4-Day Maui Itinerary: Best Things to Do in Maui
Maui is a beautiful island with stunning beaches, beautiful hiking trails, and breathtaking waterfalls. The Valley Isle offers a mix of activities for both relaxing and exploring. Four days in Maui is an ideal amount of time to see the highlights of the island. Plan your trip to Maui using this 4-day Maui itinerary to make sure that you do all of the top things on the island.
How to Get Around Maui
The primary airport on Maui is Kahului airport (OGG). There are direct flights to Maui from most major cities on the west coast of the US. Make sure to rent a car for your Maui trip online in advance on Discover Cars as rental cars can sell out on the island. A sedan is fine to get to the destinations on this itinerary, you don’t need to rent a jeep or other AWD/4WD vehicle.
Where to Stay in Maui
Maui is small enough where you could stay in one place on the island for your 4 days in Maui. The most popular areas to stay on the island are the west side and the south side.
West Side: 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. It is very scenic but it does get more rain.
South Side: The south side is the sunniest part of Maui. Here you can find cheaper accommodation options and a large selection of Airbnbs which are often less expensive than the west side. This 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, booking.com is a great site to use. Keep in mind that many hotels in Maui have additional cleaning fees that will be added when you reserve the room.
6 Things You Need to Bring for 4 Days in Maui
- Walking Sandals: A pair of sandals that you can wear on rocky beaches and for longer walks to the beach will be helpful. These walking sandals are very comfortable and great for water activities.
- Dry Bag: This dry bag is a must for your trip to Maui! You can put your valuables in it when you get caught in the rain or use it for water activities such as kayaking or a boat tour.
- Hiking Bag: Bring a comfortable daypack to carry everything you need for the day. This Gregory daypack is one of my favorite hiking bags.
- Hiking Shoes: I recommend wearing hiking shoes for longer hikes such as Waihee Ridge Trail as it can get muddy and slippery. You can get hiking boots or shoes with traction like these Salomon hiking shoes that also happen to be waterproof.
- Beach Towel: I take this Turkish beach towel with me on every trip. It is light, drys quickly, and is super thin so it barely takes up any space in my carry-on. There are endless color options so I keep buying more.
- Snorkel Gear: There are amazing places to snorkel in Maui. Make sure to bring a snorkel set so you can see vibrant fish and sea turtles. I used this snorkel set in Maui and was able to see so many amazing fish and even had a staring contest with a sea turtle.
Best Things to Do in Maui
2. Do a snorkeling tour to an extinct volcanic crater called Molokini Crater. It is known to be a top snorkeling spot due to its coral reef which is the home of over 200 different species of fish and crystal clear water.
3. Hike the 4-mile Waihee Ridge Trail for unparalleled views of Maui.
4. Relax on beaches in South Maui such as Chang’s Beach, Makena Beach, and Secret Cove Beach.
5. Visit Haleakala National Park at 10,000 ft.
6. Enjoy a boat tour to snorkeling spots off the coast of Lanai, a smaller island near Maui.
9. Explore the west side of Maui where you can snorkel at Honolua Bay, swim at slaughterhouse beach, and relax at Kapalua Beach.
10. Take a rainforest walk to a scenic viewpoint at Iao Valley State Monument.
4-Day Maui Itinerary
Day 1: Relax on South Maui Beaches and Hike Waihee Ridge Trail
Day 2: Visit Haleakala National Park (Summit District)
Day 3: Road to Hana
Day 4: Explore West Maui
Day 1: Relax on South Maui Beaches and Hike Waihee Ridge Trail
Spend the first part of the day enjoying the beaches on the south part of the island. South Maui is the sunniest, driest part of the island and has many beautiful and relaxing beaches. If you are interested in finding more secluded beaches in Maui, refer to this article: 7 Best Secluded Beaches in Maui. When you are ready to explore, put your hiking boots on and hike up Waihee Ridge Trail for amazing views of Maui.
Start your 4-day Maui itinerary relaxing on Chang’s Beach. This is a soft sand beach with calm waves. It is a perfect beach to relax and read that book you keep saying you are going to read.
Makena Beach (Big Beach)
Next visit Makena Beach, a 1.5 mile stretch of soft sand with views of Molokini Crater and Kaho‘olawe Island. This long beach is a great spot to take a walk. The sunsets here are amazing so I recommend coming back again for sunset.
Secret Cove Beach (Makena Cove)
Continue to your final beach of the day, Secret Cove Beach. This beach is a small cove beach with soft sand and dark rocks, surrounded by palm trees. To find this 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.
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Hike Waihee Ridge Trail
Length: 4 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1,600 ft
Parking: 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.
After your morning relaxing, hike up Waihee Ridge Trail to see incredible views of Maui. This trail takes you through a forest up a ridge with great views of the ocean and the north part of Maui. This hike can be very muddy, especially in the winter, so make to wear hiking shoes with good traction.
Day 2: Haleakala National Park (Summit District)
Drive Up to the Summit of Haleakala(10,023 ft)
You can drive up to the the summit of Haleakala where 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 you will find a small exhibit here with information regarding the crater.
Hike the Sliding Sands Trail
Trailhead: At the end of the visitor center parking lot next to the information board by the road
Length: 0 to 11 miles round trip (depending on how much you decide to hike)
Elevation Change: 0 to 2,795 ft (depending on how far down you decide to hike)
Difficulty: Moderate to Hard (depending how far down you hike)
After driving up to the summit, drive down ten minutes to the visitor center and hike the Sliding Sands Trail. This unique hike offers incredible views of the crater, cinder cones, and silverswords. I recommend hiking as much of this trail as you are able to or have time to do. You don’t have to hike the full trail to enjoy this hike, it is an amazing experience to hike down into the crater even if it is for a short walk.
Tips for Hiking the Sliding Sands Trail
- Wear hiking boots. If you don’t have hiking boots, I highly recommend hiking boots for this trip.
- Bring layers as the weather can change rapidly in the crater.
- 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.
Day 3: Road to Hana
Road to Hana was my favorite part of our 4-Day Maui Itinerary. Road to Hana is a windy road that 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. I recommend driving all the way to Hana, where you will find a short hike that takes you to a unique red sand beach.
Things to Know Before Driving Road to Hana
- Start early so you have plenty of time to explore Road to Hana.
- You don’t need a 4WD/AWD to drive Road to Hana. Sorry Jeep.
- The road is very windy so be prepared.
- There are food trucks and vendors at different stops along Road to Hana but they are expensive. I recommend bringing lunch with you to save time and money.
Best Road to Hana Stops
- Twin Falls (Mile Marker 2): For your first stop on Road to Hana, complete the short hike to twin falls. The falls can vary widely depending on the amount of rainfall there has been.
- Bamboo Forest (Between Mile Marker 6 – 7): One of the best stops on Road to Hana is a bamboo forest that you can explore on a short trail.
- Garden of Eden Arboretum (Mile Marker 10): Walk on the scenic paths through this garden to see vibrant plants, waterfalls, and beautiful views of the ocean.
- Wailua Valley State Wayside (Mile Marker 19): You can see lush green hills on one side and a view of the ocean on the other side from this quiet viewpoint.
- Pua’a Kaa State Wayside Park (Mile Marker 22): This amazing waterfall is a short walk from the parking lot. If you are looking for a quick swim along Road to Hana you can do so in the swimming hole below the waterfall.
- Wai’anapanapa State Park (Mile Marker 32): Visit this popular park is known for its black sand beach. Spend time walking up the cliffs to see more amazing views.
- Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach (In Hana): Take a 15 minute walk to this unique red sand beach.
Follow our Guide to Road to Hana for more information on the best places to stop to see incredible waterfalls, beaches, and views.
Day 4: Explore West Maui
Spend the last day of your 4-Day Maui Itinerary exploring the west side of Maui. This side of the island has beautiful beaches, great snorkeling spots, and incredible viewpoints. The north part of the west side is accessible by a very windy road, so be prepared! Drive around the west side of Maui clockwise, starting in Lahaina. You can start your day walking around the town of Lahaina and getting breakfast. The town has many restaurants and shops and even features the oldest living Banyan Tree in Maui.
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. Don’t get too close to the sea turtles!
Slaughterhouse Beach (Mokule'ia Beach)
Slaughterhouse Beach is a secluded beach in Maui with beautiful clear blue water. During the summer the water at this hidden beach is calm and perfect for swimming. There are about 90 steps to get down to the beach from the parking lot.
Snorkel at Honolua Bay
Honolua Bay is one of the best spots to snorkel in Maui. In the summer the water is clear and the visibility can be amazing. You can get down into the bay by following a short walk through the forest. Don’t forget to bring your snorkel gear! For more snorkeling adventures you can book a tour to snorkel at Molokini Crater.
A short rocky path takes you to a viewpoint of a blowhole that erupts out of cracks in the lava rocks. You can spend time watching the water spray out and enjoying the nice ocean views. Don’t get too close to the blowhole as the force of the water can be unpredictable.
Punalau Beach Viewpoint
As you continue driving clockwise around the west side of Maui on the windy road, you will notice pull outs along the road. Make sure to stop at the viewpoint above Punalau Beach to see amazing views.
Iao Valley State Monument
This quick stop is a great way to end your 4-day Maui itinerary. Iao Valley State Monument has a short 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. It is only 20 minutes from here to the airport so you’ll have plenty of time to make your flight back to the mainland.
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