For our 5th wedding anniversary, Chris and I decided that a trip to Hawaii would be the perfect getaway for us. Before I get into what all we actually did during our trip, I thought that I’d break down our Hawaiian Itinerary so you could see exactly how to spend 9 days exploring Maui and Kauai.
After we had decided that Hawaii was where we would be jetting off to, we needed to decide which island or islands we wanted to visit in 9 days. I had been to The Big Island and Maui before and thought that the activities that we did on Maui would be something that Chris and I would have a blast doing again together. So Maui was definitely on the itinerary. My parents had also just gotten back Kauai and could not stop talking about how amazing it was, so the decision to add Kauai as a destination was very easy. We did look into whether or not we could add a quick stop on Oahu, but unfortunately there just wasn’t enough time with only 9 days. So Maui and Kauai was our final decision!
Day 1- Arrival
Hawaii is a long way from most places in the continental United States, even from California it’s about 2500 miles, so be prepared for a long flight to get there no matter where you’re flying from. We spent a good chunk of our first vacation day flying from Houston to Maui, but it was totally worth it! We had a layover in LA before landing in Maui around 5:30 that afternoon.
Once we had grabbed our bags, taxied over to our hotel, and checked in, we were very exhausted and hungry too! We quickly freshened up before heading to grab dinner before heading to bed. When we walked out of our room we were greeted with the most beautiful sunset, and we knew that we were going to have the time of our life!
Tip: Unfortunately, you will spend at least two days of your trip traveling, but it’s all worth it to have an amazing trip. Don’t plan on doing much your first day, just check in and spend some time relaxing at your hotel. You’re in paradise so you should enjoy it!
Day 2- Haleakala
Because Hawaii is so far away from the continental United States, there’s also a very large time difference as well, (Hawaii is 4 hours later than Central time). Because you will probably still be on mainland time for the first day that you’re in Hawaii, I suggest waking up early for the sunrise on Haleakala on your very first day in Maui. It won’t even be that bad to wake up early because you’ll be waking up naturally at that point in time.
For the adventure lovers out there, definitely take this opportunity to bike down Haleakala after you view the spectacular sunrise! There are a lot of tours out there that will guide you down the mountain, or you can opt to go by yourself. Ashley from My Wanderlusty Life has a great guide for biking down the mountain by yourself. If you’re not the an adventure lover, there are also tour groups to drive you up to the top for the sunrise and then back down, or you can rent a car and drive up yourself.
Since you’ll be up at the crack of dawn, definitely make sure to spend the rest of the day napping and relaxing by the pool cocktail in hand. There won’t be a more beautiful view, I’m sure!
Day 3- Road to Hana
The Road To Hana is probably the most treacherous road in the United States, but it’s also filled with some of the most beautiful sites as well! Which is why it definitely needs to be on your Maui itinerary. Because there are many blind and hairpin turns, I suggest booking a tour for the Road to Hana. It’s an all day event, will take you completely around the island, and well worth the time and money!
Day 4- Arrival
Island hopping can get very time consuming, but with all the different things to do between all of the different islands and relatively cheap flights through Hawaiian Air, it can totally be worth it. On our fourth day, we woke up bright and early in Maui, packed our bags and headed to the airport to head to Kauai. Less than an hour flight later, we had landed in beautiful Kauai, and were headed to grab a quick lunch.
Rather than spending your time exploring the islands on your travel days, use that time to relax and get to know your resort. Besides adventuring around Hawaii, I’m sure that you’re also looking to relax on your vacation as well, so make sure to take the time to relax as much as possible!
Day 5- Waimea Canyon & Zip lining
The Grand Canyon of The Pacific as it’s referred to by the Hawaiians, Waimea Canyon is not to be missed during your trip to Kauai. Wake up early one morning and drive to the canyon on your first day on the island. Not only will you get the chance to see this beautiful part of the island, you can also use this opportunity to get to know the island as well. You can spend a few hours exploring the canyon or hiking and then head out for some lunch before your afternoon activities!
Kauai definitely has a wide range of activities that you can do on the island, and if you can handle heights, one thing that you do not want to miss is the chance to zip line on this island. It’s a huge rush to sail over the trees on the island, and you also have the opportunity to see some of the beauty of the island itself.
Day 6- Helicopter Ride & Luau
The Na’Pali Coast in Kauai is arguably one of the most beautiful coasts in the world. The mountains that define the coast are extremely treacherous though, which is why there are no roads through the Na’Pali Coast, and also means that you can only see the Na’Pali Coast by foot, by sea, or by air. When in Kauai, do not miss the opportunity to view this beautiful coast from the air by taking a helicopter ride around the island. You will not only learn about the history of the island, but you’ll also get to see some beautiful places on the island that aren’t even accessible by foot!
Spend the rest of the day exploring the island, and then end it by attending a traditional Luau. Yes it might be a very touristy thing to do, but it’ll also give you the opportunity to try some traditional Hawaiian food and to check out some amazing dancers hula! Plus it’ll give you the opportunity to get “lei’d”!
Day 7- Kayaking
Kauai is an island, so one thing you do not want to miss is the opportunity to explore some of the island by boat. Kayaking is a great way to get out and explore the island while also getting a little bit of a workout in as well. Most of the kayaks are tandem, so just be prepared for maybe some arguing if you haven’t kayaked in a tandem before.
Most of the excursions will last until the mid afternoon, so spend the rest of your relaxing by the pool at your resort. After your kayak adventure, you’re definitely going to need it!
Day 8- Pool Day & Sunset Cruise
The past few days of your Hawaiian vacation have been extremely busy and full of lots of adventure, so spend your last full day of your trip relaxing by the pool or the beach at your resort. If you’re worried about not being able to relax, the resorts on the island offer lots of activities right outside of your hotel room, including snorkeling, boogie boarding, and surfing.
The Na’Pali Coast was beautiful by air, but you don’t want to miss the opportunity to see the Coast by sea as well, and there isn’t a better time than at sunset! Instead of going out to dinner on your last night, go on a sunset cruise to the Na’Pali Coast. Have your eyes peeled on your cruise though, you never know when you might see some dolphins, sea turtles, or even some whales!
Day 9- Departure
Your last day of your vacation can sometimes be stressful with trying to pack up and make it back to the airport, but if your flight is a little later in the day, try waking up a little early to either relax by the pool for a bit or to explore the island a little bit more. You definitely won’t regret soaking up your last little bit of paradise before heading back home!
And there you have it, a 9 day itinerary for exploring Maui and Kauai! I did a lot of research before our trip, and I really feel like this itinerary gives you the opportunity to see both of the islands, lots of chances for adventures, plus some time for relaxing as well. I’m linking up with these Wanderful Women from some Wanderful Wednesday- Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World!
Have you visited Maui or Kauai? Is there anything else that you would add to this itinerary?
Other Hawaii Posts
My First Trip To Hawaii- Maui
My First Trip To Hawaii- The Big Island
10 Things I Learned While Visiting Hawaii
Hawaii In Instagram Photos
Which Hawaiian Islands Should You Visit?