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Maui Itinerary: 4 Days of Unforgettable Activities in Hawaii

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So, you’ve done the hard part and picked an island to visit in Hawaii – you’re going to Maui!

Now comes the fun part: choosing what to do and see.

We’ll walk you through how to get the most out of your vacation in just 4 days in Maui, whether you want to hike to gorgeous views, sunbathe on black sand beaches, or play in beautiful waterfalls.

We’ll talk about the must-see sights, the can’t-miss restaurants, and the best places to stay ( because reservations are a must for much of Maui!).

Plus, if you have more time on the island, we have plenty more ideas to add to your 4 day Maui itinerary!

Let’s dive in!

Where is Maui?

Maui is the second most visited island in the state of Hawaii, after Oahu.

It’s between the Big Island and Molokai on the southern end of Hawaii’s archipelago in the middle of the northern Pacific Ocean.

Nonstop flights from the west coast of the USA are around 6-6.5 hours long.

When’s the Best Time to Visit Maui?

Late winter/early spring (March – early May) is the best time of year to visit Maui.

It’s humpback whale season, temperatures are mild, the wet season just finished filling up all the waterfalls, and crowds (and peak prices) have died down.

Skip Valentine’s Day and spring break, and you should have a great time in Maui without the crowds or the overbearing heat.

Maui Itinerary: 4 Days

Let’s dive into how to spend 4 days in Maui!

We’ve broken down each day into a different part of the island to minimize drive times and to maximize how much you can see or experience in a day.

Feel free to move the schedule around to suit your needs, especially if you need to accommodate a reservation or the weather to see a Haleakala sunrise.

Day 1 – Explore the West Maui

  • Take a whale-watching tour from Maalaea Harbor
  • See the Nakalele Blowhole
  • Hike in Kaanapali
  • Chill on the beach
  • Stop at Papawai Point to see the sunset and maybe some whales

Whale watching

Start off by exploring West Maui.

The drive to Kaanapali and beyond is gorgeous, hugging the coast and revealing awesome views through the trees and from the cliffs.

If you visit Maui during the right season (December to May), you can’t miss a whale-watching tour from Maalaea Harbor.

Thousands of humpback whales converge on Maui as their extended winter pit stop on their way to Alaska for the summer feeding.

You’ll see males showing off with tail slaps, young adults waving their fins in greeting, and moms teaching their new babies to breach.

There are so many whales in the area at this time of year that you’re basically guaranteed to see some whales.

Pro Tip: They say morning is the best time to go, but we saw plenty of whales on our afternoon tour. Fit this into your day in West Maui whenever makes sense for you. If you’re driving from Wailea or Kahului, do it in the morning. If you’re starting in Kaanapali, do it in the afternoon.

Check prices: whale-watching tour from Maalaea Harbor

Nakalele Blowhole

Next, drive all the way up the coast to Nakalele Blowhole.

Once you get past Kaanapali, the roads get a little narrow, but it’s nothing your car can’t handle.

Good to Know: You’ll drive through Lahaina to get to Kaanapali. Be patient in this area. They’re still recovering from the devastating wildfire that consumed almost the entire town in August 2023. Reconstruction efforts are underway, and it’ll soon be back to its bustling self.

The blowhole is a naturally occurring geological formation where the ocean waves have eroded a hole and tunnelled from the lava to create a fountain.

A geyser of water sprays the area when the waves hit the blowhole just right.

There aren’t any barriers, fences or rangers to watch you at this roadside attraction, so you’ll need to take caution when approaching the blowhole.

The rocks get slippery and between the wind and the force of the water, you could get tossed out to sea if you’re not careful.

There have been fatalities in the past.

It’s ok to get up close and get pictures – just remember to stay off any wet, rocky areas.


After your jaunt up the coast, drive back to Kaanapali for lunch and to chill on the beach or hike along the coast.

There are several beaches to choose from in Kaanapali despite the numerous resorts and high-rises crowding the area. 

All beaches are free and must be accessible by the public in Hawaii, but that’s not true for parking. 

You’ll more than likely have to pay to park, even in the few public parking lots.   

If hiking is more your speed, check out the Kapalua Hiking Trail, running from Kapalua Bay to DT Fleming Beach.

It’s just shy of 2 miles, one way, so it’s a great short walk when you want to enjoy the waves without getting in the water.

Make time to stop by Papawai Point for sunset. 

The view from this elevated cliff is stunning, with Maalaea Harbor, the interisland channels, and Lanai and Kaho’olawe all spread out before you.

There’s a good chance you’ll see whales enjoying the sunset, too!

Fair Warning: The Papawai Point parking lot is small and cars are frequently parked 3 deep as passersby stop to get their sunset photo and then move on, back to town for dinner.

Day 2 – Discovering The Upcountry

  • Sunrise at Haleakala National Park
  • Hike the park
  • Lunch in Kula
  • Relax at a winery or distillery
  • Luau for dinner

Maui’s Upcountry is a beautiful and relaxed distraction from the beaches.

Haleakala, the (almost dormant) volcano, dominates southern Maui, and her fertile western slopes provide the perfect spot for wineries, distilleries, and stellar views.

Start your day VERY early so you can catch the sunrise at Haleakala’s summit.

Haleakala is 10,023ft above sea level, one of the tallest mountains in the world.

Park rangers will proudly inform you that Haleakala is actually taller than Mount Everest, if you were to count the portion below the ocean to the sea floor. 

It’s 100% worth it if you want to see or photograph the sun rising above the cloud layer as native Hawaiians sing the traditional chant welcoming the arrival of a new day.

It’s worth visiting “The House of the Sun” once in your life if you can snag a ticket.

Because there is limited parking at the summit and this is such a popular item for every Maui itinerary, reservations are now required.

You won’t be allowed to enter the park without a ticket between 3AM and 7AM each day.

Tickets become available 60 days in advance through the website, and they can go fast.

But don’t worry, there’s another set of tickets released just 2 days in advance for the last-minute explorers.

These are especially helpful if you’re worried about the weather, but they sell out even faster.

There are no refunds if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Pro Tip: If you can’t get Haleakala sunrise tickets, sunset views are different but still stunning. You’ll have to rework your itinerary because you won’t get back down the mountain in time to join a luau, but it’s still worth a visit to see views from atop Haleakala.

Hike the park

After sunrise, the tour buses and most visitors leave the park right away, but you can stay and enjoy the park’s summit district without the crowds.

Hike into Haleakala’s volcanic crater.

Try and spot an endangered nene (Hawaiian goose) or ua’u (Hawaiian petrel) at viewpoints and on the slopes.

Leisurely drive back down the mountainside, stopping at every overlook as you go.

Lunch & Distillery

Once you’re done in the park, stop in Kula for lunch and to explore the local shops.

This isn’t a big place, so it won’t take long.

Then, choose a winery or a distillery to visit and spend the afternoon enjoying a flight of your favourite libation.

Luau for dinner

Leave Maui’s Upcountry in time to make it to your evening luau. 

Even though you’re staring right at Wailea and the ocean, there aren’t any roads that connect directly down to the coast.

You’ll have to drive back through Kula and around, so leave yourself plenty of time for the drive.

You’ll be famished from being up so early, and luaus are the perfect place to overeat!

They also feature native islander dances, chants, and spectacles.

It’s an exciting evening everyone will enjoy!

Good to Know: If you elect to skip the winery and go back to the coast instead, perhaps back to your hotel for a nap or to enjoy more of the ocean, that’s fine. Just beware of the elevation difference. Because of Haleakala’s height above sea level, it’s not recommended to scuba dive on the same day you visit the summit because of the pressure differential.

Day 3 – Road to Hana

  • Drive the famous Road to Hana
  • Enjoy short hikes to jungle waterfalls
  • Eat Aunt Sandy’s banana bread
  • Visit Waianapanapa State Park’s black-sand beach
  • Visit the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park

The Road to Hana is one of the most popular things to do in Maui, and you should definitely include it on your Maui 4-day itinerary.

But, if you get motion sickness then you’ll definitely need to take some travel sickness pills.

The Road to Hana is 64 miles of narrow, winding roads, hairpin turns, and one-lane bridges on Maui’s rocky east coast.

It’s also the rainforest area of the island and has the densest collection of waterfalls and hiking trails.s

You should definitely read some tips for driving the Road to Hana so you’re prepared.

Book a tour if you don’t want to do the driving yourself or you prefer to have everything organised for you, but still bear in mind the motion sickness.

If you do decide to do a self-drive, grab an audio guide and start the day early. 

If you haven’t left by 7AM, you’re probably going to hit crowds along the way.

Fill up your vehicle’s gas tank the night before so you can get up and go without stopping.

There’s plenty of debate on how to avoid crowds on the Road to Hana, but there’s really no way to avoid them completely unless you stay overnight in Hana.

With just 4 days in Maui, we don’t recommend taking the time to spend the night in Hana.

Parking is a significant restriction along Hana Highway.

Most waterfalls or trails only have a handful of parking spots.

You can’t just pull off wherever on the Road to Hana, either.

There are no shoulders, and the road is too narrow to block part of a lane.

You need a parking spot, or you’ll be ticketed, which is why taking a tour might be preferable.

Otherwise, where you stop on the Road to Hana will in large part be decided for you by fate and parking spots. 

You might get lucky and arrive as a spot opens up, or you may have no choice but to drive on because there’s nowhere to safely pull off.

Popular stops on the Road to Hana:

  • Twin Falls
  • Garden of Eden Arboretum
  •  Kaumahina State Wayside Park (bathrooms and view)
  • Ke’Anae Peninsula for Aunt Sandy’s Banana Bread
  •  Halfway to Hana (quick eats)
  • Wailua Iki Falls
  • Coconut Glen’s ice cream
  • Nahiku Marketplace (roadside food and merch stalls)
  • Hana Lava Tube
  • Waianapanapa State Park (black sand beach, requires reservation)
  • Hana (town itself)
  •  Huli Huli Chicken
  • Wailua Falls
  •  Oheo Gulch (Haleakala National Park entry applies)
  • Pipiwai Trail (bamboo forest + 2 waterfalls) (Haleakala National Park entry applies)

It’s important to keep an eye on your watch throughout your day on the Road to Hana.

Most of you don’t want to drive this road in the dark.

Turn around and head back to Paia while there’s still 2-3 hours of daylight left.

You’ll likely be exhausted from your whirlwind day of chasing waterfalls and banana bread while white-knuckling around blind curves, so we suggest a casual dinner at any local joint on the way back to your lodging.

Day 4 – Central Maui

  • See The Needle at Iao Valley State Monument
  • Hike the Waihe’e Ridge Trail
  • Explore Kahului and/or Paia
  • Chill at the beach
  • Dinner at Mama’s Fish House

Iao Valley State Monument & Waihe’e Ridge Trail

For your fourth day, take time to explore central Maui.

The drive to Iao Valley State Monument is short from Kahului, but worth it for a cool photo and to learn a bit of Hawaiian history.

After a quick stop for a photo of The Needle, continue up the coast to hike the Waihe’e Ridge Trail.

This trail is not easy, but it’s so worth it if you take your time.

The views just keep getting better the further up you hike.

Bring a packed lunch and enjoy a rest at the top while you soak in the stunning views of Maui.

If you’re over all the hiking, that’s fine, skip the semi-strenuous hike.

Kahului and Paia

Instead, spend today relaxing in Kahului and Paia. 

Stroll the local shops, grab a bite to eat from a local vendor, and enjoy downtime sunbathing on the beach. 

Baldwin Beach is a popular spot, and Ho’okipa Beach, just past Paia, is fantastic for watching surfers in the winter.

The waves are rough on this side of the island in the winter, so it’s not recommended to get in the water unless you know what you’re doing.

I’d then recommend eating dinner at Mama’s Fish House

This is one of the most sought-after reservations on the island.

Mama’s Fish House is upscale Pacific islander cuisine featuring locally caught fish of all types in delectable sauces.

Schedule your dinner reservation as soon as you have your trip dates.

No, we’re not joking!

Reservations can be made online or by phone up to 18 months in advance.

Sunset isn’t on this side of the island, but the ambience here is perfect for both couples and adult groups.

Pro Tip: If the dinner reservations are all booked out, try searching for a lunch reservation instead. It’s the same menu and experience!

What to Do If You Have More Than 4 Days In Maui

Maui has a lot of fun and unique things to do for all price ranges.

If you have more time and want to extend your stay, add these fan favourites to your Maui itinerary beyond your 4 days.

  • Molokini Crater: popular snorkelling spot just off the coast from Wailea [book the sell-out tour]
  • Learn to surf from a local: Maui’s west coast is great for learning [book a class]
  • Island Helicopter Tour: pricey but the best views of the island [book a doors-off tour]
  • Maui Honey Bee Sanctuary: delicious honey and other bee-themed products [book a tour]
  • Surfing Goat Dairy: feed the goats and get some cheese!
  • Maui Nui Botanical Gardens: beautiful plants without the drive

Where to Stay during your 4 days in Maui

Maui has plenty of amazing resorts, hotels, and rentals to choose from, but for this Maui 4-day itinerary, you want to be centrally located on the island to reduce drive time to activities.

The island’s main roadways make a sideways figure eight, and you want to stay as close to the middle of the figure eight as possible.

Choose Wailea or Kihei for sandy, calm beaches, whale watching, lots of shops and restaurants, and easy access to the rest of the island.

Recommended hotels:

Or, choose Kahului for awesome wave-watching, experienced surfing, lots of shops and restaurants, and quick access to the airport.

Kaanapali has a lot of gorgeous high-rise accommodations, but the drive to get to the rest of the island can be tiring after a few days.

Maalaea has some rentals directly on the bay and is where most of the whale-watching tours depart from, but all the beaches, shops, and other amenities are in nearby Kihei, Wailea, or Kahului.

Hana is almost off-grid, with very few places to eat or stay and difficult access to the rest of the island. You wouldn’t want to make Hana your base of operations for your 4 day Maui itinerary.

Need to know information

  • Main airport: Kahului Airport (OGG)
  • Currency: USD
  • Language: American English

Reserve the following activities well in advance of your trip. They will sell out!

Check several months before your trip for reservation windows.

FAQ: Visiting Maui

Is 4 days enough in Maui?

Four days in Maui is enough time to see all the highlights and feel like you thoroughly explored every part of the island.

You could certainly stay longer and extend the fun, but 4 days is enough to fully enjoy Maui without regrets.

Is Maui very touristy?

As the second most visited Hawaiian Island, Maui can be quite touristy, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit!

There’s plenty to do besides typical stuff.

Explore Maui’s natural beauties: hike the mountains, marvel at the waterfalls, and enjoy the ocean.

They’ll all take your breath away. 

Explore beyond Maui

If you enjoyed this Maui itinerary with 4 days worth of fun and you’re looking to explore more of Hawaii, then I’d recommend checking out our Oahu itinerary or Honolulu itinerary.

Stay Wild Travels.

Hawaii Essentials list

Having been a full-time traveller for years, these are my go-to platforms for booking everything I need when exploring:

🏨Hotels: I never use anything but as they have epic deals and free cancellation policy!

🛌Hostels: the most trustworthy platform for hostels is Hostelworld

🏥Travel Insurance: SafetyWing are a favourite among travellers as they’re super affordable whilst still offering great cover. When I switched to them, I saved a whopping 80%!

🎫 Tours: for experiences, GetYourGuide or Viator are the platforms I love and trust the most!

🚗 Car rental: I always check two platforms for the best prices: DiscoverCars and

📱E-sim: I never visit a new country without making sure I have an e-sim installed and my number 1 favourite platform is Airalo – you can also get a discount with code: AMELIA2423 🙂

BIO: Rachel Means is the DIY Debt-Free Vacation Strategist behind Means to Explore where she helps others plan, save, and go on epic vacations – without going into debt to do it. She’s been to 36 states and 14 countries so far in her 10+ years of travelling the world and has no plans to slow down!

You can find her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Disclosure: just a heads up that some of the links within this post may be affiliated. This means that Stay Wild Travels may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Hopefully, if you’ve been here a while, you know that we only recommend things that we truly believe in. If you use any of these links, it really helps support us to keep bringing you free content – so thank you!