Admit it – you’re grinning already, even before you step on the plane. It starts with the idea of Maui…the anticipation. Maybe you can hear the twang of a steel guitar and feel the balmy breezes. But it’s once you arrive that the real thrill begins.
The beaches themselves would be reason enough for all this excitement. Maui’s entire west coast is fringed with golden sands, some backed by resorts, some full of beach towels and boogie boards, others as naked as the day they were born.
Maui boasts world-class conditions for anything that involves a wave. Yet each of its shores has a different temperament. You can ride monster breaks if you’re a pro or learn to surf in gentle waves if you’re not. Snorkel with sea turtles. Kayak with dolphins. Pin a sail to your board and fly with the wind.
Exploring on land is equally awesome. Strap on a pair of boots and hike the crunchy moonscape surface of the world’s largest dormant volcano. Twist your way along the jungly cliff-hugging Hana Hwy, soaking up waterfalls and swimming holes. Or take it airborne on an adrenaline-charged swoop down Hawaii’s longest zipline.
Diversity is a big part of the allure. Maui’s resorts are world-renowned. Out of the limelight but equally worthy are the cozy B&Bs, offering the opportunity to experience island life up close. As for the food scene, it’s proudly locavore from the fresh catch reeled in by Hana fishers to the grass-fed beef raised in Upcountry pastures. Foodies could spend their whole vacation touring farms and dining at chef-driven restaurants.
A harborful of sailboats offers more splashy fun. Take a sunset cruise, sail to a sunken volcano, see humpback whales eye to eye. And just in case your thirst for adventure or quietude is so great that not even Maui can slake it, a quick leap across the channel delivers you into the arms of Maui’s smaller siblings, Lanaʻi and Molokaʻi.
Best places to stay in Maui
Discover Maui travel guide
Experience the best of Maui. This full-colour guide does the work for you - Lonely Planet's trademark expertise cuts straight to the must-see highlights of the country so no matter what your time frame or budget, you won't miss the...
Top 10 Maui travel experiences
Admit it – you’re grinning already, even before you step on the plane. It starts with the idea of Maui… the anticipation...
Need to know
Hawaii - Maui & Kaho'olawe (Chapter)
Maui is the postcard island. Where snorkelers pause for green turtles. Zipliners swoop over jungles. Couples exchange vows on the beach. And early risers watch the sun punch through morning clouds from the top of a volcano in Haleakalā ...
Maui destination guides
Kihei & South Maui
Sunsets are a communal affair in South Maui – just look at the throngs crowding the beach wall at Kamaʻole Beach Park II in the late afternoon. It’s a scene repeated up and down the coast here every day. Dubbed Haole-wood for its LA-style strip malls and white-bread resorts, the region is a bit shiny and overbuilt.
An island of sweet surprises: Maui for honeymooners
A Hawaiian honeymoon has all the storybook ingredients to make couples swoon: sherbet-colored sunsets, songbird serenades and palm-tree hammocks shimmying in the trade winds...
Old Lahaina Luau Maui
The Old Lahaina Luau is a must-do for visitors to Hawaii wanting to experience a traditional Hawaiian luau. An evening of traditional cuisine, music, cultural dancing and island crafts at Maui's most popular luau, Lahaina Luau lets you experience Hawaii's rich history and culture while enjoying stunning ocean views at sunset.
Oahu Day Trip: Pearl Harbor, Honolulu and Punchbowl from Maui
Journey to Pearl Harbor and take a step back in time to an era of conflict and courage on this unforgettable Maui to Oahu day trip. Great for passengers of all ages, you'll visit the Arizona Memorial and USS Missouri, take a scenic tour of downtown Honolulu, and relive the moment in history that propelled America into World War II.
How to leave Maui (if you really have to)
You’ve double-checked your flight time, mapped out the gas station closest to the airport, shaken the sand out of your touristy beach towels, and had that conversation about packing the sunscreen or leaving it behind...
Sights in Maui
Activities in Maui
Tours in Maui
Restaurants in Maui
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
Locals stop to point out rainbows in Lahaina, a one-time whaling village tucked between the West Maui mountains and the ocean, and so inviting that humpback whales return yearly to raise their young. Ancient Hawaiian royals were the first to converge on this sunny spot, followed by whalers and missionaries.