The Ultimate Itinerary for 7 Days in Maui, Hawaii

June 20, 2019

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A week in Maui

If you’ve booked a 7-day trip to Maui, chances are you are currently daydreaming about beach days, strong cocktails adorned with plumeria flowers, sunset catamarans, lush scenery and snorkeling with the sea turtles. I don’t blame ya. Maui is one of the best destinations for a weeklong vacation under the sun.

We own a condo in Maui, so I feel both excited and qualified to share my favorite spots and local secrets with you. Someone had to test all the mai tais and fish tacos on the island to determine a winner, right?! Below I outline my favorites places to stay, eat, drink, and activities worth doing based on my trips to the Valley Isle.

Read on for the Ultimate 7-day Maui Itinerary!

Places to Stay in Maui, Hawaii

Montage Maui Kapalua Bay Cliff Jumping

The number of people you are traveling with and the type of vacation you are seeking will determine whether you want to rent an Airbnb or stay in a hotel. One of the biggest struggles people have isn’t which hotel to stay at, but where to stay on the island. Check out the infographic I created below to give you a sense of each area:

 

Kaanapali vs Kihei vs Wailea - Areas of Maui Compared

In my opinion, your first weeklong trip to Maui is best spent in either Kihei or Lahaina/Kaanapali

If you’re looking for a little more action, I would recommend staying in Kaanapali or Lahaina. If you are on a budget or just want to take it easy, Kihei offers a slower pace and more affordable rentals.

The Whaler in Kaanapali

Whaler Kaanapali Vacation Rentals

The Whaler is unlike other hotels in the area because it is vacation rental by owner only. Each room has a kitchen, drastically reducing the cost of your vacation as you’re able to cook meals. It is located right on one of the nicest beaches in Maui, Kaanapali Beach, and right beside the Whaler Village where you’ll find restaurants and boutique stores.

NOTE: The Whaler used to have one of the biggest stretches of sand on Kaanapali, but due to a recent shift in tides, they do not have much of a beach left. There are large areas of sand on either side just a 2-minute walk away, but something I wanted to note in case you were hoping to walk right outside your place and onto the beach.

Maui Eldorado Resort Kaanapali

Like the Whaler, the Maui Eldorado is situated right on Kaanapali Beach and has rooms with full kitchens. It is a 3-star resort so easier on the wallet than the Westin’s and Hyatt’s that you find along the same shoreline. You can usually find a few Eldorado rooms on AirBnb!

Hyatt Regency Kaanapali

The Hyatt has one of the nicest pools in the area, complete with a grotto bar for all your happy hour needs. This hotel is located right in the middle of Kaanapali beach, and due to the recent shift in tides, has one of the biggest stretches of sand.

Kea Lani Fairmont Wailea

Spend the day lounging by their adult-only pool, book a spa treatment at the famous Willow Stream spa, and end the day dining at the award-winning restaurant, Kō, followed by a cheeky cocktail at Luana. You really never have to leave this oasis. Except to go get fish tacos. Definitely go do that.

Andaz Maui Wailea

If you’re looking to splurge on a luxury trip to Maui, the Andaz is hard to beat. The stunning property pays homage to Hawaiian and Polynesian culture in its design and is host to the brand new Mokapu Luau. The Andaz has one of the best spas on the island and on-site farm-to-table restaurants featuring local ingredients. Easy access to Mokapu Beach and a ridiculously nice pool. I’m in for all of this.

If you’re looking to rent a house or condo, check out AirBnb and VRBO!

Compare prices for 7 Days in Various Maui Hotels

 

How to get around Maui

Rent a Car

I would definitely recommend renting a car in Maui if you know you’d like to do some exploring. You will need one if the Road to Hana or the Haleakala sunrise is on your list! Costco has some amazing car rental deals. Maui just spent millions of dollars on a brand new car rental facility at the airport, so it has never been easier to grab a car and hit the road. The great thing about renting through Costco is if you find a cheaper deal you can always cancel and rebook at the cheaper rate.

Uber

For the nights you want to drink pina coladas and not worry about a DD, Uber is ready and waiting! There are a ton of Uber drivers on the island so no need to worry about finding a ride.

Ya, don’t put me down for cardio

You can’t spend a week in Maui without going on a few hikes. It isn’t called the Valley Isle for nothin’. Here are some hiking trails that offer incredible views and will give you a good sweat so you can eat all the Maui onion chips you want, guilt free.

Twin Falls

This two-mile “hike” is situated 20 minutes away from the quaint town of Paia. It is very easy but leads to 3 lovely waterfalls and a great swimming hole to jump in. If you plan on doing the Road to Hana, you might want to skip this one as you’ll see larger more extravagant falls on your drive.

Waihee Ridge Trail

A more challenging option is the 5-mile Waihee Ridge trail hike. Very steep and a little unstable in parts, but the views are worth the climb! Highly recommend this intermediate hike. Be wary if it has rained a lot, and reconsider hiking the trail if it has been washed out.

Kapalua Coastal Trail

One of my favorite coastline walks in Maui! Spend the day at one of the beaches in Kapalua and walk this 2-mile trail for breathtaking views of Northwest Maui. Bring your snorkel gear and keep your eyes peeled for turtles on the sea walls. Pay attention to the sounds, smells and sights around you while walking this trail, it is so beautiful.

Pipiwai Trail (East Maui)

Want to hike the Pipiwai Trail? So do 500,000 other tourists per year. While you’ll be sharing the trail with what seems like every human on the island, there is a reason it is one of the most popular on Maui. The 1.8-mile hike leads to the incredible 400′ Waimoku Falls, with more than 7 other pools along the way. The hike is located on the road to Hana at mile marker #42.  I’d suggest budgeting a couple of hours here to enjoy the experience.

The Best Brunch and Lunch spots in Maui

I love the local ingredients that anchor the culinary scene in Maui. Fresh pineapple, taro, coconut, poke, poi, macadamia nuts. Everything is so fresh and flavorful. Here are my favorite brunch spots in Maui:

Gazebo

Who knew fried rice and white macadamia nut pancakes would go oh so well together? Order the pancakes to share drizzled with coconut syrup. Seriously. SO good. Wish I could be transported there right now. This gazebo style restaurant located in Napili almost always has a line. Head there at 1:30pm if you don’t want to wait! This spot is great to hit before or after a Napili Beach day.

Gazebo Breakfast Napili Pancakes Fried RiceThe Millhouse

This dreamy farm-to-table restaurant is located on the Maui Tropical Plantation. It is such a beautiful property to explore. The area also has a gift shop, coffee, and ice cream shops. Ask for a table on the patio for gorgeous views of the Valley and order one of their craft cocktails. Careful, they strong.

Millhouse Maui Millhouse Maui

Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop

Pie for breaky, anyone? This popular spot has a plethora of savory, sweet and pot pies as well as freshly baked bread and sandwiches. Enjoy a few items family-style in this plantation era setting. Mmm coconut cream pie.

Kihei Cafe

Ultimate comfort food, island style. One of the best breakfast spots on the island! Enjoy the crab cake benny, fried rice with a poached egg on top, surfer dude sandwiches, or a Hawaiian burger with pineapple and teriyaki.

Choice Health Bar

Looking for something a little healthier? Hawaii has amazing smoothies, juice and acai bowls. Stop here for all three for a light breakfast/to balance out the tropical drinks and tacos.

Best Spas in Maui

Hawaii is one of the most relaxing places on earth. Break up your week in Maui with a spa treatment of your choice like an oceanfront massage or a facial featuring local ingredients. All the luxury hotels offer spa experiences but here are the fan favorites:

Grande Wailea

Voted one of the “Top 10 Spas in the United States” by Condé Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure magazines. With over 40 treatment rooms in a 50,000 square-foot-spa, it is the largest spa in Maui, perfect if you have lots of friends traveling together!

Spa Montage Kapalua Bay

One of my favorite things to do is book a spa treatment at a fancy resort so I can use their pool all day ;-). Montage Kapalua Bay is one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever seen. The outdoor Lomi Lomi massage is the quintessential Hawaiian spa experience. Take a walk on the Kapalua Coastal Trail beforehand!

Montage MauiWillowstream Spa Kea Lani

An award-winning spa with 13 indoor treatment rooms and 2 outdoor spa cabanas, both oceanside and poolside. Their treatments feature Maui sourced products, oils and herbs and weave ancient Hawaiian tradition into their spa experiences.

Things to Do in Maui

Trilogy Boat Cruise

Whether you want to do a snorkel tour, sunset cruise or whale watching tour, Trilogy is the best sailing option in Maui. They are very professional and go above and beyond to make experiences memorable. If you go during whale watching season (November-early May), I recommend booking the evening timeslot so that you essentially get a sunset cruise and whale watching tour all in one.

Boat Cruise Kaanapali Beach

Road to Hana in a Jeep

The Road to Hana is full of hairpin turns and gut-wrenching twists, but if you can stomach it, it is one of the best travel experiences.  There are so many insane mile-marks to stop at with lush greenery, waterfalls, hikes, trails, fresh food, and black sand beaches. I would devote a fullday of your 7-day Maui itinerary to the Road to Hana. Start early and end with dinner in Paia! Bring cash, water and a change of clothes.

Waterfall Road to Hana

Shopping in Paia

I love this cute little surf town. Walk around stopping into boutiques, thrift shops, and restaurants. Local favorites are the Paia Fish Market and Flatbread Company. Alternatively, do a little shop and then head to Millhouse or Mama’s Fish House for a meal (more on that below).

Paia Shopping

‘Iao Valley State Park – Iao Needle

All the Jurassic Park vibes. A short trail leads you to a stunning view of the Iao Needle, and a ridgetop lookout showcases the expansive 4,000-acre valley. Go early so you beat the fog!

Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Ride

Seeing Maui from the sky. What an experience. There are a few different options you can choose from, but the one that came highly recommended by multiple people was the Molokai/West Maui tour. The only way you can access Molokai is by plane or local ferry as they stopped their tour boats a few years ago. Seeing the waterfalls and flying into the Iao Valley is an experience I will never forget. Very pricey, but definitely a once in a lifetime experience. We took the Eco star and loved it.

Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tour

Snorkeling

There are a ton of snorkel tours, but if I was you I would rent some snorkel gear for your week in Maui and take it with you to various beaches. If you rent a car you can hit up the best snorkel spots like Honolua Bay, Kapalua Bay, and Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve.

Rent Paddleboards

The beach your hotel or condo is on will have paddleboards for rent. This is a fun activity to do in the early morning when it’s calm. Rent them for an hour and then go for brunch or hit the beach.

Sunrise or sunset at Haleakala National Park

One of the most popular things to do in Maui is take in a sunrise or sunset at the Haleakalā Crater. You will need a reservation for sunrise, but you can head there without one at sunset. Most people don’t realize there are a ton of amazing hikes around the area, so consider watching the sunrise and then sticking around to explore. I’m sure you’ve heard, but it’s freezing up there, so layer up with sweaters and blankets for sunrise!

Most random thing to add to your 7-Day Maui Itinerary: Goat Yoga

Ya heard me. Check out what I’m talking about here.

The Best Beaches in Maui

Kaanapali Beach

It’s always fun to switch it up and explore different beaches while in Maui. While I love Kaanapali and Napili beach, here are a few other options:

DT Fleming

Always a classic, DT Fleming is a great beach for swimming, lounging, and snorkeling. The last time we were there, over 20 dolphins stayed in the bay and swam back and forth for hours! We were able to swim out and get a closer look while keeping our distance. They were so friendly and full of personality! It was such an amazing experience. You are likely to see turtles here as well. There is a lifeguard on duty which is always a bonus. Bring your snorkel gear.

Palauea Beach

I almost didn’t want to include this on this list, because this beach is SO nice and secluded and I selfishly want to keep it all to myself. BUT I am all about sharing the wealth, and I couldn’t list my favorite beaches without including this one. We stumbled upon this after looking for something less crowded than Wailea Beach. It is located right between Wailea Beach and Makena Beach (Big Beach). The water is very calm and there are no resorts with a million umbrellas and beach chairs.

Makena Beach (Also known as Big Beach + Little Beach)

I love Makena beach. It’s one of the biggest beaches in Maui (hence the nickname Big Beach), so there is always room without feeling like you are sitting on top of someone else’s beach chair. The waves and riptide can get fairly dangerous here, so make sure you keep an eye on the flags and don’t go in the water if advised against it. We went in May and it was unsafe to swim due to big waves and a riptide.

Please remember you are a visitor and Hawaii’s eco-system is fragile. Please wear reef-safe sunscreen to help protect our oceans.

Did somebody say Happy Hour?

I wonder how many mai tais and Longboard Lagers are consumed per week in Maui? While every hour feels like happy hour in Maui, here are a few spots that will get ya feeling extra happy:

MonkeyPod Kitchen

The best mai tai’s in the world. Seriously, they top them with a Honey Liliko’i foam that I would bathe in if I could. The new location at Whaler Village is bumpin’. I wasn’t super impressed with the happy hour food, but I would highly recommend Monkeypod for dinner. The mahi-mahi, ceviche, and poke tacos are all delicious.

Leilani’s

This vibrant beach bar has great people watching on the Kaanapali strip. Order a mai tai, coconut shrimp and fish tacos!

Merriman’s

From the same owners as Monkeypod, Merriman’s is considered more fine dining, less beach bar. I had one of the best meals of my entire life here, and the patio has gorgeous sunset views.

Down the Hatch

A fun bar in Lahaina to come before dinner. Great if you want to watch a sporting event or for a quick cocktail. Rumor has it the lava shrimp is insanely good. I have yet to try it but was definitely eyeing up an order beside me. Big enough to share!

Casual Eats and Grocery Stores

Hawaiian Moons

For groceries, fresh-pressed juices and acai bowls. The deli is the perfect stop before the beach or to pick up happy hour ingredients.

Farmacy Health Bar

Amazing spot for a healthy meal and a popular spot for vegetarians.

Coconuts

More fish tacos and coconut shrimp? I swear that is all I ate on my recent trip. That and poke. And Maui onion chips. And all the coconut flavored deserts. OKAY FINE. I ate all the things. Head to Coconuts for casual, delicious eats.

Farmer Market and Deli

Great for a few fresh ingredients or groceries to pick up for your week in Maui. I find they have more interesting local foods than the Costco/Safeway. Tip: Definitely head to Walmart or Costco at the beginning of your trip to stock up on staples and then go to the specialty grocery stores for everything else.

Star Noodle

A local favorite serving up freshly made noodles and Asian dishes. Great spot for takeout or post-beach day. Order family style!

Da Kitchen (Kihei)

Craving something casual post-beach? This is one of the most popular spots in Kihei for traditional Hawaiian dishes and American cuisine. Burgers, loco moco, and the Hawaiian plate are all great.

Tamura’s Fine Wine & Liquors

Soo, this is super random, but don’t let the name fool you. This place has the BEST poke bowls. HUGE portions of fish topped with white or brown rice. There are a million varieties to choose from but I loved the spicy tuna and the ninja. Grab a poke bowl and a bottle of wine and head to watch the sunset somewhere!

Dinner

Merriman’s or Monkeypod

As mentioned above, you can’t go wrong with either of these for a nice dinner with your partner or friends.

Mama’s Fish House

The most famous restaurant on Maui! And for good reason. Not only is the setting absolutely STUNNING (especially at sunset), the food is so fresh. The fishermen go out and catch everything that same morning. If you’re taking a late flight home, Mama’s is a great spot to come to before your flight as it is right near the airport!

Frida’s

Craving a little Mexican food? This is one of my favorite spots in Maui and always recommended by locals. The patio has a beautiful view of the ocean where you can spot sea turtles in the waves. I think I spotted about 10 during our last meal. Come for the sunset!

Fridas Fish Tacos Maui

Japengo

The best sushi on the island (with Sansei in Kapalua a close second). They get ingredients delivered from Japan two days a week and have a bunch of fun rolls to choose from.

Aloha Mixed Plate

A Maui staple! It has been so fun to see this little hole in the wall turn into the cult classic it is today. Located right beside Frida’s in Lahaina, eat like a local at this fun, casual waterfront spot.

Aprés Dinner Drinks

Fleetwood’s on Front Street

Head to Fleetwood’s after dinner for some great live music, a fun atmosphere, and a few drinks. Front Street in Lahaina is as close as you’ll get to “nightlife” in Maui.

The Dirty Monkey

Sports, live music, and DJ’s on the weekends, this dive bar in Lahaina is a fun spot to come play games and socialize.

I hope this gave you some ideas to start planning your 7 days in Maui! The Valley Isle is so special. It has been consistently voted “Best Island in the World” by Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure and has such an infectious energy. I promise, you’ll be hooked! Feel free to reach out to me with any questions. A Hui Hou, Maui

 

xx,

Kaylee

Shop my Maui Essentials

 

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