Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Kihei, Maui

  • Published 2023/03/08

Kihei in Maui County is a famous city in Hawaii with many tourist attractions.

Its hot, dry climate makes it the perfect vacation destination for outdoor activities, beach trips, and great memories under the sun.

Known for its beautiful beaches that stretch for miles, this breathtaking island city will give you an unforgettable holiday.

You also get the chance to get out on the open water by either kayaking or snorkeling.

Swim with the sea creatures that have made this city their home.

The thriving marine life, bustling and friendly community, all topped off with the magical waters, can provide you a getaway like no other.

Here are the best things to do in Kihei, HI:

Visit the Beaches at Kamaole Beach Park

Aerial view of Kamaole Beach Park

Bandersnatch /

Kamaole Beach Park is a string of three beaches, best known by their nicknames, Kam I, Kam II, and Kam III.

These beaches are some of the most popular beaches in Kihei, attracting numerous tourists regularly with their white powdery sand and spacious areas.

Kam I, towards the northern end, attracts tourists looking for a refreshing swim with its crystal clear waters.

Gorgeous sunset over Kamaole Beach Park

Ivan_Sabo /

It’s the longest and broadest of the three beaches.

Kam II is a little smaller than Kam I and is ideal for light surfing and snorkeling with its sandy bottom.

Despite being the smallest of the beaches, Kam III attracts those who want to go boogie boarding and other water activities with its strong waves.

Each beach caters to different crowds, but all have a splendid view of the horizon and miles of ocean water that will refresh you!

A sea turtle on the sand of Kamaole Beach Park

Bandersnatch /

Explore Kihei’s Magical Waters at Maui Kayak Adventures

Your trip to Kihei would not be complete without a firsthand experience of the magical waters.

Maui Kayak Adventures allows guests to get onto the open water and swim with the various sea creatures.

From kayaking to canoeing to snorkeling, this company will take you on a guided tour of the ocean on a trip of your choice.

Check out the diverse marine life in the waters of Kihei.

Catch dolphins, sea turtles, and tropical fish swimming by.

Don’t forget your waterproof camera while exploring the abundant sea life of Kihei.

Meet the Animals at Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

Boardwalk of Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

Sarah Michals /

The Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge preserves and protects the native species and occasional migratory animals of Kihei.

Since its establishment in 1992, this refuge has provided a home for some endangered animals, mainly birds and waterfowl, among others.

Black-neck stilt at Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

Michael Siluk /

This hidden wetland treasure is a must-visit tourist destination where you learn all about these species and more.

This sanctuary conserves and protects these animals, so they’re only open during certain times, especially during nesting season.

Spot the Hawaiian stilt, Hawaiian coot, and Hawaiian duck at Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge.

Duck swimming on the waters of Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

Eric Celebrezze /

Buy Sweet Fruits at Yee’s Orchard

Yee’s Orchard is a small fruit stand and stall known for selling the sweetest fruits.

Serving the community of Kihei for over 70 years, this stand knows peak fruit seasons to ensure a great purchase.

Depending on the season, you can find papayas, guavas, coconuts, and their specialty, golden mangoes.

They are open five days a week.

You can even check out their specialty goods, such as homemade jams, bread, and fresh fish!

There’s a wide selection of fruits, so drop by Yee’s Orchard in Kihei.

See Humpback Whales at Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

A whale underwater at Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

Porco_Rosso /

Despite their intimidating size, Humpback whales are gentle creatures that thrive in the waters of Kihei.

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is on the southern shores of Maui.

See these sea creatures during the winter months when they migrate to Kihei.

Exterior of Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary center, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also use their binoculars for free, and you may even see some turtles reaching the shores during the low tide.

This volunteer-run operation researches humpback whales and their protection from water pollution and marine debris, among many others.

They also offer programs and presentations for kids and adults that teach them ocean stewardship and conservation.

A whale breaching at Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

National Marine Sanctuaries, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Attend the Kihei 4th Friday Event

Azeka Mauka in South Maui hosts a popular event every 4th Friday of the month known as Kihei 4th Friday.

This event includes live music, street performers, arts and crafts, and more between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

You also won’t get hungry with all the food trucks, vendors, and stall that line this district during this monthly celebration.

Perfect for families, Kihei 4th Friday also has some activities set up expressly for kids, including a Kid’s Zone, face painting, and bubble blowing.

This mall bursts to life every month, so try and catch this event while visiting.

Cool Off at Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

Store sign of Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

Ivan_Sabo /

Kihei gets a little hot, especially during midday when the sun shines down on you.

What better way to beat the heat than a tasty dessert at Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice?

Fruit-flavored shaved ice at Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

Writefully Said /

Shave Ice is a popular dessert in this state, providing a variety of flavors and combinations for customers.

Despite using simple ingredients, this dessert bursts with so much flavor that it will keep you craving for more.

There are hundreds of flavors to choose from, so take your pick at Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice.

Coconut and strawberry shaved ice at Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

Sara Danielle /

Grab Fresh Island-Brewed Drinks at Maui Brewing Co.

Maui Brewing Co. is the largest craft brewery in Hawaii, producing some of the tastiest and freshest island-brewed drinks in the state.

You’re sure to find a beverage that you’ll enjoy, from canned cocktails to craft beers.

You can find some traditional drinks with bolder, unique flavors, including tropical and citrus-infused selections.

Guests can join a guided tour and explore the entire brewhouse, where you’ll explore the cellar and sample their products.

Buy Local Produce at Kihei Farmer’s Market

Coconut fruit stand at Kihei Farmer’s Market

Chris Allan /

Farmer’s Markets are a vital part of the community of Kihei, selling various produce, specialty items, and more for great prices.

Kihei Farmer’s Market is open to the public every weekday.

This market sells produce from local farmers to help support the state’s agriculture.

Since opening in 2005, the farmer’s market of Kihei has drawn grocery shoppers almost every day.

Depending on the time of the month, you’ll see some papayas, avocados, pineapples, and other fruits in season.

Arts and crafts stands await tourists who want to bring some trinkets home.

You may even purchase snacks from the many food vendors lining this outdoor market.

Swim Like a Mermaid at Hawaii Mermaid Adventures

Mermaids are elegant mythical creatures that continue to mesmerize humanity.

Hawaii Mermaid Adventures gives guests a glimpse into the life of a mermaid by teaching them how to swim like one.

This establishment has put together protocols and safety measures to give you a fun-filled experience without compromising your safety.

You’ll even hear magical stories from sailors’ experiences with these intriguing creatures.

There are many mermaid tails to choose from, and the experts will even take pictures and document your swimming experience for free.

Go Surfing at Maui Wave Riders

Kihei’s waves make surfing a popular sport, and even first-time surfers can try it out.

Maui Wave Riders provide surfing lessons for visitors and locals who wish to try.

Experts and instructors will teach you the basics of surfing, including balancing, posturing properly, and riding the waves until you get the hang of it.

This sport is also open for all ages, even kids, for some great family time out in the water.

Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a complete newbie, this establishment rents out full gear and safety for a great day under the sun.

Book a lesson and reservation before slots run out.

Spot Many Turtles at Charley Young Park

Kihei’s Charley Young Park is a 5-acre park with beachside amenities.

Located within the downtown area of the community, this park-and-beach got its name from its owner.

Some of this place’s charming points are its prominent shoreline rocks and sunset vistas.

The beach also reports common sea turtle sightings, so keep an eye out for one or two near the banks.

Swim around and get your kid on a boogie board to ride the waves.

Interested in visiting?

Charley Young Park is on South Kihei Road.

Learn to Surf at Cove Beach Park

When you’re in Kihei, be sure to add Cove Beach Park to your list of spots to visit.

This beach park sits behind Kalama Beach.

But it doesn’t mean it’s not a special place in and of itself.

Though not as popular as Kalama Beach, the sandy beach of the site has attracted many swimmers and surfers to its waterfront.

Its gentle waves and slightly-secluded area cove make it ideal for even those with no experience in surfing to learn the sport.

If you don’t like surfing, you can still have fun in the water on top of a paddle board or bodyboard.

Cove Beach Park on Iliili Road also has grills, picnic areas, and sports courts.

Go Birdwatching at Kealia Coastal Boardwalk

The trail of Kealia Coastal Boardwalk

Tim Roberts Photography /

Away from the busy streets and crowded beaches, Kealia Coastal Boardwalk is one of Kihei’s unique attractions.

Inside Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, this boardwalk is adjacent to Maʻalaea Bay.

It is home to a multitude of native and rare birds.

Among these birds are Pacific golden plovers, wandering tattlers, and ruddy turnstones.

The view from Kealia Coastal Boardwalk

Tim Roberts Photography /

Along your route, this trail also offers glimpses of the ridges and peaks of West Maui Mountains—a stark contrast with its skyline background.

Kealia Coastal Boardwalk is fairly known for running along the estuary of a freshwater pond.

Your recreational hike at this walkway starts on North Kihei Road.

Practice Your Swimming at Kihei Aquatic Center

Tired of outdoor excursions?

Kihei Aquatic Center offers you the best of Kihei’s multifaceted indoor centers.

Completed in 1998, this facility was the venue for many swimming championships in the past, including Western Zones Aquatic Meet in 2001.

Its Olympic-sized pool comes with 8 lanes, and so does its warm-up pool.

Complete with a scoreboard and well-maintained springboards, this center is ideal for many swim meets and conventions.

The site also hosts water aerobics classes.

Head over to Pi’ilani Highway on East Lipoa Street to get to Kihei Aquatic Center’s entrance.

Explore the Colorful Art Displays at Maui Fine Art

If you’re craving an art excursion at Kihei, Maui Fine Art has got you covered.

Opened by Chad Paranto, this gallery features works from over 50 artists hailing from the local community.

Browse through a selection of oil paintings, aluminum art designs, and handblown glass sculptures.

The gallery also offers framing services.

Get your next art souvenir from your Kihei trip at this gallery-and-store-in-one.

You can find Maui Fine Art behind Karmart and Shell on Ohukai Road.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go Whale Watching at McGregor Point

Aerial view of the vast McGregor Point

Kent Raney /

Humpback whales are some of the most common sea creatures in Hawaii.

McGregor Point is one of the top destinations in Hawaii that give you a magnificent view of these whales.

Find it in nearby Wailuku, 16 minutes away from Kihei.

McGregor Point also contains a lighthouse erected in 1906, which has become a prominent tourist attraction.

Scenic view of the McGregor Point light

HildeAnna /

On the view deck at this point, spot various humpback whales breaching the sea’s surface.

During migration season, around December to April, when the waters are warm, you’ll see a significant number of whales!

These magnificent creatures are a sight to behold during whale watching season, so don’t miss it.

View of McGregor Point light's top half

Denise Ankrum Photography /

Take a Boat Ride to Molokini Crater

Aerial view of the Molokini Crater

jayzeek /

Molokini Crater is what remains of a volcano that erupted over a century ago.

You can find the partially submerged islet off the coast of Maui in the waters of Kihei, 20 minutes away from the mainland.

This islet is one of a kind, a must-see attraction for tourists visiting this lovely city.

Fish under the waters of Molokini Crater

Bluewater Photographer /

Several companies offer boat-riding services to this uninhabited island, where you see the remnants of the volcanic eruption.

You’ll find several sights in this crater, including reefs, hundreds of species of fish, corals, and more.

A trip to this unique sight is an experience you shouldn’t miss.

Boats near the Molokini Crater

Hiroyuki Saita /

Admire Marine Life at Maui Ocean Center

Maui Ocean Center provides guests with an experience like no other with its immersive, multi-sensory, and diverse exhibits.

Get closer to the underwater world of Hawaii, just 16 minutes away from Kihei in nearby Wailuku.

This center is one of the best-rated aquariums worldwide.

You’ll find yourself in awe of the various exhibits, presentations, and programs they offer.

Your visit to this aquarium may include a 3D experience of sea animals swimming overhead in their underwater tunnel, including sharks, turtles, and other rare marine animals.

You can also peek into the past of Hawaiian culture and tradition; see how it began and evolved to what it is today.

The marine biologist experts at this facility will be more than happy to tell you all about the thriving underwater world in the unique Hawaiian Islands.

See the Historic Lava Fields at La Perouse Bay

Aerial view of La Perouse Bay

Kelly Headrick /

Volcanoes surround Hawaii, making this entire state susceptible to eruptions.

The Lava Fields at La Perouse Bay are historical lava fields that sprang from eruptions dating as far back as the 17th century.

They are also 30 minutes away from Kihei.

This lava field transports you to a different world, from scenic ocean sights to dark ancient rocks.

Lava fields of La Perouse Bay

cleanfotos /

The lava fields are intimidating, but you can try to explore the land by hiking along the King’s Trail.

You’ll even spot some goats trotting around these rocks.

Wear the right shoes to protect your feet while visiting the jagged remains of lava at Lava Fields.

Lava cliffs at La Perouse Bay

Billy McDonald /

Final Thoughts

Kihei is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and beachgoers.

With its thriving marine species and animal life, there’s so much to discover and explore in this island city.

Surrounded by hundreds of volcanoes, its location has also created some interesting tourist sites that you won’t want to miss.

The open waters of Kihei also provide fun-filled activities for the entire family, where they can spend quality time with each other.

Whether you’re looking for adventure or a great tan, Kihei, Hawaii, is the perfect vacation.

Book your trip now!

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