We recently spent four days over Easter on a road trip of Hawaii’s less popular but no less beautiful island, Maui. We travelled from the top of the mountains to the bottom of the ocean, literally. From nights spent above the clouds to snorkelling alongside turtles, here’s our extensive Maui road trip itinerary.
Hiring a car & accommodation
For us, the most cost-effective way to hire a car and book accommodation on Maui was to book a campervan. We hired a Honda Element from Maui Camper and Van Rentals. We were able to camp at some of the most beautiful spots on the island and drive an unlimited number of kilometres without having to worry about paying anything extra. For more information on camping around Maui, keep posted for our next blog!
Planning the trip
Compared to driving around Oahu, Maui is much smaller and there’s not as much traffic. To plan the places we wanted to visit, we spoke to friends who had been to Maui before and we did some internet research, saving the places we wanted to go to on Google Maps. We also spoke to locals when hiring the campervan.
Day one: Road to Hana
Camp spot: Kipahulu Campground
Easily the most talked about road and attraction on Maui is the Road to Hana. The road isn’t very long but takes around three hours to drive one way because it’s so narrow and busy. There are a lot of one-way bridges along the road but what makes the drive even slower is that many of the waterfalls and attractions along the way have limited parking and visitors tend to park too close to the road. On our first day in Maui we took the Road to Hana from Kihei to Hana, stopping at Huelo Lookout, Keanae Lookout, Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread for a much needed sweet treat, Kaihalulu Beach (also known as Red Sand Beach), Black Sand Beach, Hāna Bay Beach Park and Hana along the way. We also stopped at farm stalls to grab locally grown fruit for the trip. We ended day one in Haleakalā National Park at the waterside Kipahulu Campground.
Day two: Road to Hana – Maalaea
Camp spot: Maalaea Harbour Wharf
On day two woke early and left the campground at 6am and grabbed a very Hawaiian breakfast at a cafe in Hāna Bay Beach Park before driving the Road to Hana in reverse. Leaving so early meant that we were able to stop at some of the waterfalls and lookouts that were too busy on the previous day. It only took us just shy of two hours to get back to the middle of the island so we stopped in at Ali’i Kula Lavender for a refreshing lavender lemonade and one of the best lookout spots on the entire island. Standing among the lavender, you can actually see both sides of the island. After admiring the view, we stopped for lunch at Kula Country Farms where you can also enjoy the view and continued on to Maalaea. In Maalaea, we nabbed a parking spot on the harbour wharf where were able to watch the turtles swim up to the rocks, before grabbing a bite to eat at Beach Bums BBQ & Grill where we watched the sunset over the water and charged our phones.
Day three: Molokini – Haleakalā
Camp spot: Hosmer Grove Campground on the slopes of Haleakalā
On day three we woke up bright and early to snorkel with the sea life and green sea turtles at Molokini Crater with Pacific Whale Foundation. The boat left Maalaea at 7am and returned at around 12pm after two two-hour swim and snorkels with turtles and fish. We were served breakfast and lunch on board, as well as given snorkels, goggles and fins. The boat had a slide on one side and a five-foot high jump on the other which made for a lot of fun! Once we got back we changed into dry warmer clothes and drove straight to the top of Haleakalā where we made ourselves comfortable on the slopes at Hosmer Grove campground. We were lucky enough to see the sunset and sunrise from the campground, above the clouds.
Day four: Haleakalā – Lahaina – Kihei
Camp spot: by the water in Kihei
On the morning of day four we woke at around 5am to watch the beautiful sunrise from the slopes of Haleakalā before heading back down and driving to Lahaina, stopping at McGregor Point on the way. We enjoyed breakfast by the water at Aloha Mixed Plate before exploring one of the oldest towns on Maui. We enjoyed a quick swim at Kahekili Beach Park and visited Lahaina Aquatic Center to shower and change before heading to Koholā Brewery for afternoon drinks and Royal Lahaina Resort for an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner and sunset Luau show. After the show we drove back down to Kihei which took around 40 minutes so we didn’t have to wake too early the following morning to get to the airport.
What do you love most about Hawaii? Let us know your favourite tropical holiday destination in the comments below!
Ash & Dave