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. Known for its stunning coastline and luxurious resorts, this region offers an irresistible blend of beauty and adventure. It’s one scenic drive.

Maui’s west side is one of the most popular parts of the island and my favorite part because I get once got to call Lahaina home. Driving the West Maui circle drive 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.

In this article, I’ll go over what to do in West Maui, list all the top West Maui attractions and at the end of the post I’ll add any practical information that will prepare you for a trip of a lifetime.

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.

Reserve a Rental Car →

⚠️ Warning, the road that snakes along northwest Maui gets sketchy at some parts. Meaning the road gets very twisty and narrow. There is 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 are people going both ways, someone will have to backup. So be aware and alert when taking on this section of road on West Maui.

🚗 Travel Tip: 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 as you navigate West Maui and audio narration with stories and music.This will leave you with a deeper understanding and connection to Hawaii.

Lahaina town West Maui

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 a bit of a hike to reach.

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. Since West Maui is my back yard, chances are that I’ve written a detailed post about it.

Things to do in West Maui<br />

Best Things to do in West Maui

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.

Book a Snorkel Tour & Dolphin Watch →

Lahaina Pali Trail

Lahaina Pali Trail on West Maui

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


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. But the main reason that travelers visit Olowalu is for its epic snorkeling opportunities.

Many tour operators anchor at Olowalu reef or launch kayaks as it’s a calmer spot to get in and out of the water. It’s also a popular spot for scuba diving and Maui’s butterfly farm is located here.

Book a Snorkel Kayak Tour →

⛺️ Read Next: Camping at Olowalu

Mala restaurant on Front street Lahaina, Maui

Lahaina is currently off limits to visitors due to the devastating wildfires that swept through the area in August 2023. These unprecedented fires caused significant damage, destroying much of Lahaina’s cherished landmarks, homes, and businesses. 

Please respect these areas and support other areas of Maui that have not been affected. This will help the island continue to thrive while Lahaina heals. 💔🔥

Lahaina Town | The Best Things to do in West Maui

You can’t visit West Maui without stopping by Lahaina, it’s by far the best thing to do in West Maui. 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 it’s 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 pass up exploring this charming Maui town.

Today, the main drag Front Street is packed full of boutique shops, bars, restaurants with live music, 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

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 heels 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 Hawaiian Green sea turtles! I mean who doesn’t love turtles! 🐢

Kaanapali Beach is also home to several of the best must eat restaurants, luaus, world-class golf courses, and shopping in West Maui. Many tour operators offering a whale-watching tour and/or snorkel tours launch directly from Kaanapali Beach.

Book a Whale Watch →

Book a Luau →

Book a Sunset Sail →

Man climbing up a cliff in West Maui

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 in West Maui

Swim at Napili Bay

Napili Bay is one of West Maui’s most charming beaches and one of the best things to do on West Maui. This sandy cove is close to several resorts including the Napili Kai and Napili Shores. The Sea House restaurant sits on the East end of the beach and has one of the best happy hours on Maui.

This family friendly beach is perfect for swimming and West Maui snorkeling on a calm day. If you are looking for West Maui attractions for the whole family, enjoy the calm waters of Napili Bay for a day of sunshine and water.

Kapalua Bay

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 on West Maui for excellent 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

Flemings Beach Park

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

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.

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    Ironwoods Beach

    On the shores of West Maui, Ironwoods Beach is a gem that captivates you with its beauty and dramatic landscapes.  Located in resort area of Kapalua, this beach is known for its rugged coastline, soft golden sands, and lava rock formations.

    Unlike the more crowded beaches of Maui, Ironwoods is perfect for those seeking solitude or a quiet stroll along the shore as the Kapalua Coastal Trail’s boardwalk strolls along the beach.

    Maui Beach Guide

    Slaughterhouse Beach | One of the Best Beaches on West Maui

    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

    Honolulu Bay | Best Surfing on West Maui

    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?

    Book a Sunset Cruise →

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    Windmills outlook on the West Maui Drive

    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

    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. Bring binoculars to watch humpback whales breach if you are traveling to Maui during whale season.

    🥾 Read Full Post: Hiking the Ohai Trail on Maui

    Nakalele Blowhole

    Nakalele Point, Nakalele Blowhole, & Acid War Zone

    Another iconic thing to do on the West Maui circle drive 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 trail is sandy on a slicker rock. This makes it very slippery. 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

    Olivine Pools

    Another West Maui attraction located on the rugged northwest coast are the Olivine Pools. These natural tidal pools are carved into ancient lava rock and are named for their shimmering olivine crystals, which give them a striking green hue.

    The pools are a stunning contrast to the blue Huss of the Pacific Ocean that crashes dramatically against the black volcanic cliffs. Accessible via a steep, rocky trail, the journey to the Olivine Pools is not for the faint-hearted but rewards the intrepid traveler.

    Once here, you can bask in the waters and soak in the views. However, cation is crucial, as waves can be unpredictable, and it’s best to visit this hidden gem on Maui during calm seas.

    🌊 Safety 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!

    🧜🏻‍♀️ Read Full Post: Exploring the Mermaid Olivine Pools on Maui

    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

    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.

    📍 Read Full Post: Hiking the Waihee Ridge Trail

    Lahaina - Best Things to do in West Maui

    Where to Stay in West Maui

    West Maui contains some of the more developed portions of the island. These are the best places to stay on West Maui.

    Pipiwai Trail in Hana HI
    Best Things to do in West Maui

    Maui Travel Guides

    🌴 West Maui is the perfect place to base yourself when you explore Maui. Check out the guides below for help in planning your trip to Maui. I’ve lived on Maui for over a decade so if there’s a question you have about Maui, chances are I’ve written about it.

    The Ultimate Guide to Maui – This is the big guide of all the best things to do, where to eat, where to stay, tips and much more.

    Best Time to Visit Maui – Find out the best time to visit Maui based on your travel preferences.

    7, 10 or 14 Day Maui Itinerary – Plan your trip based on this 7 to 14 day itinerary around Maui.

    Best Hikes on Maui – I love hiking. These are the best hiking trails on Maui for all skill levels and various lengths.

    10 Unbelievable Places to Visit on Maui – These are some of the most beautiful places on Maui.

    Best Things to do on Maui – These are the top things to do on Maui.

    Best Area to Stay on Maui – Find out the best areas to stay in Maui

    West Maui vs. South Maui – Which side of the island is the best side to stay.

    Best Stops along the Road to Hana – The road to Hana is one of the most popular things to do on Maui and these are all the best stops.

    Maui Travel Vlogs

    Would you rather see traveling around Maui looks like. Joe and I filmed several vlogs on some of our daily adventures across Maui. Check them out after you’ve read this post.

    And please subscribe or give us a thumbs up. It doesn’t cost you anything and really helps us be able to continue creating free content for you to enjoy 🙂.

    🎥 Watch our Maui Series on YouTube

    Additional Maui Travel Guides ↓

    📍Planning a trip to Maui? I lived on Maui for 12 years and Maui is where this blog was born. Check out these guides to further help you plan your trip.

    20 Best Things to do in Kihei

    Unusual Things to do on Maui

    Best Things to do Upcountry on Maui

    Best Things to do in Wailea

    Haleakala National Park Tips & Tricks 

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    Exploring West Maui with I'm Jess Traveling
    Best Stops while Exploring West Maui with I'm Jess Traveling
    Must do stops while driving West Maui with I'm Jess Traveling