For anyone who loves exploring the beautiful scenery of Maui in a way that is just a little bit off the beaten track, the West Maui Circle Drive is for you! This drive takes you around the top of the coast on the West side of Maui, driving north from Lahaina and around.
We gave a quick overview of this drive in our recent article Three Beautiful Maui Drives That Don’t Lead to Hana. To help you make the most of your time on the West Maui Circle Drive we’ve highlighted our top 10 places to stop along the way!
Top 10 Stops on the West Maui Circle Drive:
1. Lahaina Town
This is not so much a stop as it is a starting place! Most people prefer to drive clockwise around the circle because it means your car will not be right next to the sheer cliff edge. Lahaina town is definitely worth an exploration but we suggest you take a day to enjoy the place as it has lots to see and do.
On your way out of Lahaina, why not stop at Lahaina Cannery Mall to pick up coffee, snacks and rent snorkel gear before you carry on along the Honoapiilani Highway.
2. Ka’anapali Beach and Black Rock
If you’re not staying at one of the hotels at Ka’anapali Beach then you should definitely stop and check out the area. The beautiful sandy beach and idyllic water make it irresistible.
Black Rock, a protruding lava outcrop just off Ka’anapali beach is home to a wider variety of fish, and so it’s a favorite place for snorkelers. It is also a popular place for cliff jumping.
3. DT Fleming Beach Park
Named after the man who first bought the pineapple to West Maui, DT Fleming Beach Park is a little less crowded than Ka’anapali Beach and has all the facilities you could wish for (restrooms, showers, picnic benches, BBQ spots etc). Surrounded by Ironwoods and palm trees, this is another stunning beach to stop at.
4. Honolua Bay
You must stop here! You can either stop at the bay itself to snorkel or stop shortly after the bay on the cliff top and gaze back at the surfers down below.
If you stop to snorkel you will need to park on the side of the road and walk the 100 metres down hill through a forest area, to the bay at the bottom.
If you are wave watching then you’ll need to continue driving round to the right side of Honolua Bay and take the first available left. Then you can park up and enjoy in the views.
5. Nakalele Point
Nakalele Point is home to Nakalele Blowhole. The blowhole is a sort of natural geyser – a hole in the lava rock causes trapped seawater to shoot up out of it periodically.
It is awesome to see but you shouldn’t get too close as they can be very dangerous, due to their power and unpredictable nature.
To stop to see the blowhole you’ll need to pull it at mile marker 38.5 and hike down a path, steep and unclear in places. Apparently there is also a Instagram-worthy heart-shaped hole in a rock here as well. Let us know if you spot it!
6. Ohai Overlook
The Ohai Loop Trail is a short 1.2 mile hike found after mile marker 40. This is the perfect place to stretch your legs whilst enjoying great views of the ocean. If you don’t wish to do the hike this is worth a stop anyway as there is an overlook at the beginning of the trail which makes for a great photo opp.
7. Olivine pools
The Olivine Pools are another of Maui’s spectacular natural formations. These are tidal pools made from lava rock. The water is clear and looks green because of the color of the rock below.
On days with little surf, people will swim in these pools. However, be sure to approach with extreme caution as the waves have been known to sweep swimmers out to sea.
If you fancy a look then pull over to park at mile marker 16 on Kahekili Highway.
8. Kaukini Gallery
If you are brave enough to traverse the single track road beyond the Olivine Pools, and through the old village of Kahakuloa then you will be rewarded with a stop at Kaukini Gallery.
Kaukini Gallery has a big shop where you can buy a vast selection of high quality Maui-made souvenirs and products. From jewellery to coasters, cuddly toys to pens, there is a lot on offer here.
The perfect place to pick up a keepsake from your road trip.
9. Waihee Ridge Trail
This trail takes several hours to complete and so isn’t a quick stop from your drive. The popular hike is quite steep and rises to 2563 feet.
It boasts some stunning scenery at the top, and there are a few well placed benches for you to take a rest on. If it’s been raining then watch out for some very muddy sections! Make sure you park at the second car park and not the first, otherwise you’ll have a lot longer to go.
10. Fatt Chicks
If you’re feeling a bit peckish after your drive around the West Maui coast then we recommend popping by Fatt Chicks for one of their signature burgers! Located on a golf course in front of Waihee Beach Park, Fatt Chicks is the perfect place to go for some comfort food at the end of a long day.
A word of caution!
This would not be considered an easy drive and so less confident drivers are advised to take on only part of the West Maui Circle Drive.
For a portion of the drive (around the old village of Kahakuloa) you are on a twisting single lane with cars going both ways and only few passing places. If you’re driving a rental, then check the rental insurance terms before you take on this bit of road.
Even if you don’t choose to go the whole way round, you can still see nearly all there is to see (and without the heart-attack inducing moments!) Drive as far as the Olivine Pools (Stop 7) from Lahaina and then make your way back the way you came.
On another day if you fancy a hike you can drive directly to The Waihee Ridge Trail (stop 9). Then pop in for a burger at Fatt Chicks (Stop 10) afterwards!
We hope you enjoy taking on the West Maui Maui Circle Drive! Let us know what your top stops are in the comments section.
- For further tips on West Maui, see our article on What To Do In West Maui.
- For other Maui drives, see our article on Three Beautiful Drives That Don’t Lead To Hana.
- Go here for general Maui driving tips.