West Maui Region Sights, Tours, & Information
Things to Do & Visitor Tips for 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, west Maui has become the playground of visitors from around the world and is a popular location for a Molokini snorkel cruise.
Along the shores of West Maui you'll find the resort area of Kapalua (northwest), Kahana and Honokowai (mid-way), visitor community of Napili, and while technically located within west Maui, our Lahaina and Kaanapali region (both in the southwest of this region) has been devoted a section unto itself. Ultimately, west Maui is one of the more developed portions of the island, with several resorts and small towns. The most north-western portion of this region is almost completely undeveloped and is raw and somewhat barren terrain.
As visitors continue clockwise along west Maui, while driving north along the coastline, as soon as you begin to move east again, around the northwestern tip of the island, the road deteriorates quickly and many rental agencies prohibit your driving in this area (Kahekili Highway - State Route 340). The road improves again near Waihee Valley (popular for the Waihee Ridge Trail) as you get closer to Kahului and the rest of Central Maui. The popular trailhead can fortunately actually be accessed from good roads heading out of central Maui.
Past Waihee Valley driving north however, the road quality again deteriorates quickly.
West Maui Top 5 Things to Do
Best Things to See & Do in West Maui
Nakalele Point & Blowhole
#5 Rated in West Maui
The North West drive from Kapalua around Nakalele Point and on to Wailuku is amazingly beautiful - if the road doesn't scare you off.
When high tide and high surf combine you are likely to witness an explosive show from the Nakalele Blowhole. This phenomenon is caused by the ocean undercutting the shore and forcing seawater up through a large hole in the lava shelf.
The blowhole is variable with the tide and surf, high tide is best. There is a short trail down from the overlook to the blowhole itself, but use caution approaching this area.
Launiupoko State Park
#4 Rated in West Maui
This peaceful park is great for family outings. There is a large, man-made wading pool for kids that is protected from the waves.
Visitors can catch a glimpse of the neighboring islands of Kaho'olawe, Molokai, and Lanai from the park's picnic area.
There is paved access and parking available as well as telephones, restrooms, and grills. This is not the best place to snorkel but surfing and swimming are decent.
#3 Rated in West Maui
One of Hawaii's most historic towns is also one of the most eclectic... and it is most certainly uniquely Maui.
No trip to 'The Valley Isle' would be complete without a visit to the port town of Lahaina to stroll the art galleries, restaurants, souvenir shops, and historic gems sprinkled all throughout the bustling town. Lahaina is most definitely a Maui must-see.
A few of the many sights in Lahaina include the gigantic banyan tree - which literally takes up an entire city block, the historic Baldwin House, the old courthouse, and Front Street.
Waihee Ridge Trail
#2 Rated in West Maui
Waihee Ridge Trail, located in northwest Maui, takes you along a journey up the spine of Waihee Valley, and while it can be quite a climb (especially at first), the journey is very Kauai-esque if you ask us. Kauai is the oldest and westernmost major island in the chain, and this hike has scenery we feel resembles that island.
If it’s clear of clouds when you reach the top, the views are surreal. Even if the clouds do sock you in, it’s a mystic experience to sit there in the silence and focus on the energy of Maui.
This is one of our favorite hikes, and if not for the steep incline at the beginning of the trail (and it is really steep) we think this trail would be a lot more popular.
#1 Rated in West Maui
Nearly all of the seaside resorts in the Kaanapali area back up to Ka'anapali Beach, a three-mile stretch of sand suitable for frolicking with a sidewalk that runs the entire length by the hotels to Black Rock.
Black Rock slices across the beach and is a popular spot for snorkelers and scuba divers. Those in search of their scuba certification on this part of the island will likely do your first dive at Black Rock.
There are also plenty more opportunities to whet your appetite for water sports such as parasailing, windsurfing, and jet skis.