6 Unusual Experiences in Maui, Hawaii

Access to the waters around Molokini is controlled
Access to the waters around Molokini is controlled | © Forest and Kim Starr / Flickr
Photo of Kalena McElroy
19 March 2018

Snorkeling alongside brightly colored fish and branching coral in the untouched waters off Molokini Atoll is an unforgettable experience. Outdoor adventurers, history buffs, and surfers all enjoy the serene Hawaiian paradise that is Maui. Visitors come to the Valley Isle for unique experiences and here are six of the best you can have.

Explore a dormant volcano

Haleakalā National Park

Natural Feature, Park
Map View
Mount Haleakala, Maui | Public Domain/Pixabay
Mount Haleakala, Maui | Mount Haleakala, Maui
Haleakalā, a massive shield volcano, forms more than three-quarters of the island of Maui. This national park allows visitors to backpack or day-hike through the volcanic landscape, and stay overnight within the crater. The inside of the crater is one of the quietest places on earth and the barren landscape seems like a different planet. It’s also a great place to view native plants and animals, in addition to learning the interesting Hawaiian culture, and geology pertaining to the area. Many people head here during sunrise or sunset for breathtaking views at nearly 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) above sea level.

Wander through a lavender farm

Ali'i Kula Lavender

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Ali'i Kula Lavender | © John Morgan/Flickr
Ali'i Kula Lavender | Ali'i Kula Lavender

Lavender may not be a tropical plant, but the cool weather and elevation of upland Maui creates the perfect environment for it to thrive. For nearly 20 years this lavender farm and shop has been a relaxing oasis for those looking to buy organic lavender products and learn homeopathic remedies. Farm tours highlight 45 varieties of lavender alongside olive trees, hydrangea, protea, and succulents framed by picturesque views of the island. Locals from the outer islands love to stop and pick up gifts for friends and family back home.

Snorkel or scuba dive at a volcanic atoll

Once a cinder cone, Molokini atoll, sits in the clear blue waters just off of Makena State Park and attracts all sorts of marine life, from colorful fish to honu (green sea turtles). The eroded crater is now a protected State Marine Life & Bird Conservation District and one of the most sought-after scuba locations. Due to its status, access to the waters around Molokini is controlled. The island is only reachable through one of the many organized tour groups and boat hires.

Walk through one of Hawaii’s most famous ancient battlefields

ʻĪao Valley State Monument

Botanical Garden, Park
Map View
'Iao Needle | © Andy L/Flickr
'Iao Needle | 'Iao Needle
ʻĪao Valley State Monument is a 4,000-acre state park, home to the 1,200-feet high ʻĪao Needle—a volcanic rock outcropping that towers above waterfalls and the ʻĪao Stream. The park offers a short walking trail through a botanical garden of native Hawaiian plants and up to a lookout point. This valley is a significant place in Hawaiian history due to the Battle of Kepaniwai. In 1790, Maui’s army made their last stand against King Kamehameha I, who went on to conquer and unite all the Hawaiian Islands. It was said that there were so many dead soldiers that the river was dammed, and the water flowed red.

Witness the epic power of mother nature


Natural Feature
Map View
Jaws | © Mike/Flickr
The crashing waves of Jaws | The crashing waves of Jaws
Peʻahi, also known as Jaws, lies on the North Shore of Maui and is famous for its massive wintertime swells. Just watching the crashing waves from the beach is enough to get your adrenaline pumping. Peʻahi has had more of the biggest waves surfed in the world each year than any other break. The top athletes head here each winter for the Red Bull sponsored big wave contest.

Bike down a shield volcano

Visitors can sign up for one of the many morning bike excursions down the slopes of Haleakalā. The unique experience starts above the clouds and takes cyclists past breathtaking views overlooking the entire island—an incredible photo opportunity. This activity is seamlessly pairable with a sunrise viewing at the summit, making for a one-of-a-kind start to the day.