the lawn outside Lahaina Cannery Mall. The Fine Arts Fairs, which run from 9 am-4 pm. Saturdays and Sundays, help support and nurture local artists.
A salute to sunset
As sunset, most likely with a spectacular palette of colors, avoid the day while viewing the ceremonial dive off Black Rock into the sea in the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa. During the resort's signature celebration, which began in 1963, an experienced diver leaps into the Pacific Ocean from atop a 30ft cliff. There is no charge to look at the nightly plunge, which replicates one which, according to legend, was made by Kahekili, all of the Maui's ancient chiefs. The site, once believed to be a portal towards the afterlife, remains sacred to Native Hawaiians.