Are you planning a trip to Maui, Hawaii, and wanting to document it through long-lasting photos? After all, they do say that a picture is word a thousand words. Here are the top 27 Maui Instagram spots where you can take beautiful, tropical and iconic photos during your stay.
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(Before we start, if you need some new camera equipment, check out my favorite affordable and high-tech gear from Amazon here.)
1. Makena Beach
Makena Beach is by far the most beautiful beach on Maui, and, therefore one of the most beautiful Maui Instagram spots. The aqua water transports you to the tropical destination of your dreams, while the grainy sand grounds you in beach-y tranquility.
If you really want to up your Maui Instagram game, purchase a real, local-made flower crown near Wailea or, if you’re looking for a cheaper option, buy a faux flower crown prior to your trip. I’m wearing this flower crown and bracelet off of Amazon in the above photos.
2. Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach
Black sand beaches are becoming more and more Instagrammable lately. Why? Probably because of their innate beauty, uniqueness and draw.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a drone. Wai’anapanapa State Park’s black sand beach will make for a perfect photo opportunity regardless of the camera angle.
3. Wai’anapanapa Small Black Sand Beach (Maui Instagram spots)
While you’re visiting the iconic black sand beach at Wai’anapanapa State Park, walk across the beach to the side opposite of the entrance staircase. There, you’ll see a small hiking trail tucked behind the big black boulders. Take the two-minute hike on the trail, and you will be rewarded will a miniature black sand beach — most likely all to yourself.
I will caution you to bring shoes of some sort, though. The sand here isn’t quite as soft due to the beach’s seclusion.
4. Bamboo Forest on the Pipiwai Trail
Next on the list of iconic Maui Instagram spots is the bamboo forest on the Pipiwai Trail. Like the aquamarine waters of Makena Beach, this bamboo forest will literally make you forget that you are still inside the United States.
Technically, bamboo is not native to Maui, but the trees’ fast growth quickly built a lush Hawaiian forest when it was brought to the island that we now get to enjoy.
Before you go, plan for the weather. If you plan on hiking Pipiwai when it is raining — which I actually suggest so that you can see a full Waimoku falls — be prepared to get really wet and really muddy. I’ll talk more about this in the next section.
5. Waimoku Falls (Maui Instagram spots)
Waimoku Falls is an epic 400-foot waterfall hidden in the middle of the dense Hawaiian rainforest. It is a definite must-see spot in Maui.
However, there is quite a hike to the falls. The hike (also on the Pipiwai Trail) is about 2.5-3 hours round trip if you plan to stop and take photos, and the trail is primarily made of uneven stairs, mud, rocks, tree roots and rotting fallen mangos.
Although you will get wet and muddy, guaranteed, I highly suggest visiting Waimoku Falls after or during a heavy rain so that the waterfall is flowing full.
6. Pools of ‘Ohe’o (The Seven Sacred Pools)
Like Pipiwai Trail, the bamboo forest and Waimoku Falls, the Pools of ‘Ohe’o, more commonly known as the Seven Sacred Pools, are located in the same park too, Haleakala National Park. Luckily, the Seven Sacred Pools only solicit a 10 minute walk that is mostly downhill.
If the waters are calm, you will probably get a chance to swim in the pools, so be sure to bring a swimsuit and towel.
7. Snorkeling at Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a fancy GoPro or camera case to take great underwater pictures. All you need is your smartphone and a waterproof phone pouch!
8. Haleakala Crater
Take your Maui vacation from below sea level to above the clouds at Haleakala Crater.
Haleakala is Maui’s dormant volcano. The crater’s red dusty summits, silver extraterrestrial wildlife and airplane-high elevation shuttle you to a Mars-like, otherworldly Maui Instagram spot.
Tip: Purchase a three-day national park pass, and plan your visits to Haleakala Crater and Pipiwai (the bamboo forest, Waimoku Falls and the Pools of ‘Ohe’o) consecutively. You’ll save a decent amount of cash on national park entrance fees.
9. Road to Hana (Maui Instagram spots)
As you may have noticed, the majority of these Maui Instagram spots are located on the Road to Hana. But, as you drive through the rough scenic terrain to the iconic must-see spots, don’t forget to take in all of the beautiful roadside views as well.
Pull over, hop out of your car, eat a snack, breathe in the salty breeze and take a couple of photos on the Road to Hana’s Hana Highway.
10. Ho’okipa Beach
Ho’okipa Beach is the first main site to see on the Road to Hana. Apart from the massive, terrifying, 30-foot waves, you may be one of the lucky ones to catch some sea turtles snoozing on the shore.
(But don’t get too close!)
11. Ho’okipa Lookout
Next to Ho’okipa Beach is the Ho’okipa Lookout. Even though this lookout is particularly known for watching sports such as windsurfing and kitesurfing, the active teal waters and mountainous background also make an epic photography location.
12. Palapala Ho’omau Congregational Church (Charles Lindbergh’s Grave)
The final resting place of the legendary Charles Lindbergh (the first man to pilot a solo transatlantic flight), Palapala Ho’omau is a hidden gem among the more well-known stops on the Road to Hana.
In the words of Charles Lindbergh himself, the land surrounding this church is “heaven on earth.”
13. Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees (Painted Trees)
Before you assume, no, these trees are not actually painted.
The bark of these famous rainbow eucalyptus trees peels off, revealing the striking colors hidden beneath. Nature’s artistry truly shows here. Clearly, these trees, which can be found across much of the Road to Hana, form an iconic Maui Instagram spot.
14. Makapipi Falls
Remember when I said to pull over and enjoy the Road to Hana highway-side views? Makapipi Falls is one of these immense views.
As you can see, the massive Makapipi Falls runs right under the road, so, unless you’re looking specifically for the waterfall, you will most likely cruise right on past it. Don’t!
15. Nahiku Landing (Maui Instagram spots)
Next, Nahiku Landing, about a 15-minute detour off of the Road to Hana, proves worthy of an iconic photo spot by its crashing teal waves, legendary cliff views and palm tree haven.
While the temptation to spend this Road-to-Hana detour only taking pictures is plentiful, remember to take in the landscape here, too. If you look closely, you’ll even see several distant cliffside waterfalls pouring into the Pacific.
16. Kaihalulu Beach (Red Sand Beach)
So, you’ve now heard of Maui’s white sand beaches and black sand beaches, but have you heard of the red sand beaches?
Maui’s red sand beach, Kaihalulu Beach, boasts striking rust-colored sand that diverges into the stark blue ocean. These contrasting hues yield a perfect Instagram spot — from up above or down below.
However, the hike down to red sand beach is a rough one. It’s even considered to be dangerous by locals. If you’re a seasoned hiker and feel equipped for the climb, be extra careful. Many tourists have died trying to capture the “perfect” Maui photo.
17. Resort Balcony
Who says you need to drive to get Instagram-worthy footage of your Maui vacation?
Simply step outside your hotel or rental home and take some sunrise photos before you start your day, especially if you are lucky enough to have a balcony outside of your room. You can also take some beautiful shots at your hotel’s outdoor pool, jacuzzi and landscaping (they pay a lot of money for that landscaping).
18. Whale Watching (Maui Instagram spots)
Did you know that Maui is a humpback whale sanctuary? Yes, that’s right.
Every year from December to March, humpback whales migrate to Maui’s warm warms all the way from Alaska to breed. If you happen to be on Maui during these months, you will — I kid you not — see hundreds of whales breaching, waving and diving.
You can whale watch from the shore, a rental boat or a boat tour. I highly recommend Redline Rafting Co. if you’re interested in booking a tour with marine biologists.
Unfortunately, because the Maui waters are protected as a whale sanctuary, you cannot legally come within 100 feet of the magnificent beasts. I suggest bringing a telephoto/zoom camera lens with image stabilization (like this one!) to capture the best whale photos.
19. Four Seasons Resort Maui At Wailea (Maui Instagram spots)
The Four Seasons Resort Maui houses one of, if not the most, photogenic resort pools in all of Maui. The Hawaiian mountains and clear blue sea cascade the background of the Four Season’s infinity pool, while the rest of the five-star hotel touts tons of fabulous rooms, event spaces, views and other luxurious amenities.
20. Kihei Boat Ramp
After whale watching with the boat tour, catch a glimpse of a hidden beach area right next to the Kihei Boat Ramp. To the left of the doc, you’ll see a small walking trail hiding in the bayside greenery. Right on the other side of the trail lies a beautiful secret cove. You might even see a turtle or two!
21. Sunset in Kihei (Maui Instagram spots)
Hawaiian sunsets are extremely well known for painting the entire sky with extraordinary colors. The town of Kihei, which is located on the southwestern side of the island, is one of the best places on Maui to watch one of these notorious sunsets.
The Kihei beach shown here is called Kamaole Beach Park. Kamaole is also lifeguarded during the day in case you wish to take an afternoon dip before dusk.
22. Sunset Dinner (5 Palms Restaurant shown here)
Dinner at sunset is an optimal photo location in Maui for obvious reasons. I personally love the 5 Palms Restaurant. Located in southwestern Maui, this restaurant is the perfect place to watch sunset and indulge in a delicious, award-winning meal.
I suggest trying the coconut shrimp — and the pineapple crème brûlée for dessert, of course. If you’d prefer outdoor beachside seating, be sure to make reservations. They are particularly busy at sunset, as you could imagine!
23. Twin Falls
Although Maui is home to many, many swimming pool waterfalls, Twin Falls is probably the most Instagrammed waterfall of them all.
24. Iao Valley (Maui Instagram spots)
Jurassic Park or Hawaii?
Iao Valley gives you both. Green mountain peaks and lava-carven gulches sweep this side of Maui off its feet. Again, for obvious reasons, Iao Valley is an iconic Maui Instagram spot.
25. Saint Joseph Church
Tucked behind a metal fence off of the Road to Hana, the grounds of Saint Joseph Church are free to visit and (respectfully) wander.
This quaint church offers a huge green with both mountain and ocean views. You even may be able to spot a rainbow hanging over the steeple. Can you spot the fading rainbow in this picture?
26. Rainbow Shot
Between the intense Hawaiian sunshine and the tropically rainy weather, it is highly probable that you’ll spot at least one rainbow.
Take your Instagram photo quick, though, because Mother Nature will make the rainbow disappear just as quickly as she made it appear.
27. Beach Palm Shot (Maui Instagram spots)
Show off your beach vacation to Maui, Hawaii, with this iconic Instagram pose.
Borrow a fallen palm from a nearby palm tree, recruit a friend to shadow the palm down your spine and snap some sandy shots.
(Tip: you and your recruited friend might have an easier time posing this photo with the help of a friendly tripod, like this one.)
Looking for a more seasonally diverse vacation location? Try Washington Island, Wisconsin. Find details on Washington Island here.