The Best Things in Life Are Free: How to Enjoy Maui, Hawaii, on a Budget

Traveling to Hawaii is notoriously expensive. But, it doesn’t have to be! There are plenty of ways to experience Maui, Hawaii, on a budget. Whether you want to hike through the jungle, party with locals, or admire the sunset over the Pacific Ocean, our island offers inexpensive activities for everyone. Check out a few of our wallet-friendly recommendations below. Then, use our Travel Guide to find more affordable attractions on Maui. Hey, it’s free!

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10 Ways to Explore Maui Without Breaking the Bank

1. Download the GyPSy App

If you’ve never been to Maui, you’re probably unsure about how to get around. The GyPSy Guide app provides a guided tour experience for just $9.99. This app plays automatically as you drive, sharing interesting stories about top things to see and places to visit. It’s especially helpful for international travelers; the app is GPS activated and requires no roaming or data.

Tip: We recommend using GyPSy when driving the Road to Hana!

2. Go Hiking

Maui is famous for its remarkable hiking trails. The scenic Iao Valley is just down the street from our inn, and the Waihe’e Ridge Trail and Waih’ee Coastal Dunes offer free hikes nearby. You can even start your day off with one of the most spectacular hikes in the world: Haleakala Volcano at sunrise. Haleakala, or “House of the Sun”, rises 10,023 feet above sea level and is the highest point on Maui. Over two million visitors drive up the side of this giant mountain every year! Take the Sliding Sands Trail from the summit and spend your day exploring this incredible landmark.

For those who’d rather not wake up at the crack of dawn, the King’s Trail near La’Perouse Bay is a great option. This trail is made up of volcanic terrain and features cliffs formed by lava rock. As you walk along Maui’s western shore, you’ll find small tide pools, seashells, and unique lava formations. Be sure to take only pictures and leave only footprints.

3. Eat Like a Local

From food trucks to takeout spots, there are plenty of ways to dine on the cheap on Maui. Ichiban Restaurant is two blocks from our inn and offers fresh fish to-go for just $14.95. Tamura Market is another great place for plate lunches and dinner. If you’re craving pizza, visit Giannotto’s for the best thin-crust pie on the island. This BYOB eatery serves up pasta, subs, and slices within walking distance of our property.

Tip: Take advantage of happy hour! Many of Maui’s best restaurants offer food and drink deals daily.

4. Admire the Windsurfers

Maui is often referred to as “the windy island”, and the wind rolls in around 10 a.m. every morning. This makes it an ideal destination for parasailing, kitesurfing, and windsurfing. One of the most popular windsurfing beaches is Kahului Beach Park on the northern side of the island. Here, you can see windsurfers and kiters from all over the world tackling Maui’s wild waves. Feel free to grab a beach towel from our inn and drive 15 minutes to Kahului to watch the surfers put on a show.

5. Turtle Watch

Did you know that Ho’okipa Bay is home to over one hundred Hawaiian Green sea turtles? The exposed reef along the shore break is an excellent place for the sea turtles to unwind. Each evening at sunset, the turtles begin their journey up the sand to rest. It’s truly a sight to behold! Plus, the Hawaii Wildlife Fund visits this beach often and is more than happy to answer questions about Hawaii’s marine life.

6. Whale Watch

Both frivolous and budget-conscious travelers agree that experiencing Maui’s whale season is a must. During this time of year, North Pacific Humpback whales can be seen playing and breaching in the island’s warm waters. There’s no need to sign up for an expensive boat tour; simply choose a stretch of sand (we like Ka’anapali Beach) and keep your eyes peeled for these majestic beauties.

7. Visit Maui Tropical Plantation

Maui Tropical Plantation is five minutes from our inn and has been producing crops of all kinds for over three decades. We suggest signing up for the Express Tram Tour that takes you through the private grounds of the plantation, showcasing native Hawaiian plants, tropical fruits, and fields of row crops. The tour also provides a live coconut husking demonstration. It’s just $20 for adults and $10 for children.

8. Attend a Friday Town Party

Get to know the locals while you’re here! Maui Friday Town Parties are held every “Aloha Friday” of the month. Each weekly party highlights one of the five historic towns on Maui, offering eccentric art, live music, food, and family fun. There’s even a party right here in Wailuku! Our local businesses go above and beyond to create an exciting event that doesn’t cost you a dime.

9. Learn Something New

You don’t need to lug a bag of expensive souvenirs home from Hawaii. Instead, bring back a priceless new skill. The Lahaina Cannery Mall offers free, one-hour ukelele lessons every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. and free hula lessons every Thursday at 5 p.m. Would you rather sit back and watch? The mall presents complimentary, Polynesian hula shows throughout the week. Check the events page for details.

10. Book Your Stay at The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono

Robe and flowers in the Mokihana Room

When it’s time to find lodging on a budget, look no further than The Old Wailuku Inn. Our beautiful property in central Maui has everything you need for a fun, inexpensive vacation. We provide a homemade breakfast every day, and guests are welcome to use our complimentary beach towels, chairs, coolers, and pool noodles. We also have free Wi-Fi and snacks. Don’t forget to book directly with us for the best price!

Take a look at our specials page for discounts and deals on our accommodations. We look forward to having you!