Maui

Maui Itinerary

Maui is the second largest island in the Hawaiian Islands. We spent five days on Maui, nicknamed The Valley Isle. We hiked a variety of landscapes – especially in Haleakalā National Park, drove the Road to Hana, and marveled at the beauty across the island.

WARNING: If you’re looking to relax on the beach then this Maui itinerary is not for you.

TIP: We’ve been on an archipelago kick recently. The Hawaiian Islands are easiest to reach from the Western United States. However, consider a trip to Madeira or The Azores from the Eastern United States.

Getting to Maui

Kahului Airport (OGG) is Maui’s international airport. The busiest route is between Honolulu, Hawaii and Maui but flights from the U.S. mainland also operate with regularity from west coast cities. Some flight from western Canada can also be flown.

We flew to Maui direct from Oakland, California on a one-way Hawaiian Airlines flight for ~$200 per person.

Getting Around Maui

Although some public transportation is available in Maui, this itinerary will require a rental car which will provide the freedom to explore on your own timetable. Convertible vehicles, such as a Chevy Camaro or Ford Mustang, are popular rentals on Maui. These options scream tourist but, hey, to each their own. Jeeps are also popular rental cars. We rented an economy/compact car from Hertz for ~$145 (~$24 per day).

TIP: Our Hertz rental car was identified using AutoSlash – a website that searches for the best price on rental car reservations and will subsequently alert you if a better price is identified. We were able to reduce our initial 6 day reservation price from ~$215 to ~$145 (saving $70!) based on AutoSlash alerts.

TIP: Rental car agencies may try to up-sell you to a more powerful or a 4×4 vehicle. There is no aspect of this itinerary that can’t be done in a standard compact car unless otherwise noted.

Maui Accommodation

Many visitors to Maui select beachside accommodation in the Lahaina/Kaanapali or Kihei/Wailea area. We were interested in exploring the vast range of activities and terrain that the island has to offer and, after mapping out our activities, we decided to stay in three separate locations during our five nights in Maui.

Charming Artist’s Studio on a Scenic Mountain Slope (Airbnb in Kula – 2 nights)

This guest studio is an Airbnb Plus property. We selected the accommodation based on its location close to Haleakalā National Park and its stellar reviews. The studio was nicely appointed and we would highly recommend this property (and host). The home belongs to a local artist – Curtis Wilson Cost – who greeted us upon our arrival and welcomed us to Maui and his home. We were gifted local treats including beautiful postcards displaying his artwork.  

TIP: We use Airbnb (buy discount Airbnb gift cards on Raise.com) for unique accommodation as well as the opportunity to stay in local neighborhoods around the globe. Use this link to get a $20 credit towards your first Airbnb booking!

Wai’anapanapa State Park Cabin (camping cabin in Hana – 2 nights)

Wai’anapanapa State Park is situated off the Hana Highway (Road to Hana). Many visitors drive the iconic Road to Hana – in and out – in a single day. We selected this accommodation so we could enjoy the remote, volcanic coastline and extend our Road to Hana journey over multiple days. The cabins sleep up to 6 people and consist of a kitchen-living room with bunk beds, a bedroom with two sets of bunk-beds, and a bathroom with hot water and flush toilet. The kitchen has a refrigerator, hot plate, and microwave. A large deck with picnic table is also attached to the kitchen. There is no air-conditioning. The cabins are an affordable option, especially for larger groups, but note that they do NOT include linens (bedding or towels), cooking and eating utensils, or dishes. We packed our ultralight Western Mountaineering sleeping bags and humangear utensils.

Best Western Pioneer Inn (hotel in Lahaina – 1 night)

This hotel was a unique gem and was NOT what you’d associate with Best Western. The hotel was built in 1901 and is a member of the Historic Hotels of America program. The architecture is plantation style with large wrap-around verandas. It was located in downtown Lahaina, right on Lahaina harbor, just steps away from the shops. This hotel was perfect for our last night in Maui as it gave us a taste of the more traditional tourist locales (and made us

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Maui Food and Drink

In my mind, Hawaii is most famous for poke and shave ice.

Fresh poke bowls are found at most general stores and fish markets. Given how expensive meals can be in Hawaii, poke is an amazing bargain. Try Maalaea General Store and Paia Fish Market.

Do not miss Tin Roof Maui in Kahului. Go early (you can also order online) and eat whatever is on special for the day.

For an upscale dinner requiring reservations, Mama’s Fish House in Paia and Merriman’s in Lahaina are recommended. Aloha Mixed Plate, also in Lahaina, is next door to a luau so if you arrive at the right time you may get to experience a laua from afar.

For Hawaiian shave ice, Ululani’s has multiple locations and is the place to go. In my humble opinion, you must try shave ice but snow ice is where it’s really at.

If you’re ready for a drink that is not a mai tai, head to Maui Brewing Co. in Kihei or Kohola Brewery in Lahaina for a beer. Oenophiles can get off the beaten path in Kula at Maui Wine for a complimentary tasting. Hali’imaile Distillery in Makawao also offers tours and tastings.

Maui Map with Points of Interest

We always find it useful to plot points of interest on a map. Having a visual makes it easier to adjust plans based on weather,  timing, or interests.

This map includes layers for points of interest and itineraries in both Maui and Kauai (our Hawaii vacation included both islands; read about our Kauai itinerary here). The itinerary map layer has a route corresponding to major points on the suggested day-by-day itinerary outlined herein.

Use our suggested Maui itinerary as-is or add and subtract additional hikes, activities, and points of interest listed on the map to construct your own perfect Maui itinerary.

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Maui Suggested Day-by-Day Itinerary

A summary of our 5 day/6 night Maui itinerary is listed below. Links are provided for more detailed information and photos. Use this Maui itinerary as-is or as a guide to crafting your own itinerary by adding activities and points of interest from our Maui map.

TIP: Consider adding time to this itinerary to enjoy the beautiful Maui beaches. If it’s whale season during your visit, book a whale watching excursion.

NOTE: Everybody has different eating habits so stop for groceries and food as needed. Dining recommendations are included within the itinerary notes.

Day 1

Activity / Accommodation Description / Notes
Arrive Maui (OGG airport) early morning
ʻĪAO VALLEY State Park and Monument Short trails to viewing platforms. $5 parking fee for out-of-state residents.
Papawai Point Good viewpoint to spot whales (in season). Grab lunch to go from Maalea General Store on the way here.
Beaches and a Beer: Charley Young Beach to Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve Enjoy any one of the numerous beaches along this stretch of shore. Snorkel at the Nature Reserve. Grab a beer at Maui Brewing Company. Or skip in lieu of hiking at Polipoli Spring State Recreation area.
Pukalani Superette Pick up dinner and groceries for tomorrow in Haleakalā National Park.
Hike at Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area Requires 4×4 vehicle. 4 trails can be combined to form 3.5 mi loop hike.
Charming Artist’s Studio on a Scenic Mountain Slope Airbnb accommodation in Kula. If not available, reserve other accommodation near Haleakalā Summit District. Get to bed early.

 

Day 2

Activity / Accommodation Description / Notes
Sunrise at Haleakalā National Park (Summit District) Depart around 4:00 AM to view the night sky followed by sunrise. Advanced reservations ($1.50 per reservation) REQUIRED. If unable to obtain, cannot enter until after 7:00 AM. $25 entrance fee per vehicle (or national park pass). Save receipt  if visiting Kīpahulu District to avoid paying again. Dress appropriately – it’s cold at 10,000 feet elevation!
Hike at Haleakalā National Park (Summit District) Descriptions of trails here. Recommend a hiking a portion of the Keonehe‘ehe‘e (Sliding Sands) hike as well as the Crater Rim hike.
Road to Hana (to Twin Falls) Stop at town of Paia, Ho’okipa Beach and Lookout, and Twin Falls before turning back. Turtles are often seen at Ho’okipa Beach. Use a narrated GPS guide such as GyPSy.
Paia If interested, this would be a good night for sunset dinner reservations at Mama’s Fish House. Other dinner options exist in Paia.
Charming Artist’s Studio on a Scenic Mountain Slope Airbnb accommodation in Kula. If not available, reserve other accommodation near Haleakalā Summit District. Get to bed early.

 

Day 3

Activity / Accommodation Description / Notes
Road to Hana (to town of Hana) Get fuel in Paia. Stop at Waikamoi Nature Trail (skip if short on time), Garden of Eden ($15 entrance fee per person but way better than Ke’anae Arboretum), town of Ke’anae, Three Bears Falls, Wai’anapanapa State Park, town of Hana. Use a narrated GPS guide such as GyPSy.
Hana Dinner options include the food trucks in town.
Wai’anapanapa State Park cabin Camping cabin in Wai’anapanapa State Park. Alternately, any accommodation in the town of Hana.

 

Day 4

Activity / Accommodation Description / Notes
Road to Hana (to Kīpahulu District of  Haleakalā National Park) Stop at Koki Beach Park and HāmoaBeach. Use a narrated GPS guide such as GyPSy.
Hike at Haleakalā National Park (Kīpahulu  District) $25 entrance fee per vehicle (or national parks pass). If already paid fee at Summit District, show receipt to avoid paying again. Descriptions of trails here. Recommend a hiking to Ohe‘o Gulch and Pīpīwai Trail.
Hike to Red Sand Beach from town of Hana The beach will be shaded late in the day.
Hana Dinner options include the food trucks in town.
Wai’anapanapa State Park cabin Camping cabin in Wai’anapanapa State Park. Alternately, any accommodation in the town of Hana.

 

Day 5

Activity / Accommodation Description / Notes
Road to Hana (return journey) Use a narrated GPS guide such as GyPSy.
Lihue Grab lunch to go at Tin Roof. Other dining options exist in Lihue.
Hike the Waihe’e Ridge Trail It was cloudy when we visited but if it’s a clear day, hike this out-and-back trail for the views.
Drive the coastline Stop at Olivine Pools (not for swimming).
Hike the Ohai Trail 1.2 mile loop nature trail. Beautiful, quiet trail and likely to see whales off the coast (in season).
Drive the coastline Stop at Nakalele Blowhole.
Lahaina Explore Lahaina area. Attending a luau is a popular activity. The Aloha Mixed Plate restaurant is next to a luau; arrive at the right time to experience it from afar.  
Best Western Pioneer Inn A wide range of accommodation exists in Lahaina.

 

Day 6

Activity / Accommodation Description / Notes
Depart Maui (OGG airport) Flights to the mainland often depart in the evening so you may have the day to relax on the beach or pick up souvenirs.

 

Maui Resources





March 26 – 31, 2019

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