Maui has become a popular tourist destination for its breathtaking beauty and amazing exploration opportunities. You may plan on sunbathing all day, or going on island adventures and exploring some trails.
But it raises the question: is Maui walkable?
While you can explore many areas on foot (like in Lahaina or Ka’anapali), you will need other modes of transportation for some activities and locations. Shuttles, bicycles, the bus, and rideshare services like Lyft and Uber are at your disposal when it comes to getting around the island.
Is Maui Small Enough to Walk Everywhere?
Even though Maui may be smaller than other vacation destinations, it is still quite large. The island is around 48 miles long and 26 miles wide—an ambitious walk for the average human.
In addition to it’s large footprint, note that Maui was formed by two volcanoes. Therefore, it is not flat. The mountains on West Maui reach a height of almost 6,000 feet, and on the larger part of Maui, Haleakala reaches an elevation higher than 10,000 feet. So, you cannot just easily walk across either part of the island.
Even if you stay near the coast, you won’t be able to walk to every destination on Maui. Although, the amount of walking really depends on what you’re planning to do throughout your trip, and how much walking would be comfortable for you.
Maui’s Walkability Depends on What You’re Planning To Do
If you’re visiting Maui to soak up some sun and take a swim, you may be staying near beaches and coastal regions. As such, you won’t have to walk too far to access the areas you find most appealing.
However, hiking and nature exploration is a big appeal on Maui, too.
Plenty of adventure enthusiasts head out on trips to explore Maui’s majestic scenery, which naturally requires more walking. Of course, if this is your intention, then the amount of physical activity and walking may not be a problem for you.
Things can get complicated if you’re planning to do both. You may want to spend some time hiking and exploring natural elements on the trails, or enjoying the sun at the beach.
You should stay nearest to the area you’ll be visiting most, and should be prepared to find other transport to reach other areas if needed.
Consider This: How Long Will You Be On Maui?
Unless you love the area within a couple of miles of your hotel or resort or have a tight budget, walking everywhere may not be the best way to go.
Walking around to get where you need to can become time-consuming and take quite a chunk out of your vacation, especially if you’re staying for a shorter time.
Of course, it’s always a great idea to take a leisurely stroll down the beach on sunny days. But, if you want to cram in as many activities as possible, alternative and faster transportation may be worth the extra cost.
Some Places Require Alternative Travel Plans
Many popular attractions on Maui are in hard-to-reach places, such as the top of Haleakala. Maui is also home to quite a few hidden gems, which aren’t easily accessible on foot.
Even if you’re planning to explore through hiking and nature walks, you’ll need to have some alternative transport options for certain activities.
Where Can I Stay That Is Walkable on Maui?
While there are areas that require more walking than others, there are some great locations for people who aren’t up for extensive walking.
Lahaina used to be Hawaii’s capital, and its Historic District is an official National Historic Landmark. The town offers a good balance between modern influences and traditional culture, with plenty of activities in close proximity.
You can enjoy classic Hawaiian luaus, horseback tours, surf lessons, local restaurants, grocery stores, and much more.
Ka’anapali is a must-visit hotspot, flaunting one of Hawaii’s most well-known beaches. The area is mainly filled with activities and entertainment, but there are plenty of amenities and shopping locations as well.
It’s an incredibly popular destination for travelers, boasting traditional luaus, music, hula dancing, and unforgettable food.
Booking a Starwood Property
Both of these areas might sound incredible to you, and it’s understandably hard to choose between the two. With so many attractions, amenities, and entertainment, you want to make sure you aren’t forced to miss out on any of the fun. So, why not get the best of both worlds?
There is plenty of choice with Starwood properties, including Sheraton, Westin, Westin KOR Villas, and Westin Nanea. Staying at a Starwood property is ideal for exploring the entire area, as this group of resorts offers shuttles going around Ka’anapali and into Laihana as well.
How Do I Get Around Maui Without a Rental Car?
If you’re hoping to get into the action as soon as possible throughout your trip, using a vehicle can offer the best experience. But, getting a rental car can be quite pricey, or you may not want to have the responsibilities associated with it.
Thankfully, many other options afford speedy travel and comfort for affordable prices.
Airport shuttles are convenient travel opportunities for travelers. The Maui Airport Shuttle Service offers one-way and roundtrip services between Hawaii airports and various lodging sites in Honokawai, Ka’anapali, Kahana, Kahului, Kihei, Lahaina, Makena, Napili, and Wailea.
SpeediShuttle offers services to those landing at Kahului Airport in Maui (OGG), Kapalua Airport in West Maui (JHM), Honolulu International Airport in Oahu (HNL), Lihue Airport in Kauai (LIH), and Kona Airport on the Big Island (KOA).
This makes it super simple and easy to reach your accommodation site after a lengthy flight, with plenty of choices between airports and lodging areas.
However, not all hotels are equal. While airport shuttles may provide transport to the area you’ll be staying in, they may not take you to your lodging’s doorstep. Always check the specifics with your lodging before going ahead.
Maui also offers a public bus service for visitors. The bus runs in and between various Central, South, West, Haiku, Kula, and Upcountry Maui communities. You can download a copy of the bus schedule or download the Maui Bus mobile app to track buses in real-time.
You can find the rates for bus passes here. Bus wait times aside, this can be an affordable, effective option for getting around the island.
It’s not always easy to get a driver in hard-to-reach areas or remote locations. The prices should also be considered, as the bill can add up quite quickly if you need a lengthy journey or are traveling alone.
Still, it’s easy to get to popular destinations and restaurants, such as Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Kapalua, or Mama’s Fish House in Paia. Rideshare is a great option for short trips, or getting back to your hotel safely after a night of fun.
Bicycling / E-biking
If you’re not up for walking but still want to experience the scenery at a passive pace, renting a road bike may be the way to go. Electric bikes are convenient and cost-effective. They can be used for most short trips in the area. Most of Maui’s roads are equipped with full biking lanes, or at least a generous shoulder to ride on.
You may not be able to bike to that challenging hiking trail you’ve been eyeing, and will likely need another means of transport for some activities. But, traveling with a bicycle will be a fantastic alternative for riding down to the beach from your hotel, exploring nearby areas, or grabbing a tasty bite at local dining spots.
Tours are an excellent way to gett around the island and learn about the island’s history and culture, especially if you’re interested in sightseeing.
Some tours, such as the Skyline Hawaii tours, escort visitors to Hana, around Haleakala, and upcountry, which are must-sees for travelers interested in sightseeing. Many vans are climate controlled for optimal comfort, with extra-large windows so no one misses a glimpse of the picturesque landscapes.
Many tours focus on Hana, with trips ranging from 9.5 to 12 hours. These tours take travelers into the heart of Maui, some of which visit Hana Waterfall and even stop at food trucks or roadside stands to allow sampling of East Maui’s signature dishes.
You may even get the chance to try wines or catered meals—it all depends on the tour and service provider.
That being said, the cost can vary drastically, depending on the type of tour. It can become pricey, especially if you’re traveling in a group.
If comfortable and laid back tours that traverse the island with plenty of treats and extras sound captivating to you, it may be worth the extra cost. But, it may not be the way to go if you want a more intimate and spontaneous experience with simplistic travel methods.
Maui is quite large, and it wouldn’t be comfortable, time-saving, or enjoyable to spend most of your stay on foot. Maui’s walkability will mostly depend on the time you have on the island and what you want out of your trip. The best approach is to use a combination of different travel methods so you have easy access to the activities you’re interested in the most.