Aerial View of Maui's Road to Hana; Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Aerial View of Maui's Road to Hana; Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

The Ultimate Maui Travel Guide

Amy Fujimoto

This Maui travel guide has been divided into 9 sections to make it easier to navigate.

Start by choosing one of the categories below to explore the best of Maui and useful travel tips to help you make your trip an enjoyable and memorable vacation.

About Maui, Hawaii

Maui is unique for its combination of remoteness and habitability.

There’s a sense of the country life in Maui especially when compared to Oahu’s Waikiki and downtown Honolulu city life.

Maui also has a nightlife with small towns, eateries, bars and shops to experience if you’re looking for something to do in the evening.

With over 30 miles of shoreline, Maui also scores in the beach category.

There are plenty of off-shore activities to try such as kayaking and snorkeling, and your chances of spotting a turtle swimming in the waves are high, too!

surfers paddlingSUP; Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Mark Kushimi

Originating from two large volcanic masses connected by an isthmus, Maui’s unique geography paired with the island’s sunshine, tradewinds and varying humidity create what is known as microclimates.

These microclimates will set the tone for your stay in different regions of the island. Keep this in mind as you use this guide to plan your trip to the island of Maui.

LISTEN: Hawaii's Best Podcast featuring Shaka Guide's Co-Founder, Andrew Fowers!

Regions Of Maui

regions of maui

Maui has five distinct regions: 

RELATED: Maui Maps - 8 Maui Maps for Your Trip

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West Maui

If you enjoy tourist hubs like Waikiki on Oahu, head to Honoapiilani Highway in West Maui to discover some of the island’s most famous beaches and resorts.

Fill your days with shopping, restaurants and hiking, then finish up with a stroll along world-famous beaches and a beautiful sunset.

You'll also find the seaside town of Lahaina here, where historical tours, museums and unique local shops are waiting to be discovered.

Popular things to do in West Maui:

  • Spend the day on Ka'anapali Beach, once voted America’s best beach.
  • Explore the sleepy town of Lahaina.
  • See Lanai and Molokai from the western shoreline.

streets in lahaina hawaiiLahaina; Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

RELATED: Lahaina Travel Guide

Central Maui

Central Maui is home to Kahului Airport, where most inbound flights to Maui arrive.

Get your pre-vacation shopping done here such as snacks and beach supplies and don’t forget to finish up your trip with some souvenir shopping, too!

You’ll probably pass through Central Maui a few times throughout your trip as you make your way around the island exploring the different attractions.

Popular things to do in Central Maui:

RELATED: Hawaii Airport Guide: Which Airport Should You Fly Into?

Upcountry Maui

Located inland, Upcountry Maui is home to rich, volcanic farmland and the summit district of Haleakala National Park.

Learn about the lifestyle of the paniolo, Hawaiian cowboy, and how they navigated life on the islands managing their livestock.

Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the farm tours and outdoor activities in the area.

Popular things to do in Upcountry Maui:

  • See the sunrise or sunset at Haleakala National Park.
  • Stroll through the farms in Kula.
  • Eat fresh and organic produce grown on Maui.

RELATED: Haleakala Sunrise & Sunset: Everything You Need to Know

East Maui

Visitors to Maui will inevitably end up exploring the Road to Hana and East Maui is where you’ll see all of the waterfalls, hikes and lava tubes that dot the Hana Highway.

Grab lunch from a lunch truck or small eatery, hike up to one of the many waterfalls, and stop by a beach for some gorgeous seaside views.

Popular things to do in East Maui:

  • Explore Waianapanapa State Park, the black sand beach.
  • Drive the Road to Hana.
  • Eat Hana Highway’s famous banana bread.
  • Hike the Pipiwai Trail.

RELATED: Which Road to Hana Tour is Right for You? 

South Maui

Famous for its snorkeling and turtle viewing opportunities, South Maui is the place to be if you want to be in the water with ocean life.

On exceptionally clear days, you can see Lanai, Molokini, and even Kahoolawe from the shoreline and the whale watching here is spectacular during the winter season.

Popular things to do in South Maui:

  • Snorkel at the Molokini atoll and swim with some amazing sea creatures.
  • Hike the family-friendly Makena State Park.
  • See turtles at Turtle Town.

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RELATED: Molokini Travel Guide 


Maui is a popular choice for visitors to Hawaii mainly because it has a great combination of both nature and city.

Sunny beaches, waterfalls, and hikes are just a few steps away, and shopping and entertainment are easily accessible during your downtime and evenings.

Hotels And Resorts

For visitors looking for a complete and luxurious vacation experience, your best option is to explore the hotels and resorts on the western, southern, and eastern shores of Maui.

In West Maui, the fancy hotels run from Kapalua to Ka'anapali along the Honoapiilani Highway.

The view of the Pacific Ocean is incredible, plus you get easy access to America’s best beach, Ka'anapali Beach.

Wailea in South Maui is another spot to check out for high-end luxury hotels, and if you decide to stay in Hana during your Road to Hana exploration, there are a couple of hotels and resorts here that should meet your expectations.

kaanapali beach Kaanapali Beach; Andrew Bain / Unsplash

Hotels that are a little more affordable and come without all the extra bells and whistles can be found in Kihei in South Maui and Central Maui.

You won’t have easy ocean access from the middle of the island, but the incredible view of Haleakala as your backdrop is a fair trade.

If you’re looking to stay near the airport, Courtyard by Marriott is an excellent hotel adjacent to the Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary. Maui Seaside Hotel is similar and a little less expensive.

There are a few options for resorts on Maui’s southeastern coast. These are generally located in Hana Town and are quite nice with price tags to match.

Hana Kai Maui will run about $300 per night and Hana-Maui Resort (formerly Travaasa Hana) will cost around $650. Both of these locations are on the gorgeous Hana Bay. 

Resort accommodations generally cost anywhere between $300 - $700 per night, with some luxury rooms requiring upwards of several thousand a night.

Budget-friendly hotels tend to hover around $200.

Short-term Vacation Rentals

Unlike Oahu, which considers short-term rentals to be less than 90 days, Maui defines a short-term rental as less than 180 consecutive nights.

That means Airbnb and Vrbo rentals for your vacation on Maui may be limited especially if you haven’t been making your reservations in advance.

Legislation is changing frequently since housing is a growing issue and it’s important to stay up-to-date so you aren’t taken by surprise when booking your rooms.

There have been talks on the table to completely phase out all short-term vacation rentals on Maui and convert them to housing for the local workforce.

The shortage of affordable homes for local workers just isn’t enough to support the current tourism industry workforce.

Again, keep this in mind especially when planning a future trip to Maui as you may have to be creative with your accommodation if you are aiming for a private rental during your short-term stay.

sunset at keokea beachKeokea Ranch Estate

Keokea Ranch, a bit inland from Wailea, is wonderfully private with an excellent view of the ocean from the higher elevation.

Kula Lodge is even further inland and doesn’t have quite the level of luxury as other popular Maui establishments.

That being said, it more than makes up for this in charm and delicious food. 


There are a few hostels on Maui with great ratings that come with an affordable price.

Typically costing about $40 - $60 a night per dorm bed, hostels are a great way to save money, but you’ll need to book them far in advance.

Maui is a popular island destination in Hawaii and hostel reservations run out fast!

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If you really love the outdoors and are on a strict budget, camping might be an option for you.

Most campsites are run by the government at state or beach parks and require a permit reserved in advance.

If you are looking for something a little more classy, check out the private campsite Camp Olowalu.

With amenities and facilities including:

  • hot showers
  • internet access
  • private parking
  • charging stations
  • BBQ grills, and
  • even dishwashing and recycling stations

Yyou’ll feel like you’re living in a fancy cabin community with friendly neighbors.

camp olowaluCamp Olowalu

Other popular campsites on Maui:

  • Hosmer Grove (Haleakala National Park): You can stay up to 3 days per month at this campground that sits at about 7,000 feet, but temperatures do dip into the upper 40s overnight. There’s an excellent nature walk loop connected to the camping lawn. Facilities include drinking water, vault toilets, grills and tables.
  • Holua and Paliku Campground (Haleakala National Park): If you’re into wilderness camping, the Holua and Paliku Campsites are accessible via hikes in Haleakala National Park. Reservations are available 6 months in advance, so plan and book early! Backpacking to these campsites is an amazing adventure and well worth the effort of securing a reservation.
  • Waianapanapa State Park: There are very few amenities at this campsite, but you’ll get an amazing view and access to this beautiful black sand beach. While regular Hana Highway visitors fight traffic and the crowds, you’ll be the first one on the beach in the morning.
  • Kipahulu Campground: This campground is adjacent to the Pools of Oheo in Haleakala National Park. If you choose to camp here you’ll be waking up right at the trailhead that leads to this legendary swimming hole (although swimming is closed due to Covid-19). The facilities include vault toilets, grills, and picnic tables.

RELATED: Where to Camp in Maui

Things to Do in Maui

Maui has a plethora of things to do to keep you busy from outdoor activities to historical museums.

But there are two big attractions that are highly recommended: driving the Road to Hana and visiting Haleakala National Park.

The Road to Hana is filled with plenty of sightseeing opportunities along the coast, while Haleakala National Park is a unique experience on Maui’s massive shield volcano.

haleakala roadAtop Haleakala; Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) 

Shaka Guide Tours

There are tons of awesome tours to take on Maui! Shaka Guide offers six audio driving tours on the island.

Each tour offers turn-by-turn directions, stories, music and travel tips - all through your smartphone! These include:

RELATED: Which Maui Tour is Right for You?

Drive The Road To Hana

Hana Highway is 64 miles dotted with waterfalls, swimming holes, hikes, beaches, lava tubes and views. On the way to the little town of Hana, you’ll discover picturesque bridges, black sand beaches, and cute eateries along the way.

sunrise in road to hanaHana; Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tommy Lundberg

Many visitors can complete the Road To Hana in one day, but it’s entirely possible to stretch your Road To Hana visit over several days in order to explore all of the vistas and activities.

The biggest problem you’ll have is trying to figure out which stops you’ll want to visit before you run out of sunlight.

If you need help, we recommend our Shaka Guide Classic Road To Hana Tour to take the planning and confusion out of your day.

Learn more about the Road to Hana:

Download Shaka Guide’s App and experience our classic Road to Hana tour.

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Haleakala National Park

The park is packed with hikes, unique species and a landscape that resembles the moon more than it does planet Earth.

Haleakala National Park has enough to keep even the most enthusiastic outdoors lover busy for days.

Visiting the park for sunrise is particularly popular and stargazing is fantastic since the city lights are miles away and won’t interfere with your nighttime views.

sea of cloudsView on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa from Haleakala from Unsplash by Raph Howald

Plan your visit to Haleakala National Park:

Download Shaka Guide’s App and experience our sunrise at Haleakala National Park tour.


map of beaches in maui

Maui has some of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii.

There are plenty of snorkeling opportunities and even if you don’t feel like swimming, the sunset and island views are off the charts!

While you may not have the chance to visit every single beach, there are a few that should be on your list.

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Popular beaches in West Maui:

white sand beachKapalua Beach; Christopher Michel / Flickr; CC-BY-2.0

  • Ka'anapali Beach: Once named America’s Most Beautiful Beach, Ka'anapali Beach is close to several resorts with easy access to shops, restaurants, tours and luxury services. The white sandy beach glides into clear, blue water and the weather on this side of the island is fantastic throughout the year.
  • D.T. Fleming Beach Park: Excellent services and upkeep including lifeguards, grills, picnic tables, restrooms, and a playground - all kept in immaculate condition. The scenery is beautiful with crystal-clear water that's perfect for swimming as well as a wonderful shady treeline. 
  • Hanakao'o Beach Park (Canoe Beach): Sitting just north of Ka'anapali Beach and usually less crowded, you’ll most likely launch from this beach if you sign up for an outrigger tour.
  • Kapalua Beach: Known for its beautiful scenery and excellent snorkeling conditions. Keep an eye out for sea turtles, eels and tropical fish. Remember to keep a respectful distance from all marine life and coral you come in contact with.
  • Launiupoko Beach: One of the best beaches for swimming on the island. A natural lava rock wall breaks incoming waves and currents. It’s also a great beginner-friendly snorkel spot.

Popular beaches in Central Maui:

white sand beachHookipa Beach Park; Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Kanaha Beach Park: Conveniently located near the Kahului Airport, this beautiful two-mile white sand beach is excellent for windsurfing and watersports.
  • Baldwin Beach Park: Spend a traditional beach day with bathroom and shower facilities, lifeguards, picnic tables and grill pits.
  • Ho'okipa Beach Park: Known for its world-class windsurfing conditions, this is a great place to spectate surfers and windsurfers from the scenic lookout.

RELATED: Must-See Scenic Spots in Maui

Popular beaches in East Maui:

black sand beachWaianapanapa Black Sand Beach; Stacy Egan / Flickr; CC-BY-2.0

  • Black Sand Beach at Waianapanapa State Park: Inside Waianapanapa State Park, you’ll find the best black sand beach on the island. This beautiful cove features a lava tube and blowholes, in addition to swimmable blue waters and a scenic green coast. Reservations are required, so check out our travel guide to make a reservation and plan your trip to this breathtaking beach.
  • Hamoa Beach: One of the least crowded beaches on Maui, this pearly white sand beach has gorgeous views and is a local favorite.

RELATED: Waianapanapa State Park Travel Guide

Popular beaches in South Maui

white sand beach with peopleMakena Beach; Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Makena Beach: You’ll find “Big Beach” and “Little Beach” at Makena, but both are famous for their excellent conditions, amazing views and long shorelines. Little Beach is perfect if you’re looking to get away from the crowd. There are a few concession stands within walking distance from Makena Beach State Park.
  • Kamaole Beaches: There are three Kamaole Beaches (I, II and III) and each has something a little different to offer. Kamaole I has the longest white sand beach, Kamaole II is best for snorkeling, while Kamaole III is rockier but has a playground for kids. All three have lifeguards and picnic tables.
  • Polo Beach: While it can get crowded here, Polo Beach is extremely convenient for those staying in one of the nearby rental accommodations.
  • Wailea Beach: There are no lifeguards here, but there are bathroom facilities and you can lounge, swim, snorkel and boogie board here.


The hiking on Maui is spectacular. As an island with a fantastic mix of outdoor and indoor activities, you won’t run out of trails and views as you explore the different regions of the island.

hikes in maui

Acid War Zone Trail

Don’t let the name of this hike discourage you! Named after the erosion of rocks from a combination of salt and wind, the landscape vaguely resembles rocks that have had acid poured on top of it.

Don’t miss the blowhole, views of the ocean, and a heart-shaped hole in the ground where you can see the surface of the ocean.

Waihee Ridge Trail

A steep and challenging hike with stunning views surrounded with beautiful foliage.

Between the jungle, ridge tops and ocean views, this truly feels like a Hawaiian hike.

The slippery mud gets dangerous when raining so pick another hike if it’s wet.

Mahana Ridge Trail

Near D.T. Fleming Beach, this trail is 10 miles, but you can stop after the first couple of miles and turn back.

There’s not much more to see after the first few views and the hike gets extremely muddy.

Dragon Teeth Trail

This oceanside trail follows the rocky shoreline that looks like the teeth of a dragon from a distance.

Lao Valley State Park

Lao Valley State Park has a few great, well-maintained trails. They mostly all begin at one trailhead right after you enter the park.

The hikes themselves are a great experience and you’ll get an awesome view of the Iao Needle as well.

green mountainslao Valley State Park; Bernard Spragg. NZ / Flickr; CC0-1.0

Haleakala National Park

Haleakala is a must-see for all Maui visitors. There are a ton of trails to explore and each one is different from the next.

Whether you want to do a short, well-developed hike or a long overnight backpacking trip into the remote wilderness, Haleakala National park will have what you’re looking for.

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Pools of Oheo

Also known as the Seven Sacred Pools, this hike is pretty short and easy, but the reward is truly amazing.

The hike ends at the famous Pools of Oheo Gulch, which consists of several freshwater pools in the jungle along with a beautiful waterfall. (Requires a Haleakala National Park reservation and is accessible via the Road to Hana.)

waterfall in mauiOheo Gulch; Drazz / Flickr; CC-BY-SA-2.0

Want to visit West Maui? Check out our West Maui Coastline Driving Tour. You can even start the tour in the resort areas of Ka'anapali and Kapalua!

Waianapanapa State Park

The Ke Ala Loa O Maui Trail and Kipapa O Kihapiilani Trail will take you along an ancient Hawaiian road from the 15th century and ancient ruins.

Please be respectful of these ancient Hawaiian sites. Reservations required to visit Waianapanapa State Park.

Twin Falls

One of the most easily accessible waterfalls on Maui. You can swim at the base and it’s a great hike for the entire family.

Please note that there is a parking fee to visit the falls.

tourists swimming in the fallsTwin Falls; Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Pipiwai Trail

A 3.5-mile rainforest trail offering beautiful views of two waterfalls and a bamboo forest walkthrough.

This hike is rated moderate and takes about 2 hours to complete; however, if you’re short on time or looking for a family-friendly option, hike to the first lookout point where you can see Waimoku Falls.

Hoapili Trail

Relatively flat, you’ll encounter some tedious rocks along the way, making it a moderate hike.

Makena State Park

Head to the Wailea Oceanfront Boardwalk Trail, which makes this a pleasant stroll among wildflowers, a variety of bird species, and maybe even some whales during the winter.

white sand beachPhoto from Unsplash by Joanna Kozik

Botanical Gardens

A wonderful way to explore Maui is through the various botanical gardens on the island.

Filled with a fantastic collection of plants and trees, these gardens often feature foliage that grow exceedingly well in Maui’s tropical rainforest environment.

Popular botanical gardens on Maui:

  • Maui Nui Botanical Gardens: Formerly known as the Maui Zoological & Botanical Gardens, you’ll see an excellent collection of native plants and how the ancient Hawaiians used them in their everyday lives.
  • Kula Botanical Garden: If you’d like to learn how to identify the different plants and trees on Maui during your vacation, this is a great spot to begin your education.
  • Garden of Eden Arboretum: In addition to the large variety of plants and trees, there is an exceptional collection of birds that you’ll also enjoy here.
  • Kahanu Garden: Experience a relaxing stroll with an amazing ocean view and visit Maui’s largest heiau (Hawaiian temple).


Maui has some excellent surf locations whether you’re a pro trying to get your fix or a beginner looking to catch your very first wave.

Ho'okipa Beach is a staple in the Maui surf community, but the waves are HUGE in winter and you should only visit to watch well-seasoned surfers in action.

Instead, head to Lahaina Reefs, which has several breaks that are perfect for all skill levels.

The waves in Honolua Bay go on for ages so this is a great spot for long, leisurely rides.

honolua bayPhoto from Unsplash by Andrew Bain

Surfboard rentals and lessons on Maui:

  • Zach Howard Surf offers great surfing lessons for all ages.
  • Maui Surfboards offers a variety of surfboard rentals and lessons. It’s also quite possibly Maui’s oldest surf shop.
  • 808 Boards has free delivery and pickup for their board rentals in West Maui.
  • Island Surfboard Rentals has recreational and performance boards as well as stand up paddle boards.


There are a lot of shopping malls, centers and marketplaces on Maui that offer a different experience depending on what you’re looking for.

Many local businesses on Maui pride themselves on their “made in Maui” products so keep a lookout for local shops with unique products and services.

maui shoppersHawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Max Wanger

Popular places to shop on Maui:

  • Whaler’s Village: One of Maui’s most popular shopping malls, this is an outdoor mall with a large selection of shops and restaurants.
  • Maui Mall: A smaller outdoor mall that’s great for families with small children.
  • The Shops At Wailea: If you love luxury and high-end shopping, this is the place to be.
  • Outlets Of Maui: Popular shopping destination especially for tourists who love shopping at outlet malls.
  • Queen Ka'ahumanu Center: There’s something for everyone at Maui’s largest shopping mall, which boasts more than a hundred shops, restaurants, and entertainment attractions.
  • Rainbow Mall: A great place to buy souvenirs or mementos of your trip to Maui as the shops and eateries are all locally owned.
  • Lahaina Cannery: Maui’s only air-conditioned indoor mall with over 50 boutique shops to discover.
  • Honokowai Marketplace: Come here to eat or stock up on groceries.
  • The Wharf Cinema Center: The lively atmosphere here is perfect for tourists looking for a fun and relaxing atmosphere.
  • Kihei Kalama Village: A little outdoor marketplace with a fun swap meet/flea market vibe. This is a great place for some cheap souvenirs to bring home.
  • Azeka Shopping Center: A nice collection of eateries and lunch trucks.
  • Old Lahaina Center: A fun place to walk around and explore as you window shop.

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Exploring Maui through tours and guided activities is a great way to safely see the sights and learn about the culture and history of this unique island.

Adventure tour activities on Maui:

RELATED: Maui Ocean Center Guide and Four Zipline Adventures in Maui

Popular tour activities on Maui:

whale splashing in the sea

RELATED: Visiting Lahaina: From Whaling to Whale Watching

Snorkeling And Diving

divers jumping in the sea in hawaiiSnorkelers at Molokini; Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Blake Bronstad

Maui is one of the best islands for snorkeling and diving. The underwater experience is surreal with its crystal-clear water, tropical fish, and sea turtles.

Here are a few of our favorite beach spots on Maui that are great for snorkeling or diving:

Honolua Bay

Honolua Bay is an excellent snorkeling location with a huge array of species to swim with.

This is an awesome location that you can access via a quick hike, which prevents overcrowding.

The bay is also a marine conservation sanctuary so there’s plenty to see - just don’t touch as it is federally protected.

RELATED: Honolua Bay Travel Guide

Turtle Town

Turtle Town near Maluaka Beach is also excellent for seeing all kinds of ocean life including turtles, tropical fish, and eels.

There have also been multiple humpback whale sightings in this area, so be on the lookout for their spouts as they take a breath.

It’s a bit of a swim to get to the various reefs referred to as Turtle Town, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

Please remember, sea turtles are a protected species in Hawaii and getting too close will result in a fine. 

sea turtle swimmingIsland of Hawaii Visitors Bureau (IHVB) / Tyler Schmitt

Popular beaches for snorkeling and diving:

  • Ka'anapali Beach: Snorkel along the black rock wall to see fish and maybe some turtles.
  • Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve: A great spot for snorkeling as it’s a marine preserve and protected from fishing and netting.
  • Molokini Crater: You’ll have to join a tour to get to Molokini Crater but the snorkeling here is incredible.

Snorkel rentals on Maui:


If you’re looking for a real adventure, there are two excellent backpacking trips on Maui to consider.

  • Hike to Holua Campground in Haleakala National Park. The two trails that lead to this campground are the Halemau'u trail (3.7 miles) and the Keonehe'ehe'e trail (Sliding Sands, 7.4 miles).
  • Hike to Paliku Campsites in Haleakala National Park. The two trails that lead to this campsite are the Halemau'u trail (9.3 miles) and the Keonehe'ehe'e trail (Sliding Sands, 10.4 miles).

holua campgrounds at sunriseHolua Campground at Sunrise; Forest & Kim Starr / Flickr; CC-BY-2.0

LEARN MORE: Wilderness Camping In Haleakala National Park

Historic Sites

From the legends of Maui the Demigod to the stories of the island’s last reigning monarch - Maui has endless history. Learn more about Maui at a historic site! Here are some of our favorites. 

Bars And Restaurants

With so many beautiful hikes and activities on Maui, you’re bound to get hungry along the way. Maui has a great collection of restaurants, bars, lunch trucks, and even fruit stands to keep the hunger away.

Popular places to eat on Maui:


Maui doesn’t have as many options for transportation as Oahu does. For the most part, you’ll be limited to car rentals and the public bus system.

Most people rent their cars at one of the many car rental companies located near Kahului Airport, but there are also a couple of rental agencies in West Maui and several in the Maalaea Bay area. Car rentals on Maui can go for as little as $40 a day.

road to hana curve path

The Maui Bus system is also pretty effective and can get you to almost any part of the island.

A one-way bus fare will cost you $2, but you’re better off getting a day pass for $4 if you plan on taking more than one bus ride.

You can find information and route maps for the Maui Bus system here. This interactive map is also quite helpful. 

RELATED: Road To Hana: Guide To Having An Epic Driving Tour

Uber and Lyft are great options if you don’t want to worry about renting a car.

Turo is also becoming more popular on the island and is perfect for those who are on a budget.

RELATED: Hawaii Uber and Lyft Guide

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Travel Costs And Budgeting

Maui is one of the most expensive Hawaiian islands and also one of the most expensive places in the United States.

Dining, lodging, ticketing, and transportation are all going to take up a lot of funds in your budgeting plan.

But there are ways to save if you know where to look!

Food Costs

Food is extremely expensive on the Hawaiian islands, and this is particularly true for Maui.

You’ll pay about $7-$10 for milk and about $6 for a dozen large eggs.

Restaurants are also going to run a bit higher than the mainland and other Hawaiian islands.

If you plan to eat out, you’ll probably want to set aside $20 per person per meal for a casual restaurant - not including drinks and cocktails.

To keep costs down, many restaurants source their ingredients locally.

Lodging Costs

If you're flexible, you can save quite a bit on your accommodation in Maui by opting for a rental not located near the tourist hub spots.

Hotels and resorts can be a great experience, but they are also usually pretty expensive.

For a hotel, you can expect to pay anywhere from around $150 to thousands a night. Look inland if you want something for less than $100 a night.

Most accommodations in Hawaii will be less expensive during the slower months of January, February, April, September, October, and November.

You might save anywhere between $50 - $100 a night depending on the room and location. 

couples watching the sea in maui from their hotelHawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Max Wanger

Ticketing and Airfare

Maui is one of the more expensive islands to fly to. But like with any destination, you can save a lot by visiting during the slow season and buying your tickets early.

If you’re looking to save, the best months to fly to Hawaii are January, February, April, September, October, and November. 

A round-trip flight from the east coast will most likely be at least several hundred dollars more than from the west coast of the United States.

You can use tools such as Google Flights to help find the best deals.

Entertainment Expenses

The great thing about the Hawaiian Islands is that once you’ve accounted for travel, transportation, food, and lodging, much of your entertainment is free.

Once you’re on the island you’re free to hit every beach and hike you want - although there may be park entrance fees associated with some locations.

Of course, you might also be interested in some paid experiences.

To help out we collected a few price tags for adventures you might be interested in purchasing. Here are some approximate rates to help get you started:

maui booking prices

RELATED: 5 Family-Friendly Activities in Maui

Money-Saving Tips

boys eating on the picnic table in mauiHawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / John Hook

If you are looking to save some extra cash, we’ve got some bonus ideas that can help you save big! Mix and match as you see fit!

  • Stay in a hostel: Many hostels feature dorm rooms and shared bathrooms. If you travel light and only need a place to sleep, hostels are a great way to save on your accommodation. Book early because hostel bookings go fast!
  • Plan with a friend or group: Traveling with a group can bring down your cost quite a bit. You can split your accommodation expenses, car rentals and rideshares. Some activities will even have a discount or added bonus for groups.
  • Alternatively, travel alone: If you are a minimalist traveler and enjoy seeing the sights rather than booking tours, then traveling alone might be a better option for you to save money. Eating out, standby tickets and waiting lists are also much easier to navigate alone.
  • Package deals: Figure out what you want to do in advance and search for a package deal online or with a local travel agency. You might be able to save big by booking several or all of your adventures through a single company.
  • Military, senior, resident, and children discounts: There are several different types of discounts you might be eligible to receive depending on your situation. Almost every activity will have military, senior, and discounts for children. If you happen to be traveling from another island, there’s also the kama'aina discount for residents of Hawaii.

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Best Times to Visit Maui

There is never a bad time to visit Maui, but there are seasonal activities you should be aware of

such as whale watching or winter swells. It’s also at its most crowded during the months of June, July, August and December.

The least crowded months are January, February, April, September, October and November.

maui annual calendar

When Should You Visit?

Like the rest of Hawaii, Maui only has two seasons: a dry summer from April thru October, and wet winter from November thru March.

Keep in mind that each microclimate is vastly different and some areas receive rain all year.

Whale sightings are the most common in February, March, and April, but you still have a pretty good chance to see them from December thru May (the official whale watching season).

November thru March has the best swells for surfing, although you can usually find a wave to catch all year round. 

Weather and Climate

The thing about Maui’s weather is that it is incredibly different depending on what part of the island you're on.

Little zones called microclimates, created by the gradient geography and tradewinds, influence the weather dramatically in different zones.

You’ll need to pay attention to these microclimates in order to effectively plan your trip to Maui.

Maui has three main microclimate types:

  • Desert region: Receives very little rainfall and plenty of sun. Generally runs along the coast and is where you’ll find many of the best beaches. (Wailea, Lahaina, Haleakala, Kihei and Kaupo)
  • Rainforest region: Receives a lot of rainfall from clouds that build up along the base of Maui’s mountains. Many hikes and waterfalls are located in the rainforest. (Hana, Haiku, Kipahulu, Makawao, West Maui mountains)
  • Mountainous region: Marked by shrubbery and freezing nighttime temperatures, you can find scores of amazing hikes in the mountains. (Haleakala, Kula, Ulupalukua)

RELATED: When's the Best Time to Visit Hawaii?

Traveling to Maui Post Covid-19 

surfboards lined up

If you are traveling to Maui in 2023 post pandemic, there are some things you need to know. 

If you've been to Maui before, please note that many of your beloved restaurants may have closed and many attractions may still be closed or have modified hours.

Make reservations in advance if there's something you'd really like to do or a restaurant you'd love to try. 

Also, please remember to practice aloha on your trip. Maui is an isolated island with limited medical resources.

Respect local residents by adhering to local mask mandates, social distancing, and following all state protocols.

RELATED: 12 Ways to Be a Respectful Traveler to Hawaii

We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at aloha@shakaguide.com.

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