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Are you planning a trip to Maui but not that interested in driving? Well the good news is that there are ways you can see Maui without a car. Once you know where to base yourself and that you don’t need your own wheels, there are so many different activities at your finger tips.

TOP TIPS TRAVELING TO HAWAII

  • Hotels – For the best prices on accommodations in Maui and the most choices, we prefer to use Booking.com for all of our stays. Alternatively, you can always see if hotel corporate codes might work for you.
  • Car rentals – If you do end up wanting to rent a car then always start your search with Discover Cars and RentalCars to find the best deals. Save the most money through car rental coupon codes while you’re at it!
  • Flights – If you dread seeing those flight prices, try out the Skyscanner “Everywhere” feature and find the best deals. Check how much it would be for you to get to Hawaii.
  • Insurance – Something that many travelers overlook but it SO important, cover you and your family for all of your travels with the best travel insurance.
  • Hottest deals – Be sure to bookmark our frequently updated travel deals page for all your travel needs.

How To Travel Maui Without A Rental Car

tourists laying out on beach in mauitourists laying out on beach in maui
Image via Unsplash by Kenneth Oh

Many people insist on renting a car while on Maui. While we don’t discourage it, anything can happen in these trying times – from absurdly high rental prices to last-minute cancellations. But, contrary to popular belief, it’s not impossible to see the island without a car.

In fact, plenty of fantastic local rental companies are happy to pick you up at your hotel or condo and share the island with you. With the help of rideshare apps like Uber, Lyft, or Hawaii’s own Holoholo, exploring Maui without a car has never been easier.

What to know before you go

  • If you don’t plan to rent a car, staying in the Ka’anapali, Lahaina, Kihei, or Wailea areas will make your travels much more manageable. These are the busy tourist areas and are a rideshare driver’s goldmine. There are usually plenty of rideshares available during the day. Check out Maui Accommodations for inexpensive, excellent vacation rentals.
  • If you have to be somewhere at a particular time, consider scheduling a ride in advance or having your hotel or resort book a taxi for you.
  • If you’re on a budget, the Maui Bus is a good option for getting around the south and west sides. Public transport isn’t particularly extensive on the island but not impossible to navigate in certain areas.
  • For the latest updates on Maui, traveling to the islands, and the car rental situation, check out the Aloha 360 podcast. Aloha 360 is run by two south Maui residents with their thumb on the pulse of island travel.

BEFORE YOU CONTINUE 

Find out how you can plan an amazing 5 days in Maui with this detailed itinerary.

5 day Maui itinerary

Activities You Can Do In Maui Without A Car

Snorkeling, whale watching, and dinner cruises

molokini snorkeling adventuremolokini snorkeling adventure

Spending some time on the ocean is a must-do on Maui, whether it’s in the form of a whale watch, snorkel excursion, or relaxing dinner cruise. Whale watching is seasonal, but dinner cruises and snorkel tours run year-round. When it comes to spending time at sea, a car is the last thing you need. Many of Maui’s best boat tours are ultra-accessible, with or without a vehicle.

If you’re staying in Kihei, consider a jaunt to Molokini with Redline Rafting. Redline is an esteemed snorkel tour company operating out of Kihei Boat Ramp. Nestled between the popular beaches of Kamaole III and Keawakepu, numerous resorts, hotels, and condos are within walking distance of the boat ramp.

Further down the road in Wailea at Maluaka Beach, you’ll find Kai Kanani. The relaxed environment aboard this sailing catamaran is perfect for whale watching and sipping local brews from Maui Brewing- especially if you’re not driving. Kai Kanani offers hotel transfer.

Over on the west side, the golden shores of Ka’anapali are home to a myriad of resorts and ocean activities. For those staying in Ka’anapali, a snorkel/sailing trip around the west side with Gemini Sailing is a no-brainer. This tour departs right from the sand at Ka’anapali Beach. Joining this excursion is as easy as rolling out of bed, walking down the sand, and climbing aboard.

Last but certainly not least, Hawaii Ocean Project offers a fantastic dinner cruise aboard their spacious 70-foot double-decker, another great option for those in Maui without a car. This excursion departs out of the tour boat nucleus of Lahaina Harbor, smack dab in the middle of Lahaina Town. There are several hotels within walking distance. You should have no trouble hailing an Uber, Lyft, Holoholo, or taxi in this area.

Haleakala sunrise

haleakala sunrise with cloud and fog in mauihaleakala sunrise with cloud and fog in maui

Out of all the beauty on Maui, sunrise at Haleakala takes the top spot. Each morning at dawn, the orange orb of the sun fills the crater with light. As the sun rays reach the floor of the basin, warm hues glitter of the volcanic sand. Due to the parks reservation system instituted in 2017, this spectacle is now reserved for a lucky few.

Even with a car, watching the sunrise here is not guaranteed- sunrise tickets are elusive and sell out within mere seconds. Fortunately, there are reliable tour companies who not only ensure a spot at sunrise but will also transport you from your accommodation to the summit.

Skyline Hawaii are known as a respected tour company that offer sunrise tours and transportation. Skyline Hawaii explores the north shore post sunrise before heading back to your accommodation. This is a great way to enjoy a full day on Maui without a car.

Maui’s north west side: Napili, Honolua, Kahakuloa

aerial view of honolua bayaerial view of honolua bay
Image via Unsplash by Alex Filatov

If you’re staying on the West Side, getting to the beaches of Napili and Kahana are very easy via the Maui Bus or rideshare apps. However, once you pass Kapalua, there are no bus routes and little to no cell reception to hail a ride. Some of Maui’s most alluring marvels lie past the last hotel in Kapalua, like the resplendent Honolua Bay, Olivine Pools, and the Kahakuloa Head. This poses a problem for vehicle-less explorers. The only way to experience this area is via car.

All is not lost, though. Hoaloha Jeep Adventures acts as a personal chauffeur/tour guide for visitors to this remote coast. Wherever you might be staying on the island, Hoaloha will pick you up at your accommodation and help you explore the best hidden gems in the area.

Another recourse when it comes to exploring Maui without a car comes in the form of Helewai Eco Tours. Helewai Eco Tours shares a secluded patch of rainforest near Honolua Bay with its guests. This tour has access to a two-mile trail through private conservation land, usually unseen by visitors. The trail leads to the top of Pu’u Kukui Preserve in the West Maui Mountains. Here, there is a lookout with sweeping views of conserved rainforest that few have laid eyes on. The hike ends at Honolua Bay, where you can go for a dip and take in the colors of the corals glimmering under the surface.

The Helewai Eco Tours base yard is located across the street from the Napili Marketplace, easily accessible by rideshare or even the Maui Bus. From there, a van will transport you directly to the trailhead.

Road to Hana

road to hana coastal viewsroad to hana coastal views

Some visitors insist that they drive the road to Hana themselves. But we’ll let you in on a little secret- having someone else drive is so much better. A few of the companies we mentioned above also run Hana tours and specialize in doing all the hard work for you. Dynamic Tours is an exceptional choice.

Their Road to Hana tour includes entry to Waianapanapa State Park (which also requires reservations) and Kahanu Gardens, home to the largest heiau in all of Hawaii. Your tour also includes breakfast and lunch. Storm Tours also drives this route and can escort you places in a private 4×4 SUV that plain ol’ rental cars can’t usually access. Both companies will happily pick you up at your accommodation.

Straying from the traditional a bit- this next option for seeing the Road to Hana involves no form of driving at all. You will be behind the wheel, but not of a car.

Fly Maui offers a unique opportunity to take your first lesson in flight school out of Kahului Airport. You’ll learn the ins and outs of piloting and even fly to – you guessed it – Hana. The flight only takes about an hour round trip, and you’ll see all of the road to Hana’s most famous sites, like Keanae Peninsula, Waianapapa, and countless waterfalls. This is certainly one way to ensure you never forget your “road” to Hana experience. Fly Maui is located near the heliport at OGG, easily accessible by rideshare.

Entertainment

traditional luau dancer performing at royal lahaina luau traditional luau dancer performing at royal lahaina luau
Image via royallahainaluau.com

A significant pro to not renting a car is that you can let the cocktails flow. There is no need to sacrifice wine for water when no one is getting behind the wheel. At Island Art Party, beverages are at your disposal, and cocktail-sipping is encouraged.

This is Maui’s most fun art class, where you can grab a drink and paint a masterpiece. If no one has to drive, no one is left out of the fun. Island Art Party is located in the Azeka Center in Kihei. You should have no problem finding rideshare on the busy South Kihei Strip.

Speaking of letting cocktails flow, the Royal Lahaina Luau is one of Maui’s finest luaus and serves complimentary cocktails all night. There are dozens of spectacular luau celebrations to enjoy on Maui, but again, if no one has to drive, why not choose a luau with an open bar?

With the abundance of tours, rideshares, and the Maui Bus, there is no reason to scrap your Maui vacation if your car rental falls through. In fact, you’ll likely meet a ton more local people, and you’ll probably learn substantially more about the island than if you were left to your own devices.

Happy exploring!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get around Maui without a car?

If you’re planning on frequenting Maui’s more populous areas- yes! Between the Maui Bus, Uber,
Holoholo, tours, and shuttles, it’s possible to get around Maui without a car. Unfortunately, services like the Maui Bus or Uber won’t take you to rural places like Haleakala Crater or Hana. However, numerous tour operators offer hotel pick up and drop off, like Hoaloha Jeep Adventures.

How easy is it to take the Maui Bus?

It is very easy to take the Maui Bus. However, it is best used for getting around particular regions rather than exploring long distances. In areas like West Maui and South Maui, the Maui Bus has routes that depart hourly and make stops at popular destinations such as Front Street and Wailea Ike Drive. The most significant drawbacks to using the Maui Bus are that service usually stops no later than 8 pm, the bus can be late, and it’s impossible to see another side of the island without transferring buses and spending a chunk of your day in transit. However, if you’re on an ultra-tight budget or you have no problem with being on island time, the Maui Bus works great. With a one-way fare of $2, it’s an economical way to get around. You can check out detailed schedules and route maps at mauibus.org.

Are there free shuttles in Maui?

There are no free shuttles on Maui. However, many hotels offer free shuttles for their guests. For
example, the Westin Resort, the Westin KOR, and Sheraton Resort in Ka’anapali provide a free shuttle that runs to Lahaina, with designated stops at Lahaina Cannery Mall, the Lahaina Outlets, and The Wharf Cinema Center. Some hotels also offer free airport transfers.

Can you rent mopeds or bikes?

It is possible to rent mopeds or bikes. However, Maui’s infrastructure is not very bike-friendly. Like the Maui Bus, mopeds can be an easy way to get around a particular region, but it’s not recommended for long distances. Many of Maui’s roads are busy with little to no shoulders and aren’t well lit at night- not exactly safe for mopeds.

Where is the best place to stay if you don’t have a rental car?

The best place to stay without a car on Maui is either the Westin Resort or the Sheraton Resort in
Ka’anapali. Countless restaurants, a lovely beach, snorkeling, and the Whaler’s Village Shopping Center are within walking distance of both resorts. As we mentioned above, both the Westin and the Sheraton offer shuttle services to Lahaina. Plus, between the public bus and Uber, it’s possible to explore the entire West Side of the island with one of these Ka’anapali resorts as your home base.

Where is the most walkable place on Maui?

Ka’anapali is the most walkable place on Maui. There are countless dining and shopping opportunities a stone’s throw away from most Ka’anapali resorts, and numerous activities take place/depart from Ka’anapali beach- namely sunset cruises, snorkeling, surf lessons, and parasailing adventures. Wailea is a close second, with a walking path connecting seven resorts, numerous restaurants, and several beaches. The Shops of Wailea, a large shopping center, is also centrally located to most Wailea resorts.

What you should read next

Travel Resources For Your Next Trip

If you’re in the process of planning your trip and putting together your itinerary, these are genuinely the best resources that the Going Awesome Places team stands by 100%.

Credit cards: Don’t get burned by hidden fees on top of terrible exchange rates. When we travel now, we use the Wise Card. Simply load it with the currency you need before you go and use it as a regular VISA or their digital wallet card. Use their free app to track how much you have and top up when you need to.

Flights: Of all the booking search engines, Skyscanner is the most helpful and easy to use thanks to their Everywhere feature. Kayak is also another that’s we will often check as well.

Car Rental: If you’re looking to save money, these car rental coupon codes will be a true game-changer. Otherwise, DiscoverCars and RentalCars are great places to start.

park sleep fly airport parking discount codepark sleep fly airport parking discount code

Airport Parking: You’ll need a spot to leave your car at the airport so why not book a spot at a discount. Use code AWESOME7 to get at least $5 off at Airport Parking Reservations or Park Sleep Fly packages.

Data: We’ve been a huge fan of wifi hotspot devices like PokeFi because their rates are so good and you can use it globally but recently, we’ve really loved using eSIMs. The best one is Airalo. Save money by getting region-specific eSIMs and use referral code WILLIA9500 to get $3 USD credit on your first purchase. Ubigi is another one that we’ve had success with where they uniquely offer 5G coverage. Use code AWESOME10 to save 10% on your first order.

Hotels: Our go-to is Booking.com because they have the best inventory of properties including hotels and B&Bs plus they have their Genius tier discounts. The exception is Asia where Agoda always has the best prices. TripAdvisor is also useful for reviews and bookings.

Vacation Rentals: Your first instinct will be to check Airbnb but we always recommend checking VRBO as well if you’re looking for a vacation rental.

Tours: When planning our trips, we always check both Viator and GetYourGuide to at least see what’s out there in the destination that we’re going to. They often have different offerings and prices so check both.

Travel Insurance: Learn how to buy the best travel insurance for you. This isn’t something you want to travel without.

  • Insured Nomads – Popular insurance provider for frequent travelers and comes with great coverage and special perks.
  • RATESDOTCA – Search engine Canadians looking for the cheapest insurance including multi-trip annual policies.
  • SafetyWing – A perfect fit for long-term nomads.
  • Medjet – Global air medical transportation.
  • InsureMyTrip – Best for seniors, families, and those with pre-existing conditions.

If you need more help planning your trip, make sure to check out our Travel Toolbox where we highlight all of the gear, resources, and tools we use when traveling.



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