Last day on Maui? What to do, where to go, things to see.
Wondering what to do on your last day in Maui? Often folks traveling to Maui plan their whole vacation except for what to do on the last day, the day you have to check out of your vacation rental. Several of the airlines offer late evening fights and many travelers opt to take that late flight to eek out every last hour on the island that they can. Do you blame them? No way, Maui is so amazing and fantastic that we all want to stay as long as we can.
But the problem arises when check out is at 11 a.m. and your fight doesn’t leave until 10 p.m. What do you do in between checking out of your condo and checking in at the airport?
In today’s post we’ll give you lots of ideas of activities, places to visit and things to see on your last day in Maui.
Extra Day & Late Check-Out Options
The first and best option is to purchase an extra day at your condo if it’s available. There will be times when it won’t be as new guests will be checking in but if it is, I highly recommend this option. Of course this will have to be planned well in advance with condo owners to ensure you can take advantage of this convenience.
By doing this you have the convenience of taking your time to get ready for your flight and you keep your luggage with you in the condo. You can do day activities like go to the beach one last time, golf, swim at the pool, shop for last minute gifts and souvenirs and so one. It’s definitely worth the price of one night’s stay for all of this convenience.
When it’s available we offer late check-out for a nominal fee, as do many condos. This must be arranged in advance.
If either the extra day option or late check-out aren’t available due to budget restrictions, or if the condo is just unavailable the list below will help in planning your last day on Maui.
So it’s 11 a.m. and you have to vacate the condo you’ve been enjoying. What to do?
Let’s start with planning your day by finding a safe option for storing your luggage while you adventure out.
It is generally considered a bad idea to leave your luggage or any valuables in your car if it is unattended. Unfortunately petty theft and car break-ins are all too common, even in the land of Aloha and the last thing you want to do is lose your luggage and valuables after a wonderful trip to paradise.
One option for our Kihei Akahi guests (and I suspect many other condo complexes as well) is to leave your luggage safely in the office until 5pm. If you plan on staying at the condo property for the day, you can leave your luggage in your rental car trunk – it should be safe so long as it’s not in plain sight. However, if you have souvenir chocolates or any other item that might not do well in the heat of the trunk, consider leaving it in the office. The Kihei Akahi staff leave promptly at 5pm so make sure not to be late in retrieving your bags. Our guests can also ‘borrow‘ a key for the condo pools and tennis court for the day but we’ll get to that in a moment.
Another option is to call the airlines to see how early you can check your luggage. If you can drop your checked-baggage early, then you can play for the day worry free. This option, of course, only applies if you are checking baggage. What if you have only carry-on luggage?
A final option for luggage storage is to take advantage of the Queen Ka’ahumanu shopping center’s free luggage storage option. They have a guest services center where you can check your baggage in for the day while you play. They even offer free luggage tags and coupons for shopping in their shopping center!
The one small disadvantage to this is the shopping center’s location. It’s in Kahului, about 35 minutes from our condo in Kihei (and about 15 minutes from the airport). Not an issue if you plan to visit Iao Needle, or Wailuku museums, or Paia and the upcountry area, but might be a bit of a timing issue if you head out to Lahaina. For more information visit Queen Ka’ahumanu’s web page.
What to do!?
Now that you have your luggage dealt with, you can decide how to spend your last day on Maui! Here’s a list of ideas!
■ Relax at the condo pools, guests of Kihei Akahi can ‘borrow’ a key for a $10 fee, return it before the office closes at 5pm and guests can get their $10 deposit back. If you didn’t bring a towel with you, you can purchase inexpensive beach towels at ABC, Walmart or Whaler’s General Store.
I’ve often just used my sarong (also inexpensive at ABC), they dry you off fairly well and they dry out pretty quickly, and if it’s not dry by the time you need to leave for the airport, it can just go in your luggage in a plastic bag. They don’t take up much space.
Another option is to pack a Turkish towel, they’re absorbent but thin and don’t take up much room in your baggage. (I have no Amazon affiliation, the links are just examples, I’ve also seen some very nice ones on Etsy.com Use keyword search ‘Turkish towel’ as well as SandCloud.com)
For our Kihei Akahi guests, showers are available at the lower pool as well as a refrigerator to keep your lunch or snacks for the plane.
■ Go check out a new restaurant that you’ve been wanting to try (plan in advance for Mamas, The Millhouse or other popular places) There are many wonderful places to try upcountry, in Lahaina, Kahului, Wailuku and Kihei and – below you’ll find a list of suggested eateries near the airport.
■ Bliss out at a local spa. Make a spa appointment at one of the nice Wailea hotels. They will have showers, generally offer pool and facilities use and may even store your luggage while you’re getting pampered. Call around to the hotels in advance to book and ask what they can offer.
■ Visit Maui Tropical Plantation – Maui Tropical plantation offers 45-minute tours, guests are led through private Plantation grounds aboard their tram vehicle. Tickets are $10-20. More info here.
■ Visit Maui Ocean center – great way to spend the afternoon filling your heart with all things ocean! More info here
■ Head Upcountry to see;
- Surfing Goat Dairy offers 30 minute tour includes feeding the goats and cheese sampling, Mon-Sat Every half hour, 10am – 2:30pm, Sunday Every half hour, 10am – 1pm ($8 for kids $12 adults) More info here.
- Hali’imaile Distillery – Makers of Pau Vodka, Fid St. Gin, Paniolo Whiskey and Mahina Rum* Tours
- Ocean Vodka Distillery – Makers of Ocean Vodka, in the nifty blue bottles* – Tours
- Maui Winery – Visit MauiWines & Ulupalakua Vineyards and Ulupalakua Country Store
- Pineapple plantation tours – multiple tours available, check out how pineapples are grown and what happens to them once they’re harvested.
- Shop in Makawao Town, check out the bucolic town of Makawao, Paniolo town and artist community. Lots of shopping or ‘window’ shopping. Great spot to grab lunch too.
- Visit Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center – self guided tours of this artist community
- Farm To Table lunch tour or Seed to Cup Gourmet Coffee Breakfast Tour at O’o Farms
- Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm – offers walking, guided card tours and picnic lunch
- Head to Haleakala Summit – It may not be sunrise or sunset, but the view is amazing and the Mars like landscape is stunning. Park entrance fees apply.
Most if not all will require advance booking so plan accordingly and book as early as you can.
*Please drink responsibly and elect a designated driver when wine or spirit tasting.
■ Head to Hookipa beach to see the turtles. They often hang out at the far east side of
the beach and often there are more than a dozen beauties dozing in the sunshine. Be sure to practice Pono (do the right thing), sea turtles are federally protected and harassing, touching or getting too close is against the law. Keep at a distance, take lots of photos and enjoy.
■ Go play miniature golf near Ma’alea Harbor – They also offer bumper boats, rock climbing and extreme trampolines. More info here.
■ Spend the day in Lahaina, go early in the day and make sure to leave plenty of time to beat the evening traffic.
■ Commemorate your trip with a Tattoo. If you want a tattoo to memorialize your Maui vacation, this is the day to do that. Plan well in advance, make an appointment – since tattoos need time to heal out of the ocean and sun, it’s recommended to get one at the end of your vacation rather than the beginning. Tattoos done at the beginning of a vacation will preclude you from enjoying the ocean and sunshine.
■ Take a morning kiteboarding lesson at Kanaha beach park by the airport. More info here.
■ Try a helicopter tour. AirMaui offers flights from 45-75 minutes long and many options to view different parts of the island.
■ Go beach exploring, Maui has so many fine beaches, find one that you haven’t been to yet and head out. If the beach doesn’t have a shower/bathroom you can stop back at Kamaole I or II and rinse off there before your flight. No towel? Use a sarong and pack a small bag to use to shower up.
■ Visit one of Maui’s escape rooms. What’s an escape room you ask? Wiki describes as; “An escape room, also known as an “escape game”, is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objectives at hand. Players are given a set time limit to unveil the secret plot which is hidden within the rooms.”
■ Walk through Iao Needle State Park. A .6 mile walk through this scenic and beautiful park is well worth the visit. This park is steeped in rich Hawaiian history. Have lunch in Wailuku. More info here.
Restaurants near the Airport
■ Cafe O’Lei at the Dunes – American style with island influence. $$ 15 minutes +/- to the airport.
■ Mama’s Fish House – Seafood/Hawaiian influence, local foods. $$$$ +/- 24 minutes to the airport. Perfect for lunch on your last day. (reservations required well in advance)
■ Zippy’s – Fast Food, Hawaiian/Comfort Food – local favorite (think Denny’s) $$, +/- 15 minutes to the airport.
■ Marco’s Grill & Deli – Italian, American Deli – especially popular with the breakfast crowd on their way to the airport $$, +/- 8 minutes to the airport.
■ Da Kitchen – Hawaiian, Fish & Chips, Burgers – local style, $$, +/- 8 minutes to the airport.
■ Bistro Casanova – Mediterranean, Italian, Tapas Bars, $$ +/- 12 minutes to the airport.
■ Paia Fish Market – Local Seafood, Fish & Chips, Salads Pasta, $$, +/- 20 minutes to the airport. A little further out, but well worth it (personal favorite) and take advantage and tour Paia town.
■ Acevedo’s Hawaicano Cafe – Mexican/Hawaiian – grab and go and head to beach, (5 stars on Yelp), $$ +/- 10 minutes to the airport.
■ Poi by the Pound – Local style Hawaiian Grinds, $$ +/- 8 minutes to the airport.
■ Fork and Salad – Freshest Fast Food, Salads, Sandwiches, Soups, $$ +/- 10 minutes to the airport.
■ Tin Roof Maui – Hawaiian/local, comfort food. Local favorite/local gem. Closes by 2pm, sells out fast, order online as the line will be out the door. Take away or eat at their picnic benches. Or order out and head to the beach in Paia. Award winning chef. $, +/- 10 minutes to the airport.
■ Polli’s Mexican Restaurant – Popular local following. $$, +/- 30 minutes to the airport. This one is a little further out, but worth the drive -or if you’re already in Makawao doing an upcountry tour, add this restaurant to your list.
Timing – Rental Car Return, TSA/Security and Agricultural inspection
Plan enough time to drop your rental car off, get through the ag inspection and TSA security lines. They can be long.
Arriving at the airport
You’ll need to leave yourself a good window of time to return your rental car. Since all rental car returns are off site for now (the construction of the new on-site airport car rental facility is due for completion in May of 2019) be sure give yourself time to wait in the drop off line and catch the shuttle back to the airport.
TIP- If you’re traveling with a group and have multiple pieces of luggage, drop everyone and all the luggage at the airport and send one person with the car to the rental car return.
If you dropped your luggage early, then you’ve already likely sent your checked bags through the ag inspection station. If not, then you need to, all checked bags must be scanned through the Agricultural Inspection Station and receive a sticker stating that they’ve passed inspection. Make sure to declare any agricultural products.
If you haven’t checked in via your smart phone app and if you’re checking baggage, you’ll need to wait in line at the airline counter or self check-in. On busy days, lines can be long.
Next is the TSA security line. It is often very long. Kahului Airport was never really set up to handle the post 911 TSA security checks so the airport line snakes through a long section of the airport’s corridor. Recently, this line took me approximately 30 minutes to get through.
Be prepared for Maui’s own version of TSA security. ALL food must be taken out of your carry on bags. This is in addition to the standard measures that all travelers must take such as removing any electronic item larger than a cell phone from carry-ons, shoes, belts and jackets off etc. For a full list of what is allowed in your carry on luggage visit the TSA’s website.
TIP – carry a Reusable/packable shopping bag (as mentioned in our Ultimate Maui Packing Guide – the kind that folds into it’s own pocket like Chico Bags do. You can put any food souvenirs and plane snacks in the bag to make it fast and easy to get through the TSA line. Once you’re through and waiting at the gate, you can repack these items into your carry-on bag.
After you’ve passed through the TSA security line, you can expect to encounter one more Agricultural Inspection. This is for your carry on bags. Be sure to declare any agricultural items including food or snacks like fruit salad or any fresh fruit, plants, leis etc. This inspection station is generally very quick with little or no line.
Best To Avoid
Things I don’t recommend doing on your last day.
Don’t make the drive all the way to Hana either the front side or back side. Traffic can be an issue and you could be delayed getting back. But there are some stops along the road to Hana where you can hike to waterfalls, get some great photos. and see some amazing things that don’t take you all the way to Hana town.
I don’t recommend getting a late start back to the airport if you’ve gone to Lahaina for the day. Traffic in the afternoon, early evenings can be bad coming and going to Lahaina, even with the new Lahaina Bypass road. Make sure to leave enough time if you’re traveling at peak commute hours.
It’s best not to go to the far west side of the island or try to drive around that way. The road is harrowing on a good day and should always be driven slowly with plenty of time allowed to go all the way around. Your last day is not the best day to attempt this trip.
Don’t go scuba diving. Experienced divers know that you don’t dive and fly within 24 hours. Your last day is not the day to take a scuba class. The commingling of these activities, when not planned for properly, can be physically dangerous and even fatal.
Do you have a favorite ‘Last Day On Maui‘ activity? Share it with us in the comments below.
Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,