Lahaina BoatsOne 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:

RedLine Rafting

Redline Maui HawaiiTranquil 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.

Molokini Snorkeling

Molokini CraterConsider 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

whaleAnd 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

Honolua sailingTake 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!

boat recommendations

Join the discussion 23 Comments

  • Holly Paganetti says:

    Red Line Rafting Whale Watching – An incredible experience!

    • Activity Authority says:

      Yah, we’ve always had fun with them. Having small groups is fun because you get to know everyone. Also, for whale watching, you never have to worry about a bunch of people in front of you.

  • Debbie Bruce says:

    We love Trilogy and have been on countless Whale Watches, Scuba trips and a day trip to Lanai over the past 8 years. The crews always take exceptional care of us, including great food and beverages. There is nothing like seeing whales and dolphins out in the ocean. I am a little nervous snorkeling because it isn’t something I get the chance to do very often. Trilogy always makes me feel safe – so I can just relax and enjoy the incredible experience. The Lanai trip is very special because the crew cooks a lovely dinner for us on the beach. You can tell the Coon family – who started Trilogy – really care about everyone who works for them…they, in-turn, care about making sure every guest have the best experience possible. Mahalo Trilogy!

    • Activity Authority says:

      We’ve never met a Coon we didn’t like. Very good people. There’s a reason why they are a top boat on Maui.

  • Cyndy says:

    Trilogy – I went on the catamaran ,it was the best boat trip I have ever taken.

  • Joel G Wood says:

    We have done the Trilogy sail to Lanai twice!! 23 years apart. We enjoyed both trips immensely!! Great crew and a lot of fun…

    • Activity Authority says:

      There’s a testament to consistency! They do a great job and love what they do. I think that’s a big part of having a successful boat trip.

  • Terri Kragness says:

    Trilogy! Have sailed on Trilogy many times, even got married on one of them 25 yrs ago.

    • Jerrie whitfield says:

      Lived on Maui for 18yrs and worked for Trilogy for many of those years. This family business is by far the most customer service oriented company I’ve worked for. All of their sailing trips are fun because of the knowledgeable, upbeat crews and their desire to make your sail the best activity while on Maui. Don’t go to Maui without taking a Trilogy sail!

  • Don Loverin says:

    ‘The Hula Girl’ is an absolutely outstanding Catamaran….a truly high performance sailing restaurant and bar and possibly the best boat on Maui! The Captain and crew are equally amazing, customer focused and treat you like family. Priced affordably …. A must!

  • Barbara Willis says:

    Island Rhythm Cruise with Marty Dread! Music , food and whales! Anything with Pacific Whales Foundation! They are the best!

  • Tom Morgan says:

    The Double Scoop with Scuba Shack is a great boat and fast! Gets to the dive sights ahead of the crowd. Plus a hot shower is waiting when you get out of the water. The crew is awesome and fun too.

  • Lynn Tieman says:

    Trilogy is by far the best boat in the area. The crew is what make a wonderful trip to a fantastic trip. Always helpful, personable and eager to please. I have been on several other boat trips but always go back to trilogy as my first choice.

  • Becky & Gene Janssen says:

    Trigology is definitely our favorite. The catamaran is very stable in the water, and I have a tendency to get seasick. We have been out with then several times and the service is superb! We will always use Triglogy. The crew is always fantastic!

  • Holile says:

    Our family loves the sailboat from the Pacific Whale Foundation. They are so knowledgeable and teach you about the marine life, listening to the whale songs from a microphone dropped in the water and the boat is so clean and organized. The dinner cruise was nice too. Great food, live music and a smooth ride.

  • DeDe Pearce says:

    Captain Steves Rafting tour and snorkel was pretty great
    I have used them several times
    And will do again.

    DeDe Pearce

  • TW says:

    Ocean Riders snorkel trip around Lanai! Fantastic crew and a great way to get away from the crowds and have a 4 star meal in a 5 star restaurant!

  • Jason says:

    Maui Snorkel Charters was awesome! We did their Molokini tour and had a blast. Crew was very friendly and accommodating and also knowledgeable on the sea life we saw. Their seafari style made the trip more enjoyable than just sitting in one spot. Also, being able to snorkel the back wall of Molokini was amazing!

  • Beverly kleeb says:

    Trilogy is the best. Great boats, good people, yummy food and drinks. Low key fun without being stupid rowdy. Appropriate for all ages.

  • Kelle says:

    Scotch Mist! I love sailing. The boat and crew are amazing. It’s wonderful to not be one of many, but to be one of a few.

  • Mark A Faber says:

    Red Line Rafting, No ka oi.

  • Jim says:

    While snorkeling off Ka’anapali several turtles joined us. Later that same day off Big Beach while snorkeling a monk seal decided to swim with me…best snorkeling ever! I haven’t been on a boat trip yet. What do you suggest for me and my kids (4 and 7?)

    • Activity Authority says:

      That sounds pretty unforgettable! We suggest a trip to snorkel at Molokini Crater. It’s protected from swell and has incredible clarity.

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