The West Side of Maui has a lot of things going for it. There is Lahaina, which once held seat to the Hawaiian Monarchy and is now a cultural hub of Maui with lots to see, do and eat. There there is also the stunning Kaanapali Beach with its golden sands and warm aqua waters. The weather in West Maui tends to be hot and dry, and you consistently get a good sunset display over the ocean with the islands of Lanai and Molokai in the distance.
If you’re planning to stay on the West Side of Maui then you won’t be disappointed. But how is Maui best experienced from the West Side? With so much to see and do in Maui, we’ve put together an itinerary for spending a week in Maui to help you explore the island from the West.
Day 1: Sightsee in Lahaina
The historic whaling town of Lahaina will have you charmed. Front street, with its different colored shop fronts is great fun to walk down. It is home to art galleries, gift stores, clothing stores and restaurants.
There are also several fascinating museums in the heart of Lahaina such as the Baldwin Missionary House and the Wo Hing Museum which are well worth a visit.
If you need a break from sightseeing then stop at one of the shops selling shave ice and enjoy it by the beautiful old Banyan tree opposite the Baldwin Missionary House. Underneath its many trunks and branches, you’ll find stalls showcasing local made items for sale.
Day 2: Relax at Kaanapali Beach
Further North from Lahaina, is Kaanapali Beach. Many Maui visitors choose to say in one of the resorts next to the beach itself. The beach itself is often bustling with activity, and many snorkel cruises and whale-watching tours taking off from its shores.
A conveniently a short walk from the beach is Whaler’s Village, which is an upmarket mall with a variety of shops and restaurants. In the evenings, the beach front resorts at Kaanapali, regularly host luaus , and attending one makes for the perfect end to a day at Kaanapali beach.
We can recommend the Maui Nui Luau at the Sheraton which ends with a spectacular recreation of an ancient Hawaiian ceremony, where torches are lit and a man dives into the ocean from Black Rock.
Read more about Kaanapali Beach.
Day 3: Explore Upcountry and Mount Haleakala
You’ll want to explore more of Maui than just the West Side, and because Maui is relatively small then it is easy to get to other sides of the island for day trips. One sight not to miss is a trip up Maui’s giant volcano, Mount Haleakala.
On Day 3, get the most out of your drive up the volcano by stopping in Upcountry Maui on the way up to the summit. Upcountry Maui can have a much cooler climate, and you’ll experience more of the local Hawaii away from the resorts.
Stop in the old cowboy town of Makawao for lunch and then head outside of Makawao to Piholo Ranch for an afternoon of zip-lining. This is a great activity for families to do together, and as you zip across gulches and above tree tops, you’ll get to see some of Maui’s incredible views.
Continue on up Haleakala to the summit car park and get there in good time for sunset, which is a show not be missed.
Day 4: Snorkel at Honolulu Bay
If you’re into snorkeling (and if you haven’t tried it – do!) then there are some great places to snorkel in West Maui.
A drive North from Lahaina and Kaanapali, on day 4, will take you to Honokeana and Honolulu Bay – two great snorkel spots where you’ll find coral formations, fish and turtles.
If you are into exploring then we recommend continuing the drive around the Kahekili Highway (or the West Maui Circle Drive). You’ll get to see Maui’s rugged landscape and see two natural gems: the Nakalele blow hole and the Olivine pools. Check out our West Maui Circle Drive guide for full details and key stops. Be warned, parts of this drive are not for the faint hearted!
Day 5: Surf Maui’s South Side
On day 5, Head to Kihei in South Maui to check out some more of Maui’s quality beaches. If you’re up for a surf lesson then there are ample surf schools here which will happily take you out for a go on the waves.
Once you’ve explored Kihei, drive further down the South Side and enjoy the golden sands of Makena Beach aptly known as Big Beach, and then continue on South towards La Perouse. Park up at the furthest point and take a hike through rugged lava fields along the coast by La Perouse Bay.
Bring snorkel gear as there are some top snorkel spots down there too.
Day 6: Take a trip from Lahaina
Lahaina offers a vast array of boat trips out of its harbor and from its pier. On offer are sportfishing, sailing, diving, snorkeling, whale-watching and dolphin spotting trips. Two of our favorite trips are the Atlantis Submarine Tour and the Ocean Riders Ultimate Lanai Snorkel Experience.
Lanai is the island you can see most prominently from the shores of Lahaina. Some of the boat trips which leave Lahaina go out to this more secluded island. Ocean Riders leave from the Mala Boat Ramp, Lahaina for their Ultimate Lanai Snorkel experience. Combine, snorkelling with exploration on this trip as you circumnavigate Lanai. Read about our time on the Ultimate Lanai Snorkel experience, and watch the video.
Day 7: Taste Maui Grown Coffee
On day 7, if you like coffee head to the Maui Grown Coffee store in Lahaina next to the famous Lahaina Smokestack. Here you can sample different coffees grown on Maui, and in Kona too. You can hear a bit of the history and pick up coffees, coffee beans and coffee related gifts.
Then wander over to the adjacent smokestack, for a look at the locomotives exhibit and an opportunity to learn about Maui’s sugar cane industry.
Afterwards, make the most of West Maui’s beaches and head south of Lahaina to Launiupoko State Park, a beach park with facilities, great for surf and with a protected pool for toddlers. Stay for another gorgeous sunset display.
If you would like to read more about West Maui, then check out these posts:
Also, check out our 7 day itinerary for those staying in South Maui.