Things to do in Maalaea

Our most recommended things to do in Maalaea

Maui Ocean Center Full-Day Entrance Ticket

1. Maui Ocean Center Full-Day Entrance Ticket

Explore Maui Ocean Center, the Aquarium of Hawaiʻi, through its roots in conservation, education, and sustainability. See hundreds of underwater animals from the moment you walk through an acrylic tunnel to an enormous 750,000-gallon marine habitat once inside. Your full-day entrance ticket provides access to live coral and reef fishes, where you can learn about reef, blacktip, whitetip, hammerhead, and rare tiger sharks, considered the most dangerous sharks to inhabit tropical waters. Experience the gracefulness of sting rays and spotted eagle rays, and get up close to protected Hawaiian green sea turtles. Play with 40 interactive modules, video monitors, and narrative boards in the new Marine Mammal Discovery Center, focusing on the Hawaiian monk seal, dolphins, and humpback whales. Included with your general admission ticket is The Humpbacks of Hawai`i Sphere Experience where you can explore the kingdom of these incredible ocean mammals in a 3D Sphere experience. Aptly named "The Hawaiian Aquarium," the Maui Ocean Center is the only aquarium in the world dedicated to fostering understanding and respect for Hawaii's marine life. More than 60 self-paced interactive exhibits are joined by 2 restaurants and the Maui Ocean Treasures gift shop to complete your day.

Maui: Molokini and Turtle Town Snorkel Tour with Lunch

2. Maui: Molokini and Turtle Town Snorkel Tour with Lunch

Take a snorkeling tour to the Molokini Crater and Turtle Town from Maalaea harbor. Encounter the extinct volcanic cone of Molokini and marvel at native Hawaiian marine life in their natural habitat. Start the day off right with a breakfast of eggs, ham, cinnamon rolls, donuts, coffee, fruit, and juice. Get ready to spot the manta rays, fish, and sharks, who swim around the coral year-round. Molokini is protected as a marine preserve and bird sanctuary, so expect pristine conditions. Use the snorkeling equipment to explore the underwater world. Enjoy riding down the two water slides to splash into the water. Take a peek at the reef without getting in the water via the glass-bottom viewing room. Have peace of mind knowing a lifeguard will be in the water at all times watching over the snorkelers and ready to help if requried. After leaving Molokini, head for your second snorkeling spot of the day at Turtle Town. When there, take the chance to swim with Hawaiian green sea turtles amid the calm waters before returning to the boat for lunch. Take advantage of the boat's amenities which include two slides, two freshwater showers, quality snorkeling gear, flotation devices, and restrooms. The boat features an easy-to-use stairway in and out of the water, and lots of shade if you want to stay out of the sun.

From Ma'alaea Harbor: Molokini Snorkeling Adventure

3. From Ma'alaea Harbor: Molokini Snorkeling Adventure

Embark on a half-day snorkeling adventure on a glass-bottomed catamaran, with breakfast, lunch, and a professional crew included. Look out for all types of Pacific marine life, from dolphins to turtles and coral reefs, in 2 snorkeling spots — the Molokini Crater and Turtle Town.  Begin your tour at Maalaea Harbor to board your boat. Join the crew aboard the Calypso, Maui's newest addition to the fleet, where you can even view the ocean from its glass bottom. Calypso is the only 3-deck catamaran in Hawai'i. Benefit from an easy-to-use stairway in and out of the water, lots of shade, and plenty of Jimmy Buffet music.  Start the day off right with a hearty breakfast that includes scrambled eggs, Portuguese sausage and either turkey or chicken and mushroom sausage, mixed muffins, pastries, mixed fruit, coffee, tea, and juice. Next, be dazzled by Molokini Crater, located off the south shore of Kihei. Expect pristine conditions as Molokini is a protected marine preserve and bird sanctuary.  See how the extinct volcanic cone provides a home for native Hawaiian marine life such as manta rays, fish, urchins, and sharks, who all swim around the coral through the clear water year-round. Use the provided snorkeling equipment to explore the underwater world.  Take advantage of the 2 water slides to make it more fun, especially for kids. And fret not— a lifeguard is always in the water watching over the snorkelers to ensure their safety. After leaving Molokini, your second snorkeling spot of the day is Turtle Town, where you will swim with Hawaiian green sea turtles amid the calm water and coral. Then, return to the boat for a relaxing barbecue lunch buffet. Finally, enjoy a fun trivia game for the chance to win a crew T-shirt. Some of the tour’s top amenities include 2 slides, a jumping platform, 2 freshwater showers, use of snorkeling gear, flotation devices, and restrooms on the boat. There are 11 stair points to get into the water for easy and comfortable access. Hire everything you need on the day, with wetsuits, or underwater digital cameras available to rent.

Maui: Molokini and Turtle Town Snorkel with Deli Lunch

4. Maui: Molokini and Turtle Town Snorkel with Deli Lunch

See Maui from a new perspective as you swim and snorkel alongside its marine life at Molokini and Turtle Town. Cruise to these famous snorkeling destinations by catamaran, and enjoy breakfast and lunch onboard. Meet your captain and crew near Maalaea Harbor for your check-in. Board the comfortable catamaran and enjoy a continental breakfast of pastries, muffins, fresh fruits, coffee, tea, juice, soda, and water as you head towards Molokini. Arrive at Molokini and admire the scenery of the extinct volcanic cone, home to around 250 different local species. Jump into the water and snorkel with native wildlife such as black triggerfish, yellow tang, and parrotfish. Continue onto Turtle Town, where you’ll swim with protected Hawaiian green sea turtles among the underwater lava formations. Rest assured a lifeguard will be in the water at all times as you snorkel around the beautiful coral gardens. Enjoy a deli lunch with your choice of roast beef, chicken, or ham croissant sandwiches, or pulled pork and BBQ sauce on a bun, with chips, soft drinks, juice, and water. Choose to purchase beers or a Mai Tai, and relax in the shade of the cabin. Or top up your tan on the bow of the boat as you return to Maalaea Harbor, where your unforgettable activity will come to an end.

Maui: Sunset Prime Rib or Mahi Mahi Dinner Cruise

5. Maui: Sunset Prime Rib or Mahi Mahi Dinner Cruise

Watch the glow of the sunset on the Kahalawai Mountains, Lanai Island, and the Molokini Crater on this sunset catamaran cruise from Ma’alaea. Keep an eye out for humpback whales while listening to Hawaiian music. Savor a gourmet dinner and relax with two drinks from the bar. Depart from the Ma’alaea Harbor and set off into the waves on a catamaran. After exiting the harbor, enjoy a complimentary drink before the dinner service kicks off. Explore the alcoves of the boat, gaze out over the ocean, and snap photos. While soaking up the tropical views, listen to island-style music. For dinner, chef Keoni will serve the succulent Hawaiian prime rib, Mahi Mahi, teriyaki chicken, ribs, steamed vegetables, white rice with soy sauce, and more. As you dine, take in views of Kaho’olawe and Lanai in the distance, as well as the top snorkeling location, Molokini Crater. Gaze out at the Kahalawai Mountains of Maui extending toward the sky. You are likely to see humpback whales visiting the islands from Alaska along with other marine mammals.

Maui: Eco-Friendly Molokini and Turtle Town Tour with Lunch

6. Maui: Eco-Friendly Molokini and Turtle Town Tour with Lunch

Discover the underwater worlds of Molokini crater and Turtle Arches on this cruise from Maui. Get instruction on how to snorkel before exploring the reef. Learn about this biodiverse environment from professional naturalists. Eat a delicious breakfast before starting your trip. Enjoy a continental breakfast including pastries, fruit, and coffee before sailing out to Molokini. Molokini, Maui’s iconic crescent-shaped islet, is a beautiful reef known for its crystal clear waters, abundant coral, colorful fish, and resting seabirds. A protected marine conservation area, this volcanic crater is only accessible by boat with a certified tour operator and is the #1 snorkeling destination in Maui. Learn about the history and nature of your surroundings and the efforts being made to protect the ocean here.  Following your time at Molokini, head to Turtle Arches and enjoy a bonus snorkel site with its underwater lava formations and frequent turtle sightings. Watch for sea turtles, eels, octopi, and other reef fish. Once you are done snorkeling and have worked up an appetite, enjoy a freshly prepared lunch of grilled chicken, burgers, and salad before heading back to Ma'alaea Harbor.

Maui: Molokini Snorkel & Performance Sail with Lunch

7. Maui: Molokini Snorkel & Performance Sail with Lunch

Discover Molokini aboard a fast-sailing catamaran, where your trip includes a continental breakfast on the leisurely sail across Ma’alaea Bay. Take in the stunning landscape that makes Maui special, and during whale season (December – May), spot the humpback whales as they swim nearby. While at Molokini, swim, snorkel, and rinse off with a freshwater shower. After snorkeling, indulge in a full lunch buffet and refresh with a variety of beverages, including wine and local beer. Maui’s afternoon trade winds can really get the boat going, so join the friendly crew at the helm and try your hand at sailing the high seas! 

From Ma'alaea Harbor: Whale Watching Cruise

8. From Ma'alaea Harbor: Whale Watching Cruise

After boarding your whale-watching cruise, your onboard naturalist, captain, and crew will be just as excited as you are to see humpbacks. These 45-foot cetaceans inspire awe, delight, and excitement with their very existence.  As soon as the boat leaves Ma'alaea Harbor, keep your eyes peeled for any significant movement on the surface. Especially huge clouds of misty spray in the distance (that's how a whale exhales). The whale watch naturalist will give you an exciting play-by-play on the whale's "swimming commentary." Some of the more popular moves whales engage in are the tail slap, the pec slap, the peduncle throw, the spy hop, and the ever hoped-for "launch-of-an-entire-whale-from-the-water" full breach.  Go down to the underwater viewing room whenever the boat is stopped. If the whales swim beneath the vessel, you can see them through the glass panels at the bottom of the hull. It is rare for a whale-watching vessel to have a glass-bottomed seating area, so enjoy it on this triple-decker catamaran. From December to April, you can climb aboard the boat and make your way to the top. This is Maui’s only catamaran with three decks, so you cannot go higher on this island. The 360-degree ocean views are fantastic, even when you go inside for a bit to take a break from the sun.  The first and second decks have spacious cabins with tinted windows, making for excellent viewing through the water’s surface, regardless of the sun’s glare. Comfortable seating throughout this stable vessel ensures a relaxing time on the water while you look for these incredible marine mammals.  Take advantage of the bar and snack area while you check out the boat. The crew will be happy to mix up whatever you feel like.

From Ma'alaea Afternoon Snorkel to Molokini or Coral Gardens

9. From Ma'alaea Afternoon Snorkel to Molokini or Coral Gardens

Explore one of Maui’s most impressive sites on this relaxing afternoon catamaran cruise to Molokini Crater or Coral Gardens. Dive into the rich marine biodiversity of the reefs in this partially submerged volcanic crater. Head to the meeting point at Maalaea Harbor for your check-in before boarding the Malalo catamaran. Set sail and admire the beautiful Pacific coastal views as you cruise towards your snorkel site. Stop at the ideal snorkeling location for that day. Have the option to purchase food and drink aboard. Jump into the pleasant water and look for colorful fish like parrot fish, yellow tang, and cornet fish. Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive spotted eagle ray. Feel free to rent wetsuits, digital underwater cameras, and prescription masks on the day of your activity to enhance your aquatic experience. After your unforgettable swim, relax with a drink (available to purchase) on deck as you return to your boarding point.

From Ma'alaea Harbor: Whale Watching Tours Aboard the Malolo

10. From Ma'alaea Harbor: Whale Watching Tours Aboard the Malolo

Depart from Maalaea Harbor, easily located off the highway with ample parking. This high-speed catamaran is located at Slip 87 near Coast Guard Station. While on board, enjoy complimentary juices and sodas, and a variety of alcoholic beverages. The optimal whale watching season starts in December and goes through April, during which thousands of humpback whales return to Hawaii for a few months each year to mate and give birth. Depending on the whales’ behavior during your two-hour whale watching trip, you may see any number of whale activity happening, from tail flapping to full body breaching. Keep your eyes peeled for whales slapping the surface with pectoral fins (their very long side fins), flukes (the tail), and the peduncle (the strong muscles attaching the tail to the rest of the body). Keep your fingers crossed for a breach - this is when a whale rises completely out of the water and crashes down again. And most importantly, don’t forget to bring your camera to capture a picture of these amazing animals.

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What people are saying about Maalaea

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,108 reviews

Absolutely incredible! My friend and son (age 5) decided to try out snorkeling. Although my son was a little hesitant the crew made his trip. Ms. Ashley was amazing. Each crew member specializes with an ocean animal. They had so many facts they shared. We were lucky enough to spot some whales on the trip too! I couldn’t recommend this tour enough!!! Also I learned it was a non profit. So money spent goes towards research and keeping our oceans safe for the wildlife. It was absolutely incredible. Do yourself a favor and check it out while in Maui!!

Amazing experience! Snorkeling was great. We saw so much! They understand the wildlife and we learned a lot! Especially on the mini snorkeling tour with one of the scientists. The food is also great. You get breakfast, lunch, a free drink, and dessert.

Our 25th Anniversary Couldn’t Be More Memorable !!! The Crew Was Great - The Captain Outstanding AND THE SUNSET WAS REMARKABLE !!! I’d Suggest This For ANYONE For ANY Occasion !!! FANTABULUOS VOYAGE !!!

Knowledgable staff that really enjoy their jobs! Great learning experience for all ages!

Crew and captain were great and very attentive to our needs and safety.