Explore Maui in 3 Days
Maui Three-Day Itinerary Suggestions
Ready to escape to your dream vacation, Hawaii? With kids to carpool, a house to clean, a job to maintain, who has time to plan a vacation? Most people find it staggering, planning their dream vacation to Maui. Don't let discouragement lead you to think, "Wow, this is a lot harder than I thought it'd be... there's so much to do."
Welcome to our site, where you can find limited options and guidance to building a flexible Maui itinerary. Plan your Maui vacation with ease. Visitors commend our itineraries as user-friendly, interactive, and customizable to fit their needs. Our website provides expert insights into planning your trip and organizing your vacation goals into simple itineraries.
Proper preparation will serve you well with only three full days (four nights) on Maui. Use our Maui 3-day itineraries to tackle the Valley Isle with a solid action plan. Planning your vacation doesn't have to be a chore, and hopefully, our recommendations will help prepare for your three-day and a four-night trip to Maui.
Customizing Your Maui Stay With Our Guides
Ultimately, our Maui itineraries share insider tips regarding any of our Maui itineraries: one, two, three (this page), four, five, six, and seven-day itineraries. Our guide explores how many days to spend in Maui. We list the best sights, best deals, and timesaving tips. Our guide holds it all, whether seeking an adventure, relaxing beaches, killer surfing, or a romantic getaway. With the help of our itinerary, expect to manifest your dream Maui vacation!
Mapping Your 3-Day Maui Trip
In this three-day Maui itinerary, we've selected West Maui for one full day of sightseeing, including Lahaina and Ka'anapali. For the second day, head to East Maui (along the coast) which takes you along the famous shoreline to the popular Road to Hana. We've introduced Upcountry Maui and Haleakala National Park (including the summit area).
Building the Best 5-day Maui Itinerary: Flexibility Matters
We think you'll find all three days full of special activities and sights to see. We've also provided a couple of alternate days to select from if something in one of our three suggested days doesn't fit your fancy. Think of our itineraries as a rough guide, and don't be afraid to switch, swap, and exchange days or stops in our itineraries so that you ultimately build the itinerary YOU want for your trip.
For instance, our three-day Maui itinerary below attempts to cover the top attractions on Maui over three days. We believe the interests and activities outlined in this Maui itinerary will provide a memorable and enjoyable experience while visiting the 'Valley Isle.'
Find Your Way Around Maui: Google Maps for Every Day on Maui
We've provided all Maui directions via Google Maps when possible. Google Maps works on all platforms and across all devices. Search the site's address or name with your phone or tablet, and then go. To help you visualize each day's itinerary, we've also provided overview maps that help you get your bearings.
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Overview of Maui - the ‘Valle' Isle’
As the second-largest Hawaiian island, Maui holds many wonders. Some quick highlights about Maui:
- Trek the two major volcanic areas, from the West Maui Mountains to the very expansive, active Haleakala on the eastern side of Maui.
- Between the two volcanoes, find valleys filled with deposits.
- Visit the "Valley Isle" lushness in the island's center. Discover a vast array of greenery and vegetation.
- Hit the sandy beaches that span the island, especially along the West Coast.
- Bask in the great climate along with. Sunny days. Maui's Volcanoes block most precipitation from reaching the island's leeward side.
- Delve into the rich green terrains found in the eastern portions of the island. Discover a lush paradise boasting waterfalls in many valleys.
- Enjoy the Hana Highway (aka The Road to Hana) as it winds its way along the coast to the sleepy town of Hana in the bay.
- Explore the dry and barren terrain on Maui's West Coast.
Accommodations on Maui & Where to Stay
On Maui, most people choose to stay on the west side of the island in Lahaina or Ka'anapali. In contrast, others choose accommodations on the south shore, in Kihei or Wailea. Are you still weighing your options? We can help. Check out the Where to Stay on Maui article for the best tips on where to book your stay. Regardless of your chosen location in Maui, you can find many accommodations scattered across the island: B&Bs, inns, resorts, hotels, etc. Let our experts offer you the best insight into planning accordingly.
Quick Tip: Read our Best time to Visit Maui article for an in-depth look at which time(s) of the year is best for your travel party on Maui.
Getting Around Maui
A rental car is the best option for getting around the island and viewing all the sights we detail in our itineraries on Maui. The rental rates in Hawaii are often some of the cheapest anywhere globally because the competition is fierce.
There is no reliable bus service on the island, and taxi services are expensive and illogical for sight-seeing purposes.
What to Pack on Your Maui Trip
Leave as much as you can at home. As part of the USA, you can find nearly everything in Hawaii. Most likely, you will not find it ideal, schlepping around three suitcases after a long flight. Considering your travel goals and past travel experience, we still highly recommend bringing only must-needed items.
Regarding clothing, consider packing:
- A few pairs of shorts
- Several t-shirts, cotton is best
- Hats or visors to protect you from the sunny days
- Sandals or flip-flops
- Light jacket for the higher elevations
Overall, such clothing items suit most outings, including fine dining options. Unless you plan to stay in an exclusive resort, our list will meet your vacation goals.
Follow the "less is more" mindset for any additional items. We recommend bringing:
- Sunblock (the UV in Hawaii is typically 10+ in the spring, summer, and fall),
- A backpack (for any hikes) and
- A water bottle
- Slippers (flip-flops, shower shoes, zoris)
- Equipment for snorkeling/swimming: mask, snorkel, and fins (or rent locally instead),
- Two bathing suits (one to wear while the other dries) and a cover-up
- your phone or a camera
- Lightweight raincoat or poncho (for mountain/rain forest hiking)
- Bug spray with DEET (for any forest hikes)
- Flashlight (if the sun goes down before your hike ends or for night walks on the beach)
- Hiking boots and hiking rods
Lastly, leave behind all your troubles and worries. See our What to Pack When Visiting Hawaii article for more information on what to pack.
Three Day Itinerary for Maui
3-Day Maui Wayfinder Guide
Let's kick off our itinerary with suggestions for your arrival day! We recommend using both the departure and arrival day as the time to collect your bearings. Find our tips for the departure day at the end of this article. We like to keep these days open for relaxation after arriving and leaving.
Arrival Day on Maui
We suggest spending your arrival day adjusting to the islands. Grab a bite to eat, pick up supplies and groceries, or enjoy your first Hawaiian sunset. Then, get to bed early to recoup from your long day. If you’re flying in from another island, some light sightseeing probably won’t be a problem once you’re set up with your new rental. Generally, we advise people to take it easy the first day, soak in their local surroundings, and acclimate to Hawaiian time.
Day #1 - West Maui Highlights
This day's Maui itinerary explores the incredible sights, attractions, and beaches of West Maui. With plenty of sunshine and an abundance of rainfall (as much as 390 inches a year), West Maui was once a major Hawaiian population center and the proverbial playground of royalty (the ali'i) in old Hawai'i.
Today, travel experts regard West Maui as the playground of visitors worldwide.
Along the shores of West Maui, you'll find the resort area of Kapalua (northwest), Kahana and Honokowai (mid-way), the visitor community of Napili, and course, the bustling towns of Lahaina and Ka'anapali.
Day #2 - East Maui Coast
This day's Maui itinerary explores the incredible sights, attractions, and beaches of East Maui, including the world-famous Road to Hana. Because this region prominently features the Hana Highway (a.k.a 'Road to Hana'), we often refer to it as the 'Hana Highway' region of Maui.
Driving the Hana Highway on Maui is the journey, not the destination. Who doesn't enjoy a road trip? Few words can describe the beauty of this drive, with its cliffs cloaked in green and lush valleys bursting with waterfalls. Curves hug the coast and gaze over an ocean that stretches uninterrupted, all the way to the Alaskan coastline. Visit the black, red, and white sand beaches. Trek a multitude of trails. Or savor the beautiful gardens as you travel this highway to paradise.
Day #3 - Haleakala & Upcountry Maui
On this day, consider exploring the breathtaking sights, overlooks, gardens, and trails of Upcountry Maui and Haleakala, including the Haleakala National Park summit area.
The term Upcountry Maui refers to the towns, ranches, vineyards, parks, farmlands, and visitor attractions on the upper slopes of Haleakala volcano, including Haleakala National Park. Enchanting and rural, Maui's Upcountry is the heart of the island's agricultural industry and a thriving artists' community.
Many compare the beautiful landscape of Upcountry Maui to the countryside in Scotland. Find some of the best views of the South Pacific anywhere on the island. Just find a peak to climb. Make sure to see the several unique floral gardens in this part of Maui.
Departure Day from Maui
Wind down from your trip to prepare yourself for departure. We suggest grabbing a bite to eat from one of your favorite local restaurants. Perhaps, go souvenir shopping at some of the many stores and local shops around the island. Undoubtedly, the local community would appreciate your business. There are no "Goodbyes" in Hawaii, so we'll say A Hui Hou, which in Hawaiian means 'Until we meet again.' Aloha!
Alternative Itinerary Options for Maui
3-Day Alternate Maui Itineraries
We've provided alternate itineraries below if something in the five days we've selected doesn't feel right to you. Just swap the day with another of our options—mix, swap, and shuffle components of our itineraries. We hope you create the perfect trip for your travel party.
Alternate Day: East Maui 2-Day Adventure
This day's Maui itinerary replaces TWO days above (including any day you select + the one-day East Maui itinerary). Our two-day East Maui itinerary explores the incredible sights, attractions, and beaches along the world-famous Road to Hana and the Pi'ilani Highway within two days.
This two-day East Maui itinerary permits the following:
See additional attractions.
Spend more time at your favorite stops.
Thoroughly explore the Ohe'o Gulch in the Kipahulu portion of Haleakala National Park.
Not to mention, we provided an excellent trail recommendation along the Pipiwai Trail.
Remember, you'll need to use this itinerary to replace both the East Maui One-Day Itinerary PLUS one additional day (your choice) from above! Want to see more of the Road to Hana & Beyond? This itinerary gives you a precise plan to achieve that purpose.
Alternate Day: South Maui
On this day, explore the incredible sights, attractions, beaches, and hiking trails of South Maui. Travelers praise South Maui for its miles of white sandy beaches, spectacular coastal areas, snorkeling on its reefs, and expansive lava fields like La Perouse Bay.
South Maui consists of the coastal communities of Ma'alaea and Kihei and the growing resort communities of Wailea and Makena. Sheltered on the leeward side of the Haleakala volcano, this side of Maui is relatively drier and sunnier than the rest of the island. This side of the island additionally provides spectacular views of Lanai, Molokini, and Kahoolawe offshore islands. Other attractions here include world-class golfing in Wailea and fine-dining and five-star restaurants.
In South Maui, travelers can discover the true warmth of Aloha and genuine Hawaiian hospitality.
Alternate Day: Central & North Maui
Explore the great hiking trails, state monuments, and attractions in Central & North Maui on this day. Travelers praise Central Maui as the best view because of Iao Valley. Located in West Maui, one can only access the valley via central Maui. The Waihee Ridge Trail is also technically in northwest Maui, but we've included it here because you'll also access it from central Maui.
The proverbial 'heart' of Maui, Central Maui, is the isthmus that connects Maui's two volcanoes. Your visit to Maui likely began here at the airport in Kahului. Central Maui includes residential communities, sugar and pineapple plantations, county and state government offices, and various visitor attractions, including the Kahului Airport (OGG), the Maui Tropical Plantation, golf courses, parks, shopping areas, and more.
Alternate Day: Maui Tour & Activity Day
This day's Maui itinerary provides an overview of our recommended Maui Tours & Activities. A Maui tour may be the perfect way to experience parts of Maui that you'd otherwise never get to see for visitors who have five or more days on the island.
Select from one or more of the tours we've listed on this page, and we're sure you'll have an incredible time. We've hand-selected these Maui tours due to their popularity and high ratings with visitors like yourself!
Here you'll find an incredible assortment of tours and activities to enjoy: whale watching, a Road to Hana tour, ziplining, boat & sailing tours, and Molokini snorkel trips are just a few of the many amazing adventures available on Maui.
Quick Tips for Your Visit to Maui:
The best length of stay in Maui: Ideally, we recommend spending a week in Maui to sample all the richness of this island. Even two to three days are great options, too.
Best Month to Visit: The best time to go to Maui is between April to early October for the best weather. Visitors love the weather in Maui in July. Even the weather in Maui in September is worthwhile. The temperatures are not so high, but still sunny. For fewer crowds, better deals, and fantastic weather, visit April to May or September to November.
The best area to stay in is Maui: Wailea because it has a lot of activities and restaurants. It also attracts tourists with its beautiful beaches, resorts, shopping centers, spas, and golf courses, making it the perfect getaway for families looking to spend some time together. Plus, Wailea is one of the best places to stay in Maui for couples.
Best time to spot whales: Whale-watching season in Maui begins in November and lasts until May. Yet, the best times to spot a whale fall between January to March. Though still possible, your chances to spot one decline during June, September, and October.
Best way to get around: You have the option of hiring a taxi or Uber driver. Renting a car offers the best deal and flexibility. It permits you to explore the island on your schedule.
Must-see sights: Though we recommend seeing everything, we understand that some may encounter some time constraints. Don't leave Maui without seeing the Road to Hana, traditional luau feast, and Mt. Haleakala. Also, visit the shores for great water activities: swimming with sea turtles, snorkeling, whale watching, etc.
For more tips about Maui, check out our Maui Travel Tips.
Our Guides: Easy Planning
Discover Maui's top attractions, activities, and tours in various fun-filled itineraries. We created the ultimate three-day itinerary highlighting the top attractions, activities, and must-see nature spots on Maui. Let us help you find the perfect adventure for all ages, whether a family trip or a romantic getaway. The 3-day itinerary includes everything from the best beaches on Maui to the unique experiences in Central Maui. Check out our recommended Kauai Tours & Activities for a thorough overview of the best tour options. We cover the best whale watching, a Road to Hana tour, zip-lining, Molokini snorkel tours, etc. Click here to view our exceptional itinerary for East Maui, West Maui, South Maui, North Maui, and Haleakala & Upcountry. Click here for guides of Maui regions, more information about Maui, and the best lodging locations in Maui.