West Maui is one of the most popular parts of the island and my favorite part because I get to call it home as I live in Lahaina.  There are tons of things to do in West Maui from ridge line hikes to erupting blowholes, that everyone should set aside a day to pilot the West Maui loop drive, 

Driving the West Maui loop really showcases Maui’s diversity and is a great alternative to driving the road to Hana or getting off-the-beaten path on the back road to Hana.

Top things to do in West Maui

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Driving the West Maui loop is one of the best roadtrips on Maui.  In order to drive the West Maui loop, you will need your own set of wheels.  Renting a car on Maui allows you to have the freedom to explore at your own pace and experience things that wouldn’t be possible if you didn’t have a rental car.  You can rent a car here.

Warning, the Northwest Maui road gets sketchy at some parts.  Meaning the road gets very twisty and narrow.  There’s one section of the West Maui loop that is a long stretch of one lane road on the side of a mountain without guardrails.  If there is people going both ways, someone will have to backup.  So be aware and alert when taking on this section of road on West Maui. 

If you would prefer to follow along to an audio tour I recommend the Shaka Guide!  The Shaka guide tours are great for independent explorers who want the freedom to explore on their own terms, but like to learn about the spots they’re visiting. 

The tours use GPS to offer turn-by-turn directions and audio narration with stories and music.  This will leave you with a deeper understanding and connection to Hawaii.

Best Things to do in West Maui

For this West Maui drive guide, I have the stops listened in order driving north from Maalaea Harbor.  Some of the West Maui stops are directly on the side of the road while others can be an exhausting hike.

If you want more information on a specific thing to do in West Maui, just click on the blue links below for a detailed post.

  1. Maalaea Harbor
  2. Lahaina Pali Trail
  3. Olowalu
  4. Lahaina town 
  5. Kaanapali Beach 
  6. Cliff House
  7. Napili Bay
  8. Kapalua Bay 
  9. DT Flemings Beach 
  10. Kapalua Coastal Trail
  11. Slaughterhouse
  12. Honolua Bay 
  13. Windmills Lookout
  14. Ohai Trail
  15. Nakalele Point & Nakalele Blowhole
  16. Olivine Pools
  17. Julias Banana Bread 
  18. Waihee Ridge Trail
Things to do in West Maui<br>

1. Maalaea Harbor

The Maalaea Harbor is our first stop on our West Maui loop drive.  Located on the southwestern side of the island, the harbor is full of things to do including Maui’s Aquarium (one of the best things to do in Maui when it rains), shops, restaurants and of course a variety of boats.

There are a variety of boat tours and recreational activities available and there’s no better way to experience Maui than on the water.  From fishing excursions to sunset cruises and whale watching tours, Maalaea Harbor is a great place to kick off your Maui adventures.

Maalaea has a tendency to get very windy so early morning boat excursions are recommended.  Lahaina town also has a harbor where many tour operators depart from but we’ll talk about that in a couple sections.

2. Lahaina Pali Trail

The second stop on the West Maui loop and one of the best things to do in West Maui if you are looking for a caloric burn.  The Lahaina Pali Hike is one of the best West Maui hikes.

This isn’t a quick stop as the whole hike is 5 to 10 miles depending on if you hike all the way through or turn around at the top when you reach the windmills.

The Lahaina Pali Trail offers ocean views where you can see Lana’i, Kahoʻolawe, and Molokini.  I do this hike often by myself.  It is 2.5 miles uphill to get to the windmills and of course 2.5 miles to get back to your car.

This area is highly susceptible to brushfires and strong winds.  Going earlier in the morning or checking the weather before you hike is crucial.

On a clear, hot day the sun becomes a challenge as the trail is open and offers little shade.  Hiking on a partly cloudy day always make this hike more enjoyable.

🥾 Read Next:  Best hikes on Maui

Staying at camp Olowalu on West Maui

3. Olowalu

Olowalu is the only place you can stop for refreshments between Maalaea Harbor and Lahaina.  There is a small general store and a pop up market selling fresh fruits and smoothies.

Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop  can also be found here and they bake amazing fresh pies every morning.  They also serve hot and cold sandwiches.  You must try the lilikoi (Hawaiian for passion fruit) if its in season or the Olowalu lime.

If you’re traveling Maui on a budget, with a large group or just enjoy camping in style, Camp Olowalu is a great option.

Mala restaurant one of the best Restaurants in Lahaina

4. Lahaina Town

You can’t visit West Maui without stopping by Lahaina.  Lahaina town has such a special place in my heart.  Not only have I been blessed to call it home for the majority of the past decade but its one of my favorite places in the world.  That says a lot as I’m making it my mission to see as much of the world as possible.

Lahaina is a historic whaling village and was once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom in the early nineteenth century.  You can’t look for things to do in West Maui and passup exploring this charming Maui town.

Today the main drag Front Street is packed full of boutique shops, bars, restaurants, and art galleries.  Near the beginning of town is the iconic banyan tree that spans an entire block.  This is a great place to take shade from the cruel, relentless sun.

You could easily spend a morning exploring this charming Hawaiian town.  Lahaina is a great place to stay on Maui if you want to stay in an area that you can walk to several restaurants, bars, activities and the harbor.  There are several West Maui condos, boutiques hotels and vacation rentals that dot the area and offer epic views of the West Maui Mountains.

Sunset at Kaanapali Beach Maui with a palm tree

5. Kaanapali Beach

If you love soft, golden sand beaches that stretch for as long as the eye can see then you’ll instantly fall head over heals for Ka’anapali Beach.  Make your way to the end of the beach to black rock which is closest to the Sheraton.  

Black Rock is a popular spot where you can jump off the black lava rock into the crystal clear waters below.  This is one of the coolest things to do in Kaanapali.  The highest jump is about 15 feet. 

Don’t forget a mask or to wear reef safe sunscreen!  Check out this article for what to bring to the beach.  This is a great place for a snorkel and a common area to spot sea turtles! I mean who doesn’t love turtles! 🐢

Kaanapali Beach is also home to several of the best must eat restaurants and shopping in West Maui.

Man climbing up a cliff in West Maui

6. Cliff House | West Maui Cliff Diving

If you dream of cliff jumping in Hawaii and black rock wasn’t enough, then don’t miss Cliff House.  If you’re staying at the Montage (one of the best resorts in Maui for your honeymoon) in Kapalua in West Maui then you’ll spend all of your free time here.

There are several spots where you can dive off the cliffs into the ocean below.  When you are gathered on the rocks you will see the Cliff House building on the left which is also a lovely place to enjoy brunch and champagne.

Napili Bay with a palm tree hanging over the beach

7. Napili Bay

Napili Bay is one of West Maui’s most charming beaches.  This sandy cove is close to several resorts including the Napili Kai and Napili Shores.  This family friendly beach is perfect for swimming and West Maui snorkeling on a calm day. 

The Sea House restaurant sits on the East end of the beach and has one of the BEST happy hours on Maui.  If you are looking for things to do in West Maui for the whole family, enjoy the calm waters of Napili Bay for a day of sunshine and water.

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    8. Kapalua Bay

    Another popular beach on West Maui is Kapalua Bay.  The golden-white sand and crystal clear waters give the beach an almost surreal feel.  The bay is a popular spot for snorkeling, as the shallow waters are teeming with vibrant coral and marine life.

    The bay is surrounded by lush vegetation, including palm trees and tropical flowers, creating a picturesque experience.  Meriman’s restaurant is located on the point at this cove which is the perfect spot to enjoy drinks on the deck and watch the sunset.

    Read Next:  The Best Beaches on Maui

    Dt Flemings Beach in Kapalua Maui

    9. Dt Flemings Beach

    Another stunning beach on West Maui is DT Flemings Beach.  You can find this beautiful beach at the foot of the Ritz Carleton Resort in Kapalua.  The quarter mile golden sand beach is a perfect place to spend the day basking in the sun or body boarding some waves.  Not to mention the Ritz-Carleton is one of the best places to stay in Hawaii on your honeymoon. 

    The black, lava rock on the south side of the beach is fun to walk out onto and see the powerful waves crash against the shore.  Winter time brings big swell to this beach.  The Mahana Ridge Trail also starts in the far right corner of this parking lot. 

    The Kapalua Coastal Trail, Maui Hawaii

    10. Kapalua Coastal Trail

    The Kapalua Coastal Trail on West Maui is a beautiful and serene walking trail that offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the nearby islands of Molokai and Lanai.  Along this easy trail on Maui, you can enjoy a variety of different terrains, from sandy beaches to rocky cliffs and lush vegetation.  

    This trail is especially enjoyable at sunrise or sunset, when the colors of the sky create an awe-inspiring backdrop.  The trail is also perfect for bird-watching and spotting local wildlife like whales if you are on Maui during whale season.

    Maui Beach Guide

    11. Slaughterhouse Beach

    If you are looking for an adventure on this things to do in West Maui list, Slaughterhouse Beach feels like an adventure to get there.  You’ll first set eyes on this picture perfect Hawaiian beach from an aerial view above.  To access the beach you’ll have to make the 80 some stair trek down to sea level. 

    The large white sand beach is perfect for sun bathing.  Explore on the rocks on either side of the beach for the ultimate experience.  Parking is scarce so earlier the better.  And remember if you pack it in, pack it out!

    Honolua Bay Maui, Hawaii

    12. Honolua Bay

    A must stop on the West Maui loop is Honolua Bay.  Every time I take a stroll through Honolua Bay I feel like I’m inside a fairy tale with princesses locked in tall towers and dragons.  In the sudden dream like state you’ll forget you’re even on Maui!

    Parking will be on the left hand side directly after a one lane bridge.  It’s a short 10 minute walk through wooden area to get to Honolua Bay.  Although the walk is short, it will take much longer as you’ll be mesmerized and want to take pictures of all the magically trees.

    Honolua Bay is a great spot to go snorkeling when there’s no surf.  It’s rocky where you get in so water shoes are never a bad idea.  If you do choose to snorkel down here you MUST wear reef safe sunscreen.  There will probably be a local Hawaiian sitting down there to make sure you follow the rules.  Plus who doesn’t want to save the reef?

    Windmills outlook on the West Maui Drive

    13. Windmills Lookout

    Three minutes continuing down the road from Honolua Bay is the lookout over Windmills Beach and break.  On the left hand side of the road just before a sharp right hand bend. 

    On a winter day when there’s a large swell you can possibly see some gnarly surf.  This is a short and quick stop that can be enjoyed on the return trip if you’re not doing the full West Maui loop.  You will be on the right hand side of the road on way back to Lahaina.

    Ohai Trail one of Maui's best hikes

    14. Ohai Trail

    The Ohai Trail is a perfect stop on the West Maui loop to take in the views, “stretch” your legs, and walk around.  This trail is 1.2 miles round trip and is suitable for every fitness level.

    I run this trail often because its nice to get out of town, there’s hardly anyone ever here and it makes me re-appreciate the gorgeous island that I live on.

    As you walk the loop you’ll get sweeping coast line views.  On a clear day the greens of the foliage and blues of the sky and ocean are very vivid. 

    THe blowhole in West Maui

    15. Nakalele Point & the Blow Hole

    Another iconic stop along the West Maui loop is the Nakalele Blowhole & Nakalele Point.  The Nakalele Blowhole is located just before mile marker 38 on the left hand side of the road if you are going north.

    There’s a small parking lot and wooden sign that says “Blowhole Parking.”   Parking is limited as with many of the stops on this road trip.

    The path down to the blow hole takes 20 minutes and can be very slippery at times.  The path is sandy/slidey on a slicker rock.  If your knees are weak you don’t have to walk all the way down to the blowhole as you can see it from far away. 

    Shortly after beginning the decent the blow hole will come into view.  Don’t miss out on this top thing to do in West Maui as it’s an amazing adventure.

    Olivine Pools West Maui

    16. Olivine Pools

    Another iconic stop along the West Maui loop is the Nakalele Blowhole & Nakalele Point.  The Nakalele Blowhole is located just before mile marker 38 on the left hand side of the road if you are going north.

    There’s a small parking lot and wooden sign that says “Blowhole Parking.”   Parking is limited as with many of the stops on this road trip.

    The path down to the blow hole takes 20 minutes and can be very slippery at times.  The path is sandy/slidey on a slicker rock.  If your knees are weak you don’t have to walk all the way down to the blowhole as you can see it from far away. 

    Shortly after beginning the decent the blow hole will come into view.  Don’t miss out on this top thing to do in West Maui as it’s an amazing adventure.

    🌊 Travel Tip: It is pertinent to check the surf and not to venture down on a rough day.  People have been swept away by the waves which resulted in death.  Always be aware of your surroundings and do your research!

    17. Julia’s Banana Bread

    This is always a highlight stop of the West Maui loop.  I take my friends and family here often when we are exploring this part of Maui west side.

    Just when you think you should turn around and go back the way you came you’ll see a small stand on the left hand side of the road.  This is Julia’s and she bakes and sells the BEST banana bread on Maui.

    The drive to get there is an adventure in itself and Julia’s banana bread is just icing on the cake.  Make sure you have cash and buy one for me…I don’t get out there as often as I’d like.

    🔎 More off-the-beaten path Maui:

    Unusual Things to do in Maui 

    Driving the Backside to Hana

    The Ridge Trail with ocean Views

    18. Waihee Ridge Trail

    The Waihee Ridge Trail is a popular hike on Maui.  If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of hiking so this is one of my favorite things to do in West Maui.

    The trail offers scenic valley and coastal views as you descend up the ridge.  The hike itself is about 5 miles up and back with 1,500 feet in elevation gain.

    The trail takes you through several different forests including pine, koa, and rainbow eucalyptus.  At the top of the top on a clear day you’ll see sweeping views of Maui’s coastline and the island of Molokai.

    Those are the best things to do in West Maui.  Have you gotten to experience any of these epic activities?  Let me know in the comments below!

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