Only have three days on Maui? You’re going to be busy!

There is so much to do and see on the Valley Isle. You could spend a month exploring Maui up and down and still not see it all.

Maui Itinerary

But if you have a short trip planned, never fear. We’ve curated a three-day itinerary that hits some of Maui’s best beaches, attractions, and restaurants — without feeling too overloaded.

Here is the ideal three-day Maui itinerary.

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Where To Stay on Maui

If you only have three days on Maui, we suggest basing yourself in South Maui. South Maui is where it’s all happening. Here, you’ll find some of the island’s best eateries, beaches, and snorkeling spots.

Some accommodations we suggest: Menehune Shores, Mana Kai, or Wailea Ekahi.

Now, for the fun part. Let’s dive in!

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Day One

Morning

Sunrise Snorkel Tour

Start your Maui adventure on the right foot: in the ocean. Early morning is the best time to snorkel on Maui. This is when conditions are (usually) calmest.

Maui snorkeling boats

Book a sunrise snorkel tour to Molokini and beat the crowds. Molokini is an islet located 2.5 miles off the coast of Makena, offering some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii. Visibility can reach over 100 feet here, and a plethora of marine life calls Molokini home.

Most Molokini boat tours depart from Maalaea Harbor, but there are a few options in South Maui.

Instead of driving from South Maui to Maalaea Harbor, consider taking a boat tour from Maluaka Beach with Kai Kanani Sailing. Kai Kanani is the only beach-loading catamaran in South Maui, and it offers a higher level of service than some of Maui’s other tour boats.

Afternoon

Explore, Shop, Eat

After your snorkel adventure, spend the afternoon exploring South Maui.

If you’re a beach lover, there are plenty of beaches to explore – try checking out Po’olenalena or the many beaches along the Wailea Beach Path.

If shopping is more your speed, peruse the Shops at Wailea. This large open-air mall offers a mix of local storefronts and luxury shops, as well as restaurants and bars.

Shops at Wailea

And when you’re getting hungry, there is no shortage of excellent lunch options in South Maui. Some of our favorites include Cafe O’lei, Coconut’s Fish Cafe, Paia Fish Market, and Spoon and Key.

Evening

Lava Fields and Sunset

An hour or two before sunset, hit the road and head to the La Perouse lava fields. These lava fields are only about a 20-minute drive from Wailea but feel like a world away.

La Perouse is home to Maui’s youngest lava fields, formed during Haleakala’s most recent eruptions several hundred years ago.

La Perouse

As you drive through otherworldly lava plains, you’ll be treated to epic views of Haleakala — and you’ll see the cinder cones responsible for these lava fields.

Once you reach the end of the road, you can explore the lava tidepools at La Perouse, soak in the beauty of the coast, or explore the Hoapili Trail — a challenging but rewarding hike across the lava.

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Day Two

Morning

Sugar Beach + Iao Valley

Kick off the day with an early morning beach walk at Sugar Beach – the longest beach on Maui. In total, Sugar Beach stretches about six miles from Maalaea to North Kihei.

From Sugar Beach, you’ll have incredible views of the West Maui Mountains and the sun rising over Haleakala. Plus, the further you walk on Sugar Beach, the less people you encounter. It’s a serene escape.

Sugar Beach

Before or after your walk, stop at Sugar Beach Bake Shop for coffee, hot malasadas, and spam musubis.

Next, head off to Iao Valley State Monument, about a 25-minute drive from Sugar Beach.

Iao

Iao Valley is a stunning evergreen valley with walking trails and epic viewpoints. Come here to

wander around and soak in the serenity of the valley, plus learn about the significant historical events that unfolded here.

Reservations are required for Iao Valley, but there are usually plenty available. We recommend planning ahead, but if you’re in a pinch, you can usually score a same-day reservation.

Afternoon

Paia Town

After you’ve had your fill of Iao Valley, head east to Paia Town. This historic plantation town was once one of Maui’s biggest cities. Today, it is a charming, walkable town with lots of boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.

Paia Haliimaile

For lunch, stop at Paia Fish Market, Flatbread Pizza, Paia Bay Coffee, or Cafe Des Amis.

If you’re in need of some ocean therapy, there are some great beaches in the Paia area.

When conditions are calm, Paia Bay is a great option. However, the shorebreak can be brutal here in winter. If the waves are up, head to the far west corner of Baldwin Beach. Here, you’ll find a protected cove dubbed “Baby Beach.” Baby Beach is safe for swimming year-round.

Evening

Dinner in South Maui

Once evening rolls around, head back to South Maui to freshen up and get ready for dinner.

There are many dinner options in South Maui, ranging from mom-and-pop food trucks and casual eateries to world-renowned restaurants.

For a casual experience, stick to the Kihei Kalama Village and Azeka Shopping Center area. There are seemingly endless locally-owned restaurants in this area, offering a wide variety of cuisine.

Some favorites include Nalu’s South Shore Grill, Three’s Bar and Grill, Le Bazaar, Miso Phat Sushi, Oao Sushi, and the food trucks at South Maui Gardens — just to name a few.

Oao sushi

If you’re dreaming of something more upscale (you only have three days in Maui, so you might as well live it up, right?), stick to the Wailea area or visit some of the restaurants in the Wailea resorts.

You can’t go wrong with Gather on Maui, Ko, Morimoto, or Humuhumunukunukuapuaa.

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Day Three

Morning

Kamaole Beaches

One last sweet, blissful day on Maui. Start it at the Kamaole Beaches in South Kihei — but not without a stop at the Cinnamon Roll Place first.

After you’ve gotten your cinnamon roll and coffee fix, dig your toes into the sand at Kamaole I, II, or III. It truly doesn’t matter which one because all three are amazing! (Although, the best snorkeling is found at the southern end of Kamaole III.

Kamaole Beach 3

Back Camera

These beaches are great because they’re long and sandy, with (usually) calm conditions, lifeguards, picnic tables, restrooms, and showers.

You can easily spend the entire morning here (or, heck, the entire day).

Afternoon

Upcountry

You’ve seen the beaches, the charming towns, and the valleys. Now it’s time to visit Maui’s pastoral Upcountry — where roaming cattle, jacaranda trees, and incredible views are the area’s defining factors.

What are the must-visits? Don’t miss Makawao Town – which is like Paia’s sister city, only with a distinct cowboy vibe. We also recommend Ali’i Kula Lavender, Kula Botanical Garden, and Kula Country Farms.

Casanova's Makawao

If you’re up for a bit of a road trip, make the winding drive to Ulupalakua, where you can indulge in the finest Maui-made wines at Maui Wine and feast on fresh burgers from Ulupalakua Ranch Store.

Give yourself plenty of time before the sun goes down because we have one last stop on this itinerary.

Evening

Haleakala Sunset

End your Maui trip with a bang: sunset at Haleakala Crater. Towering at 10,023 feet, Haleakala Summit is the best place to watch the sunset on Maui. Just be sure to pack a sweatshirt and a pair of pants; otherwise, you’ll be too cold to enjoy it.

Haleakala Summit

We recommend giving yourself ample time to reach the summit because the parking lot fills up quickly. But there are lookouts further down the mountain where the view is just as good.

Unlike sunrise, no reservations are required for sunset at Haleakala. However, there is a $15-30 fee per car to enter the national park.

Cheers to an incredible three days on Maui. Although you might not be able to do and see it all in three days, a lot of ground was covered. And now you have a great excuse to come back and check off everything you missed.

See you here on the Valley Isle soon, a hui hou!