Skip to main content

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii and wondering how to spend 5 days on Maui, you’ve come to the right place!

For fist time visitors, this epic five day Maui itinerary will take you through all of the bucket-list worthy activities around the island, ensuring you don’t miss a single highlight.

From chasing waterfalls on the Road to Hana to swimming with sea turtles and watching the sunset on Haleakala, this 5 day Maui itinerary will show you the very best of the island.

I was lucky enough to spend a month staying with family on my last visit to Maui. During that month I was able to tick off all of the must-see attractions in order to create the perfect Maui guide for you!

Whether you’re planning to spend five days or one week on the island, this detailed Maui itinerary is the ideal guideline to help you plan your time effectively. You can either follow it to a T or simply take inspiration from this guide when crafting your very own Maui itinerary.

If you have more time to spend on Maui, I’ve included some additional Maui activities at the end of this post that might interest you.

The Ultimate Five Day Maui Itinerary

A classic Hawaiian Beach scene – Keawakapu Beach, Maui

The Ultimate 5 Day Maui Itinerary – How to Spend The Best 5 Days on Maui

Where to Stay on Maui

Finding your perfect Maui accommodation may be the most important factor of the entire trip. This all comes down to two things: your budget and how you want to spend your time on the island.

Do you want to relax in the comfort of a luxury resort with a nice pool and restaurant on-site? Would you prefer to have an apartment with a full kitchen so you can prepare meals yourself? Or are you seeking a family friendly resort in Maui?

With a huge range of accommodation choices, all of these options are possible on Maui!

South Maui

South Maui has the best weather on the island which makes it awesome for soaking up the sun on the beach.

The only downside is that it’s far away from major Maui attractions like Haleakala, the Road to Hana or Maui Upcountry. This makes for a long drive every time you want to go out for the day.

Wailea – If you want the full resort experience with beautiful swimming pools, golf courses with a view and all the amenities, look no further than Wailea. This part of South Maui is home to a collection of gorgeous 5-star resorts right on the beach. 

➡Browse more luxury hotels and resorts in Wailea⬅

Four Seasons Resort - Maui

Postcard-worthy views at the Four Seasons Maui

Kihei – For those seeking a laidback option near the beach, Kihei offers many condo rentals and affordable hotels. This is ideal if you’re going to be spending the majority of your time at the beach or taking day trips around the island.

There are plenty of supermarkets, shops and restaurants in Kihei which are easily accessible by foot from your hotel/condo. It’s only a 20 minute drive to Costco, Walmart, Whole Foods and other big name stores.

➡Browse more hotels or apartments in Kihei⬅

West Maui

West Maui is a popular and bustling location to base yourself on the island. With fabulous beaches, great shopping opportunities and loads of beachfront restaurants, you can’t go wrong by choosing to stay in Lahaina or Kaanapali.

The downside to West Maui is that it can get quite busy, especially during high season. If you’re not a fan of crowds filling up the streets, then you’d be better suited in Kihei or Wailea.

Lahaina & Kaanapali – The historic whaling village of Lahaina has a lively atmosphere with busy streets, popular restaurants and easy access to whale watching and snorkeling boat trips.

The resort community of Kaanapali is a 10 minute drive up the road from Lahaina and offers a wide variety of great accommodation choices.  Ranging from budget friendly motels to fancy beachfront resorts, you’re guaranteed to find what you’re looking for in West Maui.

➡Browse more accommodation options in West Maui⬅

Swimming Pool, Maui, Resort, Wailea Upcountry

Staying in this part of the island is a less popular option but it puts you closer to Haleakala and the Road to Hana, significantly cutting down your driving time to both attractions.

You may choose to stay in this area for a night or two to make sightseeing on this part of the island more convenient. For those looking to get off the beaten path in Maui, you’ll find some unique accommodation choices.

Paia & Kula – Set along the slopes of Haleakala, you’ll get a spectacular view over west and south Maui from Kula. Staying in the small town of Paia will allow easy access to the less touristy north shore beaches and give you a head start to driving the Road to Hana.

East Maui

East Maui receives a lot more rain than other parts the island. Aside from exploring the Road to Hana, there really isn’t much more to do here. It’s also a very long drive to get anywhere else on the island which means most people choose to stay in East Maui for only a few nights.

Hana – Break up your drive on the Road to Hana by spending one night at a hotel/apartment in Hana.

➡Find more Maui hotels on⬅

Red Sand Beach is a popular Road to Hana stop

The spectacular Red Sand Beach near the town of Hana

Where to Rent a Car on Maui

If you’re planning to follow this Maui itinerary pretty closely, renting a car is the only option (unless you plan to book individual tours/day trips). Maui is a big island and the main attractions are quite spread out.

Want to drive the Road to Hana or watch the sunset on Haleakala? These are two essential Maui activities where public transportation isn’t an option. Trust me, you’ll have way more freedom and convenience by having a car during your 5 days in Maui.

When it comes to renting a car on Maui, the best place to do so is on arrival at the Kahului Airport. Check out this website to browse car rental options and book your rental car online before you arrive.

**Tip** If you’re renting a car, the cheapest places to buy gas on Maui is at Costco or Safeway. Save yourself some money by fuelling up at either gas station before driving the Road to Hana or making your way to the summit of Haleakala.

►Find prices and availability for your car rental on Maui◄

Black Sand Beach Cave

Peeking through a sea cave at Black Sand Beach

Best Travel Insurance for Hawaii

If you’re visiting Maui from overseas, then you’ll need to get travel insurance before you go.

Travelling to any country without insurance is not worth the risk. The reality of travelling overseas is that unexpected things can happen at anytime so the best thing you can do is be prepared.

For peace of mind while abroad, Heymondo is one of the most reputable travel insurance companies that will provide you with simple and flexible coverage. Whether you are into adventurous activities or simply looking for trip cancellation and medical insurance, Heymondo has you covered.

As a reader of The Road Is Life, you get 5% off your Heymondo travel insurance by using the link below!

►Get 5% off your Heymondo travel insurance◄

Maui Rainbow - Five Days in Maui

A beautiful rainbow on the Lahaina Pali Trail

Best Time of Year to Visit Maui

While Maui is a great holiday destination with warm temperatures year-round, you may want to plan your trip according to the following seasons.

October – April (Winter): If you’re looking to escape the freezing cold winter on the mainland (like most people) then this is a great time to visit Maui. The island sees more rain during this time of year however the weather changes quickly and rain showers usually don’t last longer than an hour.

There is a chance that you might get unlucky with storms lasting several days to a whole week. This is unfortunately down to luck and there is no way to predict what the weather will be like when you visit Maui during the winter months.

Since Maui has a tropical climate, the temperatures during winter hover between 20 – 30°C (mid 70’s – low 80’s °F). When I spent a month on Maui from the end of January to the end of February, it rained a fair amount but I also had plenty of warm and sunny beach days.

May – September (Summer): The summer months are also a great time of year to visit Maui with less rain, warm temperatures and ideal sightseeing weather. This time of year coincides with summer vacation making it a popular time for family holidays when the kids are off school.

April/May or September/October (Low Season): For lower accommodation prices and less crowds “low season” or spring/fall is the perfect time to plan your 5 days on Maui if you’re on a budget.

December – April (Whale watching season): This is the best time to spot humpback whales as they migrate down from Alaska to the warm waters of Hawaii to breed. Book a whale watching tour anytime during these months to see them breaching and playing at the ocean’s surface.

Palauea Beach Sunset, Maui

Enjoying a beautiful sunset at Palauea Beach

What to Pack for 5 Days on Maui

Here is a general packing list for some of the important must-haves when visiting Maui. If you forget to pack something, don’t worry. Maui has all the usual shops like Walmart, Costco, Target etc. so you’ll be able to find everything you need on the island.

For a more detailed list you can find my complete Maui packing guide here.

Day pack – When taking day trips or doing any hikes, you’ll need a good backpack to fit your essentials in.

Reef safe sunscreen – This is something you’ll need for any ocean related activities (swimming, snorkeling, surfing etc). The chemicals from regular sunscreen wash off your skin in the water which can harm marine life. As of October 1, 2022, the County of Maui has banned the use of non-mineral sunscreen in order to protect the coral reefs and the sea animals who inhabit them.

Aloe Vera Gel – If your skin hasn’t seen the sun for a while you may be prone to getting sun burnt, always have some aloe on hand just in case!

Waterproof phone caseI ordered this waterproof phone case from Amazon and was so glad to have it on the whale watching tour and snorkeling day trip. This is especially good for the small-raft boat tour as you’ll be sitting low and will likely get splashed a few times by waves.

Fast drying beach towelMost hotels will give you beach towels but I love my microfibre towel which dries super quickly and keeps the sand off easily. It is compact (easy to fit in your luggage) and perfect for day trips, think waterfall hopping on the Road to Hana or snorkeling boat tours.

Rain jacket – Rain is unpredictable on Maui and sometimes the weather is completely different from one side of the island to the other! It may be sunny when you depart from Kihei in the morning only to find storms and rain in Hana by the afternoon. Always come prepared with a rain jacket in your day pack.

Warm jacket Bringing a warm jacket to Hawaii may seem strange until you’re standing at the top of Haleakala volcano and it’s freezing cold! Trust me, it is 100% necessary if you’re planning to watch the sunrise or sunset up there. Due to the high altitude, the temperature is always significantly lower than the rest of the island.

Haleakala Crater before sunset

A warm jacket came in very handy during my sunset trip to the summit of Haleakala

Flip flops  You’ll be living in these on your trip to Maui so be sure to bring your comfiest pair. Or just buy some new ones when you get there!

Hiking bootsIf you’re thinking of doing any hiking on Maui, whether it be on Haleakala or the Road to Hana, don’t forget to bring a pair of sturdy hiking boots.

Collapsible water bottleA must-have for day trips or hiking excursions.

Sunglasses Pack a pair of polarized sunglasses to keep your eyes protected from the harsh UV rays.

Sun hat – Protect your head from the sun while looking cute at the same time with one of these foldable sun hats.

Beach bag Your 5 day Maui itinerary is likely to include plenty of beach time, don’t forget to bring a beach bag.

Camera – You’ll need a good camera (or phone camera) to capture all of the magical moments and memories that your 5 days on Maui will bring!

Portable phone charger – Always keep one of these handy in your bag when you’re on the go.

Mask & snorkel – If you book a snorkeling tour, this will be provided. If you’re planning to spend a lot of time snorkeling from the beach, having your own set is a must.

Motion sickness tablets – For those who are easily affected by rough waves on boat excursions or winding roads (Road to Hana/Haleakala Highway), you’ll need to have this on hand.

Sweeping coastal views on the Road to Hana, Maui

Sweeping coastal views on the back Road to Hana

5 Days in Maui Itinerary – Overview

Day 1 – Plan to do a half-day snorkeling boat trip to Molokini Crater and Turtle Town.

Day 2 – Spend a relaxed morning at a beach of your choice followed by a sunset mission to the summit of Haleakala.

Day 3 – Start the morning with a whale watching boat cruise that departs from Lahaina Harbor followed by some sightseeing and shopping in the town of Lahaina. Have lunch and then hit the beach for the afternoon. Finish off the day with a delicious feast at a traditional Hawaiian Luau.

Day 4 – Wake up early to spend the full day exploring the highlights of the Road to Hana. You can either do the drive yourself or book an organized Road to Hana day trip which includes hotel pick up/drop off.

Day 5 – Spend the day visiting the attractions around Maui’s Upcountry such as MauiWine, Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm, Paia, and Ho’okipa Beach. Enjoy an amazing final dinner at the iconic Mama’s Fish House or Paia Fish Market.

The Ultimate Five Day Maui Itinerary

Nothing beats a Maui beach sunset!

Five Day Maui Itinerary

Day One – Molokini Snorkeling & Turtle Town Boat Trip

Every Maui itinerary must include some snorkeling time as this is easily the most popular activity on the island. Maui is known for incredible snorkeling conditions and you don’t have to go far to find great spots.

There are many locations around the island where you can hop in the water off the beach to be surrounded by colourful fish and sea turtles.

One of the very best and most popular snorkeling spots in Maui is located off the south coast of the island. Molokini is a crescent shaped volcanic crater brimming with unique marine life and stunning coral formations.

Molokini Crater is known world-wide for its pristine visibility and outstanding snorkeling conditions.

Since it’s not possible to reach Molokini Crater independently (unless you own a private boat), you’ll have to book yourself onto a snorkeling day trip. Luckily there are many tours to choose from, most of them include snorkeling equipment, breakfast, lunch and drinks throughout the day.

In addition to snorkeling at Molokini Crater, the tours usually make a stop at Turtle Town. This is a series of underwater volcanic formations where you’ll find an abundance of Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. See below for my top snorkeling tour recommendation.

An aerial view of Molokini Crater, Maui

Molokini Crater from above

Half-Day Molokini Crater and Turtle Town Snorkeling Boat Trip

Duration: 5 hours

Meeting Point: Maalaea Harbor

Included: Mask & snorkel, breakfast, lunch, drinks, catamaran trip to Molokini and Turtle Town, experienced tour guide.

This popular Molokini boat tour departs in the morning from Maalaea Harbor and takes you to the best snorkeling spot at the famous crater via catamaran.

Afterwards, you’ll head over to Turtle Town for the unforgettable experience of swimming with sea turtles! Throughout the day, you’ll be given breakfast, lunch and drinks (including alcoholic if desired) on board the boat.

Whether you are a beginner or seasoned snorkeler, this tour is suitable for all levels. If this is your first time and you’re a little nervous, no worries, your guide will provide instructions and ensure you’re comfortable at all times.

If you book this tour during whale migration season, there is a good chance you’ll catch a glimpse of humpback whales which is an awesome bonus!

➡Find prices and availability for the Molokini & Turtle Town Snorkeling Day Trip⬅

Snorkeling at Turtle Town, Maui

Swim alongside sea turtles at Turtle Town

Day Two – Beach Day + Sunset on Haleakala

Spend the Morning at the Beach 

Plan to spend a relaxed morning at the beach before making the journey to the summit of Haleakala to watch the sunset. Maui has no shortage of stunning beaches and it’s likely that you’ll have a gorgeous beach within walking distance from your hotel.

Depending on what you want out of your beach day, there’s a beach to suit everyone on Maui. See below for some of the island’s best beaches and what makes them so great. So grab your beach bag, a mask and snorkel and enjoy what Maui is known best for!

Kama’ole Beaches – If you’re staying in Kihei, the three Kamaole Beaches are conveniently located in front of a collection of hotels and condos. These beaches are beautiful and perfect for relaxing and swimming. If you want to snorkel, stick to the rocky outcrops for the best conditions.

Wailea Beach – This pristine stretch of powdery golden sand makes a great place to spend a relaxed few hours of swimming and enjoying the scenery. It’s a popular beach for families and those staying within the Wailea resort area.

Keawakapu Beach – You’ll find this lovely beach located right in between Kihei and Wailea. With golden sands, a pretty row of palm trees and a green space to sit on (for those who don’t want to be on the sand), this family friendly beach is an idyllic spot to spend a morning.

I really liked this beach and found myself returning here several times during my stay on Maui.

Keawakapu Beach, 5 Days in Maui Itinerary

Enjoying a beach day at Keawakapu Beach

Palauea Beach – A small and un-crowded beach just south of Wailea. This quiet beach is very picturesque with white sand, turquoise water and a great view of the West Maui mountains in the background.

Maluaka Beach – If you’re looking to get your snorkel on, head over to this gem which is located in Makena, just south of Wailea. This beach is known as a great snorkeling spot with a high chance of swimming with sea turtles!

Kaanapali Beach – If you’re staying in Lahaina or Kaanapali, you’ll have easy access to the gorgeous Kaanapali Beach which has been referred to as one of America’s best beaches. Aside from being another beautiful Maui beach, there are many activities on offer such as swimming, snorkeling, cliff jumping, paddle boarding, parasailing and even golfing at the nearby golf course.

Baby Beach, Lahaina – This calm, sheltered lagoon with crystal clear water is the perfect beach for families. With a reef protecting the shore from large waves, Baby Beach is ideal for young children and those who are learning to snorkel for the first time.

Palauea Beach, Maui Instagram Spots

Stunning scenery at Palauea Beach

Watch the Sunset on Haleakala

Watching the sun rise or set from the summit of Haleakala volcano is pretty high on most people’s Maui bucket list. And rightfully so, it’s one of the most magical and unique experiences that the island has to offer.

On my last trip to Maui, I opted to go for the sunset and it did not disappoint. There are several reasons why I would recommend watching the sunset on Haleakala instead of the sunrise.

Watching the sunrise has become so popular over the years that you are now required to reserve a permit in advance. When it’s busy, these permits are often sold out, making it hard to find the desired date that fits perfectly into your five day Maui itinerary.

You do not have to book a reservation to watch the sunset. This makes it easy to plan your trip to the summit according to the weather.

With many sunrise tours available, you’ll be sharing the sunrise with plenty of other people and tour groups. The sunset is just as beautiful and more peaceful with fewer crowds.

Watching the sunrise also requires waking up in the early hours of the morning (around 3am). This is less than ideal when you’re on holiday. Instead, you can sleep in and hit the beach before making your way to the volcano’s summit for sunset.

With no reservation required, less crowds and no early wakeup call, it goes without saying that watching the sunset is a great choice.

Haleakala Observatory with sunset clouds in the background

Haleakala Observatory with a beautiful sunset glow

Tips for Watching a Haleakala Sunset

Bring warm clothes – Be sure to pack warm clothing (lots of layers and a warm jacket). The summit of Haleakala sits at an elevation of 10,023 ft which means that it is always much cooler than the rest of the island.

At this altitude, the weather varies and changes quickly. It might be sunny one minute followed by thick clouds and rain the next. The summit is pretty much always cold and windy, especially during sunrise and sunset hours.

Pack some snacks – There are no shops selling food in Haleakala National Park so if you want some snacks or drinks to accompany the sunset, be sure to throw some in your bag before you go.

Get there early – The landscapes and views at the summit of Haleakala are quite dramatic; where else can you walk above the clouds and descend into a volcano’s crater?! Be sure to time your visit to the summit an hour or two before the sun actually sets.

This will allow you to explore the area, check out the visitor center and take a short walk into the crater before settling in. It’s also a good idea to arrive early so you can secure a parking spot before they fill up right before sunset.

Check the sunset time – As the sunset time changes throughout the year, visit the national park website to check the current sunset time before you venture out.

Gas – Fill up your car before beginning the long drive to the volcano’s summit as there are no gas stations in the national park. The cheapest place to buy gas on Maui is at Costco or Safeway and the last stop for gas before entering the park is in Pukalani.

Park entry fee – Although you don’t need to make a reservation for sunset, you are still required to pay the $30 fee to enter the national park by car ($25 per motorcycle and $15 per pedestrian). You can either do this online before you go or at the park’s entrance gate by credit card only.

Haleakala Crater, Maui - Hawaii

View from the crater lookout just before sunset

Best Haleakala Sunset Tour

Enjoy a hassle-free sunset viewing experience by booking yourself on to a fully organised tour. Get picked up from your hotel by coach before beginning the scenic journey to the summit of Haleakala.

This tour is ideal for those without a rental car or those who simply prefer to leave the planning to the professionals and have a relaxed sunset experience. The tour includes a local guide, transportation to and from the volcano’s summit, and entry into the national park.

➡View prices and availability for the Haleakala sunset tour here⬅

A beautiful Haleakala summit sunset

Watching the sunset on Haleakala’s summit was a real bucket list moment

Day Three – Whale Watching + Lahaina + Beach Time + Sunset Luau

Day three of your Maui itinerary will have you exploring the west part of the island. Plan to spend an entire action-packed day in this area ticking off several major Maui highlights.

Begin your morning with a whale watching boat cruise followed by some casual sightseeing around Lahaina. Stop for lunch in town and then hit the beach for a few laidback hours of sand and sun.

Finish off the day with a memorable feast and festivities at a traditional Hawaiian luau!

Whale Watching Boat Trip

Whale watching is one of those absolute must-do activities when visiting Maui. Getting up close to humpback whales is an incredible experience that should be a priority on everyone’s Maui itinerary.

Every year from December to April, thousands of humpback whales migrate to the tropical waters of Hawaii from Alaska in order to breed. This is when you can see them breaching and frolicking in the ocean, just off of Maui’s coast.

When you book a whale watching tour during this time of year, you’re pretty much guaranteed to spot at least a few whales. If for some reason you don’t, the tour operators will usually offer you another tour at no additional cost.

Whale watching in Lahaina, Maui

We got very lucky with many whale sightings on the small raft tour!

I really enjoyed the small-group raft tour which allows you to see the whales at eye-level, giving you the ultimate whale watching experience. The tour guides were very knowledgeable, explaining every detail about the whale’s breeding behaviour and migration journey.

The real bonus was seeing tons of humpback whales playing, breaching and tail slapping! I did the tour in February and we saw so many whales, we actually lost count.

Planning your trip to Maui outside of whale watching season? Booking a dolphin cruise is a great alternative! Unlike the humpback whales, dolphins can be seen year round in Hawaii.

Check out this popular dolphin watching cruise that leaves from Lahaina Harbor and takes you to the nearby island of Lanai. The tour also includes snorkeling time, breakfast and a grilled BBQ lunch.

2-Hour Whale Watching Eco Raft Tour – Departing from the Lahaina Harbor, this small group eco-raft tour provides a more intimate whale watching experience that you won’t get on larger boats. With several time slots available throughout the day, you can choose a time that suits you best.

I would highly recommend booking a morning tour so that you can spend the rest of the day sightseeing in Lahaina and chilling on the beach. This whale watching tour was one of the main highlights of my last trip to Maui and I really can’t recommend it enough!

➡Find prices and book the eco-raft whale watching tour online!⬅

Book a whale watching tour on your five day Maui itinerary

Enjoy the thrill of watching whales breach right before your eyes!

Lahaina Town

After your morning whale watching adventure you’ll be conveniently dropped off back at the Lahaina Harbor. From here, you can enjoy some time exploring the historic whaling village and checking out a few of the highlights.

Full of history and character, the charming town of Lahaina is a tourist hotspot full of great restaurants, shops, art galleries and heritage buildings.

One of the top attractions is the famous Banyan Tree which can be found taking up an entire city block in Lahaina! This ancient tree is the oldest living banyan tree on Maui dating back to 1873.

Lahaina Banyan Tree

Lahaina Banyan Tree

The tree is truly impressive, with 16 separate trunks all connected to the same tree. It’s definitely one of the most unique photography spots on Maui!

If you’re looking for a place to stop for lunch, you won’t have to go far. As you wander along Front Street, you’ll have an endless choice of restaurants to pick from ranging from cheap eats to higher end.

I ate lunch at Down the Hatch which has some nice seafood options for good prices. Captain Jack’s Island Grill and The Lahaina Fish Co. are popular and highly rated restaurants where you can’t go wrong for lunch.

Lahaina Harbor, Maui

Lovely scenery at Lahaina Harbor

Baby Beach

Once you’ve finished strolling through the pretty streets of Lahaina, make your way to the nearby Baby Beach. This beach is really picturesque and a nice spot to kick back in the sand and soak up the sun for a few hours.

With crystal clear, calm water, it’s a lovely swimming spot and a place where sea turtles can often be spotted. For those traveling with kids, as the name suggests, Baby Beach really is an ideal family friendly beach.

Don’t forget your mask and snorkel here, there’s loads of fish to be seen in the shallow lagoon. If you’re new to snorkeling or letting the kids try it for the first time, this is the spot for it!

Baby Beach, Maui

Baby Beach, Lahaina

Traditional Luau

Immerse yourself in true Hawaiian culture by attending an authentic luau on the beach at sunset. This is an excellent way to finish another awesome day on Maui and provides a traditional experience you’ll never forget.

Upon arrival at the luau, you’ll be greeted with a lei before diving into the epic all-you-can-eat Hawaiian BBQ buffet. Marvel at the Polynesian dancers and fire twirlers as the sun lights up the sky and sinks below the horizon.

You can expect an exciting evening full of delicious food, exotic performances and Hawaiian traditions all while watching a magical sunset by the beach.

A 10 minute drive north from the town center of Lahaina will bring you to the location of this oceanfront luau in Kaanapali. Being one of the top luau’s in Maui, it’s best to reserve your tickets online ahead of time.

➡Find prices and availability for the Kaanapali Sunset Luau here⬅

Traditional fire twirlers at a Hawaiian Luau - Maui Itinerary

Feast with a fantastic performance at the sunset luau

Day Four – Road to Hana

The Road to Hana is likely to be a stand-out highlight of your 5 day Maui itinerary. With infinite waterfalls and spectacular coastal scenery around every corner, there is a reason it’s one of the most iconic drives in the country!

To do the Road to Hana properly, I would highly recommend driving the entire loop and spreading it out over two days. There are way too many amazing Road to Hana stops to possibly fit everything into a single day trip.

However, I know that holiday time is limited and if you only have 5 days on Maui, then it’s better to do it in a day trip rather than miss out on this bucket-list drive altogether!

Honomanu Bay, Road to Hana, Maui

Take in the amazing views along the Road to Hana

To plan an epic one day Road to Hana self-drive itinerary, see below for my recommended stops. Make sure to read my complete Road to Hana guide to help plan your day and find a detailed explanation of each stop listed below.

If you’d prefer to stay on holiday mode and let someone else do all the driving, book a fully organized Road to Hana day trip. See below for the best small-group day tour and be sure to book in advance because it may sell out during high season.

If you’re driving independently, you should download this app for a self-guided audio tour of the Road to Hana!

Upper Waikani Falls, Road to Hana

Upper Waikani Falls, Road to Hana

Road to Hana Driving Tips

Leave early – This will be a very long day of driving and exploring, it’s important to leave as early as possible (aim for 7am) to ensure you fit everything in without feeling rushed.

Gas – Make sure to fill up your car before beginning this drive, just like the drive up to Haleakala, there are no gas stations along the Road to Hana. The last chance to buy gas before beginning the drive is in the town of Paia. Be sure to fill up at Costco or Safeway to save money on gas before hitting the road.

Don’t rush it – Driving the Road to Hana is all about admiring the amazing scenery along the way, there’s really no need to be in a hurry. The road is extremely twisty and windy which means extra caution should be taken as you make your way around many sharp bends and single-lane bridges.

Only park in designated areas – You’ll notice there is a serious lack of space to pull over throughout this drive, especially near beautiful viewpoints and waterfalls.

Instead of immediately stopping as soon as you see something nice, continue driving until you find adequate space to park the car and then walk back to the waterfall or viewpoint.

This happens a lot on the Road to Hana, don’t be one of those people who stops on a single lane bridge.

Don’t overtake cars – It may seem obvious but I was actually surprised at the amount of people I saw trying to overtake cars on blind corners. The road is narrow and winding for the entire journey, overtaking is not permitted or safe at any point in the drive.

Black Sand Beach, Waiʻānapanapa State Park

Stunning coastal views in Waiʻānapanapa State Park

**Important tip for visiting Black Sand Beach** Due to the rise in popularity of the Black Sand Beach in Wai’anapanapa State Park, it is now required to book a reserved timeslot to enter the park in advance.

You can easily book this online but it’s important to note that you cannot book it on the day you plan to visit.

You must book your timeslot anytime before the day of visiting otherwise you will be turned away at the gate. Book your entry to Wai’anapanapa State Park online at the official state park website.

Entry Ticket: $5 per person

Parking Permit: $10 per vehicle

Opening Hours: 7am – 6pm daily, choose an available time slot between these hours when buying your permit online.

Driving the Road to Hana is a must on every Maui itinerary

The upper waterfall at Twin Falls, Road to Hana

Best Stops for One Day on The Road to Hana

  1. Twin Falls
  2. Huelo Lookout
  3. Rainbow Eucalyptus Forest
  4. Maui Garden of Eden Arboretum (optional)
  5. Honomanu Bay Lookout
  6. Keʻanae Arboretum (a free alternative to Maui Garden of Eden)
  7. Ke’anae Peninsula
  8. Halfway to Hana Stand
  9. Wailua Valley State Wayside Lookout
  10. Upper Waikani Falls
  11. Pua’a Ka’a Falls
  12. Hanawi Falls
  13. Makapipi Falls
  14. Hana Lava Tube (optional)
  15. Black Sand Beach, Waiʻānapanapa State Park
  16. Red Sand Beach (optional)
  17. Hana Food Trucks

Click the top right corner of the map below to expand it and view the exact location of each stop.

Black Sand Beach - Maui

Magical landscapes of Black Sand Beach, Waiʻānapanapa State Park

Organized Road to Hana Day Tour

Duration: 10 hours

Included: Hotel pick up/drop off from major Maui hotels/condos, fresh fruit and tropical pastry breakfast, traditional Hawaiian BBQ lunch, light snacks throughout the day, all-day drinks service, experienced local guide.

Enjoy the stress-free experience of exploring the Road to Hana on a guided small-group tour. Get picked up at your accommodation and spend a full day seeing the best of this world-class drive.

Your local guide will take you to the top-rated Road to Hana stops such as lush waterfalls, awe-inspiring viewpoints, and unique beaches. Breakfast and lunch is also included in this day trip which features a Hawaiian BBQ. Drinks are also provided throughout the day.

The best part about joining this tour is being able to learn facts about traditional Hawaiian culture and gain insight into each stop along the way. The tour I recommend is a small-group van tour with only 8 people, avoid larger groups for a more enjoyable sightseeing experience.

➡Find prices and book the Road to Hana Tour online!⬅

Beautiful scenery at Keanae Peninsula

Admire the volcanic coastline of the Ke’anae Peninsula

Day Five – Maui Upcountry + Paia + Dinner at Mama’s Fish House/Paia Fish Market

Exploring Maui’s Upcountry will give you an entirely different perspective of the island. Located on the steep slopes of Haleakala, this part of Maui showcases an unbeatable panoramic view over the west mountains and shimmering coastline below.

Aside from the incredible scenery, there are some great attractions to be found here too. Discover some of Maui’s quaint historic towns and experience the local culture first-hand by visiting some of the island’s best hidden gems.

On day five of your Maui itinerary, plan to check out the attractions listed below and round off the final evening of your Hawaiian holiday by enjoying a meal at the legendary Mama’s Fish House.

Visit the Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm on your five day Maui itinerary

Strolling through the botanical garden at the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm

Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm

This hidden gem of Maui can be found at an elevation of 4,000 ft, just off the Kula Highway. You can see the lavender in full bloom between the months of June – August but the real star of the show here is the panoramic view over West Maui.

The Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm is truly a photographer’s dream, so if you’re hunting for the perfect Instagram spot on Maui, look no further!

While the lavender doesn’t grow year round, you’ll find a gorgeous botanical garden where you can leisurely stroll and fill up your camera roll with stunning photos. There is also a gift shop on-site selling lavender products, coffee and sweet treats.

To be honest, I didn’t even know this place existed until my last visit to Maui but I was completely blown away by the outstanding scenery that it has to offer. With some of the best views on the island, you definitely need to check it out. Plus, entry only costs $3 per person!

Opening Hours: 10am – 4pm (closed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday)

Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm, Maui

Spectacular view at the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm


Situated on a beautiful historic property, MauiWine began producing local wines in the early 1970’s. This lovely winery is a must-see for those curious to sample the unique tropical flavours of Hawaiian wine that can’t be found elsewhere (pineapple wine, anyone?!).

Take your time exploring the vineyard’s picturesque grounds to see a number of heritage buildings before settling in on their outdoor patio. The best way taste the different varieties is to order a flight of wine. This will also help you choose a favourite wine so that you can take a few bottles home.

You can easily spend an hour or two here tasting wine, enjoying some light snacks and soaking up the surroundings. On their menu you can also find wine cocktails, cheeses and olives, and of course wine by the glass.

Before you visit MauiWine, you should make a reservation online to avoid waiting for a table (which sometimes happens if you visit during peak times).

Opening Hours: 11am – 5pm Tuesday – Sunday (closed Mondays)

Be sure to visit MauiWine during your five days on Maui

The peaceful setting of MauiWine

Wine tasting at MauiWine

Wine paired with snacks

Ulupalakua Ranch Store

Walk across the street from MauiWine to find this traditional Hawaiian general store. Ulupalakua Ranch Store is a neat place to browse some handmade goods and perhaps pick up a few souvenirs.

If you’re ready to have lunch, look no further. The ranch store is known for its tasty food, especially the burgers. The stunning view from their outdoor dining area is an added bonus to the great food!

Opening Hours: 10am – 5pm Tuesday – Sunday (closed Mondays)

Ulupalakua General Store

Ulupalakua Ranch Store

Maui Honey Bee Sanctuary 

Not too far from the Ulupalakua Ranch Store, the Honey Bee Sanctuary is a nice place to try some locally-made honey and admire the breath-taking view from the lookout. You can also buy coffee and other honey products here.

Stopping at this small road-side stand won’t add much time to your day but the scenery makes it 100% worthwhile. After tasting some of the different flavours of honey, you can look out across the ocean for a fantastic view of Kahoolawe Island.

Interested in what goes on behind the scenes? Gain insight into the process of honey making by taking a guided tour of the honey bee sanctuary.

Best stops on the Road to Hana - Maui

Panoramic view at the Honey Bee Sanctuary

Paia Town

While you’re in the area, be sure to make your way to the island’s North Shore to find the historic beach-town of Paia. With a long history of surfing culture, the vibrant and laid-back town has a real hippy vibe to it.

Take a walk along the main strip in town, browsing the colourful shops and perhaps stopping for a coffee or a shave ice along the way. In need of some new swimwear? You’ll be spoiled for choice with loads of cute beachwear and boutique jewellery shops.

Craving some beach time? Pop over to the local Baldwin Beach or Baby Beach which has a calm, swimming friendly lagoon. Otherwise, continue your day trip toward Ho’okipa Beach.

Cute shopfronts in Paia Town Center, Maui - Hawaii

Cute shopfronts in Paia Town Center

Ho’okipa Beach

An easy 10 minute drive up the road from Paia is where you’ll find this famous surfing beach. With giant waves, Ho’okipa Beach has world-wide recognition for its epic surfing conditions.

Pull the car right into the lookout to watch the surfers ride the monster waves from this great vantage point above the beach. Due to the size of the waves, you might have guessed this beach isn’t really great for swimming. With sharp rocks near the shore, you’re better off swimming elsewhere.

The other reason to visit Ho’okipa Beach is to see the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles lounging on the sand. Yes, this is one of the best places on Maui to spot sea turtles outside of the ocean!

They can often be seen in large numbers chilling out on the beach offering a perfect chance to take photos. While it may be tempting, just remember you can’t touch them or stand near them. Keep a safe distance by staying on the designated viewing area where you can easily see them and snap a few pictures.

A beach full of turtles - Hookipa Beach

Rocks or sea turtles? Ho’okipa Beach

Dinner at Mama’s Fish House or Paia Fish Market

Just around the corner from Paia, the world-class Mama’s Fish House sits on the white sandy shores of a palm-lined cove. Dining at this famous restaurant on one of the prettiest corners of the island is the perfect way to end your five day Maui itinerary.

What makes this place so special, you might be wondering? The impeccable quality of fresh seafood dishes, unique tropical cocktails, stunning beachfront scenery and a beautifully decorated interior create a magical setting for a dining experience that you’ll never forget.

Being one of Maui’s top-rated restaurants, the prices do reflect the high quality of food and amazing views that accompany your meal. It goes without saying, you’ll need to reserve a table far ahead of time if you hope to dine here.

This place is so incredibly popular it can be fully booked out up to 6 months in advance! So if you know what date you want to eat here, lock it in asap.

If you’re on a budget but still looking for some great seafood on your last night, head over to Paia Fish Market which is a local favourite on the main street of Paia. Their menu features staples like fish tacos, grilled Mahi Mahi and fish & chips.

While I didn’t get the chance to eat at Mama’s Fish House on my last visit to Maui, I can say first-hand that the food at Paia Fish Market was awesome, affordable and it’s definitely worth stopping in there for a meal.

Kuau Cove, Maui itinerary

The divine scenery that you get to stare at during your meal at Mama’s Fish House

Spending More Than Five Days on Maui?

In addition to the Maui itinerary above, here are some more popular attractions and activities to include if you have some extra time during your holiday.

Maui Ocean Center

Discover the vibrant world that exists beneath the surface of Hawaii’s crystal clear waters. Come face to face with iconic marine creatures such as sea turtles, sharks, stingrays, octopuses and thousands of tropical fish.

Maui Ocean Center showcases the unique marine life that can only be found within the Hawaiian islands. By visiting this world-famous aquarium, you’ll gain a deeper understanding about the history of the island and the conservation of its native sea life.

Spending a few hours at Maui Ocean Center is an awesome rainy day activity. It also makes a fantastic intro to Hawaii for first time visitors.

I went there on my second day in Maui and thoroughly enjoyed the interactive exhibits, especially the glass tunnel with sharks and stingrays swimming around. The 3D Humpback Whale show at the end is impressive for all ages!

Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm daily

Tickets: $44/adult, $30/child

➡Get your tickets to Maui Ocean Center online before you go⬅

Maui Ocean Center

Sharks swimming at Maui Ocean Center

Lahaina Pali Trail

For an epic view over central Maui, follow this historic trail that was originally built over 200 years ago. This challenging but very scenic hike leads you upward to the Kaheawa wind farm before descending down the other side of the hill.

The hike begins at two separate locations which means that if you decide to complete the entire 10 mile hike, you’ll need two cars parked at both trailheads.

Most people who hike this trail park at one end, hike up to the windfarm and return to the same location. This takes around 3 hours to complete. Although this is not a walk in the park, the trail is easy to follow.

When I hiked the Lahaina Pali Trail, I parked the car at the eastern entrance (near Maalaea) and hiked to the windfarm for sunset which means I had to hike back down in the dark. It was totally worth it though, the sunset and views from the windfarm were really breathtaking.

I would highly recommend this hike for sunset as long as you wear comfortable walking/hiking shoes and bring a head torch for the hike down. The terrain is pretty rugged and uneven from start to finish and there is no shade at all, so don’t forget to wear sunscreen!

Find more info about planning this difficult and rewarding hike at the AllTrails website.

Maui Rainbow Instagram Spots

Hiking under a rainbow on the Lahaina Pali Trail

Iao Valley State Park

This gorgeous, lush valley is home to some very dramatic landscapes and important Hawaiian history. This is the site where the epic battle of Kepaniwai took place in the year 1790.

When you visit the park you can take a walk along a short and easy paved trail for views of the iconic ‘Iao Needle’. Informative sign posts will give you background info on the history of this beautiful place and the battle that occurred there.

The walk will take you in a loop which passes the pretty Iao stream as well as a tropical botanical garden. It’s a nice place to spend an hour or two connecting with nature and learning some of the island’s legendary history.

Iao Valley State Park

The iconic Iao Valley Needle

Waimoku Falls & Pipiwai Trail

Located within the Kipahulu region of Haleakala National Park, this famous hiking trail winds through the dense rainforest before ending at the striking Waimoku Falls.

The Pipiwai Trail makes a great addition to your Road to Hana drive if you’re planning to spread the drive over two days. The trailhead begins at the Kipahulu Visitor Center, 35 minutes past the town of Hana.

The hike takes around 2 – 3 hours to complete and it is quite popular so it’s best to start early to avoid an overcrowded trail. With stunning natural scenery such as waterfalls, streams and a bamboo forest, it’s easy to see why the Pipiwai Trail has gained so much attention.

This is definitely one for the Maui bucket list!

Waimoku Falls, Road to Hana, Maui

The jaw-dropping Waimoku Falls is a must-see

Dolphin Watching Catamaran Tour

If you’re visiting Maui outside of whale watching season then booking a dolphin watching tour is a great idea. Travel by catamaran to the crystal waters of Lanai passing by spinner dolphin habitats along the way.

Explore the underwater paradise near the coast of Lanai on a guided snorkeling tour. The island of Lanai is known for its vibrant coral reefs teeming with tropical fish and sea turtles.

Throughout the day, you’ll learn fascinating facts from the Marine Naturalists that accompany the tour. This popular 5 hour boat trip also includes a continental breakfast and delicious BBQ lunch on board the boat.

➡Find prices and availability for the Lanai snorkel & dolphin tour⬅

Spot beautiful dolphins on this highly rated tour

Maui Zip Line Tour

Doing a zip line tour is a fun activity for those seeking an adrenaline rush. Fly through the trees while taking in amazing views as you work your way through a series of zip lines, suspension bridges and viewing platforms.

This is a fun activity for families where you’ll learn a bit about the island’s history while making memories at the same time. The tour lasts for around 2 hours and includes professional guides to lead you through the experience.

➡View prices and book the Maui zip line tour online⬅


Fly over the treetops on a zip-line tour in Maui

Maui Helicopter Tour

Get a bird’s eye view over Maui’s spectacular landscapes by taking a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter tour. Get a different perspective of the island as you fly over waterfalls, sea cliffs and remote landscapes.

The helicopter tour includes landing at a former taro plantation in the Wailua Valley which is quite off the beaten path. This exciting and highly rated tour is the perfect idea for those celebrating a special occasion such as a honeymoon or other big milestones.

➡View prices and book the Maui helicopter tour online⬅

Best Road to Hana stops, Makapipi Falls

Fly over cascading falls and spectacular scenery on the helicopter tour

Sunset Catamaran Cruise

Enjoy an epic Maui sunset as you relax with cocktails and snacks aboard a deluxe catamaran. This 2.5 hour cruise departs from the Lahaina Harbor and takes you around the scenic Maui coastline just in time for sunset.

Along the way you’ll be able to spot wildlife such as humpback whales (during whale season), dolphins and sea birds. This is a memorable way to end your holiday or celebrate a special occasion.

➡View prices and book the sunset yacht cruise online⬅

Lahaina Pali Trail Sunset, Maui

A gorgeous Maui sunset on the Lahaina Pali Trail

Final Thoughts on Spending Five Days in Maui

The Hawaiian island of Maui is a special place with so much beauty to discover and endless activities to experience. When it comes to finding the ultimate tropical holiday destination, you really can’t go wrong with spending 5 days on Maui (or longer if you have the time!).

While 5 days on the island is really only an intro to all that it has to offer, I hope this Maui itinerary has given you some inspiration and helped you to plan your dream Hawaiian escape.

If you’ve found my guide useful, consider using the links I recommend throughout the article. This will help you to easily book your holiday online while earning me a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). As always, I appreciate your support and wish you safe and happy travels! 🙂

Maui Wine - Instagram locations Maui

Cheers from MauiWine!

Read More Maui Travel Guides

Enjoy This Five Day Maui Itinerary? Pin Me For Later!

How to Spend Five Days in Maui The Perfect five day Maui Itinerary

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission on purchases made through these links. By making any purchase, you are directly supporting The Road Is Life Travel Blog which allows me to continue providing you with free high-quality travel guides. I only recommend products or services I have personally tried/love! 


Leave a Reply