Top 12 Things To Do in Kihei

Travel to the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, and maximize on every little opportunity you can for a fabulously memorable Maui holiday! From learning about humpback whales to surf lessons to sightseeing and taking art classes, Maui has the best selection of Hawaii things to do in an ever-engaging environment.

Please enjoy our Top 10 Things To Do In Kihei article below, and start planning the best Hawaiian vacation of your life!

01

Humpback Whale Sanctuary

Created by the U.S. Congress in 1992, the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary aims to protect the North Pacific Humpback Whales and their Hawaiian habitat. The whole protected ‘sanctuary’ includes all shallow waters (600-feet in depth) surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands.

The Learning Center is located in Kihei and is a great place to visit to learn more about Humpback Whale education, outreach, and join in on resource protection activities. This beachfront facility offers year-round programs and rotating exhibits all revolving around the North Pacific humpback whale population; whale behaviors, photo identification, habits, birth and mortality rates, and preservation research.

Education and outreach programs focus on offering valuable public information about Hawaii’s oceans and the current conditions for the migratory humpbacks. The Maui center hosts myriad weekly, monthly, and annual events including The Sanctuary Ocean Count, Ocean Awareness Training, Art & Photography Competitions, Community Events, and Lectures.

All visitors are invited to visit the newly remodeled Sanctuary Visitor Center Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm. Guests can explore temporary and permanent exhibits about coral reefs and marine life, whales, watersheds, whale songs, the Ko’ie’ie Fishpond, native Hawaiian plants and culture, weather & climate change, and much more. Guests can also talk story with marine specialists about the NOAA and the State of Hawaii’s conservation mission to protect Hawaii’s humpback whales, monk seals, sea turtles, and coral reefs.


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02

Kihei 4th Friday Town Party

All visitors and residents are invited to check out the Kihei Town parties every 4th Friday of the month! It’s a great monthly community event on Maui to partake in for those that are looking for a night of activities to do with their families, friends, and loved ones.

Every month, guests can expect to enjoy local food and shopping vendors, a live artist showcase, guest speakers, dancing, keiki (kids) events, live music, and more. Each month, the entertainment is new and different, so this event is always super engaging and fun. Located at the Azeka Shopping Center, this event is free for all ages and usually begins around 6 pm.

Maui Friday Town Parties take place all over the island every week! Check out 1st Fridays in Wailuku, 2nd Fridays in Lahaina, 3rd Fridays in Makawao, 4th Fridays in Kihei, and 5th Fridays in Lana’i City on the outer Island of Lana’i.


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03

Maui Mermaid Swimming Adventures

For all aspiring mermaids and mermen, Hawaii Mermaid Adventures offers Maui Mermaid Swimming Classes. Kids and adults (50-210 lbs) can visit Maui’s Southside for an enjoyable day full of learning how to swim with a mermaid tail.

All Maui mermaid swimming classes are taught by a lifeguard/CPR certified instructor. The instructors are also certified naturalists, so guests will also have opportunities to learn more about Maui marine life and Maui reef ecology. The class begins with safety instruction and continue with practice swims, swim feedback, tips and tricks, and stories of real mermaid myths and legends.

Mermaid tales are available in three sizes: 50-90 lbs, 90-150lbs, and 150-220 lbs. Classes can accommodate 5 guests per instructor making this an awesome family activity to do while in Maui.

GoPro photography services are included with the class, and if guests would like to book a professional photoshoot for more digital imagery, they can request the add-on service from Hawaii Mermaid Adventures at the time of booking.

Hawaii Mermaid Adventures is a member of Dolphin Smart and is Sustainable Tourism Certified. Happy swimming!


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04

Maui Brewing Company Tasting Room & Brewery Tours

“Maui Brewing Co. has a strong commitment to the local economy, and deep concern for the environment. We package in the most eco-friendly (and beer friendly) material, the can. Our spent grain is given to local farmers for feed and compost, contributing to local sustainability.” (www.MauiBrewingCo.com, 2015)

Since 2005, Maui Brewing Company has been providing beer lovers with a beautiful selection of handcrafted lagers and ales, all sustainably crafted. Maui Brewing Company started off selling wholesale, then opened their popular brewpub in Kahana. With all their well-deserved international success, Maui Brewing Company has now opened a state-of-the-art brewery and tasting room in Kihei. Here, guests can taste and learn about their flagship and seasonal beers such as the Bikini Blonde, Big Swell IPA, Coconut Porter, the Mana Wheat, and the Lorenzini Double IPA.

Maui Brewing Company’s Kihei Tasting Room is open every day from 11am-10pm, and Happy Hour provides $1 off all craft beers on tap from 3-6pm. Brewery Tours are a great way to experience Maui’s unique food and drink culture, and guests can do this seven days a week at 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, or 2:30 pm. The guided tour gives participants a chance to see the whole brewing process through the Brewhaus, Cellar, and Packaging Line. The Brewery Tour costs $5 per person and includes a flight of four flagship Maui Brewing Co. craft beers. Private and large party tours are available with prior request.


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05

Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge in 1992. Without a doubt, this refuge is one of the best places in Hawaii to observe and learn about Hawaii’s endangered wetland birds, and a handful of feathered visitors that travel to Hawaii from North America, Alaska and Asia.

Encompassing approximately 700-acres, the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge is one of the few remaining natural wetlands in Hawaii. The refuge is also a natural basin for a 56-square mile watershed deriving from the West Maui Mountain Range. Located between the coastal areas of Kihei and Ma’alaea, guests are invited to visit the bird sanctuary and enjoy a nature walk through the Kealia Coastal Boardwalk. The boardwalk leads through ancient Hawaiian wetlands where guests can catch sight of Native Hawaiian birds; the Hawaiian Coot and the Hawaiian Stilt. Across the highway, the Kealia Fishpond is where guests can watch visiting water birds such as the Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, the Pacific Golden Plover, Wandering Tattler, and Ruddy Turnstones in a natural habitat.


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06

Beginner’s Surfing & SUP Lessons

Kihei is the best area on Maui to choose for first time surfing and stand up paddle lessons. Ocean conditions in South Maui are typically calmer than all other Maui areas, offering many clear and shallow coves that are perfect for those that want to try water sports in a more predictable environment.

Kihei surf schools can provide everything you need for a successful first surf lesson. Group, semi-private, and private lessons are available, and typically include surfboard and gear rentals, 10-15 minutes of on-land training on the basics and ocean safety information, and hands-on experience in the ocean. With expert surf instructors, all guests will get a chance to stand up, throw out a shaka, and catch their first wave!

The area has become popular for stand up paddling (SUP) because the ocean conditions are so mellow. SUP lessons are typically an hour and a half long and include SUP equipment rentals and use of a rash guard and booties. Group, semi-private, and private lessons are available. Once students get their footing, they’re guaranteed to be sweeping the ocean in no time!

The best surf and SUP instructors on Maui can adapt their teaching style so that all guests can learn, have fun, feel safe, and have an overall successful first lesson. Visit Maui for the best vacation of your life, learn new skills, and become the water sports enthusiast you always dreamed!

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07

Get Shave Ice

For both residents and visitors, enjoying refreshing and cold shave ice is a favorite pastime. Throughout the Hawaiian Islands, you’ll find a fantastic selection of shave ice spots that range from mom-and-pop types of places to more popular small chain shops. Good news! In South Maui areas, like Kihei and Wailea, there also happens to be quite a lot of incredible shave ice choices!

Commonly regarded as the ‘Hawaiian Snow Cone’ by visitors, in fact, shave ice has a much longer history than the average American frozen treat. The lineage of shave ice (not shaved ice with a ‘d’) can be rooted back to Japan’s Heian Period (roughly 800-1190 AD). This tasty dessert, initially called Kakigōri, was brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Japanese immigrants that arrived to work in the sugarcane plantations. Shaving ice with machetes and dripping fresh juices on top of the mounds was surely a cooling treat under the hot Hawaiian sun.

Today, you can find many Maui shave ice businesses and diverse menus. Some opt for mass market syrups with Americanized flavors, and many use local sugarcane and fresh Hawaiian juices to sweeten this treat. Favorite flavors include passion fruit (lilikoi), guava, pineapple, lychee, mango, and coconut cream. Favorite toppings include shredded coconut and adzuki beans. For the full shave ice experience, we encourage you to choose a combination of flavors which will provide you with not only a tasty tropical dessert but also a pretty one!

Getting shave ice in South Maui is most definitely a to-do and a perfect activity for post-beach sessions. Popular shave ice spots in South Maui include Surf Break Shave Ice, Ululani’s, Local Boys, Surfing Monkey, Peace Love Shave Ice, and Gus.


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08

Attend a Luau in South Maui

One of the most popular activities in Hawaii is attending a luau. In the simplest of explanations, a luau is a Hawaiian feast accompanied by live entertainment; hula dance Hawaiian chanting, storytelling, cultural activities, and more. Although luaus are thought of as only Hawaiian, many luaus provide glimpses into other Polynesian cultures; Tahitian, Samoan, Tongan, and Fijian. On the Island of Maui, there are many, many different types of luaus from which to choose.

Located at resorts, hotels, and private luau venues, guests will find many surprises in store including Keiki (kids) crafts, attendee stage participation, and dining options.
Typically, when one arrives at a luau, guests are greeted with a fresh flower lei, and a tropical cocktail or juice. As attendees gather at the venue, there are usually Hawaiian crafts, hula, and ukulele demonstrations. Once all have arrived, there is a ceremonial unearthing of the Hawaiian imu. The imu is an entire pig or boar covered with fragrant ti leaves, and long roasted in an earth oven. It’s the main dish at most Hawaii luaus. After the ceremony, guests depart to their prospective seats/tables, and the show begins.

At some luaus, you’ll find table service, but at most luaus, you’ll find communal seating and a buffet style spread of Polynesian foods. Luau food includes kalua pork (imu), local fish, poke, squid luau, lomilomi salmon, laulau, steamed rice or fried rice, taro, poi, tropical fruits, and desserts like coconut haupia.
Attending a luau is a big to-do when visiting Hawaii, and there are many from which to choose. Some of the most popular luaus in South Maui are the Grand Honua’ula Luau at the Grand Wailea and the Te Au Moana Luau at Wailea Marriott.

For more information about the Grand Honua’ula Luau, please visit www.honuaula-luau.com.

For more information about the Te Au Moana Luau, please visit teaumoana.com

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09

Snorkel Trip to Molokini

When planning a vacation in Maui, make sure to go snorkeling in Kihei! Set about 2.5 miles off of South Maui, the Molokini Crater is a gorgeous underwater volcano islet. Listed as a Marine Life Conservation District Seabird Sanctuary, this partially submerged, the crescent-shaped volcanic crater is unlike any other snorkeling spot in the entire world. Hosting over 250 species of endemic Hawaiian tropical fish, this is the place to go when choosing the best snorkel tours in Maui.

At Molokini Crater, guests can expect to see manta rays, black triggerfish, parrotfish, Moorish idol, moray eels, yellow tang, raccoon butterflyfish, Hawaiian green sea turtles, and even the occasional small White-tip reef shark. With crystal-clear water (average of 150 feet of visibility), 35 species of hard coral, and over 100 algae species, the waters surrounding the Molokini Crater are vibrantly colored and breathtaking.
Molokini Snorkel Tours are available in the early mornings and the afternoons. It is an excellent location for beginners and experienced snorkeling in Kihei, and just so happens to be one of the most popular places for scuba diving in Hawaii.


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Molokini Snorkel Tour

Morning Molokini & Turtle Town Snorkeling Excursion

About Tour

10

Kayaking

From beginners to seasoned kayakers, you will find a variety of kayaking tours offered in Maui’s Kihei area. Kayaking is one of the best ways to experience Kihei’s most secluded spots. These excursions offer a navigated journey through pristine waters where your whole family will enjoy discovering Maui’s South Shore from a unique perspective.

Peacefully paddling through crystal blue waters, without the noise or fumes from a boat engine, you can fully embrace the fragrances, sights, and sounds that surround you. You will explore magical places while swimming and snorkeling amongst Hawaii’s beloved honu (Hawaiian green sea turtle) as well as some of the most amazing tropical fish. You may even have a playful dolphin or two join paddling alongside your kayak. There is not a comparable way to observe Maui’s most amazing sea creatures. Many tours stop in Turtle Town, where you are sure to see honu.

Turtle Town is several miles long with over a dozen reefs and excellent snorkeling opportunities. Kayak tours can paddle right to the honu without scaring them away with a large snorkel boat. Your Kayak tour guide is fully educated on Maui’s marine life. You will learn all you need to know about respect for the coral and the marine life that you will encounter on this fantastic adventure. During whale season, kayaking is one of the best ways to experience and connect with the North Pacific humpback whales, up close and personal. There are many kayaking tours available in the early mornings with some afternoon tours launching from Kihei, on Maui’s beautiful South Shore.


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11

Kamaole Beaches

Kamaole Beaches are made up of three Beach Parks nicknamed Kam I, II and III, that line the coastline of Kihei Town. All three beaches are located off South Kihei Road and numbered north to south starting just south of the Azeka Shopping Center and Kalama Park. The rocky points between these beach parks are some of the South Shore’s best snorkeling sites for you and your family to enjoy.


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12

Visit the Maui Ocean Center

Bonus

Since 1998, the Maui Ocean Center has not only been one of the most popular activities on Maui, but they have also stayed true to their mission to be ‘advocates for Maui reef and marine species protection.” Without a doubt, they are the most incredible aquarium and marine life science center in the Hawaiian Islands; a perfect destination to visit when you are on the Valley Isle.

Maui Ocean Center’s values include Respect for the Ocean, Integrity, Passion for What They Do, Transparency and Accountability, Education That Inspires and Connects, a Healthy and Sustainable Environment, Leaving a Positive Legacy for the Future, and a Commitment to their Employees.

At the Maui Ocean Center, guests can enjoy over 20 daily presentations with marine naturalists, see the outdoor tide pools, discover the most extensive collection of Pacific corals in the world, and check out their 750,000-gallon Open Ocean Exhibit with a 240-degree viewing tunnel. Here, you’ll find a beautiful variety of tropical fish, marine species, hammerhead sharks, Hawaiian green sea turtles, and more.

Throughout the year, Maui’s aquarium also presents a variety of special events and community gatherings; kid camps, reef and beach cleanups, special presentations with marine life professionals and scientists.


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