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
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
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
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
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
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
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!)
- 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
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
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
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.
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.
To wrap-up, here’s a list of top things to do in Maui when it rains.
- Chase the sun and drive to the other side of the island.
- Check the forecast and fly to a different island.
- Retail therapy at a local boutique shop – shop small!
- Visit an art gallery.
- Take a museum tour
- Tour the Maui Ocean Center.
- Take a glass-blowing class.
- Learn how to play the ukulele or do the hula.
- Take a cooking class or book a food and drink tour.
- 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!)