Maui travel guide


Maui is to travel destination as to Cristal is to champagne, as to the Beatles are to Rock and Roll, as to Shakespeare is to literature—unsurpassed. In a phrase, Maui is No Ka Oi…the best.

Maui is an island for lovers, for loners, for families, for those that are celebrating, for those that are grieving. Maui is an island to escape to, a place to become nameless…It is a place to become a name.

Maui is the Planet’s surviving Eden. Whatever it is that you need or desire, it can provide. But like Eden, there are “snakes” in the grass and tempting fruits (and rocks, for that matter) that you shouldn’t go plucking from their native soil. This is where Maui Today comes in.

We hope to answer every question that you could possibly have about vacationing with us. Take your time…browse the guide and if you like what you see, download it and print it. Keep it with you on your trip and let it lead you toward whatever it is that your heart is seeking. 

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When to become one of the 1.5 million people that make their way to Maui each year (Maui County, which includes the islands of Molokai and Lanai gets close to 2.5 million visitors a year) depends first on your schedule and secondly on your preference to weather, crowds and available activities. Naturally, we’ll take you in year round, but we want your experience to be custom fit to your interests and desires.
Here’s a typical Maui year:

Winter—December through March

Average winter temperatures fluctuate between the mid sixties (night) and low eighties (day). This is variable, depending on which part of the island you’ll be staying on. Over all, during the wintertime each part of the island will experience some rain. 

Expect areas toward Haleakala to be chilly at night. Naturally the higher up in elevation you go, the colder it’s going to get. Some years it snows on the summit of Haleakala…a freak event that sends us locals into a frenzy. We all call in sick, keep the kids home from school, fill thermoses full of coffee and hot-chocolate, put on a couple pairs of jeans, three layers of long sleeve shirts (no one sells long underwear here) and head up the hill. If it happens to snow while you’re here, take the drive to the summit…it’s a long trip and to you the amount of snow might be considered pathetic; but it’s a rare and beautiful sight that you’ll kick yourself for missing.

Winter provides some of the best North Shore (Paia side) swells of the year. This is awesome news for surfers, but not so great for toddlers. Beaches on the Southside of the island remain relatively calm during this time of year. The average water temperature December-March is about seventy-five degrees.

Winter is whale season. According to Missy Spratt of the Pacific Whale Foundation, whale watches are conducted December through May, but the peak of the season hits in the months of February and March.

The week after Christmas we tend to have a big surge of tourists coming into the island. I guess, like our friends the whales you have some free time to come and escape the “real” cold. There tends to be a lot of families who bring the kids over for the tail end of Christmas break.

Crowds can mean that certain activities may be challenging to book due to space limitations and small Bed and Breakfast’s and vacation rentals may be full…If you plan on scheduling your vacation during the winter, book your activities and accommodations well in advance.

On a positive note, the winter crowds can be an exciting and enlightening experience for the social butterfly. You will be sure to meet fellow travelers from around the world. The more the merrier, right?

Here’s a list of some annual winter events to consider:
HI-tech, Ezekiel, Lopez Surf bash
Mercedes Championship
Hula Bowl Maui
Chinese New Year and Lion Dance
Whale Fest Celebration
For more information on each of these events, please do a search on

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Spring—March through June

Average spring temperatures fluctuate between the high sixties (night) to the mid eighties (day). The beginning of spring tends to bring a lot of rain to Upcountry and East Maui. Spring rain may dampen the sun-worshippers spirit; but it always lightens up by mid-May and leaves the island glistening and green. It’s a favorite time for many residents because it’s “not too hot, not too cold, but just right”.

While our winters may not be harsh enough for us to really appreciate spring like many people on the “mainland” do, we still see it as a time of renewal and beauty. Things that are exclusive to the months of spring are the blooming of the jacaranda trees and mango and guava season. Yeah, yeah…doesn’t sound like much but trust us, you’d really be disappointed to come to Maui and have no ripe local mangos to eat, now wouldn’t you? In fact, mango-season is kind of a joke to the locals…it’s like all year they are expensive and hard to come by and then all of a sudden neighbors are giving each other pounds of the fruit every other day…Grandma’s make loaf after loaf of mango bread, the kids get sticky eating it straight off of the seed, we put it in chutneys, desserts…anything to get rid of the stuff, only to crave it in the months to come. 

If I were vacationing here and got my hands on some mangos I’d stick them in the blender with some vanilla ice cream and vodka and kick back on the lanai (porch) at sunset…just a suggestion.

Maui is a hot Spring Break choice for college kids who know how to have a good time in the sand and surf rather then those craving a wild “party-scene”. We have very little nightlife here compared to Oahu.

There are usually good travel packages available for springtime travel to Maui. The first few months tend to be pretty mellow in terms of tourists, so there’s a good chance that you can save a bunch of money on airfare and hotel packages just by picking spring as the time to do your Maui thing.

Here’s a list of some annual spring events to consider:

Haiku Ho’olaulea and Flower Festival
Ulupalakua Thing
East Maui Taro Festival
May Day Celebrations
International Festival of Canoes
Wailea Open Tennis Championship

For more information on each of these events, please do a search on

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Summer—June through September

Average summer temperatures fluctuate between the low seventies (night) and the high eighties (day). The weather is generally that of a daydream. Hot, sunny and dry. What can I say? If you come during the summer pack a lot of sunscreen, shorts and tank tops because you’re going to tan your little heart out.

Beaches will be crowded with locals. Kihei, Wailea and Makena beaches tend to get really packed during the summertime because it’s the time of the…drum roll please…Southside swell. If you’re vacationing with little ones during the summer and the waves are freaky-huge try driving out to the North Shore (Paia and Sprecklesville) where things should be a lot calmer.

School’s out pretty much island-wide (with the exception of a few year-round programs) so expect a lot of kids and young adults everywhere you go. This can be fun at the beach park for your kids, but it may not be so appealing for those seeking peace and quiet or privacy.

The ocean water is warm all the time here, but more so in the summer…around eighty degrees. This is good news for those of you who want to do a little night swimming. Of course, entering the ocean at night it dangerous, but in the summertime the temptation is just to strong too resist—clear black sky filled with stars, bathtub-like water…use your imagination.

Here’s a list of some annual summer events to consider:

Maui International Film Festival
King Kamehameha Day Parade and Ho’olaulea
Maui Film Festival
Upcountry Fair
King Trail Triathlon
Just Desserts
4th of July Makawao Parade and Rodeo
Kapalua Wine and Food Festival

For more information on each of these events, please do a search on

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Fall—September through December

Average fall temperatures fluctuate between the high sixties (night) to the mid eighties (day). The weather is generally good, although fall can be one of the muggiest times of year with high humidity levels and some rain.

The leaves on our trees don’t change color here, although the beautiful purple blossoms of the jacaranda trees do begin to fall onto the ground below, leaving the trees naked for the rest of the season and all of winter.

The biggest fall draw of the island is Halloween on Front Street in Lahaina. Halloween is a huge event down in Lahaina…the street is closed and people get wild and crazy in costume. It’s quite an experience. If you’re into the outrageous, and are into partying with thousands in Paradise, book your flight for October. It’s the closest thing to “Girls Gone Wild” that you’ll find this side of the West Coast. It’s the “Mardi Gras of the Pacific”.

School’s back in session during the fall...this may be a good thing for those leaving an empty nest, but not so great for those of you with peeps…because they are, uh, in school.

Over all, fall is a pleasant (yet sometimes sticky) time of year to come to Maui. Some of the year’s most exciting events take place during this season.

Here’s a list of some annual summer events to consider:

Kapalua Open Tennis Tournament
A Taste of Lahaina and the Best of Island Music
Hana Relays
Maui Marathon
Maui County Fair
XTERRA World Championship
Halloween in Lahaina
Hula O Na Keiki Festival

For more information on each of these events, please do a search on

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There are basically two options for booking your Maui vacation: going through a travel agency or doing it yourself online. 

Booking your flight and stay online is rising in popularity. You have the freedom to really explore your options and shop around for different rates. Many people prefer this method because you have a total sense of control over the whole thing and online reservations are open 24/7. The downside is that it can be a time consuming experience.

With a travel agency you have the ease of stating what you want, and when you want it and they do the research for you. It’s also your only real option if you don’t use credit cards. Not to mention, if something goes wrong, you have a real-life middle man to help solve the problem. The downside is that you might always wonder if you really are getting the best deal, and sometimes even travel agents need to close shop and sleep.

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There are a lot of interesting and informative books that have been written about Maui. Below are some good ones that you might want to look into. All are available on or can be ordered through your local bookstore. You may want to pick them up before you arrive, you know, to get all excited about your pending trip…as if you weren’t already…

Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook
By: Andrew Doughty and Harriett Friedman

Explore Maui: An Independent Traveler’s Guide
By: Blair Pruitt

Maui Remembers: A Local History
By: Gail Bartholomew

Hawaii’s Best Spooky Tales: True Local Spine Tinglers
By: Rick Carroll

Obake: Ghost Stories in Hawaii
By: Glen Grant

Obake Files: Ghostly Encounters in Supernatural Hawaii
By: Glen Grant

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