The island of Maui on many days is brilliantly bathed in sunshine, but sometimes rain—particularly in winter—sends beachgoers searching for cover.
One of the most popular rainy day activities on Maui is visiting the Maui Ocean Center—an educational and fascinating aquarium in Maalaea. Aside from enjoying the 60 different exhibits on Hawaiian culture and marine life, guests can stroll through a tunnel beneath the 750,000-gallon “shark tank,” where sharks, rays, and thousands of fish go swimming above your head. You’ll also find a column of jellyfish that pulsate and dance in the water, and you can learn how early Hawaiians were exceptionally in tune with the sea.
To brush up on your island history on days when the rain simply won’t quit, head to one of Maui’s museums, including the Bailey House Museum in Wailuku. Here in this whitewashed, 19th century home, peruse the island’s largest collection of historic Hawaiian antiquities, and a huge collection of historical texts in the bookstore. You can see fascinating exhibits on the rise of sugar at the Alexander and Baldwin Sugar Museum, or experience early missionary life at the Baldwin Home Museum in Lahaina.
If you still want to head outdoors in the rain—but don’t want to get wet—a great rainy day activity is to book a tour on the submarine. Operated out of Lahaina Harbor, Atlantis Submarines gives visitors the chance to explore the Lahaina sea floor, and plunges over 100 feet in search of fish and marine life. From the warm—and dry—confines of the sub, stare out the porthole at the Carthaginian, a 19th century whaling ship, that now rests in the sand on the ocean floor and serves as an artificial reef. There’s a good chance you’ll spot dozens of fish—and maybe even a ray or other large creatures.
Shopping is another classic way to spend a day indoors, and the shops of Paia, Makawao, Wailea, Kahului, and Lahaina have large selections for visitors. For a unique way to escape the rain, Island Art Party in central Kihei offers guided painting classes, and Wailuku’s Monkeypod Art Studio offers families the chance to creatively explore and create masterpieces with their children. There are also rotating art exhibits at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Wailuku as well as the Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center in Makawao.
Finally, while there are plenty of rainy day activities on Maui for times when it’s actually raining, also remember the island of Maui has multiple different climates. If it’s raining heavily on one side of the island, it could easily be sunny on the other, so ask around about local conditions to seek out a spot where it’s dry.