Maui for Beginners

Maui is called the “Valley Isle,” as most of the island is comprised of the surfaces of two huge volcanoes and the lush green valley in between. Of course, all around the perimeter of the island, you’ll find absolutely breathtaking beaches.

If you’ve been to Maui before, you probably have your favorite sights and attractions that you love to see and do each time you visit. These great activities can range from attending luaus and hula lessons to hiking the volcanoes we mentioned. Maybe you love the long and winding roads that lead to spectacular waterfalls, or the thick forests that introduce you to all kinds of incredible native plants and trees.

If you’re visiting Maui for the first time, though, you’ll likely want the inside scoop on all of the best attractions on Maui. Let’s break down a Maui vacation into easy-to-manage sections, which will help you best plan for your first trip to this beautiful island.

Getting There

I’ll assume you’ve researched how to get to Maui and found some great deals on flights. Remember to book early or look for last-minute discounts, be flexible with your travel dates, and sign up for airline frequent flier programs.

Most of the flights into Maui arrive in Kahului Airport, Maui’s main airport, by direct flight, or sometimes by a stopover flight that lands first in Honolulu.

Staying in Maui

You have a decent amount of options when it comes to finding great accommodations on Maui.

This Hawaiian island is pretty diverse in its offerings, so you’ll find a variety of sprawling resorts, eco-friendly sea cottages, private guesthouses and traditional hotels for you to choose from.

Most of the lodging options in Maui tend to have a traditional, island-like feel to them and are not your typical modern hotels like you’d find on Oahu. These comfortable, authentic accommodations range from moderate to high-end in price.

You’ll find great resorts all over the island, such as in Lahaina, Kapalua, Kaanapali, Kihei, Wailea and Makena. In Hana, there is one lovely resort available.

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Exploring Maui

When you think about your first trip to Maui, you probably entertain thoughts of lying on sun-soaked beaches and taking in lots of fabulous sights around the island, such as waterfalls, towering cliffs, and cities teeming with palm trees. This is, quite frankly, exactly what you’ll see in Maui—and you’ll see a lot more than that, too!

Maui’s beaches are regularly ranked as the best in the world by popular travel magazines, and the most popular on the island is Kaanapali Beach, also known as “Black Beach.” At Kaanapali Beach, you’ll be able to spend the day sunning, surfing, snorkeling, playing in the sand and waves and even viewing humpback whales.

All of Maui’s beaches are absolutely gorgeous. If you venture around the island, you’ll find a beach to suit every preference and one to match almost every color as well. There are few other places on the planet where you can visit beaches with sand colored green, black, red, gold and white.

There really is so much to do on Maui that it may be best to talk in terms of what you’ll experience in each town or region on the island.


Lahaina is located in West Maui and is a historic little city that is great for shopping, dining and exciting entertainment.

Eastern Maui

On the windward side of Maui, where the island is wetter, you can visit the Ioa Valley and take the scenic “Road to Hana.”

This fabulous drive leads you on a journey around more than 600 hairpin curves and across about 50 single-lane bridges to a final destination filled with cascading waterfalls and tranquil pools.

Haleakala National Park

Haleakala is one of the renowned Maui volcanoes we referred to above. Here you’ll be able to hike the steep, cool slopes or simply drive to the summit and enjoy fantastic views.


On Maui’s southwest shore, which is the sunniest and driest region on the island, you’ll find Kihei and six miles of beaches.

Kihei used to be a regular locale for traveling Hawaiian royalty. Now it is the place to go when you want to take in views of Molokini and Lanai on a clear day, or swim, snorkel, kayak and enjoy all kinds of other fun in the surf and sand.

The pace is quite slow on Maui, perfect for relaxing and experiencing Hawaii as the locals do.

You can visit Maui as cheaply or lavishly as you want, as there are many opportunities for free fun and for wonderful guided tours and excursions.

Maui really is a destination unlike any other Hawaiian island. Enjoy exploring it!