It’s time to head to Maui! Depending on when you arrive you will have time to grab your rental car, check into your hotel and possibly head out for a sunset at the beach or dinner.
If you happen to have enough time to go to a grocery store and get the items you need for the week then this would also be a great time to do so otherwise you can save your trip to the grocery store for tomorrow!
We stopped by Walmart and Costco to pick up some basic goods like drinks, snacks, and lunch items before heading to our Airbnb for the evening.
Day 1: Maui Itinerary – Haleakala & Beach
Sunrise at Haleakala
I’m not a morning person, Logan isn’t either. We never have been and probably never will be. So… waking up at 3am to head to Haleakala National Park for sunrise was a challenge for us. But we were told by many people to visit Haleakala on the first day of our Maui itinerary to kick start our trip when we might have some jetlag to deal with and man, it was well worth it to head there before sunset.
The drive to the top of Haleakala was stunning as the sunlight continued to creep up as the minutes went by. The top was bustling with hundreds of people, but that didn’t matter. The beauty of the sunrise nearly hushed every person at the top of the mountain as we all stood back to appreciate what we were seeing (our photos can’t do it justice)!
Kamaole Beach I
After getting little sleep the night before and getting a big breakfast, we decided to make the drive back towards Kihei and spend some time on the beach. The Kamaole Beaches (I-III) are pretty popular to visit so they can get a bit crowded, but Kamaole Beach I was just steps away from our Airbnb so we had to check them out!
Here are a few other beaches we liked on Maui
- Baby Beach: Easy to walk to from the main shopping area of Lahaina.
- Kapalua Beach: Great for sunbathing and for snorkeling!
- Slaughterhouse Beach: Another pretty beach to relax on.
- Charley Young Beach: Located right before Kamaole Beach I.
- Maluaka Beach: This was our favorite beach on Maui. It was a little more hidden and had sunny sandy spots and shady grassy areas.
- Keawakapu Beach: We found this beach to be less crowded than the Kamaole I-III Beaches.
If you haven’t gotten groceries this is also a time where you could carve out an hour or so to get that done! You’re definitely going to want a few items before heading out on the Road to Hana on day 2 of our Maui itinerary.
Kihei Kalama Village
After beachin’ it up, we went back to our Airbnb to get ready for dinner and stopped by Kihei Kalama Village for shopping and happy hour at Three’s Bar & Grill. Although it’s a bit touristy, Kalama Village is a neat place to look for souvenirs and you’ll get to see a number of “wild” chickens on the loose!
Day 2: Maui Itinerary – Road to Hana
Today is going to be a LONG day so it’s important to start EARLY – we started around 6am from Kihei. If you don’t feel up to the challenge to do this Road to Hana tour in one day you could always split it up into two days or do a guided tour. Just make sure to use a reputable, legal company when you book a guided tour! (P.S. I am doing some research to find a good Road to Hana company to book with and I’ll report back when I find one!)
Things to Know for the Road to Hana
- If you are driving yourself consider purchasing the Road to Hana CD Guide that gives some information about each stop or download the Hana Driving Guide (Shaka Guide) to your phone.
- Make sure you bring a cooler and snacks.
- Bring cash with you in case you want to buy some goodies from the local stands while on the Road to Hana.
- There is limited parking at many of the Road to Hana stops which meant that we, unfortunately, had to pass a few. Please do not park on the road!
- Bring bug repellant!
Twin Falls & Twin Falls Farm Stand
Twin Falls is the first stop on this Road to Hana itinerary. You’ll park by the Twin Falls Farm Stand and if you want, get some fresh fruit juice to kick start the day. Then, make the short hike down to Twin Falls where you can view the waterfall and the pretty nature around the area.
Location: Mile Marker 2
Huelo Lookout & Huelo Lookout Fruit Stand
The Huelo Lookout Fruit Stand is a roadside fruit stand that makes yummy coconut candy and smoothies with locally sourced fruit and pure cane sugar. If you already grabbed a snack or drink at the Twin Falls Farm Stand no worries, you can drive ahead to the next spot on the Road to Hana.
Location: Mile Marker 4.5
Waikamoi Ridge Trail
The Waikamoi Ridge Trail has two loops, one hike is about 10 minutes and the other takes about 30 minutes. In our opinion, the hike is nice but there are others we enjoyed more on the Road to Hana that we’ll cover soon. But it’s definitely a good place to stop and stretch your legs.
Location: Mile Marker 9.5
Garden of Eden Arboretum
Garden of Eden is a botanical garden in Maui set on 26 acres of trails with tropical flowers, lush vegetation, and beautiful trees. It is also easily one of my favorite attractions on the Road to Hana because it is less busy than many of the other Road to Hana hotspots (at least from our experience).
- You can catch an epic view from the Keopuka Rock Overlook where the opening of Jurassic Park was filmed!
- There is also a view of Puohokamoa Falls which is restricted to visit so this is one of the only places you can see it legally.
- There is a 100-year-old mango tree that will easily remind you of the tree in Ferngully (if you know, you know).
Ke’anae Lookout isn’t right on the Road to Hana but it’s worth pulling over to enjoy the scenic views with fewer people and plenty of parking in comparison to many other Road to Hana stops.
Location: Roughly 3/4 of the way between mile markers 16 & 17
Wailua Valley State Wayside
Wailua Valley State Wayside is a quick stop off the Road to Hana that offers a stunning view of the Wailua Valley, the ocean, and even some waterfalls.
Location: Just before Mile Marker 19
Upper Waikani Falls
Upper Waikani Falls is also known as “Three Bears”. While you may see some people parking here, it is a “no parking zone” so it’s best to be enjoyed from your vehicle rather than holding up traffic. 😉
Location: Mile Marker 19
Another beautiful waterfall on the Road to Hana is Hanawi Falls which can also be easily viewed from the road!
Location: Mile Marker 24
Wai’anapanapa State Park
Wai’anapanapa State Park is one of the stops we feel like you CANNOT miss on the Road to Hana. The vibrant colors of blue and green against the black sand beach are SO beautiful!
Location: Mile Marker 32
Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach
Once again, I have my friend Nicole to thank for this Road to Hana spot. The parking is a bit limited and the beginning of the hike is on private property by the Hana School and Traavasa Hotel, though they had hiking signs posted here too. Regardless, please be respectful if you decide to do this hike.
This is another spot where you’ll want to make sure to wear your hiking/tennis shoes and the hike can be dangerous so use discretion and if you don’t feel comfortable turn around. It’s secluded and from what we noticed, less-visited on the Road to Hana. I also want to point out that while we didn’t see any nude sunbathers, it isn’t uncommon at this beach.
If you’re lucky to find a parking spot by Wailua Falls snag it! It’s an iconic Road to Hana waterfall that is 80-feet high. It was one of the more beautiful waterfalls we saw while on the Road to Hana.
Location: Mile Marker 45
Haleakala National Park (Kipahulu)
The south side of Haleakala National Park is very different from the area visited on day one of this Maui itinerary, but still beautiful nonetheless. If you’re up for it, we recommend visiting here and bringing your receipt from day one (it’s valid for three days) to enter for no additional cost.
‘Ohe’o Gulch: Normally you can swim at the ‘Ohe’o Gulch but because the waters were so high, we weren’t able to but they were still really cool for viewing. Hopefully you’ll have better luck than we did!
Pipiwai Trail & Waimoki Falls: The Pipiwai Trail was one of our favorite hiking trails in Maui. It will take you on a scenic path through a bamboo grove and across many bridges to Waimoku Falls.
Information: 0.8 miles approximately a 25-minute hike one-way. Elevation change 423 ft
Location: Mile Marker 42
Day 3: Maui Itinerary
Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm
Moments after stepping foot on Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm we felt a sense of serenity from the light scent of lavender in the air, the cooler temperature, and a stunning mountain backdrop. We were so glad we carved some time out of our schedule to visit this unique attraction in Maui. Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm has over 45 varieties of lavender on their 13.5-acre farm. After walking through the gardens we went into their gift shop where we got a lavender scone and lavender lemonade.
Before heading to dinner we stopped by Ho’okipa Lookout for sunset and saw a number of sea turtles laying on the beach. I was honestly so entranced by them we watched them for about half an hour! Just remember to keep your distance from the sea turtles if you do see some laying on the beach or in the water.
Day 4: Maui Itinerary
Snorkeling: Honolua Bay
After letting ourselves relax for a little while after breakfast we made our way to Honolua Bay to go snorkeling. The water is extremely clear and calm here making it the perfect place to snorkel. We saw more sea turtles, octopus, and colorful fish here than anywhere else we snorkeled.
There are a number of paid tours that come through this area but they are often only there for a short while before making their way to another snorkeling spot. Save yourself some money and skip out on the tour and spend as much time as you want here!
- Make sure to wear reef-safe sunscreen to protect the coral and sea creatures and reapply every 1-2 hours or as directed so you don’t get a sunburn as I did. Rookie mistake.
- Never touch coral or other sea life and keep your distance.
- Pick an area with calm, clear water for better viewing and safety. Honolua Bay was perfect for that!
- We brought our own snorkeling gear but you can also buy a snorkeling set at Costco or rent a set from one of the many rental shops in Maui.
Other Beaches and Snorkeling Spots in the Area
- Slaughterhouse Beach
- Kapalua Beach
- Napili Bay
Depending on the time of year you visit Maui, you might want to visit Secret Beach before dinner at Monkeypod Kitchen so you can see the sunset here. Secret Beach isn’t really a secret nor is it beach for relaxing, but more for viewing. Also, be cognizant of tide time tables so you don’t get completely soaked at high tide… not that I’m speaking from experience. You won’t need long here, but the view is gorgeous!
Day 5: Maui Itinerary – Lahaina
We took full advantage of sleeping in on this day, so you can too! After all, with the number of activities you’ve been up to you might need a rest as we did. If you want to add another activity to this day you can consider some of the additional options we have at the end of this itinerary including a helicopter tour or a go to a goat farm!
Day 6: Maui Itinerary
Iao Valley State Park / Iao Needle Monument
Iao Needle Monument.
The Iao Valley State Park is a 4,000-acre park offering hiking, scenic views, and a nature center. It’s perfect if you want to escape the beach for a little while and enjoy the lush greenery and tropical flowers of Maui. While at the Iao Valley we recommend taking the easy, paved 0.6-mile walk to view the Iao Needle Monument.
Kahakuloa Bay Drive
The drive to Kahakuloa Bay isn’t for the faint of heart. The roads are very narrow and are one-lane at times reminding us of what it was like to drive in Ireland! Hence why many travelers decide not to take this route. Before we made the drive we were just looking for the easiest way to visit the Olivine Pools and the Nakalele Blowhole and our GPS decided to take us that way. So, full disclosure, we didn’t know exactly what we were getting into making this drive. If you decide to go this way, be patient with yourself and other cars, please take your time, and be mindful of those who reside here.
The Olivine Pools are a series of tide pools set in a scenic oceanside setting and great views. If you plan to hike down to the Olivine Pools be sure to wear good walking or hiking shoes because it’s extremely rocky and steep. Keep in mind that depending on the time of year or even time of day, the waves can come crashing in and there have been known fatalities here. Because of this, we wouldn’t recommend getting in the tide pools or getting to close. Instead, you can look at them from a safe distance above or on one of the lower levels.
After viewing the Olivine Pools it’s time to head to the next destination on this Maui Itinerary, the Nakalele Blowhole. The Nakalele Blowhole is a powerful blowhole that shoots up between lava formations. Like the Olivine Pools, make sure to exercise caution when visiting and wear good walking or hiking shoes because the area can be really slippery. Sadly when we visited the Nakalele Blowhole we didn’t get to see it in full force, but we did get to see it at “medium” force. 🙂
Beach it up!
Seriously… Never miss a Maui sunset.
Because we had a pretty full day and a late lunch we decided to spend some time at a beach again for the remainder of the day. By now you probably have a favorite beach you’ve been going to so feel free to go back or find a new one to enjoy!
Day 7: Maui Itinerary
Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve
Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve is a conservation area that is another place that is great for snorkeling because it is home to many ocean animals and beautiful coral reefs. Before we went to Maui there was a ban on entering here due to shark activity, but it was lifted shortly after we arrived. Just be aware that this area may not always be available to snorkel in, but it’s beautiful to see too.