Maui, also known as “The Valley Isle”, is one of the islands of the Aloha state, Hawaii. Being the second largest Hawaiian Island, Maui showcases the island’s highest peak Haleakala National Park, the sacred Iao Valley and pools, waterfalls of the Ohe’o Gulch, and world famous beaches.
While East Maui mesmerizes with breathtaking sceneries of lush green rainforests, cascading waterfalls, hidden pools, plunging cliffs, rugged coastlines, and remote Hawaian communities, West Maui is home to gorgeous beaches, historical sites, spectacular resorts, nice restaurants, ocean activities, and the towns of Lahaina and Ka’anapali. West Maui is truly an amazing travel destination.
These photos are from a day spent on the West side of Maui on 8th October, 2016.
Quick Facts and Tips
- Best time to visit
- Weather and good deals: Apr to May, Sep to Oct. Dec to Mar is better, but could be expensive
- Fly into
- Kahului Airport is the main airport and has direct flights from the U.S. mainland
- Kapalua Airport (west side) and Hana Airport (east side) are other smaller commuter airports
- Honolulu International Airport, then take a short, 35-40 minute flight to Kahului or Kapalua Maui Airports
- What to Expect
- Beautiful Beaches, Waterfalls, Lush Green Gulches, Blowholes, Sea Cliffs, Natural Pools, Tropical Flowers, and Fruits
- Weather is warm, so pack lightweight casual t-shirts, shorts, sundresses, tank tops, capris, skirts, swimsuits, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, rain gears and a light jacket for the cool evenings.
- Be sure to check Maui County Official website for traffic alerts and current road closure before heading out.
- Important to follow the mile markers.
- Roads are narrow and winding, drive slowly and park only in parking lots.
- Bring food, plenty of water, changing clothes and prepare yourself if you have motion sickness.
- Top Attractions and Best Things To Do
- Iao Valley State Park: This is a historical state park located in Central Maui, just west of Wailuku. It is one of the most beautiful and easily accessible parks in Maui. This lush green deep valley park is home to an iconic landmark, the 1,200-foot Iao Needle. This sacred Iao Valley has great historical significance as it served as the lookout point during the Battle of Kepaniwai that King Kamehameha I led with the Maui army in 1790. The stunning landscapes of the park definitely remind you of the movie Jurassic Park. The 0.6 mile easy, paved, and well-marked path from the parking lot leads to a viewpoint that offers an astonishing view of green mantled Iao Needle, zigzagging Ioa stream, and the incredible deep valley. Check the weather forecast for flash flooding before you go as flash flooding is very common in the West Maui mountains region. More info here.
- Take a beautiful drive on Honoapiilani Highway (Route 30) along the coastline. Stop at each lookout and enjoy the ocean breeze with breathtaking views.
- Lava Fields: It is a strange and interesting place located south of the town of Wailea, at the southern tip of the island of Maui. It is a 10 mins drive from Makena beach. Uneven Makena road opens up to a parking lot, from there you can hike the Lava Fields.There are some lavas on the sides of the road. The place offers the deep green mountains on one side, the blue ocean on the other side, and the scattered dark lava fields in the middle. The contrast is beautiful! Wear appropriate footwear and have sun protection.
- Makena Big Beach (Oneloa Beach): It is a beautiful, long, wide, impressive orange sand beach. The beach is open to the public and has perfect orange sand, parking, lifeguards and picnic tables. No showers and only port-a-potties are available.
- Kamaole Beach Park: Features a 1.5 mile long beautiful sandy beach with incredible views and provides great opportunities for snorkeling, swimming, picnicking, barbecue facilities, and playground. There are outdoor showers, bathrooms and public parking.
- Ka’anapali Beach: It is a perfect, mile long, wide and sandy beach. This beach is home to many classy resorts. This beach is open to the public too, but public lots are scattered between Ka’anapali Parkway and the beach. Look for “Public access/Beach Access” signs near the shore that direct you down to the beach. Free public beach access parking is available but it is hard to find spots. Outdoor showers are located all along the beach walk, but there are no public restrooms and lifeguards
- Kahekili Beach: Open to the public and it is a nice, long and great place for snorkeling and swimming. The park has a large parking lot, restrooms and showers, covered picnic tables and pavilion, and lifeguards.
- Honokahua Bay Beach: It is a nice sandy beach with ample shade; gets very windy in the summer, big waves are common in the winter; crowded during weekends with bodyboarders. The beach has lifeguards, bodyboarding, picnic tables, restrooms, showers, and parking. Makalua puna point is a short walk from the beach and you can also hike the Mahana Ridge Trail from the parking lot.
- Stop at these places
- Iao Valley State Park
- Lava Fields
- Makena Big Beach
- Kamaole Beach Park
- Papawai Scenic Lookout
- The Pali Tunnel
- Kaanapali Beach
- Kahekili Beach Park
- Honokahua Bay Beach
- Honolua Bay Lookout
- Road to Lipoa Point
- Other Attractions