13 Unusual Things to do in Maui, HI

13 Unusual Things to do in Maui, HI

13 Unusual Things to do in Maui, HI

Trip Ideas Mar 18, 2024

Maui, Hawaii, a land where the essence of nature's beauty meets unparalleled adventure, offers more than just its world-renowned beaches and the scenic Road to Hāna. For those willing to delve a bit deeper, Maui reveals a tapestry of unique experiences, each woven with the threads of adventure, culture, and natural wonder. This blog post aims to guide you through a journey of Maui's lesser-known gems, offering a blend of activities that promise to enrich your visit with memories that defy the ordinary.

Maui - Source: Big Love Island

Imagine starting your day not with the usual beachside relaxation but amidst the lush pastures of a local dairy farm, where you can sample exquisite goat cheese straight from the source at the Surfing Goat Dairy Farm. Or, consider the thrill of hiking inside a dormant volcano at Haleakalā, where the world below seems to unfold in a panorama of breathtaking beauty. Maui's unique landscapes offer an invitation to adventure that is as diverse as its ecosystem.

The island's marine life, too, beckons with experiences that are nothing short of magical. Snorkeling in Turtle Town offers an intimate encounter with majestic sea turtles, a moment where time seems to pause as you float among these gentle creatures. And for those seeking a deeper connection, a dive into the depths alongside sharks at the Maui Ocean Center or a submarine tour presents the ocean's mysteries up close, offering a perspective few are privileged to see.

Yet, Maui's allure extends beyond its natural wonders. The island's culinary landscape is ripe for exploration, from the unique flavor of pineapple wine at Maui's only winery to the honesty of local road-side fruit stands, where the island's bounty is yours to taste. And for those whose curiosity is piqued by history and culture, the Bailey House Museum and the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum offer insights into Maui's past, weaving the story of its people and their land.

Each of these experiences represents a facet of Maui not often showcased in travel brochures. They invite visitors to look beyond the beach, to engage with the island in ways that are unexpected and deeply rewarding. As we venture into the details of each unique activity, our goal is to inspire you to embrace the road less traveled, to find joy in the unusual, and to discover a Maui that resonates with your adventurous spirit. This blog post is your gateway to a Maui that awaits beyond the familiar, promising adventures that are as unique as they are unforgettable.

1. Sample Cheese at the Surfing Goat Dairy Farm

The Surfing Goat Dairy Farm, located on the gentle slopes of Haleakalā, is not your typical Maui destination. Away from the island's famed beaches and lush rainforests lies a farm that has carved a niche for itself in the hearts of locals and travelers alike. Established over a decade ago, this farm has become a testament to sustainable agriculture and the art of cheese-making in Hawaii.

The journey to the Surfing Goat Dairy Farm is as picturesque as it is serene, winding through the upcountry landscape of Kula. As you approach, the first thing that greets you is the unmistakable sight of goats—some lounging lazily under the Maui sun, others playfully chasing each other across the fields. It's a scene that sets the stage for an experience that's as educational as it is delightful.

Surfing Goat Dairy Farm - Source: Island Sotheby

The farm offers various tours, each designed to provide an intimate look into the world of goat cheese production. The most popular option, the Casual Tour, invites visitors to step into the daily lives of these charming goats. You'll learn about the milking process, the nuances of cheese aging, and the sustainable practices that drive the farm's operations. It's an interactive experience, with plenty of opportunities to feed and pet the goats, making it a hit among families.

But the highlight of any visit to the Surfing Goat Dairy Farm is, without doubt, the cheese tasting. The farm's award-winning cheeses are a testament to the passion and craftsmanship that go into their making. From the creamy textures of the Fresh Chevre to the bold flavors of the aged varieties, each cheese tells a story of Maui's unique terroir and the farm's dedication to quality.

2. Hike Inside a Dormant Volcano

Embarking on a hike inside Haleakalā, the dormant volcano that forms more than 75% of Maui, is a journey that starts with anticipation and unfolds into an awe-inspiring exploration. Known as the "House of the Sun," Haleakalā's summit rises to 10,023 feet, presenting a landscape that ranges from pastoral upcountry to the barren, moon-like crater floor. The park's diverse ecosystems span from stark lunar landscapes at the summit to lush tropical rainforests at its base, offering a profound testament to nature's versatility.

Haleakala - Source: National Geographic

As you ascend to the summit, the changing scenery sets the stage for a unique adventure. Haleakalā National Park offers several trails, with the Sliding Sands (Keonehe'ehe'e) Trail being among the most popular for its descent into the crater's heart. This trail, along with the Halemau'u Trail, known for its dramatic switchbacks, allows hikers to traverse the crater floor, passing by cinder cones and unique plant life that has adapted to this harsh environment.

Hiking here is an immersive experience, where the silence of the crater, occasionally broken by the wind or a distant bird, fosters a deep connection with the natural world. The landscape tells the story of ancient lava flows and eruptions that have shaped the island, while endangered species like the nēnē (Hawaiian goose) and the silversword plant highlight the crater's unique ecosystem. These species exemplify the delicate balance of life in this extraordinary environment.

3. Snorkel with Sea Turtles in Turtle Town

Continuing our journey through Maui's unique attractions, snorkeling in Turtle Town offers an unforgettable experience that brings you face-to-face with the majestic sea turtles of Hawaii. Located in the clear, turquoise waters off Maui's south coast, Turtle Town is renowned for its calm conditions and the abundance of sea life, making it a premier destination for snorkelers and divers alike.

The allure of Turtle Town lies not just in its serene beauty, but in the opportunity it provides to swim alongside Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles in their natural habitat. These gentle giants, known locally as honu, are not only a symbol of good luck and longevity in Hawaiian culture but also play a crucial role in the marine ecosystem. Observing these creatures as they glide effortlessly through the water, with the sun's rays filtering through the ocean's surface, is a moment of pure magic that connects you deeply with the natural world.

The experience of snorkeling in Turtle Town is made all the more remarkable by the variety of marine life that calls these waters home. From vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful fish to the occasional sighting of dolphins and other marine creatures, Turtle Town is a window into the rich biodiversity of Maui's underwater world.

4. Taste Pineapple Wine at Maui's Only Winery

Exploring the unique allure of Maui leads us next to a truly distinctive experience: tasting pineapple wine at Maui's only winery. Located just a short drive from the Surfing Goat Dairy Farm, this winery offers a taste of something genuinely unexpected. Pineapple wine, a specialty of the island, challenges preconceived notions of traditional wine, offering a unique blend of flavors that capture the essence of Maui's agricultural heritage.

Source: MauiWine

The winery itself is nestled amidst the rolling hills of Upcountry Maui, providing not only a scenic backdrop for wine tasting but also a glimpse into the innovative spirit of Maui's local producers. The process of making wine from pineapples, rather than grapes, showcases the adaptability and creativity of Maui's winemakers, who have embraced the island's bounty to produce something truly unique.

Visitors to the winery can embark on a tour that delves into the intricacies of pineapple wine production, from the initial fermentation process to the final bottling. Tasting sessions offer a chance to sample the winery's range of wines, which might include dry, sweet, and sparkling varieties. The pineapple wine, with its subtle sweetness and tropical notes, stands as a testament to the winery's commitment to quality and innovation.

Pairing a visit to the dairy farm with a stop at the winery offers a full-circle experience of Maui's agricultural and gastronomic richness. It's an opportunity to see firsthand how local ingredients are transformed into products that are both reflective of the island's heritage and appealing to contemporary tastes.

5. Scuba Dive Alongside Sharks & Local Marine Life at the Maui Ocean Center

Scuba diving alongside sharks & local marine life at the Maui Ocean Center offers an immersive experience into the heart of the Pacific's underwater ecosystem. This unique adventure not only brings you face-to-face with some of the ocean's most fascinating creatures but also provides a deeper understanding of their importance to marine biodiversity.

The Maui Ocean Center, renowned for its commitment to conservation and education, houses a 750,000-gallon Open Ocean Exhibit. This exhibit allows visitors to experience the thrill of being surrounded by sharks, rays, and hundreds of tropical fish, offering a window into the vibrant life beneath the waves.

Source: Parish Maui

Opting for a guided scuba dive in this exhibit, certified divers have the rare opportunity to share the water with these magnificent animals. It's an experience that highlights the beauty and complexity of marine life, challenging perceptions and fostering a greater appreciation for ocean conservation.

6. Zip-lining Through Eucalyptus Forests

Zip-lining through Eucalyptus forests in Haleakalā offers an adrenaline-fueled journey through the canopy of one of Maui's most breathtaking landscapes. This adventure, not only for thrill-seekers but for anyone looking to view the island from an entirely new perspective, merges the excitement of speed and height with the natural beauty of Maui's upcountry.

Eucalyptus Forests - Source: Jeff Trecht

Skyline Eco Adventures, situated in the lush slopes of Haleakalā, presents an unparalleled zip-lining experience. Participants can expect to soar across canyons, glide above towering eucalyptus trees, and traverse swinging bridges, all while taking in panoramic views of the island and the Pacific Ocean beyond. The course is designed to progressively increase in length and height, providing an exhilarating sense of freedom as you fly through the air.

7. Explore Kula Botanical Gardens

Exploring Kula Botanical Gardens offers a serene and enriching experience amidst Maui's lush landscapes. Established in the tranquil uplands of Maui, this garden is a sanctuary of exotic and native plants, showcasing the island's diverse flora in a meticulously curated setting.

Walking through Kula Botanical Gardens, visitors are treated to a spectacle of color and variety, with everything from fragrant blooms to rare and endangered species. The garden's collections include an impressive array of native Hawaiian plants, each with its own unique story and role in the local ecosystem. In addition to the native species, the gardens feature an assortment of imported plants that have been carefully selected to complement the native landscape.

Kula Botanical Garden - Source: Go Hawaii

The gardens are not just a feast for the eyes but also a place of learning and discovery. Educational signs dot the landscape, providing insights into the flora's ecological significance and conservation efforts underway to protect Maui's natural heritage. This educational aspect makes a visit to the gardens a valuable experience for both adults and children, fostering a deeper appreciation for the importance of botanical conservation.

Kula Botanical Gardens also offers a peaceful retreat from the island's more tourist-heavy areas. The tranquil paths, water features, and scenic overlooks provide ample opportunities for reflection and relaxation. Whether you're a gardening enthusiast, nature lover, or simply seeking a quiet escape, the gardens offer a unique and memorable way to connect with Maui's natural beauty.

8. Take the Ferry to Lanai

Taking the ferry to Lanai offers a unique journey back in time and an escape from the more developed landscapes of Maui. Lanai, often referred to as Hawaii's Most Enticing Island, presents a stark contrast to its neighbors, with its serene landscapes, rugged terrain, and an atmosphere that whispers tales of a bygone era. This small island, with its absence of traffic lights and only a handful of paved roads, invites visitors into a world where the essence of old Hawaii is palpable in every breeze and every vista.

The ferry ride itself is an adventure, offering stunning views of the ocean, the possibility of dolphin sightings, and the anticipation of exploring untouched natural beauty. Upon arrival, Lanai unfolds as an oasis of tranquility, its charm lying in its simplicity and the warmth of its small community. The island's highlights include the surreal lunar landscapes of the Garden of the Gods, the rich snorkeling grounds of Hulopo'e Bay, and the historic Lanai City, with its plantation-era architecture and central square.

Lanai Ferry - Source: Go Lanaii

For hikers, the Munro Trail presents a challenge and rewards with panoramic views of neighboring islands and the towering Lanaihale summit. Shipwreck Beach, with its iconic shipwreck stranded just offshore, offers a glimpse into the island's maritime history and the forces of nature that shape its shores.

9. Submarine Tour

Taking a submarine tour at the Maui Ocean Center offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the underwater world without getting wet. This adventure plunges you into the depths of the ocean, where you're surrounded by the vibrant life of the Pacific. As the submarine descends, the light dims, and the blue hues of the ocean envelop you, revealing a mesmerizing world of coral reefs, schools of colorful fish, and perhaps even the occasional shark or ray passing by.

Submarine tour - Source: Atlantis Adventures

The submarine tour at the Maui Ocean Center stands out as a must-do for visitors to Maui, offering a unique blend of adventure, education, and awe-inspiring beauty. It's an experience that leaves a lasting impression, deepening your appreciation for the ocean and its inhabitants.

10. Tour a Maui Gold Pineapple Farm

Touring a Maui Gold Pineapple Farm offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of pineapple cultivation on Maui, providing visitors with a comprehensive look at the journey of a pineapple from field to table. This unique experience allows you to explore the vast fields where the sweetest pineapples in the world are grown, learning about the farming practices that make Maui Gold pineapples so special.

The tour typically begins with a walk through the pineapple fields, where guides share insights into the growth cycle of pineapples, the challenges of farming in Hawaii, and the sustainable practices employed to ensure the health of the crop and the environment. You'll see pineapples in various stages of growth and learn how farmers determine when they're ripe for harvesting.

Maui Gold Pineapple Farm - Source: Maui Pineapple Tour

A highlight of the tour is the tasting session, where you can savor the fresh, juicy flavor of a Maui Gold pineapple cut straight from the field. This experience not only tantalizes the taste buds but also deepens the appreciation for the work that goes into producing each fruit.

In addition to the field tour and tasting, visitors often have the opportunity to visit the packing facility to see how pineapples are processed, packaged, and prepared for shipping. This behind-the-scenes look at the operation adds another layer of understanding to the pineapple's journey.

11. Visit the Honey Bee Sanctuary

Visiting the Honey Bee Sanctuary on Maui offers a unique and enlightening experience that emphasizes the importance of bees to our ecosystem and agriculture. This sanctuary, dedicated to the protection and study of honey bees, provides visitors with the opportunity to learn about bee biology, the challenges bees face today, and the crucial role they play in pollinating the crops that feed us.

The sanctuary tour typically includes a walk through the gardens and hives, where you can observe bees in their natural habitat, going about their daily work of collecting nectar and pollinating plants. Educational talks by the sanctuary's caretakers offer insights into beekeeping practices, the process of honey production, and the global importance of bees in sustaining biodiversity and food security.

Honey Bee Sanctuary - Source: Trip

One of the highlights of visiting the Honey Bee Sanctuary is the chance to taste different varieties of honey, each with its unique flavor profile determined by the flowers from which the bees have collected nectar. This tasting experience not only delights the palate but also serves as a direct connection to the surrounding landscape and its floral diversity.

12. Explore Maui's Rich History and Culture at Museums

Exploring Maui's Rich History and Culture at Museums offers a fascinating journey through the island's past, presenting an opportunity to delve into the heart of Hawaii's heritage. The Bailey House Museum and The Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum stand out as key destinations for those looking to immerse themselves in the stories that have shaped Maui.

Bailey House Museum

Located in Wailuku, the Bailey House Museum is housed in a historic 19th-century building that once served as a mission house for the Wailuku Female Seminary. Today, it's a treasure trove of Hawaiian artifacts, paintings, and furnishings that offer a glimpse into the life of the missionaries and the complex history of cultural exchange in Hawaii. The museum's collection includes traditional Hawaiian quilts, ancient tools, and the largest known collection of works by Edward Bailey, a missionary and artist who captured the island's landscapes with remarkable detail.

Bailey House - Source: Conde Nast Traveler

The Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum

Just a short distance from Kahului in Puunene, The Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of sugar production in Hawaii, an industry that played a crucial role in the islands' economic and social development. The museum is located next to Hawaii's last operating sugar mill (which closed in 2016), offering exhibits that explore the sugar industry's impact on Hawaii's multicultural society, the technological advancements in sugar cultivation, and the daily lives of plantation workers. Visitors can learn about the challenges and triumphs of the sugar industry, which brought diverse immigrant groups to Hawaii and shaped the islands' cultural landscape.

Sugar Museum - Source: Makoa Rental

Both museums not only preserve important artifacts and stories but also serve as educational resources that foster a deeper understanding of Maui's history and cultural diversity. They highlight the resilience and ingenuity of the island's people, from the Native Hawaiians to the immigrant communities that contributed to the sugar industry's growth. Visiting these museums provides a rich, contextual background for understanding the contemporary issues and cultural dynamics of Maui and Hawaii at large.

13. Discover Makawao's Paniolo Culture

Discovering Makawao's Paniolo Culture immerses visitors in the unique cowboy heritage of Maui, blending the island's rich history with its vibrant contemporary arts scene. Makawao, a charming upcountry town on the slopes of Haleakalā, is renowned for its deep-rooted paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) traditions, dating back to when cattle were first introduced to Hawaii in the early 19th century.

This paniolo culture is celebrated annually at the Makawao Rodeo, one of Hawaii's largest, drawing participants and spectators from across the islands. The rodeo, along with the town's Fourth of July parade, showcases the skill and spirit of Hawaii's cowboys in events like bull riding, barrel racing, and roping competitions. These festivities provide a lively, engaging way to experience the paniolo lifestyle firsthand.

Beyond the rodeo, Makawao's charm extends to its thriving arts scene. The town is dotted with art galleries, boutiques, and cafes that reflect the creativity and craftsmanship of local artists and artisans. Visitors can explore galleries featuring works ranging from traditional Hawaiian crafts to contemporary art, offering a glimpse into the island's cultural fusion.

Conclusion

Maui, with its renowned beaches and iconic Road to Hana, holds a treasure trove of experiences that reach far beyond the familiar. The island invites a deeper exploration into its lush landscapes, rich culture, and unique agricultural heritage, offering adventures that resonate with the spirit of Aloha.

From the serene beauty of the Kula Lavender fields to the playful encounters of goat yoga, Maui reveals its diversity in every corner. Maui's allure isn't just in its scenic beauty or array of activities but in the connections it fosters—with nature, with culture, and with the essence of Hawaii itself. Each unique experience, from the farms and plantations to the historical sites, enriches the visitor's journey, offering a fuller, more nuanced understanding of the island.

Ready to dive into the vibrant paradise of Maui? Discover the ultimate vacation rentals that Maui has to offer at Karta.com. Book your dream getaway now and embark on an unforgettable adventure.

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Emily Carter

With over 10 years of experience, Emily has extensive experience planning bespoke tours across the United States and Canada, specializing in eco-tourism and adventure travel.