All photography by @studioist.
No words can accurately portray the feeling of Aloha that the Hawaiian island of Maui delivers. The closest I can get—pure paradise!
The palm trees sway and rustle in the soft ocean breeze, while the waves cascade across the sand near some sunbathing honu (that’s sea turtles to us mainlanders). I literally lived this moment while there this summer. :)
If you have the chance to step foot on this breathtaking island in your lifetime, don’t hesitate. There is something for everyone, without the bustle of Honolulu.
For being such a small mass of land, Maui is bursting with things to do, see, and eat. Having visited the island twice now, I feel I can make your vacation even easier with this basic itinerary. In seven days you can visit the major sights and town of the island, of course with plenty of time for relaxing on its famous beaches. Enjoy!
Also if this is your first trip to Maui, check out our Travel Guide: Maui for where to eat, stay, and play while on the island.
Note: This is assuming you are staying on the south side of the island where most of the major resorts are.
ALOHA, GET LEI'D!
Relax you’re in Hawaii! Depending on what time your flight arrives, check in to your hotel, freshen up, and settle in to “island time.”
5 P.M. — Freshen up, change for dinner and head to the nearest beach. There is nothing like sinking your toes in the sand after a long day of travel. Walk along the beach, taking in the beautiful scenery, and perhaps catching the sunset!
7 P.M. — Dinner time! For a consistently well-prepared fresh meal, head to MonkeyPod (10 Wailea Gateway Place, Kihei, HI 96753).
Chances are you’ll be tired so head back to the room for a relaxing evening—you’re on vacation after all—and get to bed at a regular time. If you’re coming from the U.S.’s east coast you may end up waking up earlier than normal. Most of our wedding guests woke up around 5 a.m. their first “full” day on the island.
ROAD TO HANA
Assuming you woke up long before your “vacation-self” wanted to, take advantage of it and head on the Road to Hana.
7 A.M. — Up and at ‘em! Jump in your car and start driving North.
7:15 A.M. — Breakfast at the always delicious Kihei Caffe (1945 South Kihei Road, Kihei, HI 96753). The line moves quickly and the portions are large. You've got a long day ahead so fuel up! Kihei Coffee is cash only.
8:30 A.M. — Paia, a funky little North Shore town, is the last stop so before you leave make sure your gas tank is filled, you’ve got some snacks on hand, and you’ve downloaded Shaka Guide’s Road to Hana audio tour. Don’t worry about missing anything, we’ll be back to walk around soon.
The road to Hana is full of turns and adventure along the way. Depending how many stops you make and how long you spend at each stop, your ending time will vary.
7-ish P.M. — Order take-away from Nutcharee’s Authentic Thai Food (1280 S Kihei Rd #124, Kihei, HI 96753), buffering roughly 30 minutes for preparation, and pick it up on the way back to your hotel.
Enjoy your dinner in the comfort of your hotel, shower and unwind. Today was a long one!
9 A.M. — Good morning! In need of coffee and a pastry? Get some at The Honolulu Coffee Company and walk around The Shops at Wailea (3750 Wailea Alanui Dr, Wailea, HI 96753). Grab some snacks for the beach at Island Gourmet Market.
10:30 A.M. — “Let’s go to the beach, each, Let’s go get a wave..” You’re in Hawaii, time to give surfing a go! Surfing was once a sport reserved only for Hawaiian royalty, luckily that has changed because it is a blast.
Go to Kihei’s Cove Beach Park. It’s the best beginner surf spots in Maui, occasionally crowded, but the waves are consistent and break in shallow water. Plus there are several board rental shops just across the road.
If this is your first time, I’d highly recommend an instructor. Catching a wave is not as easy as the pros make it look. An instructor can help push you to “catch a wave,” otherwise you’ll be floating up and down aimlessly for the duration of your board rental.
1:30 P.M. — There are some great lunch options in Kihei. Enjoy Coconut’s Fish Cafe’s friendly, fast-service atmosphere (1279 S Kihei Rd, Kihei, HI 96753) and grab some Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade right next door for a refreshing sweet treat.
Alternatively, the South Maui Fish Company (22 Alahehe Place, Kihei, HI 96753) offers a simple menu of the daily fresh catch dishes.
3 P.M. — Walk around the Kihei Kalama Village (1941 S Kihei Rd, Kihei, HI 96753), and open-air market selling Hawaiian souvenirs and locally made goodies.
While inside don’t miss Tutu’s Pantry! They sell the most delicious locally/Hawaiian made sweet treats, seasonings, coffee, jams, etc. We’d recommend the Donkey Balls and the Goat’s Milk Vanilla Caramel—both ahh-mazing!
4 P.M. — Head down the road to Kamaole Beach Park I, lay down a blanket, and relax on the beach. I like to set up in the shade of a tree and read a book, listening to the waves crashing.
7 P.M. — Dinner at Morimoto Maui at the Andaz. Enjoy the ocean views and beautifully designed hotel. You may want to make a reservation in advance if you’re more than two people or want to eat at a popular dinner time.
9 P.M. — After dinner walk down to the beach for some night crab hunting. Using your phone’s flashlight look for holes in the dry sand and small (sometimes not-so-small) clear to dark spots in the sand. The crabs feel safest with sand on them so they will usually bury themselves up to their “chest.” FYI: They are quick and will usually head for the ocean so just jump to the side and let them pass. And if it’s a clear night, don’t forget to look up at the stars (and the milky way).
PA'IA + UPCOUNTRY
9 A.M. — Nothing better than waking up to a beautiful, vibrant acai bowl so go get yourself one from the cutest trailer—Brekkie Bowls Maui (300 Ohukai Rd B1-101, Kihei, HI 96753).
10 A.M. — Grab a coffee from Paia Bay Coffee Bar (115 Hana Hwy, Paia, HI 96779) then walk around the beach boutiques + art galleries in this funky, little bohemian town.
Make sure to check out my faves: Sassarella, Lele, Sand & Sea, and Imrie.
12 P.M. — Whenever you’re ready, get some lunch at one of Paia’s most eclectic joints, Cafe Mambo (30 Baldwin Ave, Paia, HI 96779).
1 P.M. — Take a 3 minute drive to mile marker #8.8 and see the sunbathing honu (sea turtles) on Ho’okipa Beach.
2 P.M. — Head upcountry for breathtaking views. It won’t feel like you’re climbing high in elevation until you look down across the valley and to the ocean on both sides of the island.
Either enjoy a tour booked at O'o Farms, Maui Winery, Organic Ocean Vodka, or Surfing Goat Dairy or simply drive around enjoying the change in scenery.
Whether you booked a tour or not, make sure to check out Surfing Goat Dairy (3651 Omaopio Rd, Kula, HI 96790) to sample some goat cheese and pick up some of their truffles to-go. Open till 5 p.m. except on Sundays.
Take your time upcountry, but when you get back there is nothing better than relaxing on the beach nearby or poolside at your hotel before washing up and changing for dinner.
7 P.M. — Take some time to watch the sunset over the water. It’s lovely + you’re on vacation!
7:30 P.M. — Din-nah time! Try something at or close to your hotel. Many of the large resorts in Wailea have excellent restaurants.
8:30 A.M. — Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so get your brekkie on!
10 A.M. — Pick up a free map at the courthouse and take a self-guided walking tour of the historic first capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Lahaina.
Don’t miss one of the largest banyan tree in the U.S. It’s located in Lahaina Banyan Court at the south end of town and it’s incredible!!!
12 P.M. — There are tons of great restaurants in Lahaina, but Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop (820 Olowalu Village Rd, Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761) or Cheeseburger in Paradeise (811 Front St, Lahaina, HI 96761) are solid choices.
For a sweet treat check out Maui Sugar Shop Organic Gluten-Free Bakery (878 Front St, A10, Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761) or get you some world-famous DOLE WHIP at Lahaina Ice Cream Parlour (693 Front St, Lahaina, Hawaii 96761).
1:30 P.M. — Spend the afternoon strolling and shopping along Lahaina’s colorful Front Street and Main Street. There are art galleries, restaurants, stores with Hawaiian souvenirs, and shops with locally-made, quality artisan goods.
If you finish your shopping with time to spare, head to Baby Beach (51 Puunoa Pl, Lahaina, HI 96761) to relax before this evening’s activities.
6 P.M. — No trip to Hawaii would be complete without taking in a traditional luau, and Old Lahaina Lu’au is the best on Maui! The spirit of Aloha is alive and well here. The staff is friendly, the food is delicious, and the dancers are amazing! Plus the view of the sunset from their property is utter perfection! A must when on Maui.
I always like to include a free day on our trips. It gives us an opportunity to make adjustments on the fly, time to do any activities we didn’t have time for, or go to places we discovered while on the ground.
Do whatever you want today, just make sure it includes so relaxing beach time. Preferrably one with the view like the photo above. You’re still on a beautiful tropical island so take advantage of it. Enjoy!
11 A.M. — Check out of hotel. The time your flight departs will determine what you want to do today, i.e. you probably don’t want to be covered in sunscreen your entire flight home since you already checked out of your hotel.
I’d recommend grabbing one last delicious meal and then relaxing in the shade near a beach, listening to the ocean. And just personal preference but I like to be closer to the airport when
12:30 P.M. — For the freshest seafood and beautiful views, there’s no where quite like Mama’s Fish House (799 Poho Pl, Paia, HI 96779). You may want to make a reservation because this place is delicious and everyone knows it!
5 P.M. — Our flight left around 8 p.m., but be aware that the majority of flights to the continental U.S. depart in the evening so make sure to arrive a few hours early because the security line at OGG can get quite long.