Planning a trip to Maui? Lucky you! Whether this is your first time to the Valley Isle or your fiftieth, there is always something new to learn. Just when you think you have it all figured out, something new pops up… or closes down, unfortunately. We live on Maui so we know this island, and it’s never boring. Beautiful, enchanting, romantic, healing, fascinating, sometimes maybe even a little aggravating (we do have traffic here). But never boring.
This Maui travel guide will help you with the basics of planning your trip. Below are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Maui. For other helpful Maui travel tips, including how to choose where to stay on Maui, take a look at our ALL ABOUT MAUI blog. We add new information and topics on a regular basis, so check back often. For specific suggestions on what to do, where to eat, and how to explore the island, see THINGS TO DO. And if you’re interested in grabbing the latest bargains (let’s face it, who isn’t?), you’ll want to subscribe to our free Maui Deals & Steals enewsletter.
NOTE: If you’re wondering about travels to Maui during the COVID-19 pandemic, check out this blog.
Maui is the second most eastward island in the Hawaiian chain. The bustling island of Oahu is located to the northwest, and Hawaii Island (also known as the Big Island) is located to the south.
The small, laid-back islands of Lanai and Molokai are situated less than ten miles to the west and northwest of Maui and are clearly visible from Maui’s western shores.
The island of Kahoolawe can be seen from Maui’s south shore, but is uninhabited and off-limits to the public.
TIP: Maui and Lanai are the only Hawaiian islands that have an interisland ferry service available on a regular basis. (For all other islands, the only interisland transportation is by air.) During the winter months, the ferry between Maui and Lanai provides a great opportunity for whale watching!
Hawaii is the 50th state of the United States. The State of Hawaii is governed by an elected Governor who is based on Oahu. Below the state level, the island of Maui, together with her sister islands of Lanai and Molokai, make up the County of Maui, which is governed by an elected Mayor and nine-member County Council.
TIP: In Hawaii, we call the continental U.S. the “mainland.” We don’t call it “the states,” because Hawaii IS a state.
Maui’s main airport is Kahului Airport (OGG), located in the town of Kahului in Central Maui. Kahului airport is serviced daily by most major American airlines, with direct flights to and from the West Coast. Maui also has two smaller commuter airports with limited air service in Hana and Kapalua.
Hawaii is a U.S. state, therefore uses the U.S. dollar.
Not if you’re a U.S. citizen. For domestic travelers, visiting Hawaii is just like visiting another state. International visitors should look into U.S. entry requirements for their country of residence.
West Maui and South Maui are the most popular areas for visitors to stay in. These locations are where most resorts and condos are located, and boast some of the best shopping, dining, and beaches on the island.
If you don’t know your way around Maui yet, view our guide to Maui Regions and Towns for a brief description of the island’s different neighborhoods and resort areas. Also check out How To Choose Where to Stay on Maui.
The style of dress on Maui is cool, casual, and comfortable. Because of our warm, tropical climate, comfort generally trumps high fashion. You’ll be most comfortable in sandals and breathable natural fabrics. You can leave the dinner jackets and stiletto heels at home and enjoy Maui’s laid-back style. You won’t need to get too dressed up here.
TIP: Evening can be cool, especially in winter. Bring a sweater, just in case. But you probably won’t need anything warmer than that, unless you’re planning on watching the sunrise or sunset atop Haleakala’s 10,023 foot peak.
Hawaii uses Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HST) and does not observe daylight savings. So, during “standard time” in the mainland U.S. (November-March), Hawaii is two hours behind the West Coast/Pacific time zone and five hours behind the East Coast. From April to October (during daylight savings), Hawaii is three hours behind the West Coast and six hours behind the East Coast. So, if you live in New York, please don’t call your friend in Hawaii at 9 a.m. your time!
Yes, but Maui’s seasons are mild compared to seasons on the mainland. Our tropical climate varies by only a few degrees from winter to summer. The weather is usually warm and sunny year round. Temperatures average in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit, although on especially hot days in summer temperatures could reach into the 90s. Maui also gets occasional tropical storms and rain showers.
Winter months (Approximately November through April) tend to be slightly rainier and cooler. Summer season (approximately May through September) tends to be drier and warmer, with slightly more humidity. Although there is more chance of rain during the winter months, it can rain at any time on any day throughout the year. That’s what keeps our Maui green and beautiful. Best Time To Visit Maui
And let’s not forget Maui’s other season: whale season! Humpback whales start arriving in the islands around November to mate and give birth. The whales stick around all winter before migrating north again in mid-to-late spring.
(Note: We recognize and respect the significance of the ‘okina and kahakō markings in the written Hawaiian language; however, we have omitted those diacritical markings on our site in order to integrate with the more common spellings used in online searches.)
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