The Ultimate Guide: Best Things To Do In MAUI. Google Map Included
Updated: Apr 13
This year (2020) we decided to ditch California for the holidays and head out to one of our favorite Islands, the island of Maui in Hawaii. This is our second visit to this beautiful Island, only this time we visited as a family. Last time we visited it was just my husband and I, a little over 10 years ago and the island is just as beautiful as we remembered it. We stayed for a total of 7 days and adventured all throughout the island. With so much to do in this beautiful Island I want to share where we stayed, some of our favorite restaurants, as well as some of the best sights to visit. Basically all the things to do in Maui during your visit! I also added a link to a google map with all of the following destinations marked for your convenience. You can find the link toward the end of this post.
Road To Hana
This full day activity is a must for all who visit. Definitely recommend you add it to your list of things to do in Maui. From Kehei to Hana is a 2 hour drive but there are so many beautiful sights to explore and stop at, I would highly recommend you give yourself a good amount of time. Definitely start your trip up to Hana early in the morning (6:00am). This is a drive/trip you don't want to rush through. Keep in mind you will be driving through a winding road and you gain a good amount of altitude, so if you suffer from motion sickness you might want to do whatever it is you normally do to help with that. Also, keep in mind the road is narrow and at some points the road does turn into a single lane road so take your time and be safe. Personally, I found the road to be well taken care of and did not feel unsafe at any point.
Be sure to have a full tank of gas
Bring comfortable shoes that can be used for both hiking and water
Bring bug repellant
Bring cash as many vendors along the way only take cash
Take your time
We personally loved our day trip to Hana so much we went back twice because there is just so much beauty and nature to experience. From waterfalls to secluded beaches to amazing hikes, if you enjoy exploring nature like we do then this is definitely a trip to take. Not only are the destinations you can reach amazing but the drive itself up to Hana is absolutely gorgeous. Take a look for yourself! These pictures were all taken on our drive up to Hana. All of the waterfalls pictures below can be seen from the side of the road. I swear I was expecting Te Fiti to pop out at any second, everything was so luscious and green. If you are a Disney fan like myself you get it lol
I would HIGHLY recommend you stay overnight in Hana. Although there aren't any resort in the area there are some Airbnbs you can stay at. This is definitely what we will be doing on our next stay. I decided to list everything we did headed up to Hana in one sections so you can group the activities if you'd only like to take a day trip. From food, to beaches, to activities, here are some of the things we did headed up and down from Hana.
Pipiwai Trail- You can find this trail inside the Kipahulu Visitor Center. It is one of the most beautiful hikes we've done with several outstanding waterfalls and a beautiful bamboo forest. The whole hike up to the most beautiful waterfall we have seen is 2 miles up and 2 miles back. It took us a total of 3 hours to finish the whole thing with several stops for pictures and to enjoy the scenery. When you come to the last waterfall there are some warning signs to not go any further due to some accidents that have occurred in the past due to falling rocks. We saw the beautiful waterfall and decided to respect the warnings and started heading back. The whole trail is stunning and it is partially shaded, specially when going through the bamboo forest. The trail can get muddy and slippery specially toward the end so definitely wear some good hiking shoes/sneakers and expect to get dirty. I would say the trail is moderate in difficulty but doable even for my 8 year old. It's a popular trail so expect to share it with others, specially later in the day. Parking and restrooms are available at this national park but there is a $30 entrance fee. You can find this trail at mile marker 42. You can't miss it, just keep driving up and you will see the parking area to your left hand side.
This is one of the waterfalls you see Falls at Makahiku and its only 0.5 miles from starting point. Although beautiful, I highly recommend you go all the way to the end.
Entering the Bamboo forest was AMAZING! The sound they made when the wind picked up a bit and they hit each other was amazing. We hiked though the bamboo forest for 1 mile.
Towards the end is when things got wet and muddy but well worth it. Then came the grand finale...Waimoku Falls. Pictures do it no justice!
Walking back I just about died of a heart attack. Being from California, if you see something big and dark by the bushes during a hike, you worry. I was leading hubby and Alexia when suddenly I screamed and ran to them like a fool, only to then realize, 1. We weren't in California and 2. It wasn't a bear but George the cow, as the ranger we saw up ahead called it LOL. So if you visit and see George, don't be frightened, apparently he's friendly and a regular in the area.
Hamoa Beach- This beach was found by accident but we are so happy we found it. It's a little beach you find in a small street with clear waters, some shade, and showers. There's limited parking on the side of the road but we got lucky and didn't have to wait long. There's a paved walkway right down to the beach side. It's not very big but it's absolutely gorgeous surrounded by cliffs and greenery. It was perfect to cool down after our hike since the natural pools by the hike (The Pools at Ohe'o), were closed during our visit. The waves were not too big during our visit but because there's no lifeguard on duty always respect the ocean and approach it with caution as water conditions change by the minute. This beach was located by marker 50 on Hamoa street. You will pass Troys restaurant coming down from Hana and then see Hamoa street on your right hand side. GPS coordinates (20.7194570,-155.9876495)
Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach- I'm all for exploring and adventuring specially when on vacation but always making sure we stay safe. We were so excited to visit this Red Sand beach and made our way out and less then halfway down the hike we decided to turn back around due to its conditions. The hike to the red sand beach is not very long, about 10 minutes but it is VERY narrow with loose gravel. Some of the trees along the narrow path drop some small seeds that make it that much more dangerous. After doing some reading the pathway is much more narrow than it once was due to land slides. One small slip will send you down to the waves or rocks so be very cautious. I would NOT recommend you visit with kids and If you decide you want to take the chance then make sure you wear good shoes, definitely do NOT go in sandals. If you plan to adventure out you need to look for the Hana Senior center 1501 Uakea Rd Hana and park around that area. Theres no specific parking lot for this. You will then head out to the grassy area to the right of the building towards the back to find the trail. It can be a bit hidden by trees and bushes but it's there. I would NOT recommend you visit but I'll let you make that decision.
Black Sand Beach- This beautiful and stunning beach is inside the Waianapanapa State Park just past marker 32. This whole area is very clean and well maintained and there's so much to see just in this area. With plenty of parking at no cost, this is a must visit when visiting Hana. They even have cabins up for rent as well as picnic tables and restrooms. The beach itself is not very big and the beach is part black sand part black rocks, so water shoes can be a nice extra, although we did just fine without them. IMPORTANT UPDATE 2021: As of recently entry and parking reservations are REQUIRED to be purchased in advance for all non-residents. For reservations go to www.gowaianapanapa.com
There are some wonderful caves around the area but it is not recommended you go inside but definitely cool to look at from the outside. There's also a blow hole around the area that was not active during our visit and some hiking trails. The area is beautiful so definitely consider exploring more of it. There's plenty of palm trees with coconuts so watch your head for falling coconuts. GPS coordinates: (20.7886606,-156.0035712)
Someone decided to climb a short tree and get some coconuts!
Hana Farms Restaurant- This is a great stop when visiting Hana. They have a little market with lots of great local snacks and even some coffee. When in Hana banana bread is a must! The Bamboo Hale is a restaurant that has delicious food with lots of outdoor seating surrounded by beautiful greenery. The restaurant is only open during the weekend but it's a must. I had thee best fish tacos here and Alexia loved their pizza. We definitely recommend it. You can't miss it when entering Hana. You will see this sign and it's a very beautiful vibrant area.
Coconut Glen's- This has got to be thee best ice cream we've had and it's organic vegan ice cream! It's made with coconuts from the jungle of Maui! Like I mentioned before make sure you have cash because that all they accept. In addition to their normal flavors they have mystery flavors. We had 2 of their mystery flavors a peppermint, chai tea, and 2 of their regulars: mint chip and original coconut. They were all so yummy and creamy! You need to try it out. It's located in the Hana Highway mile marker 27 1/2 Nahiku. When driving up to Hana it's to your right hand side and you can't miss it.
Honomanu Bay- A small rural black pebble bay is great for stretching your legs, views and relaxing. It was very deserted and we found it by visiting a little path on the side of the road between marker 13-14 to the left side of the road when driving up to Hana. Cool to drive down the path but not a must, so if you're short on time you can definitely skip it. Not really a great spot for laying out or swimming since it's so rocky.
Ho'okipa- This made the perfect stop after our visit to Hana. It's located on the north shore of Maui. This white sand beach is known for its Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles and windsurfing. We arrived at 5pm, an hour before the sunset and it was the perfect time to see the sea turtles laying out on the sand. You can spot them toward the right side of the beach area towards the cliff. They can easily be missed because they look like rocks in the area but once you take a closer look and spot them it is an awesome sight to see. After we saw the turtles and took some pictures we stayed to admire all the surfers. The waves were huge and it was awesome to see so many catch some awesome waves. After doing some reading this beach actually holds professional windsurfing competitions. If you rather not go down to the beach, they have a lookout point where you can admire the surfers. For some who are more adventurous you can even walk down to the rocks to take a closer look, but beware because the waves can get high enough to hit the rocks. First time we visited we did the lookout point but this time we walked down to the beach to see the turtles as well. This beach is long and narrow so there's lots of space to spread out. Theres also benches, showers, lifeguards and bathrooms available. Plenty of parking available for free as well. I would say this is a must visit! Located on 9 Hana Hwy Paia, Hi 96779. GPS Coordinates: (20.9331087,-156.3585959)
Hana Picnic Lunch Company Paia- The road to Hana can be a long one, specially if you plan to make some pit stops to admire all the beautiful sights there is to see. This Sandwich spot is perfect to grab some sandwiches for lunch on your way up to Hana. The sandwiches were fresh and yummy and were nicely packed in a cooler bag for us to enjoy. I would definitely stop here again. Their basil mayo spread was delish on the sandwiches.
To learn about 15 Stops You Can't Miss On Maui's Road To Hana with tips and directions follow the link down below:
Makena Beach - aka Big Beach-
This is the most beautiful beach I have seen in Maui to date. With its long and wide sandy beach stretch and its turquoise waters, it's definitel