With visitation numbers back to normal on Maui, it may be necessary to make advance reservations for some of your favorite island attractions and activities. To ensure you enjoy the best of Maui, plan ahead! Even return visitors will find some places need reservations that didn’t before, and things to do are booked farther in advance.
Sunrise at Haleakala National Park
Watching the sun rise over the summit of Haleakala is truly a magnificent sight and one of the top experiences on a Maui vacation. The following links will provide the information you need to enjoy this beautiful sight.
- Entering Haleakala National Park for sunrise between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m.
- Information about the experience: frequently asked questions page
- Book Reservations up to 60 days in advance
If you are unable to secure reservations for sunrise, but would still like to experience it, select a ground tour, or sleep in and arrive later- no reservations are needed after 9am.
Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach on the Road to Hana
Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach is stunningly beautiful, but it’s not as easy to access as it used to be. Reservations vouchers are sold in specific time slots and are available to purchase up to 30 days in advance, but no later than the day prior to your visit. You may want to make your reservations early, however, as they often sell out a week in advance.
Be sure to download the QR code for your reservation before starting the Road to Hana, as there is no/limited cell service at the park.
When making a reservation, the system includes both the parking and entry fee (per person) into Wai’anapanapa State Park. If you are unable to secure a reservation, check out a guided tour. For more helpful information, see these links:
Iao Valley State Monument
Tucked away in a lush tropical rainforest is Iao Valley State Park. Located in central Maui, Iao Valley State Park has significant historical and geological features and is just a few minutes from the airport. A stream runs through the winding valley with a shear mountain landscape. A towering ancient geological formation, roughly in the shape of a needle, is the park’s most iconic feature. A paved path will take you closer to the base of the needle, or you can venture off toward Iao stream and take a dip in icy pools or enjoy a picnic lunch along the shady bank.
The stream is fed from high up Pu’u Kukui, the highest peak of Mauna Kahalawa (the West Maui Mountains). This spot is the third wettest place in Hawaii, and one of the wettest places on earth. In 1790, a great battle ensued. In an effort to unite the Hawaiian Islands, Kamehameha the Great landed his war fleet on the shores of North Maui while Maui’s Chief, Kahekili, was away on the island of Oahu.
Note — Out-of-state visitors must have reservations. There is a parking and entrance fee. Reservations are needed to help preserve the beauty of this natural valley. It also prevents overcrowding in the park, making your visit more pleasant. Make your reservations.
If the lot is full at Iao Valley State Park, there is a pretty county park, Kepaniwai Park, just below it. This is popular spot for local residents has picnic tables and structures representing Maui’s multi-cultural past.
A visit to Maui wouldn’t be complete without enjoying an authentic Hawaiian luau. Cultural traditions, hula, songs and, of course, a wide variety of dishes, make luaus a popular activity. Demand for luaus is higher for summer months and holidays. See our review of luaus and book your reservations early for this Hawaiian cultural staple.
Be sure to reserve a couple of restaurants that you don’t want to miss on your Maui vacation. See our dining guide for everything from casual to fine dining, or happy hours with good brews and tropical beverages. Maui has the best variety of options! Especially during peak vacation months, you will want to make reservations well in advance for the most visited fine dining establishments. Mama’s Fish House is the most popular restaurant on the island, with reservations needed 6 months or more in advance. See our article
Mama’s Fish House in Paia is a popular restaurant that tends to get booked most frequently. The location, tasteful yet ‘old Hawaii’ ambiance, quality of cuisine, presentation and service make it a true dining experience for visitors fro m around the world. Most feel it is worthy of the expanded price tag. Because of the high demand for this popular eatery, you will want to book at least six months in advance.
You may make online reservations for most restaurants at OpenTable.com. Reservations for Mama’s Fish House can no longer be made through third party websites or at OpenTable.com.
Even if you are not a planner, it’s a good idea to pre-book the activities that you don’t want to miss. Holidays and summer months bring in more demand, which makes it even more prudent to pre-book tours, specifically group activities on a tour bus or luxury van, where you leave the driving to someone else! While there are many good tour companies, we particularly like Valley Isle Excursions for their environmental sustainability policies.
Rental cars should be booked well in advance whether you’re renting one for your entire stay or for a day of sightseeing around the island. Some amenities and beaches are within walking distance of your condo, but most other activities will require some form of motorized vehicle to explore. Tip: reserve a “pay later” or refundable car, then keep checking prices to see if they drop closer to your arrival.
Don’t forget to reserve your favorite sporting activity. Here are a few island favorites:
The Perfect Maui Condo
Of course, pre-booking your accommodation goes without saying. With Destination Maui Vacations, choose from over 100 well-appointed condominiums at boutique beach resorts. And, since we work directly with owners, you will always save when booking directly with us at https://www.destinationmauivacations.com/, and have access to a local staff should any questions come up before, during or after your vacation.