Heed this advice to playing on Maui and saving big bucks. There's no need to book tours, you can explore it independently at your own pace.

Hiking: You will need sturdy shoes, a backpack, a water bottle or two, a good guidebook like the Maui Trailblazer, camera, and certain months, mosquito repellant and raingear. Pack a lunch and include energy bars, salty nuts, dried fruit, jerky. Always stay on the trail and start your hike early in the day as the sun is intense. Respect private property signs and don't thrill seek as dangers lurk on sea cliffs and river ravines.

Swimming and Bodyboarding, Surfing Baldwin Beach, Kam beaches in Kihei and Big Beach are top choices.

Biking: The Haleakala bike rides are costly and can take up to half the day. Rent a bike in Kihei and beach hop.

Snorkeling: You don't have to book an offshore tour or dive trip to Molokini Island. The Trailblazer has directions to free entries such as Black Sand Beach, Coral Gardens and Turtle Town. Equipment rental rates by the day are very reasonable. No need to fly your own gear to Maui.

Resort walks: For those who want a less strenuous outing try the Kaanapali coastal walk which skirts the resorts, those at upscale Wailea or the Kapalua Coastal Trail. Picnic or swim at the beaches that line these walks. All beaches in Hawaii are public.

Activities abound on Maui and if you know where to go you will conserve precious vacation time. Plan your stay in a central location so you don't spend hours in commute traffic. Kihei and Paia are good choices. Check TripAdvisor for traveler recommendations.

Though not free, the cheap ferry ride to Lanai can double as a whale watching tour. If you don't want to rent a jeep and tour the island, just spend the day at the beautiful beach that is within walking distance or bring your gear and snorkel the nearby bay.