5-7 Day Maui Itinerary for 2023: Secret Beaches, Turtles, & More

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Crafting the perfect itinerary for Maui before you even step one flip-flop on the island can be the difference between a stressful week of planning and the relaxing vacation you deserve!

We visit Maui once per year and always get asked the same question by first time visitors – “What do I absolutely have to do on Maui with only a week?”

We have created this 5-7 day Maui itinerary to answer that question. Below, you will find specific daily suggestions, top destinations, places to stay, and everything else you need to know for planning.

In addition to providing insight on the best things to see on the island, we also share wisdom on how and where to spend your time with you and your personal preferences in mind.

Disclosure: In order to keep providing you with free content, this post likely contains affiliate links. If you make a booking or purchase through one of these links we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. So a HUGE thank you to you if you click one of these links 🙂

🌴 5 to 7 Days in Maui Itinerary Overview

This Maui itinerary has been designed to be flexible and personally customizable.

The goal is to ensure you don’t miss any of the amazing sights on the island, but also have time to relax and enjoy your vacation.

This section provides a brief breakdown of the itinerary, but each day is covered in full detail further into this guide.

Here is a brief summary of what you need to know for your trip to Maui:

  • Best Area(s) to Stay: Kihei, Wailea, and/or Ka’anapali.
  • Getting Around: Rental car and pre-booked tours highly recommended.
  • Daily Itinerary Breakdown
    • Day 1: Arrive and explore locally
    • Day 2: Snorkeling in Olowalu and Lahaina
    • Day 3: Hiking in West Maui and best Luau in Maui
  • Additional Day Trip Option 1: Take a trip to the island of Lāna‘i
  • Additional Day Trip Option 2: Go snorkeling at Molokini Crater

All of these summary items are discussed in detail below.


🏖 Maps of Maui

The island of Maui is very small and can be explored from one central location, if desired.

For example, if you chose to stay in Kahului you would never have to drive more than 2 hours to get anywhere on the island!

Use the maps below to get better acquainted with the Valley Isle. Following the itinerary provided will be easier if you take a moment to get a feel for the lay of the land!

Regional Map of Maui

It is worth noting that Maui is broken into six distinct regions, each of which offers a varied experience.

These regions are mentioned throughout this travel guide so be sure to take a moment to let it register and feel free to download our custom-made map.

  • South Maui: Most popular tourist destination and best beaches.
  • West Maui: Second most popular place to stay on Maui and best snorkeling.
  • Central Maui: Where you will find the large stores, chain restaurants, and Airport (OGG).
  • North Shore: Great for surfing, wind sailing, and the most secluded beaches.
  • Upcountry: Climb in elevation as you near Haleakala volcano for sweeping views.
  • East Maui: The rainy side of the island; beautiful nature but most popular as a daytrip.
Map of Maui showing the 6 districts in different colors

Maui Points of Interest Map

The interactive map of Maui below shows all of the points of interest that are mentioned in this itinerary. They are color-coded and grouped by suggested day of visiting.

Click here or on the image to open the Google map in a new tab.

Map of Maui showing points of interest within this Maui itinerary.
Map of Maui showing points of interest.
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🍹 Perfect 5-7 Day Itinerary for Maui: Day-by-Day

Each suggested day within this Maui Itinerary can be done at a comfortable pace in one day.

If you are squeezing the entire one-week itinerary into a 5-day visit, you will need to move with a bit more urgency, but can still see it all!

If you are planning on staying in one hotel or resort for the entirety of your visit, the order in which you schedule these day trips is mostly irrelevant. Just make sure you book any snorkel trips or paid tours in accordance with the most promising weather, if possible.

Young girl walks a volcanic beach during her one week on Maui.

Below is a list of day trips and destinations to arrange as you see fit to craft your personal Maui itinerary. Note that we arranged them in an order that makes sense for balancing leisure time and exploration, but these are completely interchangeable.

  • Day 1: Arrive, Check in, & explore locally.
  • Day 2: Go snorkeling in Olowalu and visit Lahaina.
  • Day 3: Go hiking in “West Maui” & experience a Luau in Maui.
    (Combine Day 2 and 3 for five-day Maui itineraries)
  • Day 4: Drive the Road to Hana.
    (Consider staying overnight if time permits!)
  • Day 5: Explore Haleakala National Park
  • Day 6: Beach hopping and whale watching (or a sunset sail).
    (Ignore for 5-day Maui itineraries.)
  • Day 7: Check out and depart.
  • Additional Option 1: Take a trip to Lāna‘i.
  • Additional Option 2: Go snorkeling at Molokini Crater.

Now it’s time to get into the details! The section below breaks down each of these options and explains everything about what you will want to see and things to do in Maui.

🏝 Maui Itinerary Day 1:
Check-in & Explore Locally

Curling wave at Secret Cove Beach in Maui

The major airport that 99% of you will be flying into is Kahului Airport (OGG). The airport is located in Central Maui and is a short, 15-minute (10 mile) drive to Kihei or 36 minutes (24 miles) drive to Lahaina.

If you are planning on staying in at least 2 different locations during your time in Maui, consider seeking accommodation near Ka’anapali as this will be close to where we suggest spending your first couple days.

Day 1 of this Maui itinerary has been kept very light by design. We recognize that some of you may be arriving late and will have just flown a great distance over from the mainland. Allow yourself a moment to switch into your new aloha headspace on this first day.

Switching off isn’t always as easy as you imagine it to be, so keep your arrival day as easy-breezy as the Hawaiian trade winds themselves.

🤿 Maui Itinerary Day 2:
Snorkeling in Olowalu & Lahaina

Sophie swims alongside a passing honu in the stunning coral reef in Hawaii.
Be sure to bring your snorkel gear – Maui is home to some of the best coral reefs on the planet!

As you may be experiencing a bit of jet lag or still trying to switch into island mode, we recommend a day at the beach for your first full day on Maui.

The truly energetic readers among you will be able to squeeze a lot more into your day than we have proposed, just don’t forget that you are on vacation!

Snorkeling at Olowalu Beach

An aerial view of the incredible coral gardens you can snorkel at Olowalu Beach on your Maui itinerary.
An aerial view of the incredible coral gardens you can snorkel at Olowalu Beach.

Just half an hour away from Kihei and Kahului is one of the most incredible coral gardens you will ever swim at Olowalu Beach. The best part is that it is completely free! That said, you will need some snorkel gear.

We highly recommend buying a snorkel set. With your own gear, you’ll have the flexibility to go snorkeling whenever you like without having to worry about picking up or dropping off rental gear. It’ll also save you money in the long run!

Once you have arrived, find a spot in the sand to call home and enjoy a relaxing day on a beautiful beach, dipping in and out of the water to swim with turtles, tropical fish, and if you are incredibly lucky, perhaps even the endangered monk seal!

Spend an afternoon in Lahaina

A vibrant rainbow touches down on the mountains behind Lahaina.
A vibrant rainbow touches down on the mountains behind Lahaina.

When you have finished snorkeling and being a beach bum for the day, consider a trip up the coast to charming Lahaina. This is considered the best of the best Maui towns to visit, ranking first on the Top 10 list.

This beachside town is home to perhaps the most vibrant community on Maui. Lahaina is the place to be whether you are interested in shopping, art galleries, or just want to hit a happy hour!

Sunset from high above Lahaina.
Sunset from high above Lahaina.

For those considering a trip to the neighboring island of Lāna‘i, this is also where you will catch the boat. You can find more information on that further in this guide.

If you are a craft beer lover like ourselves, we implore you to end your day at Maui Brewing Co located 15 minutes up the road. They have some of the best beer we have tasted anywhere in the world, including our personal favorite, the coconut imperial porter.

For avid beer fans, you could even consider a brewery tour to visit the three local breweries on the island!

🍍 Maui Itinerary Day 3:
Explore West Maui and a Hawaiian Luau

Golden hour lights up this lonely bay in West Maui.
Golden hour lights up this lonely bay in West Maui.

For clarification, the region of West Maui is actually the entire upper-left region of the island. Northwest Maui would be more accurate, but, alas it is named West Maui!

As you may have noticed, Day 2 already covered much of West Maui. However, beyond the point where most tourists go are some beautiful hikes and an incredible coastline. Just be aware that the road is very windy and narrow, so take your time.

Hiking in West Maui

Landscape photography of the savage, volcanic coastline on the Olivine Pools trail in West Maui.
The savage volcanic coastline of the Olivine Pools of West Maui.

We suggest spending Day 3 driving north on Highway 340 through West Maui Natural Reserve Area. Along the scenic drive are several short hikes, art galleries, cafes, and more. The idea is to take your time and make a day out of it.

Hikes to consider along the way include:

  • Waihee Ridge Trail: A steep 2.5 mile hike into the clouds for fantastic panoramic views.
  • Olivine Pools Trail: A short half-mile walk to a spectacular and savage coastline (see photo above.)
  • Ohai Trail: An easy 1.2 mile walk with scenic views, often used by locals for dog walking and bird watching.

Experience the best Luau in Maui

The Feast at Mokapu sunset luau in Maui
No Maui vacation is complete until you have experienced a traditional luau!

A quintessential experience for everyone visiting Hawaii for the first time is to witness a modern rendition of a traditional luau. Fortunately, Maui is home to what many consider the best and most authentic luau in all of Hawaii, and you’ll find it right in Lahaina!

Old Lahaina is widely considered the best luau in Maui. They showcase the beauty of Hawaiian culture through food and traditional dance in the best dinner show you will find anywhere.

Come hungry, the food is just too good to stop eating long past the point of feeling full!

Due to its reputation, Old Lahaina is often fully booked. If your dates are not available, these are the next best luaus in Maui, and while they do not have the reputation of Old Lahaina, they still have rave reviews!

On both our visits, we were unable to experience Old Lahaina Luau. However, instead, we enjoyed Andaz Resort’s sunset luau called “The Feast at Mokapu.”

📸 READ MORE: Most Instagrammable Places on Maui

🚙 Maui Itinerary Day 4:
Drive The Road to Hana

Driving across a narrow bridge past a roadside waterfall along the spectacular Road to Hana.
Driving across a narrow bridge past a roadside waterfall along the spectacular Road to Hana.

Even if you throw out the rest of our proposed activities or only have one day in Maui, the one thing you simply must include on your itinerary is driving the Road to Hana.

While most imagine Maui to be just beaches and a tropical paradise, there is also a lush rainforest on the eastern side that is teeming with waterfalls, unusual beaches, and an assortment of natural gems.

You will want to allow at least a full day for exploring the Road to Hana in its entirety. In fact, many visitors will even opt for an overnight visit!

The entire journey from Kihei through Hana and back via the scenic loop through Kaupo is 5 hours and 128 miles of just driving. In other words, be sure you get an early start!

Another Instagram worthy Maui waterfall is the Upper Waikani Falls of Hana.
The beautiful Waikani Falls are a literal cannot-miss on the road to Hana.

Along the way, you will encounter plenty of beautiful features along the roadside including a collection of waterfalls. Below are the destinations we specifically recommend making time for in addition to what you’ll see out the car window.

It is recommended to begin the loop clockwise. Set your GPS for the stops below and make sure you return to your accommodation via Kaupo.

🚗 Discover more in our complete guide:

Driving the Road to Hana

The Road to Hana has approximately 620 curves and 59 bridges, 46 of which are one-lane bridges. Due to this, many are uncomfortable driving this road.

It has also earned the nickname “Divorce Highway” because of the arguments it has caused between couples! However, it is paved throughout, and if you drive cautiously and within the speed limits you are unlikely to have any issues.

If you’re not comfortable driving the Road to Hana, you may wish to consider an organized tour.

Rainbow Eucalyptus

Sophie admires the vibrant colors of the rainbow eucalyptus trees on the Road to Hana.
Sophie admires the vibrant colors of the rainbow eucalyptus trees on the Road to Hana.

Just past Mile Marker 7 on the Road to Hana is a small collection of incredible “rainbow eucalyptus” trees. These are not native, originating from the Philippines, but they are amazing to see in person and absolutely worth a stop.

Depending on the light and time of year, you may not immediately notice them roadside as the colors can be quite subdued on cloudy days or in poor light.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled to the left around the mile marker sign so you do not miss them like so many others! We’ve also pinned their location on our Google Map above to help you find them!

Black Sand Beach (Waiʻānapanapa State Park)

A view of Black Sand Beach Waiʻānapanapa State Park (aka Black Sand Beach) just after sunrise.
A view of Black Sand Beach Waiʻānapanapa State Park (aka Black Sand Beach) just after sunrise.

If time permits, consider staying the night at the Waiʻānapanapa State Park campground. Sunrise at the black sand beach is truly magical!

If that is not an option, at least stop in to witness the spectacular scenery. Lush green palm trees sway harmonically, contrasted vibrantly against the jet black volcanic sand.

While there are multiple black sand beaches in Hawaii, this is hands down the most photogenic.

Be aware that as of April 20221 reservations are now required for visiting Waianapanapa State Park! You can find more in our Reservations Guide to Black Sand Beach.

Complete Guide to Maui Black Sand Beach

Red Sand Beach (Kaihalulu Beach)

Behold the incredible colors of Red Sand Beach; one of Maui's greatest natural treasures.
Behold the incredible colors of Red Sand Beach; one of Maui’s greatest natural treasures.

There are a few mandatory warnings to visiting Kaihalulu Beach, also known as Red Sand Beach. The first warning is that the trail can be quite dangerous. Do not attempt this hike unless you have full physical ability, and do not attempt it with children. If the region has experienced heavy rain recently, do not attempt this hike at all.

The next is that this is a clothing-optional beach. Do not be surprised to find other visitors enjoying their day in their birthday suits.

A swimmer jumps into the water at Red Sand Beach in Maui.

Last, there is some debate as to whether or not this beach is legally accessible. The trail crosses over private land, but it is complicated. Every beach in Hawaii is legally mandated to have public access if available. This means that the trail itself is legal to walk, in theory.

While things may have changed since our visit, we were able to find parking eventually. It did, however, take some effort. Still, this is easily one of the best places to photograph in Maui and totally worth it! The deep red colors contrasting spectacularly against the azure waters and luxuriant greenery is unforgettable.

Complete Guide to Maui Red Sand Beach

Seven Sacred Pools (ʻOheʻo Gulch or Pools of ʻOheʻo)

Long exposure photography of the Seven Sacred Pools of Oheo in Maui.
A view of the Seven Sacred Pools of Oheo.

Technically, the ʻOheʻo Gulch and the Seven Sacred Pools, falls within the Haleakala National Park boundaries. This means that you will be required to pay an entrance fee to enter if you do not have a National Parks pass.

There are several points of interest in ʻOheʻo Gulch worth visiting, but the sacred pools were our favorite. These beautiful tubs make for fantastic swimming holes and are beautiful to photograph.

Additionally, there is a bamboo forest along the Pipiwai Trail and numerous waterfalls you can hike to from here. Unfortunately, most of the falls were dried up during our February visit.

📸 READ MORE: Camera Gear for Epic Travel Photos

🌋 Maui Itinerary Day 5:
Haleakalā National Park

Experiencing the colorful volcanic nature of Maui at Haleakalā National Park.
Experience the colorful volcanic nature of Maui at Haleakalā National Park.

The Hawaiian islands were forged by volcanoes, and evidence of this will be visible throughout your time in Maui. One of the most beautiful places to get immersed in this volcanic nature is at Haleakalā National Park.

The park is broken up into separate districts, with ʻOheʻo Gulch residing in the Kīpahulu District. You will already be exploring ʻOheʻo Gulch on whichever day you dedicate to driving the Road to Hana if you choose to drive it as a loop. Instead, for this day trip, we will focus on the Summit Area.

Be warned that this is a long drive from pretty much everywhere on the island! Also, note that there are no gas stations within the park and that being onsite at the observatory for the increasingly popular sunrise view now requires a reservation. However, it is worth it as it offers the best sunrise experience on Maui!

If you are lucky enough to land a reservation for sunrise at Haleakalā Observatory, you will need to arrange your entire itinerary and sleep schedule around this. From Kihei to Haleakalā Visitor Center is a 1h 25 minute (45 mile) drive through winding switchbacks.

If you plan on visiting independently, we recommend exploring the official Haleakala NPS site. You will find everything you need to know about the park, including reservations, hiking information, as well as planners, maps, and important park alerts including closures.

For those that have one, be sure to pack your NPS annual pass or consider buying one if you’ll be exploring several NPS sites this year!

⭐️ Pro tip: Pack warm clothes! You will be at 10,023 feet (3,055m) in elevation so it’ll be much cooler than the beach, particularly at sunrise!

Take a guided tour to Haleakalā National Park

Take the stress out of scoring reservations and driving switchbacks in the dark with a tour to Haleakalā. There are several tour options, offering slightly different experiences. Some of the top tours to Haleakalā include:

  • Sunrise and breakfast tour to Haleakalā: 4.5/5
    This highly-rated tour will pick you up from your hotel and take you directly to the summit to watch the sun come up. Here you will have coffee and pastries waiting, before returning to your hotel by late morning. It is a particularly great option if your Maui itinerary is tight, as it frees up the afternoon for beach hopping or whale watching.
  • Guided hike of Haleakala crater with lunch: 4.8/5
    Explore two popular hiking trails and learn about Maui’s heritage with an expert guide.
  • Haleakala and ‘Iao Valley tour: 4.9/5
    Take in the highlights of Upcountry Maui and witness the otherworldly landscape of Haleakala. After taking time to enjoy the national park, you will go on to explore ‘Iao Valley and witness the impressive ʻIao Needle.

🐋 Maui Itinerary Day 6:
Beach Hopping and Whale Watching

A whale tail splashes the water on a whale watching tour in Hawaii.

If you only have enough time for a 5 day Maui itinerary, you will need to pack some beach hopping into one or more previous days. Those with the luxury of time, however, should take a leisurely day at the tail end of the trip to relax and enjoy paradise.

Maui is home to some of the best beaches in the world. For some of you, you came to soak in the aloha vibes. If that is you, find your favorite beach, ask for a drink menu, and let the day pass you by as you mindfully appreciate every calming breath.

Other readers may be more like us with an adventurer’s spirit that gets restless if not active.

Below were our favorite beaches in Maui that were not already included elsewhere in the guide.

Kihei Beaches

A whale calf plays in the water bathed in the golden light of sunset.
A whale calf plays in the water bathed in the golden light of sunset.

The Kihei beaches were some of our favorites when we were looking for something built up that provided some amenities.

In particular, we were absolutely in love with Wailea. From the shore, we watched a mama whale playing with her calf as the sunset. While we cannot promise you’ll have quite the same experience, we can promise you plenty of island vibes.

Any of the three Kamaole Beaches are also lovely places to spend the day with your toes dug into the soft sands’ embrace.

15 Best Beaches in Kihei Maui

Secret Cove Beach (aka Pa’ako Cove)

A stunning sunset seascape at the Instagrammable Secret Cove Beach on Maui.
The most photogenic beach on the island of Maui is Secret Cove Beach.

For the photographers out there, “Secret Cove Beach” is the most photogenic on the island. In fact, it even made the list of the Top 5 beaches for Photographing Hawaii. It is located just south of Big Beach.

Secret Cove Beach derives the name because there is no sign for it, and because it was probably once lesser-known. It is also known as Pa’ako Cove or Makena Cove. While it still receives fewer visitors than other beaches nearby, expect to have company any time of day.

To find it, drive past the Big Beach third entrance a short distance. Keep your eyes on the wall on the ocean side of the street. You will eventually notice a break in the wall which provides easy access to this unsigned cove.

If in doubt, you can always just type Secret Cove Beach into Google Maps. This should give you a bit more insight into how much of a “secret” this cove is not!

Complete Guide to Secret Cove Beach Makena

Makena Beach

Makena Beach, featuring both Little Beach and Big Beach) as seen from the skies.
Makena Beach, featuring both Little Beach and Big Beach as seen from the skies.

Consisting of Little Beach and Big Beach (both of which can be seen in the photo above), Makena Beach is a favorite for locals and tourists alike.

The easier to access is Big Beach and thus sees far more visitors. However, there is a trail leading up and over to the secluded Little Beach as well. Be aware that this is a clothing-optional beach.

Our favorite view of Makena was from the sky. We used a drone to capture the caldera as well as the lush, tropical colors and coral of the Pacific.

Complete Guide to Little Beach Maui

Ka’anapali Beach

Ka'anapali Beach should be on everyone's Maui itinerary, with its soft sand and turquoise waters.

Ka’anapali Beach is consistently on the list of the “Best Beaches in America” and has even won the award in years past. And it’s no surprise. With powdery, white sand and vibrant turquoise waters, it is easily one of the best beaches in Maui.

It is popular with couples and families alike. The soft sand and calm water make it a great place to visit with kids. While its close proximity to some of the best honeymoon hotels in Maui makes it perfect for a romantic getaway.

The north end of Ka’anapali Beach, known as Black Rock Beach is great for snorkeling and is a good place to spot turtles in the water.

Whale Watching / Sunset Sail

A whale tail off the coast of Maui during a vibrant sunset.
Be sure your Maui itinerary includes at least one sunset sail, especially during whale season!

As this is your final night in Maui, it is important that make the most of it. This will be the final opportunity to take home a lasting memory!

In our opinion, the best way to guarantee an evening to remember is with a sunset sail.

Sunset sail on the final day in Maui.
Watching the day come to a beautiful end on the Trilogy Sails sunset cruise.

Maui is considered one of the most romantic destinations in the US, and it doesn’t get much more romantic than a sunset sail! Although, whether you are on a family vacation or a romantic getaway, few experiences will top a sunset sail off the west coast of Maui.

If you are there during whale migration season, which is typically November through April, you may even have the good fortune of spotting a passing humpback or witness the “green flash” as you sit back and enjoy a Hawaiian sunset.

🏖️ FIND MORE INSPIRATION: 101+ Dream Destinations for your Travel Bucket List

🛫 Maui Itinerary Day 7:

A plane departing from Maui in brilliant sunlight.
Saying “aloha” to Maui.

We didn’t want to include any specific recommendations for your final day on Maui since the amount of time you have available is entirely dependent on your time of departure.

Fortunately, OGG Airport is small and near to many of the places we have recommended visiting throughout this travel guide.

Wake up early and watch the sunrise, or sneak in one final trip to your favorite beach. Time permitting, get back into the water to say goodbye to your honu friends! Or, order way too big a breakfast and enjoy that final indulgence before catching your flight.

Oh, and don’t forget to pick up some souvenirs!

Additional Option: Day trip to Lāna‘i

A stunning resort on the shores of Lanai island.

Those with the time and desire should consider a short day trip or even an overnight visit to the neighboring island of Lāna‘i.

It is often referred to as the Pineapple Island as it used to have an island-wide pineapple plantation that produced 75% of the world’s pineapples!

You will be able to see Lāna‘i throughout your time on Maui off in the distance. The island has some very unique points of interest, including two renowned golf courses and some photogenic beaches, but it is not quite the tropical paradise that the other major islands are.

That said, the best reason to visit Lanai is to experience a change of pace from the tourist buzz of Maui.

From Lahaina you can take the ferry to Lanai for $30 each way, tickets are available from Go Lanai website.

Additional Option: Snorkel trip to Molokini Crater

A green turtle or honu seen just under the surface of the water in Hawaii

Go on an underwater adventure and snorkel the extinct volcanic crater of Molokini. Located off the south shore of Maui and rising 300ft (91m) out of the water, Molokini is considered one of the best snorkeling destinations in the world.

As a protected marine reserve, the conditions are pristine and the reef is abundant with marine life. While snorkeling you can spot manta rays, an array of tropical fish, sharks, and turtles that inhabit the coral reef.

There are a variety of different tour companies that offer snorkeling trips to Molokini Crater.

Most tours also include a stop at Turtle Town, a long stretch of coastline in the southern district of Makena. As the name suggests, it is known for its high population of green turtles, or honu as they’re known locally!

Top Rated Molokini Snorkel Tours

Below are a few of the top-rated Molokini snorkel trips.

Each tour will have different start times and slightly different inclusions, so make sure you compare them to find one that’s right for you.

It is also not uncommon for tours to be fully booked during peak season, so it is worth booking in advance.

  • Molokini Crater and South Maui Coast Adventure from Kihei: 5/5
    Get an early start and be one of the first to Molokini Crater. Departing at 7am,  this 5 hour tour includes breakfast and lunch. After snorkeling the crystal clear waters of Molokini, you’ll head to ‘Turtle Town,’ stopping on the way to see some recent lava flows at La Perouse Bay.
  • Molokini and Turtle Town Snorkel Tour with Lunch: 4.5/5 ⭐
    Starting at either 6:30am or 7:30am, this tour last 5-6 hours and takes you to both Molokini and Turtle Town. The tour includes your snorkeling gear, flotation devices, as well as breakfast and lunch. There’s even a slide on the boat for an added bit of fun!
  • Afternoon Snorkel to Coral Gardens or Molokini Crater: 4.4/5
    If you’re not an early riser, or are looking for a shorter time commitment, this afternoon tour strating at 1pm may suit you better! This tour lasts 3 hours and will take you either to Coral Gardens or Molokini Crater, depending on sea and weather conditions on the day of your tour. Snorkel equipment is included, however, lunch is an optional extra for this tour.

🚗 Getting Around Maui – Best Options

Girl standing behind a van amidst a row of palm trees in Maui.
You will need a vehicle to get around the island of Maui.

The best way to explore Maui is by renting a car. While the island is not very large, public transportation options are limited and time is too precious to spend waiting around for buses.

Beyond this, there is a lot of beauty to discover roadside. You will find nearly all of the island to be accessible with a standard 2WD vehicle and the roads are well-maintained.

However, some of them, specifically the popular and scenic Road to Hana, can be quite narrow in places. Keep this in mind if you are not comfortable with oversized vehicles.

To that end, many of you may be considering exploring Maui by campervan. While this is certainly a fun option, be forewarned that it is quite difficult in 2023. The island has become increasingly strict with overnight camping laws and enforcement.

🛖 Where to Stay in Maui

The most important decision you will make when planning your Maui itinerary is deciding where you will stay. Keep in mind that the island is very small. The entire drive from the two most distant towns (Kapalua Bay to Hana) is only a 2 hour 45 minute (81 miles) drive!

Beach resort near Kihei with a couple walking through.
There are numerous resorts in Kihei that provide central locations and stunning beaches.

This means that you have the option to book only one hotel for your entire time in Maui. With that said, you may still wish to arrange stays in multiple cities in order to minimize drive times and to experience a few different places.

The majority of the hotels in Maui can be found in West and South Maui. With luxury beach resorts stretching along its shore and the historic town of Lahaina, West Maui has some compelling reasons to stay in that area.

However, if you plan on doing a lot of exploring, South Maui is more centrally located and the bustling town of Kihei offers a wealth of spectacular beach resorts.

We recommend opening up our Where to Stay on Maui guide for a complete breakdown of the best regions and accommodation. We have also broken down considerations for your itinerary below.

Keeping your definition of an ideal 5 to 7 day Maui itinerary in mind, we would recommend one of the following options based on your personal preferences:

Option 1 – Book (up to) One Week in Kihei

Wailea Beach is a great place to stay in Kihei for a week in Maui.
Wailea Beach is a great place to stay in Kihei.

The first and best option for most is to book your entire 5 to 7 night stay near the more centrally located and beautiful beach town of Kihei in South Maui.

The benefit of this option is that you spend less time packing and unpacking each day. On the flip-side, this means that each day trip requires a return drive back to your home base. This removes the ability to save time and gas by exploring the island in a loop while staying nearby to that day’s destination.

Andaz Resort Maui is a great place to stay in the area

For those who prefer staying in one location, we recommend staying near Kihei. As well as being centrally located, Kihei offers a wide range of accommodation and the town is filled with restaurants and shops. It is also the sunniest, driest part of the island!

You can check the current availability and prices for Kihei accommodation here.

Another consideration would be booking accommodation in Ka’anapali, West Maui. However, as previously mentioned, this will increase your drive time and distances from many of the destinations you will want to explore.

Option 2 – Book Nights in Multiple Cities

Your other option is to stay more mobile and consider several shorter stays in Ka’anapali, Kihei, Hana, and perhaps even a night on the island of Lāna‘i.

This option allows you to experience multiple resorts or accommodations while spending less time in the car as you never need to backtrack. However, this also means you are losing more time dealing with check-ins, packing, etc.

There is no “best way,” only the best way for you!

🎒 Packing for a week in Maui

Snorkel is packed for a week in Maui

We have created this complete guide to packing for Hawaii with downloadable and printable checklists, as well as 25 inventive and helpful items to improve your time on the islands.

If you just want the essentials, here are some things that you will want to consider taking with you to Maui:

  • Camera: Maui is a stunning place and you’ll want to capture many moments. We use the Sony a7riii and love it. However, beginners may wish to consider an entry level DSLR to start with.
  • Waterproof camera: With incredible snorkeling and waterfalls to explore you may find yourself taking more photos from underwater than on the land! We recommend either the GoPro or Olympus TG6, both of which we use.
  • Reef-safe sunscreen: Hawaii is the first state to require the use of reef-safe sunscreen. We use Stream 2 Sea sunscreen as it’s reef-safe and most of their bottles are made from sugarcane resin rather than plastic.
  • Beach towel: You will want to take a towel with you for use at the beach. We always have a travel towel with us as they are small, dry quickly and don’t collect sand.
  • Hiking shoes: Maui has some incredible hikes! Hiking sandals are the ideal choice as they keep your feet cool and can also be worn in the water.
  • Reusable water bottle: We don’t travel anywhere without a reusable water bottle. Remain hydrated without wasting single-use plastic bottles! Most restaurants and hotels will refill bottles for you.
  • Snorkel gear: If you’re planning on doing a lot of snorkelling while in Hawaii, it may work out cheaper and easier to bring your own snorkel and mask and fins than renting them each day. You can also buy these items as a snorkel set which works out cheaper still.
  • Mini first aid kit: Whether out hiking or just on the beach, we always have a mini first aid kit in our bag just in case.
  • NPS Annual Pass: If you’re planning to visit Haleakala National Park without a tour then it is worth packing your NPS annual pass to save paying the entry fee.

🐠 More Maui & Hawaii Travel Guides

A classic Maui sunset framed by palm trees.
Discover the best places to end the day with our Top 10 Destinations for Maui Sunsets Guide.

The two of us work very hard to create these free travel guides to help you plan your dream vacation. If you think we’ve done a good job and would like to say thanks, please consider clicking the donate button below 🙂

If you found our guide useful in planning your itinerary for Maui, you might also enjoy our other Maui guides:

Other Hawaii Travel Guides

Additionally, we have a variety of resources for many of the other Hawaiian Islands for those of you looking to do some island hopping:

🧐 5 – 7 Days in Maui Itinerary FAQs

Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions when planning a trip to Maui and creating an itinerary.

Drone photo of Makena Beach in Maui
How many days do you need in Maui? Is 7 Days enough?

5 days is enough time to explore Maui at a rapid pace, but 7 days is the perfect amount of time. The entire island is small with the tip of the north shore to the farthest point south less than 3 hours apart. If you follow a well-planned itinerary, you will be able to see it all in this short amount of time.

Is 10 Days in Maui too much?

You do not need 10 days in Maui to see all of the island, though you may enjoy the extra time if you prefer to travel slowly. Alternatively, you may want to consider splitting your time between two islands with 5 days at each to experience more of Hawaii.

How do you see Maui in 7 days?

Day 1: Arrive and explore near your hotel.
Day 2: Visit Olowalu and Lahaina.
Day 3: Hike and drive West Maui and attend a luau.
Day 4: Drive the Road to Hana.
Day 5: Explore Haleakala National Park.
Day 6: Go beach hopping along the west coast near Kihei.
Day 7: Check out and depart.

Do you need a car in Maui?

There are public shuttles and buses available, but driving is absolutely the best way to explore Maui, particularly for a short vacation. Public transportation will not go to many of the best places on the island and is time-restrictive. Travelers should rent a car if at all possible.

How long does it take to drive around Maui?

Were you to simply do a full loop around the island, the total drive time would be about 9 hours without stops. To drive the most direct route from the northern-most point to the southern-most takes about 3 hours.

✈️ Traveling to Hawaii in 2023

Turquoise waters and white sand beach surrounded by black lava rock as sen by airplane when traveling to Hawaii
The Big Island adventure begins before you even land!

Hawai‘i is welcoming travelers again! There are no longer any Covid-19 requirements nor mask mandates in place for the flights or on the islands themselves.

However, there are some pre-travel requirements for international travelers visiting Hawai‘i.

Domestic Travel to Hawaii

There are no current domestic restrictions for domestic flights to Hawaii. Additionally, the REAL ID enforcement date has been pushed back to May 7, 2025 due to the recent pandemic.

International Travel to Hawaii

For those traveling from international destinations with direct flights to Hawaii, you will only need to follow federal international requirements. There are no additional State of Hawai‘i requirements.

There are no longer any negative Covid testing requirements for international arrivals to the US. However, all international visitors to the USA must show proof of being fully vaccinated.
(Information accurate as of March 24, 2023.)

Requirements are constantly changing so ensure you check the CDC website or with your airline for current guidelines.

💬 Our Maui Itinerary Final Thoughts

Magical sunset from Kihei Beach on Maui.
Another magical sunset from Kihei.

We hope you have found success from our Maui guide in creating and planning your perfect 5 to 7 day itinerary.

We have visited all of the Hawaiian Islands and found ourselves taking more photos on Maui than anywhere else.

The two of us work very hard to create these free travel guides to help you plan your dream vacation. If you think we’ve done a good job and would like to say thanks, please consider clicking the donate button below 🙂

The blessed among you will not be saying farewell to Hawaii, but simply hopping on a short flight to another island. If this includes you, be sure to check out our other Hawaii travel guides in the section above.

See something we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

📌 Enjoyed our Maui Itinerary Guide? Pin it! 🙂

11 thoughts on “5-7 Day Maui Itinerary for 2023: Secret Beaches, Turtles, & More”

  1. I was in Maui this year on my honeymoon and reading through your post brings back wonderful memories! We stayed in West Maui and haven’t been to Kihei yet, so this definitely inspires another trip to Maui. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I’m really looking forward to our trip back! There are still some great spots on the island, which I haven’t had a chance yet to explore. Your blog post was very helpful in learning more before coming over again and checking them all out firsthand 😉

  3. This is an excellent resource! I have been to Maui many times but first trip since Covid started and bringing a friend. You hi lighted and organized everything perfectly for us. Thank you 😍


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