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Things to do in Maui

Itineraries for Your Trip to Maui

Maui locals share their perfect days.
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1 Day on Maui for First Timers

Curated by Lydia SchrandtLydia Schrandt is a writer, editor, and award-winning photographer currently based in Houston. She’s a contributor for USA TODAY 10Best and serves as the first chair of the Editors Council of the Society of American Travel Writers. Her work has appeared in Draft, Time Out Beijing, Travel+, USA TODAY, San Francisco Chronicle, and others.

With only one day on Maui, it might be tempting to park yourself on the beach and never leave. But the natural and cultural attractions of the Hawaiian island also beckon, and there are several ways to explore them with sun-soaked time to spare. Here are our favorite ways to fill 24 glorious hours on Maui.


Maui was made for outdoor fun, so spend your morning enjoying the great outdoors. Get up early—as in, 4:30am—to take in the sunrise from atop Haleakala, Maui’s highest peak, before riding a bicycle back down to the beach. Alternatively, head into the mountains of West Maui to take a zipline tour through the ravines, with spectacular views of the coastline along the way. Both are morning tours, so you’ll have plenty of time to spend the afternoon at your leisure. Take a moment to pick up a picnic lunch replete with fresh local poke (raw seafood salad).


You can’t visit Maui and not spend a bit of time on one of the island’s spectacular beaches. Spend this afternoon relaxing, unwinding, and lunching on the golden sands, occasionally dipping into the cool waters. If you’re game for more activity, opt for a sailing and snorkeling excursion to commune with sea turtles, or sign up for a surfing lesson and learn to catch one of the island’s famous waves. If you’d prefer to stay dry, book a ticket on the Maui Atlantis Submarine to search for reef sharks and tropical fish beneath the waves.


A luau is a quintessential Hawaiian experience—and the perfect end to a busy day on the island of Maui. There are several shows to choose from: enjoy live drumming, fire twirling, and knife-juggling thrills accompanied by a beachfront buffet, or head to Old Lahaina for a laidback luau with Hawaiian dancing and island crafts. No matter what option you choose, you’ll enjoy sunset views and local fare such as kalua pig, poi, pineapple, and fresh seafood (plus, at many luau, tropical cocktails). If you can’t get enough of the water, set sail on a romantic sunset dinner cruise instead.

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