Getaway Compass

How to Spend 4 Days in Maui: The Ultimate Maui Itinerary

Red Sand Beach Maui

Maui is a beautiful island with stunning beaches, lush hiking trails, and breathtaking waterfalls. Four days in Maui is an ideal amount of time to see the highlights of the island including Road to Hana and Makena Beach. Start planning your trip to Maui with this perfect 4-day Maui itinerary which has a mix of relaxing and adventure activities.

The Perfect 4-Day Maui Itinerary: Contents

How to Get to 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. Find the best flight deals by searching for flights on SkyscannerThe easiest way to find flight deals to Maui is by signing up for Going which sends flight deal alerts for Hawaii and more destinations directly to your email.

How to Get Around Maui

The best way to explore Maui is by renting a car and driving around the island. Find a rental car on Discover Cars which searches across rental car companies to help you find the best price. 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, it is not necessary to rent a jeep or other 4×4 vehicle.  

Where to Stay in Maui

Makena Beach Maui

It makes sense to stay in one place during your 4 days in Maui and explore the island from there. 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 beautiful 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.

 

What to Pack for Maui

Bamboo Forest Maui
  • Snorkel Gear: Maui has incredible snorkeling spots that you can reach by boat or from certain beaches. If you don’t have snorkel gear, make sure to order this snorkel set in advance to bring on your Maui adventure.
  • Walking Sandals: Maui has rocky beaches so make sure to bring a pair of sandals that you can wear on rocky beaches and for longer walks to the beach. These are my go-to walking sandals since they are 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 cruise.
  • Hiking Bag: Bring a comfortable daypack to carry everything you need for the day. This REI 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. I recommend these Salomon hiking shoes that have great traction and are waterproof.
  • Beach Towel: I take this 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.

Book These Top Experiences in Maui

Day 1: Relax on South Maui Beaches and Hike Waihee Ridge Trail

Start your 4-day Maui itinerary by exploring the beaches on the south side of Maui. 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, check out our article: 7 Best Secluded Beaches in Maui.

Chang's Beach

Changs Beach

Begin 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)

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.

Interested in visiting another Hawaiian Island? Read our 4-day Kauai Itinerary

Hike Waihee Ridge Trail

Waihee Ridge Trail Maui
Waihee Ridge Trail Maui View

After your morning relaxing on the beach, 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 it’s important to wear hiking shoes with good traction. 

Length: 4 miles round trip
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,600 ft
Parking: Look for parking at the second lot which is located right next to where the hike starts. There is an overflow parking lot further down the hill.

Day 2: Haleakala National Park (Summit District)

One of the highlights of this 4-day Maui itinerary is visiting the summit district of Haleakala National Parka crater at 10,023 ft with large cinder cones. 

TIP: If you are entering the park between 3:00 AM and 7:00 AM you must purchase a summit sunrise reservation online. Make sure to reserve this ahead of time because spots do sell out.

Haleakala National Park

Drive Up to the Summit of Haleakala (10,023 ft)

Haleakala Summit

Make the heroic drive up to the summit of Haleakala where you will find a short trail that you can walk along to see the view 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

Haleakala Crater Maui

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.

Trailhead: At the further end of the visitor center parking lot next to the information board by the road
Length: As much as you want to hike, up to 11 miles round trip
Elevation Change: As much as you want to hike, up to 2,795 ft
Difficulty: Moderate to Hard depending on distance hiked

Tips for Hiking the Sliding Sands Trail

  • Wear hiking boots. If you don’t have hiking boots, I highly recommend purchasing hiking boots for your Maui 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 recommendations on where to hike if you are unable to do the whole trail. There might be a blooming silversword along the trail that would be worth seeing.
  • 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

Us in Red Sand Beach

Exploring the 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.

Things to Know Before Driving Road to Hana

  • Start early so you have plenty of time to explore Road to Hana. The road can get busy later in the day.
  • You don’t need a 4×4 to drive Road to Hana. Sorry Jeep.
  • The road is very windy so be prepared for the drive.
  • There are food trucks and vendors at different stops along Road to Hana but they are expensive. Bring lunch with you to save time and money.

Best Road to Hana Stops

Garden of Eden Arboretum
Black Sand beach
Wailua Valley State Wayside view
  • Twin Falls (Mile Marker 2): For your first stop on Road to Hana, complete the short hike to twin falls. The falls can vary look very different 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 of 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 which 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 in Hana.

Read 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

West Side of 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!

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. Don’t get too close to the sea turtles!

Oahu is also known for its incredible beaches. Read More: 10 Best Beaches on Oahu.

Slaughterhouse Beach (Mokule'ia Beach)

Slaughterhouse Beach Maui

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 Snorkeling and Lookout

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.

Nakalele Blowhole

Nakalele Blowhole

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

Punalau Beach Maui

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

Iao Valley

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 a 20 minute drive from here to the airport so you’ll have plenty of time to make your return flight.

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