Maui with a Baby or Toddler


Maui with a baby

After visiting Maui twice with our daughter, at 3 months old and again at 20 months old, we have learned a lot about visiting Maui with a baby or toddler.  We’ve learned the most baby-friendly and toddler-friendly activities on the island to explore. We also have recommendations on what to avoid and how to optimize activities while visiting Maui with a baby or toddler.  From the beautiful beaches to the exotic rainforests to the endless beautiful waterfalls to the world’s largest dormant volcano, the adventures you can have on Maui with your baby or toddler are countless.  Here is a breakdown of our baby friendly/toddler friendly activity recommendations, where to eat, where to stay and general Maui with baby or toddler tips.   

Maui with a baby

For tips on traveling with a baby, please see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, How to Hike with a Baby, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and Flying with a Baby posts.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


Maui Baby-Friendly & Toddler Friendly Activities


Highlights of our trips to Maui with our baby, and then toddler, included watching sunrise over the summit at Haleakala National Park, hiking through a bamboo forest, seeing countless awe-inspiring waterfalls, hiking along the coastlines, exploring the mountains of Maui, driving the insanely windy Road to Hana, seeing sea turtles and relaxing/playing on the many of the perfectly picturesque white sand beaches. Continue reading below for more information on all the above. 


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: Visit Baby Beach in Lahaina 

Maui with a baby

Did you know there is a ‘Baby Beach’ in Lahaina perfect for your baby or toddler to explore?  ‘Baby Beach’ gets its name because it has much calmer waters than most other beaches on Maui.  This is due to offshore breakwater blocking and reefs that prevent many of the big waves from reaching the shore.  Our daughter loved playing here in the sand and splashing in the calm water.  Not only was the water calm here but there were also a lot of other babies and toddlers for her to see exploring the water, making her more curious about getting wet and less afraid of the water. Further, it was fun to have her play with some other babies and toddlers on the beach.  And as parents, it was nice to connect with other parents with kids of a similar age. 


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: Visit Other Baby Friendly Beaches

Maui with a baby

Some of our favorite days on Maui were spent at the beach playing in the sand and splashing in the waves with our daughter.  Here is a list of other beaches we found to have calmer water or natural reefs so that the waves broke before reaching our baby or toddler on the sand:

  • Maluaka Beach in Wailea area
  • Airport Beach in Lahaina 
  • Kaanapali Beach in Lahaina 

Further, we would recommend avoiding most of the beaches on the north side of the island with your baby or toddler as the waves tend to be notoriously more intense. Great for surfing, not great for a baby or toddler. 


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: Hike and Explore Iao Valley State Monument

Maui with a baby

Iao Valley State Monument is a great place to spend a morning exploring the rainforest with your baby or toddler while visiting Maui.  This state park is among the rainforest-covered mountains in the heart of Central Maui. The climb up to the summit, where you can see the Iao Needle shaped monument (shoots 1,200 feet in the air from the valley floor), was not difficult and was much shorter than we expected. Through this area, there are approximately 0.6 miles worth of trails through the rainforest.  Our daughter loved looking up at all the local flora while exploring the paths.  This is an easy place to have your toddler try out some ‘hiking’ on the flat garden trails too. 

Cost: $5/person and $10 to park

Maui with a baby

Maui with a Baby or Toddler: Sunrise over Haleakala Summit 

Seeing the sunrise at the summit at Haleakala National Park is really a surreal experience. The sun rising over the dormant volcano among the clouds is really a sight everyone should see in-person in their lifetime.  Pictures and videos truly do not do this justice. The colors that illuminate the sky are out of this world. You really feel like you are in the clouds with the summit at 10,000 feet. This sunrise is a fun, and easy, event to do with your baby or toddler too as it requires no hiking but only driving up to the Haleakala Summit.  We liked doing this so much that we did it both times we visited Maui with our daughter when she was less than 2 years old. 

See Haleakela sunrise on your first day visiting Maui with your baby or toddler

Note, in order to reach the summit of Haleakla in time to see the sunrise, you will likely need to leave your place around 3:30/4:00 AM (check sunrise time at the time of your visit as it varies throughout the year).  If traveling east to west (like most people visiting from the US), try to do this on your first day before you are fully adjusted to the Hawaii time zone as it will make getting up so early easier on you as well as your baby or toddler.

Maui with a baby

Cost: $30/car (valid 3 days throughout the entire park) or free with America the Beautiful Pass (pays for itself if you plan to visit more than 2 National Parks in one year), $1 for sunrise tickets – bought ahead of time on recreation.gov as spots are limited for early entrance to the park for sunrise (can buy 60 days in advance).

For more information and for all the details on watching the sunrise at Haleakala, see our Haleakala National Park Quick Guide


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: Explore more of the West Side of Haleakala National Park

Also, while on the West side of Haleakala National Park, after watching sunrise, be sure to check out the Sliding Sands Trail and some of the other lookout points. This trail is over 11 miles long but you really do not need to hike all of that to get some amazing crater views.  Even hiking a mile or less each way will afford you stunning mars-like crater views.  Beware that this is a steep hike though and you have driven up to higher elevation. You need to be prepared to hike back up the steep crater while baby wearing.  Therefore, be mindful of your fitness level while descending into the crater as that is much easier than ascending up it. 

Maui with a baby

Cost: $30/car (valid 3 days throughout the entire park) or free with America the Beautiful Pass 

See our Haleakala National Park Quick Guide for other tips on what to do there, including seeing the East side of the park (the other side of the island) . 


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: Hike Waihee Ridge

The Waihee Ridge Trail is a 4.2 Miles round trip out & back hike with 1500 feet of elevation gain and affords some amazing, lush, mountainous valley views.  Although steep, this hike is doable while babywearing with a reasonable level of fitness.  Our daughter loved taking in the vast views on this hike as well as walking around at the flat summit of the hike.  Further, this hike was a tranquil forest escape from the crowds of beachgoers. 

Maui with a baby

On the Waihee Ridge trail, there is also a nice platform with some great views (arguably our favorite on the trail) about 1 mile into the hike.  If you do not want to hike the whole Waihee Ridge trail with your baby or toddler, hiking just to this spot would offer very rewarding views too for less effort.  

Important Maui with Baby or Toddler Tip: Have Sun Protection 

While hiking this trail with a baby or toddler, be mindful to have good sun protection for your baby or toddler as most of the hike has significant sun exposure.  The first half of the outbound hike is less rocky and a bit less steep with some sun cover.  The second half of the outbound hike is steeper, a bit more rocky and with virtually no sun protection

Important Maui with Baby or Toddler Tip: Arrive Early to Avoid Longer Hike, Crowds & Intense Sun

If you arrive at the Waihee Ridge trail after 9 AM, you will likely need to park in overflow parking that adds almost a mile each way of just walking on the paved inclined road that leads to the main parking lot. The trailhead is gated and open 7 AM – 7 PM daily.    We would highly recommend arriving earlier than 9 AM to avoid crowds, the direct/more intense sun and needing to park further away.  Also, hike on a weekday to avoid further crowds.

Other Miscellaneous Waihee Ridge Tips

Try to go on a clear day to avoid mountains being covered in clouds. Also, if it is raining or recent rain, the trail may be very slippery.  Moreover, do not have any belongings you can see in the car in the parking lot as breakins have been reported here. Bring everything with you or store any belongings in a covered trunk to reduce the break-in chance. 

Cost: Free


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: Kapalua Coastal Trail 

Maui with a baby

This 3 mile out & back round trip hike with 300 feet of elevation gain is a relatively easy coastal trail to complete with your baby or toddler.  It takes you along sand dunes and lava rock.  It is not stroller friendly but easy to complete while baby wearing.  Try to walk this trail early as it is completely exposed to the sun.  To access this trail, park at the public beach access lot.  

Cost: Free


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: Walk the Kaanapali Beach Walk

Maui with a baby

When visiting Maui with a baby or toddler, be sure to check out this lively 3 mile paved and stroller friendly path.  This path is along the beautiful resort lined Kaanapali Beach and is lined with many shops, restaurants and stands.  Our daughter loved being rolled along this path and waving to beachgoers on the way.  This beach is great for people watching but with that in mind, do not expect any seclusion here. Feel free to stop at any of the spots on Kaanapali beach along the way. 

Cost: Free


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: Walk the Wailea Beach Walk

If looking for another stroller friendly paved path, check out the 3.2 mile round-trip Wailea beach walk.  This hike takes you along the coastline past condos and resorts in this high-end area.  It makes for an easy walk.  It is less bustling than the Kaanapali Beach Walk and offers a level of serenity you will not find there.  Feel free to stop at any of the beaches along the way with your baby or toddler too. 

Cost: Free


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm

Ali’i Kula Lavender is a botanical garden-like farm you can walk around and look at very pretty flowers, including many lavender plants, and other local flora.  Our daughter loved walking around the gardens and particularly smelling the lavender.  Visit this on the same day you visit Haleakela for sunrise as it is on your descent down the mountain. 

Cost: $3/person, less than 12 years old free


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: Drive the Road to Hana

This was the most memorable activity we’ve done on Maui.  With over 620 turns and 59 one-lane bridges, driving the windy Road to Hana is really an experience not just a drive.  Along the way, you will see many picturesque waterfalls, lots of cute roadside fruit stands, gorgeous coastline views and lots of pretty unique rainforest flora. 

IMPORTANT Maui with a Baby and Toddler Tip: Drive Road to Hana in 2 Days

We drove the Road to Hana in one day with our 3 month old daughter and it was less than ideal.  It was A LOT of driving for one day.  We highly recommend breaking your trip up into 2 days instead, especially if visiting Maui with a baby or toddler.  

The Road to Hana takes, at minimum, 2.5 hours to drive one-way.  With all the stops you will make to take pictures and with time spent waiting at one way bridges, budget for at least 3 hours, if not more, each way.  In addition, you will likely make some longer stops to hike, explore state parks or eat at the roadside stands.  Driving 6 hours with a baby or toddler in one day while trying to squeeze in all the activities, is not ideal when visiting Maui with a baby or toddler (not to mention the drive may be longer if you are not staying at the start of the Road to Hana; most people’s accommodations are about an hour from the start as the nicest beaches are further away). 

Road to Hana with a Baby or Toddler: Build Your Own Experience

The Road to Hana is really a ‘build your own experience’ activity as the stops you choose to take along the way will really create a different experience for each person who drives it.  You can’t possibly stop at and enjoy everything along the way, especially when visiting Maui with a baby or toddler, even if you are driving it in two days.  See our 5 Top Stops on the Road to Hana post to see our recommendations on where to stop on your journey.   Our favorite stops were the Twin Falls Hike in Haiku and the Pipiwai Trail Hike on the East side of Haleakala National Park, both which are baby and toddler friendly when baby wearing. 

Cost: Free to drive, variable cost for activities along the way


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: Hike Pipiwai Trail on the east side of Haleakala

This hike on the Pipiwai Trail (4.0 miles round trip, 650 feet of elevation gain) was our furthest away stop on the Road to Hana and well worth the drive. It is actually located after Hana so make sure to continue on to reach this trail in the east part of Haleakala National Park. 

This hike is super neat because you first hike through the rainforest and then through a bamboo forest before coming to the impressively tall Waimoku waterfall.  On the hike, you will also see a huge Banyan Tree.  The contrasting views keep your interest throughout the journey and is well worth the 4 mile round-trip hike. Our daughter loved looking at all the varying scenery around her while on this hike.  We would rate this hike as relatively easy as the elevation gain is well spread out. 

Important Maui with a baby or toddler tip: Arrive Early to the east Side of Haleakala National Park

We recommend arriving at this trailhead early.  When we arrived around 8am on a weekday, we were one of three cars, but by the time we left after completing the hike, the parking lot was completely full and cars were parking in an overflow lot. We are glad we got to enjoy this trail with our baby without the crowds.  

Cost: $30/car (valid 3 days throughout the entire park) or free with America the Beautiful Pass. See our Haleakala National Park Quick Guide for other tips on what to do there.  


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: Hike Oheo Gulch on the East side of Haleakala

You can also hike the shorter Oheo Gulch/Seven Sacred Pools trail on the East side of Haleakala National Park that is 0.6 miles roundtrip with minimal elevation change.  The trailhead is at the same spot as the Pipiwai Trail.  We completed this hike after the Pipiwai trail and found it to be very easy and scenic. This would be another great spot for your toddler to try out ‘hiking’ and is an easy spot to hike baby carrying. 

Note: The east and west side of Haleakala National Park cannot be accessed from the same road. They have to be accessed completely separately and you will not be able to feasibly visit them both in one day. 

Cost: $30/car (valid 3 days throughout the entire park) or free with America the Beautiful Pass.  See our Haleakala National Park Quick Guide for other tips on what to do there. 


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: Hike Twin Falls

The Twin Falls trail (1.8 Mile round trip, 347 feet of elevation gain) is a fun hike that takes you to three different waterfalls through the rainforest.  The first two waterfalls you encounter on this hike look similar and are a very short hike, about 0.2 miles from the parking lot.  The third waterfall is a bit further of a hike from those two but, in our opinion, was the most scenic of the three. Be sure not to stop hiking after the first two waterfalls.  You can also go swimming at this third waterfall.   

We took our time with this hike, hiking down to each waterfall and exploring around them, and it took us about 1.5 hours total.  The hike was relaxing, as it was relatively easy, and you saw a lot in a short period.  The trail, especially down by the waterfalls, was very slippery, as it had just rained when we visited so make sure to wear good hiking shoes. 

Important Maui with a baby or toddler tip: Hike on different day than when you drive Road to Hana

This hike is another stop on the Road to Hana, at the very beginning near MM 2.  We actually hiked this trail a different day than when we drove the Road to Hana as it was only about 10 minutes from our Airbnb. We are glad we did it this way, especially with our baby, as we did not feel rushed hiking it at all then as the Road to Hana is already a very full day experience. 


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: Take a family-friendly boat/snorkel excursion

While on Maui with our 20 month old, we booked a boat tour that took us out to go snorkeling at the pristine Molokini Crater.  On this boat tour, we were also fortunate enough to see whales on our way to Molokini Crater, unusual for the time of year we visited in April.  Although our baby could not participate in the snorkeling, she had the option to go swimming with us at Molokini Crater and had fun hanging out on the boat with us as we took turns snorkeling.  There also was a glass bottom room on the boat which was great for viewing into the water without snorkeling. 

Tip: If possible, bring another friend or family member on this excursion with you. We had a friend traveling with us at the time and it was nice to have an extra set of hands when taking turns between watching our daughter and snorkeling. 

For more on snorkeling on Maui and at Molokini Crater, see our Top 3 Maui Snorkeling Spots article.  

Cost: Varies based on company, approximately $150 per adult, $115 per ages 3-12 and children less than 3 are free with Fours Winds Maui (company we used) 


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: See Sea Turtles at a Beach

Seeing sea turtles on the beach is so cool and your baby or toddler is sure to think so too.  Two places you will likely always see sea turtles include Makena Landing in the Wailea area on the southern side of the island and Hookipa Beach near Paia on the northern side of the island.   Check out both to see how many turtles you can see.

Cost: Free


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: Visit the Maui Ocean Center

The Maui Ocean Center is open daily 9 AM -5 PM and is a great rainy day activity on Maui with your baby or toddler.  Here you can see plenty of different local marine wildlife.  If your baby or toddler is anything like ours, she loves with different animals and would love this.  We have not personally been here, as we had no full rain days during our visit, but keep this on the back burner if it does rain as an alternative to any of the above activities.  

Cost: Adult 13+ $39.95, ages 4-12 $26.95 and ages less than 4 free


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: Where to Eat


HuiHui

HuiHui was voted the best new restaurant of 2022, we couldn’t agree more.  We had a delicious Hawaiian Meal here (arguably the best food we had on Maui) AND our 20 month old daughter actually ate for free, making it our top recommendation on where to eat with a baby or toddler.  At the time of our visit, all kids under 5 ate for free which was an added perk to our delicious meal.  The waitstaff was also very kind and attentive to our daughter.  We both got food (Natalie fish, Sam Pork) cooked in a banana leaf and both dishes were perfect.  Our daughter got pizza and thought that was the bomb too.  


Monkeypod

This restaurant has two locations on Maui, one in Wailea on the south shore and one on Kaanapali beach on the west side of Maui. Everything in this restaurant is made from scratch. They are very well known for their Mai Tais (named best on Maui year after year). We really do not think you could go wrong with anything on the menu. We’ve eaten at both the locations in Wailea and Kaanapali.  We had really good meals at both! Our daughter was also given a lei at the location in Kaanapali making our dinner a little more special for her.


Food Trucks

Food trucks are literally EVERYWHERE on Maui.  There are parking lots filled with them in almost every town and ones along the road too.  Food trucks are a great option when visiting Maui with a baby or toddler for a less formal meal and everyone can get what they want at the meal.   


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: Where to Stay


We recommend staying in the Kaanapali Beach Area with your baby or toddler when visiting Maui.  This is a great area to stay with your little one because you are near the paved stroller friendly Kaanapali path and close to some of the best baby and toddler friendly restaurants and beaches on Maui.  However, if you are looking for more of a budget option and to be more centrally located/closer to the road to Hana and Haleakala Summit, we recommend staying in the Paia or Haiku area.   To find the perfect accommodations for you, we highly recommend booking through Maui Paradise Properties.  See out The Best Maui Vacation Rentals post to see a breakdown on why we found this to be the best platform for finding and booking a Maui vacation rental.  

Note, wherever you stay on the island, unless changing accommodations every couple nights, you will need to drive about an hour one way most days to get to your activities.  Unfortunately, things are spread out throughout Maui.  However, we found the driving manageable with our daughter as a baby and toddler.  Just be mindful not to pack too many activities into one day as everything takes longer with a baby or toddler than you would expect. 


Maui with a Baby or Toddler: General Tips


Visit for a week or longer

When visiting Maui with a baby or toddler, we recommend spending at least a week here, if not longer.  This will allow you plenty of time to see these highlights as well as to spend some time relaxing/playing on the beach. Honestly, most of our favorite days were beach days.  Make sure to leave time for plenty of beach days! 

Don’t overbook/plan your days

As mentioned above, everything takes longer with a baby or toddler and it is unrealistic to try to cram too much into one day.  Plan for less and do more depending on how things are going.  Setting realistic expectations for your trip is key to negating any disappointment. 

Remember, babies and toddlers live on Maui

If you forget something at home, there are plenty of stores (Costco, Target, Walmart, etc.) on the island where you will likely be able to get whatever you need. 


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Maui with a baby or toddler.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  For tips on traveling with a baby, please see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, How to Hike with a Baby, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and Flying with a Baby posts.

For more tips on Hawaii travel, see other Hawaii guides including:

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Maui on a Budget


Maui is the most popular of the Hawaiian islands and for good reason.  After our visit, we understood why so many people love it and visit there again and again.  From the beautiful beaches to the exotic rainforests to the endless beautiful waterfalls to the world’s largest dormant volcano, the adventures on this island are countless.  And although Hawaii, particularly Maui, has a reputation for being an expensive place to visit, you really can visit Maui on a budget. Most of our favorite activities on Maui are free or cost very little. Read on for our complete guide to visiting Maui on a budget.

Important note: Your most expensive costs will be your flight, accommodations and rental car (you need a rental car to explore the island adequately). See our posts 5 Ways to Save on Flights, How to Book Accommodations on a Budget and How to Save on a Rental Car for more tips on how to save money on these.

Maui on a Budget

Also, this was our first major trip away from the Midwest with our three month old and we visited again when she was 20 months old. We loved exploring the island with her! See our Maui with a Baby or Toddler guide for all our baby/toddler Maui tips. For tips on traveling with a baby, please see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, How to Hike with a Baby, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and Flying with a Baby posts.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


What to Do on Maui on a Budget


Highlights of our time on Maui, while on a budget, included watching sunrise over the summit at Haleakala National Park, hiking through a bamboo forest, seeing countless awe-inspiring waterfalls, driving the insanely windy Road to Hana, visiting cute roadside fruit stands, seeing sea turtles and relaxing on the perfectly picturesque white sand beaches. 

Drive the Road to Hana

Maui on a Budget

This was our favorite and most memorable activity we did on Maui.  And very budget friendly as it costs nothing to drive the road itself. With over 620 turns and 59 one-lane bridges, driving the windy Road to Hana is really an experience and not just a drive.  Along the way, you will see many picturesque waterfalls, lots of cute roadside fruit stands, gorgeous coastline views and lots of pretty unique rainforest flora.  

Build Your Own Experience

The Road to Hana is really a ‘build your own experience’ activity as the stops you choose to take along the way will really create a different experience for each person who drives it.  You can’t possibly stop at everything along the way if you are driving the road back and forth in one day.  See 5 Stops on the Road to Hana post to see our recommendations on where to stop on your journey.   Our favorite stops were the Twin Falls Hike in Haiku and the Pipiwai Trail Hike in Haleakala National Park.  

All-Day Event

Maui on a Budget

The Road to Hana takes, at minimum, 2.5 hours to drive one-way (unless you drive like a local which you will understand if you travel the road).  With all the stops you will make to take pictures and with time spent waiting at one way bridges, budget for at least 3 hours, if not more, each way.  In addition, you will likely make some longer stops to hike, explore state parks or eat at the roadside stands.  Plan at least a full day to drive this road both ways.  You may want to consider staying overnight in Hana if you really want to take your time driving on the road and be able to stop at all the stops you’d please along the way.  

Windy Road Cautions 

Note, as mentioned above, this road is VERY windy.  Anyone prone to motion sickness, like Natalie, beware.  For tips on preventing this, see our post on How to Prevent Motion Sickness While Traveling and Flying.  In addition, with the windy nature of this road, drive very cautiously.  Do not pass people and even though you will see some locals drive this road very aggressively, don’t contribute to the chaos. Your safety and life is more important than saving a couple minutes.  Enjoy the journey! 

Cost: Free but bring cash to buy items at fruit stands and for stops along the way (hikes, food trucks, botanical gardens, etc.). You will need a rental car to explore the island appropriately. See our How to Save on a Rental Car post for how to save on this.


Sunrise at the Summit at Haleakala National Park

Maui on a Budget

Our next Maui on a Budget what to do recommendation is to see the Haleakala sunrise. Seeing the sunrise at the summit at Haleakala National Park is really a surreal experience. The sun rising over the dormant volcano among the clouds is really a sight everyone should see in-person in their lifetime. Pictures and videos truly do not do this justice. The colors that illuminate the sky are out of this world. You really feel like you are in the clouds with the summit at 10,000 feet.

For more information and for all the details on watching the sunrise at Haleakala, see our Haleakala National Park Quick Guide.

Explore more of the West Side of Haleakala National Park

Sliding Sands Trail Views Haleakala National Park

Also, while on the West side of Haleakala National Park, be sure to check out the Sliding Sands Trail and some of the other lookout points after you watch the sunrise. See our Haleakala National Park Quick Guide for other tips on what to do there, including seeing the East side of the park. 

Note: The East and West side of Haleakala National Park cannot be accessed from the same road. They have to be accessed completely separately and you will not be able to feasibly visit them both in one day. To be centrally located to visit both sides of the park, we recommend staying on the north side of the island, somewhere near Haiku or Paia. 

Cost: $30/car (valid 7 days throughout the entire park) or free with America the Beautiful Pass (pays for itself if you plan to visit more than 2 National Parks in one year), $1 for sunrise tickets – bought ahead of time.


Hike through a Bamboo Forest in Haleakala National Park

Pipiwai Trail, Haleakala National Park, 4.0 Miles Round Trip, 650 Feet of Elevation Gain

Our next Maui on a Budget activity recommendation is to hike the Pipiwai trail. This hike on the Pipiwai Trail was our furthest away stop on the Road to Hana and well worth the drive. It is actually located after Hana so make sure to not stop there and continue onto this trail in the East part of Haleakala National Park.  

Unique Rainforest and Bamboo Forest Flora

This hike is super neat because you first hike through the rainforest and then through a bamboo forest before coming to the impressively tall Waimoku waterfall. On the hike, you will also see a huge Banyan Tree.  The contrasting views keep your interest throughout and well worth the 4 mile round-trip hike.  We would rate this hike as relatively easy as the elevation gain is well spread out.  

Hike Oheo Gulch  

Maui on a Budget

You can also hike the shorter Oheo Gulch/Seven Sacred Pools trail from the same parking lot that is 0.6 miles roundtrip with minimal elevation change.  We completed this hike after the Pipiwai trail and found it to be very easy and scenic. The trailhead is at the same spot as the Pipiwai Trail. 

Arrive Early

We recommend arriving at the Pipiwai trailhead early.  When we arrived around 8am, we were one of three cars, but by the time we left after completing the hike, the parking lot was completely full and cars were parking in an overflow lot. 

Cost: $30/car (valid 7 days throughout entire park) or free with America the Beautiful Pass (pays for itself if you plan to visit more than 2 National Parks in one year)


Hike Twin Falls

Maui on a Budget

1.8 Mile Round Trip (without offshoots to each waterfall), 347 feet of Elevation Gain

Another Maui on a budget activity is to hike Twin Falls. Twin Falls is a fun, short hike as it takes you to three different waterfalls through the rainforest.  The first two waterfalls you encounter on this hike look similar and are a very short hike, about 0.2 miles from the parking lot.  The third waterfall is a bit further of a hike from those two but, in our opinion, the most scenic of the three so be sure not to stop hiking after the first two waterfalls.  You can also go swimming at this third waterfall.   

Maui on a Budget

We took our time with this hike, hiking down to each waterfall and exploring around them, and it took us about 1.5 hours total.  The hike was relaxing, as it was relatively easy, and you saw a lot in a short period.  The trail, especially down by the waterfalls, was very slippery, as it had just rained so make sure to wear good hiking shoes. 

This hike is another stop on the Road to Hana, at the very beginning at MM 2.  We actually hiked this a different day than when we drove the Road to Hana as it was only about 10 minutes from our Airbnb. We are glad we did this as we did not feel rushed hiking it at all then as the Road to Hana is already a very full day experience. 

Arrive Around 7 AM

Prior to completing this hike, we read a lot of reviews online which were quite mixed.  A lot of people said they did not like the hike because it was too crowded.  To our delight, we enjoyed this hike a lot more than we expected as we nearly had it to ourselves. When we hiked this trail at about 7 AM, right around when it opened, we saw only about 10 other people.  We found it to be really peaceful and pretty so arrive early if you don’t want any crowds to dampen your experience. On and off rain the day we hiked also kept the less adventurous away.

Bonus: Fruit Stand in the parking lot

The fruit stand in the parking lot at Twin Falls has some delicious banana bread.  Our loaf we got was still warm from coming out of the oven that morning. 

Cost: This trail and these waterfalls are on private property so it costs $10/car to park but this is very reasonable as the trail is very well maintained. It may be closed if rainfall has been excessive recently.


Day Trip to West Maui

Kaanapali Beach

Another Maui on a budget activity is to take a day trip to West Maui. West Maui is the most popular area to stay on the island.  This is where many of the classically white sand beaches and big resorts are located.  We spent our day on the West side of Maui exploring Kaanapali Beach.  Along this 3 mile stretch of beach, there is a paved path that stretches its length.  Parent bonus, this path is stroller friendly (because sometimes taking a break from baby carrying/wearing is needed).  There are many shops, restaurants and stands located along this path.  This beach is great for people watching but with that, do not expect any seclusion here.  Do not go here if you don’t want to see other people. 

Maui on a Budget

How to Access Beach for Free

Although this beach has resorts all along it, all shoreline beaches in Hawaii are open to the public for FREE. To access this path and beach (for free while not staying at one of the resorts along Kaanapali Beach), look for the blue Shoreline Access signs.  These signs point you to where you can find parking and where you can take a public paved path back to the beach.  Try to arrive earlier in the day as these free public parking areas fill up fast.

Cost: Free


Day Trip to the South Shore of Maui

Similarly, a day trip to the South Shore of Maui is another great Maui on a budget outing. The South Shore of Maui, around Wailea, has many nice white sandy beaches like the West side of Maui but with less hustle and bustle.  The beaches in this area are great for snorkeling and seeing sea turtles.  We recommend exploring the Makena Landing beach/reef as we saw sea turtles here. This area feels more high end and residential than West Maui. Fittingly, the high-end designer Shops of Wailea are located in this area.  

Near Wailea Beach and Polo Beach on the South Shore, like on Kaanapali Beach on the West Shore, there is a 1.5 mile paved path along the South shoreline.  However, this path mainly goes past condos and resorts and not as many shops or restaurants.  It is more peaceful than the path in West Maui and makes for a relaxing afternoon stroll.  Again, to access this path/beaches and parking for free, look for the blue Shoreline Access signs on the road.  

Cost: Free


Explore Iao Valley State Monument

Another one of our favorite Maui on a budget activities is visitng Iao Valley State Monument. Iao Valley State Monument is a great place to spend a morning exploring the rainforest. This state park is among the rainforest-covered mountains in the heart of Central Maui. The climb up to the summit where you can see the Iao Needle shaped monument (shoots 1,200 feet in the air from the valley floor) was not difficult and was much shorter than we expected. Through this area, there are approximately 0.6 miles worth of trails through the rainforest. There are also some other trails that go further into the rainforest, created by locals going to swim in the river, but these are not maintained by the state park. 

Cost: $5/person and $10 to park


Baldwin Beach

Another completely free activity on Maui is to visit the beach. We recommend visiting whatever beach is closest to your accommodations. Baldwin beach was located near our Airbnb and we enjoyed relaxing at it.  It has white sandy beach and clear blue water.  Since the beach is located on the North side of the island, it has some pretty rough waves so it is not the best for swimming but good for relaxing on the beach and watching surfers. 

Cost: Free


Where to Eat on Maui


Tin Roof

Tin Roof Maui is really a hidden gem.  It is located in an unassuming strip mall in the heart of Kahului. Although very unassuming, this is a popular place for lunch as the owner was a Top Chef winner.  We had the garlic shrimp and the pork belly and would highly recommend both. Order ahead to get takeout otherwise, expect to wait in a line for a good 30 minutes or so. This restaurant also does not have much seating inside so getting takeout is your best bet anyways.


Food Trucks

Maui on a Budget

The food truck scene on Maui is really on-point and a great option for eating out on a budget in Maui. To us, it seemed like there were different food trucks set-up everywhere we visited. Our favorite food truck spot was located in downtown Kahului, right across the street from Costco. There are many options of what to eat at this food truck spot but we recommend Earth Aloha Eats. We both enjoyed some really good plant based food here. 


Hana Farms

Hana Farms farmstand and restaurant is located along the road to Hana at approximately mile marker 31. The chocolate chip banana bread here is absolutely delicious. There is also a restaurant where you can sit down and eat a meal here. The restaurant was not open when we visited but the outdoor seating area was really pretty spot to enjoy some fresh banana bread. 


Monkeypod

Monkeypod Kitchen has two locations on Maui, one in Wailea on the South shore and one on Kaanapali beach on the West side of Maui. Everything in this restaurant is made from scratch. They are very well known for their Mai Tais (named best on Maui year after year). We really do not think you could go wrong with anything on the menu. We ate at the location in Wailea and had a peaceful lunch on the garden surrounded patio.  Although not the most budget friendly restaurant, we think it is worth the cost (about $25/person).


Maui Budget Tip: Go grocery shopping at Costco

In Hawaii, food is significantly more expensive than the continental US, particularly in the Midwest where we live.  It makes sense given that almost everything needs to be shipped to islands.  However, at Costco, some products are still the same price as they are in the midwest.  We were surprised that we could get large bags of spinach, rotisserie chicken and some other produce for the same price we could at home.  Other things are still more expensive than they would be at home but significantly less expensive than they are at other grocery stores in Hawaii.  

Definitely buy pineapple when you are at Costco as you will not find it for less anywhere else! And with anyone familiar with Costco, the produce is always great quality.  If you have a Costco membership and are going to be staying more than a couple days, it makes complete sense to go shopping here. We did most of our grocery shopping at Costco and then some things that we just really did not need large quantities of, we bought at the local Safeway. 

Costco on Maui is located about five minutes from the airport. Most likely, it will make the most sense for you to stop at Costco after you land in Kahului. 


Where to Stay on Maui on a Budget

We recommend staying on the North side of the Island, in/around Paia or Haiku, near the start of the Road to Hana.  Most people stay in West Maui but if you are looking to explore more than just the beach, this central location is great.  It allows you an early start for the Road to Hana, a good starting point for seeing sunrise at the Summit in Haleakala National Park and an easy drive to make a day trip to the West side or the South shore of the island. 

The Haiku Airbnb we stayed at was in a really nice quiet location.  It had all the amenities we needed and the host was very responsive and helpful. The landscape at the property was very pretty too. This place more budget friendly and better bang for your buck than other options.


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Maui on a Budget.  Anything you’d add to our guide to visiting Maui, Hawaii on a Budget? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

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