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Maui Activities on a Minimum: 7 Kick Ass Activities That’ll Cost You Less than a Twelve Pack

I know your type.

You ate Top Ramen and drank Natty Ice for six months, just so you could hold that hot little boarding pass to Maui in your hands and tell all the boys at the pool hall that you’re going to get “leeeeeeeeiii-ed” in Hawaii. (So optimistic, aren’t ya, chipmunk?)

Island of your dreams, you think; home to tiki drinks and chicks in G-string bikinis and beaches that go on for miles.

All of which is true—we don’t call this rock in the center of the Pacific No Ka Oi for nothing—but Maui is also a nightmare on your pocketbook.

Gentle souls call it the “paradise tax.” Others deem it “highway robbery,” while pumping their fat little fists in the air. But, let’s call a spade a spade and say what Hawaiian prices are really like:

Wallet rape. Financial terrorism. Bank account murder.

(What, do you think Brock Turner, ISIS and OJ are the only ones who can have some fun?)

Rest assured, homeboy—you can have a ball on the Valley Isle without once having to veer into overdraft protection territory. (Kidding—like you have that!)

Here are 7 Maui activities that’ll cost you less than the eleven bones you usually slap down for a twelver of “beer” in Milwaukee:

Picnic at Iao Valley: $10.79

Iao Valley State Park on Maui Hawaii

Yes, Maui has a McDonalds, manchild—this isn’t a third-world country. (Wait, does that even apply anymore?)

And, if you’ve gotten this far on the list—I know, I know, we’re only on #1, but the nation’s collective consciousness has the attention span of a gnat—chances are you’re prolly not unfamiliar with hitting up the drive-thru at Mickey D’s to keep your blood sugar levels in check. (Amirite?)

But slow your roll, bro—I know you’ve got some class behind those faded cartoon tatts and Hanes tees. But given that we’re trying to keep each of your activities under eleven bucks, we don’t have quite enough for a Filet-O-Fish meal and a parking pass at one of Maui’s loveliest parks. You can, however, get a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, some fries, and a cup of ice-cold diabetes.

Groove through McDonalds in Wailuku and then head straight up to the needle—as in Iao, my friend.

A volcanic aberration of phallic proportions, this gorgeous park has million dollar views of Maui’s copious valleys and enough weed being toked in the bushes to make you get a contact high without trying. Parking for non-residents is $5. Don’t wince—it’s well worth-it, and you’ll be contributing to something good in this world. (How’s that feel, virgin?)

Best part yet? There’s a fresh water stream to wash the ketchup off your claws.

Hitchhike to Hana: $11.00

Spend a half hour on Maui and there’s no doubt you’ll be accosted with some sort of paraphernalia about surviving the road to Hana.

One: Advertising this Great Triumph reinforces the notion that mainlanders can’t hang. Two: the road only has 600 curves, so why are you fools complaining?

Show the rest of the world what chumps they are by not only surviving the road to Hana, but survive hitchhiking it.


Well, twin-bed-sleeper who considers a trip to Starbucks a splurge: Something tells me you won’t be able to afford the gas to get to Hana, let alone a rental car safe enough to make it there.

This is why God made appendages. Sure, I get it: you’re sour on him/her/Alanis Morissette for not giving you a trust fund or a daddy (let alone one with sugar) or even enough chutzpah to finish community college.

But, he did give you thumbs and feet. Use them.

Your best bet for hitching a ride? Right outside of Paia, where peeps heading east will take pity on your sore, sunburned toes.

Hop in the back, be cool when they light up their chill-antro for the long trek, toss ‘em a fiver for gas and throw in two hot dogs from Hana Ranch Store while you’re at it (don’t worry, one is for you, flacco). Then, get busy adventuring—this place is un-fucking-believable.

Throw Some Darts and Dodge a Fist Fight: $9.00

The Dog and Duck Irish Pub

Few people dreaming of Hawaii immediately think of dive bars riddled with unsavory characters and fights so hot-blooded that the ground shakes.

But, beyond the posh resorts and relentless alohas, the rest of us have real lives.

You know the kind—the ones with heart breaks and homicides and serious racial tensions. Drinking problems also run rampant; good thing we have the Triangle in Kihei to sate our sins, even if only temporarily.

Comprised of six bars and sixty new strains of STDs, the Triangle is where the action’s at. That is, if you define action by skag girls who clearly can’t find skirts that fit and dudes with misspelled tattoos and mommy issues. (Oh, sorry—is that you?)

All of which is to say that this area—dark, dingy, and scummy AF—is a great place to people watch.

Two bars within this travesty are worth the price of Happy Hour: What Ale’s You has a killer list of artisan beers—and I’m not being snarky here—while Dog & Duck is packed with hot bartenders and enough Irish soul to evoke James Joyce’s ghost.

Start here at Happy Hour and slam back $3 Buds with shots of Fireball. Darts are free, the memorabilia is nice and chintzy, and party favors are easy to come by (if ya know what I mean).

Meander out after the sun sets and watch the drama unfold from a bench in the center of the “courtyard.” Trust me, it’ll come—this is the tropics’ version of Bermuda.

Go on a Grand Tour: $4.00

Back in the day, the only buses to be found on Maui were school buses crammed with barefoot kids smoking dope in the back and making rah-tard faces at tourists. I should know—I was one of them.

Not much has changed since I was a student, except baby boomers down on their luck have largely replaced the original demographic.

As for dope: Um, you don’t think I actually ride these beasts now, do you?

You, however, will. Because, while I’ve hitchhiked this island many a times—oh, the joys of being a blonde with boobs!—you, sweet cheeks, have only a finite amount of luck, when it comes to thumbing a ride.

Maui Bus Route

Befriend the bus system instead. For four bucks you can score a daily pass that’ll take you past the glossy beaches in Lahaina, close to the ghetto we ironically call Happy Valley and down to the tony Shops at Wailea.

Hell, you can even go to the mall—as in Ka’ahumanu—to get a pretzel dog for all I care.

The point is to take full advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime vacay (as in, literally) by seeing as much of this breathtaking island as you can.

Bro tip: Take the Kula route and kick it upcountry for a spell. This region serves up a whole new slice of paradise—think: lavender fields and cloud forests—and, um, FREE AIR CONDITIONING.

Visit a Virtual Aquarium: $7.00

Maui Ocean Center might have the only live shark show in Hawaii, besides murky-watered mornings at Olowalu, but tickets start at $14.95—and frankly, me thinks that might cut into your munchie money.

Thank the sea stars, Boss Frog’s knows what it’s like to count one’s nickels and dimes: For $7 a day, you can rent a snorkel set AND a flashy little mesh bag (which they thrown in like a real aloha favor). The dudes who work the Kihei counters are bright and kind, which works for you because you’re heading to Ahihi Kinau Reserve on the island’s south side.

Here, tropical fish nip your toes while barracudas—no, really—are spotted by those in the know. Start early and take your time: Snorkeling on Maui really is a treasure.

Listen to Some Live Tunes

Mulligans on the Blue has been Maui’s go-to source for debauchery since the Irish pub opened its doors in 2001.

Mulligans Bar

Situated on a golf course in oh-so-luxe Wailea, and offering the kind of views that’ll make you want to leave the mainland for life, this place is riotously fun when it’s live.

Happy Hour eats don’t come cheap, but that’s why Minit Stop sells rice for $0.72 per scoop. Load up on carbs—aka drinking prowess—and hit up this place for pau hana, when daily specials on drinks get you toasted and ready for some awesome entertainment.

Sunday nights are your best bet for a rockin’ good time: The Celtic Tigers take the floor at 7pm and get more than one Dubliner up and dancing.

Still rarin’ to go after they’ve taken a bow?

Life’s a Beach—yep, I’m taking you right back to the Triangle where you belong—has karaoke, local bands and a surprisingly solid Open Mic.

Bonus points: There’s a chalkboard in the bathroom to draw your initials in a different kind of sand and enough looseness to fulfill the promise you made to your boys back on the mainland.

Grin and Beach It: $10.95

Maui’s south side offers the prevailing view of paradise: white sand, tan chicks, fringey palms and water so clear that you can see nip slips and bare booties without even trying.

And, who are we kidding with all these submarine rides and helicopter tours? There’s seriously no better way to savor Hawaii than kicking it on the beach.

Only this won’t be a static, stare-at-the-sand kind of day—anyone can do that and I certainly don’t need to waste space on the internet telling you how fabulous this is for both broke, lonesome drunks and ten-year-old CEOs with the entire A Game of Thrones series on their e-reader.

No, you’re going to beach it with some serious bounce.

Start off at Aloha Discount Liquor for provisions. Mind you, you only have eleven dollars to spend, so choose wisely. I’d go for a twelve-pack of Primo—which usually goes for about $9.95—but you can easily get a small bottle of something cheap (I didn’t say good) for the same amount. Food, you say? God is on your side again: They sell peanuts for 99 cents, which is kinda like having a bag of portable protein.

Grab that mesh bag you stole from Boss Frog’s, help yourself to some ice at a local resort (ice machines are usually located on the fifth floor) and fill ‘er up, Captain Jack. Sure, the mesh bag leaks and all, but I prefer to think of it as a pretty genius way to keep out the melted water.

Start on the grass at Keawakapu, where snorkelers take to the reefs and locals get together for Corona revivals and lounging out. Don’t miss out on swimming here—the waves are great for body surfing during the summer, and the frequent dips will keep you from getting red-eyed and wobbly too early.

Walk deeper into Wailea as the day progresses and crack another one open at Wailea Beach in front of the Grand. Look familiar? This is one of the most photographed spots on the island, popping up in People and US Weekly with the frequency of Lindsay Lohan mugshots. Disregard the elitist air found in the resort’s obnoxious bank of chairs, and plop yourself down to people watch and search for celebrities.

Post-dip, take the Wailea Coastal Walk to its end at Polo Beach, which sits in front of the Fairmont Kea Lani and has remarkable lava outcroppings that, by this point in that twelver, out to feel a bit like you’ve taken acid.

Feeling ballsy? Prop your “ice chest” underneath a palm and stroll on into the resort as if you’re getting married there tomorrow: Their hot tubs are sizzling, their bartenders are beauties, and their environs are elegance at its finest. Kinda feels like you have all the money in the world, doesn’t it, baller?



  • Katalina M

    Aloha! I’m Katalina M. I’m a PADI Certified Scuba Instructor and I’m responsible for writing about scuba & snorkeling trips based on my experience as a scuba diving expert in Hawaii. I grew up in a small town on the east coast, but I’ve called Hawaii home for the past five years. It’s an amazing place to live – there’s always something new to explore, and the people are incredibly friendly and welcoming. When I’m not swimming or diving, you can usually find me enjoying Hawaiian nightlife and culture. Mahalo for reading!