Maui Hawaii

A Guide to some Paradise Island Adventures and Relaxation

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Travel Tile Maui is a different experience from Oahu, despite both being part of the same Hawaiian archipelago. Maui has a smaller population, which gives it a more laid-back and peaceful vibe. The island is also known for its natural beauty, including the famous Road to Hana, which takes you on a scenic drive through lush forests, waterfalls, and dramatic coastline.

One of the top attractions in Maui is the Haleakala National Park, where visitors can witness the stunning sunrise or sunset from the summit of the dormant volcano. The park also offers a range of hiking trails, from easy nature walks to more challenging treks.

Another must-see in Maui is the town of Lahaina, which was once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Today, it is a charming and historic town that offers plenty of art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. Visitors can also take a stroll down Front Street, which is lined with historic buildings and offers stunning views of the ocean.

Maui is also home to some of the best beaches in Hawaii, including Kaanapali Beach, which is known for its soft sand and crystal-clear water. Other popular beaches include Wailea Beach, which is great for snorkeling, and Napili Bay, which is ideal for families with young children.

PLEASE NOTE: Our last trip to Maui took place in February 2023, prior to the devastating fire that destroyed Lahaina. Please consider a contribution to the "Maui Strong Fund" to help. The Office of the Governor of Hawai'i recommends donations to this fund.

Contributions are also being accepted at the Maui United Way Website. A list of charities that are accepting donations can be found here.

Maui Hawaii - One Week Itinerary and Tips 


Youtube Video Link
This Maui Vacation Travel Guide video provides suggestions for how to spend one week on Maui and some tips. We give an overview Map of Maui and describe the island and then jump into a suggested itinerary that can be considered a starting point for how to spend your week. We discuss visiting Haleakala crater at sunrise, the Kapalua Coastal walk, Lahaina, the Maui Ocean Center, Makena Beach and the lava fields on the south side of Maui and give our view of driving the Road to Hana.
This video is the property of Just Traveling Thru, LLC.

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More Info for Maui 

 What is the height of Haleakala: Haleakala rises 10,023 feet above sea level and is the largest dormant volcano in the world. The summit depression is 21 miles across and 4,000 feet deep, big enough to hold the entire island of Manhattan. Dress warm, it will be about 32F cooler at the summit compared to sea level. Haleakala is the largest dormant volcano in the world.

 Where is Charles Lindbergh's Grave: The Famous aviator, explorer, and social activist, was buried on Maui in 1974. His grave sits underneath a plum tree at the Palapala Ho’omau Church along the Road to Hana.

 One of the Highest Life Expectancies in the United States: Hawaii has the highest life expectancy in the United States at 81.5 years.

 The first printing press in the Western United States: Founded in 1831, Maui’s Lahainaluna High School is the oldest school west of the Rocky Mountains and owned the first printing press in the western United States.

 The Maui Gold Brand of pineapple: It possesses three times the amount of vitamin C as other brands of pineapple. It is specially grown and takes approximately 18 months to reach ripeness.

 The Lahaina Banyan Tree: Spanning 1.94 acres and rising more than 60 feet in the air, Lahaina's famed banyan tree is a quarter of a mile in circumference and possesses 16 trunks, making it the largest banyan tree not only in Hawaii but also in the United States. This tree was a gift from missionaries from India, and was only 8 feet tall when it was planted in 1873.

 Whales in Hawaii: Approximately 10,000 humpback whales migrate to Maui each year.

 What is Maui's Size: At 727.2 square miles, it is the second largest Hawaiian Island.

 How was Maui Created: Maui is a volcanic island made from 2 volcanos. The East Maui volcano, known as Haleakala, had its recent eruptions between 1480 and 1600. The eroded West Maui volcano, known as Mauna Kahawai or West Maui Mountains, last erupted 320,000 years ago.

 Where does Maui's Name come from: Maui takes its name from a Polynesian demigod. It was created by two volcanoes, Puu Kukui and Haleakala, which constitute east and west peninsulas connected by a 7-mile wide valleylike isthmus that has earned Maui the nickname of the “valley isle.”

 What is Maui's Population: In 2020, Maui had a population of 168,307, the third-highest of the Hawaiian Islands, behind Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island.

 How many Beaches are on Maui: There are 81 accessible beaches including ones with white, gold, black, and red sand. It has 120 miles of accessible beach, more than any other Hawaiian island.

 Where are the Maui Billboards: Other than traffic and safety signs, you have a free view of the natural landscape around you. Hawaii is one of only four states to ban billboards, in addition to Vermont, Maine, and Alaska.

 

A description and images from a Trip to Maui.

 

 

A description and images from a Trip to Maui.
Maui in 7 days Itinerary - Click here to Print Itinerary

The following is a suggested itinerary based upon maximizing your time on Maui and proximity to these individual destinations;

Day 1: Arrival
  • Arrive and get your bearings. Check out the beach and have your first umbrella drink if this is the first island you are visiting.
Day 2: Haleakala Visit
  • Visit Haleakala in the morning - leave before sunrise so that you can see the sunrise there. It’s one of the most amazing things we have ever witnessed and worth getting up at 4:00 AM to see it. Since you will likely be jetlagged - visit early in your trip before you get into the Hawaii time zone.
Day 3: Beach, snorkel, swim, relax
  • Paia Fish Market - there are several of these across the island (Lahaina, Paia, Kihei) Find one for lunch or dinner.
Day 4: Head to Kapalua and do the Coastal Walk
  • See the Lahaina banyan tree
  • Take a Whale watch tour
  • Get some ice cream, fudge, coffee
  • Don’t forget your t-shirt!
Day 5: Head to Kihei/Wailea and Makena
  • Visit the Maui Ocean Aquarium - it’s great for adults and children. They’ve added a unique 3D whale experience to the museum that is worth experiencing.
  • Visit the lava fields south of Makena beach
  • Hit Makena for some beach time
Day 6: Enjoy your last day doing whatever you enjoy. Soak in the last of your Maui time in the beautiful weather.
Day 7: Return Home

If you have some extra time, or you are looking to add some variety to your own itinerary, here are a few suggestions to consider;

  • Road to Hana - The road to Hana is 64.4 miles long and has 620 turns and 59 bridges of which 46 are one lane bridges. The road to Hana is about the road and not the destination at all. There is nothing in Hana to do or see in Hana itself. The road is slow going through hairpin turns that snake through mostly lush jungle. There are limited views of the ocean. At each turn you may catch a glimpse of something interesting or not in the jungle; it’s not easy to know where you might want to stop and there won’t always be parking places or easy paths to see a waterfall or site along the road. The locals can get annoyed with tourists and may drive up behind you and ride your tail until you get out of their way. It’s hard to blame them but it can be nerve racking. It can get crowded and lines can form by the one lane bridges. There are many other areas in Hawaii where you can see more waterfalls (Hilo, the big island) or beautiful coastal scenery (Kapalua Coastal Walk) that won’t take an entire day to see and won’t be as stressful of a drive. If you want to do it to say you did…and get the t-shirt then go for it if you have an entire day to kill. If you do, leave early. Consider driving to Hana in one direction without stopping and then come back and stop as often as you want. You will be ahead of others doing the same drive and can determine on the way up to Hana what you might want to stop and see on the way back.
  • Our recommendation for those that want to spend less time driving but would like to see some waterfalls would be to go to Twin Falls early in the morning. There is paid parking there with room for 55 cars (get there early) Hike to the falls (1.8 mile loop), take a swim, visit the farm and then visit some of the beaches on the windward side of the island if you want. This would be a much less stressful and enjoyable day.
  • Consider a snorkel trip to Molokini from Maui - here is a Google Search Results list of companies that provide that service.

Maui Trip Overview & Map 

Maui is one of the Hawaiian Islands and is known as "The Valley Isle" due to the large valley between its two main mountain ranges, Haleakala and the West Maui Mountains. The valley is home to many of Maui's towns, including Kahului, Wailuku, and Lahaina. Haleakala is a dormant volcano that stands at over 10,000 feet tall and is a popular tourist attraction for visitors to Maui, especially for watching the sunrise. The West Maui Mountains, on the other hand, are much older and have been eroded over time, creating dramatic cliffs and valleys along Maui's western coast.

As you can see in this static map, we visited a number of diverse locations, each of them are linked so that you can click on any that you would like to view.

  1. The Road to Hana
  2. Waiʻānapanapa State Park
  3. Hoʻokipa Beach Park
  4. Maui Ocean Center
  5. Makena Beach
  6. Lahaina & Northwest Maui
  7. Haleakala Summit Visit

The Road to Hana   3D Map

A description and images from a Trip to Maui.
A description and images from a Trip to Maui.
A description and images from a Trip to Maui.
A description and images from a Trip to Maui.

The Road to Hana had been on our list "to do" ever since our last trip to Maui over 14 years ago. We were not able to make the drive on that last trip, and we were determined to make it happen on this trip. This is a challenging drive, as the road is narrow and becomes narrower across the one lane bridges. Then you have local drivers who know the road and are determined to traverse it at top speed without regard to the yield signs or oncoming traffic. Be very careful on this road !!!

Click the "map link" above to view a Google Map.

If you have enough time on Maui to make this day long trip, then maybe you want to consider doing it. But frankly there isn't much to see in Hana, it is primarily those places around Hana that are interesting, for example; The Wailua Falls are seven miles past Hana, the grave of Charles Lindbergh is 4.5 miles past the falls, and there are several beaches just past Hana that are nice as well. But if you do not have an entire day to put into such a drive, consider going to the Twin Falls on route 36 that are only 19 miles from Kahului. They are pretty and do not require such a long drive to get to.

 Background Info from Wikipedia 

The Hana Highway (colloquially referred to as The Road to Hana) is a 64.4-mile-long (103.6 km) stretch of Hawaii Routes 36 and 360 which connects Kahului to the town of Hana in east Maui. To the east of Kalepa Bridge, the highway continues to Kipahulu as Hawaii Route 31 (the Piilani Highway). Although Hana is only about 52 miles (84 km) from Kahului, an uninterrupted car-trip takes about 2.5 hours to drive, since the highway is very windy, narrow, and passes over 59 bridges, of which 46 are only one lane wide. There are approximately 620 curves along Route 360 from just east of Kahului to Hana, almost all of it through lush, tropical rainforest. Many of the concrete and steel bridges date back to 1910 and all but one are still in use. That one bridge, badly damaged by erosion, has been replaced by a portable steel ACROW or Bailey bridge erected by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

More Info about the Road to Hana 

  • Our Road to Hana Image Gallery: Here is a link to our image gallery.
  • Road to Hana Website: here is a link to their website. You should note that they offer various packages, including dinner & show. Check their website for date & time availability.
  • Road to Hana Google Images Set: Here is a link to that Google Images Set.
  • Road to Hana Wikipedia Article: Here is a link to that article.
  • How to get to the Road to Hana In Kahuilui, take Hawaii Route 36 south past the airport. After you pass Mama's Fish House on your left, Route 36 turns into Route 360 AKA the Hana Highway. Just keep driving south, watch for the signs and be careful on the one lane bridges.

Waiʻānapanapa State Park   Map

A description and images from a Trip to Maui.

OK, so this is actually on the Road to Hana, but it is a beautiful park and one you should visit if you have the time. Remote, wild, volcanic coastline offering solitude and respite from urban life. Lodging, camping, picnicking, shore fishing and hardy family hiking along an ancient Hawaiian coastal trail which leads to Hana. Excellent opportunity to view a seabird colony and natural stone arch. Other features include native hala forest, heiau (religious temple), sea stacks, blow holes and small black sand beach.

Reservations are required, and there are fees both for entrance and parking, click here to obtain more info and your reservations.

More Info for Waiʻānapanapa State Park   Map

Hoʻokipa Beach Park   Map

A description and images from a Trip to Maui.

This is a stop we made on the way back from our road trip to Hana, and we stopped here for two reasons; (1) The surf was huge and there were some good surfers out there riding and (2) there were porta-potties next to the parking lot. Yes, we had been on the Hana Highway for quite a while!

The surf was huge, couldn't tell exactly what the height was from our location on top of the ridge above the beach, but it looked to be a minimum of 12 to 15 feet. We read later that the beach was closed due to high surf conditions.

More Info for Hoʻokipa Beach Park 

Maui Ocean Center   3D Map

A description and images from a Trip to Maui.
A description and images from a Trip to Maui.
A description and images from a Trip to Maui.
A description and images from a Trip to Maui.

Due to inclement weather, we had decided to visit the Maui Ocean Center , as it has a informative & interesting set of displays and going there would allow us to avoid the rainy weather! Besides which, the Aquarium was on the road to Lahaina, our next stop.

The aquarium offer a 3D experience called "Humpbacks of Hawaii" in a 3D domed theater experience with multi-channel surround sound. The teams from the Ocean Mind Experience were looking for a modern way for people to see, hear and interact with these animals without invading their habitat. Humpback whales have been on endangered species watch lists for decades. Working with award winning nature documentarian, Daniel Opitz, the Yessian teams created the sound to bring these whales to life on large format screens through originally recorded sounds deep below the sea combined with sound design and music scoring based on the natural sounds of the whales. This is a very good presentation, and it allows you to feel as though you are swimming alongside these whales.

By arriving early, we were able to enjoy all of the Aquarium before the crowds grew as the day wore on. By the time we departed, the parking lot was completely full and the line at the entrance was getting long. Word to the wise traveler; get there early.

More Info for Maui Ocean Center 

Makena Beach State Park   3D Map

A description and images from a Trip to Maui.
A description and images from a Trip to Maui.
A description and images from a Trip to Maui.
A description and images from a Trip to Maui.

Makena Beach holds a special place in our hearts & memories, it is not only very pretty but it is somewhere where we were able to spend some private time during our last visit to Maui. Given that this beach has such a prominent place in our memories, it was inevitable that we visited it again, regardless of the rain that day!

Makena Beach is nestled amidst lush tropical vegetation, creating a scenic backdrop for those seeking peaceful walks and picnics. The area is also renowned for its captivating sunsets, attracting photographers and romantics alike. Additionally, the beach boasts exceptional views of the nearby Molokini Crater and Kahoolawe Island, enhancing the overall experience.

Makena Beach State Park   3D Map

Northwest Maui   3D Map

A description and images from a Trip to Maui.
A description and images from a Trip to Maui.
A description and images from a Trip to Maui.
A description and images from a Trip to Maui.

Our next stop after the Maui Ocean Center was meant to be Lahaina, however we realized on the drive there that we had not been north of Lahaina to the Ka'anapali and Kapalua areas. In particular, we wanted to walk the Kapalua Coastal Trail.

Kapalua Coastal Trail is a 2.5-mile out-and-back trail that traverses Kapalua Bay & Namula Bay (it continues past Oneloa Bay if you hike the entire route). Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 56 min to complete. This is a very popular area for running and walking, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring. You'll need to leave pups at home — dogs aren't allowed on this trail. After we completed this trek, we drove to Lahaina to explore there & see the banyan tree. Click the "map link" above to view a Google Map.

More Info for Northwest Maui   3D Map

Haleakala National Park   Map

A description and images from a Trip to Maui. This image is the property of dronepicr via Wikimedia Commons using the CC BY 2.0 license
A description and images from a Trip to Maui.
A description and images from a Trip to Maui.
A description and images from a Trip to Maui.
A description and images from a Trip to Maui.

We drove up to the top of Haleakala via the Haleakala Highway (AKA "Crater Road"), to see the sunrise. Considering that road gains 10,000 feet in only 38 miles, it’s believed to be the world’s steepest route from sea level to 10,000 feet. The air is cooler up here at the summit — as much as 30 to 50 degrees lower than sea level. As we were renting a condo in Kihei, we had to get up very early in order to insure that we would achieve our goal of seeing the sun rise up through the clouds.

The tallest peak of Haleakalā ("house of the sun"), at 10,023 feet (3,055 m), is Puʻu ʻUlaʻula (Red Hill). It can be chilly at that height, in fact, the average annual temperature is approximately 50 degrees farenheit.

We are huddled together because it is cold at the top of Haleakala waiting for the sunrise. The plan was to get there prior to sunrise, so we could see the sun come up through the clouds. As you can see in image # 2 we achieved that goal, and the sight of the sun coming up through the clouds was spectacular and made the drive up at that hour of the morning well worth the trip! You may want to check what the National Park Service says about Haleakala weather before you go, click here to view their web page.

FACT: On any given day, the temperatures in the Haleakala National Park can range from a high of 80°F (27°C) in Kīpahulu (coastline near Hana) to a low of 30°F (-1°C) at the summit. In either area clouds and rain can quickly replace warm sunshine. To put it bluntly, you should not wear shorts and tshirts at the summit, you will need much warmer clothing!

WARNING: The drive to the summit of Haleakala is 37 miles long comprised of 32 switchbacks, give yourself sufficient time to drive or you could miss the sunrise due to traffic! We left Kihei with more than enough time to get to the summit, then got stuck behind a series of cars that were going very slowly and were lucky to get to the top before sunrise arrived.

NOTE: Do not forget to bring some warm clothing! It is quite cold at the top!

 Camera Image Icon for Fieldset 

Image # 2 is the property of Kenny Louie via Wikipedia Commons using the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. All other images are the property of Just Traveling Thru, LLC unless otherwise noted.

A description and images from a Trip to Maui.

Maui Coastline from Haleakala Summit

Looking down from Haleakala, when the clouds parted, we were able to see the Maui coastline way below us.

FACT: The summit tops out at 10,023 feet above sea level, but if measured from its base on the ocean floor the summit of Haleakala volcano is approximately 30,000 feet tall!

More Info for Haleakala National Park   Map

 
 

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