3 Days in Maui, Hawaii: The Perfect Itinerary

ALOHA! You’ve just landed on the island of sandy beaches, lush rainforests, crystal blue water, giant sea turtles, surfers, volcanoes, waterfalls, pineapples, coconuts, bamboo forests and tons of shaved ice! Maui is simply MAGICAL. From the moment I stepped off the plane from LA, I was greeted by the amazing smell of the cool island breeze. Maui is a place that brings new light to the whole life of “no worries."





I finally took my first trip to the dream island of Maui, Hawaii. It exceeded all my expectations. My boyfriend and his family have been traveling to Hawaii almost every year since they are from California. Being from the Midwest, I never really had a chance to visit. Now that I live in California...the opportunity was right in front of me! I fell in LOVE with the island and I didn't even get to see all of it. I'll be back again soon!!!


Many of you know that I am obsessed with all things California....but I would consider moving to Maui eventually. Something about living your life in sundresses, bikinis and a flower in your hair really gets to me! Maybe I’ll be a beach girl turned island girl one day ;)


Before we get into the three day in Maui perfect itinerary…here are some common questions answered that you may be asking before your next trip to Maui.


IS THREE DAYS ENOUGH?


Yes and No. It's the perfect amount of time to see the highlights and fall in love with the place...but you're going to want to come back. We were go go go the entire time and had very little time of actual relaxation. We booked it our first trip for three days not because we didn't want to stay longer, but because it was less expensive and we wanted to go to one more is land during the trip. If you have extra time off work...I highly suggest doing a few more days.


Before we get into the three day in Maui perfect itinerary…here are some common questions answered that you may be asking before your next trip to Maui.


WHERE TO STAY


There are several great areas to stay in Maui that it can be hard to choose what part of the island for your trip! We stayed in an Airbnb in Lahaina. I loved the town and location, but it was very far from other parts of the island that we were going to. My boyfriend’s parents stayed at The Marriott and The Westin in Lahaina. Both spots were very luxurious!


If you would rather be closer and save driving time then stay in Paia or Wailea. The Grand Wailea is where I want to stay on my next trip!


For more affordable options, look into Vrbo's, Airbnb's, or condos in Kiheii or Lahaiana. Our airbnb was just uner $1,000 for three days with a beach view and so many other perks! I loved our Airbnb so much that I would consider staying here again. We saw turtles right from our balcony on our private beach and the place was even better than the amazing photos!





SHOULD I RENT A CAR?


You NEED to rent a car in Hawaii. This island is very big and spread out. When we went during COVID-19 the ubers/taxis were VERY scarce and things are not walkable. Renting a car will also allow you to do my favorite activity in Maui, the Road to Hana! IMPORTANT: During COVID-19, Hawaii shipped away a lot of their rental cars. I HIGHLY recommend booking your rental car as soon as you book your trip to make sure you are guaranteed one. If you have a choice, you should rent a jeep or convertible to make your driving even more enjoyable! Please obey all the driving laws and drive the speed limit...the locals will not be happy if you don’t...remember they are on island time!


WHERE TO EAT


First off, make sure you make reservations a few weeks before your trip. Especially during COVID-19, all the popular places book up fast and some don't allow walk-ins.


Pacfic O’s Restaurant: beautiful spot by the water with great service. We ordered the bone marrow and salmon...so tasty.



Fleetwood’s On Front St.: the restaurant owned by rock & roll legend, Mick Fleetwood


Monkeypod Kitchen


Lahaina Grill


Sansei Maui


Star Noodle


Taverna


Leoda’s kitchen & pie shop: super famous banana cream pies and “mini pies.” The Hawaiin-style cheesesteak looks amazing and I’m definitely ordering when I’m back.


Hula Grill: known for their hula pie!


Mama’s Fish House: ocean view popular spot on the way to The Road to Hana


Pa’ia Fish Market: In the town of Quaint Pa’ia right before The Road to Hana


Ono’s Tacos: a food truck in a parking lot off Honoapiilani Highway. Super affordable and yummy.



WHAT TO PACK


Swimsuit/Swimsuit Cover-up: I got the cutest new suits before my trip, because HELLO I needed some with flowers on it. Most of mine were from Amazon. Check out some of my favorite swimsuits and cover-ups below.





Waterproof phone case:

I used mine for taking photos and videos underwater or in water. You will be seeing tons of beaches, pools, and waterfalls on your trip. Having this case will let you take amazing pictures in the water!


Snorkel Gear: If your anything like me and don't like putting your mouth where other people once have...then bring your own snorkel gear! I got a full face mask off Amazon to bring with me. It worked SOO much better than a reguular mask, because it doesn't let any water in and it's easier to breathe in. I got hot pink :) If you would rather rent snorkel gear in Hawaii, then I recommend Snorkel Bob's.


Aqua Shoes: You'll need a pair of these shoes or sturdy sandals when you go through hikes with water and for the Road to Hana.


Sun Hat: I've recently become obsessed with pairing a cute hat with my outfit. When you go to Hawaii, you will definitely need a cute sun hat to wear outside.





Outfits:





Shoes:


Sunglasses: My favorite brand is QUAY!


Backpacks/purses:




Hair Waver: This will give you all the gorgeous beach waves! Add a flower and you will be fitting it perfectly :)


Tripod Gimbal: You can take all the videos and pictures very easily with this gimbal.


Maui Revealed Hawaii Book


So how do you spend three days in Maui? Below you will find the perfect three day itinerary for Maui. The itinerary is pretty jam-packed, but that’s because there is SO much to do in Maui. Feel free to do the activities that best fit your schedule.


Let’s get started!


DAY 1: Sunset or Sunrise at Haleakala Volcano


Going to the Haleakala National Park Summit is a must in your first trip to Maui. You have to make a reservation if you are going for sunrise. They only open up at a certain time for each date in advance and there are limited tickets. I tried many times and couldn't get a ticket! We saw the sunset instead and it was just as gorgeous. It was a pretty far drive from where we were staying in Lahaina. Leave early and pack snacks!



DAY 2: Beach and Snorkeling Day


There are so many great snorkeling spots in Maui. If you are advanced, I suggest saving money and going snorkeling on your own. We drove around to find beaches to snorkel and asked people that were already in the water if it was a good spot to be in! I saw sea turtles and amazing sea life every beach I went. Maluaka Beach and Black Rock Beach are both good options.


If you are a beginner or just don’t want to go on your own, then take a tour. A popular snorkeling tour on Maui is a boat trip to Molokini Crater.


We also did a snorkeling/kayaking tour in Kaanapali beach.



DAY 3: The Road to Hana


The Road to Hana is one of the most famous drives and popular thing to do in Maui. It’s a windy road (like ones we have in LA) full of scenic lookouts, beaches, hiking trails, and waterfalls. Wear your swimsuit, bring a change of clothes, and leave EARLY. This is a long drive, even if you only do half of it! We did as much as we could and decided to save the rest of it for our next trip to Maui.





We downloaded and used this app during the trip. The app is $7 and VERY well worth it! You basically have your own personal tour guide with you the entire time. The narrator tells you suggested stops, history of the island, and MORE. If it's your first time doing the Road to Hana, I wouldn't do it without getting this app.


TWIN FALLS: Mile Marker 2


Many say this is an easy one to skip, but I disagree! The twin falls is the first iconic stop where you can see your first waterfalls of the day. Don’t forget to grab some fruit, coconut water, or smoothie before or after your visit. It’s a short walk to the Lower Falls and then an easy 1 mile hike to the Upper Falls.


HUELO LOOKOUT FRUIT STAND: Mile Marker 4.5


Everything comes from their farm and you can order fruit, acai bowls, baked goods, smoothies, and other snacks.


RAINBOW EUCALYPTUS TREES: Mile Marker 7


You’ll find a forest of rainbow eucalyptus trees! The rainbow colors come from the bark peeling away slowly after time. If you don’t feel like stopping here, you’ll find several more of these trees at various locations on The Road to Hana.





GARDEN OF EDEN: Mile Marker 10


This is one of the prettiest gardens I’ve ever seen. If you are a garden lover, you should stop. Otherwise, I think you can skip if you want to save time. It’s also a little pricey…$15 a person. You’ll explore 26 acres of lush gardens and see panoramic views of the ocean and waterfalls. You might even spot some peacocks!





WATERFALL & ROPE SWING: Mile Marker 11.5


We happened to stumble on this waterfall on our way back and just had to jump in. When do I get the opportunity to swing off a rope? It was FREEZING, but definitely worth it.



AUNT SANDY’S BANANA BREAD (Make a left just after Mile Marker 16 on the Keanae Road)


Auntie Sandy has ran this stand for 30 years. It is said to be the best in Maui and her secret ingredient is the butter!


OR


HALFWAY TO HANA STAND: Mile Marker 17


WAINAPANAPA STATE PARK - BLACK SAND BEACH: Mile Marker 32


This is one of the BEST stops on the Road to Hana. Waianapanapa means “glistening water” and it definitely fits its name. The black sand was formed by lava flow that was cooled and formed tiny pieces from battling the ocean all of these years. Seeing the black sand against the turquoise water is a sight you don’t want to miss! Besides the black sand, you’ll find sea arches, lava tubes, caves, hikes and gorgeous views!




HANA AIRPORT:


We stopped here only because my boyfriend booked himself a Powered Hang Gliding Tour! The powered hang glider had no sides and went as high as a mile in the sky….so it was a big NOOO from me. If you aren’t afraid of heights and this sounds appealing to you then do it! My boyfriend said it was the highlight of his trip. It was around $300 for a 45 minute ride and you get all the pictures/videos from the excursion.




HANA TOWN: Mile Marker 34

This is where we had to turn around! We can’t wait to do the second half on our next trip to Maui.


SEVEN SACRED POOLS (OHE’O GULCH): Mile Marker 42


PIPIWAI TRAIL: Mile Marker 42


This Pipiwai Trail is a 2 mile stretch of hiking through a bamboo forest until you reach the end to see the stunning 400 foot towering Waimoku Falls. It is one of the largest waterfalls in Hawaii!


WAILUA FALLS: Mile Marker 45


It is said to be the most photographed waterfall on the Road to Hana.