While some may envision the idea of a perfect Hawaiian vacation laying by the pool or lounging on the beach sipping a fruity cocktail, Hawaii also has plenty to offer thrill seekers. From our volcanoes to our cliffs to our epic waves, there’s no shortage of ways to use Maui as your natural playground. Book a convenient and affordable flight to Maui and check out these 5 adventure sports that’ll get your heart racing and give you a good story to tell back home.

1. Windsurf at Ho’okipa

3217147108_867e291e9c_b Ho’okipa Beach Park is a world renowned windsurfing destination in Maui. Home to professional surf competitions, experienced windsurfers flock to Ho’okipa for its impressive surf and strong afternoon winds. First timers and inexperienced windsurfers would do better at Kanaha, where the waves are smaller and there isn’t the risk of a shallow reef. Even if you’re not hopping on a board yourself, just watching the pros do their thing at Ho’okipa is a pretty impressive sight! While you’re there, be sure to take a walk over to the beach reefs and tide pools, where our beloved Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles frequently like to hang out.

2. Paraglide Over the Island


If heights get your heart pumping, check out Proflyt Paragliding for an unforgettable journey gliding 3,000 feet above Maui. You’ll literally have a birds eye view of Maui’s lush natural beauty as you soar effortlessly above the island. Fly solo or tandem with Proflyt’s experienced teachers, who say all you have to do is “run down the hill and fly like a bird.”

3. Rappel Down a Waterfall

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How many people can say they’ve rappelled down a waterfall?! For something truly memorable, be sure to check out Rappel Maui. The company offers a 6 hour hiking, swimming and rappelling tour on private land—meaning it won’t be overcrowded like some of Maui’s hotspots get. The $200 pricetag is pretty affordable for this all day excursion, and you’re sure to get some amazing photos and unforgettable memories in the process!

4. Hike Sliding Sands


Sliding Sands is not for the faint of heart.  This 11.2 mile trail will challenge avid hikers while stunning with the sweeping views of mountain, sand and sky. Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as the high altitude and lack of vegetation make this a hot and challenging hike. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see to the coastline and even four other islands!

5. Bike Down Haleakala


You should definitely do a sunrise hike to the top of Haleakala while you’re in upcountry Maui, but another fun activity is to bike down the volcano. You can rent a bike and cruise down 26 miles of winding roads all the way from the peak of Haleakala to the shores of Paia. Check out Haleakala Bike Company for rates and details.

After you’ve got your heart racing with these 5 unforgettable activities, it’s time to unwind and relax on the beach!

Photos: 1. Flickr/BrendanBell; Blese; Rappel Maui; Jeff Walllace; Nick Alt