Planning 3 days in Maui? If so, this 3 day Maui itinerary, today’s guest article written by Brittany, will help you plan your trip to make sure you get to sample some of the best bits of this beautiful island in Hawaii.
Maui is one of those places which can appeal to lots of different people. Whether you are looking to enjoy some volcanic crater hikes (like Haleakala,) want to chill on an exotic beach or fancy road tripping along the road to Hana, Maui has something to offer you. Maui has the most beaches with good swimming conditions in Hawai. It is also one of the best places to go Whale watching with one of the densest population of Humpback whales in the world!
So you may be wondering, is 3 days in Maui enough?! Possibly not as there is so much to see an do there. But it will give you a flavour of the island if you are planning to island hop in Hawaii or only have a short time to visit.
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I’ll pass you over to Brittany now for her to tell us about her 3 day Maui itinerary.
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What you can expect from this article…
How to Spend 3 Days in Maui
The island of Maui in Hawaii is the perfect blend of gorgeous beaches and green jungle, relaxation and adventure. If you have only 3 days in Maui, then read below to see which things you can’t miss on your trip. Below I have laid out a 3 day Maui Itinerary so you will know the best places to eat, sleep, and top things to do while you are in Maui.
Maui is home to some of the best and most beautiful beaches in the world. If you have 3 days in Maui then you are going to want to maximize your time so that you can see the top beaches that Maui has on offer. You can do this by trying to stay in the same area each day but trying out several different beaches. While the island is small, the lack of roads can mean it takes a while to get to one part of the island to another.
This 3 day Maui itinerary mixes 2 relaxation beach days with one day for adventure in other parts of the Island. Which is the perfect combination to let you have a taste of the beautiful island of Maui.
An Overview of this 3 day Maui Itinerary
Day 1 A beautiful sunrise and the best beach in Maui
Day 2 Adventure awaits
Day 3 End it all with relaxation on the beach and amazing dinner experience
Reasons you should visit Maui
Maui is an island in Hawaii that is home to beautiful pristine beaches and resorts but also has a whole other side to it beyond the beaches with jungle, plenty of hiking and waterfalls for you to see. It is the perfect island for people who want both relaxation and adventure. There are so many things to do in Maui.
When is the best time of year to visit Maui?
Maui is nice year round at about 80 degrees. Summer can be extra busy and a bit more humid with less wind which can make it feel hotter. The rest of the year has a cool sea breeze that makes it very pleasant and the water is always warm. Visiting in December-March is the prime time to see humpback whales which is an amazing experience!
How to get to Maui?
You need to fly to Maui – most major cities have a direct flight though with some smaller cities, you may need a connecting flight. If you are travelling to Maui from another island in Hawaii, there is the airline, Hawaiian air, that has regular flights between the islands.
How to get around Maui in 3 days?
Once on the island I highly recommend you rent a car. Maui is not the type of Island where you will want to just hang out at your hotel resort. It is an island where you will want to drive to many different beaches and to the other parts of the island.
Where to base yourself for 3 days in Maui
There are 3 areas in Maui I recommend. The first is Kaanapali. Home to THE most popular Maui beach, Kaanapali has many great hotels and affordable condos for rent. Kaanapali is also close to many great restaurants and the old whaling village Lahaina which has great shopping opportunities. Kaanapali is the most popular place to stay on the Island.
Accommodation options in Kaanapali
The second area is Wailea. This is the fancier area of the island with high priced resorts. But what is so cool about Hawaii, is that the beaches have to have access for everybody, not just resort guests. So even if a resort sits right on the beach, everyone has access to it! Big Beach and Makena Surf beach are great beaches in this area.
Accommodation options in Wailea
The third place I recommend is Kihei. It is located between Wailea and Kaanapali which makes it a good location to explore many different beaches and places. It also has many affordable condo options that are right on the beach. Kihei also has many great restaurants nearby.
Accommodation options in Kihei
The Best 3 Day Maui itinerary
Day 1 of your 3 day Maui itinerary
In the morning…
One of the most amazing things you can do in Maui is watching the sunrise on Haleakala Crater. It is breathtaking and you really appreciate the beauty for the island from 10,000 ft.
I recommend doing this on your 1st day in Maui because the time difference makes it easier to get up at 3-4 am on for the 1.5-2 hr drive up the summit. Yes, it is early but SO worth it. It is a one of a kind experience that simply takes your breath away.
With limited parking at the summit, you must make reservations online prior to going up to 30 days in advance.
It is also a good 20-30 degrees cooler up on the crater so plan on bringing a jacket and even gloves and hat. This is an amazing photo opportunity spot so bring your camera!
Eat lunch at…
You should eat lunch at Kimo’s Maui in Lahaina overlooking the ocean. The food is great and the views are spectacular. Get the fish and a blue Hawaiian to drink.
In the afternoon…
Spend the afternoon at Kaanapali Beach. For great snorkelling, head closer to black rock which also is great for cliff diving. Or if you just prefer to relax and take it all in, this is a great beach for everyone. You may want to go back to take a nap before heading out for dinner and your evening!
Eat dinner at…
Eat dinner at MonkeyPod in Whaler’s Village. It has great food and views. This is a popular place so it may be best to make a reservation. After dinner walk around at some of the shopping in Whaler’s Village which has a bunch of beachfront stores.
In the evening…
Take a sunset stroll at Keawakapu Beach. This beach offers a surprisingly isolated half-mile stretch of beautiful white sand, located in Kihei and is perfect to catch a beautiful Maui sunset. Bring a towel and have a beer on the beach if you prefer that to a walk.
Day 2 of your 3 day Maui Itinerary
In the Morning…
Make sure you have snacks, lunch, water, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent and hit the road to arrive in Paia by 7 am.
Today you are going to one of the most unique and amazing experiences you can have – The Road to Hana.
The Road to Hana is less about the destination and more about the journey and experience. This road is only 64 miles long but will take you all day to visit and head back. This road trip is home to so many amazing lookouts, waterfalls, and hikes. I suggest downloading a Road to Hana app that will tell you the best places to stop and even narrate the Maui history.
Recommended stops along the road to Hana
The first is Twin Falls at Mile Marker #2. Just past Paia, Twin Falls is a good place to stop if you’ve started the drive early. (Otherwise, you may want to skip it in favour of the bigger, more impressive waterfalls later on.)
The hike to the waterfall is easy and beautiful, and there’s a farm stand selling coconut water, banana bread, and smoothies at the entrance. It’s definitely worth a quick peek.
Garden of Eden Arboretum
The next is Garden of Eden Arboretum which is at mile marker #10. This one has a car fee but we found it absolutely worth it. It has amazing views and so many photo opportunities. They have a beautiful botanical garden with amazing eucalyptus trees and a 1000-year-old mango tree!
The Lava Tube
The Lava Tube is at mile marker #31. The Hana Lava Tube, also known as Ka’Eleku Caverns, provides a wonderful adventure. There are self-guided cave tours available seven days per week and take about 40 minutes. Plus, the handrails and comfortable temperature make this activity fun, safe, and easy for visitors of all ages.
Wai’anapanapa State Park Black Sand Beach
Wai’anapanapa State Park at Mile Marker #32. This is known as the “black sand beach”. It so unique and beautiful, you won’t want to miss it. This is a great place to spend some time and have a picnic lunch.
Halfway to Hana Banana Bread stand
Do not finish the Road to Hana without stopping by the Halfway to Hana banana bread stand. It is insanely delicious. The Road to Hana also has so many fresh fruit stands that you need to try. If you did not pack a lunch you can try Braddah Hutts BBQ Grill which is a food truck that has delicious traditional Hawaiian fare like BBQ chicken or fish tacos with rice and macaroni salad.
The Seven Sacred Pools
The last stop and the most popular is the Seven Sacred Pools aka ‘Ohe’o Gulch This is an easy 1/2 mile trail to beautiful pools. After this stop, you turn around and head back and can stop at any of the spots you missed on the way back.
These are just a few of the many stops on the Road to Hana. But for your 3 days in Maui, you can’t miss driving the Road to Hana, it is a firm favourite for sure!
After your day on the Road to Hana stop in Paia and eat at Paia Fish Market which has amazing fresh fish tacos. Paia is a super cool bohemian surfer town with tons of cool shops you can explore after dinner.
Day 3 of your 3 day Maui Itinerary
In the morning…
For your third day in Maui, I would start your day by visiting Wailea. Hit Big Beach AKA Makena Beach which has a mile long shoreline with pristine sand. Since it is so big it never really feels crowded. This is a great beach but can have rough waters so be cautious.
For lunch go to Ka’ana Kitchen in Wailea. This is a great elegant but casual option. They have great food and service. Get some shaved ice at Surfing Monkey Shave Ice.
In the afternoon…
Once you have had lunch I would go to my personal favourite beach – Makena Surf. It is absolutely gorgeous and usually less crowded than a lot of the other beaches. This is a great beach to see and swim with giant sea turtles and there may be humpback whales in the distance in the winter/spring months.
Another can’t miss for your 3 days in Maui is going to Mama’s Fish House. This is THE most popular restaurant in Maui so plan on making reservation at least 6-8 weeks in advance. This upscale restaurant has an amazing locally caught fresh fish centred menu.
I highly recommend Mama’s Stuffed Fish. You also need to try the famous Polynesian Black Pearl dessert which is chocolate mousse in a pastry shell. Perfect of Instagram.
The atmosphere is out of this world. Located right on the beach, it is a perfect way to end your Maui vacation. I recommend going before sunset so you can watch the sunset. After dinner, sit out on the beach and watch the waves in tiki light.
You can definitely spend much longer than 3 days in Maui but with this 3 days in Maui itinerary, you will hit all the top things to see and do in Maui. This itinerary has the perfect balance of relaxation, adventure and good food. After your taster of Maui, I am confident you will want to come back, it is just that amazing.
Thanks, Brittany for this useful insight into visiting Maui. This Maui itinerary certainly has me wanting to pack my bags and head for Hawaii! What about you?!
If you’d prefer to have the stress taken out of organising your own trip, you could consider taking a small group Hawaii adventure tour with G Adventures, a company I trust and have travelled with 8 times.
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