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An Ultimate Maui Itinerary: How to Spend 3-7 Days

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Maui, the second-largest Hawaiian island, is an enchanting playground of diverse landscapes, from the lush rainforests of Hana to the lunar-like terrain of Haleakalā National Park. Whether you have three, five, or even seven days to spare, the Valley Island is the perfect tropical getaway to enjoy as a couple, family, or solo traveler.

What sets Maui apart is its harmonious blend of relaxation and adventure. Unlike the volcanic landscapes of the Big Island or the urban buzz of Oahu, Maui offers a perfect equilibrium, inviting visitors to embrace both tranquility and a healthy dose of excitement.

In this comprehensive, seven-day Maui itinerary, we’ll dive into all the must-sees and things to do to make the most of your time. If you have less than seven days on your Maui vacation, feel free to pick and choose the days that are most interesting to you.

Please note that we’ve updated this itinerary to reflect the aftermath of the horrific Maui wildfires, which took the lives of nearly 100 people and displaced thousands of Maui locals, including many native Hawaiian families. The loss of Lahaina is extremely heartbreaking for avid visitors to Maui but even more so for those who call this place home.

Things to Do in Maui

Whether you’re seeking adventure or leisure, Maui, Hawaii offers plenty of incredible things. You can drive the renowned Road to Hana, mountain bike down a volcano, trek through a bamboo forest, take private surf lessons, swim under a waterfall, or simply go beach hopping to visit the numerous black and golden sand beaches.

You can also snorkel with Hawaiian green sea turtles on vibrant reefs, spot monk seals lazing on beaches, and take a boat ride to get one of the best whale-watching experiences in the world.

Day 1 – Upcountry Maui

Haleakalā National Park

Haleakala National Park Scenery

The majestic Haleakala volcano is the third tallest mountain in the Hawaiian islands and one of the most visited Maui attractions. It’s the best place to enjoy views of the entire island. Haleakalā National Park is made up of two areas: The Summit and The Kīpahulu District. 

The summit is where most visitors watch a sunrise or sunset and do a little stargazing at night. I recommend making your reservation for the first full day in Maui since your internal clock hasn’t quite adjusted to the time change (if coming from the continental U.S.) – you’ll be waking up early anyway. Driving to the summit from most resorts takes one to two hours.

If you plan to visit Haleakalā in a rental vehicle, you must make a sunrise viewing reservation online at recreation.gov up to 60 days in advance. For a stress-free alternative, book a guided tour to pick you up directly from your hotel and drive you to the summit.

Since this excursion takes place in the early morning on top of a very high mountain, you should bring a warm jacket or blanket. Afterward, enjoy a warm breakfast at Kula Lodge while taking in breathtaking Upcountry Maui views.

Ali’i Kula Lavender Fields

Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm Scenery

Ali’i Kula Lavender Fields is another gem in Upcountry Maui. While the Valley Island is renowned for its stunning beaches, incredible snorkeling, and scenic West Maui mountains, there’s something about the relaxing vibes of Kula that really makes it one of my favorite places.

Ali’i Kula Lavender Fields is unique as it is the only lavender farm in the area and offers visitors various experiences to enjoy. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the aromatic lavender fields, which have more than 55,000 plants and 20 different varieties of lavender.

There are also many other plants to be found around the farm, including olive trees, hydrangeas, proteas, and many more. The rich, volcanic soil and the mild climate provide incredible growing conditions for these plants that aren’t found anywhere else in Hawaii.

Be sure to stop by the farm’s little shop to find locally grown and made products. They’re perfect to have as a souvenir, but also make awesome gifts. Soap products, seasonings, clothing, jewelry, and more can all be found at the shop.

Mama’s Fish House

Mama's Fish House

Mama’s Fish House is a tried and true Maui icon. This family-owned beachfront eatery has been serving up the freshest seafood in North Maui since 1973. It’s so popular, in fact, that you can make reservations up to 12 months in advance.

This famous restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner, with a focus on fresh seafood and flavors inspired by the local culture. They also have a ton of local produce and a meat selection that’ll make your mouth water.

My favorite thing at Mama’s Fish House is the dessert, so make sure to save some room! The lilikoi (passionfruit) crème brulée takes a tropical spin on a classic, or for a lighter option, they have sorbet made from locally grown strawberries and pineapple. This is seriously my perfect way to end a day in Maui.

See Related: Top Restaurants in Waikiki

Day 2 – South Maui

Makena Beach

Drone view of Makena Beach Maui Hawaii

Also known as Big Beach, Makena Beach is a long stretch of golden sand on the south shore. True to its nickname, Big Beach is the largest on Maui.

This is a public beach, so there’s not much in terms of restaurants or equipment rentals. It’s perfect if you want a simple beach day experiencing island life with your family or friends.

I recommend picking up picnic provisions before heading out on your beach day, along with an umbrella, and snorkel. Many vacation rentals and resorts will provide these basic items for their guests.

If you want to experience a Hawaiian beach day like a local, pick up some spam musubis and fresh poke from Foodland in Kihei before heading to Big Beach. Some of my favorite Foodland poke flavors are California Roll, Spicy Ahi, Spicy Salmon, and Oyster Sauce.

Turtle Town

Turtle Town Snorkel activity in Maui
Zephyr Adventures Maui / Viator

While not actually a beach, this is a popular snorkeling day trip spot just off the coast of Makena Beach. Hawaiian green sea turtles hang out here because there’s a lot of seaweed for them to munch on, making it a great spot to admire these beautiful creatures.

This short snorkeling tour is the perfect addition to a busy day. It’s less than two hours and leaves from the closest harbor to Turtle Town, so it’s easy to fit in between other Maui attractions.

The crew is made up of professional tour guides who provide the highest quality equipment and flotation devices for those who aren’t the most confident in their swimming abilities. You’ll be able to swim amongst thousands of colorful, tropical fish and will most likely spot several Hawaiian green sea turtles.

Wailea Beach

Wailea Beach in Maui, Hawaii - Golden sands and clear blue waters.

If beach hopping is more your vibe, start off at Makena in the morning before making your way to Wailea in the afternoon. It’s a great spot right in front of two of Maui’s best hotels, the Grand Wailea and the Four Seasons Resort Maui.

Being that Wailea Beach is in a resort area, you have a multitude of food and fun options. You can cool off with shave ice, indulge in fresh seafood at the Grand Wailea’s Humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa restaurant, grab a quick bite at the Four Seasons’ Beachwalk Café, or venture down to the other stunning resorts or The Shops at Wailea.

Wailea Beach is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and lounging on its golden sands. It usually isn’t too wavy throughout the year, but be sure to check the conditions before going out.

Luau – Dinner and a Show!

Te Au Moana Luau show in Hawaii
Te Au Moana / Viator

End the day off with a uniquely Hawaiian experience by attending a luau. Count on having a wonderful evening that will leave you with a deeper appreciation of Hawaiian culture. You can learn more about Hawaiian history and life in the islands before Western contact through music, chant, and dance.

My favorite luau on Maui has always been the Old Lahaina Luau, but unfortunately, due to some damage from the horrible Maui Wildfires, they are closed until further notice. Another great option is the Te Au Moana Luau at the Marriott Wailea Beach Resort.

The evening begins when you are greeted with a lei, a Hawaiian flower garland, along with pre-show music and entertainment. Guests will then be served a three-course meal, including traditional Hawaiian dishes while enjoying the Te Au Moana show and a fire-knife performance.

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Day 3 – West Maui

Kapalua Bay

Aerial view of Kapalua Bay Maui

Kapalua Bay is a calm, peaceful beach surrounded by a luxury resort, the Montage Kapalua Bay. This protected cove is great for snorkeling and swimming. From this bay, you can enjoy incredible views of eastern Molokai, one of the least visited Hawaiian islands.

Go on the Kapalua Coastal Trail to enjoy panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, the calm lagoon, and stunning scenery. Most of this coastal trail is paved, but there are certain parts where you can walk over lava rocks.

The trail is a fantastic way to slow down and take in the natural beauty of the island. You can stop at any point or continue on to the Ironwood Cliffs hiking trails.

Nakalele Blowhole

Nakalele Blowhole in Maui, Hawaii - Natural ocean geyser and scenic coastal attraction

Nakalele Point is the northernmost part of Maui and just 20 minutes north of Kapalua Bay. Here, you’ll find the Nakalele Blowhole and unique rock formations, including a heart-shaped crater eroded into the lava rocks. It’s also a great place to admire the West Maui mountains.

A blowhole is a marine geyser formed when ocean water rushes through sea caves and out through the top of the rocks. It’s quite a sight to see when the waves are pumping!

To get to the Nakalele Blowhole, there’s a short, marked path from the parking lot to the craggy lava rocks. Wear comfortable shoes or sandals, and make sure to watch where you’re walking, as these rocks can be slippery when wet. Be cautious, and don’t go out when there are large waves (usually in the winter).

Duke’s Beach House Maui

Duke's Beach House in Maui
Duke’s Beach House Maui / Facebook

Duke’s in Waikiki is a mainstay in Hawaii’s culinary scene, and now Maui has its very own eatery dedicated to the most famous Hawaiian waterman, Duke Kahanamoku. Duke’s Beach House, located in the OUTRIGGER Honua Kai Resort and Spa on Kaanapali Beach, is the perfect place to take in the ambiance of one of Maui’s beaches, with incredible views of Lanai and Molokai.

Duke’s is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I highly recommend heading there for dinner since there’s live entertainment each afternoon and evening, and you can enjoy the stunning sunset over the horizon.

Some menu highlights include the crab & mac nut wontons, mango BBQ chicken salad, Korean steak street tacos, and the furikake ahi steak. There’s also a huge cocktail list along with an extensive offering of local beers and international wines.

You have to save room for dessert – Duke’s famous Kimo’s Original Hula Pie is hands-down one of the best desserts you’ll find in the islands. It’s an intoxicating mix of macadamia nut ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, and a cookie crust that’ll have you dreaming about it for years.

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Day 4 – Road to Hana

Road to Hana

Sceneric view of a Road trip to Hana

Hana Highway, more famously known as the Road to Hana in East Maui, is the biggest attraction. This road trip is one of the best day trips and is at the top of my list of things to do in Maui – whether you visit with family, as a couple, or even yourself.

The Road to Hana is definitely about the journey more so than the destination. You can go at your own pace and pick and choose where you want to stop. You’ll come across beautiful views, short hikes, a black sand beach, rainforests, and waterfalls.

Oh, and then there are fresh fruit stands, and I remember turning around when we saw a sign for homemade banana bread. You can find many places to eat in Maui on the Road to Hana, or choose to bring a picnic lunch with all your local favorites.

For a stress-free experience, book your complete sightseeing adventure on Hana here. The experienced tour guide will plan out a great itinerary for your Hana tour and take care of all the driving. All you have to do is show up!

If you’re driving yourself, drive slowly and enjoy the ride! Below are a few stops along the Road to Hana that you should definitely check out if you’re visiting Hana in a rental car. With stops, this all-day adventure will take about 12 hours.

Pro tip: If you’re prone to motion sickness, you may want to take some preventive medicine—the Road to Hana includes more than 600 curves!

Waianapanapa Beach

Waianapanapa state park, black sand beach. Maui, Hawaii
Photo Image / Shutterstock

Waianapanapa is the most famous and best black sand beach on Maui. It can be found along the Road to Hana and is definitely a stop you should not miss.

It’s is located within Waianapanapa State Park, which requires advance reservations to visit. The beach features a rugged coastline combining black sand and black rocks. It is breathtaking to see the contrast between the black sand, bright green palm trees, and glistening blue Pacific Ocean. Definitely one of the most incredible beaches in all of Hawaii!

Ho’okipa Beach Park

Hookipa Beach Park in Maui, Hawaii - Sandy beach with blue ocean and palm trees

Ho’okipa Beach Park is another beautiful stop along the Road to Hana. The beach has some famous residents – the honu, or Hawaiian green sea turtle. You can often find them lazying on the sand or chomping on some seaweed.

Ho’okipa is known for kite surfers due to the favorable wind conditions on this side of the island. Check the weather before you make the decision to go out into the water, as the conditions can change in an instant.

Twin Falls

Twin Falls in Maui, Hawaii
timarindo / Adobe Stock

Twin Falls is an excellent stop for the whole family. There’s an easy, paved trail for the falls. Along the trail, visitors will be treated to stunning views of the surrounding forest before getting to the lower falls.

There’s also a more difficult trail that will continue from the lower falls to the upper falls. I highly recommend picking up some mosquito repellent as the damp conditions of the tropical forest easily attract these bloodsuckers.

Ke’anae Arboretum

Trees and Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees in Ke'anae Arboretum
CrackerClips / Adobe Stock

The Ke’anae Arboretum is home to some of the most stunning tropical plants and flowers found in the world, including unique rainbow eucalyptus trees. These trees look as if their trunks and branches have been painted over with watercolors, with beautiful red, orange, green, and yellow brushstrokes.

This arboretum is six acres with several miles of walking trails, making it the perfect stop on this long drive to get out and move your body. Other interesting plant species here include blue marble trees, taro, and a variety of ginger and hibiscus plants. It’s free to visit every day of the week.

Day 5 – Island Snorkeling Tour

Molokini Snorkeling Tour

Boats near Molokini Crater

A snorkeling tour is the perfect way to start off a fun and relaxing day on Maui. Molokini, about 2.5 miles off the coast of South Maui, is one of the best snorkeling spots on the entire planet.

This half-day snorkeling tour will take you on a catamaran from Maui to Molokini, where you’ll discover an underwater paradise unlike anywhere else. It is estimated that there are more than 250 species of marine life that call the waters of Molokini home, including the triggerfish (Hawai’i’s official state fish), yellow tang, and colorful parrotfish. This tour starts in the early morning, so there’s still time in the afternoon for a bit more exploring or to chill out at your nearest beach.

Iao Valley State Monument

Iao Valley State Park Scenery

Iao Valley is a short 20-minute drive from Maalaea Harbor, so it’s the perfect stop after a day of snorkeling off the coast of Maui. Iao Valley is as stunning as it is historic – it’s the site where King Kamehameha The Great defeated the army of Maui, bringing him one step closer to uniting all of the Hawaiian Islands under one rule.

The main highlight of the Iao Valley State Monument is the short hike to see the famous Iao Needle, also called Kuka’emoku. The path to see the Iao Needle starts directly behind the parking lot and is paved, so it’s great no matter your fitness level. It’s a short 0.6-mile-long loop trail, so you’ll have lots of time to stop and take pictures along the way.

Dinner at Maui Brewing Company

Served food at Maui Brewing Company
Maui Brewing Company / Facebook

End this adventurous day off with dinner at Maui Brewing Company in Kihei. Maui Brewing is the largest craft brewery in the islands, and the Kihei location is both a restaurant and brewery. The brewery offers afternoon tours, and beer tastings are also available.

The tasting room, separate from the restaurant, offers a limited food menu of starters and pizzas to enjoy with MBC’s craft brews and sodas. The restaurant features outdoor seating as well as a beer garden and nightly live music.

Try to make it to the brewery for happy hour, which happens every Monday through Friday from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm, to take advantage of deals on craft beers, cocktails, appetizers, and pizzas. The MBC nachos are amazing, and so is the guava BBQ pork sando. Yum!

Day 6 – Surfing

Take a Surf Lesson in Kihei

Surf Lesson in Kalama Beach
Surf Club Maui / Viator

Surfing was once known as the “Sport of Kings,” a privilege reserved only for the Hawaiian monarchy. Today, everyone can participate in the water activity of surfing—one of the most well-loved ocean sports in Maui, which keeps evolving with styles, trends, unique skills, and techniques. The Hawaiian Islands continue to hold the top spot among the best surfing spots globally.

Maui offers several beautiful beaches where you and your family can learn how to surf. You typically start on dry land before trying to catch a wave. Surf Club Maui offers private and group surf lessons in Kihei for beginners and intermediate-level surfers.

Kihei is a terrific place to learn to surf because the waves are almost always calm and gentle. There’s just enough where you can ride a wave but not gnarly enough for you to get hurt.

Maui Gold Pineapple Tour

Tourists on a Maui Gold Pineapple Tour
Maui Pineapple Tour / Viator

The history of the pineapple industry in Hawaii dates back centuries. Though not native to Hawaii, the pineapple has become an emblem of the islands for as long as many of us can remember. One way to learn more about the history and process of growing this sweet and tangy fruit is by enjoying a Maui Gold Pineapple Tour.

The plantation village of Haliimaile in Upcountry Maui offers visitors a chance to learn more about what goes into farming pineapples. The tour guides will take you around the expansive pineapple fields in an air-conditioned bus as you learn about everything from planting to harvesting.

At the end of the tour, you’ll get to sample some delicious pineapple and even take one home! The tour is less than two hours long and is super chill, so it’s a nice, relaxing way to enjoy the rest of the day after surfing.

Day 7 – Whale Watching

Whale-Watching Tour 

Maui Whale Watching Experience

A Maui itinerary is incomplete without a whale-watching boat tour, although sometimes you can even spot whales from an oceanside balcony or the beach. One of the most thrilling experiences you will ever have is seeing the North Pacific humpback whales grace Maui’s waters during their yearly winter migration!

These magnificent creatures have been seen in Hawaii’s waters since the arrival of ancient Polynesians, at least since 1300 AD. These marvelous sea animals return to Maui’s shores each year to give birth to their calves.

Visitors may see a range of whale behaviors while watching this endangered and protected species in action. These behaviors usually include breaching, tail slaps, and babies playing and frolicking on the ocean’s surface. Each time is a breathtaking experience!

The official whale season on Maui may start as early as November and last until May. Even though the enormous humpback whales can be seen from the shore, a Maui Whale-Watching Tour offers a more engaging experience.

Maui Ocean Center

Maui Ocean Center Display

The Maui Ocean Center is renowned as one of the best aquariums in the United States. Visiting this aquarium is not only a great way to get more educated about the surrounding sea life in Hawaii but also to learn more about Hawaiian history and the special connection that native Hawaiians have with the sea.

This award-winning aquarium features a stunning Open Ocean exhibit, which features more than 50 different species of fish and hundreds of individual animals. These include stingrays and a variety of sharks. Walk through the glass tunnel to immerse yourself in the 750,000-gallon tank.

The Maui Ocean Center is open daily and also has its own restaurant, cafe, and shop. It’s conveniently located right next to Maalaea Harbor, where many of the whale-watching boat tours set off. I recommend buying your ticket in advance to skip the possibly long entrance line.

See Related: Warmest Places to Visit in the US

Other Things to Do on Maui

Explore Kīpahulu

Waterfall at Kipahulu District

The Kīpahulu District of Haleakalā is a remote location you can access about 12 miles past the town of Hana. Here, you’ll find beautiful ocean views and waterfalls, including the 400-foot Waimoku Falls, which is part of Maui’s Seven Sacred Pools that can be found along the Pipiwai Trail. 

It’s hot, humid, and often rainy, so be sure to equip yourself with mosquito repellent. And while the streams may seem tempting to swim or wade in, the National Park Service advises against it as flash floods and falling rocks may occur unexpectedly.

See Related: Things to Do in Honolulu

Maui Helicopter Tour

Maui Helicopter Tour in Hawaii
Air Maui Helicopters / Viator

One of the best ways to truly appreciate the abundant beauty of Maui is by going on a helicopter tour. Seeing it from above gives you a perspective very few get to experience, especially of places that are inaccessible on land.

This 45-minute helicopter tour operated by Air Maui Helicopters is a “doors-off” experience, allowing for unparalleled views of West Maui, the Pacific Ocean, and nearby Molokai. You can enjoy the cool breeze through your hair and no glare since there are no windows!

If the no-doors thing is a little too much, traditional helicopter tours (doors included) are also available. As someone who has a fear of flying, I actually really enjoy helicopter tours, and doing them in Hawaii really gives me a heightened appreciation of the place I call home.

Waihee Ridge Trail

Hikers in Waihee Ridge Trail, Maui
Maridav / Adobe Stock

If you’re an avid and experienced hiker, the Waihee Ridge Trail may just be the excitement and thrill you’ve been seeking on Maui. It’s one of the more popular hiking trails, but also one of the more challenging.

The hike is a four-mile loop trail with a steady incline to climb as you admire the scenic Waihee Valley. The trail is maintained by Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, so while there are steep inclines and it can get muddy at times, those are the only challenging parts about it.

Once you get to the end of the trail before looping back, there are picnic tables to relax and enjoy lunch while taking in the stunning views. This guided hike is perfect if you’d like to hike the Waihee Ridge Trail with an experienced local who can give you more information about Maui and the local surroundings.

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Day Trip to the Neighboring Island of Lanai

Lanai Island

Privately owned by billionaire Larry Ellison, the island of Lanai is among the least visited of the main Hawaiian islands. There are only two resorts, both extremely high-end, so if you’re not willing to shell out thousands of dollars per night, the ferry from Maui on a day trip is a great way to see this island!

The ferry to Lanai leaves twice a day from Maalaea Harbor, once in the early morning and once in the late afternoon. The ride is about two hours, during which you can enjoy panoramic views of both islands and maybe spot some unique marine life like dolphins and humpback whales.

The boat docks at Manele Bay on Lanai, which is just a short walk from the largest beach, Hulopoe Bay. Here, you can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, playing in tidepools, and hiking around the red rocks. This bay sits just below the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, which is one of the most luxurious resorts in the entire state.

Honolua Bay

Honolua bay on the west coast of Maui, Hawaii

If you just can’t get enough of the incredible snorkeling around Maui, another stop to add to your list has to be Honolua Bay. This bay is located just north of Kapalua and is part of the Marine Life Conservation District of Maui County.

Being part of the conservation district means that snorkelers and scuba divers can enjoy clear waters and an abundance of colorful fish and marine life. Fishing is prohibited in Honolua Bay, as is taking any items, including rocks and coral.

This snorkeling and sailing tour will take you to this gorgeous spot, as well as several other prime snorkeling locations. After building up your appetite, you can enjoy a buffet lunch on the boat and an open bar!

Golf by the Sea

Aerial view of Wailea Golf Club, Maui, Hawaii
Wailea Golf Club, Maui, Hawaii / Facebook

Maui is the ultimate tropical golf destination. Among 14 golf courses, only two are private. So whether you’re looking to play a round on Maui’s scenic west shore or walk the greens in luxurious south Maui, you’ll have your pick of the finest public courses.

On the west side, The Plantation Course at Kapalua is a top pick for many golf fans. The Plantation Course hosts The Sentry golf tournament every January as the kick-off to every PGA tour. While the pros can play on here, it’s also playable for the average golfer due to its wide fairways and large greens.

If you’re up for a challenge, the Wailea Gold Course is the most challenging of the three courses found in the Wailea resort area. It’s been awarded multiple awards from experts, including Golfweek and Golf Digest, and has been named amongst the best courses in the United States. If you’re a beginner looking to play a light and easy game of golf while visiting Maui, the blue course at the Wailea Golf Club is a fantastic option.

Zipline on the North Shore of Maui

Father and sone in a 7-Line Maui Zipline tour
Northshore Zipline Co. / Viator

The zipline park at Camp Maui is one of the most fun ways to enjoy a day on Maui with your family. The zipline park, which features various ziplines and other blood-pumping attractions, lets visitors enjoy the stunning tropical scenery from a new perspective.

This two-hour activity is led by experienced zipline guides who will ensure that you’re properly hooked onto the zipline as you fly across lines from tree to tree. The ziplines extend as far as 900 feet and can go up to 40 miles per hour.

Camp Maui’s zipline park is suitable for everyone ages five and up. There are weight restrictions on the ziplines, and it is not suitable for people who are pregnant or have neck or back injuries.

Check out the Massive Waves at Jaws

Jaws waves crashing on Maui's North Shore

Every winter, big-wave surfers flock to Maui’s north shore for a chance to ride a massive wave at Pe’ahi, also known as Jaws. These heart-stopping waves can reach heights of 70 feet or more and are as beautiful as they are terrifying.

Each year, the World Surf League hosts the Quiksilver Jaws Big Wave Challenge, where professional surfers show off their impressive skills to conquer some of the biggest waves on the planet. Though I highly advise not going in the water in these conditions, it’s absolutely mesmerizing to watch these surfers do what they do best.

The dates of the surf competition vary year by year, depending on the surf conditions, but it always happens in the winter. Even if the competition isn’t happening, a stop at Jaws certainly allows one to appreciate the power of the ocean waves.

How to Plan Your Trip to Maui

Oceanview room Lahaina in Maui, Hawaii

When growing up, I learned that if you make a plan and have one or more backup plans, you can execute them when the event occurs and deal with any problem that comes your way. Although I haven’t always applied that lesson, I do so when I travel.

Here are some tips you can follow before planning your Maui vacation:

Getting There

The primary airport to fly into Maui is Kahului Airport in central Maui. Skyscanner makes it simple to search for the best ticket bargains. To find the cheapest dates to travel to your destination, select ‘cheapest month’ on their website as the departure option.

Another option is to fly into HNL (Honolulu International Airport) on the island of Oahu and then take a connecting flight to Maui that lasts 30 minutes. Since Southwest doesn’t show up on these flight search engines, take a peek at their website as they offer many daily flights to both Oahu and Maui from the West Coast, as well as interisland flights.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is especially useful to have if you are traveling far from home and even more so if you plan to engage in thrilling outdoor activities like hiking, surfing, and snorkeling in the open ocean. Travel insurance comes in a variety of plans and can cover anything from lost luggage and canceled flights all the way up to emergency medical evacuations.

The best place to find the right travel insurance plan for you is VisitorsCoverage. Simply input your destination, travel dates, and basic traveler information, and VisitorsCoverage will show you plans from various insurance providers that fit your criteria.

Places to Stay in Maui

Wailea (South Maui)

Wailea Beach

Wailea in South Maui is an upscale resort area and one of the most convenient places to stay on Maui. With The Shops in Wailea, multiple golf courses, and endless dining options, you can easily spend your entire vacation in this one place if you want to. However, it’s also not far from many of Maui’s top attractions and is easy to navigate to and from if you’re renting a car.

Best Places to Stay in Wailea

North Maui

Aerial view of Kahului

North Maui is where you’ll find Kahului, the “big city”, and where the main airport is located. Therefore, you’ll find a good mix of budget and mid-range properties to choose from during your stay. Kahului is also located in the center of Maui’s north shore, so you can easily get to west Maui, south Maui, and Upcountry Maui in no time.

Best Places to Stay in North Maui

Kapalua & Kaanapali (West Maui)

Aerial view of Kapalua Bay Maui

Aside from Wailea, Kapalua and Kaanapali Beach in west Maui are the other main resort areas. In Kapalua, you can find a few ultra-luxury resorts along with many moderately-priced vacation rentals.

Kaanapali has beautiful beaches and even more resorts than Wailea. Resorts in Kaanapali are mid-range (for Hawaii) and are perfect for families and couples.

Best Places to Stay in West Maui

What to Pack for Maui

Protect yourself and marine life by packing reef-safe sunscreen. A law in Hawaii bans the sale of sunscreen containing oxybenzone and/or octinoxate because of how damaging these chemicals are to the living coral reef. It’s the right thing to do.

As Maui weather is warm and humid year-round, you’ll probably want to opt for sandals instead of shoes unless you plan to do a lot of hiking. Check out these top travel sandals

Lightweight clothing will be your best friend while visiting Maui. Snorkel gear, a beach towel, and other items may also be essential if you’re not staying at a resort that provides these items.

Although a bathing suit is a given to put in your suitcase, pack appropriate (read: warm) attire if you plan to visit the summit area of Haleakalā National Park. Temperatures range from 30 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit most mornings and can dip below freezing with the windchill.

The National Park Service recommends bringing the following as the weather can change dramatically without warning:

Rent a Car

I highly recommend renting a car in Maui to take the Road to Hana and explore off-the-beaten paths on your own. Ubers and taxis are also plentiful but may come with a high cost if you plan to go across the island.  

Whether you plan things to do in Maui every day or decide to do a lot of nothing, you will never want to leave and, quite possibly, start planning your next Maui itinerary before you even leave the island. It is a perfect paradise!

RentalCars.com allows you to compare rental companies to find the best rental car deals. It even offers a price-match guarantee and flexible bookings that are cancellable up to 48 hours in advance.

FAQs

What to not miss on your Maui trip?

When visiting Maui, be sure to check out Haleakala National Park, the Road to Hana, and a traditional luau. Maui is also a fantastic location for whale watching, swimming with Hawaiian green sea turtles, and snorkeling.

How many days in Maui are enough when visiting for the first time?

There are enough hikes, beaches, road excursions, and other experiences in Maui to keep you occupied for a week or more without ever wanting to leave. But if you’re island-hopping, I advise spending at least three days in Maui and a minimum of five days if this is your only stop.

What are the best months to visit Maui?

April to May and September to November are ideal for travel to Maui. While summer and winter are more expensive and crowded, spring and fall shoulder seasons offer Hawaii visitors the lovely weather they seek.

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