Maui Travel Guide
Where to stay, what to do, and why we call Maui home…
The Valley Isle is the best place to visit for your first time in Hawaii, in our humble opinion. Lacking the crowds of Oahu but filled with the best beaches, snorkeling, and resorts of all the Hawaiian islands, Maui is where we call home so we know how to plan a trip here.
Maui is known for its luxury accommodations, making it the most expensive Hawaiian island to visit. But there are deals to be had and the best things to do are free, like bamboo forest hikes, waterfall swims, and whale watching from shore.
Everything you need to know about planning your trip to Maui is here:
Trying to pick the best Hawaiian island for your trip?
The decision to choose Maui is usually weighed against Kauai or Oahu. Here is how to decide:
🍍 Oahu vs Maui (from someone who has lived on both)
🍍 More than any Hawaiian island, Maui has 120-miles of accessible beach with 81 white, red, black, and gold-sand beaches.
🍍 There are no private beaches in Hawaii. By-law, no one has the right to own a beach or keep people off the beach so come enjoy the beaches!
🍍 Maui is the second-largest Hawaiian island with the third-largest population, 144,000 people
🍍 Haleakala is the largest dormant volcano in the world with a summit of 10,023 feet. The summit depression can hold the island of Manhattan, at 21-miles across and 4,000-feet deep. Check out our Guide to Maui’s Volcanoes
🍍 The Hana Highway was rated a Drive of a Lifetime by National Geographic, drive the Road to Hana to experience 620 curves and 59 bridges.
🍍 Maui is home to the largest humpback whale migration in the world from mid-December to mid-April. Come to Maui to see acrobatic feats and guaranteed whale sightings – The Ultimate Whale Watching Guide.
🍍 Maui is the largest of Maui County’s four islands, which include Moloka’i, Lana’i, and the unpopulated Kaho’olawe. Maui is perfect for day-trip adventures to Lana’i, Moloka’i, or snorkeling at Molokini Crater.
Let Erica and me take the burden of planning an epic trip to Maui off your to-do list. Here are our readers’ favorite Maui itineraries.
🍍 How Many Days Should You Spend on Maui (the ideal plan)
Where to Stay on Maui: Get Your Bearings
Maui has the mighty Haleakala volcano on the east side making up 70% of the island. On the west side is the Mauna Kahawai volcano, better known as the West Maui Mountains. In-between the two volcanoes is what gives the island its nickname, a large valley that was the heart of Maui’s sugar cane industry for over a century.
You will fly into the Kahului Airport (OGG) in Central Maui. All the big-brand rental car companies are at the airport. Maui is a large island so if you are planning on doing a few activities, a rental car is recommended but this how you can decide to rent a car or not.
From the airport, it is a 40-minute drive to Kaanapali or a 25-minute drive to Wailea. These are the two main resort areas on Maui because they have the best weather, beaches, hotels, and vacation rentals.
West Maui and South Maui are on the leeward side of the island. They have the most sunny days a year and the least rainfall of any part of Maui. These areas are home to the historic capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii and the whaling town of Lahaina, the long beaches and good food in Kihei, and the stretches of resorts and hotels in Kaanapali and Wailea. Wailea is home to the best adults-only hotel in Hawaii.
Paia on the North Shore is home to celebrities, yogis, world-famous windsurfing, and Jaws – big-wave surfing. Let’s not forget the highest-ranked restaurant on TripAdvisor, Mama’s Fish House. Here is the best time to go to Mama’s Fish House.
Head to Upcountry Maui for cooler temperatures, hiking, Maui Wine, and cowboys.
Maui Travel Tips
From navigating the island to finding the best local grindz (food), check out the articles below to plan your Maui vacation.
🍍 Cheapest Groceries on Maui (stock your vacation rental)
🍍 The Cheapest Time to Fly to Maui (5 tips to book your flight)
🍍 Is Driving in Maui Dangerous? Tips to drive safely
When to Travel to Maui
As with all the Hawaiian islands, the lowest prices, best weather, and smallest crowds are during the shoulder seasons of September to mid-November and March to May.
Our favorite month to visit Maui is October. It checks all the boxes for the cheapest time to go, great weather, and the least crowded month.
If you can’t get away during the school season, then late May and June is a good time to go during the busy season.
Maui in December is the most expensive month and the rainiest but Maui is a wonderful place to spend Christmas.
Picking one month over another is splitting hairs. The weather on the leeward side is a paradise all year long. Visit Maui when you can escape life on the mainland.
Maui’s Best Things to Do
The densest population of whales in the world is in Maui from mid-December to mid-April. But whale watching is one of many things to do in Maui that will make a visit here a jaw-dropping experience.
🍍 The Best Maui Luaus: Feast at Lele vs Old Lahaina Luau
🍍 6 Maui Adventure Cruises (Lanai snorkeling to the best sunset sails)
🍍 Nakalele Blowhole in northwest Maui