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Maui Visitors Guide

How to Get There, Things to Do & More

Updated April 2024 ⋅ Written by Vanessa Howard ⋅ Edited by Laura Schulthies

Maui Visitors Guide: Things to do in Maui Hawaii
Maui Visitors Guide: Things to do in Maui Hawaii

Welcome to Maui

Maui is a tropical dream come true! Hawaii’s second largest island is known for its incredible beauty, fascinating history, and stunning waterfalls. Maui caters to those looking for luxurious accommodations and pure relaxation. The pristine beaches on the island, coupled with its unique isthmus that connects two volcanic masses that formed the island, make Maui a nature lovers’ paradise. Come enjoy the natural beauty and luxury of Hawaii’s “Valley Island.”

Maui is a tropical dream come true! Hawaii’s second largest island is known for its incredible beauty, fascinating history, and stunning waterfalls. Maui caters to those looking for luxurious accommodations and pure relaxation. The pristine beaches on the island, coupled with its unique isthmus that connects two volcanic masses that formed the island, make Maui a nature lovers’ paradise. Come enjoy the natural beauty and luxury of Hawaii’s “Valley Island.”

Maui Map

Maui Map

Contents

Maui Visitors Guide
Maui Visitors Guide

A Bit Of History

The history of Maui is shrouded in myths and legends. In fact, the island got its name from the demigod, Maui. The first settlers of Maui were part of the Polynesian migration dating back to 700 A.D.  These Polynesians established Maui’s traditional culture and developed the island’s language, religion, and economy. The centuries that followed included wars and conquests for the island. Maui was first officially sighted by British Explorer, Captain James Cook, but it was the French Explorer Jean-Francois de la Perouse who first set foot on the island. Shortly after, Christian missionaries came to the island and became leaders and politicians as the Hawaiian monarchy began to crumble. Maui was annexed by the United States in 1898 and Hawaii officially became a state in 1959.

Maui Visitors Guide

Maui Today

Today Maui is known for its natural beauty and beloved for its pristine beaches, sacred Iao Valley, and humpback whale migration. This culturally dynamic island has so much to offer visitors thanks to its incredible history. Maui also has a diverse ecosystem that includes lush tropical jungles, black lava outcroppings, and gorgeous beaches. The island, like all of the Hawaiian Islands, is a cultural melting pot that is reflected in both the delicious cuisine and friendly locals. There are many great experiences to be had on the island of Maui!

Where is Maui?

Maui White Map

Maui is an island in the central Pacific Ocean, part of the Hawaiian island chain. It is one of the eight main islands of Hawaii and is located to the southeast of the island of Molokai and to the northwest of the Big Island of Hawaii. Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands, with a land area of approximately 727 square miles. Its largest city and main tourist center is Kahului, located on the north shore of the island.

Maui Visitors Guide
Maui Visitors Guide

The Best Time to Visit Maui

There is not a bad time of year to visit Maui, although the best time of year to visit is April through May and September through November. Peak season on the island typically falls between June and August, as well as the month of December. You’ll find that Maui is the least crowded during shoulder season. We suggest visiting during April, September, and October for perfect temperatures and fewer crowds.

There is not a bad time of year to visit Maui, although the best time of year to visit is April through May and September through November. Peak season on the island typically falls between June and August, as well as the month of December. You’ll find that Maui is the least crowded during shoulder season. We suggest visiting during April, September, and October for perfect temperatures and fewer crowds.

December – March

Visiting Maui in winter means higher airfare and room rates. The temperatures hover in the high 70s, but the waters around popular beaches tend to be too rough for swimming.

April – May

Springtime temperatures fall between high 70s and low 80s during this shoulder season. Winter tourists have left the island but summer tourists haven’t arrived, making it a great time to get deals on airfare and accomodations. There are also several festivals that take place during April and May celebrating Maui’s culture.

June – August

Maui is an incredibly popular destination during the summer season. Warm temperatures paired with gentle waters bring an influx of families to the island. Summer in Maui also boasts a full social calendar including events such as festivals, food, movies, and music.

September – November

If you’re wanting to visit the Road To Hana then fall is a great time to visit Maui. During the fall season temperatures remain warm in the 80s. You’ll also find flight and hotel deals during this time of year.

December – March

Visiting Maui in winter means higher airfare and room rates. The temperatures hover in the high 70s, but the waters around popular beaches tend to be too rough for swimming.

April – May

Springtime temperatures fall between high 70s and low 80s during this shoulder season. Winter tourists have left the island but summer tourists haven’t arrived, making it a great time to get deals on airfare and accomodations. There are also several festivals that take place during April and May celebrating Maui’s culture.

June – August

Maui is an incredibly popular destination during the summer season. Warm temperatures paired with gentle waters bring an influx of families to the island. Summer in Maui also boasts a full social calendar including events such as festivals, food, movies, and music.

September – November

If you’re wanting to visit the Road To Hana then fall is a great time to visit Maui. During the fall season temperatures remain warm in the 80s. You’ll also find flight and hotel deals during this time of year.

  When Is Maui Hurricane Season?

The hurricane season in Maui, like in the rest of Hawaii, officially runs from June 1 to November 30 each year. However, the peak of the hurricane season in Hawaii is usually from mid-August to early October. While it’s important to be aware of the potential for hurricanes during this time, it’s worth noting that Maui is not typically affected by direct hits from hurricanes, as the islands are small targets in a vast ocean and the mountains of Maui can disrupt the flow of storm systems. Be sure to check weather reports ahead of time and we always suggest getting travel insurance during these months just in case.

Hurricane Season
Maui Visitors Guide
Maui Visitors Guide

How to Get to Maui & Around

Transportation in Maui is incredibly easy to access and use. There are several options in terms of airports, easy access to taxis and rental cars.

Oahu Visitors Guide

Arrival By Air

When it comes to arriving in Maui there are several options in terms of airports. The Kahului Airport (OGG) is Maui’s main airport. There are also 2 smaller commuter airports on the island as well, Kapalua Airport (JHM) in West Maui and Hana Airport (HNM) in East Maui. All domestic airlines offer nonstop service to Kahului Airport (OGG).

  Search for great deals on flights here.

Oahu Visitors Guide

Arrival By Taxis

You can easily find taxis in Maui, in fact, you’ll find many outside of the airports and popular tourist destinations. Taxis in Maui provide airport transfers and transportation to all of the most popular activities on the island. Companies such as Royal Taxi also provide guided tours to anywhere on the island. Taxi rates vary based on location, but Maui does have a set taxi rate of $3.50 for the initial drop, and $.30 per 1/10 mile after that, and wait times are $.30 a minute.

  You can easily book ground transportation from the airport to your hotel here.

Car Rental

Due to Maui’s size it is a good idea to rent a car while visiting the second largest Hawaiian Island. For those wanting to fully immerse themselves and explore the island, a rental car will pay for itself within a few days. The average rental car cost on Maui is $60 per day. However, during peak times of the year expect to pay around $185 per day. Most major rental car companies provide cars on the island including Alamo, Hertz, Budget, and Enterprise.

  Search for great deals on rental cars here.

Things to Do in Maui

Maui's Top Highlights

Maui is a tropical dream, whether you are looking for nature and outdoor adventure or luxury and relaxation, you won’t find Maui lacking in things to do.

Maui Visitors Guide
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Road To Hana
Maui Travel Guide: Things to do in Maui Hawaii
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1. Drive The Road To Hana

The Hana Highway scenic drive is the undisputed #1 attraction in Maui. The drive itself is the main attraction, and you’ll want to take your time on the 52-mile Road To Hana. As you drive along Maui’s cliffs cloaked in emerald green, you’ll be awestruck by the breathtaking beauty of East Maui. Gaze at lush valleys that are bursting with gorgeous waterfalls as the road snakes around 620 curves and over 50 bridges.

  For more information, check out our comprehensive Road To Hana Guide.

  If you don’t want to go it alone consider this Road To Hana Day Trip.

  Check out a number of excellent Road To Hana tour options.

Maui Visitors Guide
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Visit Haleakala National Park
Maui Visitors Guide
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2. Visit Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park is impressively beautiful with its lush rainforests, rugged coastlines, and stunning volcanic landscape. The park offers camping, hiking, and epic sunrises. You’ll need to pay a $30 entrance fee that’s good for 3 consecutive days. Some of the most popular hikes in the park include Seven Sacred Pools Trail, Waimoku Falls via Pipiwai Trail, and Sliding Sands Trail.

  Check out a number of excellent day tours to Haleakala National Park.

   Or take a guided mountain biking tour through Haleakala National Park.

  For the best views of the park check out this 45 Minutes Helicopter Tour!

Maui Visitors Guide
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Hike To A Waterfall
Maui Visitors Guide
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3. Hike To A Waterfall

To truly experience all of the natural beauty that Maui has to offer you’ll need to hike to at least one waterfall! The largest waterfall in Maui is Honokohau Falls, but the most popular can actually be found on the Road To Hana. Twin Falls is one of the first stops on the Road To Hana. This picturesque waterfall cascades into serene turquoise pools where you can take a refreshing swim after hiking to the falls. Waimoku FallsOheo Gulch, and Punalau Falls are some of the most popular waterfalls on the island.

  For the best waterfalls on Maui, check out our comprehensive Maui Waterfalls Guide.

  ISLAND LIFE TRAVEL TIP : GET TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travel Insurance is a must in our opinion. Standard health insurance likely doesn’t cover you while outside of the country so travel insurance will cover any emergency medical needs as well as trip cancellation, lost or stolen luggage (it happens), flight delays, missed connections and more. You can easily compare the top-rated travel insurance plans here.

Maui Visitors Guide
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Visit Iao Valley
Maui Visitors Guide
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4. Visit Iao Valley

The Iao Valley is sacred and remembered as the location of infamous battles such as the Battle of Kepaniwai in 1790. In fact, Iao Valley is so sacred that the remains of the highest chiefs of Hawaii were entrusted to secret hiding places in the valley. Today you can hike the short and easy Iao Needle Trail. The needle is a green-covered basaltic core volcano remnant that juts an impressive 1200 feet from the valley floor.

  Take a look at this top rated Best Of Maui Haleakala and lao Valley Tour.

Maui Visitors Guide
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Black Sand Beaches
Maui Visitors Guide
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5. Relax On A Black Sand Beach

The beautiful black sand beaches of Maui are made of sand formed by volcanic material and lava fragments. In Waianapanapa State Park you can find the best black sand beach in Maui at Pa’iloa Beach. The contrast between the stunning black sands, sparkling blue water, and emerald coastline will leave you mesmerized. Oneuli Black Sand Beach is a fantastic spot for snorkeling and scuba diving but is not ideal for sunbathing and relaxing.

*Make sure to wear shoes on black sand beaches because the sand gets much hotter here than on other beaches.

  Check out this epic tour of Maui exploring Hana, Black Sand Beaches, and Waterfalls.

Maui Visitors Guide
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Attend A Luau
Maui Visitors Guide
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6. Attend A Luau

If you want to have an unforgettable evening, check out a Maui luau! These lively cultural celebrations make for a fun evening on the island while giving you an intimate look at Hawaiian traditions. Discover local legends and taste delicious Hawaiian cuisine. Enjoy island music, hula dancing, and traditional costumes during a celebration experience to last a lifetime.

  For more information, check out our Best Maui Luau Guide!

Maui Visitors Guide
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Try Snorkeling
Maui Visitors Guide
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7. Try Snorkeling

Maui is known for great snorkeling thanks to the crystal clear waters surrounding the island. The underwater landscape here is dreamy! You’ll see colorful schools of fish, sea turtles, and eels in the waters of Maui. One of the most popular snorkeling spots on Maui is Molokini Island. A tiny island off the coast that is known as one of the world’s best snorkeling spots. Check out this great snorkeling tour of Molokini Island.

*While snorkeling remember that sea turtles are protected animals and getting too close to them in Hawaii will get you fined.

  For the best snorkeling locations on the island, take a look at our comprehensive Maui Snorkeling Guide.

  Check out this top rated Turtle Town Snorkeling Tour.

  Snorkeling tours abound in Maui, here are some great options.

Maui Visitors Guide
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Beach Hop
Maui Visitors Guide
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8. Beach Hop Around Maui

Maui has over 120 miles of pristine coastline and boasts 30 miles of gorgeous beaches. These world-famous shores are home to dazzling ivory sand, stunning black sand, and even fascinating red sand. Maui’s beaches are some of the best in the world for relaxing, sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling. Some of the most popular beaches on the island include Kaanapali BeachMakena Beach, and Kapalua Bay Beach. If you want to experience Maui’s red sand head to Kaihalulu Beach for a memorable beach day.

  For more beach information, check out our Maui Beaches Guide!

Where To Stay In Maui

There are all types of accommodations in Maui. From all inclusive resorts to boutique hotels and more. Location and amenities are the two top things to look for. For great hotel info and recommendations, check out our Maui Hotel Guide or our Maui All Inclusive Resort Guide.

Maui Hotels. The Best Hotels In Maui.

For hotel recommendations for every budget, check out our Maui Hotel Guide

What To Pack For Your Trip!

Hawaii is an enchanting wonderland of relaxation and adventure. One can easily have the trip of a lifetime here. Packing for such a vacation shouldn’t be hard, so we’ve put together a list to help you pack and included some of our favorites as well. Check out our What To Pack For Your Hawaii Vacation Guide.

Maui Travel Guide: Things to do in Maui Hawaii

Check out our Packing List For Beach Vacation!

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