The Top 10 Things To Do On Maui

The island of Maui is incredibly diverse and offers so many wonderful experiences and attractions, where do you begin? What are the “MUST” things to do on Maui? I’ve developed this list based on actual visitor statistics – these are the most popular things people do when they visit our beautiful island.

NOTE: This blog was updated in November 2021, but due to the continuing impacts of COVID-19, some of the businesses, events, or activities mentioned in the blog could possibly change their operations. Please check with these places directly to verify their current operating status and hours. Mahalo!

TOP TEN THINGS TO DO ON MAUI

 

HALEAKALA

Top 10 things to do on Maui:  Mount HaleakalaA visit to Haleakala National Park tops the list of things to do on Maui. Haleakala is the huge mountain that dominates the southeastern half of the island of Maui. Haleakala (pronounced “hah-lay-ah-kah-lah”), which means “house of the sun,” is the largest dormant volcano in the world. Rising 10,023 feet above sea level, the greater portion of this massive mountain lies below the ocean. If measured from the sea floor, Haleakala would rise to a height of nearly 30,000 feet. You can drive to the summit of Haleakala yourself, enjoy a guided tour, or experience Haleakala on foot — it offers incredible hiking.

 

 

Top 10 things to do on Maui:  sunrise from Mount HaleakalaViewing the sunrise from the top of Haleakala (pictured here) is one of the most popular things to do on Maui, but it likely means you will have to drag yourself out of a warm comfy bed at around 3 a.m., make a two-hour (or longer) drive up to the summit, and bundle up in every piece of clothing you have in your suitcase because the temperature and wind chill will make it frigid. So, yes, the sunrise can be magical from this viewpoint at the top of the world, but it’s definitely not the most comfortable time of day to view Haleakala. (NOTE: As of 2017, an advance reservation is required for sunrise watchers.)  The view from the summit is absolutely breathtaking and awe-inspiring at ANY time of day, as you stand above the clouds gazing over the vast volcanic crater with all of Maui at your feet. No matter what time of day you go, make sure you get information on current Haleakala weather, alerts, and viewing conditions before heading up the mountain. And bring a jacket or blanket, as the summit temperature can be 30 degrees cooler than the coastal areas, and the winds are fierce. It’s coooooooold up there. More info on how to enjoy the Haleakala Sunrise.

 

THE ROAD TO HANA

Top 10 things to do on Maui: waterfalls on the road to HanaThe second most popular attraction on Maui is the spectacular road to Hana. This twisting, narrow two-lane road starts on Maui’s northern shore and meanders along the coastline to the tiny East Maui town of Hana, a quiet Hawaiian community surrounded by lush pastures dotted with white-faced cattle. You must approach the Hana Highway with the understanding that the town of Hana is not the destination; the journey itself is the destination. There is no way to rush on the road to Hana, and you wouldn’t want to anyway, as you would miss the whole point. Allow approximately 2 hours one-way from Kahului if you don’t stop along the way, but you’ll surely want to stop to view the roadside waterfalls, lush rainforests, wild guava and fragrant ginger along the roadside, with numerous options for scenic picnic stops. On a map, it may appear you could make the 54-mile journey from Kahului to Hana in much less than two hours, but there are 617 curves—many of them hairpin–and 54 one-lane bridges along this narrow road. Rather than drive in and drive out in one day, consider staying for a few days in Hana to more fully explore and embrace this unique and beautiful part of the island. Here are some great book-direct Hana condos and vacation rentals

The road to Hana is a glorious full-day excursion. If you are going to make the drive on your own, allow plenty of time to enjoy it. Be cautious on the road, respectful of the environment, and courteous to other drivers (especially local commuters who are trying to get past you).  Or better yet, let an expert guide do the driving! There are several reputable tour companies that specialize in small-group Road To Hana tours.

 

SHOPPING

Top 10 things to do on Maui:  colorful island-style fabrics
Photo © Polinahe Photography

Of course! Chances are you will end up buying something during your visit, so shopping ranks high on the list of the Top 10 Things to Do on Maui. You will find no lack of opportunities from large shopping malls with designer brands to tiny off-the-beaten-path shops and boutiques. You might even stop in for a sandwich somewhere and end up buying a piece of Maui art right off the wall. My favorite place to take visiting friends and family for a local shopping experience: Maui’s biggest Swap Meet takes place every Saturday from 7am to 1pm at the UH Maui College campus in Kahului. It’s a fun way to spend the morning. (But only if the weather is good. It’s outdoors, so don’t head over there on a stormy day!) You’ll see a mix of both visitors and locals wandering through the rows of booths. One-of-a-kind arts and crafts, souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, local food, flowers, produce, and everything else under the sun from a wide range of vendors. More Maui Shopping Tips

 

BEACHES

Top 10 things to do on Maui:  Maui beach and oceanMaui’s beaches are each unique and special, ranging from small coves to vast stretches, with sand that can be white, golden, brown, black, or more exotic shades like red or green. Many are well equipped with picnic areas, beach showers and restroom facilities; a few still remain remote and unspoiled. Each beach has its own character — some (like Hookipa on the North Shore) are world-famous for surfing or windsurfing, some are perfect for strolling, some for swimming, snorkeling, or families with young children. There is something for everyone, with 81 accessible beaches on this island and 120 miles of coastline. All Maui beaches are public beaches — there is no such thing as a private beach on Maui. And most have public access readily provided. Look for the beach access signs along the road and adjacent to resorts. Sometimes the beach access is a bit tricky to find, and parking may be limited. So plan to arrive early in the day at the most popular beaches. More Maui Beach Tips.

 

OCEAN ACTIVITIES

Top 10 things to do on Maui:  man windsurfingLolling around on the beach is one thing. Actually getting into (or onto, in some cases) the water is a whole ‘nother story! There are plenty of opportunities on Maui to experience ocean-based activities on your own, by taking lessons, or through organized ocean excursions. Whale watching and sunset cruises, boat tours of all kinds, kayaking, outrigger canoeing, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, surfing, kiteboarding, windsurfing, jet skiing, parasailing, stand up paddling (SUP). It’s all here waiting for you.

No discussion of Maui beaches and ocean activities is complete without a word of caution, however. Winds and currents can be powerful, and ocean conditions can change unexpectedly, so heed all warning signs when visiting Maui’s beaches and listen to locals if they warn you about something. And be diligent in applying and reapplying the sunscreen (use ONLY reef-safe sunscreen–see my Beach Tips for more info). Maui’s tropical sun can burn you fast, even on a cloudy day, and nothing can ruin a vacation faster than a nasty sunburn.

 

GOLF

Top 10 things to do on Maui: golf course view to ocean

 

Maui is truly a golfer’s paradise. Boasting multiple spectacular golf courses available for public play, the island offers a tremendous variety of golf experiences, including some of the most highly-ranked courses in the nation. Whether you are a novice or a scratch golfer, you’ll find Maui’s golf courses to be both challenging and memorable, and the views utterly breathtaking. There is no better place to learn the game, as most courses offer private lessons, clinics or even golf academies. So get out and hit the links! (And take your camera.)

 

DINING

Top 10 things to do on Maui: loco moco with gravy on the sideEverybody has to eat, so of course dining is one of the most popular things to do on Maui! The choices are vast, from small mom-and-pop cafes to elaborate celebrity-chef restaurants. Expand your horizons and try a little bit of everything on Maui – a Hawaiian-style “fast food” place (like Zippys in Kahului), a fine dining restaurant featuring Hawaii Regional Cuisine (in particular, Wailea, Kaanapali, and Kapalua have many fine dining options), some local favorites like spam musubi or loco moco (pictured), or some of the many ethnic foods that are represented in our islands (like Portuguese malasadas or Hawaiian laulau). 

Eating in Maui can be a great adventure! For some of my personal favorites, see the Dining section.

 

CULTURAL/HISTORICAL ACTIVITIES

Top 10 things to do on Maui:  hula dancer on the beach
Photo © Polinahe Photography

Hawaii’s rich culture is utterly unique in the world, and you cannot visit Maui without experiencing the island’s cultural traditions in some way, whether it be food, dance, music, language, legends, or arts and crafts. You will undoubtedly experience hula during your visit. Many resorts and shopping centers offer free hula shows. There are also plenty of museums, festivals, special programs, and tours that will immerse you in Hawaiian culture. And if you attend a luau, you’ll have a chance to sample poi—a staple of the Hawaiian diet for centuries. Poi is also available in island grocery stores, by the way, if you decide you really love it! 

 

ENTERTAINMENT

Top 10 things to do on Maui:  ukulele playerMusic is a part of Hawaii’s heritage, so you will hear live music in many venues on Maui – at your hotel, in restaurants, at shopping centers, at the beach, in parks. There are also many wonderful and entertaining shows on Maui! And drop in on the Town Parties (temporarily suspended due to COVID) that take place on Fridays in different areas of the island, rotating between the towns of Wailuku (central Maui), Lahaina (west Maui), Makawao (upcountry Maui), and Kihei (south Maui). Featuring local food and entertainment, the town parties are great fun for both visitors and locals.

 

SIGHTSEEING

Top 10 Things to do on Maui: Iao Needle and stream
Photo © Polinahe Photography

 

 

 

 

There are plenty of sights to see on Maui besides Haleakala and the road to Hana. Iao Valley State Park (pictured) is wonderful for photography and hiking. Hookipa Beach on the north shore is a great place to watch big-wave surfers and windsurfers. Maui’s small towns, such as Wailuku, Paia, Makawao, and Lahaina, offer local flavor and great strolling, and Lahaina’s landmark banyan tree is a wonder of nature — dozens of massive trunks are spread over nearly an acre of land with a canopy of green leaves overhead. You can spend a full day exploring Upcountry Maui (on the slopes of Haleakala), with its charming little towns, vast pasture lands, and incredible views of the entire island. There are a number of Upcountry botanical gardens and farms to tour–including a goat farm, lavender farm, and a vodka farm! And the fabulous Maui Ocean Center, a world-class aquarium, is situated right in the center of the island at Maalaea Bay. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Looking for great places to stay on Maui? You’ll save by BOOKING DIRECTLY with the owners/managers of these accommodations.
  • Looking for Maui deals? Sign up here for our free monthly Maui Deals & Steals enewsletter with the latest book-direct deals from our advertisers.  

 

Happy Travels!

Questions? Comments? Drop us a line: Blog@MauiAccommodations.com

(Note: We recognize and respect the significance of the ‘okina and kahakō markings in the written Hawaiian language; however, we have omitted those diacritical markings on our site in order to integrate with the more common spellings used in online searches.)

©Copyright 2015-Present Maui Accommodations Guide. If you wish to share content from our site, you may do so only by publishing a link to our original content on MauiAccommodations.com, so full and clear credit is given to us. Any other unauthorized use and/or duplication of any materials on this site (either text or photos) without our express and written permission is strictly prohibited. For permission to use excerpts or photos from our site, please contact the publisher. Mahalo!

 

The Best Time to Visit Maui

People often ask me “When is the best time to visit Maui?” My answer? “It depends.” Why are you coming to Maui? What do you want to do here? If your primary goal is to thaw out during the winter months in a warm climate, then by all means winter is the best time to visit Maui. If you want to enjoy a summer vacation with your family, then summer is the time for you to come. If you want to do some whale watching, you must come in winter. If you want to experience parasailing, you must NOT come in winter (further explanation below). If you want the least expensive time of year on Maui, don’t come at Christmas. Following are some considerations to help you determine the best time to visit Maui for YOU personally.

NOTE: Due to the impacts of COVID-19, some of the businesses, events, or activities mentioned in this blog may have changed their operations temporarily or permanently. As things change constantly through this pandemic, please check with businesses directly to verify their operating status and hours. Mahalo!

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT MAUI?

Weather Conditions

best time to visit Maui: double rainbow over oceanOur mild tropical climate makes Maui a year-round destination. For the most part, the days are warm and sunny with temperatures averaging in the 70s and 80s (Fahrenheit) throughout the year. So weather-wise, there is no “bad” time of year to visit Maui. 

We have two seasons, winter and summer, and the temperature varies by only a few degrees between the two. The winter season (approximately October through April) tends to be a slightly rainier and cooler period; the summer season (approximately May through September) tends to be drier and warmer, with slightly more humidity. Although there is more chance of rain in the winter months, it can rain at any time on any day throughout the year. Usually (thankfully) the rain doesn’t last more than a few minutes to a few hours, but occasionally we do get a stretch of several rainy days. So, it’s a good idea to be prepared with some ideas for rainy day activities, just in case. 

 

Hurricane season in Hawaii is June through November. Hawaii is not as prone to hurricanes as many other locales (such as the Caribbean), so it’s not likely you will experience one here. We occasionally have a hurricane storm pass near the islands, kicking up some interesting waves and weather for a day or so. But the last time the Hawaiian Islands were actually struck full force by a hurricane was September 11, 1992 when Hurricane Iniki hit the island of Kauai head on.

Low Season vs. High Season

best time to visit Maui: Christmas lights on palm treeThe terms “low season” and “high season” simply describe the periods on Maui with the least visitors and most visitors. High season—the busiest and most expensive time of year on Maui—is generally winter (when it’s freezing cold elsewhere!) and summer (the most popular family vacation time). Low season falls primarily in spring and fall, with a short period in January as well (see breakdown of months below). Spring and fall are excellent times to visit. Fewer crowds. Less traffic. Lower prices. 

 

Many Maui accommodations and activities offer discounted prices during low season, although the exact dates vary from business to business so make sure you check their web sites for their specific low season dates. You’re likely to find better prices on airfare and car rentals, and more Maui vacation packages at reduced prices during low season periods. At the other end of the spectrum, the Holiday Season around Christmas and New Years is the busiest season of the year, with bookings required well in advance for your Maui lodging, strict cancellation policies, and generally the highest prices for both lodging and airfare.

High Season in Maui:

  • Winter – Approximately mid-January to mid-April
  • Summer – Approximately mid-June to mid-August
  • Holiday Season (the highest of the High Season): Approximately Dec 20 – Jan 4

Low Season in Maui:

  • Early-January (the 1- to 2-week period right after the New Years holiday period)
  • Spring – Approximately late April to early June
  • Fall – Approximately mid/late August to mid-December

Seasonal Events and Attractions

best time to visit Maui: whaleWhat do you want to do while you’re here? All of the most popular things to do in Maui (like snorkeling) are available year-round, with just a few exceptions. For instance, whale-watching season is mid-December to mid-May, with the peak months being February and March. During whale season, some ocean activities are prohibited, such as jet ski and parasailing operations. So if either of those two Maui activities is on your bucket list, don’t visit during whale season. For avid surfers, winter surfing is the best (at its most challenging), with the most likelihood that you will catch some big—maybe even monster–waves. On the other hand, some hiking trails might be impacted during the winter months due to the rainier weather conditions. So, if there are specific activities you want to experience, do a little research in advance to make sure you’re not going to be disappointed when you arrive.

 

best time to visit Maui: costumed horseback riders in parade on Front Street
                    Photo ©Polinahe Photography

You might also consider timing your visit to Maui around a special event here on the island. Hawaii state holidays Prince Kuhio Day (March 26) and King Kamehameha Day (June 11) are often celebrated with parades (Kamehameha parade is pictured), festivals, or other cultural events. The statewide observance of “Festivals of Aloha” takes place on Maui each fall (dates change from year to year), and Maui boasts many other wonderful cultural events, festivals, and special attractions throughout the year.  A quick internet search for Maui events will unveil a world of possibilities. Interested in a ukulele festival? A chocolate tasting, wine and food event, or taro festival? A PGA golf tournament? A local parade? A hula competition? A canoe race? A marathon? A film festival? We have all that and more on Maui! See my blogs on things to do on Maui in Spring. . . Summer. . .Fall. . . Winter.

 

So, when is “the best time to visit Maui?” My answer: “Whenever you want to go!”

 

  • Looking for great places to stay on Maui? You’ll save by BOOKING DIRECTLY with the owners/managers of these accommodations.
  • Looking for Maui deals? Sign up here for our free monthly Maui Deals & Steals enewsletter with the latest book-direct deals from our advertisers.  

 

Happy Travels!

Questions? Comments? Drop me a line: Blog@MauiAccommodations.com

 (Note: We recognize and respect the significance of the ‘okina and kahakō markings in the written Hawaiian language; however, we have omitted those diacritical markings on our site in order to integrate with the more common spellings used in online searches.)

©Copyright 2015-Present Maui Accommodations Guide. If you wish to share content from our site, you may do so only by publishing a link to our original content on MauiAccommodations.com, so full and clear credit is given to us. Any other unauthorized use and/or duplication of any materials on this site (either text or photos) without our express and written permission is strictly prohibited. For permission to use excerpts or photos from our site, please contact the publisher. Mahalo!

 

Maui Map, Regions and Towns

Maui can be divided into a half-dozen island regions, each with a unique character and personality. Below is a Maui map and brief description of each of the island’s regions, towns, and neighborhoods—a quick overview to orient you to the island. For additional help, see How To Choose Where To Stay On Maui.

Maui map

 

South Maui Map & Information

regions_03
South Maui includes the towns of Maalaea, Kihei, Wailea and Makena. Known for its dry, sunny climate, South Maui is one of the two most popular island regions for Maui visitors (the other being West Maui). Maalaea is a peaceful little village situated on a scenic harbor and a three-mile beach extending to Kihei. Kihei is a bustling town loaded with shopping, dining, and activity options, boasting a series of wide beaches and well-equipped beach parks. Wailea and Makena are beautifully manicured resort communities featuring upscale accommodations, shopping, and golf courses on prime beachfront land. South Maui hotels & resorts, South Maui condos, and South Maui homes, cottages, and b&bs.

West Maui Map & Information

regions1
West Maui is isolated from the rest of the island by a long stretch of two-lane oceanfront highway that is so close to the water cars often get sprayed by the waves! Lahaina, once a historic whaling port, is a charming waterfront town offering delightful inns, restaurants, art galleries, and shops. The Kaanapali Beach Resort area is a lovely, master-planned development featuring well-known resorts, condos, golf, and a shopping center lining the beach. Honokowai, Kahana and Napili are smaller, more rural communities stretching several miles along the coastline, featuring public beach parks, mom-and-pop stores and a wide array of accommodations. Kapalua is a beautiful resort community known for its world-class golf and luxury accommodations. West Maui hotels & resorts, West Maui condos, and West Maui homes, cottages and b&bs.

Central Maui Map & Information

regions2
Central Maui encompasses the towns of Kahului and Wailuku. Chances are you will first arrive at Kahului, where Maui’s major airport is located. Kahului is the island’s thriving residential and commercial center—the closest we come to an actual “city” on Maui. Nearby, historic Wailuku serves as Maui’s seat of County government, yet still carries its “small town charm” from times past. Nestled against a backdrop of magnificent mountains, Wailuku is home to many family businesses, locally-made products and quaint cafes and restaurants.

North Shore Maui Map & Information

regions3
The North Shore of Maui is best known for the internationally acclaimed Hookipa Beach Park, dubbed the “windsurfing capital of the world,” and the historic plantation town of Paia. Reminiscent of the early sugar cane era, Paia’s wooden buildings are now filled with a wonderful collection of boutiques, cafes, art galleries, and gift shops. Maui’s North Shore is appreciated for its peaceful ambiance and rugged, natural beauty. North Shore and Upcountry accommodations.

Upcountry Maui Map & Information

regions4
Upcountry is the term used to describe the communities that are built inland on the western slopes of Haleakala, the massive mountain (a dormant volcano) that dominates the eastern half of the island. The Upcountry experience is completely different from the coastal experience on Maui, and some visitors opt to do both, spending a portion of their vacation in an Upcountry vacation home or b&b. Upcountry Maui offers cooler temperatures due to its higher elevation, lush pastures and farms, botanical gardens, a number of small, charming towns, a variety of mountain-oriented activities, and spectacular panoramic views of the island and beyond. Upcountry b&bs.

East Maui Map & Information

regions5
East Maui includes the remote Hawaiian community of Hana and the breathtaking scenery and tiny residential enclaves you pass enroute on the Hana Highway. From Kahului, it takes approximately two hours to reach Hana—if you don’t stop along the way. But that would be a mistake, as the road to Hana is itself an incredible experience, offering many roadside viewpoints, waterfalls, and picnic areas beckoning travelers to stop and linger. The Hana area is known for its unspoiled beauty, cultural heritage, many natural attractions, and lovely beaches. East Maui condos and homes & cottages.

Molokai Information

molokai
The island of Molokai, Maui’s sister island, is refreshingly undeveloped. You’ll find no high rise buildings, mega-malls, or traffic jams here — not even a traffic light! Molokai is truly a special getaway, offering a slower-paced lifestyle and many cultural, outdoor and ocean-related adventures, horseback riding, hiking through lush valleys, kayaking, snorkeling, or just relaxing on an uncrowded beach. The island offers many natural attractions to explore and a wonderful place to unwind. 
 
 
TIP: You can see live webcams in various parts of Maui for a real-time view!
 
  • Looking for great places to stay on Maui? You’ll save by BOOKING DIRECTLY with the owners/managers of these accommodations.
  • Looking for Maui deals? Sign up here for our free monthly Maui Deals & Steals enewsletter with the latest book-direct deals from our advertisers.  

 

Happy Travels!

 

Questions? Comments? Drop me a line: blog email

(Note: We recognize and respect the significance of the ‘okina and kahakō markings in the written Hawaiian language; however, we have omitted those diacritical markings on our site in order to integrate with the more common spellings used in online searches.)

©Copyright 2015-Present Maui Accommodations Guide. If you wish to share content from our site, you may do so only by publishing a link to our original content on MauiAccommodations.com, so full and clear credit is given to us. Any other unauthorized use and/or duplication of any materials on this site (either text or photos) without our express and written permission is strictly prohibited. For permission to use excerpts or photos from our site, please contact the publisher. Mahalo!

Hanalei Colony Resort – Island of Kauai

Hanalei Colony is an intimate little resort situated on a long curve of uncrowded beach near the end of the road on Kauai’s spectacular north shore. Nestled on five beachfront acres, the resort’s 48 units are all two-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens and private lanais (patios), all with sweeping views of Hanalei Bay or Kauai’s lush north shore mountains. Described as “unspoiled and unplugged,” the resort prides itself on its peaceful ambiance and secluded location set amidst astounding natural beauty. Amenities include an adjacent restaurant, day spa, and coffee and gift shop. 

Pride of Maui

Pride of Maui is a 65-foot Maxi Power Catamaran built specifically for Hawaii’s waters, featuring superior stability, comfort, and deck space. Enjoy a variety of snorkeling, SNUBA, and SCUBA diving tours. Explore the spectacular underwater world of Molokini crater. Or climb aboard for a whale watching or sunset cocktail cruise!

Leilani

Leilani Maui boat tours feature a 50-foot Uniflite motor yacht built for comfort and specializing in small-group tours. The number of passengers is limited, so you’ll enjoy a more personal and leisurely experience. Daily snorkeling excursions and SNUBA, or charter Leilani Maui boat tours for your own family, friends, or group snorkeling or SCUBA adventure! 

Hale Napili

Boasting a prime location on one of Maui’s most popular bays, Hale Napili is a small, intimate property nestled on beautiful Napili Beach. Friendly and easy-going, Hale Napili offers 18 comfortable 1-bedroom and studio condos, all individually owned and furnished in keeping with Hale Napili’s emphasis on comfort, convenience, and service for its guests. Units at this Napili resort feature Hawaiian-style decor, overhead fans, and private lanais, as well as free Wi-Fi, phone, and cable TV. Amenities also include a free guest laundry facility, complimentary daily coffee, lawn chairs and umbrellas, oceanfront bbqs and picnic tables, and shuffleboard.

(Not sure where this is? Here’s an overview of Maui’s regions and towns.)

Hawaii TAT Tax ID # TA-211-265-3312-01