Fun things to do around Kahului and nearby attractions around Maui (updated 2023)
Located on the beautiful island of Maui in Hawaii, Kahului is a vibrant town known for its breathtaking natural landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and an array of exciting activities to indulge in. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, adventure seeker, or a culture lover, Kahului offers an abundance of experiences to suit every taste.
From exploring pristine beaches and embarking on thrilling outdoor adventures to immersing yourself in the local Hawaiian culture, there are countless things to do in Kahului that will leave you with unforgettable memories. Let’s dive into some of the key highlights of this enchanting destination.
Even though Kahului is the major business center and hub for airport and harbor, there’s plenty of things to do around Kahului that doesn’t involve shopping at Costco or doing errands in town.
Where is Kahului located at in Maui?
Kahului is located on the island of Maui, which is towards the central part of the island. The city of Kahului serves as the main commercial hub of Maui and is home to the island’s major airport, Kahului Airport. Its central location makes it a convenient base for exploring the many attractions and natural wonders that Maui has to offer.
A brief history on Kahului, Maui
Kahului has a fascinating history that reflects the cultural and economic transformations of the Hawaiian islands. Before the arrival of European explorers, the area now known as Kahului was inhabited by Native Hawaiians who lived off the land, engaging in fishing, farming, and other traditional practices.
In the late 19th century, the sugar industry became a major driving force in Kahului’s development. The construction of a sugar mill in 1879 by the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (HC&S) marked the beginning of a significant era for Kahului. Immigrant laborers from countries such as China, Japan, Portugal, and the Philippines were brought in to work in the sugarcane fields and mills, contributing to the multicultural fabric of the town.
As the sugar industry thrived, Kahului expanded, attracting more workers and businesses. The town’s strategic location near the harbor made it an important transportation hub for the sugar exports, with the construction of a deep-water port further boosting its economic significance.
Over time, Kahului diversified its economy beyond sugarcane, particularly with the growth of tourism in Maui. The development of resorts, hotels, and other tourism-related infrastructure brought new opportunities and visitors to the area. Today, Kahului serves as a commercial and transportation center, supporting various industries and serving as a gateway for visitors exploring the stunning attractions of Maui.
While the sugar industry has declined, leaving a lasting impact on Kahului’s history, the town continues to evolve, embracing its cultural heritage while adapting to the changing times. The history and legacy of Kahului are celebrated through local events, museums, and the preservation of important landmarks, providing visitors with a glimpse into the town’s captivating past.
What’s there to do around Kahului area?
Even though Kahului is the business hub of the island there’s still plenty of things to do in the area and surrounding region within a short drive from town. Here’s some of our favorite things to do around Kahului.
Explore Iao Valley
Explore Iao Valley State Park: Located just a short drive from Kahului, Iao Valley State Park is a lush, tropical paradise featuring towering emerald-green peaks and a historic landmark, the Iao Needle. Hike through the park’s trails, admire the stunning views, and learn about the area’s cultural significance.
Check out my post on visiting Iao Valley State Park here for more information and images.
Visit the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum
Visit Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum: Gain insights into the history of sugar in Maui at the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum. Learn about the island’s sugar industry, its impact on the community, and explore exhibits that showcase the tools and machinery used in the sugar plantation era.
Address: 3957 Hansen Rd, Puunene, HI 96784
Check out their website here for more details to visiting.
Explore the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens
Visit Maui Nui Botanical Gardens: Immerse yourself in the beauty of Hawaiian flora at the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens. This living plant museum showcases a diverse collection of native Hawaiian plants, providing educational insights into the island’s unique ecosystem.
Address: 150 Kanaloa Ave, Kahului, HI 96732
Check out their website here for more details to visiting.
Cultural events at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center
Discover Maui Arts & Cultural Center: Located in Kahului, the Maui Arts & Cultural Center is a hub for performing arts, exhibitions, and cultural events. Catch a live performance, attend a festival, or explore the art galleries to experience the vibrant local arts scene.
Address: 1 Cameron Way, Kahului, HI 96732
Check out their website here for more details for their calendar of events offered.
Enjoy the popular Swap Meet at the Maui Community College
The regular Saturday swap meet at the Maui Community College is an easy morning event event to buy fruits and veggies, souvenirs and gift items and some take out food snacks or bento lunches to enjoy at the beach or outdoor venues.
Address: 310 W Kaahumanu Ave, Kahului, HI 96732
Beach time at Kanaha Beach Park
Relaxing at the beach here tends to be less crowded at Kanaha Beach Park: so you can enjoy the sun, sand, and surf at Kanaha Beach Park, a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, windsurfing, and kitesurfing. The park offers picnic areas, restrooms, and stunning views of the neighboring islands.
Shop till you drop at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center
Shop at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center: Indulge in retail therapy at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, Maui’s largest shopping mall. Browse a variety of shops, boutiques, and eateries, offering a mix of local and international brands.
Visit the downtown area of Wailuku
The old town in Wailuku is fun and filled with cool art galleries, shopping boutique stores, restaurants and other popular hang out spots around the district. It’s becoming a hip spot to hang out now at Wailuku with plenty of activity and gatherings that happen weekly including the First Friday events that includes Wailuku
Explore the Bailey House Museum
Enjoy a Cultural Experience at the Bailey House Museum: Immerse yourself in the history and culture of Maui at the Bailey House Museum. Housed in a restored missionary home, the museum displays artifacts, exhibits, and artwork that offer insights into the island’s past.
Address: 2375A Main St, Wailuku, HI 96793
Hike the Waihee Ridge Trail
Hike the Waihee Ridge Trail: Lace up your hiking boots and embark on the Waihee Ridge Trail, which starts just outside of Wailuku. This moderately challenging hike offers panoramic views of the surrounding valleys, mountains, and coastline, rewarding you with breathtaking vistas.
Try the local cuisine
Indulge in Local Cuisine: Wailuku is home to a variety of eateries where you can sample delicious local cuisine. From plate lunches and traditional Hawaiian dishes to fusion cuisine and farm-to-table restaurants, there’s something to satisfy every palate.
Explore Paia Town
Just a short drive away from Kahului is Paia town which is fun, funky and a great place to hang out and grab some drinks or a full meal. Paia used to be a bohemian surfing community gone hipster and more upscale with shops, art galleries and cool places to explore downtown and some of the surrounding areas.
Check out my post here on visiting Paia town for more images and information.
Explore the Food Truck courts around Kahului
There are food truck courts that easy to enjoy a delicious and quick meal around Kahului and one of the easy food truck courts is located close to Costco Shopping Center. This is a fantastic court with plenty of food options to choose from local vendors for lunch or dinner service.
Hike around Twin Falls
One of the most popular stops to do along the Hana Highway or a stop on its own, Twin Falls is located about 19 miles east of town. Definitely a fun hike and adventure to explore the cool waterfall features here and even swim up to a variety of fun waterfalls in the area and have a refreshing dip and experience.
Check out my post to visiting Twin Falls here for more images and inspiration to seeing the area.
Windsurfing and beach fun at Ho’okipa Beach park
About miles miles from Kahului and a fun spot to watch the windsurfers, a great beach day or even spot the giant green turtles or honu, Hopika beach is fantastic and really fun. You can go swim or snorkel the more safer venues closer to the cliffs or even challenge yourself to surfing or windsurfing classes in the beach park. Ho’okipa is beautiful and definitely worth the stop and enjoy some beach time or even sunset views from the cliffs above the beach area.
Of course if you are visiting Maui and want the best variety of food items, snacks and drinks to store up for your stay on the island, the best deals are at Costco for meals and other items to buy for your stay. This can be beach ware, towels and ocean fun along with the other necessary staples for your visit and lowering your costs on food items and other essentials while you are visiting here.
Weather and best time to visit Kahului, Maui
Kahului, Maui enjoys a warm and tropical climate throughout the year, making it a popular destination for tourists. The weather in Kahului is influenced by its location near the equator and the surrounding Pacific Ocean. Here’s a breakdown of the weather patterns and the best time to visit:
Temperature: Kahului experiences mild and pleasant temperatures year-round. The average high temperatures range from the mid-70s to the low 80s Fahrenheit (mid-20s to low 30s Celsius). Evenings tend to be cooler, with average lows in the mid-60s Fahrenheit (around 20 degrees Celsius).
Rainfall: Kahului receives most of its rainfall during the winter months, which generally span from November to March. These months can bring occasional showers and more cloud cover. The summer months, from April to October, are typically drier with fewer rainfall occurrences.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Kahului and Maui in general is during the shoulder seasons, which are spring (April to May) and fall (September to October). During these months, the weather is generally pleasant, with comfortable temperatures and a lower chance of rain. Additionally, the shoulder seasons offer a good balance between fewer crowds and better availability of accommodations.
Other inside tips to visiting Kahalui, Maui
Beyond the main attractions in Kahului, Maui, there are plenty of insider tips to make your visit even more memorable:
Local Eateries: Explore the town’s local food scene. Seek out family-owned restaurants and food trucks for authentic Hawaiian flavors that may not be as well-known to tourists.
Hidden Beaches: Venture off the beaten path to discover lesser-known beaches. These spots often offer solitude and natural beauty away from the crowds.
Cultural Experiences: Look for community events, workshops, or cultural centers where you can learn about Hawaiian traditions, crafts, and history from locals.
Farmers’ Markets: Check out local farmers’ markets for fresh produce, handmade crafts, and a taste of Hawaii’s vibrant agricultural scene.
Art Galleries: Explore Kahului’s art galleries, where you can find unique works by talented local artists, including paintings, sculptures, and jewelry.
Nature Walks: Take leisurely strolls in parks and botanical gardens not often visited by tourists. These spots offer serene settings and the chance to connect with nature.
Coffee Culture: Kahului has a growing coffee culture. Visit local cafes to savor Hawaiian-grown beans in a relaxed atmosphere.
Sunset Views: Find your own scenic spot to watch the sunset. Kahului offers stunning views, and some lesser-known locations provide a more intimate experience.
Community Events: Keep an eye out for local events, such as festivals, fairs, and cultural performances. These can offer a deeper insight into the local community.
Talk to Locals: Engage in conversations with residents. They often have valuable insights and recommendations for hidden gems and lesser-known activities.
Exploring Kahului beyond the main attractions can lead to delightful surprises and a more authentic experience of Maui’s vibrant culture and natural beauty.
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Conclusion to visiting Kahului, Maui
Kahului, Maui offers diverse activities like exploring Iao Valley State Park, relaxing at Kanaha Beach Park, and driving along the scenic Road to Hana. Immerse yourself in local culture at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center and learn about the sugar industry at the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum. Enjoy shopping at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center and savor delicious Hawaiian cuisine. With its rich history and tropical climate, Kahului is a must-visit destination for adventure, relaxation, and cultural experiences.