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With picture-perfect beaches, incredible natural landscapes, and a vibrant culture, Hawaii is a dream vacation destination. If you only have a week to spend in Hawaii, you’ll want to make the most of your limited time there.

Here’s a quick answer if you’re short on time – focus your week on Oahu and Maui, spend 2-3 days snorkeling famous beaches, hiking trails to waterfalls, exploring historic Pearl Harbor, and indulging in Hawaiian cuisine and entertainment like luaus in Waikiki and Lahaina.

In this comprehensive Hawaii one week itinerary, you’ll discover the very best things to do on the islands of Oahu and Maui over 7 magical days in paradise.

Getting There and Getting Around

Getting to Hawaii can be an adventure in itself. As an isolated island chain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it takes a bit of effort to reach the Aloha State. Here are some tips for getting there and getting around once you arrive:

Flying into Hawaii

The vast majority of visitors reach Hawaii by plane. There are direct flights available from major airline hubs on the U.S. west coast such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, as well as other big cities across the country.

Most flights will land at Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu, though there are also airports on Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. From Honolulu, you can take short inter-island flights on smaller planes to get between the islands.

Cruise Ships

Cruise ships that sail the Pacific often include a stop in Hawaii, typically Honolulu/Oahu or the Big Island. Cruises allow you to see multiple destinations in one trip.

While air travel is faster, cruising to Hawaii allows you to relax and travel at a more leisurely place. Just be aware, with limited time in port, you may not be able to see as much of Hawaii as you might like.

Getting Around Hawaii

The bus is a convenient and affordable way for getting around most places, though having your own rental car allows more flexibility to explore at your own pace.

Here are some transportation options for getting around after you arrive:

  • Rental Cars – Convenient for getting to beaches, hikes, island sights. Can rent through national chains or local companies.
  • Public Bus – Excellent bus systems on Oahu and Maui. More limited on quieter islands but still useful.
  • Taxis and Uber/Lyft – Good options for getting around if you’d rather not drive yourself.

Inter-island flights connect the various islands if you plan to island hop. Ferries are also available between Maui, Lanai, and Molokai.

No matter how you get there, Hawaii offers amazing tropical adventures for all. Enjoy the journey!

Day 1 in Oahu – Pearl Harbor & Waikiki Beach

On your first day in Oahu, make your way to the historic Pearl Harbor to visit the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument. Start by taking a short boat ride out to the USS Arizona Memorial to pay respects to the soldiers who lost their lives on December 7, 1941.

The experience is profoundly moving. After exploring the exhibits, watch a documentary film bringing the events of that fateful day to life.

Later in the afternoon, head to famous Waikiki Beach to soak up the sun and splash in the warm turquoise waters. Take a surf lesson or simply walk along the white sand beach and marvel at the views of Diamond Head.

As the sun sets, wander Kalākaua Avenue for some shopping and dine at one of the many restaurants and food trucks offering an array of mouthwatering local dishes.

Don’t miss the nightly beachfront hula shows at Kūhiō Beach Park with local musicians and dancers. It’s a perfect way to end your first day in paradise!

Day 2 in Oahu – Hanauma Bay Snorkeling & North Shore

After an active first day exploring Waikiki and Diamond Head, slow things down a bit on the second day with one of Oahu’s most popular attractions – the stunning Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. Arrive early to avoid crowds and enjoy a peaceful morning snorkeling in the breathtaking protected bay.

Marvel at the rainbow array of tropical fish and sea turtles swimming below you. When you’ve had your fill of snorkeling, grab a shave ice and relax on the beach.

In the afternoon, take the beautiful east side coastal road towards Oahu’s legendary North Shore. Make a stop at the Hawaii Shark’s Cove for picturesque views and maybe spot some green sea turtles. As you continue north, the landscape changes – you’ll notice taller vegetation and more dramatic cliffs along the coastline.

The energy shifts too as you reach the seven-mile stretch of world-famous North Shore surf beaches. Even if the waves are flat, these legendary spots like Pipeline and Waimea Bay seem to vibrate with mana (power).

Grab a cone from the famous Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck and stroll down to watch pro surfers catch waves at the Banzai Pipeline or Sunset Beach.

You’ll undoubtedly want to linger on the North Shore to take in one of Oahu’s famed sunsets, but for a quintessential Hawaiian evening, make your way to the Polynesian Cultural Center on the island’s north shore for a traditional lūʻau feast and Polynesian song and dance performances under the stars – a highlight many consider the pinnacle of their week in paradise.

Morning/Daytime Afternoon/Evening
  • Snorkel at Hanauma Bay ($)
  • Relax and have shave ice on the beach
  • Hawaii Shark’s Cove
  • World-famous North Shore surf beaches
  • Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
  • Sunset at a legendary surf spot
  • Traditional Polynesian lūʻau show ($)
Insider Tip: Arrive at Hanauma Bay before 7 AM to avoid crowds and get parking. Entry fees are $12 per person with discounts for local residents, military members, and keiki (children).

Day 3 in Oahu – Island Hop to Maui

After exploring Oahu for a couple days, it’s time for a change of scenery! On your third day in Hawaii, take a short inter-island flight to the island of Maui. Maui is known for its gorgeous beaches, lush rainforests, and dramatic landscapes.

Here are some ideas for spending your first day in paradise:

Fly into Kahului Airport

Catch a morning flight from Honolulu to Kahului Airport on Maui’s northern coast. The flight only takes about 30 minutes, giving you a full day to explore. Gaze out the window at the islands’ emerald mountains and valleys as you descend onto the runway.

Stop at Twin Falls

On the drive south from the airport, make a quick stop at Twin Falls. This easily accessible waterfall flows into a natural pool surrounded by lush vegetation – perfect for a refreshing dip! The short hike takes you over a bamboo bridge spanning the stream below the falls.

Snap some photos before continuing down the road.

Have Lunch in Paia Town

The laid-back surf town of Paia is a great place to stop for a casual lunch. Fork into a plate of fresh fish at Cafe Des Amis or munch on tacos at Paia Fish Market. Finish it off with a cold treat from Mana Foods or Paia Gelato. Fuel up for an afternoon of adventure!

Drive the Road to Hana

No Maui trip is complete without driving the legendary Road to Hana. This winding coastal route takes you through rainforests, past waterfalls, and alongside scenic lookouts. Pull over often to marvel at sights like the Seven Sacred Pools, Wailua Falls, and black sand beaches.

This is Maui sightseeing at its best!

Pro tip: Start your drive early to avoid heavy traffic. Pack snacks, water, and patience – the road has over 600 twists and turns!

Stay Overnight in Hana Town

Instead of racing to drive the Road to Hana round-trip in one day, stay overnight in the peaceful town of Hana. Not only is continuing past Hana rewarding, but staying the night allows you to relax and recharge for the return trip.

Listen to the sounds of the rainforest as you drift off to sleep, then wake to sunrise views of red beaches.

Places like Travaasa Hana offer luxurious yet laid-back accommodations in harmony with the natural setting.

Spending your first day hopping over to Maui for waterfall hikes, beach time, and stunning drives is sure to be the ultimate start to your week in Hawaii!

Day 4 in Maui – Road to Hana & Black Sand Beach

On your fourth day in Maui, it’s time for one of the island’s most famous drives – the Road to Hana. This winding coastal road takes you along over 600 curves and across 50-plus bridges, revealing breathtaking views of waterfalls, rainforests, and the rugged eastern coastline.

It’s an unforgettable way to experience Maui’s natural splendor.

The Road to Hana

The Road to Hana is approximately 64 miles long and takes about 3-4 hours to drive without stopping. Of course, the whole point is to stop frequently and enjoy the sights! Some top attractions along the road include:

  • Twin Falls – A beautiful waterfall and swimming hole surrounded by lush rainforest.
  • Waianapanapa State Park – A black sand beach with sea caves to explore.
  • Hamoa Beach – A postcard-perfect half-moon shaped beach, often ranked one of Hawaii’s best.
  • Wailua Falls – A stunning 80-foot waterfall just steps from the road.

There are also many roadside fruit stands and food trucks along the route, making great stops to refuel and chat with locals. Just be sure to start the drive early, as parking at major sights fills up fast.

Black Sand Beach

Continue your island adventure by heading to Wai’anapanapa State Park, home of Maui’s famous black sand beach. The beach gets its captivating color from black volcanic lava rock, pounded into fine grains over the millennia.

Swimming here is not recommended due to strong waves and rip currents, but it makes an excellent spot for a beach picnic or a romantic sunset stroll.

Keep your eyes peeled at Wai’anapanapa for sea cave tunnels to explore at low tide. Some of these extend hundreds of feet into cliffs! You can also hike the coastal trail about a mile in either direction from the beach to spot more caves, blowholes, arches, and scenic vistas of the rugged shoreline.

After a full day exploring Maui’s beautiful Road to Hana, relax at your hotel or condo before gearing up for more adventures ahead!

Day 5 in Maui – Haleakala Sunrise & Snorkeling

Rise early on your 5th day in Maui to catch an unforgettable sunrise at Haleakala National Park. Watching the sunrise at 10,000 feet with views that seem to stretch endlessly is an experience that will stay with you forever.

Leave your hotel by 3:30am to arrive at the summit in time, and dress warmly as it will be cold at the top.

There are several excellent lookout points to watch the sunrise from, such as the Kalahaku Overlook. As the first rays of light creep over the horizon, the colors shift from pinks and oranges to a bright golden yellow.

The early morning clouds below you will be tinged pink and purple in the dawn light. It’s an majestic sight that feels almost spiritual in nature. Don’t forget your camera!

After the sunrise, take the time to explore more of Haleakala National Park. There are several short hiking trails that pass through the moon-like volcanic landscape and sub-alpine shrublands. Check out the Hosmer Grove Nature Trail or the Pā Ka’oao Trail for a closer look at this unique terrain.

By mid-morning you’ll be ready to head back down the mountain.

A fitting way to spend the rest of your 5th day in paradise is snorkeling. Maui has some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii, with an abundance of vibrant reefs and sea turtles. Head to Honolua Bay, where the calm, clear waters offer incredible visibility to check out the thriving marine ecosystem.

Another top snorkeling site is at Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve, which protects pristine coves and inlets.

Wherever you choose, spending a few hours floating over rainbow-colored coral reefs and schools of tropical fish is about as relaxing as it gets. You’re almost guaranteed to have some special animal encounters as well – we spotted giant sea turtles nibbling on seaweed when we last went snorkeling here!

Don’t forget the reef-safe sunscreen so you don’t damage the fragile underwater world.

Round off an awesome day on Maui by watching the sunset with a cocktail or delicious meal by the ocean. There’s no better way to end your 5th day in paradise than with your toes in the sand and a Hawaiian sunset glowing on the horizon – simply magical!

Day 6 in Maui – Beach Day & Luau

After several days of exploring Maui, day 6 is the perfect opportunity to relax on one of Maui’s world-famous beaches. Maui has over 30 miles of gorgeous beaches to choose from. Some top beach options include:

Kaanapali Beach

Located in West Maui, Kaanapali Beach features over 3 miles of soft, golden sand. This stunning beach has calm, clear waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Kaanapali is a great beach for families with lots of amenities like beachfront resorts, shops, and restaurants.

Kapalua Beach

For excellent snorkeling and swimming, head to Kapalua Beach in West Maui. This crescent-shaped beach features swaying coconut trees and calm, crystal clear waters teeming with colorful fish. Arrive early to snag a prime spot.

Wailea Beach

On South Maui, Wailea Beach impresses visitors with its sparkling turquoise waters and soft, white sand. This upscale beach has loads of facilities like beachfront hotels, beach rentals, and oceanfront restaurants and bars ideal for a relaxing day in the sun.

After a full day relaxing at the beach, experience an authentic Hawaiian luau, a vibrant celebration featuring hula dancing, powerful drumming, flavorful food, and more. Top luau options in Maui include:

Old Lahaina Luau

Immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture at the acclaimed Old Lahaina Luau on Maui’s west side. Dine on traditional dishes like kalua pig cooked in an underground oven. Then witness powerful hula dances and music honoring the Hawaiian gods.

Feast at Lele

For a more intimate luau experience, check out Feast at Lele near Lahaina. This luau treats just 100 guests per night to Hawaiian cuisine and Polynesian entertainment including thrilling fire dances. The setting right on the beach makes it even more magical.

Wailea Beach Marriott Luau

The Wailea Beach Marriott hosts the island’s only oceanside luau. Its Te Au Moana luau features open-air seating steps from Wailea Beach, and serves up delicious Hawaiian dishes like mahi mahi and juicy pineapple. Then be wowed by authentic hula and Tahitian dance performances.

After a rejuvenating beach day and lively luau celebration, you’ll be refreshed and ready to tackle the final day of your 7 day Hawaii itinerary!

Day 7 in Maui – Souvenir Shopping & Departure

On your last day in Hawaii, make sure to leave some time for picking up souvenirs and mementos before your flight home. Maui has no shortage of great shops and boutiques to find the perfect reminders of your incredible Hawaiian vacation.

Souvenir Shopping in Lahaina and Kaanapali

The historic whaling town of Lahaina is home to dozens of unique, locally-owned shops selling everything from Hawaiian quilts to carved tikis. Some great spots to check out include Old Lahaina Luau Gift Shop, Maui Hands, and the Banyan Tree Gallery.

The prices are fair and you’ll find high quality, authentic souvenirs. Nearby Kaanapali also has some excellent shopping at the open-air Whalers Village and the Kāʻanapali Beachwalk.

Shopping in Wailea

The upscale Wailea area features more high-end boutiques and art galleries. Check out The Shops at Wailea which has a great selection of women’s clothing, fine art, and home decor. For locally made artisan crafts, stop into Martin & MacArthur. You’ll find quality Hawaiian souvenirs with lots of aloha.

Last-Minute Essentials

Before catching your flight home, don’t forget to pick up any last-minute items you may need from grocery stores and pharmacies. Longs Drugs and Times Supermarket have locations across the island. You can also grab some snacks and Hawaii-made treats like macadamia nuts, chocolate, cookies and coffee for the plane ride home or to share with friends and family.

Store Location What to Buy
Longs Drugs Lahaina, Kaanapali, Wailea Essentials, pharmacy items, snacks
Times Supermarket Lahaina, Kaanapali, Wailea Food, snacks, coffee, mac nuts
Whalers General Store Kaanapali Beachwalk Snacks, souvenirs
ABC Stores Everywhere! Local snacks, souvenirs

With some special mementos and treats in hand, all that’s left is to bid a fond aloha to beautiful Hawaii as you journey back home after an amazing week-long adventure. Safe travels and we hope you’ll visit again soon!


After following this exciting 7 day Hawaii itinerary, you’ll leave with a camera full of incredible memories. From exploring World War II history to snorkeling with sea turtles to watching the sunrise from a volcano and ending your trip with a festive luau, this guide has everything you need to experience the very best of Hawaii in just one week.

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