Gearing up for some Hawaiian Island hopping? There’s no better way to pad your trip to Hawaii than with one week in Maui. The second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands, the “Valley Isle” offers something for every traveler’s taste.
Whether your idea of a great getaway is watching the sunrise atop a volcano or snorkeling with sea turtles, you’ll find it on the island of Maui. With its white (and black!) sandy beaches, turquoise waters, tropical forests, and abundant wildlife, Maui is a little slice of Hawaiian paradise.
Ready to learn all about what to do in Maui? Plan your ultimate Maui vacation with this complete 7-day Maui itinerary for first-time visitors.
Where to go in Maui in one week: A complete 7-day itinerary
Rolling waves, beautiful waterfalls, stunning sunsets, diverse ecosystems, and delicious food: Maui checks off all the boxes for travelers. Maui offers a treasure trove of natural wonders and delights for the senses. But it’s more than just a playground for sun-seekers: historical and cultural roots run deep on this entrancing island, making it all the more worth a visit.
Whether you’re into whale watching, wave catching, or beachside feasting, Maui’s got it all, and so much more! With so much on offer, you’ll be tempted to cover the entire island.
Heads up: You can’t. But with a trusty rental car (essential for getting around) and our complete 7-day itinerary, you’ll be able to hit the highlights. Get ready to experience Maui to the max!
When Maui locals say they’re going to “town,” they’re referring to Kahului. Set in the middle of Central Maui, Kahului is where your plane will touch down. It’s also the island’s commercial hub. (Think grocery shopping, lunch munching, mall browsing.) Even though the town isn’t one of Maui’s most famous destinations, it’s worth taking a day in Kahului (or nearby Wailuku) to rest up here after your flight.
Need ideas for what to do in Kahului? Stroll the Maui Mall for a great selection of retailers and restaurants. Take a seat at a popular eatery like the Tin Roof to sample some local fare. Save room for dessert at Tasaka, where you can savor “Guri-Guri,” a delicious frozen treat that made its way from Japan to Maui over 100 years ago.
Before you call it a night, plan for the days ahead by stocking up on food, drinks, and other essentials at the local big box or grocery stores. You’ll be ready to hit the road come morning!
Iao Needle State Monument
Take a short drive from Kahului to view one of Central Maui’s most remarkable natural wonders: the Iao Needle State Monument. Set in Iao Valley State Park, the needle is one of Central Maui’s most compelling places to visit.
Rising 1,200 feet from the valley floor, this lava remnant is both visually stunning and historically fascinating. Hawaiians began gathering here a thousand years ago to honor the god of agriculture. For centuries, it was a favored site of ruling chiefs and Maui’s seat of government.
The Iao Needle itself sits on private land and can’t be accessed. But you can take in the spectacular surroundings by hiking the trails in Iao Valley State Park.
For best viewing, take the Iao Needle Lookout Trail. Follow this half-mile paved path as you take in over six acres of lush rainforest, exotic plants, and dazzling waterfalls. The lookout at the top will reward you with a breathtaking 360-degree view of the entire valley and island.
Maui Tropical Plantation
Want to satisfy your appetite for entertainment, adventure, and great eats in one place? Head to the Maui Tropical Plantation to get your fill. This gorgeous destination is a one-stop-shop for unforgettable Maui memories.
Feeling daring? Take to the air on a zipline. Or if you’re in the mood to shop, browse the site’s vendors to find one-of-a-kind treasures.
Want to wander? Walk the winding paths and take in beautiful views of the lagoon, the fields, and the West Maui Mountains. Take a Tropical Tram Tour to view a rich array of native Hawaiian plants, tropical fruits, and crops.
Drop into Kumu Farms for fresh organic produce, and pick up a Maui Gold pineapple to take back home. Check out The Scoop for a luscious icy treat. Still got room? Indulge your inner gourmand at The Mill House, where you can savor farm-fresh offerings in a beautiful outdoor setting. Bon appétit!
Looking for an upscale resort experience? Then you’ll definitely want to put Ka’anapali on your Maui must-see list. Hawaii’s first-ever planned resort community, Ka’anapali remains the resort area in lush West Maui. This town isn’t huge, but it’s got loads of options to keep you active. You may want to treat yourself to two days around Ka’anapali.
One of the best places to visit in Maui, Kaanapali boasts major hotels and condos fronting a mile-long beach. It also gives visitors plenty of places to flex their shopping muscles, including Tommy Bahama, Louis Vuitton, Lululemon, and more. You’ll also find kiosks and specialty stores to browse for unique gifts and souvenirs.
Ready to up the activity level? Golf enthusiasts can get into the game at one of Ka’anapali’s championship courses. Bonus: thanks to the gorgeous views, you might even catch sight of a breaching whale while you putt!
Indulge your appetite any time of day. Try Sloppy Cakes for make-your-own pancakes, Hula Grill for live music and gorgeous beach views, and Duke’s Beach House for Happy Hour and dinner.
Need some Maui beach time? There’s no better place to start than at Ka’anapali Beach. One of the most beautiful beaches on Maui and once given the title “America’s Best Beach,” this sandy gem lives up to its reputation. Formerly a retreat for Maui royalty, Ka’anapali Beach is now a magnet for beach lovers from around the world.
Stretch out on its beautiful white sands, or stroll along the beach walkway. Strap on some scuba or snorkeling gear and dive into the crystalline waters to view the colorful marine life.
Beachside kiosks offer everything you’ll need, from sunscreen to scuba gear. Sign up for surf lessons, kayaking, or boat excursions. Or soar above it all with a thrilling zipline ride.
End your day with the beach’s signature event: the nightly cliff diving ceremony, a tribute to the daring feat of 18th-century King Kahekii. At sunset, a cliff diver lights the torches atop Black Rock, then dives thirty feet into the ocean below.
Old Lahaina Luau
Ready for a megadose of island culture and hospitality? Prepare to be immersed in it at the Old Lahaina Luau. Just five minutes south of Ka’anapali, this destination bills itself as “Maui’s most authentic Hawaiian Luau.” And it’s hard to argue.
Step through the gates and you’re met with a welcoming gift of a fresh orchid lei. You’ll then be escorted to your private dining area for your choice of a raised table or traditional floor mat. Settle in and be serenaded by live musicians playing Island music.
Relax, order a cocktail, and prepare to savor an evening of Hawaiian culture, entertainment, food… and more food. Feast on culinary delights ranging from sweet potato mash to roasted pig. Sit back and take in mesmerizing dance performances that trace the colorful history of Hawaii.
The evening’s grand finale: the lighting of tiki torches, as the sun sinks into the ocean in a brilliant display of reds, oranges, and pinks. Let the tropical breeze waft over you, and file the experience under “unforgettable.”
Can’t decide between getting in some aquatic activity and simply soaking up the sun? Get the best of both worlds at Kapalua Beach, recently ranked “America’s Best Beach.” Just a 15-minute drive north of Lahaina, this destination has plenty to offer for both beachcombers and water lovers.
This gorgeous beach lines the Kapalua coastline, and its pristine bays teem with marine life. With its gently breading waves and colorful marine life, Kapalua Bay Beach provides a perfect shelter haven for exploring the area’s natural wonders.
Water sports enthusiasts can check in at the beach activities desk for a variety of activities and equipment rental. Want to stay on terra firma? Hit the Kapalua Coastal Trail, one of West Maui’s most impressive hikes. Take in a fantastic view of Maui’s quintessential scenery: sweeping seascapes, imposing charcoal cliffs, lush green peaks, and valleys, and, if you’re lucky, a whale breaching the ocean’s surface.
Dragon’s Teeth Trail
Want to imagine you’re a character in a fantastical “Game of Thrones” setting? Then take a trip to the Dragon’s Teeth Trail, a stunning geological standout near Kapalua Beach. Dragon’s Teeth is a remarkable rock formation that’s little-known among tourists—even though it’s within walking distance of the Kapalua Ritz Carlton!
Set on the north end of West Maui, these sharp, twisted crags are composed of lava that’s been carved out by the wind and sea over millennia. Scattered along the ocean’s edge, these extraordinary rocks look like giant teeth.
Explore this intriguing rocky landscape (clad, of course, in good rubber-soled shoes), and take in the beautiful surrounding views: rolling surf, an ancient Hawaiian burial ground, and a glistening beach across the bay.
(All from inside a dragon’s mouth. John Snow would approve.)
Craving some time in the surf? There’s no better place than Honolua Bay, one of Maui’s most popular destinations. Set on the island’s northwestern coast, this iconic spot is just five minutes from Kapalua.
Take a snorkeling trip: Turquoise waters and a sheltered, tranquil bay make an ideal place to explore colorful coral reefs and vibrant aquatic life. Or strap on some scuba gear to dive deeper, where you’ll get great views of species like eagle rays, green sea turtles, and spinner dolphins.
Want to get the adrenaline pumping? Grab a board and hang ten. If you’re pro-level, you’ll want to catch the 15-foot monster waves that crash ashore during the winter months. If not, book yourself a surf lesson during the calmer summer months, and ride the gentler rollers. You’ll still get surfer bragging rights!
Can you imagine what a black beach looks like? You don’t have to: take a trip to Punalau Beach and experience it for yourself. Set between the towns of Pahala and Naalehu on the southeastern Kau coast, this is one of Hawaii’s most famous black sand beaches.
Scenic and secluded, Punalau Beach’s shimmering black sands (courtesy of long-ago volcanic activity) are fringed by coconut palms. It’s a haven for endangered wildlife species, so bring your binoculars as you explore the beachline and surrounding area.
Keep your eyes peeled for honu—the iconic Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle—as they bask on the beach. Brought your snorkeling gear? Strap it on to get glimpses of the local underwater life.
When you’re ready for a break, park yourself at a picnic table and have lunch while the black sand warms your toes.
Maui is known for its dormant volcanos. But it also boasts another kind of explosive natural wonder that’s doesn’t spew lava. Set on the island’s northwestern coast just north of Kapalua, Nakalele Blowhole is a natural geyser—and it’s definitely active! It’s an explosion of seawater forced up through a small hole in the black lava rock. When the wind and surf are up, it erupts every few minutes, reaching heights of 100 feet.
And there’s even more to take in. Visit the site in the morning, and you’ll likely see a rainbow forming in the mist. Between December and May, chances are good you’ll spot whales leaping in the distance.
Turn your back on the blowhole for another striking sight: Here you’ll see a heart-shaped hole that’s formed in the middle of the rocks, framing a beautiful backdrop of mountains, seashore, and waves.
If browsing the shops, swinging a club or a racket, or spa days are high on your bucket list, make the trip to Wailea-Makena. This beautiful South Maui enclave is all about R & R. Give yourself two days to fully take in the many pleasures of Wailea-Makena.
If you’re up for a little more adventure, sign up for whale-watching cruises, helicopter cruises, or a wide variety of scuba or snorkeling day trips. This sunny coastal area offers some of the island’s most beautiful beaches, including Wailea Beach and Maluaka Beach.
Head deep into beachcombing territory at Kihei, once a favored destination for Hawaiian royalty. Stroll six miles of gorgeous sandy beaches. Swim, snorkel, surf, or kayak—and maybe catch sight of a surfacing humpback whale.
The perfect way to end your day? Feasting at a local luau. Book ahead—and enjoy!
Up for some serious beach time? Pack the sunscreen and head to Makena Beach, one of the most breathtaking of all Hawaii’s beaches. Set just south of Wailea, Makena is renowned for its white sugar sand and crystal clear water.
Stretched out over more than a mile, Makena is one of the largest undeveloped beaches in Maui. Sheltered by two lava outcroppings, it’s an ideal place to swim or just soak up the sun. Relax or stroll on the white sand and take in amazing views of the neighboring islands of Kahoolawe and Molokini.
Want to explore the aquatic world? Get in on a snorkeling tour. Surfing newbie? Sign up for a surfing lesson and catch a wave.
Ready to take a break? No problem: Just hit the food truck for some tasty BBQ, pick out a picnic table, and watch the waves roll in.
Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve
Looking for a destination to satisfy your aquatic wildlife enthusiasm? Head to the Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve for a full-immersion experience. Located just past Makena on Maui’s southern coast, this destination is a marine life conservation district teeming with aquatic life.
Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve was made for great aquatic species viewing. The striking coastline is composed of an interesting mix of coral and lava rock. The lava rock formation provides ideal hiding places and rocky homes, making it an ideal area for underwater life to flourish. It’s a real gem for keen snorkelers.
And you won’t have to swim far for sea life sightings. Many of the most beautiful local species—from fish to turtles to crustaceans—are drawn to shallow waters.
Wondering what’s left to see on the site of an ancient volcanic eruption? Take a trip to Maui’s Molokini Crater to find out. This unique formation is what remains after an eruption that’s believed to have occurred about 230,000 years ago.
Sitting 2.5 miles off Maui’s southern coast between Maui and Kahoolawe in the Alalakeiki Channel, this sunken volcano crater is another of the region’s phenomenal natural wonders.
Since its volcanic creation, the lava cone has been worn down and polished for millennia by natural forces. The island and 80 surrounding acres are a designated Marine Life Conservation District and Bird Sanctuary. It’s a haven for tropical fish and bird species—and a magnet for wildlife enthusiasts. Be sure to pack your binoculars and snorkeling gear!
To get there, just hop aboard a boat departing from Maalaea Harbor, and prepare for a dive into ancient history.
Want to experience small-town serenity? Simple: head to Hana! Set along the rugged coastline of East Maui, this picturesque village is one of Hawaii’s last truly unspoiled settlements. (Bonus: you’ll travel there on the legendary Road To Hana.)
Your arrival into Hana will be marked by the lovely and historic St. Sophia’s Church. You’ll notice that the line between town and farmland is blurred because the pastures roll right onto Hana’s main street. How’s that for quaint?
Want to be pampered? Drop into the historic Hana-Maui Resort, a welcoming retreat that’s rooted in Hawaiian traditions. Time to browse? Check out the Hasegawa General Store and Hana Ranch Store to pick up some unique souvenirs.
Up for more? Swim or soak up the sun at Hana Beach Park. Or check out the beautiful black sand at Waianpanapa State Park.
Want to get in touch with the local culture? Visit Kahanu Garden, one of Hawaii’s five National Tropical Botanical Gardens. Here, you can explore Hale Pilani, the state’s largest Hawaiian temple.
With so much to see and do, plan on a two-day visit to Hana.
Road to Hana
Is it all about the journey? Find out on the renowned Road to Hana, a stretch of over 50 miles along Maui’s rugged north shore.
The Road to Hana officially starts in Paia, a quaint little town on the North Shore that’s big on fish. Stop in at Mama’s Fish House for a delicious meal. Or browse the Paia Fish Market to stock up on fresh fish for some home cooking.
From Paia, gear up for an amazing experience on the Road To Hana. Take in breathtaking views of lush rainforests and stunning seascapes. Plan a pit stop at Twin Falls, one of the most spectacular waterfalls en route. The Road To Hana also features hairpin turns and one-lane bridges; be prepared. Or hop on a tour van and leave the driving to an expert.
Take a soul-soothing break at the halfway mark: Experience the Garden of Eden Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Roam the winding trails, take in the brilliant hues of tropical foliage, inhale the sweet aroma of wild Hawaiian roses. Take a picnic lunch break as you enjoy panoramic views of the sparkling Pacific Ocean.
Haleakala National Park
Want to explore a visually stunning spot that’s steeped in legend? Carve out time in your Road To Hana journey to visit Haleakala National Park, one of the most intriguing spots in Upcountry Maui.
Covering over 30,000 acres, this amazing landscape includes everything from Mars-like deserts to rock gardens to flowing waterfalls. (Oh, and a dormant volcano!)
“Haleakala” translates to “house of the sun” in Hawaiian. Legend has it that the god Maui lassoed the sun on its journey, delaying its descent to make the days longer. That might just explain Haleakala’s incomparable sunsets.
Explore the park and discover important cultural sites like the Seven Sacred Pools in Oheo Gulch. Hike through a majestic bamboo forest, and view cascading waterfalls. You may recognize Wailua Falls for its starring role in the “Fantasy Island” TV show. Got your camera?
Ready to take on the main attraction? Test your mettle by hiking up the imposing Haleakala Crater, towering more than 10,000 feet above sea level. The 11-mile trek is rugged but worth it. Haleakala’s summit sets the scene for a brilliant and beautifully slow sunset.
Waianapanapa State Park
Looking for a site on the Road to Hana that offers an eclectic mixture of tropical forests, rugged coastline, and rolling surf? Plan to stop off at Waianapanapa State Park, where you’ll find all that and more.
The park offers captivating panoramic views. Lush green hills and valleys roll out to a rugged black basalt coastline. The name “Waianapanapa” translates to “glistening water”—and you’ll see plenty of that in the form of the brilliant blue Pacific.
Explore the park’s dramatic black rock formations and black sand beach. Watch cresting waves blasting into spray as they pound against the lava cliffs. Explore the ocean caves and sea arches that have been carved out over millennia. Feeling revved up? Try some cliff diving—or play it safe by dipping into a freshwater pool.
Want to stretch out your stay? No problem: the park offers campsites and cabins for visitors who aren’t ready to call it a day. (And given the stunning natural setting, who could blame them?)
Where to stay in Maui
For travelers, the best places to stay in Maui for this trip plan are concentrated around Kahului, Ka’anapali, Wailea-Makena, and Hana. Each of these areas offer a variety of accommodation options from budget & luxury hotels to vacation rentals.
Book in at the Iao Valley Inn in Wailuku. Enjoy river views, free WiFi, cable flat-screen TV, patio, conditioning, and free private parking. Bed and breakfast guests can start the day with a continental breakfast, and end it with some home cooking on the BBQ.
Check in at the Old Wailuku Inn, a bed and breakfast in Wailuku, just 4.1 km from Iao Valley State Park. Enjoy free WiFi, air conditioning, flat-screen TV, and free private parking. Ask for a balcony or patio to take in the view. Be pampered with a free full breakfast for two daily.
Conveniently located just five minutes from Kahului Airport, the Courtyard by Marriott features flat-screen cable TV, free WiFi, coffee machine, and fridge. Get in a workout at the fitness center, lounge by the outdoor pool, relax in the hot tub. When you’re in the mood for sightseeing, head for the spectacular Haleakala National Park, just 42 km away.
Ka’anapali Beach Hotel sits on 11 spacious acres of lush vibrant tropical gardens. Enjoy beautiful ocean and garden views, free WiFi, flat-screen cable TV, free WiFi, outdoor pool, on-site restaurants, dinner theatre, daily hula shows, and cultural activities including lei-making. The hotel is just minutes away from recreational options including whale watching tours, surfing, and snorkeling.
Set on 11 acres of tropical gardens, this resort features two pools, a day spa, and a poolside bar and restaurant that serves Island cuisine. Rooms offer cable TV, fridge, and private balcony. Drop into the fitness center for a workout, then hop on the free Kaanapali Trolley for some R & R at Kaanapali Beach.
Set on 40 lush acres, Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa features five on-site restaurants, a water park (complete with pool and water slide), and a full-service spa. Each room features a private balcony, lanai, air conditioning, flat-screen TV, and coffee machine. Enjoy scuba diving lessons, lei-making classes, and stargazing through the rooftop telescope.
Settle in comfortably at Residence Inn by Marriott Maui Wailea. This modern extended-stay hotel features a fridge, microwave, stovetop for homemade meals. Fuel up with a complimentary breakfast, then hop aboard the free shuttle service to the Wailea Resort Area. Enjoy your day as you explore local restaurants and The Shops at Wailea.
Set on 22 oceanside acres between two of Maui’s beautiful white-sand beaches, this resort offers snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing, and stunning views of Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe. It’s a short stroll from upscale shopping, tennis, and golf. Dive into one of the three pools and slip down the waterslide. Come evening, indulge in crafted cocktails and world-class cuisine at the “Humble Market Kitchen”.
Savor the natural beauty of Maui in this luxurious open-air beachside resort. Enjoy the island’s most spacious accommodations, featuring spectacular views of Wailea Beach and the Hawaiian Islands. Want to explore Maui, but not sure where to start? Whether it’s private helicopter rides or underwater aquatic tours, the Four Seasons staff can customize the perfect day trip for you.
Less than one km from Hana Town, Hana Nanea – Hana Paradise Cottages make a cozy and convenient home-away-from-home. The units come complete with a fully equipped kitchen with a fridge and freezer, microwave, stove, oven, and TV. You’re also supplied with beach towels and chairs, private laundry facilities, and a screened-in patio.
Relax in this cozy studio accommodation just 10 minutes away from Hana Town. The suites feature a dining area and covered terrace and are surrounded by gardens and fruit trees. Amenities include free WiFi, Cable TV, coffeemaker, blender, linens, and beach towels. Select rooms provide kitchens. You’ll also be close to several snorkeling and hiking sites.
Framed by 70 acres of gardens, bungalows at Hana-Maui Resort offer terraces with an ocean view. Waikaloa Suites are equipped with a full kitchen and cable TV. Indulge yourself at the spa, take a dip in the pool or lounge in the hot tub. Choose from a range of outdoor activities including canoeing, paddle boarding, fishing, and bike riding.
More Maui itinerary ideas
Looking for a way to satisfy your craving to explore and your taste for luxury at the same time? Head to Lanai, the smallest inhabited Hawaiian island that’s accessible to visitors. Known as “Hawaii’s Most Enticing Island”, Lanai offers the best of all worlds in an easy day trip.
Get off the grid on 400 miles of 4-wheel-drive trails. Or explore the back trails on horseback. Find beautiful seclusion along 18 miles of pristine beaches. Experience Hulopoe Beach Park, where you can enjoy the island’s favorite beach. Swim and snorkel in crystal-clear water and explore large tide pools. Dig your toes into white sand, watch the rolling surf, and watch spinner dolphins play offshore.
Ready to self-indulge? Drop in to enjoy the many amenities of the island’s luxury resorts. Take in the sweeping views at Manele Golf Course while you line up a shot. Enjoy a pampering spa treatment or just lounge by the pool. Sip a cocktail as you watch a spectacular island sunset.