According to Travel & Leisure magazine, Hawaii is the #1 Destination people want to visit in their lifetime. Whether you’re a timeshare owner or not, Hawaii is probably on your bucket list as well! I was lucky enough to live on Oahu for two years as a kid and have returned to Hawaii a couple of times as an adult.
While it’s like picking a favorite child, Maui ranks really high in my book when choosing which island to visit for your first trip. It’s a more authentic Hawaii experience than Waikiki Beach, but it has all the conveniences you need for a vacation. (Hello, Costco right next to the airport!) That’s why when I saw The Tina Lifestyle’s epic A Week in Maui article, I knew it would be so helpful to my readers too! This article has been republished here with her permission. Mahalo, Tina!
Hawai’i is home to six major islands, one of which is the awe-inspiring Maui. Neighbored by the islands of Molokai and Lanai, Maui is stunningly beautiful, filled with black sand beaches, mysterious caves, and jaw-dropping forests. To ensure your trip goes smoothly when planning for a week in Maui, you’ll need to plan your luggage, activities, and hotel far in advance.
A Week in Maui
Going on vacation in Maui is an experience that feels as if it was plucked directly from your dreams. This is one of the most beautiful locations in the world, with the vast expanses of oceans, towering volcanoes, breathtaking forests, fascinating caves, and an incredible variety of wildlife. Fortunately, Maui is only one of Hawai’i’s six major islands. So, you can spend your vacation island-hopping if you like. Kaua’i is another favorite island of ours.
Since there are so many things to do on this amazing island, you might be having a hard time nailing down a solid vacation plan. To make things a bit easier for you, we’ve prepared a sample itinerary and packing list for you to plan a perfect week in Maui.
How do you get to Maui?
The only way to get to Maui is by flying or taking a cruise ship. If you fly to Maui, you will land at Kahului Airport. This airport is not huge and fairly easy to navigate. Here is a link to the airport maps that you can print out. If you Cruise to Maui Island, you will doc at Kahului Port.
Things to Do
Explore the rainforests with beautiful waterfalls. Hike Haleakala’s trails and experience watching the sun rise and set from the top of this shield volcano. Explore the cavern of a lavatube. Visit the towns filled with quaint shops, food, and art. Learn about island plant life and Hawaiian culture with a walk through Kahanu Garden and Heiau. Go to Iao Valley, where you can swim in the Seven sacred pools while learning more about Maui’s ancient past.
There are also many museums and cultural centers to visit on Maui. Museums are an excellent place to learn about Maui and the Hawaiian island’s rich heritage. These are just a few of the amazing places you will find on Maui.
- Hale Ho’ike’ike museum has many pre-contact artifacts, Hawaiian history, and genealogies.
- Baldwin Home Museum located in the town of Lahaina, this was a missionary homestead on Maui island and is the oldest house still standing.
- Hui No’eau is a visual art center in the town of Makawao where you will be able to watch artists work or take a class yourself. Following is a more detailed itinerary that we hope you’ll find helpful when planning your itinerary.
The best things to do in Maui will depend on the time of year you decide to visit. For example, the general consensus says that the ideal Maui vacation time is April-May and September-November. The Maui weather is perfect during these times for most families. However, surfers may want to keep their eye on trip opportunities for the wintertime, as this is the best time for surfing.
On the other hand, families with kids may consider the summer a double-edged sword. This is the time when most of the crowds will flow into the island, raising the prices for recreation and dining. Still, this is when the Pacific waters are the gentlest, so it’s safest for the little ones.
Activities by Season
In the Spring
- East Maui Taro Festival
- Maui Steel Guitar Festival
- Maui Onion Festival
In the Summer
- Swimming (currents are much calmer)
- Cultural festivals including Kapalua Wine & Food Festival and the Hawaiian Slack-Key Guitar Festival
In the Fall
- Aloha Festival
- Maui Ukulele Festival
- Sight-seeing on the Road to Hana (Maui weather is generally good in the fall!)
In the Winter
- Whale watching is perfect during this season!
A Sample Itinerary
There are so many things to do in Maui that it can be hard to plan to do it all in just seven days. Yet, even in that short time, you can pack your days with several memorable experiences to last a lifetime.
- Settle into the area and have a gentle introduction to the island by familiarizing yourself with the locals. On your first day, it’s time to explore the culinary culture by partaking in :
- Fresh fruit
- Shaved ice
- Local restaurants (make sure to grab some poke, taro, and malasadas!)
- Start your journey across the island first in West Maui. Here, you can visit:
- Honolua Bay (good spot for surfing)
- The famous banyan tree in Lanai
- Beach parks – keep an eye out for snorkeling touring opportunities to view sea turtles and other ocean life
- Breakfast at Belle Surf Cafe, a cute cafe that offers top coffee to fuel your day
- Shopping along Main Street, which offers a beautiful waterfront walk as you check out boutiques and restaurants (may we suggest Pacific’o On the Beach for your dinner plans? It offers fantastic food and a romantic sunset waterfront view!)
- Relax on family-friendly Lahaina Beach
- Atlantic Adventures’ submarine tour and whale watching!
- Hiking in the bamboo forests
- Head down to Central Maui to see Iao Valley State Park
- Take a stroll in Kihei to see some fabulous sunsets
- Make your way down to Upcountry Maui to see:
- Haleakala National Park (they have a zip line Maui tour for those interested)
- The historic town of Paia
- Enjoy a peaceful moment observing surfers and high waves or if you’re an advanced surfer, grab a board and jump in!
- Stroll down Main Street and enjoy the shops, especially if you’re coming from or going to Hana.
- Visit East Maui to see the Pools of Oheo
- Walk across the black sand beaches of Wai’anapanapa State Park
- Whale watching
- Visit Turtle Town for snorkeling and viewing the famous sea turtle population in that area
- Wrap up the day by visiting the Molokini Crater off the coast of South Maui
- Take in your last bits of Maui culture by dining and enjoying the local music
Maui is one of the most fantastic places to take yourself and your family on vacation. The island seems to be made exclusively from the stuff of dreams, from its enchanting black sands to the abundance of beach parks to the local people’s rich culture.
Since there is so much to do, it can be challenging to lock down a solid plan for your vacation. Using the guide above, you’ll know exactly what to pack and how to move about the island on your week-long vacation.
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