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Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands and a top destination for travelers looking to soak up the sun and explore lush jungles, volcanic landscapes, and breathtaking beaches. If you’re wondering just how big Maui is and how long it would take to drive around the entire island, you’ve come to the right place.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Maui is approximately 727 square miles and driving around the perimeter of the island is about 120 miles.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll breakdown everything you need to know about the size of Maui and what a road trip around the island entails, including:
- The dimensions and geography of Maui
- Driving distances for popular Maui road trip routes
- Must-see stops and attractions along the way
- Timing considerations for optimal trip planning
- Tips for making the most of your Maui road trip adventure
The Dimensions and Geography of Maui
Maui, the second-largest island in Hawaii, is known for its stunning beauty and diverse landscapes. When it comes to its dimensions, Maui spans approximately 727 square miles, making it larger than its neighboring island, Lanai, but smaller than the Big Island of Hawaii.
The island has a length of about 48 miles and a width of around 26 miles at its widest point. With a circumference of approximately 120 miles, you can easily explore the entire island in just a few days.
Note: The 120 mile circumference measurement is approximate, as the island coastline has many small inlets, bays, and peninsulas that make it not a perfect triangle.
Notable Geographic Features
Maui is renowned for its remarkable geographic features, which contribute to its unique charm. One of the most iconic landmarks on the island is Haleakala, a massive shield volcano that forms more than 75% of Maui.
With a summit elevation of 10,023 feet, it offers breathtaking views and is a popular spot to watch the sunrise or go stargazing.
Another notable feature is the Hana Highway, a scenic road that stretches along the northeastern coast of Maui. This winding, picturesque route spans approximately 64 miles and takes you through lush rainforests, past beautiful waterfalls, and offers stunning views of the coastline. It’s a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and those seeking an adventurous drive.
Maui’s coastline is also home to stunning beaches, such as Kaanapali Beach, Wailea Beach, and the famous Road to Hana Beaches. These sandy shores are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing, attracting visitors from around the world.
For more detailed information about the dimensions and geography of Maui, you can visit the official website of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau. They provide comprehensive information about the island’s measurements, geographic features, and other travel-related details.
Driving Distances for Maui Road Trip Routes
West Maui Loop
The West Maui Loop is a scenic drive that takes you around the western coast of Maui. Starting in Lahaina, you’ll travel north along Highway 30, passing through picturesque towns like Kaanapali and Kapalua.
The loop continues along the rugged coastline, offering stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. The total distance of the West Maui Loop is approximately 65 miles.
Hana Highway Road Trip
The Hana Highway is one of Maui’s most famous drives, known for its breathtaking scenery and numerous waterfalls. This winding road takes you from Kahului to the small town of Hana on the eastern coast of the island.
Along the way, you’ll encounter hairpin turns, narrow bridges, and stunning vistas. The Hana Highway spans about 64 miles, but the journey can take several hours due to the road conditions and the desire to stop and admire the natural beauty along the way.
Piilani Highway Drive
The Piilani Highway offers a different perspective of Maui, taking you through the island’s southern regions. Starting in Kihei, this scenic drive will lead you through the towns of Wailea and Makena, where you can explore beautiful beaches and enjoy snorkeling.
Continuing south, you’ll pass through the rural areas of Ulupalakua and Kula, offering panoramic views of the coastline and the Haleakala volcano. The Piilani Highway covers approximately 52 miles, providing a diverse and captivating road trip experience.
When planning your Maui road trip, it’s important to consider the time it takes to complete each route. The driving distances mentioned above are approximate and can vary depending on factors such as traffic and stops along the way.
It’s always a good idea to allow extra time for unexpected detours or attractions that you may want to explore. Additionally, be sure to check for any road closures or maintenance updates before embarking on your journey.
Note: Driving the entire perimeter of Maui on the main coastal road takes around 3-4 hours, depending on stops and traffic.
Must-See Stops and Attractions Along the Way
When driving around the beautiful island of Maui, there are several must-see stops and attractions that you definitely don’t want to miss.
Whether you’re exploring West Maui, Central Maui, South Maui, or East Maui, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
As you drive along the scenic coastline of West Maui, make sure to stop at the famous Ka’anapali Beach. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters and golden sandy beaches, it’s the perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling, or simply relaxing under the sun.
Don’t forget to take a stroll down Front Street in Lahaina, where you’ll find charming shops, art galleries, and delicious restaurants.
In Central Maui, a visit to the historic town of Wailuku is a must. Explore the charming streets lined with old plantation-style buildings and discover unique boutiques and eateries.
For history buffs, the Bailey House Museum is a great place to learn about the island’s rich cultural heritage. Don’t miss the breathtaking views from Iao Valley State Park, where you can hike through lush rainforest and witness the iconic Iao Needle.
When you reach South Maui, make sure to spend some time at the beautiful beaches of Kihei and Wailea. These beaches are known for their soft white sands and calm waters, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or simply soaking up the sun.
If you’re a fan of marine life, a visit to the Maui Ocean Center is a must. Explore the fascinating exhibits and get up close with sharks, turtles, and colorful tropical fish.
As you venture into East Maui, be prepared to be amazed by the Road to Hana. This iconic road trip is famous for its stunning scenery, with lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and breathtaking coastal views.
Make sure to stop at the Garden of Eden Arboretum and Botanical Garden to see exotic plants and enjoy panoramic views of the island. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a refreshing dip in one of the many picturesque waterfalls along the way.
Remember to take your time and enjoy the journey as you explore these must-see stops and attractions around Maui. Each region has its own unique charm and offers a variety of experiences that will make your visit to Maui truly unforgettable.
Timing Considerations for Optimal Trip Planning
Planning a trip around Maui involves more than just knowing the distance around the island. Timing is an essential factor to consider to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.
Here are some timing considerations to keep in mind:
Allow Plenty of Time
Maui may be a small island, but there’s so much to see and do that it’s important to allow plenty of time for your trip. Rushing through the island would mean missing out on the breathtaking landscapes, picturesque beaches, and charming towns.
To truly experience the beauty and essence of Maui, plan for at least a week or more. This will give you ample time to explore all the attractions and indulge in various activities without feeling rushed.
Consider Traffic and Road Conditions
While Maui is known for its stunning scenery, it’s also known for its traffic, especially during peak travel times. The island’s main highway, the Hana Highway, can become congested with tourists and locals alike. It’s important to take traffic into account when planning your itinerary.
Leave early in the morning to beat the rush-hour traffic, or consider exploring less crowded areas during the day and visiting popular spots in the early morning or late afternoon when the crowds thin out.
Additionally, keep an eye on road conditions, as Maui’s terrain can be challenging, especially on the winding roads leading to some of the island’s most scenic destinations.
Best Times of Year for Driving
Maui enjoys pleasant weather throughout the year, but there are certain times when driving conditions are optimal.
The months of April and May, as well as September and October, are considered the shoulder seasons, offering fewer crowds and more manageable traffic. These months are also less prone to heavy rainfall, which can affect road conditions.
If you’re planning to drive the famous Road to Hana, it’s recommended to avoid the rainy season (typically November to March) when the road can be slippery and more challenging to navigate.
Remember, planning your trip around Maui involves more than just the distance around the island. By carefully considering timing factors such as allowing plenty of time, considering traffic and road conditions, and choosing the best times of year for driving, you can make the most of your trip and create unforgettable memories on the beautiful island of Maui.
Tips for Making the Most of Your Maui Road Trip
Planning a road trip around Maui? With its stunning landscapes, picturesque beaches, and vibrant culture, Maui is the perfect destination for a memorable adventure.
To make the most of your road trip, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Rent a Convertible
When exploring the beautiful island of Maui, renting a convertible can enhance your experience. Imagine cruising along the scenic coastal roads with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face.
A convertible allows you to fully immerse yourself in the breathtaking views and capture amazing photos along the way. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to make your road trip even more enjoyable!
Pack Snacks and Drinks
While exploring Maui, you’ll come across various hidden gems and stunning viewpoints that are perfect for picnics. Be sure to pack some snacks and drinks to keep you energized throughout the day.
From fresh tropical fruits to local treats, Maui offers a wide range of delicious options. Having a picnic amidst the island’s natural beauty is not only a great way to refuel but also allows you to make the most of your time on the road.
Make Time for Hikes and Swimming
Maui is known for its incredible hiking trails and pristine beaches. Don’t forget to allocate time in your itinerary for exploring these outdoor wonders.
From the famous Pipiwai Trail in Haleakala National Park to the breathtaking Wai’anapanapa State Park, there are countless opportunities for adventure.
Take a dip in the refreshing waters of Maui’s beaches and waterfalls, and immerse yourself in the island’s natural wonders. With so much to explore, you’ll want to make sure you have ample time to fully experience Maui’s beauty.
Bring Your Camera!
Maui is a photographer’s paradise, so don’t forget to bring your camera! From the iconic Road to Hana to the majestic sunrise at Haleakala, there are numerous photo-worthy moments waiting to be captured.
Whether you’re a professional photographer or simply enjoy taking snapshots, Maui offers endless opportunities to capture breathtaking landscapes, vibrant sunsets, and unique cultural experiences.
Make sure to bring extra batteries and memory cards, as you won’t want to miss a single shot!
We hope this outline gives you a comprehensive overview of what to expect when road tripping around the entire island of Maui. With approximately 120 miles of diverse scenic coastline, rainforests, and volcanoes to explore, driving Maui’s perimeter is an epic adventure.
By planning your route, timing, and must-see attractions in advance, you’ll be set up for an unforgettable tropical escape!
Safe travels and enjoy the ride!