Best Things to do in West Maui now
West Maui is one of the most visited areas of Maui. There are several things to do in West Maui and you’ll soon understand why it is such a popular destination in Hawaii.
West Maui consists of several towns including Olowalu, Lahaina, Ka’anapali, Honokawai, Kahana, Napili and Kapalua. In this guide I will go over the best things to do on West Maui, best places to eat, where to stay and any useful tips you should know before exploring the area.
Having been a resident of West Maui for over 10 years, know that this guide on the best things to do in West Maui is straight from the source. Get ready for a trip of a lifetime as you explore Maui’s West coast.
Traveling West Maui: Fast Facts to Know Before you Go
- West Maui is about an hour drive from the airport.
- Lahaina town is a historic Hawaiian town that represents a piece of each island.
- Lahaina town used to be the capitol of the Hawaiian Islands until the 1850’s.
- The Banyan tree, one of Lahaina’s top attractions was just 8 feet tall when it was brought to Maui from India. It now stands more than 60 feet tall and spans almost an entire block.
- Maui is the second largest Hawaiian Island.
- It’s possible to visit the neighboring island of Lanai by taking the ferry that leaves out of the Lahaina Harbor.
The Best Time to Visit West Maui
With an average temperature of 78º year round, there’s never a bad time to visit Maui. Maui has two seasons, high and low – meaning how many visitors are on the island at that time.
High season refers the winter months and the summer months when the kids are all on summer break. Low season is in the spring time and fall.
In my professional opinion visiting Maui during whale season is the best time to go. Official whale season runs mid December through mid May and to see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat is an experience you can’t get anywhere else.
Getting Around West Maui
The best way to get around Maui is by having your own transportation. Public transportation does not go to most of the West Maui locations I have listed in this post.
Plus having your own wheels lets you be on your own time, gives you more freedom and allows you to travel all over the island.
Where to Stay in West Maui
There are three main areas to stay when visiting West Maui – Lahaina town, Ka’anapali or Kapalua.
Lahaina – A historic port with many tourist attractions and a harbor. Check out these top rated hotels in the Lahaina area here for reviews and current prices.
Hotel Pick: Aina Nalu
Kaanapali – Located a few miles North of Lahaina, Kaanapali is a popular, family friendly resort area that contains 7 of Maui’s biggest resorts.
Check out these top rated hotels in the Kaanapali area here for reviews and current prices.
Hotel Pick: Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas
Kapalua – One of Maui’s most premier resort locations. Check out these top rated hotels in the Kapalua area here for reviews and current prices.
Hotel Pick: The Ritz Carlton
10 of the Best Things to do in West Maui
Centrally located between the Kahului Airport and the Lahaina/Ka’anapali resort areas is Ma’alaea Harbor. Most people experience Ma’alaea when they visit the Maui Ocean Center where you can witness sharks, rays and a plethora of tropical fish species.
Ma’alaea is also the launching point for many things to do in West Maui, including whale watching tours, snorkel trips to Molokini, sport fishing and sunset sails.
2. Lahaina Town
Lahaina is one of Maui’s most charming towns. Filled with art galleries, surf shops and tasty restaurants, exploring Lahaina town is one of the best things to do in West Maui.
Start your explorations at the iconic Bayan tree. This massive tree spans almost an entire block and is the heartbeat of Lahaina. This is a great place to find shade and escape the relentless sun as you shop around town.
Lahaina is also home to Lahaina harbor where several companies offer boat tours and excursions. Set sail on a sunset booze cruise or a whale watch if you are visiting Maui during whale season (mid December – mid May).
Must eat Lahaina restaurants include Down the Hatch – serving up causal southern style aloha eats and Fleetwoods on Front Street for more of a fine dining experience.
Locals tip: Make a reservation for Fleetwoods for 5:30 to enjoy the free sunset ceremony that features an authentic bag piper or Hawaiian Kumu depending on which day of the week you are visiting.
3. Ka’anapali Beach
Kaanapali Beach is one of the most beautiful and best beaches on Maui. This three mile white sand beach is home to some of Maui’s best resorts, high end shopping and tasty restaurants. From the crystal clear waters to miles of long, wide, soft sand, it’s no wonder why Kaanapali Beach was once named America’s Best Beach.
There are several things to do on Kaanapali Beach that if you are visiting West Maui, this is a must visit. On the the far North end of the beach is black rock, a great spot to test your nerves at cliff jumping. Black rock also boasts excellent snorkeling, you are almost always guaranteed to spot a honu (a.k.a. sea turtle).
There is also a long board walk that you can stroll along as you meander between resorts, shops, eats, drinks, sunset, and the beach. This is one of the most popular and family friendly places to stay on the island.
4. Napili Bay
Napili Bay is a family friendly, crescent shaped bay located on West Maui. It doesn’t get more picture perfect than this. Napili Bay is home to a handful of mid range hotels and condos including Napili Shores and Napili Sunset.
The sandy entry and calm waters make this beach perfect for swimming and floating. A reef sits further out from the shore and is also great for snorkeling. Sea turtles frequent this bay often.
There are restaurants and bathrooms situated on the beach, making this a perfect place to spend an entire day. Napili Bay is the type of beach that you see on a postcard from Hawaii.
5. Dragons Teeth
If you are staying in Kapalua at the Ritz Carlton, then you can’t leave without paying a visit to Dragon’s Teeth. Dragon’s Teeth is a formation that resembles teeth of a dragon.
The unique structures were formed when lava from the West Maui Volcano poured into the ocean. Combining strong winds and powerful waves, the lava was pushed back thus forming what resembles great black teeth.
You can simply walk down the path and wonder around Makaluapuna Point aka Dragon’s Teeth. Be aware of your surroundings and the ocean. Don’t get too close to the edge if surf is up.
6. Olivine Pools
The Olivine Pools are natural tide pools and the only separation between the ocean is a low wall of jagged lava rock. On a calm day you can jump off the rocks and swim in the pools.
It takes a bit of ability to traverse down to the pools and back up as the path is a mixture of large rocks, sandy pebbles and lava rocks on a steep incline.
This west Maui activity is controversial as several deaths occur at this spot each year, so use extreme caution and judgment. A good rule of thumb if waves are crashing to pass on this excursion.
Waves come in long, drawn out sets. What looks safe one moment, can be unsafe in the next. Between the strong rip current and jagged coastline, getting back to safety is difficult if you are swept out.
7. Ohai Trail
The Ohai is a family friendly hike that offers coastal and nature views. Named for the Ohai plant, one of the many species you can find along the way, the trail is a 1 mile loop with little to no elevation.
This is a great place to stop and stretch your legs as you drive around West Maui. There’s a few benches on the path to rest at and admire the ocean. If it is whale season, be ready to spot for spouts. Bringing a pair of binoculars is never a bad idea.
Parking is limited but this trail is rarely crowded. Break in’s do occur! Bring your valuables with you and leave your doors unlocked.
8. Nakalele Point and blow hole
Nakalele Point is an area of rugged coastline with main attraction being the blow hole. This blowhole is roughly the size of a manhole cover and is powerful enough to easily blast 50+ feet high in the air.
Safety Tips: I can’t mention the blow hole without talking about safety. It is possible to get sucked into the blow hole if you stand too close. Also observe the waves for some time before walking down to the blow hole. Look for signs of water sweeping across the area and stay back from areas that are experiencing wave action. Larger unexpected waves can sweep across the lava thus pulling visitors into the ocean.
9. Honolua Bay
Honolua Bay is a rocky beach located North of Slaughterhouse beach. The primary draw is snorkeling and surfing. Honolua Bay is best experienced on a snorkel cruise as the best snorkel areas are a bit far from the beach.
In winter, storms bring excellent surf to Honolua, one of the best surf breaks on Maui. When the surf is up, surfers flock here in droves. There is an overlook on the east cliff where you can pull up to watch the action.Olivine Pools
10. Waihee Ridge Hike
The Waihee ridge hike is one of Maui’s most popular hikes and one of the last stops as you explore West Maui. Located on the North side of West Maui, this moderate hike takes you along the Waihee ridge.
The ridge hike is around 4 miles out and back with an elevation climb of 1500 feet. Highlights include waterfalls in the distance, stunning coastal views and on a clear day you can see Molokai.
Tips for hiking the Waihee ridge:
- Flash floods do occur so it is pertinent to check the weather before you hike.
- Start early to avoid crowds and fog as the clouds roll in by noon which mess with the views.
- If it has rained recently it can potential be very muddy.
- Wear proper hiking shoes.
Enjoy West Maui Travel
There you have it, the best things to do in West Maui. Maui is full of adventure and is truly paradise on Earth. I hope you enjoy visiting as much as I love living in Maui.
Looking for more Maui adventures, check out these posts
Jess is a bikini wearing, coffee loving, temple chasing explorer. When she’s not galavanting around the world you can find her on Maui, working on her blog I’m Jess Traveling and building the life of her dreams.
Conclusion of Things to do in West Maui
For West Maui fun, you’ll love explore all fun activities and attractions around this easy trips to explore on the west side of Maui. Hope this gives you some great ideas of things to do and see around the town and outlying areas to visit.
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