ALOHA!

 

So this is a pretty jam-packed Maui itinerary.

There is a lot to do on Maui!

But you can also pretty easily make this into a less-packed trip plan by taking out an activity here and there. Even if you do just half of the activities on each of these 3 days, you can still have a PERFECT time on Maui, I think!

 

Maui itinerary. 3 days in Hawaii itinerary. Best things to do in Maui in 3 days. maui travel blog

Maui itinerary. 3 days in Hawaii itinerary. Best things to do in Maui in 3 days. maui travel blog

Maui itinerary. 3 days in Hawaii itinerary. Best things to do in Maui in 3 days. maui travel blog

Maui itinerary. 3 days in Hawaii itinerary. Best things to do in Maui in 3 days. maui travel blog

Maui itinerary. 3 days in Hawaii itinerary. Best things to do in Maui in 3 days. maui travel blog

Maui itinerary. 3 days in Hawaii itinerary. Best things to do in Maui in 3 days. maui travel blog

Maui itinerary. 3 days in Hawaii itinerary. Best things to do in Maui in 3 days. maui travel blog

Maui itinerary. 3 days in Hawaii itinerary. Best things to do in Maui in 3 days. maui travel blog

Maui itinerary. What to do in Maui for a perfect 3 days in Maui itinerary for first trip to Hawaii adventures. 3 days in Hawaii. Best things to do in Maui. local insider tips. quiet secret hidden spots. Hawaii travel blog

There are affiliate links on this page. I may earn a commission from this.

 

 

These activities on the list below can also be perfect for a first trip to Hawaii, as it will allow you to experience different things about Hawaii!

If you want a little more Maui beach time, it will be pretty easy to adapt this itinerary by taking out an activity or 2 so you can head to the beach early afternoon to hang out. There are suggested Maui beaches listed below, based on the location of each day.

Below you will find a general list of things to do on Maui, then more specific places to visit on Maui, and then finally specifically how to plan out your days on Maui!

 

 

Is 3 days in Maui enough?!

Well, of course the more days you have on Maui the better! 😉 But with this 3 day Maui itinerary, you’ll get a taste for many of the absolutely BEST things to do on Maui! So in that sense, 3 days can actually be a perfect amount of time to spend on Maui. You can get a little bit of a LOT of things in just a few days!

 

 

 

 

 

So…

What can you do with 3 days in Hawaii?!

ANSWER:

 

1. A little bit of snorkeling…

Best things to do in Hawaii in 3 days: Snorkeling in Maui. Hawaii travel blog
Go straight to the list of best snorkeling spots on Maui.

🌴

 

 

2. A little bit of hiking…

Best things to do in Hawaii in 3 days: Hiking in Maui. Hawaii travel blog
Go straight to the list of the best hikes on Maui.

 

 

3. Visit a volcano…

Best things to do in Hawaii in 3 days: See volcano in Maui national park. Hawaii travel blog
Go straight to THE volcano hike to do on Maui.

🌴

 

 

 

4. Scenic drives…

Best things to do in Hawaii in 3 days: Scenic drive in Maui. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

5. See coastal lava rock formations…

Best things to do in Hawaii in 3 days: See lava rock formations in Maui. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

6. See some waterfalls…

Best things to do in Hawaii in 3 days: See waterfalls in Maui national park. Hawaii travel blog
Go straight to the list of best waterfalls on Maui.

🌴

 

 

 

7. See a black sand beach…

Best things to do in Hawaii in 3 days: See black sand beach in Maui. Hawaii travel blog
Go straight to the THE black sand beach to visit on Maui.

 

 

8. See a bamboo forest…

Best things to do in Hawaii in 3 days: See bamboo forest in Maui. Hawaii travel blog
Go straight to THE bamboo forest hike to do on Maui.

 

 

9. Maybe see a turtle…

Best things to do in Hawaii in 3 days: See turtles in Maui. Hawaii travel blog
Go straight to the turtle beach of Maui or the turtle town of Maui.

 

 

10. Maybe see a rainbow…

Best things to do in Hawaii in 3 days: See rainbow in Maui. Hawaii travel blog

🌴

 

 

 

11. And if you dare, there are some options to drive the less-taken back roads of Maui!

Best things to do in Hawaii in 3 days: Scenic drive back roads in Maui. Hawaii travel blog
Go straight to the back road to Hana or the back road of West Maui. (I actually walked part of both of these!)

 

 

Yes, it’s possible to do ALL of this and MORE in 3 days!!

 

 

And…

If you have more time on Maui – GREAT!

You can make these 3 days your full days and take it easy the rest of the days!

If you REALLY want to, with many more days on Maui, you can even add in a day trip to another Hawaiian island. Some people make it a day trip to see Pearl Harbor on Oahu, and some people also make it a day trip to Lanai too. (Although, just staying on Maui during your whole trip can feel easier!)

And, if you want to make it a different kind of Hawaii vacation, then you can make it a 3 day (or longer!) Maui camping trip!

If you are looking for hiking, then also see about how to spend 5 days in Maui with a Maui hiking itinerary.

Also take a look at the 2 weeks in Maui itinerary for more ideas if you do have more time.

 

 

Now…

First, the quick list of the best things to do in Maui.

Then, a few more details on how to spend your 3 days in Maui, including how to plan out your day!

And then, a little bit about where to stay on Maui.

 

 

So…

10 places to visit in Maui in 3 days

 

1. Haleakala National Park, summit area

To hike in a volcano crater!
Best things to do in Maui Hawaii in 3 days: Haleakala National Park. One day in Maui. day trip. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

 

2. Hookipa Beach

To hopefully see turtles and seals!
Best things to do in Maui Hawaii in 3 days: Hookipa Beach. One day in Maui. day trip. Maui Hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Maui Hawaii in 3 days: Hookipa Beach for where to see green sea turtles in Maui. One day in Maui. day trip. Maui Hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Maui Hawaii in 3 days: Hookipa Beach for where to see Hawaiian monk seals in Maui. One day in Maui. day trip. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

 

3. Maluaka Beach aka Turtle Town

To hopefully swim with turtles and maybe for whale watching from shore! Also a good beach lazing beach.
Best things to do in Maui Hawaii in 3 days: Malakua Beach aka Turtle Town for where to go swimming with turtles. One day in Maui. day trip. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

 

4. Haleakala National Park, Kipahulu area

To walk through a bamboo forest and to see magnificent tall waterfalls!
Best things to do in Maui Hawaii in 3 days: Haleakala National Park pipiwai hiking trail for where to see bamboo forest in Maui. 2 days in Maui. Maui Hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Maui Hawaii in 3 days: Haleakala National Park pipiwai hiking trail for where to see waterfalls in Maui. 2 days in Maui. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

 

5. Waianapanapa State Park

To see a black sand beach, walk through a lava tube, and hike a coastal trail!
Best things to do in Maui Hawaii in 3 days: Waianapanapa State Park for where to see black sand beach in Maui. 2 days in Maui. Maui Hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Maui Hawaii in 3 days: Waianapanapa State Park for where to see black sand beach lava tube in Maui. 2 days in Maui. Maui Hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Maui Hawaii in 3 days: Waianapanapa State Park for hiking trails in Maui. 2 days in Maui. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

 

6. Road to Hana waterfalls

You will see many waterfalls along the Hana Highway without even trying!
Best things to do in Maui Hawaii in 3 days: Road to Hana waterfalls in Maui. 2 days in Maui. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

 

7. Olivine pools

To see famous tide pools on Maui.
Best things to do in Maui Hawaii in 3 days: Olivine pools in Maui. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

 

8. Kahakuloa Bay lookout

To see a scenic back road on the Kahekili Highway that far less tourists go to… recommended to walk to it!
Best things to do in Maui Hawaii in 3 days: Kahakuloa Beach lookout Kahekili Highway back road in Maui. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

 

9. Nakalele blowhole

To see the famous blowhole on Maui.
Best things to do in Maui Hawaii in 3 days: Nakalele blowhole. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

 

10. Kapalua Coastal Trail

For a coastal walk with sweeping ocean views.
Best things to do in Maui Hawaii in 3 days: Kapalua coastal trail in Maui. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

 

PLUS…

Maui tours

And then, for more ideas for your 3 days on Maui, if you want to trade out a couple of the activities listed above, you can then dedicate a few hours to an adventure tour for an epic Maui experience.

If you stay in the Kaanapali resort area of West Maui, there are a number of amazing tours that you can take directly from Kaanapali Beach. Get out on the water to sail the ocean off the shores of Kaanapali! These are tours that start in Kaanapali:

Look for the tour reviews! Also see about kayaking to turtle town for snorkeling and swimming with turtles if you’re staying in South Maui.

🌴

 

 

 

Plus, when it’s your first trip to Hawaii, a Hawaiian luau is also something to experience. You can do this as an evening activity. A luau includes Hawaiian food and entertainment. Now, luaus do tend to be very touristy experiences. But with Hawaii having a culture that’s very different from the rest of the United States (that includes Polynesian influence), it can be a fun experience while also learning a bit about Hawaiian culture, and FOOD!

See more of the best Maui tours.

 

 

What to pack for Maui

Packing for Hawaii might not be like packing for other vacations! This also depends on what types of activities you’re planning on doing.

 

Have a look at these Maui packing tips:

 

 

So…

How to put the top places to visit in Maui into a 3 day Hawaii adventure itinerary?!

Maui itinerary. What to do in Maui for a perfect 3 days in Maui itinerary for first trip to Hawaii adventures. 3 days in Hawaii. Best things to do in Maui. local insider tips. quiet secret hidden spots. Hawaii travel blog

 

In short:

How to spend 3 days in Maui Hawaii
  • Day 1: Haleakala + Paia + South Maui
  • Day 2: Road to Hana
  • Day 3: West Maui

 

 

Now, a few more details!

 

Day 1: Haleakala + Paia + South Maui

 

Haleakala is a volcano and going to the summit side of the national park means you’ll be at high altitude. The summit, which you can access, is above 10,000 feet. It’s a scenic drive to the Haleakala summit!

 

Maui itinerary. Best scenic drives in Maui: drive to Haleakala summit. 3 days in Hawaii what to do. Maui travel blog

Maui itinerary. Best scenic drives in Maui: drive to Haleakala summit. 3 days in Hawaii what to do. Maui travel blog

 

There is a national park entry fee to go to the Haleakala summit. You can expect this to be around $30 for a 3 day pass. (There is no one-day pass.) If you’ll be visiting other national parks within a year, you may consider getting the Hawaii national park pass or the U.S. national park pass. These are both annual passes so you’ll get unlimited entry into the national parks for a year.

It is super popular to go to the Haleakala National Park summit for sunrise, and sunrise permits often (always?) sell out.

If you find that there are no more Haleakala sunrise tickets for your date, aside from joining a sunrise tour in which your permit would be included, going for sunset can be another option. (You don’t need a permit for sunset.)

Otherwise, I think going during the day can also be GREAT! See more about a day visit to the Haleakala summit.

There’s the Sliding Sands Trail that starts kind of near the summit, which in its entirety is 11 miles.

But you don’t have to hike the whole trail in order for it to be worth it. This hiking trail starts at the top, and you’re hiking down into the crater. Because of this, I think it can be well worth it even if you just walk 30 minutes into the crater and turn around. 

Hookipa Beach and the lookout are past Paia town. You can also include this on your Road to Hana day, but it can also allow for extra time on the Road to Hana day if you don’t go to Hookipa Beach then.

If you choose to go to South Maui, you’ll want to get the day started early, and this can turn into a long day.

There are many beaches in South Maui, including one near an area called Turtle Town where you have a chance of swimming with turtles.

And there is also a coastal hike across old lava flows with amazing ocean views that is at the far end of the road in South Maui called Hoapili Trail

It can also be a perfect day if you choose not to include this part of Maui. And if you skip it, you can start the day off at a leisurely 10am or 11am in the late morning and it can work out well! 

 

Best beaches in South Maui

 

 

Day 2: Road to Hana

 

The Road to Hana is THE famous scenic drive on Maui, and you’ll be driving along the Hana Highway.

 

Maui itinerary. Best scenic drives in Maui: drive the road to hana. 3 days in Hawaii what to do. Maui travel blog

 

Many people make this a full day by starting off at like 7am and don’t get back to their hotel until 7pm.

If you want to do a TON of things on the Road to Hana, then you’ll probably want this type of plan as well.

The most common way to do this is as an out-and-back drive, although it is possible to make it a Road to Hana loop, taking the “back road to Hana.” (Look into this before doing the back road. For starters, you can have a look at driving the road to Hana in reverse.)

 

 

If you want to take it easy more, then you can simply find just 1 or 2 “priority” things to do, and then make stops along the way as you have time.

 

Maui itinerary. Best scenic drives in Maui: drive the road to hana. 3 days in Hawaii what to do. Maui travel blog

 

It can turn into a really long day because there are truly tons of stops you can make, and the Road to Hana is really all about these stops you can make along the way and things to see. There are also a ton of waterfalls on the Road to Hana, many of which you’ll come across naturally without seeking them out.

You might consider making your first stop on the Road to Hana the Pipiwai Trail (bamboo forest hike) in Haleakala National Park, which is more at the “end” of the Road to Hana (and technically past Hana town) where most people turn around. Doing it this way allows you to beat the crowds on the national park trail. Then, you can make the majority of your stops on the way back.

Once again there’s a national park entry fee, but you can use the same 3-day “park pass” that you bought for the Haleakala summit.

Maui’s famous black sand beach is on the Road to Hana in Waianapanapa State Park. You also may want to hike at least a part of the Waianapanapa Coastal Trail while you’re here for a hike across lava fields.

IMPORTANT!!! Starting in March 2021, you need to make a time slot reservation in order to visit Waianapanapa State Park. This costs money. It’s $10 for a 2.5 to 3 hour time slot, plus $5 per person entry fee, and you can make back-to-back reservations for more than 1 time slot. Fees may change. See Hawaii State Parks for updates. 

This means that you need a permit of sorts in order to see Maui’s famous black sand beach. It also means that you need a general plan before you set out on your Road to Hana drive if you want to stop at the black sand beach. There are other so-called “black sand beaches” on Maui, but nothing really compares to the black sand beach at Waianapanapa State Park.

Finally, if you’re looking for famous food on the Road to Hana, you may want to look into banana bread and huli huli chicken. Both of these places were featured by Gordon Ramsay on his show about the Hana coast.

 

If you have more than 3 days on Maui, also consider spending a night or 2 along the Hana Highway for an epic Hawaii camping experience! There are campgrounds on the Road to Hana that come with ocean views! Here’s more on how to spend several days on the Road to Hana.

 

 

Day 3: West Maui

 

Kaanapali Beach is a popular resort area in West Maui, and it can be pretty crowded. But go to the part of West Maui that’s included on day 3 of this itinerary and you can escape the crowds! 

This day isn’t necessarily about each of the individual places to visit, but it’s really more about the scenic views and lack of people (comparatively!) that come with going to these places!

 

Maui itinerary. Best scenic drives in Maui: drive west maui. 3 days in Hawaii what to do. Maui travel blog

 

This drive will start off by pretty much driving (almost) all the way to the “end” of where you’ll turn around, and then make stops on the way back.

Be sure to know the dangers of the Olivine Pools before you go. These tide pools are best seen from a distance instead of swimming in them.

This day includes another “back road” on Maui, but you can see a portion of the Kahekili Highway without driving it. You can consider it a nice coastal walk and walk part of it instead! See more info about getting to Kahakuloa here.

 

Maui Hawaii itinerary. Perfect 3 days in Maui itinerary. Best things to do in Maui. local insider tips. secret hidden spots. Hawaii travel blog

Things to do in West Maui: Kahakuloa Beach lookout braddah chic's food truck stop. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

On your drive back, if you’re looking for snorkeling, Honolua Bay is a top snorkeling spot on Maui. (It’s a marine life conservation district in Hawaii.)

You can also stop by the Kapalua area of West Maui where there’s the Kapalua Coastal Trail, a scenic viewpoint with unique rock formations (“dragon’s teeth“), and there are a number of beaches in this direct area that you can hang out at.

There’s DT Fleming Beach which will likely be more crowded since the Ritz Carlton Kapalua is like right there. There is also the Ironwoods Beach (aka Oneloa Beach) which will likely have very few people. For a snorkeling spot around here, you can try Kapalua Bay.

You can also head to Kaanapali Beach. There’s a top snorkeling spot called Black Rock here over to the far right side of the beach as you’re facing the ocean. There’s also a cave bar right along the Kaanapali boardwalk (aka beach walk) along with more restaurants and bars.

 

Things to do in West Maui: Kaanapali beachwalk in front of Maui resorts and hotels. Maui Hawaii travel blog

 

This day 3 is another day where you can start at a leisurely 10am or 11am and have a perfect day on Maui! Even just doing the first couple of activities on this day in the far north part of West Maui can have you thinking it’s an amazing day.

If you do want to start your day off very early and don’t mind a full day, then you may consider adding in the Waihee Ridge Trail, which is among the best hikes in the West Maui mountains.

If you do that, you will still likely want to take the long way to get between the Olivine Pools and Waihee Ridge Trail by looping around past Lahaina and Kaanapali. Google maps may tell you to go the shortest route between these 2 places, which is driving along eastern side. (See map for the visual.) But that will take you on the one lane road of Kahekili Highway which may be a bit scary to drive!

Another hike in the West Maui mountains you may want to consider is 13 crossings which will take you along a stream and through a small bamboo forest and to waterfalls. This is just up the road from the Waihee Ridge Trail. And if you do either of these hikes, you can finish off the day with a quick trip to the iconic Iao Valley needle.

See more about making it one day in the West Maui mountains.

 

 

And there are some ideas on how to spend your time with 3 days in Hawaii!

For more ideas, see the BIG LIST of things to do in Maui, mostly budget-friendly and outdoors!

 

Where to stay in Maui

On Maui, the resort areas are West Maui and South Maui:

  • Kaanapali (West Maui)
  • Kapalua (West Maui)
  • Wailea (South Maui)

In West Maui, Kaanapali has a long stretch of beach that’s lined with many beachfront resorts and hotels. There are big name resorts like the Westin, Sheraton, Hyatt, Aston, along with more beach resorts.

Kapalua would be the quieter resort area of West Maui. The 2 big name resorts are the Montage and the Ritz Carlton.

In South Maui, Wailea has a long stretch of coastline that’s lined with many oceanfront resorts and hotels, some with beaches out front. This includes Marriott, the Grand Wailea, and more.

See more about what’s around West Maui and what’s around South Maui, which includes the top hotels that are near some of the beaches.

There are also hostels on Maui, which would be the true budget option. Hostels tend to have both dorm rooms and private rooms available. See more about staying at a Maui hostel. There are some hostels that offer free group tours.

If you’ll be staying on Maui longer than 3 days, here are some things to think about in deciding if you’ll want to rent a car during your whole time on Maui. (You do need a car to do the above 3 day Maui itinerary!) There is a Maui airport bus that you can take to get to and from the airport which can be helpful if you’ll be having extra days on Maui without a car.

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Renting a car in Maui in 2021

As of spring 2021, there are reports of there being a car rental shortage on the Big Island. I am not sure if the situation is as extreme on Maui, but I did read about one person who said the only car rentals on Maui that she could find were extremely high prices. And I would guess that limited car rentals could be a thing across all of Hawaii.

So if you’re planning your trip to Maui for later in the year, then you might consider looking up availability for a car rental FIRST before you book your flight to Maui.

And book your car sooner rather than later!

If you already have your flight to Maui booked, but not yet your car rental… it might better to book it now!

 

 

See some Maui lists:

 

Undecided on which Hawaiian island to choose?

And here are ideas for how to spend 7 days on the Big Island.

See some ideas for how to spend 3 days on Oahu too!

Traveling to Hawaii alone? There are Maui hostels with free group tours, and also see more about solo travel in Hawaii!

 

HAPPY 3 DAYS IN HAWAII!

 

Maui itinerary. 3 days in Hawaii itinerary. Best things to do in Maui in 3 days. maui travel blog

 

 

There are affiliate links on this page. Among other partners, as an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission from this.

Top things to pack for your Hawaii vacation!

The ultimate beach towel for travel?!
Turkish towels are considered to be more absorbent and lightweight than your average beach towel. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
Possibly among the best Maui maps for tourists!
The Franko maps of Hawaii have a high level of detail for activities and it's beachproof aka waterproof. There's an "adventure" guide map and a "snorkel/dive" guide map. Plus a wall map for home to get you excited for your upcoming trip!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phone
You can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
Get your suitcase more organized!
Packing cubes can make it so you're spending less time on your vacation looking for things! They are basically a form of drawers in your suitcase. Take a look at these packing cubes.
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!
Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're snorkeling.

PLUS...
Be sure to take a look at the reviews of these amazing tours on Maui:
For more: More about some amazing Maui tours!


ALOHA!