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What To Do On A Layover In Maui


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Candace Moynihan





Maui, the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands, is a tropical paradise renowned for its stunning beaches, diverse landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. If you find yourself with a layover in Maui, consider yourself fortunate, as this slice of paradise offers a myriad of activities to make the most of your time. Whether you have just a few hours or a full day to spare, there are plenty of ways to immerse yourself in the beauty and culture of Maui without venturing too far from the airport.


Maui's Kahului Airport, the primary airport serving the island, is conveniently located near several attractions, making it easy to explore the local surroundings during your layover. From relaxing on pristine beaches to savoring delectable local cuisine and indulging in rejuvenating spa treatments, there is something for every traveler to enjoy during their time in Maui.


In this guide, we'll take a closer look at some of the best ways to make the most of your layover in Maui. Whether you're a solo traveler, a couple, or a family with kids, there are activities to suit every preference and timeframe. So, sit back, relax, and prepare to embark on a mini Hawaiian adventure as we delve into the top things to do during a layover in Maui.


Explore the Airport


While layovers are often associated with tedious waits, Kahului Airport offers a pleasant surprise with its array of amenities and attractions. Take advantage of your time at the airport by exploring its offerings. Start by strolling through the open-air terminals, where you can admire the island’s lush greenery and fragrant tropical flowers. The airport’s unique design allows you to experience the island’s natural beauty even before stepping outside.


For aviation enthusiasts, a visit to the airport’s viewing area provides an excellent vantage point to watch planes taking off and landing against the backdrop of Maui’s picturesque landscapes. You can also learn about the island’s aviation history and the significance of Kahului Airport through informative displays and exhibits.


If you’re feeling peckish, indulge in a taste of local flavors at the airport’s dining establishments. From freshly prepared poke bowls to flavorful Hawaiian barbecue, there’s a diverse range of culinary delights to savor. Additionally, peruse the airport’s shops to pick up unique souvenirs, locally made crafts, and Hawaiian snacks to bring a piece of Maui home with you.


For those seeking relaxation, the airport offers comfortable seating areas where you can unwind with a good book or simply take in the tranquil ambiance. Should you require any assistance or information, the friendly airport staff are readily available to help, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable layover experience.


By immersing yourself in the offerings of Kahului Airport, you can transform your layover into an enriching and enjoyable prelude to your Maui adventure.


Visit a Nearby Beach

Maui is renowned for its breathtaking beaches, and even during a layover, you can experience the island’s coastal beauty by visiting a nearby beach. With its close proximity to Kahului Airport, the tranquil and picturesque Kanaha Beach Park is an excellent choice for a brief seaside escapade. Just a short drive from the airport, this pristine stretch of shoreline beckons with its soft golden sands and inviting turquoise waters.


Upon arrival, take a leisurely stroll along the shore, feel the warm sand beneath your feet, and breathe in the refreshing ocean breeze. If you’re feeling adventurous, consider trying your hand at windsurfing or kiteboarding, as Kanaha Beach Park is a popular spot for these exhilarating water sports. Alternatively, simply find a cozy spot to relax and soak up the sun, allowing the gentle sound of the waves to lull you into a state of tranquility.


For those with a penchant for wildlife, keep an eye out for the graceful movements of kiteboarders and windsurfers gliding across the water, adding an element of excitement to the serene coastal landscape. Additionally, Kanaha Beach Park is known for its vibrant birdlife, providing opportunities for birdwatching amidst the idyllic setting.


Before heading back to the airport, take a moment to capture the beauty of the beach with a few photographs, preserving the memories of your brief but enchanting interlude with Maui’s coastal splendor. Whether you choose to engage in water sports, bask in the sun, or simply admire the natural surroundings, a visit to a nearby beach is a delightful way to infuse your layover with a touch of tropical bliss.


Enjoy Local Cuisine

One of the most delightful ways to savor the essence of Maui during your layover is by indulging in the island’s delectable local cuisine. Within close proximity to Kahului Airport, you’ll find an array of dining options that offer authentic flavors and a true taste of Hawaiian culinary traditions.


For a quick and satisfying meal, consider visiting a local food truck or casual eatery to sample iconic Hawaiian dishes such as kalua pork, poke bowls, and lomi lomi salmon. These establishments often feature open-air seating, providing a laid-back and inviting atmosphere where you can savor your meal while soaking in the island’s warm breeze and vibrant ambiance.


If you prefer a more leisurely dining experience, venture to a nearby restaurant that specializes in farm-to-table cuisine, showcasing the freshest local ingredients in creatively crafted dishes. From succulent seafood caught in Maui’s surrounding waters to tropical fruits and vegetables sourced from the island’s fertile lands, the flavors of Maui’s culinary offerings are a true reflection of its bountiful natural resources.


Don’t miss the opportunity to quench your thirst with a refreshing beverage that captures the essence of the islands, such as a freshly squeezed pineapple or passion fruit juice. Alternatively, treat yourself to a tropical cocktail featuring locally distilled spirits and exotic fruit infusions, adding a touch of aloha spirit to your layover experience.


By immersing yourself in the island’s culinary delights, you’ll not only satisfy your taste buds but also gain a deeper appreciation for the vibrant flavors and cultural heritage that define the culinary landscape of Maui. Whether you opt for a quick bite at a food truck or a leisurely meal at a charming restaurant, the island’s culinary offerings are sure to leave a lasting impression on your palate and your heart.


Take a Guided Tour

Immerse yourself in the captivating beauty and cultural richness of Maui by embarking on a guided tour during your layover. Several tour operators offer expedited excursions tailored to accommodate travelers with limited time, ensuring that you can make the most of your brief visit to the island.


Consider joining a guided tour that explores Maui’s renowned attractions, such as the historic Iao Valley, where you can marvel at the lush emerald peaks and learn about the valley’s significance in Hawaiian history and spirituality. Alternatively, opt for a scenic tour along the iconic Road to Hana, where you can witness cascading waterfalls, verdant rainforests, and panoramic coastal vistas, all within a condensed timeframe.


For those intrigued by marine life, a guided snorkeling or whale-watching tour provides an opportunity to encounter Maui’s underwater wonders or witness majestic humpback whales (seasonal) in their natural habitat. These immersive experiences offer a glimpse into the island’s diverse marine ecosystems, allowing you to create unforgettable memories amid the azure waters of the Pacific.


If you’re drawn to cultural exploration, consider a guided visit to a local taro farm or a traditional Hawaiian village, where you can gain insights into the island’s agricultural practices and indigenous heritage. Engaging with knowledgeable guides and local experts adds depth to your layover, providing a meaningful connection to Maui’s cultural and natural treasures.


By participating in a guided tour, you’ll benefit from the expertise of experienced guides who can offer enriching narratives and historical context, enhancing your understanding of Maui’s landscapes and traditions. Whether you’re intrigued by natural wonders, cultural heritage, or marine adventures, a guided tour allows you to delve into the essence of Maui, creating lasting memories that transcend the brevity of your layover.


Shop for Souvenirs

Make the most of your layover in Maui by perusing the diverse array of shops and boutiques near Kahului Airport, where you can acquire unique souvenirs and mementos to commemorate your brief sojourn on the island. Whether you’re seeking traditional Hawaiian keepsakes, locally crafted goods, or distinctive gifts for loved ones, the shopping opportunities near the airport cater to a variety of preferences.


Explore charming boutiques and artisanal shops that showcase handcrafted jewelry, intricate wood carvings, and vibrant textiles, each reflecting the artistry and cultural heritage of Maui. From intricately designed koa wood pieces to exquisitely woven lauhala items, these artisanal creations encapsulate the spirit of the island and make for cherished souvenirs.


For a taste of Maui’s culinary delights, consider selecting gourmet treats such as Kona coffee, macadamia nuts, or artisanal chocolates from local confectioners. These delectable offerings not only serve as delightful gifts but also provide a flavorful reminder of the island’s culinary prowess.


If you’re drawn to fashion and apparel, explore the selection of aloha shirts, sarongs, and resort wear available at nearby shops, allowing you to infuse your wardrobe with a touch of Hawaiian flair. Additionally, keep an eye out for unique accessories, such as hand-painted pareos and intricately beaded jewelry, to add a touch of tropical elegance to your personal style.


By venturing into the local shops, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with friendly merchants who are often eager to share insights about their products and the cultural significance behind them. This personalized shopping experience adds depth to your layover, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of the craftsmanship and traditions that define Maui’s artisanal offerings.


Whether you’re seeking a cherished keepsake for yourself or a thoughtful gift for a loved one, the shopping options near Kahului Airport offer a delightful array of treasures that capture the essence of Maui’s charm and creativity.


Relax at a Spa

Transform your layover into a rejuvenating interlude by indulging in a blissful spa experience near Kahului Airport. Maui’s tranquil ambiance and wellness-oriented culture make it an ideal destination for unwinding and pampering, even within a limited timeframe. Several spas and wellness centers located in close proximity to the airport offer an array of revitalizing treatments that allow you to escape the stresses of travel and immerse yourself in pure relaxation.


Consider treating yourself to a restorative massage, where skilled therapists utilize traditional Hawaiian techniques and aromatic oils to soothe your senses and rejuvenate your body. Opt for a Lomi Lomi massage, a revered Hawaiian healing practice that incorporates rhythmic movements and flowing strokes to promote harmony and well-being.


For a truly immersive experience, partake in a traditional Hawaiian spa ritual, such as a healing sea salt scrub or a fragrant floral bath infused with indigenous botanicals. These time-honored practices are designed to cleanse the spirit and enhance your overall sense of tranquility, allowing you to embrace the island’s wellness traditions in a serene setting.


If time permits, consider a mini wellness retreat at a nearby spa, where you can unwind in a tranquil garden oasis, surrounded by lush tropical foliage and the gentle sounds of nature. Indulge in a refreshing facial treatment or a revitalizing body wrap, each designed to nourish your skin and promote a radiant, healthy glow.


By taking the opportunity to relax at a spa near the airport, you can rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit, ensuring that you depart Maui feeling refreshed and invigorated. Whether you opt for a quick massage or a more comprehensive spa experience, the island’s wellness offerings provide a serene and rejuvenating respite during your layover.



As your layover in Maui draws to a close, reflect on the enriching experiences that have made your brief visit to the island truly memorable. From exploring the airport’s unique amenities to venturing to a nearby beach and savoring the island’s culinary delights, each activity has offered a glimpse into the vibrant tapestry of Maui’s offerings.


Whether you chose to embark on a guided tour, peruse local shops for souvenirs, or indulge in a tranquil spa retreat, you’ve embraced the spirit of aloha and immersed yourself in the beauty and culture of this tropical paradise. The warmth of the island’s hospitality and the allure of its natural wonders have undoubtedly left an indelible impression, inspiring a desire to return and delve deeper into the treasures of Maui.


As you prepare to continue your journey, carry with you the cherished memories of your layover in Maui, where every moment was infused with the magic of the Hawaiian spirit. Whether you dipped your toes in the crystalline waters, savored the flavors of the island, or simply basked in the tranquility of a spa oasis, your time in Maui has been a captivating prelude to the island’s boundless allure.


As the plane readies for departure, take one last gaze at the verdant landscapes and azure horizons, knowing that Maui’s enchanting embrace will linger in your heart until the day you return. With a fond aloha and a promise of new adventures, bid adieu to this island paradise, carrying with you the essence of Maui’s beauty and hospitality until the next time you set foot on its shores.