The Ultimate Maui Itinerary [2024]

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Between its pristine beaches, lush jungles, and volcanoes towering 10,000 feet overhead, Maui is an incredible destination for a tropical getaway. But with seemingly endless outdoor adventures to be had (snorkeling! hiking! respectfully stalking whales!), it can be hard to know where to spend your precious time in this paradise on earth.

While you’ll barely be able to scratch the surface of Maui during a single visit, here’s a Maui itinerary for 8 days on the island- plus suggestions if you have less time!- to squeeze in as much adventure as you possibly can.

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Table of Contents:


Pssst… are you headed to Maui? Color me jealous- I LOVE Hawai’i! Consider checking out our other posts about about Maui:

August 2023 Update: Certain areas of Maui, including Lahaina, are currently devastated by wildfires. Please be sure to double check whether places are open and accessible and be even more kind, respectful, and patient with the land and the locals than you generally would be.

Before we dive in, let’s chat about some of the most some common questions people have about visiting Maui (or, if you’re raring to talk about all things what-to-do-in-Maui, you can jump right to our Maui itinerary here)!

How to Get Around Maui

If you’re wondering whether you need a rental car in Maui to get around, the answer is almost always going to be yes, unless you plan on hanging out at your resort the whole time (which I would strongly advise against!). While there is public transit on the island, it’s quite limited and, given how spread out and large Maui is, you’ll wind up spending the majority of your time waiting and navigating on the bus.

With a rental car, on the other hand, you’ll have total freedom and flexibility. Luckily, there’s plenty of rental cars available at Kahului Airport, the main international airport on the island.

But you should definitely book your rental car as early as you possibly can!Rental cars are extremely expensive in Maui (i.e., it can be challenging to find cars that are under $100 per day) and you’ll be able to snag a much better deal the earlier you book.

Lush greenery around the Road to Hana in Maui
Kind of a ridiculous tip, but here goes- be sure to test out your rental car’s horn before you leave the lot. My husband, Justin, and I rented a vehicle from a discount car place and found out that a variety of things, like the air conditioning and more alarmingly, the horn, did not work while on the road. Maui has a ton of one-way, curvy roads, like the Road to Hana, and accordingly, a horn is kind of a necessary accessory.

How Long to Stay in Maui

Listen- over the course of my life, I’ve been to Maui four times, staying around four to five days each time- and I’ve still not seen anywhere close to everything on the island!

While many travelers visit for a long weekend-type getaway here, it honestly wouldn’t be my first recommendation- between how spread out Maui is (fun fact: it’s the second largest Hawaiian island), the time zone difference most travelers will be grappling with, and the sheer amount of stuff to see and do here, a short getaway will certainly leave you wanting more.

Sunset along the cliffs in Hana, Maui

So what’s the perfect amount of time on the island? I’d say at least 7 days- with any extra days allowing you to have a slightly less jam-packed itinerary. 

When to Visit Maui

There is no real bad time to visit Maui- temperatures consistently hover from the high 70s to the mid-80s year round. That being said, the “rainy” season here is November through April, with the dry season from May through September- although I honestly wouldn’t put too much stock into these periods.

Couple watching sunset at Haleakala National Park in Maui

We last visited Maui in February and didn’t experience a single drop of rain throughout our entire stay! It’s also important to note that, because there’s a variety of ecosystems on the island (with the southern and western side being dry and sunny and the eastern side having weather you’d expect in a rainforest), it rarely rains across the entire island at one time.

Another factor to consider is whether you want to align your trip with the humpback whales, who migrate to the Hawaiian Islands’ waters from November through May to breed and raise their babies. One of the most magical experiences of my life was watching a mama humpback whale teaching her calf how to leap out of the water and flop on its side on a whale-watching cruise here- so if you can swing a visit during this period (and who doesn’t want to get away in the cold winter and rainy springtime?!), I’d highly recommend it.

For the most affordable airfare and accommodations and fewer crowds, you should consider checking out April through May or September through November, which are considered Maui’s low months. No matter when you visit, though, expect to pay a pretty penny- but Maui is worth it!

Where to Stay in Maui

We wrote a whole post all about where to stay in Maui, but if you want the TLDR, we’d generally recommend that most travelers base themselves in either Lahaina, the Kihei area, or Paia.

Stay in Lahaina

Lahaina, nestled between the shores of the Pacific and the massive West Maui islands, is a charming town on the far-west side of the island. With proximity to awesome beaches, a cute little downtown area filled with bustling restaurants and bars, and accessibility to many tours that leave Lahaina’s docks, this is an excellent spot to call home during your time on the island.

Lahaina is actually more than just a tourist town full of kitschy restaurants- it was once the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii and the home of the beloved King Kamehameha III. Today, you’ll find a whopping 62 historic sites (several of which are National Historic Landmarks) sprinkled throughout its downtown and the surrounding area, making this one of the best places to get a better understanding of this incredible island’s history and culture.

Beach in Lahaina, Maui

Consider:

  • Best Western Pioneer Inn: While I usually wouldn’t recommend that you stay in a Best Western, I try to offer accommodations in a variety of budgets- and this one is definitely on the cheaper end of the spectrum. Plus with its historic building from 1901 and location in downtown Lahaina, it’s kind of an awesome option.
  • Napili Sunset Beachfront Resort: This clean and comfortable resort is located right on Napili Beach, with incredible snorkeling and even better sunsets. With friendly service, beautiful grounds, and all the amenities you’d want in a resort, like a pool and hot tub, it’s no wonder that Frommers listed this as one of the top ten beach hotels in the world!

Stay in Kihei

Kihei is located on the southwestern side of the island and tends to be drier and sunnier than most other parts of Maui- which means GREAT beach weather, baby!

It’s also more centrally located than some of the other big hotel hubs, meaning you’ll have slightly less of a long drive to, say, the summit of Haleakalā or the beginning of the Road to Hana- plus there’s many tours that leave from Kihei’s harbor as well.

Most of the awesome things to do in Kihei revolve around its gorgeous beaches- unlike some of the other places to stay in Maui, there isn’t a super walkable downtown area here. That being said, there’s still a lot of great restaurants around (like Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade and Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice)!

Consider:

  • Maui Coast Hotel: This hotel has a unique focus on sustainability, from its array of solar panels, water conservation program, and use of environmentally-friendly cleaners. In addition to its eco-friendly choices, you’ll also get access to resort-like amenities, like a pool surrounded by swaying palm trees and a sun-deck to take in the spectacular sunsets.
  • Aston Maui Hill: With roomy suites, including kitchens, staff members that are truly willing to go above and beyond, and fun perks, like a weekly mai tai party, this is one of the best values in the Kihei area.
  • Fairmont Kea Lani: If you’re looking to splurge on a bougie stay, the Fairmont, located in Kihei’s neighbor, Wailea, a luxury resort town, offers everything you’d possibly want out from upscale accommodations- impeccably manicured grounds, world-class service, and cabana-style suites.

Stay in Paia

If I had a twin flame town in Maui, it would probably be Pāʻia- this colorful little town exudes all the hippie and surfer vibes, with tons of cute coffee shops and boutiques hawking hand-crafted goods. It’s also pretty conveniently located on the central north shore of Maui and is right at the start of the Road to Hana, allowing you to get a bright and early start when you embark on that adventure!

Colorful surfboards lining the street in Paia, Maui

Consider: 

  • Paia Inn: A hip boutique hotel in a laid back surfer town, with proximity to both the beach and Pāʻia’s cute shops and restaurants, an excellent onsite bar, and accommodating and friendly staff- plus, like, a REALLY cool atmosphere.

8-Day Maui Itinerary

Spending 8 days on Maui? Here’s exactly how you can spend your time exploring this incredible island, including plenty of amazing hikes, beaches, outdoor adventures, and yummy eats along the way.

If, on the other hand, you have less time on Maui, not to worry (there’s no worries on island time, baby!)- just pick and choose the days or even the activities that excite you the most! I grouped each days’ activities largely based on their proximity to one another and so that, no matter where your homebase is, you’ll have a few days that are less driving intensive than some of the others- but feel free to shuffle these activities however you see fit. 

Sunset on a beach on Maui

While Maui is quite spread out, it only takes about three hours to drive from one side of the island to the other- so you’re never really ever that far away from whatever adventure sounds best to you!

Day 1: Arrival day and beach chilling

  • You’re probably arriving at Maui’s airport in the afternoon or evening. Pick up your rental car, drive to your hotel, and use all those relaxation-after-a-long-flight life hacks you picked up from Die Hard (fists with your toes- IYKYK).
  • If you’re feeling up to do something on your first day, grab your towel and spend the rest of the day lazing on the beach near your hotel.

    Some beach recommendations depending on where you’re staying:
    • Lahaina: Napili Bay
    • Pāʻia: Kaulahao Beach (it’s an awesome spot to see turtles!)
    • Kihei: Charley Young Beach (protip- time your visit with sunset for a real treat!)
Beach on Maui

Day 2: Whales, touristy shops (we all secretly love ‘em), and cliff-jumping

  • If you’re from the mainland United States, you’ll probably wake up bright and early, so, if you’re visiting from November through May, why don’t you use your jet-lag super power to hit up a sunrise whale-watching cruise from Lahaina harbor? I’d highly recommend doing an early morning tour- you’ll get to see sunrise from the water, the tours are usually way less crowded and cheaper (many cruises offer a discount, given the early morning wake-up call), and the soft early morning light is so pretty.

    During our last visit to Maui, we booked our tour with Pacwhale Eco Adventures, because their profits directly support their sister company, Pacific Whale Foundation, an actual nonprofit dedicated to the research and conservation of whales, dolphins, and other marine life.

    Beyond just supporting a company that I know is doing good in the world, it’s undoubtedly one of the best whale watching tours in Maui– our tour guides were so knowledgeable and it was clear they cared about bettering the ocean (e.g., steering the boat out of the way to pick up trash that was floating by).

    Not visiting during whale season? Not to worry- they also have plenty of snorkeling tours, like this one, where you’ll snorkel in a colorful coral reef with a certified marine naturalist and get to watch dolphins playing in the waves around your boat. 

    As an aside, Hawaii has made it illegal to swim with dolphins in its waters, as of late 2021, due to how many people were crowding- and basically harassing- them during the daytime, when these nocturnal creatures rest (this is why we can’t have nice things). So friendly reminder to give all wildlife space and respect, so we can continue observing these incredible critters in a non-harmful manner.
  • Grab some much needed coffee and breakfast grub at the beloved Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop, which dishes up self-proclaimed “glorified grandma comfort food.” Basically, all my favorite things!
  • Spend the rest of the morning wandering around Lahaina, including poking around the cute, if not touristy, stores on Front Street. Also, be sure to pop into the Lahaina Visitor Center in the Old Courthouse to pick up a historical walking guide to some of the remnants of the Kingdom of Hawaii’s capital here, which will help shine a light on the complex history of the islands.
Bakery in Lahaina, Maui
  • For a lunch with a view, stop by Lahaina Fish Co., right on the harborfront. Don’t forget to grab a slice of the Tutu’s Dark Secret pie, which combines all my faves- dark chocolate, coconut, and coffee!
  • Spend the rest of the afternoon at Black Rock Beach in Ka’anapali, which is a great place to cliff jump into the Pacific’s blue waters and is even a great place to spot turtles.

    Alternatively, are you looking for something a bit more adventurous to do than laying on the beach (true story- I’m very terrible at just relaxing and basking in the sun, so I’m sure there are others out there)?

    Consider hopping a ferry over to the neighboring island of Lanai. Here, you can snorkel at Hulopoe Bay Beach, see stunning cliffs along the Pu’upehe Trail, and experience some of the other incredible things to do in Lanai!
Black Rock Beach in Maui
  • Grab dinner and drinks at Captain Jack’s back in Lahaina, which offers open-air balcony dining and strong drinks (get the lava flow!) in a lively atmosphere (pssst… if you head here early enough, there’s a pretty solid happy hour between 2-5 pm every day). 

Day 3: Road to Hana

You’re still probably jet-lagged so how about another early morning start? This time we’re hitting up one of the most famous adventures in Maui- the Road to Hana

What is the Road to Hana, you ask?

Well, friends, it’s a 65-mile road that winds from the aforementioned adorable town of Pāʻia to Hana, on the island’s far eastern side. The road famously snakes across over 600 curves, crosses 59 bridges, and has more than a few nail-bitingly one-way roads through some of the lushest rainforest landscapes you can imagine. Did I mention you should confirm that your rental car has a working horn?

Road to Hana on Maui

It may not seem like it will take you all day to drive 65 miles and back, but trust me, it will. You’ll pass countless waterfalls, hikes through the jungle, fruit stands, black sand beaches (and red sand beaches!), dudes selling ice cream out of their vans (don’t worry- it’s delicious)… there’s so much to see, do, and, well, eat along the way, it would be impossible to see it all in one day.

Here are the best Road to Hana stops:

1. Paia Bay Coffee

This place is SO frickin’ cute and is a great place to pick up coffee and breakfast to go. We ate here twice during our last trip (sorry, not sorry).

2. Ho’okipa Bay Beach Park

We stopped here because I had read that it was a great place to spot turtles, but we saw something entirely different here instead- big wave surfers! While the waves here in the wintertime looked pretty gnarly to be conducive to seeing lazy turtles (unless they’re actually Crush from Finding Nemo), it was just as much fun to watch these extreme athletes ride the massive waves.

3. Twin Falls

Beyond being one of the best hikes in Maui to three jaw-dropping waterfalls, there’s usually a food truck parked near the entrance of the farm here, that dishes out popsicles with actual sugarcane as the popsicle stick. Make it happen!

4. Honomanu Bay

Want a black sand beach, but basically, all to yourself? There’s no signs for it along the main road and it generally flies under the radar, so you’ll easily avoid some of the Road to Hana crowds here. Unless you’ve got, like, a really hardcore vehicle, though, you shouldn’t drive down the unmaintained road to the beach but you can easily just park and walk to it from here.

5. Upper Waikani Falls

A beautiful three-pronged waterfall, tucked into the lush rainforest.

6. Coconut Glen’s

On the Road to Hana, you’re never too far away from consuming something made out of coconuts. This time, it’s tasty ice cream!

7. Hana Farms

Grab lunch at this stand that kind of has it all- surprisingly tasty pizza, awesome baked goods (you gotta pick up a Road to Hana staple, banana bread), and a store selling some of the wares from its organic farm, like hot sauce and coffee.

8. Kaihalulu Beach

Adding some variety to the mix with a red sand beach.

9. Black Sand Beach at Wai’ānapanapa State Park

This beach is unquestionably one of the most dramatic ones you’ll see on the entire island and is rich with Hawaii’s history. Visiting here is a little confusing, though- in fact, you actually need reservations! Luckily, we wrote a whole post about everything you need to know about visiting Maui’s Black Sand Beach a (Hawaiian) breeze.

Black Sand Beach on Maui
10. Pools of ‘Ohe’o

A collection of about 20 waterfalls and pools in the ‘Ohe’o Gulch. Lots of folks on Tripadvisor are salty, because, while you used to be able to swim in these pools, the pools are now inaccessible (the system used to detect flashfloods here has been broken for a solid year or so). Still worth it, in my opinion!

11. Pipiwai Trail

A magical jaunt through a towering bamboo forest.

Boardwalk along the Pipiwai Trail in Maui

There’s SO much to see and do along this iconic road trip- so much so, in fact, that we wrote an entire blog post about the best Road to Hana stops so you can have the most epic time en route.

A few Road to Hana tips:

  • Bring cash– lots of places charge $5-$10 for parking and many of the cute fruit stands and the like along the way don’t take cards.
  • Wear some kind of hiking shoes or hiking sandals. True story- while hiking in Twin Falls along the Road to Hana, I stubbed my big toe on a river rock and ripped the nail clean off. Not only was this mega gross, it was also incredibly painful and, frankly, ruined a lot of our trip (not a lot of things you can do in Hawaii with a gaping wound on your foot…).

    Once we got home, I immediately bought some Tevas (Justin was smart enough to already have some) and I’ve never looked back since!
  • Between the waterfalls and the beaches, prepare to be in the water- a lot. I’d recommend wearing a swimsuit under your clothes– I have this one-piece that I love, which provides some modicum of support when I’m hiking, and here’s a solid option for the fellas.
Man looking at the ocean from the Black Sand Beach in Maui
  • If you like to have mega-chill vacations, I’d recommend evaluating whether it makes sense to stay the night in Hana, like at the luxe Hana Maui Resort.

    If you do the Road to Hana in just one day (which, to be clear, is what the vast majority of visitors do), driving back and forth can easily take you 15 hours- plus you’ll need to drive back to your accommodations while it’s pitch dark out along a super windy road that frequently drops down to just one-lane for both directions of traffic.

    On the other hand, if you spend the night in Hana, you can simply end your day relaxing on the Black Sand Beach after all the other tourists have left, having dinner at Hana’s tasty food trucks, like Ae’s Thai Kitchen (it’s so good, guys!), and leisurely make your return trip along the Road to Hana the following day, with some daylight and fresh coffee in your veins.
Waterfalls along the Road to Hana in Maui

If you do the Road to Hana as a day trip, just in time for dinner, you’ll drive right past Mama’s Fish House, which is widely regarded as one of the best restaurants on the island (meaning- you should make reservations, like, yesterday). The food here is amazing and the views are spectacular (you’re likely to see turtles on the neighboring beach!), but word of warning- it’s quite pricey! 

If you aren’t lucky enough to snag reservations at Mama’s Fish House or don’t want to blow half a paycheck on one meal, Cafe des Amis, a surprisingly delicious mixture of Indian, Mediterranean, and French food, is another fantastic option in Pāʻia.

Pssst.... are you interested in enjoying the Road to Hana but a little nervous about the aforementioned one-way roads? While this scenic drive can be perfectly safe, you can also choose to go on one of the many awesome Road to Hana tours, where you can let someone else sit in the driver's seat (literally!).

Day 4: Beach day and exploring the ‘Iao Valley

So our trip so far has been pretty jam-packed- so let’s take it down a notch, shall we?

  • Head to the beach town of Kihei– if you happen to be visiting on a Tuesday, kick off your morning with an acai bowl and a stiff cup of cold brew from Brekkie Bowls (I love the prevalence of both food trucks and acai bowls in Maui). It’s a little hard to find (you can find them here), but it’s usually parked in front of the Makena Crossfit Gym.

    Visiting on one of the other six days of the week? Head to Akamai Coffee for some seriously good coffee and tasty breakfast pastries.
  • Kihei is home to several incredible beaches to explore in the morning. Some of the best ones are Secret Cove, Kamaole Beach Park II and III (which, if you’re like me and exceedingly bad at just, like, laying on the beach, both have awesome snorkeling!), and Makena Beach
Aerial view of Makena Beach in Maui
  • For lunch, you can either check out any of the food trucks that usually are parked by Makena Beach, if that was your beach of choice, or, alternatively, check out Coconut’s Fish Cafe for some much deserved tacos after all that beach lounging.
  • Make the 25-minute drive west to the ‘Iao Valley State Monument, where you’ll make a short 0.6 mile hike to gaze up at the 1,200-foot ‘Iao Needle. This rocky outcropping, covered with lush greenery, is not only gorgeous but an important piece of Hawaiian history.

    In 1790, King Kamehameha I clashed with Maui’s army on this very spot to determine whether the Hawaiian Islands would be unified as one. Even with the advantage that Maui’s chiefs had from the Needle’s vantage point, Kamehameha prevailed, changing the course of the islands’ history forever. 

    Most visitors just simply walk along the Iao Needle Hike and head on right back to the car, but there’s plenty more to explore here. If you follow the walking path to the south of the monument, there’s some hiking trails along the ‘Iao River and several natural pools to relax in and take in the incredible lushness of the West Maui Mountains towering above you (word of warning- this water is FROSTY so it’s best on a hot day!).

    Before heading to the monument, though, it’s important to note that all non-residents need to make an online reservation on the Hawaii State Parks website for the date and timeslot of your choosing.
Mountains in the 'Iao Valley on Maui
  • Explore the small but charming town of Wailuku, with quaint wooden storefronts along Market Street. Check out Native Intelligence, which offers handcrafted artisanal goods by locals or get, like, actually cool souvenirs from Paradise Now

    Before you leave, be sure to grab a shave ice from Ululani’s, which makes their own syrup flavors, like pickled mango and lychee. It’s one of the best shave ice spots on the island!
  • If you’re still feeling up for more adventure, grab a dinner to go from Kahului’s food truck park (we had some seriously good vegan fish tacos from the Earth Aloha Eats truck) and take it to Kanaha Beach Park, which offers wide stretches of white sand against the towering green West Maui Mountains.

Day 5: Exploring upcountry Maui and the world’s largest dormant volcano

Today, we’re getting a change of scenery and heading to the rolling hills and misty mountains of upcountry Maui. This epic green landscape is home to many farms, growing taro and other local veggies, as well as the famed paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboys that ranch these hills. These lush green fields are but a stop along the way as you journey to the summit of the famed Haleakalā volcano!

Makawao in Maui's upcountry
  • As you make your way to Haleakalā, you’ll likely be passing through Kahalui- grab a Haleakalatte (kind of a genius name, right?) from Kraken Coffee, yet another food truck brewing up some seriously good coffee. I’d also recommend stopping at the Down to Earth grocery storeand picking up some of their grab-and-go sandwiches or salads (… and maybe some banana bread, while you’re at it) for lunch today, given that there’s no food available in Haleakalā.
  • Make a slight detour to the historic ranching town of Makawao to pick up breakfast from either Rodeo General Store, with lots of locally-grown fruits and homemade goods, or fresh-baked pastries at Komoda Store and Bakery. This bakery was originally started way back in 1916 by a Japanese plantation worker and still draws crowds over a century later! 
  • Next up on the upcountry road trip- Kula, a rustic town tucked on the slopes of Haleakalā. If you’re looking to pick up some souvenirs you’ll actually enjoy (i.e., stuff in your face later on!), pick up some local goodies at Maui Upcountry Jams and Jellies (their persimmon jam is the stuff of my dreams) and the Kula Marketplace.
Cow pasture in Kula by Haleakala in Maui
  • Finally, make your way up the 32 switchbacks that zig-zag up to the Haleakalā summit, towering 10,023 feet above the island floor. Haleakalā is not only an incredibly impressive geological landmark, it’s also sacred to Native Hawiians. Haleakalā actually means “House of Sun” in Hawaiian, named after a legend that the prankster demigod, Maui, lassoed and held the sun god captive here to make daylight last longer. To this day, Haleakalā is still considered wao akua (or a place of the gods).

    Once you’ve snagged a parking spot at the summit of the national park, pop into the Haleakalā Visitor Center, to pick up some National Park swag and chat with a friendly ranger, and take a peek from some of the nearby overlooks into the crater below- you’re about to head down there!
Haleakala Volcano at sunrise
  • Hike the 11.0 mile Sliding Sands trail down to the bottom of the crater floor, passing otherworldly volcanic formation and colorful cinder cones along the way.

    This hike is one of the most uniquely stunning trails I’ve ever been on- but be careful! It’s deceptively challenging, given you need to hike back uphill on the latter half of the trail and because of the high elevation. Bring along plenty of water (we take these massive Nalgene bottles with us everywhere) and allow yourself more time than you think you need for this trail.
  • Once you get back to the visitor center parking lot, it’s time for a bucketlist experience- sunset at Haleakalā! Make the 0.5 mile final drive to the summit itself to watch the sun sink beneath a blanket of clouds. Just remember to bring along a few warm layers for once the sun sets- Haleakala is actually one of the few places that actually gets snow in Hawaii!

    And if you’re not hangry yet, consider staying to stargaze- because of its extreme elevation and Maui’s remoteness, the park has some of the darkest skies- and thus, some of the best stargazing opportunities- in the world!
  • Drive back to your accommodations and pick up dinner wherever is open on your way  back home (probably doesn’t sound very travel blogger-y, but just trying to be honest- most places on Maui close ridiculously early!).

Day 6: Molokini Crater and a Luau

  • No trip to Maui is complete without snorkeling Molokini, a partially submerged volcanic crater that’s positively teeming with turtles, tropical fish, and other incredible marine life. Try this Pacific Whale Foundation tour, with certified marine naturalists providing helpful insight into the sea life around you, plus staff that are happy to provide guidance to any newbie snorkelers that happen to be aboard!
Molokini Crater in Maui
  • Once you dock, grab a quick coffee from the Wailuku Coffee Company and then make the drive to the western side of the island to relax on a beach before this evening’s activities. Hanakao’o Beach Park is slightly off the tourist path and is an excellent spot to watch Maui locals take out their outrigger canoes (this beach is home to multiple canoe clubs and races) and a favorite napping spot for turtles.
  • End your day with a Maui itinerary must- a good ol’-fashioned luau!

    I’d highly recommend Feast by Lele, which highlights dancing and dishes from multiple Polynesian cultures. While luaus are a dime a dozen on Maui, I’d strongly recommend doing some digging on your luau of choice- some of the options can, frankly, be culturally insensitive.

    After doing my own research, I chose Feast by Lele, which appeared to be one of the most culturally accurate and respectful luaus on the island. Additionally, they really go above and beyond to provide incredible food for those with dietary restrictions (when I saw there was a company that provided, like, actually good vegan luau food, I was all in, baby!).

    The tickets are definitely more on the pricey side, but it’s worth the splurge- there is SO much food (protip- pace yourself, a luau is a marathon, not a sprint), an open-bar, with plenty of heavy-handed pours, and impressive dancers. All in all, well worth the price tag.
Food at Feast by Lelel luau on Maui
Fire dancer at Feast by Lele luau on Maui

Day 7: West Maui Mountain Adventures

  • Fuel up for the day at Maui Coffee Attic. This spot is definitely under the radar and has a more local vibe- plus, there’s plenty of Hawaiian-centric treats like ube haupia pie.
  • Hike the incredible Waihe’e Ridge Trail, which takes you up and across a ridgeline of one of the West Maui Mountains, with absolutely breathtaking views of the lush green valleys below. It feels like something straight out of Jurassic Park!
  • Drive along Highway 340.

    Fair warning- if the Road to Hana is described as “nail biting”, Highway 340 would be categorized as “how in the bloody hell is this even legal?”, with plenty of narrow one-lane roads along sheer cliffside drop-offs. If you’re a nervous driver (or even if you wouldn’t consider yourself in the adventurous driver camp), I’d strongly recommend skipping this one.

    That being said, if you’re an adrenaline junkie, the views along the wild coastline are absolutely spectacular and it’ll definitely be one of the most memorable experiences you have in Maui!

    Some stops to check out along the way:
    • Julia’s Banana Bread
    • Nakalele Blowhole
    • Slaughterhouse Beach- sea turtle heaven!
Highway 340 in Maui
  • Grab a late lunch in Lahaina, like at Down the Hatch (pssst… they serve boozy shave ice from 2-5 pm everyday!). 
  • Spend the rest of the day on Baby Beach, which has perfectly clear and calm water and powdery white sand. If you’re all beached out (it’s your second to last day in Maui- who are you?!), consider instead going on a tour of a nearby dragon fruit farm, where you’ll get to try a bunch of unique tropical fruits you didn’t know existed, like soursop, lilikoi, sapote, and sapodilla.
  • Have your last meal on Maui at Miso Phat Sushi, serving up incredible, no-frills sushi rolls in a teeny tiny storefront. 
Sunset at a beach on Maui

Day 8: Try not to cry as you say “a hui hou” (or “until we meet again”) to Maui

Most flights don’t leave Maui until the afternoon, so you should have time to sneak in one last adventure on the island.
Some suggestions:

  • Take a surf lesson (it is Hawaii, after all, the birthplace of surfing!)
  • See Maui in the most Jurassic Park-y way possible on a helicopter tour (bonus- it leaves from the airport so you won’t have far to go!)
  • Have one final beach day. If you want to go snorkeling one last time, Ahihi-Kinau Natural Reserve Area along the south shore is 800 acres of colorful coral reefs and lava tubes. Or Kapalua Bay Beach is the perfect beach for basking in the tropical sun.
Surfers in Maui

After your morning explorations have concluded, head to the airport and start planning your next trip to Maui!

What to Pack for Maui

If you’re looking for a really thorough guide on what to pack for Maui, we wrote an entire Hawaii packing list post for your viewing pleasure. So, instead of repeating that whole article, here’s 8 Maui essentials you should be sure to bring along:

  • Reef safe sunscreen: Did you know that most commercial sunscreens contain nano zinc oxide, which can bleach and damage the DNA of coral reefs and basically contribute to the slow and horrible downfall of humanity that is climate change? So be an awesome human and bring along reef-safe sunscreen instead. 
  • Hiking sandals: Hopefully, my toenail story above is reason alone. I have these Tevas, which I’m obsessed with and Justin has these.
  • Snorkel set: Listen, if your Maui itinerary includes snorkeling more than one time (which, if you’re staying there for 8 days, it definitely should!), I’d definitely recommend bringing along a snorkeling set. After a couple of uses, it winds up being cheaper than the rentals on the island- plus, given how spread out and remote Maui is, lots of the beaches simply don’t have snorkeling rentals onsite.
Woman snorkeling in Hawaii
  • Swimsuit: When I’m in Hawaii, I basically live in my swimsuit- I mean, I definitely can’t get away with that in my hometown of Seattle!

    For the ladies, given how many water sports there are here (stand-up paddle boarding! kayaking! snorkeling!), I’d recommend picking up a two piece with a bit more coverage and support, like this set, and for the fellows, these trunks are versatile enough to take you from the waters of the Pacific Ocean to grabbing a beer at Maui Brewing Company.
  • Coverup: When I want to wear my bathing suit, but kind of look less like a total beach bum, I throw on a cover-up. I love this one– you can throw it on over your swimsuit, a dress, or whatever AND you can get it in a monstera print. I love a good tropical theme!
  • Thermal rashguard: So Hawaii’s water temperature is pretty pleasant year round, hovering in the mid- to upper- 70s. But if you’re actually spending any meaningful amount of time in the water (like you’re snorkeling or surfing), it can feel downright chilly, especially if you’re a total baby, like me!

    So I’d recommend picking up a thermal rashguard, which both protects your skin from sunburn and provides a little bit more insulation (without being a full-blown wetsuit). Here’s an option for the ladies and here’s an option for men.
Woman wearing a thermal rashguard in Hawaii
  • Beach towel: Your hotel will definitely have towels but are they really going to be the awesome fluffy kind you want to bask in the sun for hours at a time? Bring your own beach towel and lounge like a champion.
  • Sunglasses: With the whole bright and blinding tropical sunshine thing, this one is probably pretty obvious, but for whatever reason, the last two times I went to Hawaii, I forgot my sunglasses, so go figure. I love getting mine from Warby Parker– not only can you either get them with or without prescriptions (where my nerds at!), but they donate a pair of glasses to those in need for every one sold. 

I hope your trip to Maui is nothing short of magical. Are there any questions you have for us about planning the most epic Maui itinerary? Sound off in the comments below!

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7 thoughts on “The Ultimate Maui Itinerary [2024]”

  1. Thank you so much for post, your adventure looks amazing!! I am using a lot of your suggestions for our trip, can’t wait to be there!!!

    Reply
    • I personally would not recommend staying in Hana the whole trip, unless you’re planning on staying at a resort the whole time (in which case, Hana would be a very relaxing and chill place to be!). Hana is pretty out-of-the-way and it would be an inconvenient home base for other adventures around the island (given you’d have to drive along the very curvy and oftentimes, one-way Road to Hana to access the other parts of the island). I’d instead recommend staying in Lahaina, Kihei/Wailea, or Paia.

      Reply
  2. Good job! This is the best practical guide I have come across. I am planning my family trip based on this one. Thank you!!

    Reply

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