Interested in the perfect tropical destination for a honeymoon or family vacation? Here’s how to spend seven days in the Valley Isle.
Day 1: Kaanapali or Wailea
Fly into Kahului Airport (OGG) and settle into your vacation rental on the sunny, western side of Maui. A rental car is crucial for exploring Maui, but no need to splurge on an all-wheel-drive vehicle, as most roads on the island are easily accessible. Any off-roading is typically prohibited by your rental car agreement, so read your contract carefully before taking the road less traveled. Many families choose to settle in Maui’s northwest town of Kaanapali, where resorts and restaurants are plentiful, beaches are kid-friendly, and prices are more affordable. Honeymooners looking to splurge or shopping fanatics might find that the southern town of ritzy Wailea caters more to their vacation desires. Both destinations are sunny and notorious for their beautiful Hawaiian beaches, making either location a safe bet in paradise.
Day 2: Makena Beach
Spend your first full day in Maui on one of the island’s most beautiful beaches at Makena State Park. Makena Beach, also referred to as “Big Beach” by locals, is notorious for its white sands, turquoise waters, and dangerous shore break. Swimmers and surfers need to be cautious while swimming in Makena Beach waters, as many unfortunate visitors have sustained minor to major injuries due to underestimating the strength of the waves hitting Makena Beach’s unique inclined shoreline. Located south of Wailea, this makes for a quick day trip equipped with restroom facilities and a food truck for those who forgot to pack a picnic lunch.
Day 3: Haleakala National Park
Wake up before the crack of dawn or book a group tour to catch a glimpse of the stunning sunrise atop Haleakala National Park, a dormant volcano of over 10,000 feet known for inhabiting unique wildlife and one-of-a-kind terrain. Hike the lengthy and challenging Sliding Sands trail to get an overview of the park (just prepare for altitude changes and no shade), or take a quick glimpse of the park’s greatest sights at the observatory or lookout points accessible by visitor parking. Parking spaces for sunrise gazers are few and far between, so arrange to visit the park well in advance.
Day 4: Explore Lahaina
Depending on the time of year you visit, Maui can be the ideal location for whale watching, specifically near the historic town of Lahaina. Home to excellent shopping, dining, and a bustling harbor, Lahaina sits between Kaanapali and Wailea, making it an excellent stop along the coast. If you’re in Maui during the months of January through March, consider booking a whale watching tour or cruise departing from Lahaina Harbor. Additionally, Maui’s best luau, Old Lahaina Luau, is a fantastic family activity for feasting, history, and music.
Day 5: Road to Hana
Fuel your rental car and head out at the crack of dawn to take a long drive down the famous Road to Hana. This tourist attraction becomes crowded relatively early, so prepare to encounter many other cars along the highway leading to the isolated town of Hana on the eastern side of the island. Complete with numerous waterfalls, black and red sand beaches, lava tubes [underground passageways, also known as pyroducts, created by lava flows] , and banana bread stands, the road to Hana is a day-long activity ideal for families, solo travelers, and honeymooners of all ages. If you suffer from motion sickness, don’t forget to pack Dramamine to handle the highway’s countless twists and turns.
Day 6: Rest and Relaxation
Hawaii is the perfect destination to relax and unwind, so spend your last day on the island sunbathing or swimming on one of the island’s many beaches. Other popular island activities available include paddle boarding, zip lining, and even goat yoga. In the evening, enjoy an oceanfront farewell dinner at Frida’s Beach House in Lahaina for fine Mexican fare and a margarita on the patio.
Day 7: Depart OGG
Most flights leaving Kahului Airport for mainland USA depart later in the afternoon or evening, so squeeze in more time at the beach or pool before packing up and leaving paradise for a long flight home. For a tasty snack on the plane, don’t pass up a quick visit to Honolulu Cookie Company in Lahaina for shortbread cookies that will taste like paradise before boarding the plane.