7 Perfect Days On Maui

I spent a full week on Maui on my 4th trip to Hawaii. By now, I knew to split my time between the different parts of the island to save on driving time. Between the national park, the beaches and the road to Hana, it was easy to fill up 7 days. Although my week in Maui didn’t turn out exactly as planned because of bad weather on Haleakala, I managed to squeeze in all of the activities below except the Kihei beaches on day 7. Here’s an overview of the itinerary with links to the blog posts for each day, as well as where I stayed overnight. Read on for more details on each day!

Day 1A.m. arrival; lunch at Mama’s Fish House and travel to upcountry MauiMakawao
Day 2Haleakala NP Summit: sunrise + Sliding Sands to Halemau’u crater hikeMakawao
Day 3Makawao Forest Reserve; Paia Beaches; downtown Makawao and Olinda RdMakawao
Day 4Road to HanaHana
Day 5Haleakala NP Kipahulu district + back road out of HanaKihei
Day 6West MauiKihei
Day 7La Perouse Bay and King’s Highway + Kihei BeachesKihei
Makawao and Kihei were both AIrBnBs (a room in someone’s home). I stayed at Hana Inn in Hana.
Day 1 – Lunch at Mama’s Fish House, make your way to upcountry Maui

Assuming you arrive on Maui in the morning, you will have almost a full day on your arrival day. I suggest starting with lunch at Mama’s Fish House – a staple on the island. If you didn’t book a reservation months in advance, go when they open and try to snag a seat at the bar – that’s what I did. There is also a little beach right out front that’s worth a quick stop.

The beach in front of Mama’s Fish House

You’ll be spending the night in Maui’s upcountry, which puts you much closer to the summit of Haleakala National park than staying by the beach. On the way there, stop by Kula Country Farms and Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm. Enjoy your first views of the island and the cooler temps as you gain elevation.

Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm
Day 2: Sunrise at Haleakala + Sliding Sands to Halemau’u crater hike

Although my attempt to see sunrise at Haleakala was a bust, I still recommend you attempt it.

The best shot I got during my sunrise at Haleakala

Definitely, however, do not miss the Slidings Sands to Halemau’u crater point-to-point hike, which is absolutely magnificent. It’s about 12 miles with quite a bit of elevation gain at the end but the landscape changes are surreal. It’s easy to hitch a ride back up to the starting point once you exit at the other end.

Descending into the crater on the Sliding Sands trail
Day 3: Makawao Forest Reserve, Paia beaches, downtown Makawao and Olinda Rd

On this more leisurely day, get your exercise at Makawao Forest Reserve. The main 6-mile loop around the reserve is awesome.

Spend the afternoon exploring some beaches in Paia. I recommend Ho’okapi Beach and the nearby overlook. You can spend hours watching the wind surfers. Baldwin Beach is also really nice and you can see all the way to Kahakuloa head in West Maui, which you will be visiting on day 6.

Ho’okapi Lookout

Back in Makawao in the evening, stroll through the little downtown area. It’s full of cute shops, galleries, and a couple of restaurants. Drive up and down Olinda Road for more views of the island.

Downtown Makawao

If you’re up for another splurge besides Mama’s Fish House, try Hali’imaile General Store. This farm-to-table restaurant has been serving delicious local fare long before that term became trendy.

Day 4: Road to Hana

My blog post on the Road to Hana gets into detail on the 6 stops I recommend. You want to overnight in Hana so that you can continue the loop the next day. Most people just go back the way they came! My favorite stop was Waianapanapa State Park, which requires a reservation to enter.

Waianapanapa State Park
Day 5: Haleakala Kipahulu District and Back Road to Hana

The Pipiwai Trail is a not-to-miss in this section of Haleakala National Park.

Continue on Pi’ilani Highway to get back to central Maui. This road has quite the reputation due to a 6-mile gravel section with pot holes and blind turns. The rest of the 30+ mile drive is brand new blacktop, so don’t let that short section deter you. I found it completely drivable if you take it slow. Just check for road closures on the Maui DOT website and make sure there is no rain in the forecast before you drive it.

Day 6: West Maui

You have another narrow winding road ahead of you but these 7 stops on a loop around West Maui are definitely worth the white-knuckle driving.

Nakelele Blowhole
Day 7: La Perouse Bay and King’s Highway; Kihei beaches

Check out La Perouse Bay for a morning stroll. Start early to get parking and avoid the hottest part of the day. Kihei is chock-full of beaches to enjoy – Makena Beach is one of the best-rated.

La Perouse Bay at sunrise

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