If warm breezes, crystalline waters and clear blue skies peak your senses, then Maui is the island for you. On the south side of this Pacific gem is Kihei, a bustling beach town known for its ocean adventures, vibrant atmosphere and amazing sunset views. From surf lessons to snorkeling, from kayaking to whale watching, Kihei offers an abundance of fun under the sun.
11 Best Things To Do In Kihei Maui
Snorkel at Turtle Town
There are no words to describe the magic of Turtle Town. The beautiful coral reefs, sea caves and abundance of Hawaiian green sea turtles (honu) make this one of the best snorkeling spots in the Hawaiian islands and a nature lover’s dream.
Moving along the coast, going southward from Kihei, brings you to this unique series of underwater lava formations created long ago by the eruption of submarine volcanoes. This network of coral reefs offers shelter for underwater species to flourish.
The ecosystem is thriving and filled with colorful tropical fish, eels, eagle rays, urchins, manta rays, lobsters and reef fish. Such an array of marine life is what makes snorkeling Turtle Town one of the 11 Best Things to Do in Kihei.
Kayak Along The Stunning Kihei Coastline
A guided kayaking excursion is not to be missed if you are looking for an adventurous way to check out the Kihei coastline.
Away from the bustle of the beach scene, the gentle journey can be a great experience for the whole family. The offshore vantage point offers a breathtaking view of Haleakala crater.
A thrilling experience awaits as you move along the coast; hidden coves and underwater life reveal themselves, while pods of dolphins and curious turtles come and go in the turquoise waters.
Keep your eyes and ears peeled if visiting the area between December and May, when the waters are full of Humpback whales who migrate each year from Alaska, to the warmth of Maui.
This amazing opportunity to see wildlife up close, is why kayaking Kihei is one of the 11 Best Things to Do in Kihei.
Party at Kihei's Fourth Friday Event
If you happen to be in Kihei on a Friday night, be sure to check out ‘Kihei 4th Friday Town Party’. This free community event is held from 6:00-9:00 PM and is the largest of its kind on Maui. The event was developed to help showcase Kihei’s historic past, celebrate its unique business community and bring people together.
The popularity of this street party has grown over time due to its awesome, live music performances, unique variety of shopping options and array of tasty food trucks. The monthly event boasts free parking and a huge children’s play zone with face painting, balloon animals and activities.
Kihei 4th Friday Town Party is one of the 11 Best Things to Do in Kihei simply because it rocks!
"Grind" at Kihei's Delicious Local Food Trucks
Not to be missed while in Kihei are the delicious local foods, commonly known as ‘grinds’. Some of the best grinds can be found at the trendy food trucks that have popped up all over the south side beach town.
At various locations the trucks are situated in formation to create food courts. Happy foodies sit around picnic tables enjoying tasty dishes, cool drinks, shaded structures and a communal vibe.
With something to appeal to even the pickiest palette, Kihei’s food trucks boast everything from grilled fresh catch of the day, seasoned fish tacos and artisanal wood-fired pizza, to juicy home-style burgers, fresh green salads and authentic Mediterranean falafels.
Bringing joy to the bellies of visitors and locals alike, visiting the food truck scene, with its sumptuous delights, makes the list as one of the 11 Best Things to Do in Kihei.
Swim at Kama'ole Beach Parks
Diving into clear Hawaiian waters is a feeling like none other. With its protected shorelines and golden sands, Maui boasts some of the best beaches in the state of Hawaii.
In south Kihei the Kama’ole beach parks are a popular destination for those looking for the pleasure of beach life and the convenience of town. Extending for 1.5 miles along Kihei’s main drag, Kam I, Kam II and Kam III, as they are locally known, are connected via grassy walkways and sidewalks, allowing visitors to easily beach hop from one park to the next.
The north end of Kam I is known as Charley Young Beach, is a favorite local spot and has some of the best snorkeling of all the Kama’ole beach parks.
On the weekends the beach parks are filled with local families and visitors, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the surf, freshwater showers, BBQ grills, friendly atmosphere and stationed lifeguards.
In addition to bicycle and motorbike rentals, there are surfboard, kayak and snorkel gear rentals located, very conveniently, within walking distance to the Kam beaches. Vacation rentals, restaurants and convenience stores are also located nearby, which makes Kihei an excellent option for visitors wanting to minimize their driving and maximize their vacationing.
Charter a Private Boat
If you can swing a private charter, then you’re in for an epic adventure on the sea. Whether its just the family, a group of friends or colleagues, chartering a private boat is a fun way to enjoy an exclusive ocean experience.
Plan your trip as a snorkel adventure, whale watching excursion or sunset cruise. A private charter allows you to avoid the crowds of the public tours and design your very own experience. Whether celebrating a birthday, a promotion or making a marriage proposal, a private charter can be both intimate and exciting.
Along with stunning island views and luxurious accommodations, private charters offer delicious meals and fantastic drinks, and can even cater to specific dietary requests. With such amazing options, it’s no wonder chartering a private cruise is one of the 11 Best Things to do in Kihei.
Feast at a Traditional Polynesian Luau
No trip to Maui is complete without visiting one of its many exhilarating Polynesian Luau performances. With crimson sunset skies as a backdrop, these shows take place outside and are a vibrant blend of Polynesian culture, music and food set to live, rhythmic percussion.
Luau performances are a great way to get a peek at some of Maui’s best local talent. Singers are a highlight of the shows and offer melodious tunes in sweet falsetto voices, accompanied by a local string instrument known as a ukulele.
Hula dancers are a crowd favorite and come out dressed in fresh tropical flowers, ti leaves and coconut shells. Performers move around the grassy dance floor in waves, as fire dancers spin blazing torches; the movements are deliberate as hula is a traditional way of telling stories.
Be ready to get up and dance if the spirit of aloha moves you. These shows have an interactive component as dancers come around and invite audience members to join in the excitement. Impromptu hula lessons are given, along with costume adornments, and the willing visitors are brought into the performance.
There’s nothing like the exhilaration of a live performance to inspire aloha in the whole family, which is why attending a Hawaiian luau is one of the 11 Best things to do in Kihei. We recommend the Te Au Moana Luau at the Wailea Marriott, just minutes from Kihei.
Visit the Awe Inspiring Maui Ocean Center
Renowned for its commitment to protect and advocate for Hawaii marine life, perpetuate the island’s culture and share with the community, the Maui Ocean Center is a precious resource for all of Maui County.
Located just north of Kihei, the Maui Ocean Center is a popular destination for those wanting to deepen their understanding of the Hawaiian waters and get up close with some of its inhabitants.
The Center features an array of interesting exhibits with some of the most creatures of the Hawaiian water, including the largest collection of live Pacific corals in the world.
The Open Ocean exhibit offers visitors a magically immersive experience as it features a 240- degree view, acrylic tunnel which gives visitors an insider’s view of the sea. Filled with sharks, stingrays and schools of tropical fish this exhibit is captivating.
If simply learning about ocean life isn’t close enough for you, the Center offers guests the chance to go deeper through it’s Aquarium Shark Dive Program. Those scuba certified guests who are interested in having a closer look can actually dive in the exhibit with aquarium staff.
According to the Maui Ocean Center, the Humpbacks of Hawaii Exhibit & Sphere is an underwater encounter that will change everything you thought you knew. Through immersive audio and visual display visitors are invited eye-to-eye with Maui’s Humpback whales in their realm beneath the waves. Once fully submerged in the virtual ocean atmosphere, visitors are invited to explore the world and learn the secrets of the Humpback whale.
The Maui Ocean Center is the perfect place to bring to family to learn about Hawaiian marine life and culture. Along with exhibits the Center also features tide pools, a café, restaurant, shops, 20 daily educational presentations and tops the list of the 11 Best things to Do in Kihei.
Deep Dive at Molokini Crater
Prepare to have your mind blown as you dive into this marine sanctuary, just off the shore from Kihei. Renowned for its colorful coral reefs, crystal clear water and abundant marine life, this crescent-shaped, half submerged crater is a popular destination for scuba diving and snorkeling.
The constant exposure to visitors has created an environment where the marine life around Molokini does not shy away from divers, but can actually be curious. For a closer look at the marine creatures, book a scuba diving adventure; daily excursions depart from the boat ramp in Kihei.
With visibility as deep as 150 feet and with natural protection from waves and currents, diving Molokini offers an exceptional marine experience and is certainly one of the 11 Best Things to Do in Kihei.
Shop at the Kihei Kalama Village Shops
Known for its great variety of shopping options Kihei has goods to satisfy everyone from the souvenir seeker to the Fashionista.
For gifts with a Hawaiian flare visit Kihei Kalama Village in south Kihei, where you can find dozens of great trinkets, soaps, jams, coffee, handbags, jewelry, wines, condiments and handiwork from local artisans.
Flowing pareos (sarongs) with tropical motifs and type-dye patterns fill racks with every color of the rainbow. Swimsuits, towels with a Maui logo and T-shirts designed with catchy phrases abound as vendors put forth the brightest of their collections. The many fashion boutiques around the village are great options for those looking for more trendy designs.
After strolling the aisles, take a break at one of the many cafes, bars or restaurants in and around the Kihei Kalama Village. Coffee, sweets and treats are also readily available and can provide that extra boost of energy to get your shopping done.
Paddle Board at The Cove
One of the best places to learn how to surf or stand up paddle board is a place known as ‘the Cove’. Located at the south end of Kalama Beach park in south Kihei, this gentle beach break is a popular destination for beginner surfers and stand up paddle boarders.
With a sandy bottom which gives way to shallow rock just offshore, the Cove is a safe place for students of all ages. Choose from one of the local surf schools and they will get you geared up, informed and ready to paddle out into the long, slow rolling waves.
The Cove is the perfect setting for a fabulous beach day, with easy parking options, bathrooms, restaurants and fresh water showers nearby it’s a great choice for a day of sun, surf and sand. It’s no wonder that learning to surf or paddle board is one of the 11 Best Things to Do in Kihei.
The adventure begins when you step off the plane and step into the tropical atmosphere of Maui. Kihei’s location on the south side of the island, facing the setting sun and protected from strong trade winds, makes it an ideal place to experience the wonder of nature and the tranquility of paradise.