When I found out I was going to Hawaii for seven days, I thought “wow, that’s a long time on a small island.” I had been to Maui before, and found the relaxed lifestyle, beautiful beaches and friendly locals enough to satisfy the traveler in me.
But that was before I did Maui in a Volkswagon Van.
This time, having the freedom to go wherever we wanted, whenever we wanted, without needing to return to a specific location for lodging each night inspired the adventurous souls in us. And adventure we found.
Here’s what we did in seven days on Maui, and it’s an itinerary I’d recommend to you, too!
- Pick up your VW Westfalia Van from Aloha Campers in Kihei.
- Promptly head north to give yourself a tour of the island’s western side of the figure 8 (if you look at the island road it is essentially a figure 8).
- Stop in Lahaina for a very memorable lunch at Star Noodle.
- Visit cool beaches along the way.
- Pull over just past the Nakalele Blowhole with your rear end overlooking the seashore below.
- Make breakfast and coffee from your Cliffside mansion with a view. Enjoy it slowly.
- Continue your loop around the west side, stopping at beautiful beaches along the way.
- Watch the sunrise at Haleakala Crater in Haleakala National Park. It’s 150% worth waking up early.
- Note: Your VW Westy cannot go to the top of the crater, since it cannot handle the 0 – 10,000-foot elevation gain. You’ll need to hitchhike, take a cab, temporarily exchange it for a Honda CRV at Aloha Campers, or take a bike tour where you can ride bikes back down the mountain.
- Get breakfast and coffee to warm up.
- Head to a beach and nap the afternoon away, or read a good book. If you had Aloha Campers throw surf boards in like we did, seek out some good waves.
- Camp at Ho’okipa Beach Park (not technically legal. Read here for legal camping on Maui).
- Download the Road to Hana app on your smartphone.
- Drive to Hana. Take your time. Stop along the way at the beautiful waterfalls. Go swimming. Go hiking. It’s the journey, not the destination (Hana isn’t really that cool). One of my favorite pit stops along the way was at Hana Harvest, a new coffee shop and café that is all locally sourced and delicious. I had the coffee float with vegan ice cream and it was the perfect treat on a summer afternoon!
- Camp just past Hana, at Kipahulu in Haleakala National Park to watch the Milky Way.
- Your map and your rental car agency will tell you to turn around here and head back the way you came. This is the end of the road for you, because up ahead are landslides and pot holes. You could spend Day 5 catching all the stops you didn’t see on your way up (listen to the app for different suggestions on the way back down!). OR, if you’re one of those rebel souls, you could adventure all around the island. If you do this, I recommend checking with the visitor center or talking to locals to ask about the current road conditions. I’m a rule follower, of course, so I can’t tell you how beautiful the far east side of the island is, or that the landscape changes completely into something resembling images of the Australian Outback, or that you’ll either encounter lots of other rental cars on the way to make you feel better about your decision (yes, there are other good rebels in the world!), or relatively nobody, depending on the time of day.
- Camp at one of the beaches off Honoapiilani Hwy not too far fro the Pier at Maalaea Bay.
- Go scuba diving. Try to go to Molikini since it’s supposed to be the best diving around the island, though it’s rare the boats actually make it out there due to wind. If that’s the case, you stay closer to shore and still see some cool things (so I hear; I’m not big on diving).
- Take a sunset cruise on the Alii Nui where dinner and drinks are all inclusive, and the whale watching is phenomenal. It’s the nicest boat in the harbor, and you can afford it because you just saved money on your lodging and rental car in one 🙂
- Return your VW Westy and relax on the beach until it’s time to go to the airport.
Have you spent seven days on Maui? If so, how did you do it? Are you planning to go and have questions? Let me know in the comments!