Known as the “Valley Isle,” Maui is dotted with quaint towns, artist communities and local favorites that have been around for generations. Head to Wailuku for pastries from a “mom and pop” bakery, or head to Lahaina for a taste of Maui’s famed farm to table cuisine. From shimmering beaches and sacred Iao Valley to migrating humpback whales and sunset on Haleakala, it’s not surprising Maui was voted the “Best Island” by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler for 19 years.
Stand above a sea of clouds high atop Haleakala. Watch a 45-foot whale breach off the coast of Lahaina. Lose count of the waterfalls along the road as you maneuver the hairpin turns of the Hana highway. One visit and it’s easy to see why Maui is called “The Valley Isle.”
The second largest Hawaiian island has a smaller population than you’d expect, making Maui popular with visitors who are looking for sophisticated diversions and amenities in the small towns and airy resorts spread throughout the island.
From the scenic slopes of fertile Upcountry Maui to beaches that have repeatedly been voted among the best in the world, a visit to the Valley Isle recharges the senses. But like every good magic trick, you’ll have to see it for yourself to believe it.
You’ll find the sunniest, driest area of Maui on the peaceful southwestern coast. Blessed with miles of sandy beaches and clear views of the islands of Lanai, Molokini and Kahoolawe, South Maui is a place for lazy days and romantic nights. Explore the immersive underwater aquarium at the Maui Ocean Center in the whale-friendly Maalaea Bay. Golf at world-class courses in Wailea and Makena. Shop and dine in some of Maui’s finest restaurants and resorts. Discover Maui’s warm hospitality on its spectacular southern coast.
Most visitors will begin their vacations here in Central Maui, arriving at Kahului Airport. Home to much of the island’s local community, Central Maui offers plenty of off-the-beaten-path treasures to uncover. Browse the small town shops and restaurants of Wailuku. Visit historic and sacred spots like Iao Valley State Park. Discover Maui’s thriving arts community at galleries and performance venues like the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Or explore the streets of Kahului for its unique variety of shops, malls and restaurants. Experience the Magic Isle like a local in Central Maui.
The lush, East Maui coast is famous for the winding road to Hana. Beginning in the Central Maui city of Kahului, the Hana Highway runs for 52 miles amongst waterfalls, dramatic vistas and flowering rainforests. Hana itself is a small town where Hawaiian traditions are alive and aloha is a way of life. Beyond Hana is the Kipahulu section of Haleakala National Park, the site of the beautiful Pools of Oheo. Go back in time with a day-trip through unforgettable East Maui.
The sunny northwest coast of Maui was once a retreat for Hawaiian royalty and the capitol of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Today, West Maui is home to spectacular resorts, shopping, restaurants, a wealth of activities and some of the most amazing sunsets in the world.
The Honoapiilani Highway takes you from one sun-kissed resort to the next, each with its own personality. Traveling north from Maalaea and the Maui Ocean Center, your first stop is the historic whaling town of Lahaina. Rustic buildings recall its days as Hawaii’s busiest port, while bustling shops on Front Street and winter whale watching make it a favorite port of call for cruise ship passengers.
A few minutes more on the Highway and you’ll find yourself drawn into the vibrant Kaanapali Resort. Whether you’re staying in the area or just passing through, a stroll on the Kaanapali Beachwalk is always in order. Families play on the beach, shoppers buzz in and out, and diners sit back and simply soak in the view.
On this side of the island, resorts melt into one another, and it doesn’t take long to lead you to Kapalua, known for championship golf and private getaways. Here, the tone is a bit quieter, with understated elegance.
Despite their proximity to each other, and the other hotels nestled in between, there is one thing these resorts disagree on: which resort has the best sunset and the best view. The islands of Lanai and Molokai are just across the channel, and as the West Maui sun sets, its rays wrap around the islands washing the coastline in a magical glow. Which sunset is the best? You’ll have to find out for yourself.
Rolling hills and misty mountains unfold as cool breezes carry the scent of eucalyptus throughout Upcountry Maui. Located on the high elevations around Haleakala, the fertile slopes of Upcountry are home to ranches, botanical gardens and farms with soaring views.
From early times, Hawaiians farmed the volcanic soil of the Upcountry fields, growing taro and sweet potato. Today, take a farm tour in Kula and see how Maui produces the famous Maui onion and other fresh farm-to-table ingredients for Hawaii’s finest restaurants. Discover small town Makawao, home to the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys) and a thriving art scene. And don’t forget to drive beyond Upcountry up to Maui’s highest peak to explore the rare flora and fauna of Haleakala National Park.
Maui contains a number of microclimates. It is generally drier on Maui’s leeward side where you’ll find the spectacular beaches and resorts of Kapalua, Kaanapali, Lahaina, Kihei and Wailea along the western coast. On the wetter windward side you’ll find lush Iao Valley and the scenic road to Hana. It’s warmer along the coast than Upcountry Maui where temperatures are typically 8-10 degrees cooler. If you’re driving up to the 9,740-foot Haleakala Visitor Center atop Haleakala National Park, expect temperatures in the 40s or lower, so bring warm clothes.
There are generally two seasons in Maui. Winter (November through April), when temperatures typically range in the low-70s to mid-80s, and summer when the high can run into the low-90s. The trade winds keep you comfortable year-round so any time of year is a good time to visit Maui.