Alright, so admittedly, one day on Maui isn't enough. But is any length of time ever really enough on Maui? Exactly. Millions of people from around the globe visit Maui each year, but a portion of those are only able to visit for a single day, often due to cruise ship time constraints, work trips, or simply a quick island-hopping excursion. Whatever your reason, we have excellent suggestions to make the most of your day! With so much beauty to experience in so little time, it helps to know how to maximize your time in paradise.
What to Do with One Day on Maui
First off, you're going to need a car. While there is public transportation on Maui, as well as taxi and Uber drivers, it's very limited and you'll waste a ton of time and/or money getting from A to B, something you can't afford with such a short amount of time for exploring.
Depending on the time of day you're here, you'll also likely be limited to the types of places and activities you can experience. Below we provide two itineraries based on daytime and evening visitors, and hope you enjoy our suggestions!
Morning - Afternoon Guide:
First Stop: Paia Town, 9am - 9:45am
First thing's first - wake up! Make the short drive from Kahului Airport to Paia Town, located conveniently on Maui's north shore only 10-15 minutes away by car. Stop into Paia Bay Coffee for a cup of Maui-grown coffee and a quick bite in their cozy outdoor courtyard, or Sporting Club of the Pacific for fresh juices and delicious acai bowls. While most galleries and shops don't open until 10am or so, take time to browse the streets of the hippie surfer town we all know and love.
Next Stop: Baldwin Beach, 10am - 11am
Backtrack a little to the entrance for Baldwin Beach Park, a huge, gorgeous white sand beach near Paia Town. Walk to the east for relaxed swimming at Baldwin Cove, or simply take a long walk in the sand to enjoy spectacular views of the turquoise waves and distant West Maui Mountains. At this time of day, you're even likely to enjoy a section of beach all to yourself! Lifeguards are on duty and public bathrooms are available.
Then: Wailuku Town & Iao Valley, 11:30am - 12:30pm
After you've enjoyed the perfect morning beach walk and swim in the ocean, take a drive through historic Wailuku Town to the gorgeous Iao Valley State Park, located along a scenic road through lush jungle and steep walls of the West Maui Mountains. Spend some time walking the grounds, enjoying views of Iao Needle, Iao Stream, and more, and brush up on your Maui history in one of the most magical areas on Maui.
Final Stop: Maui Tropical Plantation, 1pm - 3pm
You've explored the beach and mountains, and now it's time to reward yourself with a relaxing lunch! Join us at The Mill House, located only a short drive from Iao Valley and Wailuku Town, and grab a seat on our outdoor lanai to enjoy a scenic view along with an amazing meal. Executive Chef Jeff Scheer has created an inventive menu using the best local ingredients, and we especially love the pork tacos with pineapple salsa and mahi mahi sandwich with house pickles. Grab a fresh cocktail or Maui Brewing Company beer to accompany your meal, and you're all set!
After lunch, we suggest a tram tour of the Tropical Plantation, where you'll witness a coconut husking demonstration, as well as learn more about the flora and fauna of Maui. Browse our Country Store and onsite boutique shops to stock up on unique souvenirs, or visit the Kumu Farms stand to sample fresh, organic Maui produce. For the ultimate adventurous traveler, we also recommend reserving a spot with Maui Zip Line, where you'll be treated to 5 zip lines over the plantation grounds!
Afternoon - Evening Guide:
First Stop: Taqueria Cruz, 3pm
For those arriving later in the day, we suggest making the most of the sunshine before enjoying a relaxing evening! First, take a drive from Kahului Airport south to Kihei to grab a quick Maui-mex lunch from Taqueria Cruz. Just across the street, you'll find picnic tables to dine with an ocean view.
Next Stop: Kamaole Beach Park I, 3:45pm - 5pm
Located conveniently in central Kihei, you can't come to Maui without enjoying some well-deserved beach time! Pull out that swimsuit, towel and SPF and relax in the golden sand and calm waves. Kihei is known for its swimmer-friendly beaches, and snorkeling is best at each end of the bay. Lifeguards are on duty, and public restrooms and showers are available. Bonus: During winter months, this doubles as an excellent place for whale watching!
Then: Maui Chef's Table, 5:45pm - 8pm
One of the most highly recommended dining experiences on Maui, the Chef's Table events are a foodie's dream come true. Join us for a 7-course meal in one of the most stunning outdoor locations on the island. Featuring the highest quality ingredients available, sit back and listen to commentary from Chef Jeff Scheer as you taste the most innovative flavors of the island. Reservations are recommended, as this event has become very popular in recent months, so be sure to purchase a ticket ahead of time!
Craft cocktails, beer and wine are available for purchase, and we especially love the Irish Coffee, made with 100% Maui coffee, Tullamore Dew and vanilla bean hand-whipped cream, to put the final touch on a spectacularly delicious evening.
Final Stop: Stargazing, 8pm - 9pm
If you have any time left, and it's a clear evening, we highly recommend checking out the night sky! While stargazing from atop Haleakala Volcano is the best option, add it to the must-do list for your next visit to Maui. For now, our Tropical Plantation grounds actually offer some of the best views of the night sky, due to a location away from street lights and a slightly higher elevation than busier areas of the island. Bonus: You're only a short drive away from Kahului Airport and the cruise ship port.
Mahalo for reading, and we look forward to welcoming you to Maui, no matter how long you're able to stay!