I just got back from paradise, otherwise known as Maui, The Valley Isle!
I know, it’s expensive in Maui (a dozen of eggs was $3.50!). That’s all the more reason to find FREE Things to do and FREE Savings!
Being the freebie lover that I am, my vacation started with a FREE Roundtrip Flight on Delta Airlines compliments of my Flex Perks VISA Card. I accumulated my miles for this trip and charge everything that I possibly can to earn points. (If you own a business charge ALL business expenses to rack up points quickly). FlexPerks has a little publicized bonus for cardholders that are flying on a reward ticket – get a FREE $25 airline allowance with each award flight. You can use that allowance toward baggage fees, in-flight food, drink or entertainment charged to your FlexPerks card. I used it for a FREE round of drinks!
In addition, because I am a Delta AMEX cardholder I was able to check my bags for FREE. I just had to show my card when I checked the bags and that took care of the $25 fee.
But, because it is pricey to visit I found some FREE Things to share that you can do while there. You really don’t have to spend a lot of money on activities.
Before you go request a FREE copy of the Maui Vacation Planner for Maui, Molokai & Lanai.
☛ FREE Maui Travel Guide
On to the FREE Things to do in Maui –
1 – FREE Food
After I got off the plane in Kahului, Maui, I made a bee line for the little tourist marketing booth. Those booths are a gold mine of FREE Stuff if you spend a little time browsing. My favorites are the coupons for FREE Food.
I found FREE Appetizers from Bubba Gumps, FREE Hula Pie at Kimo’s, FREE Kula Pork Pot Stickers at Hula Grill, FREE Appetizer at Fleetwood’s, FREE Root Beer Float at Cool Cat Cafe – as a general rule these are FREE with a purchase. However, if you are already going to any of these locations, why not get something FREE? In fact, a FREE appetizer could make a good light meal or a meal for a kid.
These tourist kiosks also have FREE Maps, FREE Magazines and FREE Activity Discounts and coupons.
FREE $420+ Dinner for 6!
Another way that I got FREE food was with MyPoints. I had been saving up my points for a while to redeem for FREE Gift Cards for Outback Steakhouse Restaurants. I saved enough MyPoints to be able to get $400 worth of FREE Gift Cards! I redeemed them at Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine Restaurant which is located in Ka’anapali. I traveled with 5 friends and treated them all to a great dinner including steaks and local Hawaiian fish and even wine! The total of the check was $421. But, as luck would have it, I found four $10 off marketing coupons in the seat back pocket on the Alaskan Airlines flight on my way from Seattle to Kahului. So the $40 off and the $400 in FREE Gift Cards paid for the entire $421 plus some of the tip. By the way, the food was incredible! See the actual check from Roy’s – Thanks MyPoints!
Oh, I almost forgot! Be sure to get FREE Samples of Gelato on Front Street in Downtown Lahaina. There’s Leppert’s Hawaii – try the Salted Caramel and Peanut Butter Gelato – YUM! There are several ice cream and gelato shops that will allow you to sample up to 5 flavors at each one! Hit them all and it’s like FREE Dessert. Be sure to try the Dreamsicle at Hawaii Gelato as well.
Oh, one more thing – FREE Cookie Samples at Honolulu Cookie Co., also on Front Street. White Chocolate Kona Coffee cookies are tasty!
And – visit one of the Farmers Markets of Maui locations for FREE Samples of the food that they make and sell.
FREE Maui Coffee Samples are also available at Maui Grown Coffee Store in Lahaina.
2 – FREE Whale Watching
If you are in Maui at the right time of year (March is the peak time) you will see whales from the shore without even having to go out on a boat. There are several lookouts that are along the main road on the shoreline along the west coast. There is one in particular that is centrally located and it is manned by a representative from the Pacific Whale Foundation. They will let you use binoculars for FREE. Plus they have FREE information and brochures about whales and other sea life. AND they will provide you a FREE Education about whales if you simply ask.
Pacific Whale Foundation Whale Information Stations Open Daily at Papawai Point, Wailea Marriott and Maui Ocean Club Available January 1 to May 15 – FREE and open to all. Nearby McGregor Point is also a great place to whale watch.
Don’t forget to watch for Green Sea Turtles and Dolphins as well. You can see turtles along the shore, especially rocky areas. We saw tons of them in Kahana where we stayed, at a nearby park called Pohaku Park (aka S-Turns).
3 – FREE Shell Necklaces
Hilo Hattie, The Store of Hawaii, is a popular souvenir store with a large* location in Downtown Lahaina. When you arrive they give you a FREE Shell necklace. No purchase necessary. Everyone gets one! Be sure to stop by and get yours. *As of 2016 this store has DRAMATICALLY downsized, although they were still giving out the FREE Shell Necklaces.
4 – FREE Beaches
Beaches in Hawaii have FREE Public access, all of them! That means that even the beaches in front of posh resorts and private residences or those that appear to be inaccessible. FREE beach access is actually part of Hawaii state law. The access may be limited or difficult to find, but it is there if you look. The sunsets are FREE too ☼
Some popular West Maui beaches include:
– Ka’anapli Beach & Black Rock – Coral and tropical fish are abundant. Great for snorkelers and swimmers.
– Kapalua Beach – first beach ever to be named “America’s Best Beach”
– Wailea Beach – Snorkel with green sea turtles. Kayak or stand-up paddleboard in Maui’s warm waters. Or simply rent a cabana and watch a perfect Wailea Beach sunset.
– Maalaea Bay Beach accessible from Haycraft Park.
5 – FREE Snorkeling
There are many snorkeling trips that you can pay for. In fact, I went on one to Molokini which was incredible, albeit a little more than I wanted to spend. To be honest, I saw more fish and coral and turtles for FREE while snorkeling just off shore. So, although the experience was memorable on our trip to Molokini, I would rather snorkel close to shore for FREE where I could be leisurely and go back repeatedly.
Honolua Bay (above) was incredible! The water was calm. Fish were everywhere. We even saw an eel (I think that’s what it was)! No drive to a dock. No time limit. Not overly crowded. AND it was FREE! It’s also a great place to watch surfers. Honulua Bay is north of Lahaina about 15-20 minutes.
There is also great snorkeling at Ka’anapali near Black Rock.
6 – FREE Sea Glass
Some friends of mine were on a FREE quest – to locate and collect sea glass. It’s a FREE activity that they enjoy. They got to spend time together on the beach while gathering mementos from their trip to beautiful Maui. They collected quite a bit and I must say some of it is stunning. There are so many things that you can do with it: make jewelry, glue it to picture frames or glass candle holders or just place it in a bowl or vase to remind you of paradise. It is scarce but you can find it if you really look. The most desirable kind has a frosted appearance from the erosion of the ocean currents and the ocean bed. FYI – I saw a store selling it for almost $10 per lb and it was tumbled glass, as in tumbled by a machine, not the ocean. My friends got it FREE! This is their collection below.
7 – FREE Driving Trips
I know it’s an island, but it’s a relatively large island with some awesome things to do that require you to drive about an hour or so. Here are 2 FREE trips that I recommend:
► Upcountry/Ulupalakua Ranch – Wine Country – the views of Wailea, Molokini, Kahoʻolawe and the rest of the island of Maui are incredible and provide some awesome FREE photo opporunities. Visit Maui’s Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch for a FREE Wine Tasting (try the 100% pineapple wine) as well as a FREE Tour of their Production Facilities and Grounds. This makes a nice leisurely afternoon. Stop by the Ranch Store and Grill for a hot-off-the-grill Maui Cattle Co. Beef Burger (the burger isn’t FREE but it’s worth the price)! Mmmm Good!
By the way – corks make great personal FREE mementos. Just write a date, names, location, event, etc. on them.
► Road to Hana – you may have seen the shirts that say I Survived the Road to Hana. If you’ve been fortunate enough to travel it then you know exactly what that means. If not, you will!
All kidding aside, this was a bucket list item for me. I’m glad I did it but I don’t think I want to do it again.
The drive is FREE and the views and the landscape are extraordinary. The drive is taxing with all the curves and required braking and its 68 miles, over 600 tight turns and over 50 one-lane bridges through tropical rain forest. Leave early so that you don’t have to drive in the dark on the way back. Pull over and let the impatient locals pass you by. Take some pictures and some Dramamine!
One of the most awesome things that I found on my Trip to Hana was my discovery of Rainbow eucalyptus trees along the side of Hana Highway! I felt like I was on the set of a Tim Burton movie because the trees are simply surreal. I’ve never seen them before and was amazed by them. You will find a grove of Rainbow Eucalyptus trees on the left between mile markers 6 & 7. I’m going to frame this photo that I took.
8 – FREE Culture
Hawaii is filled with history, rituals and culture. You can literally find it everywhere. You can visit the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului for FREE. You can also take the FREE self guided tour of historic Lahaina which includes 62 sites – you can pick up a FREE guide at the Lahaina Visitor Center in the Old Lahaina Courthouse located between the famous Banyan Tree (it’s 140 years old has 12 trunks and covers 2/3 of an acre) and Lahaina Harbor.
FREE Hula Shows at Lahaina Cannery Mall
Ka’anapali Historical Trail – FREE Map and Brochure
Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center – FREE Admission
9 – FREE Parties
Maui Friday Town Parties are popular and fun celebrations on Maui that happen once a month throughout the island. There is something for everyone at these FREE events from art to music to history and culuture. There are four locations that party each month as follows:
Wailuku First Friday
Lahaina Second Friday
Makawao Third Friday
Kihei Fourth Friday
PLUS every Friday night in Downtown Lahaina (above) the art galleries on Front Street show off their masterpieces with Friday Night Art Night. Some even offer FREE Wine, Drinks and pupus (appetizers).
10 –FREE Apps for Smartphones
►FREE Visitor Info Maui App – Best Guide to Restaurants, Shopping, Art and More
► FREE Maui Island Guide & Driving Magazine App – provides Maui’s most extensive collection of Detailed Maps along with points of interest
► FREE Maui Dining App – Everything you need to know about Dining while on the Beautiful Island of Maui
► FREE Hawaii Activities App – 100+ Awesome Things on Maui
► FREE Top 25: Maui App – discover, read, and possibly plan a trip around the amazing island of Maui
► FREE Beach Locator West Maui App – make finding your perfect beach in the western part of the Hawaiian island of Maui easy
► FREE Hawaii Drive Guides App – highly detailed maps that pinpoint the location of scenic destinations, beaches, historical sites, activities, attractions
► FREE HulaCopter Hawaii App – Find great deals on Hawaii’s best vacation activities
Who said Maui is expensive? There is so much to do for FREE!