Things to do in Kihei

Best 21 Things to Do in Kihei, Maui – Your Ultimate Guide to Fun and Adventure! (updated 2023)

Welcome to Kihei, a charming coastal town located in Maui, Hawaii! Kihei is renowned for its sunny weather, picturesque beaches, and relaxed atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to unwind and soak up the natural beauty of the island. Whether you’re looking to spend your days lounging on the beach, trying out water sports, or exploring the local area, there’s something for everyone in Kihei. I love visiting and staying on the Kihei side of Maui and enjoy all the beaches, outdoor recreation, water activities and all the other fun venues, shopping and dining experiences what I share below.

You can enjoy the stunning coastline or visit one of the many nearby parks to experience the lush greenery and wildlife here. Kihei also offers a variety of local restaurants and shops, where you can indulge in the delicious flavors of Hawaii and browse unique souvenirs. So come and discover the natural charm of Kihei, where you can truly embrace the Aloha spirit and make unforgettable memories.

Where is Kihei located in Maui?

Kihei is located on the western coast of the island of Maui, in the state of Hawaii, USA. It is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches, warm climate, and various recreational activities.

Kihei is located approximately 15 miles (24 kilometers) southwest of Kahului, which is Maui’s main airport town and commercial center. The drive from Kahului to Kihei typically takes around 30 minutes by car, depending on traffic conditions.

Directions on how to get to Kihei, Maui

Directions on how to get to Kihei, Maui

By car: If you’re already on Maui, you can drive to Kihei from other parts of the island. Kihei is located on the southwest coast of Maui, and is accessible via the Piilani Highway (Highway 31) or the South Kihei Road (Highway 31A).

By bus: From Kahului Take the Maui Bus Route #35 – Kihei Islander from the Queen Kaahumanu Center bus stop. The bus departs from the mall every hour, from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM.

Get off the bus at any of the Kihei stops along South Kihei Road, depending on your destination. The bus stops at various locations in Kihei, including the Piilani Village Shopping Center, Kihei Town Center, and Kihei Community Center.

Best things to do in Kihei, Maui

Experience these top 21 things to do around Kihei, Maui

If you are basing yourself in Kihei and exploring the area in the Southern part of Maui, here are some fun things and places to explore in the area.

1. Take a snorkeling sailing experience to Molokini

Just located off the coastline of South Maui, Molokini is a crescent shaped island that is a sunken cinder cone and the best snorkeling spot on the island. A marine preserve area, there are multitudes of tropical fish, corals and marine life to explore at the sheltered water areas.

Access is allowed only with tour operators and there’s some easy and fast tours you can take directly from close to the Kihei area.

1. Take a snorkeling sailing experience to Molokini

Book this exciting performance sail and snorkel tour to Molokini here for updated prices and calendar

or check out this 4 hour Molokini and Turtle town snorkel experience for more fun.

Here’s a Molokini snorkeling experience preview below

Learn to surf in Maui

2. Learn to surf in Maui

On the south side of Maui, surfing is great and there are a few fantastic Maui surfing spots to check out. One of the easiest for beginner surfers is at the Cove, where there are a variety of outfitters that offer group or private lessons depending on your needs and level. On an introductory session, you’ll be learning all the basics and enjoying the local surf scene here in no time with the easy waves and nice sandy beaches on the south side.

We offer 2-hour surf lessons on the beaches of Kalama Park, also known as “The Cove” in Kihei, Maui. Our instructors teach proper technique and ensure that all students can pop up to their feet. We guarantee that you will surf in one lesson, regardless of age or athletic ability. Classes are held at 8 am and 10 am every day except Sunday and require advance reservations. Private and semi-private lessons are also available. We recommend taking a lesson early in your stay so that you can practice your skills throughout your trip. There is no minimum age for our lessons, but children 8 and under should be accompanied by a parent. We are proud partners of Make-A-Wish Hawaii and enjoy teaching young children the joy of surfing.

Check out these surfing classes here for more information and prices.

Here’s a fun surfing overview of what it’s like to surf in Maui below

Best Shave Ice experience at Ululani's

3. Best Shave Ice experience at Ululani’s

Probably the best loved Shave Ice on he island is at Ululani;s at their Kihei location and other areas in Maui. Ululani’s prides itself with making fine shave ice and using the best ingredients like pure cane sugar and tasty home made sauces made with premium purees and concentrates to blend the best combination of sauces and toppings to choose from.

Their Kihei and Lahaina locations are the always busy and filled with customers that love trying everything they create and love to share their favorite flavors from the shop. Check out all their cool flavors and toppings here for more inspiration to visiting Ululani’s.

Still not sure about where the best is in Kihei, check out the video below

Visit the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center

4. Visit the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center

The Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is located at Kihei is a perfect location to explore and learn more about the winter migration of Humpback Whales to Hawaii. From November through April, visitors to the sanctuary can see whales from shore and at sea through a variety of of outfitters. Coming to the islands to breed and care their newborn in a safe and shallow environment in the winter season, the whales visiting here are a very popular attraction to see them just off the sanctuary area. You can visit the visitors center to check out the interactive displays, exhibits and weekly programs for visitors to experience.

Visit the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center
Visit the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center

Check out a visit to the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center here for more details to visiting the center now.

Check out the importance of the Humpback at the Whale National Marine Sanctuary below

Find your perfect beach

5. Find your perfect beach

The south side of Maui gets a lot of sunny and perfect days and you’ll be happy finding some of the best sandy beaches in Maui along with snorkeling spots to enjoy on the Kihei side.

 Find your perfect beach in Kihei

This includes popular beaches like Kamaole beaches 1 – 3, Makena Big Beach and Little Beach, Secret Beach and gorgeous Keawakapu Beach. If snorkeling is your thing, check out the best snorkeling spots to visit on the south side and rest of Maui here for more details to snorkeling fun on the island.

Check out some of the popular beaches to explore here in Kihei area below

Enjoy some Maui Brews

6. Enjoy some Maui Brews

When visiting South Maui, you can’t miss a stop at Maui Brewing Company! Their brewery and tasting room is located in Kihei and makes some of the best craft beer on the island. After a day in the hot Hawaiian sun, a cold craft beer is so refreshing!

Stop in for a brewery tour to learn how they make their delicious brews. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at their brewhouse, cellar, and packaging line. At the end, enjoy a guided tasting of four of their most popular beers! Tours are an hour long and offered three times per day on weekends.

visit the Maui Brewing Company
visit the Maui Brewing Company – interior views

If you don’t have time for a tour, you can still order a flight of beers and enjoy them on Maui Brewing Company’s sunny garden patio. You can’t miss trying the Pineapple Mana, a wheat beer made with real Maui gold pineapples! It’s refreshing, delicious, and just slightly sweet.

Make sure to stay for lunch and try some of their upscale pub-style food. The fish and chips and craft pizzas are the perfect way to wash down the array of beers you just tried!

Address: 605 Lipoa Pkwy, Kihei, HI 96753

Jen with Glasses and Boarding

Visit Maui Brewing Company on this fun tour below

Enjoy a Luau on the south side of Maui

7. Enjoy a Luau on the south side of Maui

Nothing is more iconic then enjoying a traditional Luau experience in Maui with drinks, Hawaiian culture, crafts and traditions along with a delicious food experience. You’ll enjoy the traditional songs, dances and storytelling of Hawaii’s origins and culture while enjoying a Mai Tais and some traditional Hawaiian and local fare.

One of the popular luau on the South side is the Feast of Mokapu

 Book a Luau here with Feast at Mokapu here in Wailea

Here’s a fun look at the Feast of Mokapu below

Go whale watching on the south side of Maui

8. Go whale watching on the south side of Maui

Whale watching is very popular and Maui is the place to be to experience humpback whales that love to relax in the warmer waters and birth new offspring in the safe ocean waters here.

Whale watching season lasts from December through April and you can find a variety of local outfitters here to decide on what works with your time and budget. These cruises also have a naturalist guides on board to share the various habits and things the whales do around the Maui areas during their breeding season.

Check out these whale watching on the south side of Maui tours for more adventures on the channels surrounding Maui

Go whale watching on the south side of Maui

Boats typically depart from Ma’alaea harbor or Lahaina here and relatively budget friendly from the south side.

Check out this whale cruising experience below for inspiration

Splurge at a world class resort

9. Splurge at a world class resort

The south side of Maui is where you’ll find some of the best luxury resorts on the island and mostly on the luxurious Wailea and Makena areas of the south. Enjoy the extravagant pools, beach cabanas, restaurants and resort experience with luxury brands including the Four Seasons, The Andaz, Fairmont Kea Lani, Grand Wailea and the Hotel Wailea.

Why not enjoy Maui at its best at any of these luxury resorts and local amenities catering to all your needs.

Andaz Maui at Wailea – A gorgeous modern style resort with beautiful rooms and luxury amenities and beautiful grounds and public areas.

Fairmont Kea Lani – with three pools, six signature dining venues and only suites for the rooms with exceptional service.

Four Seasons Resorts Maui – Luxury standards spacious rooms and beautiful large bathrooms with Four Seasons Service that you expect.

Check out these top rated luxury resorts on the south side of Maui here for updated prices and availaility.

Golfing in Wailea

10. Golfing in Wailea

Golfing experiences on the south side of Maui is exceptional with world class resorts and golf clubs to enjoy here. This includes the Wailea Gold Course, Wailea Emerald Course and Wailea Blue Course.  All of them are exceptional and if you are enjoying drinks, Mulligans is the place to be and Gannon’s restaurant for Pau Hana and Happy hour time.

Check out one of the premiere golfing clubs below

Go snorkeling on the South Side of Maui at La Perouse Bay
Go snorkeling on the South Side of Maui at La Perouse Bay

11. Go snorkeling on the South Side of Maui

Not only are the beaches golden and soft sand on the south side but quite a few of them are also perfect snorkeling spots to visit on the island. Popular beaches around Maui include: the Kamaole beaches I to III where the rocky outcrops separating the beaches are great snorkeling spots to check out all the tropical fish that live in the rocky areas of these beaches.

Off the beaten is Maluaka beach better known as turtle beach for all the green sea turtles or honu as they are called in Hawaii love to congregate on the beach areas and ocean. The natural area reserve at Ahihi-Kinau is managed by the state and fishing and boating is not allowed so the coral reef is thriving with marine life and colorful tropical fish like parrot fish, surgeon fish, Morrish Idols and trigger fish can be spotted.

At the end of the road at La Perouse Bay, jagged rock formations and outcrops protected a variety of colorful tropical fish and marine life that you can easily spot on shore or in the water areas of this beautiful area in the south of Maui.

Guided Snorkel and sail experiences

If you want ramp it up a notch, why not try some of these fun guided experiences below.

Check out this all day snorkel and sail experience for more information.

Experience a private charter and snorkel tour here for more information.

Eco snorkel tours on Kayaks with a guide here for booking.

Sunset cruises on the south side

12. Sunset cruises on the south side

Sunsets on a ship and looking out to the horizon or back the coastline to Maui is a fun way to enjoy the end of day experience on the water. Boarding this gorgeous and sleek catamaran for a sunset sail with a four course dinner is extra special on the coastline of South Maui. Dinner with drinks to include wine, cocktail, beer or sodas and end your dinner with a sweet dessert to end the night cruise.

Check out this sunset cruise experience from Maalaea Harbor here for updated prices and calendar.

Here’s a preview of a sunset cruise on the south side of Maui below

Sunsets on the south side of Maui

13. Sunsets on the south side of Maui

Grab a beach chair or towel or take a walk along any of the gorgeous sandy beaches and find your perfect spot to enjoy some quiet time to reflect the end of day.

Maui sunsets are magical and watching the sun go down on the horizon with all the stunning reds, orange and yellows lighting up the skies is quite a show on this side of the island followed by some bright starry nights.

If you’re looking for that perfect sunset view to capture on Maui, check out these ideal spots to visit here for more inspiration.

Kayaking on the south side

14. Kayaking on the south side

Take your workout to a new level by doing some kayaking experience on the south side. Enjoy South Maui’s pristine waters. Makena Landing is the heart of TURTLE TOWN, an area known for abundant Hawaiian Green Sea turtles. Sightings are all BUT guaranteed! The typical clear waters and diversity of marine ecology are key to the ULTIMATE MAUI EXPERIENC

Check out this combo kayaking and hiking experience here to inspire you to be outdoors and exploring the south side of Maui.

Check out this snorkel and kayak video highlight below

15. Fridays at Kihei

Street fare enthusiasts will enjoy the Friday’s at Kihei experience with this lively event that happens every fourth Friday of the month.

Located at the Azeka Shopping Center on the last Friday of the month from 6-9 PM with a town party event that everyone is invited to join. Some of the popular activities during this party include the Maui Spider Jump and Mechanical Bull.

Here’s a look at the Kihei town party highlights below

Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

16. Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

Established in 1992, the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge as a preserve for wetland birds and other local wildlife for safe habitat and breeding.

The Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge is one of the few remaining natural wetlands in Hawaii with over 700 acres and located between Kihei and the Ma’alaea. You can visit and enjoy nature, some trail walks and spot some of the native birds and migrating birds in this sanctuary like the Hawaiian coot and Hawaiian Stilt.

Here’s a nice tour of the wildlife refuge and pond below

Visit the Maui Ocean Center

17. Visit the Maui Ocean Center

The Maui Ocean Center located on the outskirts of Kihei, Maui and is an exceptional aquarium that offers visitors an unforgettable experience. It’s the perfect destination for anyone who is interested in marine life and wants to learn more about the unique and diverse ecosystems of Hawaii and the Pacific.

As soon as you enter the aquarium, you’ll be greeted by a wide variety of exhibits and interactive displays that showcase the beauty and importance of the ocean. The Open Ocean exhibit is one of the highlights of the aquarium, featuring a massive 750,000-gallon tank that is home to a range of fascinating creatures, including sharks, stingrays, and other large marine animals.

The Turtle Lagoon is another popular exhibit at the Maui Ocean Center, where visitors can get up close and personal with Hawaiian green sea turtles. The Living Reef exhibit is equally impressive, with an extensive collection of colorful coral and tropical fish that showcase the vibrant marine life of the Pacific.

Aside from the exhibits, visitors can also participate in daily presentations and interactive activities, including the Marine Naturalist Program, where they can learn about marine conservation and interact with live animals.

Address: 192 Ma’alaea Road, Wailuku, HI 96793, which is located in Kihei, Maui.

Drop in the Farmers Market Maui

18. Drop in the Farmers Market Maui

At the entrance to Kihei area on the main road, the Farmers Market Maui is a daily market with the addition of huli huli and bbq stand on Saturdays. You can come over for some fresh local produce, unique souvenirs and finds and inexpensive gifts to shop at this mostly outdoor market or grab some to go food for the beaches or outdoor adventure.

Address: 61 S Kihei Rd · (808) 875-0949

Hang out at the baby beach at the Humpback Whale National Sanctuary

19. Hang out at the baby beach at the Humpback Whale National Sanctuary

Behind the Humpback Sanctuary is a nice shallow lagoon protected by ancient rock walls. The lagoon has nice sandy bottom beach which is shallow and perfect for children to play and swim in. You can see ongoing work of volunteers building the ancient rock walls to its original condition or even visit the center which is a perfect educational place for children to learn and enjoy the migration of the whales and other interesting things to learn there.

Shop to you drop at Shops at Wailea

20. Shop to you drop at Shops at Wailea

this is definitely the best place in the South Maui area to get your shopping on with world class designer and boutique stores along with fantastic restaurants to enjoy a nice meal. The Shops at Wailea also feature free daily performances and Hawaiian focused cultural classes like ukelele and lei making for you to participate and enjoy everything fun and educational here at the shops.

Check out their daily event schedule here for more information and details

21. Discover some of the delicious food venues here in Kihei

Kihei on the island of Maui is a food lover’s paradise, with a wide array of delicious and popular dining venues. Here are some must-try options:

  1. Da Kitchen: This local favorite serves up generous portions of Hawaiian comfort food. Don’t miss their plate lunches with choices like kalua pork, loco moco, and chicken katsu. It’s a great place to experience authentic Hawaiian flavors.
  2. Coconuts Fish Cafe: Known for their fresh fish tacos and coconut shrimp, Coconuts is a casual spot with a tropical vibe. The fish is sourced locally, and the flavors are a true taste of the islands.
  3. Nalu’s South Shore Grill: This beachside restaurant offers a relaxed atmosphere and a diverse menu. From ahi poke to fish and chips, there’s something for everyone. Their happy hour is a great time to sample some of their popular dishes.
  4. Café O’Lei: For a more upscale dining experience, Café O’Lei offers a Pacific Rim-inspired menu. Try their macadamia nut-crusted mahi-mahi or seared ahi. It’s a great choice for a special evening out.
  5. Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar: If you’re a sushi lover, Sansei is a must-visit. They’re known for their creative sushi rolls and innovative dishes. The late-night happy hour is a local secret for discounted sushi and drinks.
  6. Fred’s Mexican Cafe: If you’re in the mood for Mexican cuisine, Fred’s is a popular choice. Their fish tacos, burritos, and margaritas are top picks. The lively atmosphere adds to the dining experience.
  7. Monkeypod Kitchen: Located in nearby Wailea, Monkeypod Kitchen is known for its farm-to-table dishes and craft cocktails. Their pizzas and pies are legendary, and they offer an extensive selection of beers on tap.
  8. South Shore Tiki Lounge: This laid-back tiki bar and grill is famous for its pizzas and tropical cocktails. The eclectic décor and live music create a fun and relaxed atmosphere.
  9. Miso Phat Sushi: Another excellent sushi spot, Miso Phat is praised for its fresh and creative sushi rolls. The Hawaiian style poke bowls are also worth trying.
  10. Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread: For a sweet treat, stop by Aunty Sandy’s for their famous banana bread. It’s a delightful snack to enjoy on the go.
  11. Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice: Cool down with a shave ice from Ululani’s. They offer a wide range of flavors and even have a “local” option with ice cream and mochi balls.
  12. Maui Pie: Satisfy your sweet tooth with a slice of pie from Maui Pie. Their macadamia nut, coconut cream, and lilikoi (passion fruit) pies are exceptional.

These are just a few of the delicious and popular food venues in Kihei. Whether you’re craving Hawaiian cuisine, seafood, or international flavors, Kihei has a diverse culinary scene that caters to all tastes. Be sure to try some of the local specialties for a true taste of the islands.

Check out these other posts to visiting Maui

More inside tips to visiting the Kihei area of Maui

Visiting the Kihei area of Maui is a delightful experience, offering beautiful beaches, local charm, and plenty of activities. Here are some inside tips to make the most of your visit:

  1. Explore the Beaches: Kihei is known for its fantastic beaches. While Kamaole Beaches I, II, and III are popular, don’t forget to check out some hidden gems like Secret Beach. Each beach has its unique charm, so explore a few to find your favorite.
  2. Sunset Watching: Kihei offers some of the most stunning sunset views. Head to Kamaole Beach Park III or Kalama Beach Park to witness the sky ablaze with colors as the sun dips below the horizon.
  3. Food Trucks: Maui is famous for its food trucks, and Kihei is no exception. Look for local food trucks serving up delicious dishes like plate lunches, fish tacos, and shave ice. It’s a great way to savor authentic Hawaiian flavors.
  4. Whale Watching: If you’re visiting during the winter months, don’t miss the opportunity for whale watching. Take a boat tour or simply head to one of the coastal viewpoints for a chance to spot humpback whales.
  5. Snorkeling and Diving: Kihei boasts some excellent snorkeling and diving spots. Molokini Crater, Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve, and Turtle Town are famous for their underwater wonders. Consider booking a guided snorkeling tour to make the most of your experience.
  6. Local Markets: Check out the local farmers’ markets for fresh produce, unique crafts, and prepared foods. The Maui Swap Meet on Saturdays is a favorite among both locals and tourists.
  7. Hike to the Lava Fields: Take a trip to La Perouse Bay and embark on a hike through the rugged lava fields. It’s a unique landscape and offers a glimpse into the island’s volcanic history.
  8. Kihei Cafe Scene: Kihei has a vibrant cafe culture. Grab a coffee or acai bowl at one of the many cafes and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.
  9. Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP): Try your hand at SUP along the calm waters of Kihei. It’s a fun and tranquil way to explore the shoreline.
  10. Stay in a Vacation Rental: Kihei offers a range of vacation rentals and condos. Staying in one can provide a homey feel and often gives you access to local insights from your hosts.
  11. Pack Snorkeling Gear: If you have your own snorkeling gear, bring it along. It can save you money on rentals and give you the flexibility to snorkel at various locations.
  12. Respect the Environment: Hawaii is committed to preserving its natural beauty. Be sure to follow the “Leave No Trace” principles, respect local customs, and avoid taking lava rocks or coral souvenirs.

Remember that Kihei is on the sunny side of Maui, making it perfect for outdoor activities. Enjoy the local culture, appreciate the natural beauty, and take your time to soak in the laid-back island vibes.

Check out these other posts to visiting Maui

Explore the best snorkeling spots around Maui

Free things to do in Maui now

20 things to do in Lahaina and surrounding area

Top things to do and see around Maui island

What to do and see around West Maui now

Top luau experiences in Maui

Conclusion of 21 top Things to do in Kihei

For Maui fun, you’ll love explore all fun activities and attractions around this easy trips to explore around the entire island. Hope this gives you some great ideas of things to do and see around the town and outlying areas to visit for cheap and on budget. If you can think of other suggestions or tips, please share them in the comment section below, thanks.

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  1. Cristina Abdala

    Maui Ocean Center is not in Kihei

    • emorata

      Yes correct, it is a short drive which includes close attractions and venues to Kihei



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Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.