Hey there, fellow travel enthusiasts!
Are you planning a trip to Maui but feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of activities and destinations? Trust me; I’ve been there. My boyfriend and I have visited this beautiful island multiple times, and we know how challenging it can be to plan an itinerary that covers all the must-visit spots.
But don’t worry! We’ve got your back. After years of exploring every nook and cranny of Maui, we’ve put together a comprehensive 6-day itinerary that will take you through each shore, waterfall hikes, tourist hotspots, and more.
As someone who loves traveling but hates wasting time on tourist traps or getting lost in unfamiliar places (who doesn’t?), I understand your pain points. That’s why our itinerary is designed to help you make the most out of your vacation without any hassle. So sit back, relax, and let us guide you through the best six days in Maui.
Warning: You might fall in love with this paradise island so much that leaving could be tough!
Where to stay in Maui?
Once you land in Maui at Kahului Airport (OGG), the closest accommodations are in West and South Maui. Tourists prefer the towns of Lahaina and Kaanapali as they have world-class resorts and hotels. Here you can stay in the Marriott, the Ritz-Carlton, and the Hyatt Regency Hotels, which are amongst the most famous.
In South Maui, the towns of Kihei and Wailea are close to most beaches and main roads you’ll be taking. Kihei offers local accommodations like Airbnbs, and cottages, generally considered cheaper than resorts and more comfortable. On the other hand, Wailea has similar places to West Maui, with a resort community of its own; the Grand Wailea, the Four Seasons, and Andaz Maui.
East, North, and Upcountry Maui also have places to stay, but they’re farther from most destinations you’ll be visiting and not as easily accessible as the other two shores.
Day 1 – Arrival and Getting Around West Maui
After arriving in Maui via Kahului Airport, pick up your rental car from the 9 different rental companies at the airport. Try to book a 4WD in advance, as it’ll make driving around rough valley roads easier. Your West Maui hotels are a short drive from the airport but don’t think the first day is about relaxing. In fact, you’ll be exploring gorgeous beaches, famous town markets and taking a sunset cruise in the evening.
- Kanaha Beach Park – secluded beach close to the airport
A short drive from Kahului Airport, Kanaha Beach is a perfect first stop, as most tourists don’t know about the location, making it secluded. You can relax on the soft sands, walk on the 2-mile stretch of shore, or wade in the calm waters.
Kanaha Beach is great for canoeing and windsurfing, and you’ll see locals canoeing early in the morning. We like to sit under the beach’s shady trees at picnic tables and enjoy the calm atmosphere.
Whether you’ve just landed in Maui or are about to depart, don’t miss Kanaha beach for a relaxing time on the island.
- Whalers Village – great shopping and dining
After settling into your hotels, explore the nearby Whalers Village in Kaanapali, an oceanside luxury retailer with stores like Louis Vuitton, Hawaiian designer outlets, an expansive food court, and local stores. You can get great gifts, chic island wear, and even grocery from the local ABC store.
There’s also a collection of excellent restaurants, like MonkeyPod Kitchen, Hula Grill, and Leilani’s, to grab a delicious lunch. Don’t forget to get a cookie and dessert from the local favorite Honolulu Cookie Company before you leave.
Note: There’s a small fee for parking in the nearby lot.
- Kaanapali Beach and Black Rock – snorkeling and cliff-diving
Kaanapali Beach is famous in Maui for Black Rock, the cliff-diving spot on the shore, which also serves as a great spot for snorkeling. There’s a natural coral reef below the rock where you can swim alongside various tropical fish and even Hawaiian green sea turtles.
Kaanapali Beach gets crowded with tourists during the day, so come by later in the day for a relaxing swim in the calm waters or a romantic starlit walk on the shore. We like to come to Kaanapali at sunset, as the view of the coast from here is terrific.
- Take a Sunset Cruise – includes whale watching
The best way to enjoy Maui’s stunning shores is by going on a cruise at sunset. Ka’anapali Beach has a great catamaran cruise tour, starting in the late afternoon, timed perfectly to witness the island sun setting into the beach’s emerald-like waters. The cruise also includes chasing rainbows and watching whales breaking the shore (if you travel from November through March.)
However, you should get the tour booked well before your trip, as most tourists have the same idea.
The cruise also includes an open bar and appetizers. The crew on board is professional, and the captain keeps you entertained throughout the trip. You can also spot Hawaiian marine life, like dolphins and turtles swimming beside the cruise ship.
- End the day with dinner and explore Lahaina
Lahaina is a vibrant town in Maui with lively streets and fun nightlife from the different events held at the resorts here. There are also retailers, restaurants, and local vendors selling island fare on its famous Front Street. In addition, you can walk by local art galleries and enjoy live music from street artists.
The area and stores are well-maintained in Lahaina, so it’s always fun walking the streets. From the many local eateries, we love to get dinner from Lahaina Grill, Fleetwood’s, or Cheeseburger in Paradise, which have the most delicious Hawaiian and American food.
Day 2 – Take the Road to Hana
The Road to Hana is one of the best attractions in Maui, as it winds around the gorgeous beaches, waterfalls, and State Parks in East Maui. If you want to take a tour of all the major spots on this road without rushing through each one, we recommend spending two days exploring it fully.
This itinerary will take you through the most loved places on the Road to Hana and East Maui in two days.
- Paia Town (mile marker 0)
Paia is a small town that marks the beginning of the Road to Hana. It’s a great place for an early meal before taking the drive and stocking up on essentials. Stop by Paia Bowls, which has delicious breakfast options and acai bowls, or Cafe des Amis for some tasty fusion food.
We like to get groceries and snacks from Mana Foods, a local wholesale store with a wide range of organic and vegan goods, plus a deli counter with fresh sandwiches and coffee. Paia has trendy boutiques, local shops selling handicrafts, island-style jewelry, and many fitness centers.
- Twin Falls (mile marker 2)
Early on the road, you’ll drive by Twin Falls, dubbed the most beautiful waterfall in Maui, consisting of two falls with shallow pools at their base. They’re a great place to enjoy the lush forest scenery surrounding the water and to cool down with a swim after hiking to the pools.
There’s an easy hike on a flat trail that leads to Twin falls, almost one mile long. Since the water is safe for swimming, it’s a hotspot for tourists and families. However, you can escape the crowds by hiking to the second drop and lounging on the large rocks or cliff-jumping from them into the shallow pools below.
There’s also a large parking lot where the trailhead begins, with vendors selling fresh fruit.
- Waikamoi Forest Ridge Trail (mile marker 9)
Hiking lovers will want to visit the Waikamoi Ridge Trail, which passes through dense, beautiful rainforest and ends at a sheltered picnic pavilion. The trail starts from the lot leading to the forest, where there’s ample space to park your cars.
The Waikamoi Trail is a beautiful and short (30 minutes- 1 hour round trip) nature walk through shady trees, tall bamboo, and ferns with scenic overlooks at many points. You can trek two trails, one that goes in a loop around the forest and the other that leads straight back to the parking area.
We like to enjoy a picnic lunch on the pavilion after the hike and take in the calm sounds of the rainforest.
- Upper Waikani Falls (mile marker 19)
Also known as the Three Bears, Upper Waikani Falls includes a set of three waterfalls with varying heights, visible from a bridge on the Hana Highway. You can park your cars on the side of the road and stand on the lookout point to view the gorgeous falls.
However, there’s also an easy trail that goes down to the waterfalls from under the bridge. Most people avoid the hike, making the falls secluded and perfect for a swim in the freshwater pools. My boyfriend and I have hiked to Upper Waikani Falls, and we highly recommend it as the trek is safe and easy.
Once at the bottom, you can swim peacefully and even go under the falls! The surrounding area is stunning, with dense greenery, large rocks around the pools, and a serene atmosphere.
- Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside and Park (mile marker 22)
The Pua’a Ka’a State Park is a beautiful area with paved trails leading to several small falls, clean restroom facilities, and a large picnic area. You can access an enormous waterfall from a dirt trail, but take caution in crossing it, as the paths are muddy and slippery.
Aside from hiking, you can also enjoy a delicious bite to eat from food trucks in the area, like Hana Farms Roadside Stand for some delicious pizza and dessert from The Cookie Lady.
The itinerary gives you enough time to drive back to your accommodations before the sun completely sets (don’t stay on Hana Hwy in the dark). But if you want an early start to the next day, spend the night in Paia town, enjoy dinner from the local eateries, and walk the lively streets.
Day 3 – Continue Road to Hana and explore East Maui
Restart your journey on the Road to Hana on the third day of your trip, as this gorgeous strip still has much to explore. You’ll be swimming on a black sand beach, trekking the gorgeous Pipiwai Trail, stopping by the Oheo Gulch falls, and taking an aerial tour of East Maui on a helicopter.
- Waianapanapa State Park – Maui’s Black Sand Beach (mile marker 32)
Waianapanapa State Park is on the farther end of Road to Hana, home to the stunning Honokalani Black Sand Beach, a famous spot for its black sands made from fine lava rocks. The beach has a gorgeous stretch of shore, with blue-green waters perfect for a refreshing swim to start the day.
There are also many wet caves, a blowhole, and lava tubes in the State Park that you can wander in. The trails leading to these sites are surrounded by dense greenery and provide beautiful photo-ops.
The beach is usually packed during the day, so going early is better to avoid crowds. However, since the lava sand is rough, keep your shoes on.
Note: The State Park requires reservations online before your visit, and there’s a $10 entrance fee.
- The gorgeous Pipiwai trail and Waimoku Falls (mile marker 42)
The Pipiwai Trail is the most beautiful hiking trail in Maui, as it moves through a dense bamboo forest, passes by the Oheo Gulch waterfalls from above, through rushing streams and large banyan trees, and ends at the stunning Waimoku falls. The four-mile round trip is on an easy path with small inclines and offers breathtaking views of the Hawaiian jungle.
The Waimoku Falls are no less beautiful, as you get little snippets of them from the Pipiwai Trail. They’re a rushing body of water that isn’t swimmable, but standing next to them and taking in the wind and mist, is an unmissable experience.
As they’re inside the Haleakala National Park, you’ll be paying a $30 fee to visit the falls and the whole area for three days.
- Oheo Gulch Falls – Seven Sacred Pools (mile marker 42)
The last stop on your Hana Highway trip will be the Oheo Gulch falls, inside Haleakala National Park. They’re also known as the Seven Sacred Pools, as the Oheo Gulch’s waters connect seven pools. These are considered the most beautiful waterfalls in the world (considered the 8th wonder of the world) and a sacred spot in Hawaiian culture.
The trail leading to Oheo Gulch is an easy trek through a thick bamboo forest. Once at the falls, you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the freshwater pools, with each pool wider than the last. The nearby scenery is a beautiful sight, with lush greenery, a variety of flowers, and tall trees.
However, the falls remain closed during heavy rains and dry weather, so check with the State Park before coming.
- Helicopter tour over Hana and Haleakala – aerial views of East Maui
Despite spending almost two days on the road, parts of East Maui remain unexplored. But since they’re inaccessible by land, a helicopter tour is the perfect way to see them. Many different tours go over parts of the island, but the Air Maui tour over Haleakala and Hana is the best.
The helicopter takes you over Hana’s dense forests, atop raging waterfalls unreachable by land, and offers breathtaking coastal views at a 10,000 ft. elevation of the Haleakala Crater. The trip takes 45 minutes, and the pilot provides interesting facts about Maui and Hana.
Although the tours are expensive, and taking a road trip would be much cheaper, they give unbeatable views of the island and are ideal for people with mobility issues.
Day 4 – Haleakala and Upcountry Maui
Don’t let your $30 fee for Haleakala go to waste, as your fourth day in Maui will take you back to the State Park to watch the gorgeous sunrise. Afterward, you’ll walk through an expansive botanical garden and have lunch in the historical Makawao town. You’ll also enjoy a zipline adventure through the mountainside and end the day with a delicious dinner in Upcountry Maui.
- Haleakala Crater Sunrise
Set off well before dawn on the drive to Haleakala National Park, as getting to the Crater requires driving through winding roads before reaching a flat area on the top. Here you’ll park your cars and watch the most beautiful sunrise in the world.
People from far and wide come to witness this sunrise, as the 10,000 ft. elevation of the Crater gives a stunning view of East Maui and the coastline, coming to light with golden rays of the sun.
However, you’ll need early reservations to see the sunrise as it gets booked months before.
The drive to the lookout point is a three-hour round trip, and only 150 cars are allowed at the top. The sunset from Haleakala is equally beautiful, so even late risers can enjoy the natural scene.
Tip: Pack warm clothes like gloves and jackets for the sunrise, as it’s chilly at the elevation.
- Kula Botanical Gardens – stunning gardens and flora
The Kula Botanical Gardens are on the lower steps of Haleakala, a short drive from the State Park. The gardens display beautiful fauna and a variety of exotic flowers from the Pacific region and Hawaiian islands. As the gardens stretch to 8 acres, you’ll find colorful plants on every step, unique rock formations, a covered bridge, rushing waterfalls, koi ponds, and an exhibit featuring carved tikis.
There’s a small gift shop on the grounds selling souvenirs, local goods, candy, and snacks. You can also chat with the owners of the gardens, who explain its history in detail.
Note: There’s a $10 entrance fee for the gardens.
- Wander in Makawao – historical cowboy town
Drive to Upcountry Maui to historic Makawao, a quaint cowboy town that holds much of Maui’s early history. Today, the town hosts local art galleries, boutiques, and great eateries on its streets. A famous site is Baldwin Avenue, with buildings from the early 1900s which were once shops and businesses run by Japanese and Chinese families.
If you stop by Makawao, don’t miss the T Komoda’s Store and Bakery, which bakes the yummiest cream puffs, and has freshly baked delicacies. In addition, the store has a grocery section where you can stock up on produce and snacks.
The town also has a terrific local Italian restaurant called Casanova. We love to grab lunch from here, as the chef creates authentic Italian meals from fresh ingredients.
- Zipline across the mountainside
Ziplining is a great way to see the countryside and surrounding scenery on the North shore and Upcountry Maui. The North Shore Zipline Company has 7 zip lines going over a rainforest canopy, with huge rainbow eucalyptus trees, and providing oceanside views. They offer freestyle ziplining from swinging bridges and raised platforms. In addition, the guides are well-trained and help you go through the trip safely.
This adventure is great for people of all ages, as the ziplines are built for ages five and up. However, ziplining is only fun when the weather is clear and sunny, so avoid it on overcast or windy days.
- Enjoy dinner in Upcountry Maui
Upcountry Maui and the North shore have some of the best restaurants on the island, serving local Hawaiian dishes, seafood specials made from the fresh catch, fine dining options, and much more. Some crowd-favorite places are Mama’s Fish House and Paia Fish Market, both well-known for their gourmet quality food.
Securing a reservation at Mama’s Fish House is difficult, as they’re booked months before. But, if you’re lucky enough to get one, try their lobster tail, Opakapaka and Mahi Mahi dishes, and fresh seafood pasta.
Paia Fish Market is your second best option for fresh island seafood. It’s not crowded like most places nearby and serves tasty fish and chips, snapper, and sashimi dishes. They also have classics like burgers and tacos, so everyone can enjoy the food here.
Day 5 – Central and North Maui
The Central and North Maui areas are smaller than the rest of the island but have terrific island hotspots that you don’t want to miss. You’ll start your day by trekking the Waihe’e Ridge Trail, then wander through the Iao Valley State Park. Afterward, swim in Baldwin Beach, enjoy a tour of Maui’s plantations, and end the day with a night of art and culture.
- Waihee Ridge Trail
Waihe’e Ridge Trail is a stunning hike that offers views of the island from a high elevation. The roundtrip takes 2-3 hours, and you’re met with views of the coast on your right and beautiful greenery on your left.
The trail includes steep inclines that are tiring for most people, but you can rest on benches along the way and marvel at the gorgeous views. Most people don’t trek up, but if you reach the top, there’s a viewing platform with stunning views of the Valley Isle and the nearby Makamakaole Falls.
Note: Avoid the hike on a rainy day or soon after rains since the inclines are impossible to hike when slippery.
- Iao Valley State Park
The Iao Valley State Park is one of the largest State Parks in Maui, nestled in the lush greenery of Central Maui in the Iao Valley. The Valley is home to the Iao Needle, a natural rock formation covered with greenery and protruding from the valley floor at an elevation of 2,250 ft. above sea level.
Beautiful walkways and expansive botanical gardens with various plants surround the Iao Needle. Visitors can explore the natural scenery or hike different trails through the Valley. You’ll also find waterfalls, streams, and small bodies of water that are safe for swimming scattered through the State Park.
Note: There’s a $10 fee for parking cars and $5 per person.
- HA Baldwin Beach – great family beach
Drive to the town of Paia, where you’ll find the HA Baldwin Beach. This is a famous spot among families visiting the island, as the beach has soccer and softball fields, a picnic pavilion, a barbeque station, and clean restrooms and showers. The water is also good for swimming and surfing but gets rough in harsh weather conditions.
Baldwin beach is a popular spot for windsurfing and boogie boarding, for which you can borrow equipment from locals on the beach. However, the beach is often crowded with tourists on weekends, so try coming on weekdays.
- Maui Tropical Plantation – local fruit farms and plantations
The Maui Tropical Plantation is home to a variety of fruit trees and plantations in Maui. There are walking tours of the lush grounds and a guided tour that goes on a tram through the beautiful landscape.
The tour is very informative about the area’s history and involves driving through fields of pineapples, papayas, mangos, bananas, avocados, and coffee. You also get to see a live demo of a coconut being husked. In addition, there’s a gift shop on the grounds, selling island goods like freshly ground Kona coffee.
End your trip to the plantation with dinner at the onsite restaurant, Cafe O’ Lei, which serves delicious farm-to-table meals from produce grown on the plantation.
- Maui Arts & Cultural Center
The Maui Arts & Cultural Center is your one-stop for the island’s best music and arts, displayed in a theatre setting with daily shows. The Center invites artists from around the world for live shows, so make sure to get reservations. The performances include theatre shows, musicals, and stand-up comedy from local and international artists.
In case you can’t get reservations, the MACC also has two outdoor venues open to the public; the Community Events Lawn and the Yokouchi Pavilion, where you can enjoy the shows in an open-air setting.
Day 6 – End Your Trip on South Maui
South Maui will be the final shore you visit on your vacation, but by no means is it the least. The South shore has some of the most gorgeous beaches on the island, located close to each other, making them perfect for beach hopping. After a day in the sand and sun, you’ll end your trip with an exciting Hawaiian-style luau.
- Beach hop on the beautiful South shore
Beaches on Maui’s South shore promise scenic views, soft sands, and coasts stretching for miles. The calm waters on these beaches are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, surfing, and many other water activities. Some great beaches you can visit are Chang’s beach, the Kamaole Beaches, Big and Little Beaches in Makena State Park, and Secret Cove.
Chang’s Beach and Big Beach are great for water sports, like surfing and boogie boarding, while Little Beach is ideal for families as the water is safe. However, since they’re also famous amongst tourists, the beaches can get crowded. So head to Secret Cove beach in Makena State Park, that’s secluded and perfect for some time alone.
- La Perouse Bay – gorgeous beach with lava rocks
The La Perouse Bay is close to Makena and the last beach on the South shore. This bay is home to large blow holes and has lava rock lining the trails that lead to it. The walk down to the beach is easy but wear sturdy shoes as the rocks are rough and uneven.
Once on the bay, enjoy swimming, and walking on the white-gold sands. La Perouse Bay also has many sea estuaries and is a favorite spot for dolphins and tropical fish. You’ll also find many locals fishing on the bay.
Since the waters are clear, this is also a great spot for snorkeling, as you can swim alongside marine life.
- Sunset cruise on the ocean
There are terrific cruises on the South shore waters that take you to the Molokini Crater, a natural reef filled with native marine life, and the nearby Turtle Town, which houses abundant Hawaiian sea turtles (called honu in Hawaii.) In addition, you can book a cruise with the Kai Kanai company, which takes two trips in the day, in the afternoon, and at sunset.
The cruise includes stops at marine life hotspots in the ocean, where you can spot spinner dolphins and turtles.
You’ll be traveling on a beautiful catamaran cruise that provides tasty snacks and drinks throughout the trip. At the Crater, you can snorkel alongside marine life, and on the way back, the cruise stops by a secluded beach that’s great for swimming.
Tip: There’s also a whale-watching tour for trips from November to March.
- Attend a traditional Hawaiian luau
Bring your Maui vacation to a perfect close by attending a traditional Hawaiian luau. Luaus are family-centered events, including hula dances, fun activities, and a delicious buffet dinner. The Te Au Moana Luau at the Wailea Marriott is a great experience for everyone, as it’s held in an open-air space with gorgeous sunset views.
The luau has fun activities, like lei-making and learning the hula from the performers. The Polynesian dancers perform an excellent show, with a segment for Hawaiian storytelling, and take you onstage with them as well. A delicious buffet dinner follows the luau with many options to choose from.
Is 6 nights enough in Maui?
Six nights in Maui are perfect, as you can explore the four shores with enough time to spare for your own activities. Make sure to include a stop at Road to Hana, enjoy a sunrise at the Haleakala Crater, beach hop on the West and South shore beaches, and explore the lively towns. Just follow this itinerary, and you can make the best of your Maui vacation.
How many days do you need at Maui?
You should spend at least 4 days, and as many as eight days in Maui to fully enjoy the large island and its many sceneries. Most people stay for eight days on the island, but even fewer days than that are enough to tour all the major spots and still have time to do exploring of your own.
What is the best month to go to Maui?
The summer months, from June to September, offer the perfect weather to spend days on the beach and go hiking on forest trails. However, most tourists visit during this time, making the island crowded. If you want a more secluded experience, visit from April through May and September to November, as the rates are cheaper and fewer people are around.
Concluding your best 6 day Maui itinerary
Maui is an amazing vacation spot, and you’ll have a lot of fun exploring the Valley Isle, and its beautiful shores. In addition, Maui promises great weather all year round, with nearly 270+ days of perfect weather, so you’re bound to get some good sunshine on your trip.
If it’s your first time traveling to Maui or you’ve been here often, this six-day itinerary is for everyone. It takes you through popular trails and secluded waterfalls and includes recommendations for great restaurants in the many island towns.
So don’t hesitate and start planning your perfect Maui holiday!
Last Updated on March 12, 2023 by Brigitte