After a long conversation with friends, the time to plan my first trip to Hawaii has come. Due to our limited time, we intend to visit only two islands: Maui and Oahu. This will be a big change for someone who’s used to travelling solo, but Hawaii is one of those places that inspire group travel, being with friends and sharing the good moments. We’ve been researching what to do in Maui and Oahu for a while, so in this post, I will share with you some of the things we want to do in Maui. The itinerary is bound to change and, if you have been to Maui, I’d love some tips and recommendations.


Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands and is among the most beautiful ones. Because of the island’s size, we will most likely split our stay into two different areas, so can optimise our time and make the most of it, spending less time driving around. We are looking for Maui vacation homes, as we like the convenience of having our own place and we would love a proper “home away from home” with my own pool, even if for a few days. The idea, at the moment, is to rent one on the east and another on the west side of the island afterwards.

So far, the plan is to stay on the west side as soon as we arrive.

West Side of Maui

We intend to fly into Kapalua airport, on the northwestern tip of the island and, from there, go to our first vacation home in Lahaina or Kaanapali. Not many people know, but Lahaina is the former capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii and is the biggest city in Maui. It’s a very charming place, with plenty of shops, restaurants and is ranked as one of tourists’ favourite places on the island.

One of Lahaina’s main tourist attractions is the Banyan Tree Park, located on the site of the Old Lahaina Fort. The main attraction in the park is a giant banyan tree planted in 1873, that has become the largest in Hawaii and one of the largest banyan trees in the whole of the USA, with aerial roots covering a large area – definitely a must in my itinerary!

What To Do in Maui Hawaii

Not far from Lahaina, we will visit Kaanapali, chosen by TripAdvisor’s readers as the second most beautiful beach in the USA. Do we need any more reason to visit it? Well, another reason why Kaanapali will be on our itinerary is that many travellers have reported sightings of giant turtles while swimming or snorkelling around Black Rock beach.

The small Napili Bay, further north from Kaanapali, will enter in our itinerary for its white sandy beaches and, especially, for being quieter than most of the beaches in the area. Another place that we’ve been recommended to visit is Honolua Bay, right at the northwestern tip of the island. The reason to visit this rocky bay, rather than the white sands like in Napili, is because it’s considered the best place for snorkelling in Maui. Say no more!

What To Do in Maui Hawaii

Still, in the hope to see the rich marine life that surrounds Maui, we will go on a tour to the Moloniki crater. That’s the semi-submerged crater of a volcano that forms a small crescent-shaped island. It’s considered one of the best tours in Maui. The area is rich in corals, colourful fishes and is the best site for giant turtles sightings.

East Side of Maui

One thing my friends who’ve been to Maui have told me is the stark difference between the eastern and western sides of Maui. While the former is popular with shopping malls and several resorts – one more reason for us to choose a holiday home -, the latter is quieter, greener and has a hippie-ish style.

What To Do in Maui Hawaii

One of the many big waves in Peahi, known as Jaws beach. Photo: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Even though I am far from being a surfer, I there are a few places I do know I want to visit. Among them is the famous Peahi, better known as Jaws Surfers Beach. This is where, in winter, people can surf on the tallest waves in the world, which can reach up to 18m. Not for the faint hearted, surely. Even though I will be travelling in autumn, I’m hoping to watch and photograph some high waves here – wish me luck!

Another place on this side of Maui Road to Hana, a 63-mile highway that connects the city of Kahului to the town of Hana. Despite the “highway” status, this is a narrow, twisting road and, apparently, a one-lane pathway in many areas. Apart from its twisting road appeal, there are many interesting stops along the road, making it a full-day trip.

Central Maui

From the island’s eastern side, we also plan to visit the central part of Maui. Far from the beaches, life here goes at a different place, with several farms and ranches. Time permitting, we will also visit Haleakala National Park, the only place in Maui where it can snow, even in the summer months. The idea is to wake up in the early hours and drive to the top and watch the sunrise.

What To Do in Maui Hawaii

Serendipity is one of the best things about travel and this itinerary is bound to change, as day after day I find new things to do in Maui. I’d love to hear your thoughts, in case you have any tips that could help make this trip as memorable as it can be.

What about you, have you been to Maui or any other islands in Hawaii? Leave a comment with your tips and recommendations!

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