Maui is known worldwide for a lot of things: the beauty, atmosphere, history, and its large supply of pristine beaches, waterfalls, tours, landmarks, snorkeling, and gardens – just to name a few. It’s a wonderful place for a Hawaiian vacation.
There aren’t a whole lot of places in the world you can go and experience all you can on the small island of Maui. From picture-perfect beaches, volcanic landscapes, and tropical forests and gardens, Maui just might be the closest thing to paradise we’ve ever seen. The island’s roads run along the edge of the coastline in a large sideways figure “8” shape, which makes seeing everything Maui has to offer pretty simple. Many people say Maui no ka oi which means Maui is the best – and for good reason.
Whether you’re looking for the best Maui beach, a great bed and breakfast, or even a bamboo forest hike, it’s all right in Maui. And because I want your Maui vacation planning to be simple – from planning to packing to toes in the sand bliss- I’ve put together this handy travel guide so your Maui adventure is as perfect! Plan and book your hotel right here in our Maui Travel Guide.
Weather – When to Visit Maui
Maui’s warm tropical climate is fairly consistent year round with daytime highs from 75-85°F during the summer and winter, respectively. At the many coastal resorts that dot the island at sea level, temperatures rarely dip below 60°F during the coldest of winter. The weather on Maui is typically great for visitors year round. The only time Maui’s weather is unpleasant is if a winter storm blankets the island with clouds and rain, but those are infrequent and shouldn’t be too much of a concern.
The best deals on accommodations is during spring and fall. These are going to be the cheapest months to visit the island because demand is down. So the island is less crowded as well, which is another benefit of visiting during these months. If you plan to come during the holidays, especially Christmas, you can typically expect large crowds of people – and prices will reflect the increased demand.
If you visit during the winter months, you have a chance to see the humpback whales. Each January – March they migrate down from Alaskan waters to mate, calve, and birth their young. Maui has the best opportunities for whale watching in the entire state.
The Road To Hana
To find excellent views of Maui’s beautiful coastline, all you need to do is drive. The Road to Hana is a scenic highway that twists through the lush rain forest and past the cascading waterfalls that line the island’s eastern shore. Most people start their trip in Kahului with the intention of motoring 55 miles to Hana. The trip isn’t always easy: The route often surprises unfamiliar drivers with hairpin turns. But those who decide to step on the gas aren’t sorry they did.
One of Maui’s most popular strips of coastline, Kaanapali Beach stretches across 3 miles of the island’s northwest coast, offering plenty of space to surf and sunbathe. Be careful while swimming, however, as the currents can be deceptively strong. But coveted sand is just one of this beach’s many highlights: Kaanapali was Hawaii’s first planned resort area, and today it features several notable hotels and restaurants, two championship golf courses and the lively Whalers Village open-air shopping center.
Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park is home to the world’s largest dormant volcano. The entire park occupies 30,000 acres of land in Upcountry Maui. Haleakala’s summit stands more than 10,000 feet above sea level. Plan your visit to the summit in the morning to see the sunrise (keep in mind you’ll have to make reservations online in advance and you’ll be required to pay a small fee). A fairly winding road will lead you to the top. No matter when you visit, be sure to wear warm layers. The air up top can be thin and chilly.
Though not nearly as expansive as Wailea or Kaanapali, crescent-shaped Napili Beach is particularly popular with families. Napili’s waters are much calmer than those at other Maui beaches, so kids and adults alike can take to the seas for swimming, paddleboarding and boogie-boarding. Plus, Napili Beach provides a quiet, laid-back atmosphere that sunbathers love. Make sure you take snorkel gear. Napili’s waves conceal a wide array of fish, not to mention a sizable sea turtle population.
This shoreline caters to the sun-seeking guests of several nearby resorts. Wailea feels much less rugged than some of Maui’s other beaches: The tawny-colored sand is lined by palm trees and a paved walkway connecting the shoreline to the area’s hotels, shops and restaurants. At this beach you have access to water sports equipment rentals. And because the waters here are relatively calm, Wailea Beach is great for those looking to swim or snorkel.
Things to Do on Maui
Maverick Helicopters® offers VIP-level service from the Kahului Heliport and Port Allen Airport. Whether it is the Haleakala Crater, Iao State Park, Molokai, Na Pali Coast, or Waimea Canyon, you are sure to experience a breathtaking tour of the most beautiful scenery in Hawaii. Maverick offers the highest level of safety and service in the industry and has over 21 years’ experience of making dreams come true! Telephone: 1 800-978-0266 Web: Maverick Helicopter
Maui Kayak Adventures
Join them for a kayak adventure that goes far beyond snorkeling and wildlife watching. Explore Maui’s incredible ocean environment and stunning coral reefs with our Certified Marine Naturalists guides. And as an Eco-Tourism Certified company, rest assured that they do their part to protect the oceans. Their tours mix education, action, and ocean stewardship to provide a truly memorable Maui experience. Telephone: 1 800-442-6465 Web: Maui Kayak Adventures
Maui Surfer Girls
Maui Surfer Girls offers the best surf lessons and surf camps on Maui. Their surf school caters to small groups, families and newlyweds, with small class sizes and professional instructors (most of whom are female!) Telephone: 808-427-1288 Web: Maui Surfer Girls
In2Scuba Diving Maui Dive Co.
In2Scuba Diving Maui Lahaina, Kaanapali. Specializing in Introductory Scuba Dive Courses For beginners. Scuba Diving in Kaanapali, Lahaina, Maui. Small Groups, VERY Personalized Service! Scuba Lessons for first time Non-Certified Divers. Guided Dive Tours For Certified Divers. PADI Open Water Certifications through Divemaster. Telephone: 808-264-8198 Web: In2Scuba Diving Maui Dive Co.
Redline Rafting Company
Looking to have an epic, awe-inspiring maui snorkeling adventure? Then you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to Redline Rafting! They offer a thrilling, eco-friendly, culturally conscious experience. Ride in, and snorkel from their 35 ft. customized raft. They‘ll ’talk story’… tell old Hawaiian tales, give you a little Hawaiian history, interesting geological info, reef and creature facts, and oh, the rules of course! Telephone: 808-201-1582 Web: Redline Rafting Company
Best Restaurants in Maui
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$$ – $$$ Kula Bistro
Kula Bistro offers fresh, flavorful cuisine in a casual family-style setting. Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the bistro specializes in homestyle food with an Italian flair. Menu items range from classic entrées and local favorites to authentic pastas and pizzas. A decadent selection of homemade desserts and pastries are crafted daily. Telephone: 808-871-2960 Web: Kula Bistro
$$$$ Mama’s Fish House
In Maui, “Mama’s” is synonymous with fine dining—and simply mentioning the restaurant’s name may be enough to make your date swoon. Truly an experience in a class of its own, Mama’s serves fish so fresh the menu shows the name of the fisherman who caught it that morning. Arrive for sunset to stroll the palm grove and hidden cove. Telephone: 808-579-8488 Web: Mama’s Fish House
$$$$ Lahaina Grill
From its opening on Valentine’s Day back in 1990, this New American bistro with a European feel has been Lahaina’s most romantic restaurant. Fine china and crystal adorn white linen-draped tabletops, original artwork hangs from the walls, and the award-winning cuisine might make you never want to leave. Telephone: 808-667-5117 Web: Lahaina Grill
$$ – $$$ Cuatro Restaurant
Start with a salad, the award winning Spicy Tuna Nachos, or choose from our several other starters. Our delectable Entrees include: Fresh Hawaiian Fish of the Day, with your choice of four different preparations; Roasted Chicken Breast stuffed with green chilies, ham, and pepper jack cheese; Marinated Pork..and many more.Cuatro Restaurant is a place for everyone. It is a restaurant that is fun for tourists, a good value for families, and a great place for locals. Telephone: 808-879-1110 Web: Cuatro Restaurant
$$ – $$4 Flatbread Company
Calling all locavores and pizza lovers: The flatbreads served at this Pai’a hot spot use locally sourced ingredients and are arranged in a medley of mouthwatering varieties. Expect gems such as Mopsy’s Kalua Pork—this one entails free-range pork shoulder and organic mango BBQ sauce mixed with a blend of Hawaiian goat cheese and a sprinkling of Maui-grown pineapple. All pizzas are cooked over kiawe wood (mesquite) in an oven in the middle of the restaurant, and the lively bar scene is a collection of some of the island’s best watermen and surfers. Telephone: 808-579-8989 Web: Flatbread Company
Best Nightlife in Maui
Those looking to find a real locals’ bar need look no further than this cozy spot. This divish bar is known for its laid back atmosphere and friendly clientele. It boasts the longest happy hour (10am to 5pm) in the Islands, with a small pupu, or appetizer, menu. You can also groove to the sounds of live music (mostly Hawaiian) 7 days a week. Telephone: 808-215-9939 Web: Kahale’s
South Shore Tiki Lounge
Striving to be the most authentic tiki bar on the Island with heavy stereotypical island decor. But don’t let its appearance deter you. The service here is fantastic, and the specialty drinks include a lava flow made with freshly blended strawberries, rather than a mix. This place is also a late-night favorite of young adults, with a DJ spinning tunes everyday starting at 10pm. Telephone: 808-874-6444 Web: South Shore Tiki Lounge
The interior bar features a lava-rock wall with a red inlay, and the seats on the patio display nature’s art, with views across the channel towards Moloka‘i. The specialty cocktails and pupu menu are exceptional on any evening, but the live music performances held Thursday to Monday make for a particularly good time to visit. Telephone: 808-669-6200 Web: Alaloa Lounge
Mulligans on the Blue
Celtic and Polynesian hospitality merge in this pub on the southern coast of Maui, resulting in a an “Irish aloha” feel all its own. A live jazz band also plays nightly. The beautiful ocean views from the lanai remind you that you are, in fact, on a tropical island. Two happy hours (one from 3pm to 6pm and another from 9pm-12am) ensure that, no matter when you visit, you won’t miss out on food and drink specials. Telephone: 808-874-1131 Web: Mulligans on the Blue
Fleetwood’s on Front Street
Bagpipes at sunset kick off the festivities at this rooftop bar by Mick Fleetwood. The legendary drummer can make impromptu appearances and jump right in with the band, and there is live music every night with a view looking over Lahaina. Bands usually finish by 9:30 pm, so don’t expect to stay late. Instead arrive early for $5 wine tastings beginning at 5pm. Telephone: 808-669-6425 Web: Fleetwood’s on Front Street
Best Maui Hotels
While you are with them, you will enjoy our warm hospitality and beauty of place, and the comforts of everything you’ve come to expect from a Travaasa experience: their healing and pampering spa, authentic Hawaiian pursuits (lei making, ‘ukulele, snorkeling, throw net fishing, enjoying local gardens and guides who will share their knowledge of ecology and culture with you), a pool with an ocean view unlike any other, and outdoor yoga. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Travaasa Hana.
Montage Kapalua Bay
Set beachfront atop picturesque Kapalua Bay, this 24 acre Maui resort is to experience Hawaiian lifestyle at its finest. At Montage Kapalua Bay, you will feel embraced by genuine island hospitality and authentic culture. At every turn, the spirit of Hawaii merges with your own to create pono — a true sense of balance and harmony — as you relax and enjoy all‐suite accommodations, inspired cuisine, championship golf, watersports, and an award winning Hawaii inspired spa. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Montage Kapalua Bay.
Ho’olei at Grand Wailea
This oceanfront property features an outdoor pool and sandy beach children’s pool. Villas include private elevators and bi-level Hawaiian-style patios with views. A fully-equipped, state-of-the-art kitchen with custom Italian cabinetry and granite countertops is featured in each elegant and spacious villas at Ho’olei at Grand Wailea. A separate sitting area with vaulted ceilings and flat-screen TVs is provided. The bathrooms offer dual vanities, a deep bathtub, separate shower and private lavatory. A washing machine and dryer are also furnished. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Ho’olei at Grand Wailea.
The Paia Inn offers access to 3 miles of white sand beach, relaxing amenities and convenient access to a wide range of activities. Free WiFi, an iPod docking station and a 42-inch flat-screen TV with Apple TV are featured in each guest room at the Paia Inn. Beach towels, chairs, boogie boards and snorkel gear are provided. A concierge can arrange whale watching cruises, surf lessons, zip lining tours, luaus, massages and other activities. A breakfast cafe is located on site. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit the Paia Inn.
Four Seasons Resort Lanai
Located ocean-side on Lāna‘i, Four Seasons Resort Lana’i features views of the Pacific Ocean and lush gardens. Featuring two swimming pools with views of the ocean, a spa and in-room dining is also featured. Each elegant suite provides a private terrace, bathrobes and tea and coffee-making facilities at the Four Seasons Resort Lana’i at Manele Bay. Styled in elegant dark wood furnishings, each cream colored room features bright white colored linens. Select rooms feature panoramic views of the ocean. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit the Four Seasons Resort Lanai.