While some may be happy with a book and a beach while the kids play in the surf, I’m restless – even on vacation. So on our winter escape to Maui, I packed up my new camera bag and my new lenses, and wandered around some different corners of Maui to find the most Instaworthy places to photograph.
Yes, beaches are part of the equation, and the sunsets in Hawaii are Instagrammable every single night, but there are hidden gems around the island you need to seek out as well if you want to find the best Instagram spots in Maui.
Here are 19 places you can make some Maui magic happen on Instagram, you can scroll right to the bottom to see a map to find exactly where they all are.
1. Iao Valley
Iao Valley State Park is just a few miles outside Wailuku. The famous Iao Needle is the attraction to the area and its literally less than an 800m walk from the parking lot. You feel like you’re deep in the Jurassic World jungle, but it’s just … right there.
With so many sub-climates surrounding the island, there are rainbows everywhere on Maui. Be ready when one pops out to make your instagram magic.
3. Sunrise At Haleakala Crater
When we visited Maui, it was during a freak week of storms. There were flash flood warnings, 60 foot surfs attacking Oahu, and snow falling at the top of Haleakala. So much snow, in fact, the roads were closed and some fell in Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area just below the National Park at the summit. I didn’t make it on this trip, but if you can catch sunrise at Haleakala, you need to try.
4. Sea Walls in Wailuku
For colourful backdrops along the way, stop in Wailuku and check out Sea Walls Maui “Mauka to Makai” featuring the work of 16 artists. The artists for oceans project is hosted by the PangeaSeed Foundation. The goal is to reinforce a connection to the ocean in non-coastal towns. They’re fantastic.
5. Surfboard Fences on Road to Hana
If you have the stomach, the twisty rollercoaster that is the Road to Hana is filled with all sorts of magical surprises (more on that down below). First off, let’s hit up some spots for those who can only just handle the beginning of the road before turning around – like these surfboards just east of Paia.
From sea turtles to surfers to wicked storm watching, Ho’okipa Beach on the north shore have all sorts of things to check out.
7. The Road To Hana
Now, that we’ve puttered around the edges of The Road To Hana, it’s time to dive in. The road is narrow, it hugs the backside of Haleakala twisting and turning through the jungle and over gorges.
It’s only 45 miles, but will take you more than 2 hours – if you don’t stop and check out any of the incredible sights. And just remember, once you get there – you have to go back (or continue on around the island on a more narrow dirt road for 3 hours to swing back around to Kahului via Kaupo).
8. Road To Hana Black Beach
9. Twin Falls on the Road to Hana
10. Pipiwai Trail
11. Sunflower fields
Between the two volcanoes on Maui lies a wide open valley. There’s some agriculture, towns, golf courses, and .. a wide open sunflower field. We know how much instagrammers love sunflower fields, so why not get one with some Hawaiian flare!?
12. Maui Ocean Centre
On a rainy day, the Maui Ocean Centre provides a great place to get inside without getting wet. There are great displays about humpback whales, turtles, reef sharks, and a step by step visit through life on the coral reefs of Maui.
13. Monkeypod trees in Olowalu
The Honoapiilani Highway connects Ma’alaea with Lahaina and Ka’anapali and the northwest side of Maui. There are fantastic beaches all along this stretch near Olowalu, and the waters off the coast make a great backup plan for tours that can’t make it to Molokini, but for me it was the canopy of monkeypod trees stretching over the road that caught my eye.
14. Kings Trails at La Perouse Bay
Haleakala last erupted in 1790, but the lava that stretches to the ocean along the southwest corner of Maui leaves a lasting reminder of what she can do when she wants to. Once you leave Wailea-Makena, a narrow strip of asphalt weaves through lava fields to La Perouse Bay. Here you can get out and wander Kings Trails to see the destruction and rebirth.
15. Big Beach
There are big beaches all over Maui. Park pretty much anywhere along the the west side of Maui and you can find a smooth stretch of sand to walk for an afternoon. But the Big Beach just south of Wailea-Makena is something else. The parking lot is small, and it is popular, so get there early (around 8:30a is when we went), and you’ll have the place to yourself.
16. From the Rocks
Whether it’s Makena Cove or Kamaole Beach III or the north shore, walk away from the beaches and find a place where the surf meets the beach and the lava and you won’t be disappointed.
17. From the Ocean
If you want a different perspective of your island, head out on a whale watching trip (we managed to sneak in some visits with the humpback whales while we were sailing with Trilogy on our snorkel trip.
18. Under the Ocean
When I first visited Maui, in 1987, our family took a snorkel trip with Trilogy to Molokini. The crater is a popular destination for daytrips, and when we visited this past time, we booked the trip again. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t safe to enter the crater, so we played with the fish and honu at Olowalu instead. Whether you pick Molokini or Olowalu or the area around Makena Cove, get your camera under the ocean.
And then there’s the sunsets. It doesn’t matter where you grab yours from, Maui makes it so easy.
So there’s a list of 19 to get you started, and I’m sure there’s more. I didn’t really even explore Lahaina, the area north of Ka’anapali, or the north east coast of the island. Maui is an Instagrammers dream with everything from snow capped mountains to isolated beaches to soaking jungle forests.
Where’s your favorite instagramming spot on Maui?
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