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Maui has been voted the “best island in the US” for the past twenty years by Conde Nast readers, and it is no surprise to me! Between the beautiful warm beaches, lush forests, and fascinating culture, Maui is a prime destination spot. This Maui travel guide will help you plan your trip!
It’s truly a great place to visit no matter the time of year, but there can be the cheapest time to visit Hawaii!
Keep reading for some tips on how to make your Maui trip perfect for you!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.
How to Get to Maui
Unless you already live on a Hawaiian island (first of all, lucky you!).
Flying is the fastest method to get to Maui, and then you can spend all your time exploring the island! Almost all airlines from most continents can take you to Hawaii so you will not have a deficit of choice.
Keep in mind that even flying directly from California still takes 5 hours, so pack your carry-on accordingly! This ultimate Hawaii packing list will help you pack everything you need for your trip.
You can also opt for a Cruise and get some sailing time in before getting to the island. However, you should know that most cruise lines arrive only in Honolulu, and you will need another boat to get to the island of Maui.
If you’ve never visited before, be sure to read up on all of the best Hawaii trip planning tips to make the most of your time there!
Where to Stay in Maui
Ka’anapali and Lahaina on the northwest coast are the most central locations to spend your vacation. They are home to some of the best beaches, restaurants, and nightlife on the island.
This Maui travel guide includes quite a few accommodations for you to choose from.
We’ll start with the upscale accommodations! The Westin Maui Resort is located directly on Ka’anapali beach where you can surf, boogie board, snorkel, or sunbathe to your heart’s content! They even have a beachside spa cabana where you can get a massage while hearing the ocean waves.
With over 20 restaurants within a comfortable walking distance, you could spend your whole vacation perusing the town of Ka’anapali and not run out of places to explore.
Old Lahaina House is a favorite amongst travelers. Located on a beautiful beach and just a five-minute walk to Old Lahaina, this beautiful bed and breakfast is a great deal! Visitors have commented on the friendliness of the owners and the fact that they make it feel like home. If you are looking for something more laid-back and relaxed, this is the place for you!
I am always up for a good Airbnb. You can rent a small apartment for $80 per night or an entire beachfront condo for $250 per night which means you have tons of options. Whatever you are hoping to experience or explore on the island can be at your front door!
How to Get Around Maui
This all depends on what you are wanting for your vacation. Do you want to explore the whole island and climb Haleakala? Would you rather stay in a place out of the way but come into town for the vibrant nightlife? Or do you want to relax and finally finish that big beautiful book you brought with you? There is an option for everyone, and this Maui travel guide covers it all!
Public Transportation is limited in Maui, but they do have a bus system that goes to the airport and has stops in most of the large cities that you would be staying in. They also have a shuttle service to these areas as well if you would rather not wait for a bus.
A Rental Car is the best way to get around if you want to explore the island! Keep in mind that if you are wanting to take the Road to Hana, you might need to inform the rental service ahead of time, and they might recommend a different car.
If you don’t want a rental car, but still want to tour different parts of Maui; Uber and Lyft are in operation and will take you where you want to go.
What if you get accommodations in the middle of Ka’anapali, and only want to lay on that beach and explore that little town? Get ready to start walking! Pack your most comfortable pair of running shoes and get to your step goal while strolling through the beachfront shops and restaurants.
Ka’anapali and Lahaina are so close together but might be a bit too far to walk between. Not a problem at all! There are bike rentals all over the island with plenty of types to choose from!
What to See in Maui
Road to Hana
The Road to Hana has been popular for its views of gorgeous waterfalls, arboretums, and the Waianapanapa state park with its black sand beach.
You can either drive yourself and take your time, or you can take a van tour and enjoy the view while listening to a professional tour guide. It is definitely worth the trip to find that little sleepy town on the eastern edge of the island.
The small cozy town of Lahaina is rich with culture and beauty. Take a self-guided tour of the historic trail or sit on one of the huge roots of one of the country’s largest banyan trees.
You can find delicious food and browse through the art galleries all on the main road.
Warren and Annabelle’s Magic Show
One slightly undiscovered gem is Warren and Annabelle’s Magic Show. Located in a little theatre in Lahaina, Warren and Annabelle’s is an event like none other! You have to book tickets in advance as they sell out every night and it is well worth it.
You can opt to have dinner beforehand (complete with a little piano music from Annabelle the ghost) or come in just for the intimate magic show. Half comedian and half magician, Warren Gibson is an entertainer through and through. You will not regret setting this up for your trip!
Old Lahaina Luau
If you are looking for some beautiful Hawaiian history and culture, you need to check out the Old Lahaina Luau. They have a fascinating hula dance about the history of Maui, they roast a pig in a pit for the guests, and it is all directly on the beach so you can watch the sunset over the water.
Get wrapped up in the beauty of the island of Maui and its culture.
Garden of Eden & Ke’anae Arboretum
The Garden of Eden and Ke’anae Arboretum are both on the Road to Hana and are unique in their own right. The Garden of Eden Arboretum has the only view of the Upper Puohokamoa Waterfalls and a hundred-year-old mango tree. The Ke’anae Arboretum is a small botanical garden where you can stretch your legs and wander around the many trails to break up your drive to Hana.
If you are looking to snorkel, one of the best places is Molokini. Molokini is a tiny island about three miles off the southwest coast of Maui. While it can be a trek to get there by boat, it boasts some of the clearest water and most interesting marine life to be found while snorkeling in Maui.
Ka’anapali Beach is rated as one of the top beaches in the world, and for good reason! It is good for snorkeling, swimming, boogie-boarding, beginner surfing, or just sunbathing! While it can get fairly crowded, it is a long beach and there is plenty of room to be found for sun-chasers!
What to Eat in Maui
Really you can’t go wrong with anything in Maui. Seafood, fruit, and vegetables are all fresh and delicious, but get a little adventurous with what you pick! Try a local favorite and sample some true Hawaiian fare.
Poi & Pulled Pork
If (read: when) you go to a luau, they will have poi and pulled pork. While poi is not for everyone’s palate, it is something you must try, and you really should only try in Hawaii!
The pulled pork is, of course, a must as they cook it in a hole in the ground in the traditional way. It is a staple on the island and so delicious that you will be wanting to dig a pit back home!
There is a shaved ice stand or storefront on almost every street in Lahaina. You have to try at least three of them to compare. I don’t know how they make it taste so good, but they have dozens of flavors and it is nothing like shaved ice on the mainland. Plus, it will quench your thirst on those sunny Hawaii afternoons!
This Maui travel guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning shaved ice.
If you are staying in your own place with a kitchen, you must get fresh fruit from an outdoor stand. Even if your hotel supplies its own, you should still try one of the many farmer’s markets that pop up everywhere.
They will have all the produce you want, plus local jams or salsas that are completely delicious.
Well, now that you’ve heard my account of Maui, you just have to try it for yourself! It truly is a magical place and one that everyone should experience at least once.
Hopefully this Maui travel guide has helped you plan your itinerary. Enjoy your trip to Maui!