One of the many boons of visiting Maui is that your choices for fun aren’t limited solely to land: Maui County includes two gorgeous islands that are accessible by ferry, its outer islet of Molokini supplies some of the best Maui snorkeling, and its 120 miles of coastline offer ample opportunities for splashing in the water.
And what water it is. The slice of Pacific upon which Maui County rests presents some of the clearest and warmest water in the world. While hopping in straight from the sand is one of the greatest pleasures the island affords, boating trips deliver a fresh perspective on the Valley Isle’s splendor.
With that in mind, we’ve pulled together the best boating trips Maui has to offer, from intimate group tours to buzzy, rollicking affairs. Here are five of the island’s leading sea escapes—and what makes them spectacular:
Tranquil cruises offer the epitome in elegance, but there’s something exhilarating about skidding across the waves aboard a 35-foot customized raft—particularly one that was built for thrills. Red Line Rafting is one such venue for this enlivening experience. With daily departures out of Kihei, the signature red boat limits guests to 24—meaning you and your crew can have an intimate, carefree tour. Their Molokini Crater and Forbidden Coast Tour is especially epic; here, guides well-versed in Hawaiian knowledge take visitors from the snorkeling haven to a different type of heaven: a remote coastline that supplies impressive views of Maui’s last volcanic eruption. Private snorkeling charters are also available, rendering Red Line Rafting the perfect outfit for families and wedding parties.
Consider it the ultimate in ocean experiences: This high-speed, double-decker catamaran transports guests from Maalaea Harbor to an array of marine activities. Keen on seeing over 250 different species of tropical fish? Book an early morning cruise that’ll take you and your crew across the ‘Alalakeiki Channel to the snorkeling and diving mecca that is Molokini. Equipped with a continental breakfast, BBQ lunch, and trivia contest, this trip also includes a stop at Maui’s Turtle Town—an alcove of glistening water teeming with honu. Determined to see the sun disappear from the deck of a ship? Make reservations for the dinner cruise, where prime rib and fresh island fish are served alongside Hawaii-fied libations like Mai Tais, Lava Flows, and Pina Coladas. Whale watches are also available from November to April, when one of the Pacific’s largest mammals migrates to Maui’s waters to mate, nurse, calve—and astonish.
Maui Whale Watching Tour
And speaking of private tours: Swimmers, snorkelers, and whale watchers eager to have an exclusive experience ought to check out many different kinds of whale watches in Maui. Maui Whale watching tours come equipped with veteran marine naturalists who are passionate about sharing their knowledge of Humpbacks. A favorite past-time among visiting photographers, whale watching offer a number of tours to fit your time and budget. Check out whale watching in Lahaina, Maalaea, and Kihei. There’s also a snorkel whale watch from a Maui kayak tour!
Sailing Charter to Honolua
Take the challenge out of climbing down the loose cliffs or through the rainforest to Honolua Bay. There are many reasons to snorkel Honolua Bay, including gorgeous reefs teeming with life, incredible views of the lush cliffs, and calm protected waters for snorkeling. Sailing from Lahaina Harbor, when the weather allows, you’ll enjoy leisure sailing up the coast to Maui’s favorite bay. We love this trip!