Posted on 3/5/2024

Going to Maui: What to Expect As A First Time Visitor

If you've never been, you might wonder what to expect if you're going to Maui.

Nicknamed the Valley Isle, this small island has charming beaches, rich Hawaiian culture, and delicious food.

Read on for a full guide to soak up time in the sun.

What is Maui Best Known for?

If it's your first time going to Maui, then you'll definitely want to check out Haleakala Volcano. 

This dormant volcano, which makes up over 75% of the island's landmass, is the best sunset-watching spot.

Haleakala means "House of the Sun" in Hawaiian. Legend says that the demigod Maui lassoed the sun as he stood on the summit, making the day last longer.

The sunrises are epic— You need a reservation to get in before 7:00 am, which you can get here.

Driving to the summit takes 2-3 hours, so be prepared for a trek! If you're going for sunset, I recommend leaving around 3:30 from the South and 2:30 from the West.

Bring a jacket— at an elevation of 10,000 feet, the summit gets chilly. Stay after dark for some epic stargazing.

Whale Watching

During the winter months, Maui has the best whale watching in the entire state. 

The narrow Auau channel provides the migrating humpbacks with relative safety and warmer waters to give birth.

Take a whale watch between December and April to get an up-close look and in-depth knowledge of the magnificent creatures. 

There's nothing as cool as watching a whale breach!

Road to Hana

The Road to Hana is a 50-mile one-lane road that winds around the base of Haleakala to the small town of Hana.

Enjoy California-esque coastal cliffs, lush jungles with gushing waterfalls, and narrow bridges. 

Plan a whole day for this fun trip—while the drive itself may only take 4 hours, you'll want to make plenty of stops.

If you're hungry, you should get a delicious lunch at Pranee's Thai in Hana or try Troy's Plate Lunch (seriously, so good).

Maui's Weather

Hawaii has two seasons: rainy and dry! While the winter season is mild, you'll still find cooler temperatures and wetter weather.

The best times to visit the island are during the shoulder seasons. This would be April to May and September to November.

You'll get pleasant weather and fewer crowds (which is always a win).

Maui Beaches

The sandy beaches on Maui are quieter than you would find on the busy island of Oahu.

The coastal waters are also normally calm, perfect for families with young kids. Check out the black sand and red sand beaches for some variety!

You'll find picture-perfect white sand at Ka'anapali Beach—three straight miles of fluffy white sand and a gloriously clear ocean to swim in. Perfection!


No matter what you decide to do on Maui, the laid-back charm will make it easy to unwind and destress. With gorgeous beaches, stunning scenery, and plenty of unique things to do, Maui truly is 'No Ka Oi! ' (The best).

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