HULA SHOWS AT SHOPPING CENTERS
Several shopping centers have free hula shows a couple times per week. This is one of the free things to do in Maui that can save you the expense of going to a luau. Call for days and times:
Whalers Village 808-661-4567
Lahaina Cannery Mall 808-661-5304
Queen Kaahumanu Center 808-877-3369
Wharf Cinema Center 661-8748
HULA SHOW AT KAANAPALI BEACH HOTEL
Most evenings at 6:30 PM. Call 808-661-0011 for information. You can watch this show free from some seats around the edges of the audience, or you can sit at the tables in the center of the audience. There is no charge to sit at the tables, but the waitress will expect you to order drinks or snacks if you sit there.
SINGERS SUNDAY AT KAANAPALI BEACH HOTEL
Sunday mornings behind the buffet brunch room, outside and in back of the Kaanapali Beach hotel, sit at the round tables and listen to live music. 808-661-0011
KEALIA COASTAL BOARDWALK
Walk along this boardwalk with the ocean on one side and the wetlands on the other side. On Route 31 in Maalaea.
PACIFIC WHALE FOUNDATION info
A volunteer from the Pacific Whale Foundation will answer your questions, give you brochures, and lend you binoculars to watch the whales (winter only) at Papawai (McGregor) Point Lookout on the Pali portion of Honoapiilani Highway (Route 30) on the west side of Maalaea Bay, from 8 AM to 2 PM.
SIT UNDER THE BANYAN TREE
In Lahaina, relax and watch the tourists and the locals any day. People-watching here is one of my favorite free things to do in Maui. You can also see art and meet artists on weekends here from 9 AM to 5 PM.
In Lahaina, behind Banyan Tree. Includes Lahaina Visitors Center (open every day 9-5), art gallery, and old jail.
— Friday night is art night in Lahaina. That evening, or any day, walk through the numerous galleries there. The Lahaina Visitors Center (in the Old Courthouse behind the Banyan Tree) has a flyer with a map of Lahaina’s art galleries with names of the artists featured in each.
— WOW = Wailea On Wednesdays. Wednesday evening, or any day, see the art in galleries at the Shops at Waileashopping center.
— Schaefer International Gallery at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului, open 11 AM to 5 PM daily, with rotating art exhibits.
— You can also see beautiful art in the major hotels in the resort areas of Wailea, Kaanapali, and Kapalua. The best is the art at the Four Seasons hotel in Wailea. There’s a free art tour twice per week at the Grand Wailea.
A few of Maui’s museums are free:
— Printing Museum at Lahainaluna High School in Lahaina
— Hale Paahao (Irons House at Old Lahaina Prison) on Prison Street in Lahaina
— Lahaina Heritage Museum in the Old Lahaina Courthouse
— Plantation Museum in the Wharf Cinema Center.
OUTDOOR CONCERT IN LAHAINA
Call Lahaina Restoration Foundation 808-661-3262 or see their online calendar Lahaina Restoration Events to get the latest schedule for their monthly free concert on the lawn in front of the Baldwin Home on Front Street in Lahaina (usually at 6 PM on the last Thursday of the month).
LIVE MUSIC IN WAILEA
At the courtyard in the Wailea Gateway shopping center every Wednesday 6:30 to 8 PM. For this to be one of the free things to do in Maui, you’ll have to get your parking card stamped at one of the shops so you won’t have to pay for parking.
In the Lahaina Cannery Mall every Tuesday at 5:45 PM.
LOOK FOR A HOME
Go home shopping and and check out Maui real estate for sale by owner.
The Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center just outside of Makawao has art and artists’ studios in and around a beautiful old mansion.
LAST LAVA FLOW & LaPEROUSE BAY
Drive across the wide lava field created 200 years ago by Maui’s last volcano eruption, to get to the black beach at LaPerouse Bay. This is one of the most unusual free things to do in Maui.
HAWAIIAN CULTURAL TALK AT RITZ-CARLTON HOTEL
Fridays at 10 AM, see a video about the Hawaiian people, with a discussion by Hawaiian Cultural Advisor Clifford Naeole, called “Sense of Place.” Call him at the Ritz 808-669-6200 to verify day and time.
Watch for rainbows over the ocean the first two hours after sunrise, and in the mountains the last two hours before sunset. They are most likely on days with some mist in the air, or days with light rain showers, when the sun is visible in the opposite direction from where you look for the rainbows. They are most commonly seen from West Maui (the Kaanapali side of the island).
For a beautiful sight, watch a nearly-full moon setting into the ocean, in a dark sky, with white moonlight reflected across the ocean towards you. The only time you can see this, is 1-3 days before a full moon, at 1-3 hours before sunrise. Look in the western sky, at about the same position that the sun has been setting. Details, photo, and links to look up the dates and times for any particular month are at Maui Moonset.
Look up at Maui’s clear skies any night, and see more stars and a different perspective than at home.
Garden, buildings, and statues, about the people who settled in Maui from other countries, on the road into Iao Valley.
KEALIA POND NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
Walk around these quiet and peaceful wetlands in the south part of Maui’s central valley, looking at the birds and maybe some turtles. Enter at mile marker 6 on Maui Veterans Highway (route 311) (formerly called Mokulele Highway, just north of North Kihei Road (route 310). Daytime only; closed weekends. Call 808-875-1582 for further information.
Beautiful small forest of wide variety of trees (pine, spruce, cedar and eucalyptus imported from all over the world). At the 7000-foot elevation, just below the entrance to Haleakala National Park. Camping and hiking, but can be chilly.
Tour of Maui’s only winery, including free wine tasting. In Upcountry. Call 808-878-6058 for schedule.
LOBBIES AND GROUNDS OF LUXURY RESORTS
Walk around and look at the beautiful pools, lobbies, and grounds of the big resort hotels in Kaanapali and Wailea. This is one of the free things to do in Maui that you won’t find in most tour books.
In Olowalu (west Maui, Honoapiilani Highway south of Lahaina). Ask directions to petroglyphs at the General Store. About a mile walk back into the fields, to see ancient rock carvings on a cliff.
WATCH THE WHALES
About 5000 humpback whales come to Maui every winter. Watch them from the beach or from your lanai. January through March are the peak months, when you can see whales every day.
FRIDAY NIGHT TOWN PARTIES
Each Friday evening a different fun Maui town has a street party with live music, shows and exhibits, and food vendors. The first Friday of the month it’s in Wailuku, the second Friday in Lahaina, the third Friday in Makawao, and the fourth Friday of each month in Kihei. Info and photos at Maui Fridays.
WHALE LECTURES AND FILMS
The Ocean Science Discovery Center is run by the Pacific Whale Foundation in the Maalaea Harbor Village, the shopping center adjacent to the aquarium. Call 1-800-942-5311 for the current schedule of free lectures.
Also talks about whales in Kihei at Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
See live exotic birds, pigs, and other animals and plants, upstairs at 626 Front Street in Lahaina. Kids often say that this is one of their favorite free things to do in Maui.
PLAYGROUNDS FOR KIDS
Kamaole and Kalama Parks have free swings, slides, and jungle gyms. In Kihei.
GIANT BUDDHA STATUE
Lahaina Jodo Mission has the largest Buddha statue outside of Japan. In the north part of Lahaina, (near the “Jesus coming soon” sign) turn off of Front street (toward the ocean) onto Ala Moana street, and immediately bear left, and look for the sign “Lahaina Jodo Mission.”
Watch divers jump from Black Rock into the ocean at sunset in front of the Sheraton Hotel 808-661-0031.
TOURS IN THE HYATT
Sign up at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Kaanapali Beach, for their free Art & Garden Tour and Wildlife Tour and Lei-Making class. Call 808-661-1234 for tour times and days. Or just stop in at the Hyatt in the daytime any day to see their live parrots, swans, flamingos, and African Crowned Cranes.
SEE THE FARMERS’ MARKETS
Mornings (7-11 AM) Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in Honokowai, a couple miles north of Kaanapali.
All day (8 AM – 4 PM) Monday – Friday in Kihei (at 61 Kihei Road)
Fruits, vegetables, flowers, bread, jam, all often fresher and cheaper than at the grocery store. And they have free taste samples too!
WATCH THE MAUI VISITORS CHANNEL
Cable TV channel 7 has constant information about things to see, places to go, restaurants, etc.
PICK UP BROCHURES
This Week in Maui, Maui Gold, 101 Things to Do, and others available on racks in the airport baggage claim area, hotels, and shopping centers. Although most of the ads are to sell paid activities, these brochures also list some free things to do in Maui.
SEE DIFFERENT BEACHES & TAKE A WALK ON THE BEACH
Use the book of maps from your car rental company to drive around and see beaches on different parts of the island. All Maui beaches are open to the public.
WATCH THE SUNSET
It looks different each night, and it looks different from each vantage point. Watch sunset from a different place each evening: from your hotel or condo, from a sunset-view restaurant, from the corner of Front Street and Papalaua in Lahaina, from S-turns park in Kahana, from Olowalu (just north of the Olowalu General Store), from Kaanapali Beach, from one of the three Kamaole beach parks in Kihei, from Wailea Beach, from the hills of Kapalua, from the top of Haleakala. It’s one of the most beautiful free things to do in Maui.
On June 21 (the longest day) the sun rises at 5:46 AM and sets at 7:11 PM. On December 21 (the shortest day) the sun rises at 6:59 AM and sets at 5:51 PM. However, depending on where you are watching from, the sun may rise later or set earlier if it is rising or setting behind a mountain or behind Lanai (an island about nine miles away). In addition, the sun rises earlier and sets later when viewed from the top of Haleakala, the tallest mountain on Maui, two miles up. For a list of sunrise and sunset times on Maui for each month of the year, see the Weather page of this website.
HISTORICAL SIGHTS OF LAHAINA
Take the self-guided walking tour. Pick up a free “Maui Historical Walking Guide” booklet in the Lahaina Visitors Center in the old courthouse behind the banyan tree.
FREE SHELL LEI
At Hilo Hattie’s store in the Outlets of Maui (behind Hard Rock Café) in Lahaina.
See this page for where when and how: Maui hiking
WATCH THE SURFERS
Riding the big waves in the afternoon, off Hookipa Park on the north shore, two miles past Paia.
DRIVE THE ROAD TO HANA
Info at Road to Hana
WATCH GLASS BLOWING
See glass blowing 10:30-4:00 most days at Hot Island Glass at 3620 Baldwin Avenue (call 808-572-4527 to confirm) in Makawao, or at Kai Pua Glass in Lahaina. It’s one of the free things to do in Maui that most people don’t expect to see here.
STARRY NIGHT MOVIES AT THE MACC
Family-friendly movies shown outdoors on the lawn at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center one night each month. Go to their website at mauiarts.org and click on Shows, or call them at 808-242-7469 for dates, times, and names of movies for “Starry Night Cinema.”
WAIANAPANAPA STATE PARK
Four miles before Hana. Includes a black sand beach and some trails to explore.
TOUR REAL ESTATE
Look for signs announcing “Open House” at condos and homes all over Maui. Wander in and chat with the real estate agents about condos for sale. Dream about owning a condo on Maui some day. Dreaming those dreams is one of the free things to do in Maui, but unfortunately buying one of those homes or condos is not free. (Do NOT attend any Time Share sales presentations. Do NOT even consider looking at any Time Share property.)
You can also get a free app for your smart-phone, that uses GPS to play information about many of the best sights on West Maui as you drive near each sight, so use the following link to get the West Maui Tour Guide app.
To keep up to date with new free things to do in Maui, subscribe to the free monthly email Maui Newsletter.