There’s no shortage of beautiful photo opportunities on all the Hawaiian islands, but trying to figure out the best places to take photos on Maui can feel a little overwhelming. Hawaii is a place to relax, so kick back, relax, and hang loose. I’ve done all the research work for you. Here are 20 top photo spots where you can capture the true beauty of Maui.
The Best Places to Take Photos on Maui:
South Maui & Upcountry
Sunrise from atop Haleakala
The summit of Haleakala is simply one of the best places in the entire world to watch the sunrise. Because of this it is very popular. So popular, in fact, Haleakala National Park recently instated a mandatory sunrise reservation. This means you cannot enter the park between 3 and 7am without a reservation. Reservations sell out quickly, so if you’re like us and fly by the seat of your pants, this can be an issue. The good news is, the park does release 40 reservations for the morning two days in advance every day at 4pm. Here’s an example: if you want a reservations for, say the 20th, but they’re sold out…go on the reservation website at 4pm on the 18th for a chance at the 40 late release reservations.
Please, give yourself enough time – it is a narrow windy road with heavy traffic leading up to sunrise. Drive carefully! And do not underestimate the elevation climb! It is cold up there – wear warm clothes!
All that Haleakala Has to Offer
Most people head up to Haleakala for sunrise then head right back down the mountain. Don’t rush back down the mountain! The National Park offers a number of different hikes and spectacular lookouts. I recommend Keonehe’ehe’e Trail, Kalahaku Overlook, and Leleiwi Overlook. Be sure to look out for Nene (Hawaiian goose) and other flora and fauna too!
The Hawaiian Islands were created by volcanic activity. The Lava Fields south of Wailea offer beautiful contrasting landscapes of the pitch black lava fields against the lush green foothills leading up to Haleakala.
Maui Beach Sunset
There is no shortage of western facing beaches in Maui – this means sunset photo opportunities galore. This photo happened to be taken right across from our hotel at Kamaole Beach I. My tip is, find something to be in the foreground…a mom playing in the waves with her toddler, a Hawaiian outrigger canoe team, a sailboat, a palm tree, the West Maui mountains, etc.
The Road to Hana…and Beyond
The Road to Hana is famous for a very good reason. It is stunning! With countless picture opportunities along the way, there’s simply no way to hit up all of them in one day. So what are your choices? Either stay in Hana and explore the Road to Hana over a couple of days, or accept that you’ll have to come back some other time to explore what you missed the first time. Either way, I do highly suggest getting an early start to try to beat some of the crowds.
OK, so this is a little west of what most people consider “The Road to Hana”, but it’s still a great place to start or finish your day before or after the countless dips and turns on your way to Hana. Besides, a list of the best places to take photos in Maui just wouldn’t be complete without a beach…or two…or ten. There are so many beautiful beaches around the island, it’s hard to pick just one, but Baldwin Beach Park is one of our favorites. Not only is there a super long white sand beach with crystal blue water, but there’s also a great view of the West Maui Mountains.
Wind Surfers, Surfers, and Turtles Galore
Another beach? Of course! But this one has totally different picture opportunities on offer. Ho’okipa Beach Park is choke (Hawaiian Pidgin for “lots/very”) full of turtles, surfers, and windsurfers. 3 awesome photo opportunities in one place.
The Road Itself
The Road to Hana, with its countless twists and turns through lush rainforest, is a stunner in and of itself. Please remember that this is a well-traveled highway. Not only are their hordes of tourists in their jeeps and mustangs, but there are locals commuting, and goods being transported in large trucks along this crowded stretch of road. Please be courteous and cautious when pulling over and getting out to take photos.
There are countless waterfalls along the Road to Hana, so how do you pick? The easiest way is to decide how much time and effort you’re willing to put into each one. My personal favorite for everyone is Upper Waikini Falls (aka 3 Bears Waterfall). This is a great waterfall because there’s a good vantage point from the road – meaning minimal investment of time or effort. But, it’s also a short and not too difficult hike back to the waterfall. Not only are there even better photo opportunities back here, but also, a very rewarding dip under waterfall awaits. Now, if you are willing to invest some time and some take a slippery hike, Waikamo Falls is a great way to get away from the crowds and snap some great pics. If you keep going past Hana, Wailua Falls is big, and easily photographed from the road.
Turning off the Road to Hana will get you away from the crowds, and more than likely, reward you with superb views. Keanae Rd. takes you down to some stunning lookouts, a beautiful old traditional Hawaiian church, and even some of the best banana bread on the Island at Aunty Sandy’s. Just East from here, down Wailua Rd. you’ll get a unique glimpse at one of the Island’s tallest waterfalls.
Red Sand Beach
Unfortunately, we timed our visit to Hana’s red sand beach all wrong, as we got there at high tide when the remarkable red sand is covered by the Pacific Ocean. So, please learn from our mistake, and check the tide times before hiking down to this unique photo opportunity. As for us, I guess there’s always next time.
Don’t turn around at Hana! There’s still so much beauty to be seen and some of the best places to take photos on Maui! The 7 Sacred Pools at Ohe’o Gulch is probably one of the prettiest stops you’ll make on this road trip. Depending on conditions, the pools may or may not be open for swimming, but either way, you’re bound to get some stunning photos here.
*Insider tip, you need to pay a park fee to enter here, as this is part of Haleakala National Park. Whether you visit here or Haleakala first, keep your entrance ticket, as it works for both…as long as you visit both within 3 days of each other.
On the Honopiilani Highway, just before Olowalu is a tree that fell into the sea. Locals and tourists alike have hang leis on the root system of this tree – some are to commemorate their vacation, some are in honor of loved ones. No matter what the reason, the leis are a beautiful reminder to live “aloha”.
Just up the hill from Olowalu is a rock wall covered with petroglyphs. These ancient carvings depict scenes of early Hawaiian culture.
Giant Banyan Tree
There is no shortage of exotic and beautiful plants and flowers in Hawaii. One of the most dramatic examples of this are banyan trees. A huge banyan tree dominates Banyon Court Plaza right in the heart of Lahaina.
Traditional Old Town
So many people come to Maui and never experience life outside of the perfect landscapes of the resorts. Lahaina is one of the best examples of a traditional Hawaiian town – and don’t worry, because it’s just down the street from the mega-resorts of Kaanapali.
Time to cool off? Grab your underwater camera, and strap on your snorkel mask, because black rock beach is choke full of sea life. Crystal blue water, curious green sea turtles, and rainbow-colored fish are all on offer around Black Rock in Kaanapali.
There’s no molten lava flow on Maui. You have to go to the Big Island for that. But dragon’s teeth does offer some very interesting lava formations…it looks just like dragon’s teeth in fact.
The northern coast of West Maui has some beautiful rugged coastline. Don’t be afraid to partake on one of the many lookouts…especially if you happen to be there in the middle of a rainstorm that results in a double rainbow!!!
Active Blow Hole
Take the longer hike across what looks like you’re walking across the moon, or the short stroll from the lookout, either way Nakalele Blowhole is worth the trip. Depending on the tide, the blowhole can be pretty calm or very active, so it won’t hurt to check the tide chart before heading out. Once there, be patient…the blowhole has a few different tricks.
Heart Set in Stone
Just south of the blowhole is a perfect heart warn into the cliff by the rough seas. Come here with your love or come make a wish to find a love.
Island hopping in Hawaii? We’ve got some sweet recs from The Big Island:
For the Best Photo Spots…
For Adventure, check out the Umauma Experience!