While a trip to Hawaii is never complete without some beach time, these Maui walking tours get you to dive deeper into the island’s history, culture, sights, and food.
You may not know this, but there’s a stone by Lahaina Harbor where Hawaiian royalty once gave birth, and certain ferns in the East Maui jungle that have fiddleheads that taste like asparagus. Did you know that the island’s culinary scene is intrinsically linked with its history, thanks to the arrival of plantation workers who brought recipes from around the globe?
The island is full of such discoveries and trivia, all of which you can learn when you take a walking tour on Maui. Whether trailing through the bush to a hidden waterfall, eating your way through its top culinary spots, or tracing the path along Front Street in Lahaina, if you’re looking to dig deeper on your vacation, these walking tours in Maui are the best ways to explore the island on foot.
Maui Nei Native Expeditions
There was once a time when the town of Lahaina was the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and an inshore island called Moku‘ula was the exclusive dominion of royalty. On a walking tour with Maui Nei, join a kumu, or local guide, on a two-hour tour of Lahaina, where he or she will regale you with the history of fascinating historical sights. Learn about Lahaina’s numerous eras, from whaling, to missionaries, to plantations, and get updates on archeological digs taking place at Moku‘ula. Later this year, the group will add a second tour—“Discover Old Hawai‘i—which will involve everything from medicinal plants to learning how to pound poi, and even give guests the chance to carve an authentic bamboo nose flute. From $45.
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While Maui hiking tours come and go as suddenly as a flash flood, the team at Hike Maui has remained synonymous with educational, outdoor adventure. Operating for more than 30 years, Hike Maui brings you to cascading falls located deep in the East Maui jungle, or helps you crunch across cinder-lined trails in Haleakala Crater. The guides are phenomenal sources of knowledge on history, mythology, and ecology—not to mention the local intel you can glean while exploring the forest. From $85.
Local Tastes Of Maui
If there’s one thing Maui locals do well, it’s know how to hunt down good food, and these tours are designed to introduce you to dishes you might never taste otherwise. These two-hour walking and tasting tours explain how Maui’s eclectic cuisine is steeped in its plantation past, and go into the history, legends, and lore of the island’s buildings and towns. Tours begin at 9:30 a.m—so don’t fill up on breakfast—and are offered in Makawao, Paia, Kihei, as well as downtown Lahaina. (Bonus: Portions of proceeds are directly donated to animal welfare on Maui.) $45 per person.
Related: Maui Travel Guide
Hawaii Tasting Tours
If you’d rather enjoy a tasting tour that’s includes wine, the “Lahaina Lights Dinner Tour” from Hawaii Tasting Tours is an evening that focuses on history, culture, and cuisine with wine accompanying each stop. Sit on the rooftop of Fleetwood’s On Front Street—a restaurant by rocker Mick Fleetwood—and feast on food that’s paired with wine from Mick’s personal collection. Travel by foot to three other stops on a short walk along Front Street, and gain local insight into life in Lahaina before settling in for the next course. $179.
Open Eye Tours
Finally, while all other Maui walking tours have scheduled itineraries and stops, Pono Fried of Open Eye Tours can craft a private, custom tour on any subject you wish. In the past he’s led groups that learn about everything from hula to sacred sites—with a special focus on Hawaiian culture, music, photography, and art. From $725 for two people, for six hours.
Kyle Ellison is on the Hawaii beat for Travel + Leisure. He divides his time between Hawaii and Asheville, N.C.