Rainy day in Maui Hawaii waves crashing on beach

My husband and I recently returned from a week in Maui where it rained the first five days. At times, torrential rain that flooded roads and created advisories to avoid the Road to Hana due to landslides.


Editor’s note: This post seems so irrelevant and self-serving due to the devastating and heartbreaking wildfires in Lahaina recently. Vacation travel to Maui is highly discouraged. Please consider donating to the Maui Strong Fund, Lahaina Grill gofundme, or other organizations to help the beautiful people of Lahaina, Maui. The Maui Humane Society also needs support.


I admit I was not happy initially. I mean we were escaping the frozen tundra of Minnesota for sunny beach days. This was my fourth trip to Maui and it had never rained more than a passing shower. So we had to pivot, change our mindset, and discover the top things to do in Maui when it rains. When I say we, I mean me. Going with the flow comes naturally for my husband.

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Rainy day activities and things to do in Maui

Rainy day in Maui  Hawaii poolside
If I can learn how to embrace winter snow in Minnesota, I can certainly welcome rain in Maui. Can you make out the guy on the poolside chair? You can barely see his feet in this shot. And just out of range is a dad playing with his two kids in the pool And it was a downpour!

The first thing to do when it rains in Maui on your vacation: don’t despair. I had to remind myself that I was still in Maui where it was nearly 100 degrees warmer than Minnesota. I’m not exaggerating. Windchills dipped down to 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit below zero back home so 70s even in the rain was pretty nice.

So I shifted my perspective from what I had planned to what I could control. My main goal on my vacation in paradise was to relax, read, and watch the ocean. That always recharges my soul. And while rain prevented me from doing that on the beach, I managed to accomplish my main goals from our lanai.

Here’s a list of the top things to do in Maui when it rains.

Drive to the other side of the island of Maui

Sea turtle on the beach in Maui Hawaii
These turtles didn’t seem to mind the on-again-off-again rain showers, the strong current, and high surf warning. We counted a total of 7 turtles hanging out at Ho’okipa Beach Park. How many can you find in this shot?
High surf and strong current warning signs with flags on a beach in Maui Hawaii
Ho’okipa Beach Park in Paia, Maui is very popular and typically very busy. One good thing about the rain – it kept most of the tourists away for the day.
Lahaina Front Street Maui Hawaii boats on the ocean blue sky

When it rains in Maui, most of the time you can drive to the other side of the island to find the sun. Usually. This storm system was hovering over the entire island the majority of the time.

However, as we made our way over to the other side of the island from Paia to Lahaina on our first full day, we were so happy to see blue sky. As well as a rainbow. We spent a sunny afternoon strolling along historic Front Street.

Fly to another Hawaiian island

Window view of plane jet and clouds

Check the weather forecast and see if the forecast calls for sunny skies at any of the other Hawaiian islands. The short roundtrip flights between islands are generally inexpensive – less than $100. So if it’s raining in Maui, I highly recommend taking a day trip to Honolulu.

We did this a few years ago. Not wanting to overschedule ourselves, we elected to fly over to Honolulu on the island of Oahu and tour the USS Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor in the morning. And then we toured the Dole Plantation in the afternoon. And then flew back that night.

Retail therapy is a close second to beach therapy

Boutique shops in Paia Maui Hawaii
I fell in love with this particular boutique shop in Paia.

If it’s raining in Maui, shopping is one of the best things to do. I personally like the boutique shops as I prefer to purchase practical gifts (clothes) as souvenirs. You can find several cute shops in Paia as well as Lahaina.

Whalers Village in Lahaina is especially popular. This outdoor mall offers lots of national brand-name stores as well as some great restaurants.

Enjoy a cocktail – or two – in Maui

Mai Tai and lava flow Duke's Beach Bar in Lahaina Maui Hawaii
Mai Tais and Lava Flows are popular beachy cocktails in Maui

Most of the beachside resorts and restaurants in Maui offer great water views. So even if it is raining in Maui, you can still see the ocean while enjoying a Mai Tai, lava flow or a local craft beer like at Maui Brewing Co. Duke’s Beach Bar and Monkeypod feature great cocktails especially.

Or if you need caffeine, my husband highly recommends Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii.

Eat fresh fish or whatever you want in Maui

Grilled mahi mahi from Lahaina Grill in Maui Hawaii
Lahaina Grill is one of the best places to eat when visiting Maui.

Editor’s Note: Lahaina Grill is one of the many businesses lost to the tragic wildfires. They set up a gofundme page so people can donate directly to help the employees of Lahaina Grill and their families.

You’ll find so many great restaurants with a fresh catch of the day on their menus. It won’t matter if it’s raining in Maui. Dine in or take out. Here are a few of our favorite places to eat in Maui.

  • Fish Market Maui
  • Fleetwood’s on Front
  • Java Jazz Maui
  • Lahaina Fish Company
  • Lahaina Grill
  • Mama’s Fish House (I’m assuming this would be a favorite; we’ve yet to visit as reservations book out six months in advance!)
  • Monkeypod
  • Paia Fish Market
  • Pizza Paradiso
  • Sea House Restaurant

Note: If you make outdoor or rooftop reservations at any of these restaurants where offered, they typically cannot guarantee you a spot inside if it’s raining in Maui.

I also love the food trucks in Lahaina; however, wouldn’t recommend eating there for everyone when it rains in Maui because it can get pretty muddy. But if you don’t mind the mud, the proprietors will be most grateful – and no lines!

Sweet treats on a rainy day in Maui

Honolulu cookies and chocolate covered macadamia nuts

You MUST stop in at the Honolulu Cookie Company on Front Street in Lahaina – whether it’s raining or not in Maui. We were repeat customers to enjoy their delicious shortbread cookies – lots of flavors. And their super cute pineapple and surfboard boxes of cookies make great souvenirs.

And, of course, chocolate-covered macadamias are a treat! You can find them in most ABC stores and grocery stores on Maui. I personally like Hawaiian Host the best.

You’ll also find lots of shops featuring Dole Whips.

Visit an art gallery – rainy day activity in Maui

Art gallery in Maui mermaid siren statue

Who wants to spend time inside when it’s sunny in Maui? So if it rains, visiting the many art galleries is a top thing to do. You’ll find several art galleries on Front Street in Lahaina.

Take a museum tour when it rains in Maui

Sign in front of the historic Baldwin Home Museum in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

If you like history or are naturally curious, check out a museum in Maui when it rains. The Baldwin Home, for example, is located on Front Street in Lahaina. It’s the former home of a doctor who is credited with saving the island natives from smallpox.

Tour the Maui Ocean Center

Learning more about whales and dolphins at the Maui Ocean Center is a great thing to do when it rains. You can take a virtual immersive Sphere Experience where you’ll learn about Hawaii’s humpback whales. Other activities include videos/films, educational feedings, yoga, and other cultural presentations.

Take a glass-blowing class

While we did not take a glass-blowing class in Hawaii, I did take one last summer with my cousins stateside. It is a super cool thing to do especially if it’s raining in Maui. And makes for a beautiful souvenir.

Learn how to play the ukulele or learn how to hula

I saw several places advertising classes to learn how to play the ukulele or learn how to hula. We did not, but now wishing we had.

Take a cooking class / food and drink tour

Look into booking a private cooking class in your condo, a group cooking class, or a food and drink tour. Maui offers several travel-foodie options and it’s the perfect thing to do when it’s raining. And a skill and/or memory that you can take home with you.

Read and watch the ocean do its thing

Our main goal for our recent trip to Maui was to do a whole lot of nothing. Mission accomplished.

Book stack of beach reads in Maui

So while I was disappointed we didn’t have a blue-sky holiday every day, we read a lot on our balcony / lanai. Yes, that’s my mimosa waiting for me on the table out there.

And we watched the waves, palm trees, rainbows, and sunsets. So a few days of rain in Maui was just what we needed. Just remember that in Maui, rain isn’t forever. The sun (and sunset) will eventually come out tomorrow.

Sunset on the beach in Lahaina Maui Hawaii
One of the beautiful sunsets in Maui when it stopped raining

To wrap-up, here’s a list of top things to do in Maui when it rains.

  1. Chase the sun and drive to the other side of the island.
  2. Check the forecast and fly to a different island.
  3. Retail therapy at a local boutique shop – shop small!
  4. Drink.
  5. Eat.
  6. Visit an art gallery.
  7. Take a museum tour
  8. Tour the Maui Ocean Center.
  9. Take a glass-blowing class.
  10. Learn how to play the ukulele or do the hula.
  11. Take a cooking class or book a food and drink tour.
  12. Read.
  13. Watch the ocean.

Let’s hope it doesn’t rain when you visit Maui. But if it does, you can still find lots of fun and cool things to do. Our last few days in Maui were picture-perfect where we got our beach in and also went for a hike. And we drove to the Nakalele Blowhole (that was quite the adventure). Will share more in a separate post on the best things to do in Maui (when the sun is shining!).

See related post: Best travel destinations for couples and emptynesters (Maui is one of them!)

Pin it for later – top things to do in Maui when it rains

Top things to do when it rains in Maui

A list of the top things to do in Maui when it rains

Author

Twin Cities-based blogger sharing memorable emptynester, solo, family and girlfriend-getaway adventures, as well as my day hiking adventures (including all 66 Minnesota state parks), latest book reviews, and updates on my quest for the best adult mac and cheese. Also two WIPs: historical fiction and psychological thriller

42 comments

  1. It’s never suppose to rain in gorgeous Maui! I expect I would be at the bar watching the palm trees getting watered – LOL

  2. If it’s one thing we know, it’s rain. And we know exactly what to do no matter where we are when it happens. At home or abroad. Doing nothing, taking local classes or even visiting some local attractions are always great suggestions when it comes to keeping yourself entertained during stormy weather.

  3. Several days of rain can certainly be disappointing on any trip let alone in Maui! So happy to hear you kept your spirits up and were able to make the most of your time. Relaxing, reading, and just being by the ocean recharges my soul too – and sometimes watching the rain or a storm over the ocean is just as enjoyable for me! Thanks for sharing all of these activities in the event I ever end up in a similar situation here. Xx Sara

  4. Sorry it rained so much while you were there, but I’m glad you were able to make the best of it. Definitely plenty to do in Maui even in the rain. Sunshine or rain there is always something so calming and relaxing about reading with a view of the ocean

    1. Thanks! I was disappointed at first by all the rain in Maui. But we pivoted and had a great time with other things to do until the sun returned.

    1. It is pretty cool that you can hop on on a plane over to another Hawaiian island even just for the day. A great option if it rains in Maui.

  5. I’m heading to Maui for the first time in a couple months, and I’m going to keep these ideas in mind, just in case… Anything food- or book-related sounds like a good plan to me!

  6. I’m sorry it rained that much while you were in Maui! But it sounds like you made the best of it and had some epic experiences!

  7. It rains In Hawaii way more than people think, so having some rainy day activities like these tucked away is always a good idea. I would love to sip and cocktail, read a book, and watch the ocean. That sounds so relaxing! Thanks for sharing these great ideas.

  8. This is such a great list of things to do on Maui when it rains! Our family loves museums and hands-on type places which are a great way to stay dry and pass the time.

  9. These are fun things to do in Maui when it rains! We can’t let the weather stop us from enjoying a location. It rains every day in Scotland and you just get out there anyway and have fun!

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