Everyone dreams of the white sand beaches and beautiful weather of a Maui vacation. When you finally get the money saved and scheduled off work, you'll want an itinerary that maximizes your time on the island. Maui seems like a small place, but there are many activities, sights, and experiences for you and your loved ones once you touch down at the airport.
Tropical island getaways are supposed to be relaxing. However, you can also get into adventure and once-in-a-lifetime experiences on a seven-day vacation in Maui, including beach lounging, snorkeling, hiking, and sightseeing.
Maui in a week is possible for those looking for a fun-packed week. Depending on your preferences, there is something for everyone on the island of Maui. Read on for more about the time frame and schedule for an action-packed adventure on the island and tips on the most relaxing beaches and hotels.
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7 Day Itinerary Ideas
While visiting Maui is a great trip, seven days might not seem like enough time for all of the experiences that you want. However, suppose you have a proper seven-day itinerary. In that case, you better get prepared for the trip of a lifetime to this beautiful tropical island paradise.
A seven-day Maui itinerary is a short amount of time, and you'll want everything timed out day by day. Even with a strict schedule for your seven-day trip to Maui, you won't get everything you want out of the vacation. You should identify what pleases you most in a vacation and plan your schedule around those activities.
Travelers in Maui need to focus on the types of activities that they want. Because there is so much fun in Maui and so many different adventures, activities, relaxation spots, and sights, we have developed two different seven-day itineraries based on those that look for maximum relaxation or maximum adventure.
Seven Days of Adventure in Maui
Hawaii.com has an excellent itinerary for seven days of adventure (check out our 7-Day Maui Itinerary as well) and early rising while vacationing in Maui. Make sure that you get rest when you can so that these early morning adventures are enjoyable. Some of them require driving a distance across the island, so you may need a car rental.
For those looking at getting adventure and little rest on their week-long trip in Maui, the following itinerary gives you everything you need:
When you land from your plane flight, you probably need some rest. However, the first day you at your hotel, you will most likely wake up early because of jet lag, so it makes sense to take advantage of the early rise and take a ride towards adventure.
Haleakala Crater is one of Maui's most sought places, and it is best in the morning. According to the park website, Haleakalacrater.com, the best time for striations of sunlight that is breathtaking and worthwhile is at sunrise. You might need registration, so make sure you check the website before visiting.
On your way back down the winding road from the summit, make sure you stop at the Kula Lodge for some great food. You now have the rest of the day for relaxing at the hotel or down by the beach.
After the early rise on your first day, the odds are that jet lag is still affecting your sleep. So, for day two, an early rise again could land you on a trip towards the water for other early day activities like snorkeling or canoeing. Maui's trade winds start blowing in the afternoon, so the most popular water adventure time is around 7 am.
One of the most popular snorkeling places in Maui is accessible via a cruise to the Molokini Crater. According to the official tourism website, MolokiniCrater.com, Molokini Crater's waters are some of the best in the world and are usually extremely clear.
Suppose you are in Maui during the summer. In that case, you might want Honolua Bay for snorkeling for a chance at seeing some amazing sea turtles in their natural habitat. There is also an epic catamaran cruise leaving from Ka'anapali Beach that allows for a chance at spotting sea turtles while snorkeling.
Have an early American-style breakfast at one of the best places in West Maui called The Gazebo with its delicious macadamia nut pancakes, according to the travel and review website West Maui Condos. This hearty meal should get you fueled up for a dangerous excursion.
Day three and at the heart of your travels in Maui, you should find the "Heart in the Rock" salt geyser. The travel website Maui Guidebook calls the Heart in the Rock and saltwater geyser at Nakalele Point "scenic" and "challenging." There are two parking lots, and if you are less sure-footed, you might want the closer one.
The main attraction here is the blowhole. Be careful as people have been sucked in before and never seen again! There is also an area between the blowhole and the lighthouse called the Acid War Zone, which has impressive weathered rock formations worth checking out.
After a morning of relaxation at your hotel, this might be a fantastic day for sightseeing and shopping in Ka'anapali.
Finishing off the day with a sunset sailboat tour, drinks, and even whale watching during the right time of year gives you a different perspective of the coast.
As part of a two-day adventure down the coast towards Hana, there are several places for stopping and enjoying local shops and sights. One of the best places is Baldwin Beach, where you can stroll on a vast stretch of beach, watch surfers catching winter waves off the reefs, or check out some great local shops.
Baldwin beach is right off the Hana highway on your way into the town of Pa'ia. If you are coming from the Maui Country Club, the stop is a welcome rest. Baldwin beach is known as one of the best body surfing and boogie boarding surf beaches in all of Maui. There is also an area of beach rock that comes right down to the surf and creates a shallow for swimming on the west end.
Once you get out of the water and dry off, the shops of Pa'ia are laid back and entertaining. Shops like boutiques and small cafes fill you up before you get back in the car and head further down the Hana highway.
You could stop at places like Twin Falls along your ride down the highway, where you could tour the Kahanu Garden and get a lesson in Hawaiian history. You'll drive through a grove of breadfruit and get close with Pi'ilanihale, the largest heiau in Hawaii. Stay in a local bed and breakfast and get good sleep for another day of adventurous exploration down Hana.
Your last day on the Hana highway should be a special one. If you wake up early enough, you should witness the breathtaking sunlight as it covers the black sand beach of Wai'anapanapa State Park.
Since you are so deep on the Hana, there are virtually no day crowds here, and you should take advantage of the popular hike at Pipiwai Trail. This trail is legendary for its access across several pristine mountainsides and ending at the 400-foot waterfalls called Waimoku Falls. There are pools of lovely water all along the hike.
Finally, drive around the backside of the island for the end of the day and sunset. There are several excellent wine tasting options for closing out your day. Maui Wine is one of the most extensive operations with tours and a large tasting room with a breathtaking view of the coast.
Day 7 is your last day, and relaxing is the key. Eating a large meal at the Makawao town in a place like Polli's Mexican Restaurant and then strutting the shops and boutiques might be a lovely way to end your trip. The small town is picturesque and straightforward, with live animals around the street corners and even small hitching posts at the corners.
Finally, Kanaha Beach is an excellent place for stopping before dropping off your rental car and getting on your plane, since it is only about five minutes from the airport. Here you watch windsurfers doing daring aerial acrobatics before getting back in the car and getting to your flight home.
Seven Days of Relaxation in Maui
Not all vacations need traveling around the island with adventure and action every day. Maui is also a getaway that doesn't require much action at all. Staying in one place or finding simple lounging spots is the name of the game in this itinerary of seven days for relaxation in Maui.
After a long flight, you probably want your rental car and hotel room. Luckily the Maui airport is relatively small and well organized, so you should be out of there in a matter of minutes. The Maui Ocean Center is one of the island's biggest attractions and is a beautiful world-class aquarium.
After checking in and dropping off your luggage at your hotel, the Maui Ocean Center is a short drive or walk from most hotels. TripAdvisor voted the Maui Ocean Center one of the top ten aquariums in the world, and it does not disappoint.
The living reef garden, Hawaiian cultural and animal history, and the ocean depths are all prominent displays at the aquarium year-round that are must-sees if you visit.
Road to Hana is a legendary road trip that is on many people's bucket list. Even though the Hana Highway trip can get done in one day, a more relaxing experience is taking the Hana Highway in two days so that you aren't rushed and can enjoy the local atmosphere and shopping.
Starting day two on the Hana Highway is an excellent immersion into island life's culture and speed. Your first stop as you head down the highway should be the Ho'okipa Lookout and Beach. This lookout has sea turtle sightings regularly, the islands' spiritual animal, which can start you on the spirit of your journey down the highway.
On the road to Hana, stop in several areas where rest and relaxation are central. Twin Falls has an easily found pool for wading, swimming, and submerging that is revitalizing. The waters are amazing in temperature and comfort for those still suffering from jet lag.
Then, later on down the highway, is the Maui Garden of Eden. This 26-acre botanical garden allows for relaxing walks and views. It's also one of the only places on the island for witnessing the Maui Rainbow Eucalyptus tree. End day two on the road to Hana by finding a local bed and breakfast and getting an early night's rest for the next day's driving.
Day 3 is probably the best day for your one adventurous hike at the midway point of your Maui trip. After waking up from your bed and breakfast, take a short journey up the Hana Highway to the Hana Lava Tube. The site set up for the cave shows admissions and available tour times if you want historical and geographic information.
This creepy and educational cave is accessible on your own and has built-in lighting. The hike itself is short, at about 40 minutes, and is flat.
Next, after you get out of the darkness of the lava tube cave, you probably want the beach sun and sand. A great stopping place for rest and relaxation is the Black Sand Beach at Waiʻānapanapa State Park. According to the touring site, Maui Guidebook, the Beach is pristine and not heavily visited by tourists. You will view sea arches and lovely black sand.
Another most visited beach that you could check out on Day 3 is Red Sand beach. According to the travel site Hawaii Planner, the red color of the sand at Sand Beach is due to the oxidation of minerals in the volcanic rock and soil near the beach. The trail of Red Sand Beach is not necessarily open for visiting. Still, it is only 10 minutes long and well worth the treacherous climb down if you feel that you can handle it.
Day four is a luxurious day of sea travel. Hang around the hotel and get some sun and lunch at local beachfront shops. Then set up a cocktail cruise before a dinner cruise.
The cocktail cruise is shorter and runs in the late afternoon. The Kai Kanani cocktail cruise offers live music and a full bar with rose sparkling wine at sunset. The cruise runs from Monday through Friday for two hours in the late afternoon.
Dinner cruises are also available for the early evening into the night. The Quicksilver Cruise offers two hours of live music, drinks, and a dinner entree of several different options. The boat is open air and allows for 360-degree views of the sunset.
Ready for humpback whales? If you haven't gotten your fill of the ocean, this is a great day for whale watching early in the afternoon. Set a whale cruise or rent a kayak from the harbor and get a tour out towards where some of the largest mammals on Earth breach the surface of the water right in front of you.
Maui Whale Watch Tours is one of the most popular options for charter whale watching. The whale watching season runs from December through May. The crew and tour guide also give you some great information about the biology and behavior of humpback whales and some tips for photographing whales.
Finish up day 5 with some of the best seafood in the world with one of Maui's top ten sushi restaurants. The service and creativity at Koiso Sushi Bar are legendary. Another sushi bar called Nuka has a chef named Hiro Takanashi, a sushi master of over 35 years.
As one of your last days on Maui's island, it is essential that you understand and take part in some cultural significance. Sunrise from the top of the Haleakala summit is said to be the place where the demigod Maui lassoed the sun from mythology, making the days longer. This place is historically significant and also gorgeous. It is a must for your trip.
Seeing the sunrise from the summit is not as easy as getting up early. You actually must make reservations weeks in advance with the National Park service. Once your reservations are all squared away, show your pass at the booth to the park and drive up and park.
Finally, the summit is over 10,000 feet in elevation, so it is very cold. Dress accordingly and wear some warmer layers than your beach attire. You may also want a blanket for sitting and watching the sunrise in the early morning hours.
If you don't make a reservation, not all is lost. You should join the Haleakala tour through the park service. This tour gets you to access what the reservation requires.
Make your last day in paradise a special one by exploring some of the island's best beaches. Most of the beaches you drive to are spectacular. However, some need exploring, even if you only plan on lounging around on them.
The first beach worth exploring on your last day is the Nakalele Blowhole. This dangerous yet excellent beach spot is a saltwater geyser that shoots water dozens of feet into the air when waves crash into the caves below. Watch out for waves crashing over the rocks where you stand and view. Also, check out the Acid Rocks nearby. Maui.com calls the Nakalele Blowhole Maui's most consistent eruption.
Another beach that is spectacular for its natural beauty is the Kaanapali Beach. Even though this beach has many hotels around it and is designed for tourists more than naturally made, it gets frequented by sea turtles. Seeing and even getting close to sea turtles is a magical experience, and one that is worth the drive to this otherwise rather ordinary beach.
Finally, the lava rock-lined pools of water in Maui's northwest, called the Olivine Pools, are well worth a little drive. Although you must drive over narrow roads to reach them, the pools are heavenly and a great way of spending your last afternoon in Maui. These pools are large and surrounded by beautiful lava rock, some almost 30 feet deep and filled with strange and beautiful fish types.
Last Second Ideas
Your trip is coming to a close, and you are probably worn out. However, if you have any time left, visiting any local beaches you may have missed is an excellent way for you to get ready for the flight home.
The beach next to the airport also has many sights of windsurfers that can calm your mood and get you ready for boarding your plane. If you have a little more time, you could check out some of the more elaborate exhibits at the Maui Ocean Center.
One of the best attractions at the Maui Ocean Center is an IMAX theatre that allows you the experience of swimming with whales. The sights and sounds of this exhibit are breathtaking and educational.
Finally, Big Beach is a lonely and sparsely used beach with plenty of parking and incredible surf for wadding. The white sand is inviting and great for a final day of lounging. There is even a nude beach just over the rocks at the south end of the beach, where you can try eliminating some of those tan lines before you leave the island.
What to Pack for Maui
Any travel itinerary wouldn't be complete without a list of the essential items needed for a perfect trip. Below is a list of some of the best items you should bring with you on your trip to Maui, according to the globally recognized travel guide and bloggers Asher and Lyric:
- Water shoes: For wading in pools of water or even while you are snorkeling. Mesh water shoes that won't slip off make your water adventures a lot more pleasing.
- Rash defense: Since you spend so much time in the salty water of the ocean, you are bound for some rashes or abrasions. Anywhere your skin rubs against skin or sensitive areas might be a great place for using rash guards.
- Waterproof phone case: Not only will you take incredible photos near the water, but you can take them rest assured of your phone's protection with a waterproof case.
- Dress cover-up: You will spend most of your time in a swimsuit in Maui. Make sure that you bring with you a lovely dress cover-up for the times when you head indoors or away from the beach. A dress cover-up is essential for quickly changing from beach attire into presentable attire.
- A filtered water bottle: Brita makes a great filtered water bottle that improves water clarity and taste. A filter for your water not only cuts down on paying for drinks while you are out adventuring, but also protects your gut against water that you may not be used to.
- Portable charger: Having a portable charger that fits in a pocket or a purse is an excellent tool for adventuring. There aren't always places for charging your phone or other electronics. A portable charger gives you that extra juice needed for the end of the day selfies or emergencies.
- Dry hair conditioner: Traveling means you won't always get the chance to pamper yourself. Dry hair conditioner is an excellent way of taming the mane of possibly frizzy hair. This portable solution for fashion on the road is fantastic and works really well!
- Beach mat: Even though the hotels you stay in will supply you with beach towels, a solid or semi-solid beach mat is excellent for setting up a picnic area. A beach mat also keeps your things from getting pushed down and possibly ruined with sand.
Maui is a paradise that some people only get once in a lifetime. Ensure that you have everything you need for an excellent trip and plan accordingly for maximum adventure or relaxation.
With this itinerary, a week in Maui is memorable and breathtaking. Take the time for everything you want and leave those things that don't interest you. Remember, this is your getaway, so make this trip your own. You can follow one of these itineraries to the letter, but feel free to combine them as you see fit. Enjoy your time in paradise!