Getaway Compass

4-Day Maui Itinerary: Best Things to Do in Maui

Red Sand Beach Maui

Maui is a beautiful island with varied landscapes perfect for any traveler. With stunning beaches, incredible hikes, and breathtaking waterfalls, Maui offers a mix of activities for both relaxing and exploring.  The best way to explore Maui is to rent a car and drive through this beautiful island. Four days in Maui is an ideal amount of time to experience the island while taking minimal vacation days. Follow this 4-Day Maui itinerary for the best things to do in Maui in 4 days including Haleakala National Park, Road to Hana, Secret Cove Beach, Iao Valley State Park, and more. 

In this 4 days in Maui article you will find the following information:
Where to Stay in Maui
Packing List for 4 Days in Maui
4-Day Maui Itinerary
Best Things to Do in Maui

Where to Stay in Maui

Maui is small enough where you could stay in one place on the island your entire 4 days in Maui. The most popular areas to stay on the island are the west side and the south side. 

West: The west side has some of the most popular hotels and many beautiful beaches, but it is further from top destinations like Road to Hana. The west side gets more rain than the south side.

South: The south side is the sunniest side of Maui. Here you can find cheaper accommodation options and a large selection of Airbnbs which are often less expensive than the west side.  The south side is also closer to Road to Hana and Haleakala National Park, so if you plan on spending most of your time exploring the island this would be the best spot to stay. 

If you would like to book a hotel, is a great site to use. Keep in mind that many hotels in Maui have additional cleaning fees that will be added on when you reserve the room.

Packing List for 4 Days in Maui

  • Bathing suits: Bring as many as you can fit.. but at least 2 so if one doesn’t dry you have another one to wear.
  • Sunglasses: For some reason sunglasses always end up being that one thing I forget to bring, so adding this to the list so you don’t.
  • Bug Spray: You will definitely need bug spray for Road to Hana and you won’t be able to find any once you have already started the drive. I recommend purchasing a travel size bottle before your trip, but if you forget make sure to buy some in the last town before Road to Hana starts which is in Paia.
  • Sunscreen: This sunscreen is 3 oz so you can easily bring it with you in your carry on. 
  • Hiking Bag: Bring a comfortable daypack to carry everything you need for the day.
  • Hiking boots: These will be helpful for Haleakala National Park and any other hikes you decide to do on the island.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: You can safely drink the water in Maui so make sure to bring a reusable water bottle with you.
  • Hiking Sandals: These Tevas are perfect for the rocky beaches (red sand beach and black sand beach) and hikes to the beaches.
  • Rain Jacket: A rain jacket will come in very handy for Road to Hana.
  • Umbrella: Umbrellas are always useful if you want to make sure your bag doesn’t get wet.
  • Camera and charger: Make sure to capture your memories of this incredible island. 
  • Waterproof Bag: Bring a waterproof bag for your valuables incase you get caught in the rain. I use this waterproof bag all the time for my camera and other valuables since it is small and light.

4 Day Maui Itinerary

Day 1: Haleakala National Park (Summit District)
Day 2: Relax on South Maui Beaches (Chang’s Beach, Makena Beach, Secret Cove Beach)
Day 3: Road to Hana and Haleakala National Park (Kipahulu District)
Day 4: Waihee Ridge Trail, Iao Valley State Monument, Explore West Maui Beaches (Slaughterhouse Beach, Kapalua Beach)

Day 1: Haleakala National Park (Summit District)

Start your first day in Maui by visiting Haleakala National Park. Haleakala National Park is one of the best things to do in Maui, featuring a crater at 10,023 ft with large cinder cones. If you are entering the park between 3:00 AM and 7:00 AM you must purchase a summit sunrise reservation online ($1.50 reservation fee). Make sure to reserve early because spots can sell out.

Haelakala National park

Drive Up to the Summit (10,023 ft)

Haleakala Summit

At the summit you will find a short trail that you can walk along to see the view above the clouds. It is an incredible experience to stand above the clouds. If you are interested in learning more about Haleakala National Park there is a short exhibit here with information regarding the crater.

Hike the Sliding Sands Trail

Haleakala Crater Maui
Blooming Silversword

The Sliding Sands Trail is a unique hike that offers incredible views of the crater, cinder cones, and silverswords. I recommend hiking as much of this trail as you are able to. It is an amazing experience to hike down into the crater, even if it is only for 30 minutes. Don’t skip this hike just because you cannot hike the full 11 miles, this is a must-do hike and one of the highlights of this 4-day Maui itinerary.

Start: At the end of the visitor center parking lot next to the information board by the road
Length: 11 miles
Elevation Change: 2795 ft
Difficulty: Hard

  • Wear hiking boots.
  • Bring layers as the weather can change rapidly.
  • There is no food, water, or gas in the park so make sure to fill up gas before and bring plenty of water and snacks.
  • Stop at the visitor center for advice on where to hike to if you are unable to do the whole trail. There might be a blooming silversword along the trail that would be worth hiking to.
  • The high elevation makes it more difficult to hike. If you are not used to the elevation take it slow and remember that whatever you hike down you will need to hike back up.

If you don’t have hiking boots, I highly recommend purchasing hiking boots for this trip. They will come in very useful, and if you enjoy national parks and hiking you will get a lot of use out of them. Start finding your perfect pair of boots by searching in Amazon below.

Day 2: Relax on South Maui Beaches

On your second day in Maui it is time to relax! South Maui is the sunniest, driest part of the island and has many beautiful and relaxing beaches. Spend the day checking out different beaches and getting that tan you have been waiting for.

Chang's Beach

Changs Beach

Chang’s Beach is a soft sand beach with calm waves. This is a perfect beach to relax and read that book you have been promising yourself that you will start reading.
Location: In Kihei right next to Makena Surf (Condo Complex)
Directions: In google maps search “Chang’s Beach Parking Lot” which will lead you directly to where you should park. To get to the beach from the lot follow the paved trail at the back of the parking lot behind the gate (2 minute walk).
Amenities: Foot washing station

Makena Beach (Big Beach)

Makena Beach is a 1.5 mile stretch of soft sand beach with views of Molokini Crater and Kaho‘olawe Island. This beach is the longest beach we visited, so it is a perfect spot to take a nice long walk on the beach.

Location: Kihei
Directions: Follow signs to the state park and enter through one of the three entrance points. If the parking lots are full you can park along the road.
Amenities: Portable toilets
– Come to the beach for sunset when it is less crowded and you can easily get a parking spot in one of the lots
– Make sure to obey signs and park only where allowed
Note: During the day the beach gets very crowded and you may have to park far along the road

Secret Cove Beach (Makena Cove)

Secret Cove Beach (Makena Cove)

This beautiful but not-so-secret beach is a small cove beach with soft sand and dark rocks, surrounded by palm trees. Since it is so small it can get crowded fast, but it is definitely worth a stop.
Location: Kihei
Directions: This beach can be found on google maps as “Secret Cove Beach.” Continue south on Makena Rd past Makena Beach and about 0.2 miles after the third entrance you will see a small path going down to the beach. Park along the street (make sure to check the signs).
Amenities: None
Note: The waves here are dangerous and there are many large rocks so it is not great for swimming or snorkeling.

Day 3: Road to Hana and Haleakala National Park (Kipahulu District)

Road to Hana is one of the highlights of this 4-Day Maui Itinerary. Road to Hana is a windy road that starts in north Maui and takes you along the east side of the island. This side of the island is lush and green, with many incredible places to stop along the road. One of the best stops on Road to Hana is a bamboo forest where you can do a short hike through the bamboo. Another highlight is Wai’anapanapa State Park where you will find a black sand beach and large black cliffs with bright blue water. It is worth it to continue all the way to Hana, where you will find a short hike that takes you to a unique red sand beach.

Follow our Guide to Road to Hana for more information on the best places to stop for incredible waterfalls, beaches, and views.

Day 4: Waihee Ridge Trail, Iao Valley State Park, and West Maui Beaches

Waihee Ridge Trail

Start your fourth day in Maui with a nice hike. Waihee Ridge Trail can look very different depending on the weather. If it is cloudy you will not get a view but the trail itself is still beautiful, with interesting plant life and a trail through the clouds. We hiked when it was cloudy and still enjoyed seeing this part of Maui. When it is clear you should be able to see a view of the ocean.
Location: West Maui Mountains
Length: 4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 1600 Ft
– The hike can be very muddy, so make sure you wear the right shoes (hiking boots recommended).
– Do not park in the first parking lot you see, continue to the last parking lot right next to where the hike starts and you should be able to find available parking spots.

Iao Valley State Monument

Iao Valley

Iao Valley State Monument has a short walk along a paved path to a viewpoint of the 1,200 foot Iao Needle. There is also a loop you can follow through a botanical garden by a stream. This is a great quick stop that you should definitely be able to fit into your 4 days in Maui itinerary.
Fee: $5 visitors, no fee for Hawaiian residents
Facilities: Restrooms

Slaughterhouse Beach (Mokule'ia Beach)

Slaughterhouse Beach (Mokule'ia Beach)

This beach is a unique cove beach with large waves and great snorkeling. Be careful in the winter because the waves can be dangerous. This area of the island does get more rain so if you arrive and it is raining try to wait until it clears. Note that there are about 90 steps to get down to the beach.
Location: Lahaina
Directions: This beach can be found on google maps as “Slaughterhouse Beach.” The parking lot is located beside Honoapiilani Highway. 
Amenities: None

Kapalua Beach

Kapalua Beach

Kapalua Beach is a soft sand beach with calm waves, great snorkeling, and sea turtles. This is a perfect beach to relax after all the hiking and exploring in Maui. 
Location: Kapalua
Directions: Input “Kapalua Coastal Trail Free Public Parking” into google maps to lead you directly to the parking lot. Follow the Kapalua Coastal Trail for a couple minutes down to the beach.
Amenities: Restrooms and foot washing station
Note: Don’t get too close to the turtles!

The Best Things to Do in Maui

1. Drive Road to Hana
2. Explore the black sand beach at Wai’anapanapa State Park
3. Visit Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach in Hana
4. Hike at Haleakala National Park: Summit District
5. Relax on South Maui Beaches: Chang’s Beach, Makena Beach, Secret Cove Beach
6. Relax on West Maui Beaches: Slaughterhouse Beach, Kapalua Beach
7. Visit Iao Valley State Monument
8. Hike Waihee Ridge Trail
9. Eat at Paia Fish Market
10. Watch the sunset at Makena Beach

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links for products and services I recommend. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase and the income goes towards maintaining this site. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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