Maui packing list (updated March 2022)
Maui is the perfect place for your next beach vacation. This post will tell you what essential items you should have in your suitcase to ensure you’re prepared for everything on your trip.
One of the great things about Maui is that there’s so much more to do and experience than just the beach. In addition to pristine beaches, you’ll also have the opportunity to experience waterfall hikes and national parks. When there’s so much to do, you’ll have to pack some more specific items.
Keep reading to find out what you need to have on your Maui packing list.
Want more resources on packing a capsule wardrobe? Find more in the following posts:
- How to Create the Ultimate Travel Capsule Wardrobe
- 10 Best Compression Packing Cubes: Pack Like a Pro.
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Since I’m all about packing light, I try to adhere to my 5-4-3-2-1 packing method whenever I can. Using this method, I allow myself five different tops for each trip. This allows you to create versatile outfits with a limited number of pieces so your bag won’t be overstuffed.
I’ve also created an editable packing list. Use it to make sure that you have everything you’ll possibly need for any trip you take.
1 | Maxi Dresses
One of the best things about a sundress is that you can dress it up or down depending on your plans that day. A good rule of thumb for creating your packing list for Maui is to keep it casual. Another good thing about packing a sundress or two is that they take up a lot less room than some other items and they make a complete outfit. That way you don’t have to try to match tops with different bottoms to create different vacation looks.
2 | Tank tops
The average temperatures aren’t ever too high in Maui, but for super sunny days when you’re going to be spending a lot of time on the beach, a tank top is something easy that you can throw on. The monthly weather is pretty consistent on the island of Maui, but the best time to include tank tops on your packing list is the summer when you’ll need a little something extra to cool off.
Breathable and lightweight shirts will help keep you cool and comfortable while you’re at the beach or walking around town. As a bonus, flowy breathable shirts will dry a lot faster if your beach wear is still a little damp when you’re ready to leave the beach.
These t-shirts are also a great option if you’re going to be doing any hiking. You’ll most likely have to layer up when you reach high elevations, but for trails that are closer to sea level, you may find yourself a little sweaty and a breathable fabric can do wonders to keep you cool.
If you’re visiting Maui for a special occasion like an anniversary or honeymoon, some sunset cocktails can be the perfect way to celebrate. The dress code for Maui isn’t formal by any means, but if you have reservations at a nicer restaurant for dinner, you might want to dress up a little bit.
When you’re packing light, you may not have room to pack a different dress for every single night, but there are ways that you can change up your evening looks using different accessories, shoes, and even different hairstyles. I always say that you should dress in whatever makes you most comfortable, and that’s true here too. Since Maui is pretty casual, you can dress up if you want to, but feel free to dress down too!
Maui Packing List: The Bottoms
In my travel capsule method of packing, you’re allowed four different bottoms, so depending on the weather where you’re going and the different looks you want to create, you can choose from these great staple pieces.
Whether you’re planning to spend the day on the beach or visit different outdoor attractions, a solid pair of shorts can be an integral part of your wardrobe while you’re in Maui. I suggest choosing a pair of shorts that is a solid or neutral color, that way you can mix and match different tops with them in order to create versatile outfits.
6 | Flowy skirts
A long, flowy skirt can be a great option for evenings that are a little more chilly than the warmer days. They’ll give you a little more coverage so your legs stay warm. They also work for warmer days when you want something a little more breathable.
A really fun activity that you should consider doing while you’re in Maui is horseback riding on the beach. It’s a great experience, but if you’re thinking you can wear shorts on a horse and not feel the consequences afterward, you’ll be sorely mistaken.
That being said, you don’t have to pack a pair of jeans just for one specific activity. I tend to get cold on airplanes, so I usually opt for jeans or some other kind of long pants for travel days anyway. If you’re already planning on wearing jeans, you can wear the same pair if you’re planning on horseback riding or if you just want something a little warmer for early mornings.
Maui Packing List: The Shoes
I mentioned that the dress code for Maui is pretty casual, and that goes for shoes as well. There’s no need to take up space in your bag with chunky high heels unless you really feel the need to bring them. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time at the beach, especially, just focus on bringing shoes that are functional.
In my travel capsules, I only ever bring three pairs of shoes. These are great ones to choose from!
The sand and saltwater have the ability to ruin a nice pair of shoes if you wear them down to the beach. Normally, in my other packing guides, I’ll tell you to leave the flip flops at home because they have a tendency to give off a touristy vibe in international destinations. However, a beach destination such as Maui is a great place to make use of flip flops.
They’re lightweight, don’t take up a lot of room in your bags, and they’ll minimize the amount of sand that you track into your hotel room at the end of the day. I’m all about packing shoes with a purpose, and in Maui, flip flops are an important addition to your packing list.
9 | Hiking Sandals
One of the best things about the hikes in Hawaii is that they aren’t super strenuous like some of the hikes in the continental United States. You won’t be climbing over giant boulders, so hiking sandals should be all you need for most day trips and hikes.
Another good reason to pack a pair of hiking sandals is you can wear them when you’re doing all of your other island activities. Wear them walking around town or down to the beach! Hiking sandals will be an investment but they’re some of the best shoes you’ll own if you love the outdoors.
For times when you’re not spending a long day at the beach, a pair of comfortable and stylish sandals will work with almost every other outfit that you have packed for your Maui vacation. Since the island is pretty casual, you can get away with wear sandals to dinner, as well as walking around your resort. One of the keys to packing light is choosing versatile shoes that work with a variety of outfits, and a nicer pair of sandals definitely fits into that category.
11 | Water shoes
This is another specialized and specific shoe choice that you’ll only need if you have certain activities planned. Some people prefer to have water shoes on hand whenever they go to the beach, but they’re especially important if you’re going to be doing any exploring around the coral reefs.
Of course, wearing water shoes doesn’t mean that you have the ability to stomp all over the reefs (we should still respect these ecosystems), but they will give you a little more protection because parts of the reef can be sharp and have a tendency to cut you if you get too close.
If you’re planning on doing a little more walking and exploring, flip flops may not be the most comfortable choice of footwear. If you don’t wear them often, they may give you blisters, which no one wants on vacation. If you’re going to be doing a longer hike, slip on a pair of comfortable sneakers that are comfortable to walk in.
The key is to make those sneakers work for different outfits. For example, if you decide that you’re going to pack sneakers that are more athletic-looking in nature, make sure that you can wear them with a more stylish outfit as well. A solid color sneaker usually pairs well with a nicer pair of shorts or with an athleisure hiking outfit.
Maui Packing List: The Accessories
Because of the casual dress code in places like Maui and the Big Island, you don’t need to have a lot of fancy or expensive accessories on your packing list. I suggest leaving most of your valuables at home. Instead, keep things more minimal and try to limit your accessories to essential items that you’ll need if you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the sun.
13 | Sunglasses
For any beach vacation, sunglasses should definitely be at the top of your packing list. Not many people think about your eyes getting sunburnt, but it can happen if you don’t protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the run. Just like you put on sunscreen, be sure to cover your eyes. A pair of sunglasses also make an easy accessory for your different beach wear outfits if you feel like your shorts and tank top need a little something extra.
Some people prefer a baseball cap at the beach, others like a floppy sun hat. Whatever your style is, just be sure that it’s something that will give your face a break from the sun if you need it. When you’re packing light, hats can be a challenging item to pack because some of them don’t fold up or condense down without ruining them. If you’re not planning on wearing your hat on travel days, just choose something that can be folded or clipped to your carry-on bag to save a little extra space.
When you’re out and about, and not on the beach, a smaller crossbody bag or single strap backpack is a great option to keep all of your essential items together. When you’re out for dinner, you shouldn’t need more than your wallet, lip balm, and face mask, so there’s no need for a larger bag. Of course, if you’re packing up to go to the beach for the entire day, you’ll probably need something a little larger for all of your beach gear.
If you love the idea of a one strap backpack, but don’t love the style of this one, check out this post for more inspiration:
Protecting your cell phone is very important, especially when you’re so far away from home. If you want to have a little more protection for your phone if you’re spending the day at the beach, pick up a waterproof phone case before heading to Maui. These are great if you have any mishaps near the beach or pool. This one is cool because you can use your phone as an underwater camera too!
Maui Packing List: Outerwear
Although Maui is usually regarded as a warm, tropical destination, the likelihood that you’ll need some kind of sweater or jacket is actually pretty high. You may not need something to sit on the beach, but if you plan on taking advantage of the beautiful hikes that Maui has to offer, make sure you have some layers.
17 | A cute coverup
The best part of Maui by far is the beaches. If you’re planning on relaxing on the beach all day, you probably don’t want to have to change outfits every time you want to go grab lunch or take a walk around. Cover ups are going to be your best friend. Since Maui is pretty casual, just throw one on over your swimsuit and keep the day going!
18 | Sweatshirt or jacket
Don’t be fooled by Maui’s status as a Hawaiian island, if hiking and exploring the island is on your itinerary, you definitely need a sweatshirt or jacket. Haleakala National Park is worth the road trip; be sure to pack some warm outerwear and even some long pants to help keep you warm at that high elevation.
Ocean breezes can really cool off an evening, so if you’re going to be eating dinner near the water, be sure to have a light sweater that you can throw over a dress or whatever you’re wearing to dinner that night. A light jacket or sweater is something that will fit easily in your suitcase or personal item and give you a little extra warmth when you need it. It’s best to be prepared for all different kinds of weather when you’re traveling so you’re not stuck shivering at dinner.
20 | Packable rain jacket or waterproof jacket
If you’re traveling to Maui anytime from mid-November through March, you may run into some rain. I suggest packing a rain jacket even if you’re not traveling during this time. If you don’t end up needing protection from the rain, you can still use your rain jacket as a windbreaker on your hike up the Kalalau Trail.
You will not need your rain jacket very often, so having one that is packable is great because it won’t take up much space. Find more packable rainjackets here:
Besides the clothing basics, there are a few other important things that should be on your packing list. If you forget a few things, you can always pick them up in local drug stores, but prices in Maui can be a bit higher than they are at home.
I always recommend packing at least one bathing suit for every vacation you go on just in case you run into an opportunity to go to a spa or go for an impromtu swim. For beach vacations like Maui, you should have at least two bathing suits that you can rotate and wash as needed. No matter what season you decide to travel to Maui, you’ll almost certainly want to go to the beach, so be sure to include swimsuits on your packing list.
22 | Rash Guard
The Hawaiian sun is no joke. Getting sunburnt on the first day of your Maui trip is a surefire way to be miserable for the next few days, so it’s best to be cautious when it comes to sun protection. You should still wear sunscreen every day and reapply it regularly, but a rash guard can be a good idea, especially if you have sensitive skin.
23 | Reef-safe sunscreen
If you’re packing light, specifically only using a carry-on bag, you might find yourself limited to only travel-sized liquids. If this is the case, plan on buying your reef-safe sunscreen at the grocery store when you get to Maui. I like to do this because you’ll likely use most of the bottle anyway, and then you don’t have to worry about transporting sunscreen back home. There’s nothing worse than opening up your suitcase at home and finding that your sunscreen exploded all over the contents of your bag.
24 | Leave-in conditioner
Saltwater and sun can really dry out your skin and hair. The worst thing about coming home from a beach vacation is realizing that your hair is fried to a crisp. A great way to combat this is to bring a leave-in or deep conditioner with you to give your hair some moisture back. After a long day at the beach, your hair will feel replenished after adding this small step to your beauty routine.
Any time you’re heading to a destination that’s warm and sunny, be sure to have some kind of reusable water bottle with you. These won’t take up a lot of space in your personal item and they’re the best way to make sure you’re hydrated for the duration of your trip. While you’re at the beach, have your water bottle handy to make sure you’re replacing all of the water you lose by being in the heat.
FAQ: Maui Packing List
Still have lingering questions about what you can expect from your next Maui vacation? Keep reading to have some commonly asked questions answered so you feel fully prepared for your time in paradise.
When is the best time to visit Maui?
Maui is a really popular destination during both the summer and winter months in the continental United States. If you want fewer crowds while on your Hawaii vacation, consider planning your trip for April through May or September through October. The rainy season usually happens during the winter in Maui (November through March). So if you plan your trip right, you should be able to avoid those months as well.
Should I bring jeans to Hawaii?
You probably won’t need jeans while you’re on the beach or at your resort. However, for some early mornings, late nights, or on the summit of Haleakala, you might need something a little warmer. Also, you may want to bring jeans if you plan to ride horses at any point.
How many swimsuits should you bring to Maui?
You should bring at least two swimsuits to Maui. Packing a swimsuit for every day of your vacation can start to take up a lot of room very quickly. After a day at the beach, you can rinse out your swimsuit in the shower. If you’re staying for longer, you may be able to do some laundry on your trip.