Top 10 Cheap Maui Things
To Do on a Budget

Aloha! Welcome to the Top 10 Cheap Maui Things To Do On A Budget guide. Island life can be expensive, but beyond the $100 luaus and $80 Ahi dinners, there is an eclectic mix of budget-minded activities waiting for you to take advantage of.

Best Budget Activities Maui Hawaii

With a little patience and an adventurous spirit, Maui can be surprisingly inexpensive. We’ve curated a list of great things to do on a budget while still experiencing some of the most incredible activities and beautiful scenes while on the Valley Isle.

01

Camp On The Beach

The only thing better than a room on the beach is a campsite on the beach. Camping is a rewarding activity in itself. There are over a dozen official campsites on Maui-county, state, national, and private. Many are just steps away from the ocean.

Visitors need to get a permit in advance for the county and state parks. Most campsites have limited space and can be booked up to a year in advance, so booking a few months ahead is never a bad idea. Rates also tend to be cheaper at least 3 weeks out. These campsites offer various amenities like picnic tables, volleyball courts, restrooms, and even showers.

Reserve a campsite for state parks online at Camping and Lodging Permits. Sites start at $12 per night. County campsites are even cheaper, starting at just $3 per night. Permits need to be printed off from here and brought to the campsite. Haleakala National Park offers free camping permits in person with no advance reservation.

Some of our favorite coastal campsites include:

  • Kahana Beach Park
  • Kipahulu
  • Papalaua Wayside Park
  • Waianapanapa

If you’re more of a last minute planner or if the camping fees are still out of your budget, we’ll let you in on a little local secret- it’s technically legal to camp on any beach in Maui for “fishing purposes” provided that there are no posted signs prohibiting camping. Find a friend with a fishing pole, keep a line in the water at your camp, and you’re good to go!

Some of our other favorite camping spots are located in West Maui just south of Lahaina. Camping in this area has its benefits. It’s often warm enough to camp with just a hammock and sleeping bag. It’s also home to some of the best places to surf during the summer months.

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02

Go To The Swap Meet

The Maui Swap Meet may just be the best deal on the entire island. Admission is only $0.50 with free re-entry and free parking. The swap meet is open every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the University of Hawaii in Kahului. The over 200 vendors sell fresh produce, Hawaiian shaved ice, arts and crafts, handmade soaps, and even massages. There is literally something for everyone.

Bring your own bag, a big bottle of water, and cash. You can easily spend a few hours here.

Tip: Most of the vendors are fair and willing to bargain, but don’t buy the first thing you see. The vendors further away from the entrance tend to be cheaper.

If you can’t make the swap meet on Saturday but still want affordable produce, Maui has a farmer’s market somewhere on the island every day:

  • Makawao Farmers Market: Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 200 Olinda Road
  • Maui Mall Farmer’s Market and Craft Fair: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Kaahumanu Avenue in Kahului
  • Farmer’s Market of Maui-Honokowai: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 3636 Lower Honoapiilani Road in Lahaina

For a complete listing, visit Farmers Markets on Maui

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03

Go Snorkel

The best free activity on Maui is in the ocean! Relaxing on the beach, swimming, and enjoying the sunset will cost you absolutely nothing, but if your budget permits, consider adding snorkeling to your plans for the day. Crystal clear water on many parts of the island allows you to get up close and personal with turtles, eels, manta rays, octopus, sea urchins, and hundreds of species of fish.

Snorkel rentals start at around $1.50 per day, making it one of the absolute cheapest activities to do in Maui. If you plan on snorkeling often, consider investing in your own snorkel set. Cheap ones are available at ABC stores, Walmart, and Whaler’s General Store starting at around $20, but Costco in Kahului offers much higher quality ones for similar prices. Make sure you get a dry snorkel- one that automatically closes when you go underwater so that you won’t get water down your snorkel.

Some of our favorite places to snorkel are:

  • Honolua Bay
  • Ho’okipa Beach Park
  • Kama’ole Beach Parks
  • Kapalua Bay
  • Ulua Beach
  • Black Rock in Kaanapali Beach

Tip: The number one rule to remember while snorkeling is not to step on the reef! The second rule is wear natural, zinc-based sunscreens to protect yourself from sunburn and the ecosystem from harmful chemicals.

Check out the Best Places to Snorkel in Maui here

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Pride of Maui
Molokini
snorkel tour

Discover amazing undersea life

Book now

Leilani
Molokini
snorkel tour

Memories not soon forgotten

Book now

04

Eat At Food Trucks

Food trucks are a culinary phenomenon popping up not just in major metropolitan areas but also in Maui. Food trucks were in Maui long before the craze hit the mainland. You can find food trucks for Mexican, Hawaiian, BBQ, gourmet grilled cheese, wood-fired pizza, and just about any ethnic cuisine imaginable at half the price of a sit-down restaurant. Mobile eating comes with a severely discounted price tag!

Some food trucks pay rent to park at specific lots while others travel around to events like the Friday night town parties (Maui Fridays), the Maui Swap Meet, and Maui Brewing Company. Most offer some patio seating area for you to enjoy your delectable cuisine of choice. The cheapest eats on the island can be found at Horhito’s Shrimp Tacos in Kihei next to The Triangle. They offer $2 tacos!

Some of our other favorites include:

  • Mediterranean Grill in Haiku
  • Like Poke in Kahului
  • Kina’ole Grill in Kihei
  • Shark Pit in Kaanapali
  • Big Beach BBQ in Makena Beach State Park

Wherever you go, you’re sure to have a delicious meal for less than $10, although higher priced menu items are available if you feel like splurging.

Check out the Top Maui Food Trucks here

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05

Do Happy Hour

Finding the right happy hour is the key to making Maui restaurants affordable. Finding a happy hour with both drinks and food is no small feat. There are even a handful of places where you can eat and drink for under $10 total.

Three’s Bar and Grill in Kihei is arguably the best happy hour deal in Maui. Our favorites include the Mediterranean Whole Wheat Flatbread Salad for $6.50 and a $3.00 Three’s Mai Tai with added guava juice. They also have $5 house wines, $3 wells, and $3 drafts as well as sushi rolls from $3.00 to $4.50 and an assortment of appetizers from $6.00 to $8.00. Three’s offers happy hour daily from 3 to 6 p.m. and 9-10 p.m. and specializes in Hawaiian, southwestern, and Pacific Rim fusion cuisine.

Monkeypod Kitchen in Wailea features one of the best beer selections on the island, with 36 microbrews. Monkeypod offers happy hour daily from 3-5:30 p.m. and 9:30-11 p.m. Draft beers are only $4.75, $6 house red and white wines, and $6 cocktails made with Kula-based Ocean vodka. Additionally, most appetizers are 50 % off, and flatbread pizzas are only $9. Our favorite are the garlic truffle oil fries for only $5 paired with Maui Brewing Company’s Big Swell India Pale Ale.

Some of our other favorites include:


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06

Whale Watching

Finding the right happy hour is the key to making Maui restaurants affordable. Finding a happy hour with both drinks and food is no small feat. There are even a handful of places where you can eat and drink for under $10 total.

Three’s Bar and Grill in Kihei is arguably the best happy hour deal in Maui. Our favorites include the Mediterranean Whole Wheat Flatbread Salad for $6.50 and a $3.00 Three’s Mai Tai with added guava juice. They also have $5 house wines, $3 wells, and $3 drafts as well as sushi rolls from $3.00 to $4.50 and an assortment of appetizers from $6.00 to $8.00. Three’s offers happy hour daily from 3 to 6 p.m. and 9-10 p.m. and specializes in Hawaiian, southwestern, and Pacific Rim fusion cuisine.

Monkeypod Kitchen in Wailea features one of the best beer selections on the island, with 36 microbrews. Monkeypod offers happy hour daily from 3-5:30 p.m. and 9:30-11 p.m. Draft beers are only $4.75, $6 house red and white wines, and $6 cocktails made with Kula-based Ocean vodka. Additionally, most appetizers are 50 % off, and flatbread pizzas are only $9. Our favorite is the garlic truffle oil fries for only $5 paired with Maui Brewing Company’s Big Swell India Pale Ale.

Some other spots to see humpback whales from shore are:

  • Kaanapali Beach a few miles north of Lahaina
  • North Kihei beaches
  • Makena Beach Park
  • D.T. Fleming Beach in Kapalua

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Pride of Maui Whale Watching Tour

More than exciting.

About Tour

07

Take A Tour At
Maui Brewing Company

Maui Brewing Company (605 Lipoa Parkway Kihei.) proudly holds claim to being the only craft beer brewed
on Maui.

Tours last about half an hour and run 7 days a week. Arrive at least 20 minutes early as tours are limited. Call ahead on the weekend. Tours cover history, distribution, beer brewing methods, and packaging.

If you miss the tour, you can still buy a beer, enjoy the view of the ocean from their shaded patio, play board games, buy merchandise, or have a 40 ounce growler filled. They also offer giant Jenga, giant Connect Four, and corn hole in the lobby.


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08

Go To The Lavender Farm

The Ali’i Kula Lavender farm is a quiet sanctuary with some of the best views on the island. Ali’i, now in its 14th year, offers $4 admission for adults and $3 for kama’aina, military and seniors. Ali’i is the type of place you could stumble upon by accident and end up being the highlight of your day. The only problem is you would never accidentally stumble upon it. It’s nestled at a 4,000 foot elevation in Kula, on the slopes of Haleakala.

Though the focus is on the 45 different types of lavender grown on the 10 acres of Ali’i land, countless other unique plants and flowers can also be seen amidst Buddha statues and relaxing gazebos with stunning overlooks. As beautiful as the property is, the real allure is the vibe. Maui doesn’t get any more zen than this.

The winding walking paths overgrown with foliage might excite a botanist, but for most of us, the lavender farm provides an opportunity to take some deep breaths of pure, mountain air and escape the busy beach scene for a few hours.

The gift shop is a highlight in itself offering an array of lavender products for aromatherapy, culinary, medicinal, and spa uses. They also offer samples of lavender honey, lavender tea, and assorted lotions and mists.


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09

Pick Strawberries

Kula Country Farms makes for a perfect picnic lunch spot on the descent from Haleakala. Some of the freshest produce on the island is available here. They allow you to pick your own strawberries for just $4 a pound. It doesn’t get any fresher than that!

Kula Country Farms offers more than just strawberries. They’re also known for their Kula corn and onions. The small store sells fresh flowers, jams, sauces, baked goods, fresh juices, and gift baskets just past mile marker 13 on the Kula Highway.

If you feel like staying awhile and spending a little more money, they offer a 7-hole miniature golf course as well as a Bocce Ball court. There’s also a swing set overlooking miles of green farmland and with views of both the west and north shores.


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10

Drive Through Makawao

A drive through Makawao in upcountry is a fitting budget activity in Maui, offering breathtaking views of the north shore, art galleries, farmland, and a feeling of “Old Hawaii”. It reveals a slower pace of life with a charming, rustic appeal.

Downtown Makawao is a great choice for window shopping and browsing art galleries. Quaint, adorable shops line the main street with handmade trinkets and responsibly sourced clothing. Make sure to get a small snack at the Rodeo General Store before exploring more. They specialize in organic, vegetarian, and vegan options but are an equally tasty option for meat-eaters.

Makawao is an excellent place to just… wander. We recommend making the trek down the 7-mile stretch of Baldwin Avenue from Makawao to Paia. Check out the farmer’s market. Enjoy the chickens roaming freely on the streets. Allow the horses eat right out of your hand.

Maui is full of other amazing sights to see while driving around the island. Check out Manaloha car rentals for the cheapest car rentals on Maui.

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Mahalo for reading our local guide to affordable Maui activities. We hope these tips help you experience more on the island and save enough to come back soon. What free or discounted activities do you love to do on the island? What tips have you found most helpful in saving money in Maui?