Best Way To Spend One Day In Maui | Maui Ocean Center

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Aloha Adventure: Best Ways to Spend One Day in Maui

January 9, 2024

You only have one day in Maui? Let’s make it unforgettable! Here’s your guide to savoring the best of Maui’s beauty and attractions without exhausting yourself and making every minute count.

Breakfast in Upcountry

Upcountry Maui offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding hills, forests, and sometimes even the coastline – perfect for starting your day. Many cafes and restaurants in the Upcountry area emphasize the farm-to-table concept, using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Make sure to try local specialties like Loco Moco or Haupia Pancakes. Check out these two iconic restaurants to get the most out of Upcounty:


Grandma’s Coffee House: This cafe is known for its cozy atmosphere and delicious breakfast options. They serve freshly brewed coffee, homemade pastries, and hearty breakfast dishes. The setting often feels like a step back in time, adding to the charm.

Kula Bistro: Another popular choice, Kula Bistro, offers a diverse menu with both local and international flavors. From omelets and pancakes to unique Hawaiian-inspired dishes, you’ll find a variety of options to suit different tastes.

Embark on the Road to Hāna

When you have limited time to explore the Road to Hāna, it’s essential to be strategic and selective with your stops to make the most of your visit. The Road to Hāna often takes a full day but for those with limited time it is possible to do a quicker drive. 

Some notable stops that we recommend are Twin Falls, Ho’okipa Lookout, and Ke’anae Peninsula. Visit the Garden of Eden Arboretum for a quick but enriching experience of lush scenery and diverse botanical wonders. Instead of going the full way to Hāna we recommend turning around Ka’enae Peninsula. Make sure to get Aunt Sandys banana bread while you’re there.

Relax at Kaanapali Beach

If you’re in Maui you have to hit a beach! We recommend spending your afternoon winding down at Kaanapali. Before you get there, you’ll pass through Māʻalaea, which is a great place to stop at Maui Ocean Center and spend an hour or so observing all the native animals you might not have witnessed during your trip.

maui ocean center, things to do in maui, sea turtles

The Maui Ocean Center will give you the opportunity to see the native Hawaiian green sea turtle, tiger sharks, and the local day octopus. You can also immerse yourself in the local fauna and corals that Maui has to offer but you might have missed during your short stay. This stop is a must if you want to experience all things Maui in such a short time!


While you’re here, you can treat yourself to lunch at the renowned Seascape Restaurant  or pick up a sweet treat from one of the Māʻalaea harbor shops


When you make it to Kaanapali Beach, you’ll be able to relax on the pristine beaches and grab your snorkeling gear and witness some of the beautiful island fish up close and personal. You can see Black Rock (Pu’u Eka’a), a prominent lava rock formation at the north end of the beach. 

Sunset at Haleakalā

Lastly, most people like to do the sunrise hike to Haleakalā National Park but our recommendation is to witness the sunset instead. Haleakalā, which means “House of the Sun” in Hawaiian, is a massive shield volcano that forms more than 75% of the Hawaiian Island of Maui. The summit of Haleakalā, sitting at an elevation of about 10,023 feet (3,055 meters), is renowned for its stunning views. 


While during sunrise you’re faced with extremely early hours, a bit of traffic and reservations, if you go at sunset you can skip all that! The drive to the summit can take about 1.5 to 2 hours from Kīhei. 


The parking lot and viewing areas can get crowded, especially on popular days. As the sun sets, you’ll witness a spectacular display of colors, with the sky transforming through various shades of red, orange, and pink. The landscape, with its otherworldly volcanic features, adds to the surreal experience. 


The summit of Haleakalā can be significantly colder than the coastal areas, especially in the early morning. Dress in layers to stay warm, and consider bringing a blanket or jacket.


Download the free NPS app for tools to explore national parks and find interactive maps, tours, accessibility information, and more to plan and navigate your trip.


Spending a day in Maui offers a whirlwind of unforgettable experiences, from witnessing the breathtaking sunset at Haleakalā to exploring the scenic Road to Hanā and unwinding on the pristine beaches of Kaanapali. By strategically planning your itinerary, you can capture the essence of Maui’s diverse landscapes, cultural richness, and natural beauty.


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