When I went to the Hawaiian islands for the first time, what amazed me most was the vibrant colors everywhere you looked—including the sky. The sunsets were awe-inspiring. You couldn’t help but smile the moment you caught a glimpse of one.
When on Maui, you have to take time out of your day to sit down, relax, and enjoy a breathtaking sunset. After a long day of exploring the island, there’s nothing better than staring out into the colorful sky.
1. Haleakala National Park
The summit area of Haleakala National Park is an excellent place for watching one of Maui’s renowned sunsets. It’s also known for cold temperatures and an abundance of Hawaiian birds, plants, and wildlife. Sunsets at the National Park boast deep purples, vibrant orange hues, and a range of pastel colors for unreal photo opportunities.
Since you’ll be on top of a volcano, you’ll want to dress appropriately and bring layers! The area offers a variety of activities including guided tours, hiking trails, and campsites.
Before you go, read up on a few tips for taking in a sunrise at Haleakala National Park:
- Dress warmly. It gets quite cold on top of a volcano!
- Be respectful. The summit area is sacred.
- Respect all park speed limits and rules.
- The area is remote and assistance is more than an hour away if necessary. Come prepared!
- Bring plenty of water.
- While it’s cold, you should still wear ample sunscreen to protect your skin at such high altitudes.
2. Po’olenalena Beach Park
Another place to catch the best sunset in Maui is Po’olenalena Beach Park. While this beach spot was once a local secret, word got out to visitors and now the place is becoming increasingly popular. However, the long sandy beach is less crowded during the weekdays or during the later hours of the day. The perfect time to catch a sunset!
At this beach, sunsets glow with bright orange colors filling the sky. You’ll want to bring a camera as the photo opportunities are endless. To make your sunset more enjoyable, keep these tips in mind:
- A parking lot is available but fills up quickly during peak hours.
- If you’re going swimming as well, wear reef safe sunscreen!
- The rocky areas around the south end of the beach are excellent for snorkeling but use caution.
3. Kapalua Bay
If you’re in Maui for a wedding, anniversary, family vacation, or another occasion, Kapalua Bay is a popular spot for photo shoots. Capture your Maui memories against a sunset backdrop!
While the sunsets here are remarkable, stay a bit later and watch as the night sky and stars reflect off the water. Sunsets in this area range from shining gold to deep, royal purples.
In addition to seeing the best sunset in Maui, you’ll also have the option to go swimming, snorkeling, and picnicking on the beach. But before you dive into the water, take our advice:
- If you’d like to go snorkeling, stay on the north side of the beach.
- Lifeguards are on duty at select times. When not on duty, use your best judgment.
- This beach draws a crowd! Visit at off-peak times such as a weekday late afternoon or night.
- Stay within the bay if swimming. The currents are strong outside of this area.
4. Sunset Cruises
Instead of trying to scope out the top spots to see a Maui sunrise, just hop on a boat! There are several sunset cruises that sail around the coast and secret island spots. During your cruise, you’ll be treated to onboard entertainment, delectable dining, and learn more about the Hawaiian culture, oceans, and more. Plus, you’ll have a front row seat for one of Maui’s colorful sunsets!
Be sure to book your spot on a Maui sunset cruise well in advance. Due to the luxurious amenities and convenience of the cruises, they’re a top activity for visitors! A few things to keep in mind before you sail off into the sunset (literally) include:
- Double check the dress code. If you sign up for a cocktail cruise, a specific dress code may be required.
- Confirm the cruise pick-up location and time. Several cruises board 30-45 minutes prior to departing.
- If you have any food allergies, alert the cruise crew when booking—not at the time of your cruise. This will allow them to plan for and prepare your meal as you need it.
5. Lahaina Pali Trail
Want a side of adventure with your sunset? If so, the sunset views from the Lahaina Pali Trail are right up your alley. While you’ll have to climb 500 feet over a short 15-minute hike starting at the Ukumehame trailhead, you’ll quickly see why everyone makes the trek.
The views from the top will leave you speechless. After you’ve conquered this adventure, it’s not hard to see why it earned the title as a spot for best sunset in Maui. You’ll be surrounded by orange, pink, and purple colors as you take in the mesmerizing view.
Since this hike is strenuous for the inexperienced, this advice should come in handy:
- Pack water, sunscreen, and a flashlight. You’ll need the flashlight for the steep trek back down.
- Bring a camera. You won’t believe the views from the top!
- Watch your footing. 500 feet straight up is no joke.
- Depending on the time of year, you may see whales out in the ocean!
- The full trail is a 10-mile out-and-back trail. If you plan on doing the whole trail, prepare a backpack, bring plenty of water, and get up early to finish your hike before watching the sunset from the Ukumehame side.
6. Ka’anapali Beach
This sprawling white sand beach with clear blue water was once named America’s Best Beach and for good reason. Just look at it! The area is also home to several resorts, ample shopping, and delicious restaurants.
While the sunset views here are magnificent, the crowds can be massive. After all, this area is considered one of the top beaches in the country. Do your best to visit the beach at an off-peak time, such as during the dinner rush to beat the crowds and take in the best sunset in Maui.
Before you go, a few words of wisdom:
- Reserve a room at one of the resorts, condos, or hotels here for epic sunset views every night.
- Locals refer to the beach as Black Rock.
- Snorkeling, cliff jumping, and swimming are among the many activities available at the beach.
- Parking is slim. Many visitors park in the Whalers Village parking lot where the first three hours can be validated by select shops. After three hours, the price is $2 per half hour.
- Again, wear reef safe sunscreen! You don’t want to contribute to the death of our coral reefs now do you?
Get Ready to Spot the Best Sunset in Maui
Although these destinations may be the absolute best places to see a sunset, you really can’t go wrong anywhere. Simply being on Maui means you’ll be treated to a sunset of epic proportions.