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Maui, also known as the Valley Isle, is the second-largest island that makes up Hawaii. It is renowned for its gorgeous beaches and scenery, with incredible sights like migrating humpback whales in the Winter months and stunning sunrises and sunsets from viewpoints at Haleakala National Park or the sacred Iao Valley. Maui is one of the most celebrated islands in the world and has even been voted the ‘Best Island in the United States’ by the Conde Nast Traveler. If you are interested in visiting this Hawaiian Island to experience it for yourself, there are a few things that you should know…
When to Go to Maui
There are different times of year that you may want to consider for travel, depending on your goals in Maui. If you want to avoid tourism, hit the waves or see a certain festival, you might opt to come in different months. Here is a little more key tips about weather and peak tourism to consider.
The best time to visit Maui, Hawaii is in September, October, or November for great weather and less tourism. Weather data provided by NOAA.
Best Weather September through November
Maui is situated in a location that has very predictable weather. It does not normally fall below the mid-50s, and the upper temperatures rarely breach 80° degrees Fahrenheit. The best time to go to Maui is from April through May or from September through November, because these seasons have the best weather without heavy crowds or the high rates of the peak season. For calmer waters, consider going to Maui in the Summer months.
Winter Season is Busy, April and May are Less Packed
People who want to go to Maui to surf should consider avoiding the Summer months, since the ocean waves are much calmer and are not quite as large as other times of the year. Winter is a heavy tourist season with travelers escaping the cold, so expect the flights and room rates to skyrocket throughout the months of December, January, and February. Notably, the Maui Chinese New Year Festival is in February, and the opening PGA Tour golf tournament, the SBS Tournament of Champions, is in January, which also factors into the Winter traffic.
Surfing is popular in Maui and the Hawaiian Islands, but did you know that the waves tend to be calmer in Summer months?
Top 3 Things to Do in Maui...
Here’s what you don’t want to miss out on when you are visiting. Put these things at the top of your list, so you make sure to see the key places that make Maui a top destination.
#1 Visit Makena Beach State Park
Each of Maui’s beaches has its own allure, but whether you’re after relaxation or surfing, there’s a beach for everyone. There are over 30 miles of beaches in Maui, and there are over 120 miles of coastline within that short distance. Makena Beach is known as the ‘Big Beach’ and has beautiful white sand. It’s also the most popular beach in Maui.
Makena Beach, otherwise known as the ‘Big Beach’, is one of the most visited beaches in Maui.
Activities you can participate in at this state park include fishing, snorkeling and swimming. Amenities include restrooms, food concessions, picnic tables, easy parking, and lifeguards to keep you safe.
#2 Attend a Luau
You can experience Polynesian culture and exhilarating storytelling, dance, and cultural activities on your visit to Maui by visiting a local luau. There are several venues throughout the island that have luau, some of which include the Royal Lahaina Resort and Hyatt Regency. You may be interested in the Lahaina Luau, too, which takes place on oceanfront grounds on Front Street. Keep in mind that a luau is a comprehensive, and immersive dinner show with music, Polynesian dances, Samoan fire knife dances, and more.
Catch a Maui Luau to feast in paradise while you watch traditional dancing and entertainment including Samoan fire knife dances.
#3 Visit Haleakala National Park
If you take a cruise to Maui, you might have a short day or two to check out the local area before your ship moves on. One good idea for shorter trips is to check out Haleakala National Park. This national park stands 10,023 feet above sea level and is a dormant volcano. The Haleakala Crater has an interesting legend, too. It’s said that the demigod Maui stood on the volcano’s summit and lassoed the sun. Legend has it that this slowed the sun to make the days last longer for humans.
Haleakala National Park draws in travelers every year to come visit the dormant volcano and to experience its magnitude firsthand.
The volcano is known for being a point where you can see some of the most beautiful sunrises on the planet. The National Park Service does require a reservation for personal and rental vehicles to go to the Summit District, so make sure you reserve your spot.
Haleakala National Park is one of the greatest places in the world to view sunsets and sunrises, with countless viewing spots.
More Local Landmarks and Things to Do
Here’s a few more fun activities that Maui is known for to add to your vacation itinerary:
Take a Maui helicopter tour
A Maui helicopter tour gives you a bird’s-eye-view of the beautiful island. Tours cost between $150 and $350 per person, but the unique perspective is one that you’ll never forget.
One of the most unique ways to explore Maui is by way of helicopter, which you can book at an affordable price.
Relax at Kaanapali Beach
Kaanapali Beach is one of the most popular parts of the coast, and it takes up just three miles of the Northwestern coast. People go there to surf and sunbathe, so if you’re looking to relax, it’s a good place to go. The currents can be strong here, so be cautious if you plan to swim.
One of the best beaches for surfing and sunbathing is the smaller Kaanapali Beach.
Snorkeling in Maui
To take up a few hours to a half a day, try snorkeling around Maui. Taking a dive into the Pacific Ocean gives you a chance to see some of the plant and animal life that swims below the sea’s surface.
Snorkeling in Maui offers up-close looks at sea life and is a popular attraction that does not disappoint.
Ride the Tropical Express at Maui Tropical Plantation
If you’re bringing your kids, you may want to head to the Tropical Express at the Maui Tropical Plantation. This charming green train-like attraction takes you around the plantation for approximately 45 minutes. It has a 15-minute stop where you’ll get off and get to work on coconut husking and opening. Some of the local commodities at the plantation include coffee, jackfruit, macadamia nuts, ti leaves, and more.
Visit the Maui Tropical Plantation and you can ride the Tropical Express and see some of Maui’s top exports including Jackfruit.
Explore the Maui Ocean Center
The Maui Ocean Center has been named as one of the top 10 aquariums in the world. It’s the perfect place to learn about the marine life in and around the Hawaiian Islands. Some of the exhibits include sea turtles, octopuses, sea jellies, tropical fish and many other sea creatures. This is the home of the world’s largest displays of live Pacific corals, as well.
Places Near Maui to Visit
There are several islands near Maui. Here are some of the top picks to visit:
- Lanai: Or better known by its nickname, the ‘Pineapple Island’, was once the home to the largest pineapple plantation in the world, owned by Dole. Today, there is a smaller scale tourist infrastructure, so if you visit here you have a better chance to experience what life is like for the locals.
- Kaho’olawe: One of Hawaii’s eight main volcanic islands. It is the smallest and has previously been off-limits, but it is now open to tourists who want to learn more about the culture in Hawaii.
- Molokini: Molokini does not allow tourists to step on land, but you can visit the island for snorkeling or scuba diving. You’ll love that you can see Spinner dolphins, tropical fish and sea turtles there, but you can only go in the morning. The afternoon current is strong, so it should be avoided at that time.
Lanai is a wonderful island to add to your itinerary, known mainly for its pineapple production and lovely views.
If you are trying to visit multiple islands in one trip, check out the following cruises. A cruise is a convenient and fun-filled way to visit multiple destinations during one vacation while only having to unpack once!
More Things to Know About Maui
Maui is perfect for many kinds of travelers, but those who love adventure, have families and are looking for a family-friendly getaway, or honeymooners seem to love Maui most. Hawaiian is the state language, with English its dual counterpart. Though English is the main language spoken, you will likely hear people using local words, phrases, and songs. If you’re staying at a resort while in Maui, most speak English, but you may run into some who speak Polynesian or Hawaiian, in which case most of the friendly natives will be able to help.
Frequently Asked Maui Questions
Visit Maui to get daily doses of dreamy sunsets and ocean views.
What kind of money do you need in Maui?
Since Maui is part of the United States, you will use U.S. dollars. You can use credit cards or take out money at an ATM. You won’t likely need travelers’ checks.
How do you get to Maui?
You can get to Maui by air or sea. The island’s main airport is Kahului Airport (OGG). There are a few smaller airports, too. If you’ll be heading to Molokai or Lanai, there are also airports there, and you can take a boat over to Maui from their shores.
As mentioned above, a Hawaii cruise is also a great way to get to Maui.
Do you need a car in Maui?
Maui is tourist friendly, so you can use a shuttle bus, taxi, public transportation or tour bus to get around. If you want to experience Maui on your own terms, then renting a car is possible (and advisable).
Do you need a passport to go to Maui?
Hawaii is the 50th state, so you won’t need your passport unless you plan to head to a different country before or after going to Maui.
What do you need to pack for Maui?
Maui is warm, no matter what time of year it is. That’s why it’s a good idea to pack your summer attire. You should have a jacket or a light sweater for the evenings, too. If you plan to go to any of the local volcanoes or on a night cruise, you may want to bring a heavier jacket. You probably won’t need a suit or tie, as most people wear casual dress clothes and resort wear on the island.
Maui is a wonderful place to visit. Have you already been there? Leave a comment on our Facebook page and let us know your best tips!
Related: The 10 Best Romantic Getaways Around the World
*All prices are subject to change and accurate as of December 19, 2019.