Best Places to Take Photos on Maui

best places to take photos on maui

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

best places to take photos on maui

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

best places to take photos on maui

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!

Lava Fields

best places to take photos on maui

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

best places to take photos on maui

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.

Here is a map to all the different South Maui and Upcountry photo stops.

best places to take photos on maui

 

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.

Sprawling Beach

best places to take photos on maui

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

best places to take photos on maui

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

best places to take photos on Maui

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.

Waterfalls

best places to take photos on Maui

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.

Valleys

best places to take photos on Maui

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

best places to take photos on Maui

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.

Sacred Pools

best places to take photos on Maui

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.

Here is a map of the photo spots on The Road to Hana and Beyond.

best places to take photos on maui

 

West Maui

Hawaiian Leis

best places to take photos on Maui

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”.

Ancient Petroglyphs

best places to take photos on maui

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

best places to take photos on Maui

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

best places to take photos on maui

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.

Snorkeling

best places to take photos on maui

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.

Dragon’s Teeth

best places to take photos on maui

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.

Rugged Cliffs

best places to take photos on maui

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

best places to take photos on maui

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

best places to take photos on maui

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.

Here’s a map of sweet photo spots in West Maui. Be sure to check out our YouTube vlog showing off the best of best places to take photos on Maui.

Best places to take photos on maui

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!

Thirsty for Craft Beer? A couple of great watering holes are Big Island Brewhaus in Waimea and Mehana/Hawaii Nui Brewing in Hilo!

23 comments on “Best Places to Take Photos on Maui

  1. November 9, 2017

    I’m so glad you are finally sharing Hawaii with us! Our family will be in Maui in 2019 and can’t wait to check out all of these places!

    • Rob Stiles Marie Snizik Haskins
      November 9, 2017

      Marie –
      Our pleasure. Maui’s a good spot and something for everyone. It’s also small enough that you if you’re ambitious, you can try and see the whole thing!

  2. November 11, 2017

    I’ve always heard great things about Maui and Hawaii in general. Sunrise treks are one of my favourite things to do on trips. Haleakala would deffo be on my itinerary when I get around to that corner of the world.

    • Rob Stiles Dominic
      November 12, 2017

      Maui is world famous for a reason! So much to see & do in a compact area. Definitely keep it on your list!

  3. November 12, 2017

    Those are some stunning sites and suggestions. By accident, I took my favourite beach sunset picture using exactly the technique you describe of having someone in the foreground – in my case a guy towing his child on a bodyboard, completely in silhouette so anonymous. I hadn’t realised until I read your piece why it worked so well. Great tips too about being mindful of others, checking tide times and not forgetting to hike just that bit further on for a great view and another photo opportunity.

    • Rob Stiles apackedlife
      November 12, 2017

      It’s important to remember that while we’re trying to capture the moment for our content…to be respectful of others trying to enjoy the moment. It only takes once getting burned by off tides that’ll have you checking the tides before making a trek out to a location!

  4. November 12, 2017

    Such an informative and inspirational story! Thank you very much for sharing these photos of Hawaii. Hawaii is the place on my bucket list for so long and I really enjoyed to see the beauty this small island has to offer! Great work and keep it up! 🙂

    • Rob Stiles alphabeyond1
      November 12, 2017

      Definitely, try to get to Hawaii…any of the islands…all are magical!
      Thanks for the compliment!

  5. November 12, 2017

    That’s an awesome list of suggestions with lots of useful advice… I loved the Haleakala National Park, would love to explore these landscapes. I keep seeing articles about Maui recently, too bad it’s so so far from where I live (France), because it seems REALLY gorgeous!!

    • Rob Stiles Julien Mordret
      November 12, 2017

      Julien – Maui is awesome! If you come stateside…Hawaii is well worth the extra time!

  6. chocoralie
    November 12, 2017

    Love the pictures… and the trees! I used to leave in French Polynesia – when you would leave an island by boat you would throw your necklace over board and if it floats, it meant life would take you back there…

  7. November 13, 2017

    Maui looks like a stunning place to visit I love turtles so I would head for Ho’okipa Beach Park. Yet another place to add to my ever increasing bucket list!

    • Rob Stiles gastrotravelogue
      November 13, 2017

      Bucket Lists are made to be long! Lots of great places to see turtles on Maui!

  8. November 15, 2017

    I absolutely love road tripping in Hawaii, it’s beautiful wherever you look. I love photographing the waves and the greenery. I wish I’d had your maps when I went though, it would have been helpful.

    • Rob Stiles Corinne
      November 15, 2017

      Road trippin’ in HI is awfully fun!
      The maps are probably the most tedious part of these post, but worth it if they’re helpful, right? We hope they make the routes and these photo safaris seem a bit more “do-able” to travelers.

  9. November 15, 2017

    I was so disappointed by Hawaii, but I’ve been only to Oahu. Maui looks wonderful! So wonderful that you obviously have to book you photo spot?! That’s hilarious. The ocean looks fantastic, and do you have an agreement with a unicorn or where do you get all these surreal rainbows from 😉

    • Rob Stiles Renata
      November 15, 2017

      Renata – The reservation process has to do with safety, preservation and enjoyment…not just to get a photo.
      It’s popular for a reason, as is all of Hawaii, IMO. All the islands have a much different feel. I hope you choose to explore the islands further.
      No deals with unicorns…just lucky to see and willing to take the time to capture it. The photos do it very little justice.

  10. November 16, 2017

    I’m a hobbyist photographer and I sure will keep this post as reference should I have the opportunity to go to Hawaii. That double full rainbows, by the way, is a keeper. 🙂

    • Rob Stiles Jing
      November 16, 2017

      Aloha, Jing. Hawaii can be a magical place…we just chalk the double rainbows up to the magic of Hawaii.

  11. lukeandmeagan
    November 16, 2017

    Okay, I was expecting like, ehhhhhhh 5 spots. This is INCREDIBLE. I’ve been skeptical about Hawaii just because of the crazy number of tourists, but it looks completely and totally worth it. Since Luke has been craving beach time…. maybe Maui is on the list 🙂

    • Rob Stiles lukeandmeagan
      November 16, 2017

      Aloha, Guys! Put Maui, Kauai or the Big Island on the list. Awesome places and the chance to get a great feel for Hawaii. Watch the times of year to visit and the crowds aren’t too bad. Oahu is really the place where you’ll get the crowds. The other islands are more laid back and spread out.

  12. Great suggestions and gorgeous photos! I’m on a quest to get in my last 10 states before I turn the big 5-0 but Hawaii travel is directly following!! (I went there as a child!)

    • Rob Stiles Wherever I May Roam (@melodytravels)
      November 19, 2017

      Do it! Best of luck with ticking those boxes!

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